SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- In addition to its fascinating Gold Rush past, the Sacramento area is rich with an amazing array of state-of-the-art museums and historic sites that offer visitors the chance to explore California's fine art, history, science, and wildlife treasures all year long. In January, many of the 30 members of Sacramento Association of Museums (SAM) are kicking off the year with "hands on" or "how-to" events and activities, a sampling of which follows:

Pop-Up Science Month at the Sacramento Children's Museum - January 1-31
Join the Sacramento Children's Museum all month for science experiments and activities! Pop-Up Science month is filled with wonderful opportunities for children to witness science experiments, have hands-on time testing and explore science activities themselves. Each child will be given goggles and a lab coat to complete the pretend play. Activities will happen each day at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and other unscheduled times throughout the day. For more, visit or call 916-638-7225.

The Art of Parenting: Tell Me A Story at the Crocker Art Museum - January 12
Learn the art of storytelling and how to establish (or add to) a family tradition in a special workshop led by educator, storyteller, and grandmother Mary McGrath. Warm up with classic folk tales, learn how to tell stories based on visual images, and learn how to tell stories from real life in a way that is meaningful to children. For more, or call 916-808-1182.

Green Gardening at Home Series at the Roseville Utility Exploration Center - Starts January 17 
Mark your calendar for one night a week for 10 weeks to gain a wealth of information and skills through presentations and hands-on exercises that can help you save money, conserve water and sustain your healthy landscape. Led by Master Gardeners, you'll learn how to improve your existing soil, what kind of edible and native plants to install and ways to design and maintain your water-efficient landscape. For more information and to register, visit or call 916-746-1550.

Hands on History: Trappers, Trades and Treaties at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park - January 19 
Fort visitors will step back in time to the 1840s to learn why trappers were considered "jacks of many trades" and experience how they lived, worked, explored new territory and traded with local Native Americans. In addition to learning about many fascinating aspects in the life of a trapper, Fort visitors will have the hands-on opportunity to examine fur pelts, create documents with a quill pen and oak gall ink, and string trade beads. For more, visit or call 916-445-4422.

Super H.E.R.O. School at Fairytale Town - January 20
In a one-day workshop for ages 4 to 8, young heroes will learn the importance of bravery, honor and respect while engaging in a dynamic discussion of their favorite superheroes, both real and fictional. The workshop also includes an energizing hero snack and an introduction to super hero stretching techniques and exercises. Heroes then design and create their own secret identity, special powers and costumes. For more, visit or 916-808-7462