Family Getaway: Water Park in Folsom & Old Sacramento Waterfront - 510 Families
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Family Getaway: Water Park in Folsom & Old Sacramento Waterfront

Our Family Getaway to Folsom

Folsom, a 90-minute drive from Oakland, is great for weekend getaways or even a staycation. Normally, Folsom Lake is the big draw for boating, hiking, and enjoying the scenery. Because of low water levels and extreme heat, we had to get creative this time. Kids and parents were thrilled at the overnight trip we took to Folsom and Old Sacramento’s waterfront. I recommend this mini escape to families with kids ages 2 to 5, and even older.

Kids enjoying the Old Sacramento waterfront | Photo: Parul Patel

Our favorites from this trip include the Folsom Aquatic Center, the RiverWalk Park, and BusyKids Indoor Play.

Folsom Aquatic Center: The Perfect Way to Beat the Heat

sprayground in folsom
The water slide at the Folsom Aquatic Center is renovated and awesome! | Photo: City of Folsom

Our trip started with an entire day spent at the Steve Miklos Aquatic Center (aka Folsom Aquatic Center). The kids (and grown-ups alike) had a blast! The aquatic center features two large swimming pools for practice and play, kid and adult slides, a splash zone, a lagoon area to relax and watch the children go wild on the play structures, and (my favorite) a concession stand with ballpark food.

An inflatable obstacle course in the swimming pool is available on summer weekends for $3 extra beginning July 3, 2021. Participants should be strong swimmers and enjoy daring danger! See the inflatables in action >

child in waterfall
Bella is cooling off at Folsom Aquatic Center | Photo: Tasha C. via yelp

Plan Your Visit to Folsom Aquatic Center

  • The center opens at 1 pm, but visitors line up beginning around 12:30.
  • Chairs and tables for your belongings are first come first served, (or you can rent cabanas at a cost). If you line up early, there is a better chance to find open chairs.
  • Ticket prices range from $4 for children ages 3-4; $7 for ages 4-54; and $5 for ages 55+ (free for kids under 2).
  • There are restrooms on-site.
  • The locker room area was closed off when we visited, so it may be best to wear swimsuits prior to entering the venue (although you could still use the restroom to change as well).
  • Free parking
  • Folsom Aquatic Center is located at 1200 Riley St, Folsom, CA 95630; 916.461.6640

A Lovely Evening Stroll with a Carousel in Old Sacramento

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Sunset at the Old Sacramento Waterfront near the Ferris wheel | Photo: @mustafathephotographer

As the evening weather is quite pleasant up there, we drove 20 minutes outside of Folsom, over to the Old Sacramento Waterfront. The waterfront is actually a historic landmark set to look like the time of the California Gold Rush. The walk along the Old Sacramento Waterfront is stroller-friendly, but also pretty bustling with other foot traffic. There is paid parking and public restrooms available.


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Since we arrived after 8 pm, many shops and cafés were already closed, but restaurants with outdoor seating were still open. We were hoping to grab some dessert from Danny’s Mini Donuts, based on a friend’s recommendation, but Danny’s closed at 6 pm. We did find the kids some ice cream from a local eatery a few doors down from Danny’s. The kids enjoyed eating their ice cream as we strolled along and looked through store windows.

As we approached the riverfront, everyone peacefully watched the boats along the calm waters before hopping on a merry-go-round. There is also a Ferris wheel ride for kids a little braver than mine. Tickets are available for purchase at each ride location for $6 per ride. As the children get older, I can imagine spending more time on the rides.

Want to sleep in a restored riverboat on the Sacramento River? You can do it.

Point your GPS to The River Walk Park @ 651 2nd Street in West Sacramento to find the parking lot.


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Cool off inside at BusyKids Play Town, Folsom

Before heading back home, we stopped at BusyKids Play Town for some interactive fun indoors. With several different themes to target all areas of interest – including a music room, princess dress-up area, pretend post office, small ball pit, car & train room, and much more. BusyKids did indeed keep the little ones busy! My son spent the better part of an hour riding on the toy roller coaster…the same one we have at home that he never uses!

BusyKids Pretend Play
Kids in the music room at Folsom’s BusyKids | Photo: Parul Patel

Plan your visit to BusyKids Play Town & Coffee Shop

  • Be sure to wear socks, or you can purchase some there.
  • Food and drinks are available for purchase.
  • Tables are available for parents to feed, use their devices, and/or relax (if possible).
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are readily available throughout.
  • Restroom on site.
  • Parking: Easy & free in the parking lot.
  • Phone: 916.608.8850
  • Website for hours and rates >

BusyKids Play Town & Coffee Shop is located at 118 Woodmere Rd #110 in Folsom.

Plan your own Folsom Weekend Away with Kids

While we still really want to play at the lake, Folsom provides an array of kid-friendly options, and we already plan to come back again this summer to check out the places we missed on this trip — especially those mini donuts in Old Sacramento. Unfortunately, water levels showing no promise of rising anytime soon, we are optimistic that we can check out the Folsom Lake boat rental services on a future visit.

For lodging: We stayed at The Staybridge Suites Folsom. This hotel worked out perfectly for our family since the rooms featured mini kitchens, free breakfast in the morning, and free parking on site. Rooms and corridors were clean, and the staff was friendly. There are plenty of lodging options available in the area – even when we booked just a few days ahead.

Or make it a farm stay! About ten minutes from our hotel was the Heirloom Acres Farm >

Eating out: Since pizza and pasta are the only meals our kids live by, we only ate at Skipoloni’s Pizza for dinner. Luckily the menu caters to both kids and adults. The children had no complaints about their cheese pizzas and butter pasta, and the adults enjoyed spicy wings, NY-style pizzas, and salads.  The service was friendly and timely, and the venue was spacious enough for the kids to burn off some calories after eating. Our drive throughout the town showed us that dining – both fast food and sit down – is abundant here. It seemed as though every street corner has a plaza with several food choices, so I’m confident families can find something here to please their palate.


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