Just 50 minutes from Berkeley, Sonoma's TrainTown offers an introductory amusement park experience (for those not yet ready to visit a Six Flags). Train enthusiasts will be more than satisfied by the 20-minute ride on the scaled-down railroad that stops along the way to allow passengers to de-board and feed the nearby goats.
Admission and parking are free, so bring all the grandparents you want. Rides are paid for with tickets at $6.75 per person, per ride. Ages 12 months and older require a ticket.
Note that TrainTown is a sort of retro experience. The ticket booths, rides, and refreshments are old school. Don't look for healthy choices — it's BYO carrot sticks, else eat cotton candy.
When to go to TrainTown
Open daily through summer months & weekends during fall, winter and spring (CLOSED when raining).
Beginning June 1, TrainTown is open daily 10am to 5pm and, weather permitting, the park is open every day from June 1st thru Labor Day.
Where to eat
Next door to TrainTown is a traditional pizza and pasta restaurant with outdoor seating called Pizzeria Capri. This is probably the easiest option.
Or, drive over to Hopmonk tavern for a family-friendly brewery vibe. They have outdoor seating.
Packed a picnic? Head up Broadway into the Sonoma Square and find a park bench. There are two playgrounds – one for toddlers and one for bigger kids. The Square is surrounded with restaurants and shops. A duck pond is off to one side.
Buy a last-minute picnic at Sonoma Jack's on the North side of the square, a cheese shop with a complete deli counter.
510 Families favorites near the Sonoma Square:
For modern pizza and salad choices and outdoor seating, The Red Grape. 529 1st St W Sonoma, CA 95476 (707) 996-4103
About 5 miles south of Sonoma, a pack of Clydesdale horses inhabits a field right next to the highway. Keep your eyes peeled. We like to pull over and say hello to them.