12 Things To Do With Family in Stockton, California

Stockton is a vibrant city in California’s Central Valley region, located about an hour’s drive south of Sacramento. With its diverse neighbourhoods, historic attractions, outdoor recreation opportunities, and family-friendly events throughout the year, Stockton has something for everyone to enjoy together.

From exploring museums and galleries to farmer’s markets and botanical gardens, this guide will give you 12 great ideas to create special family memories during your visit to Stockton.

Explore the Fascinating Haggin Museum

The Haggin Museum is one of Stockton’s top cultural attractions and the perfect place for families to explore together. This extensive museum includes exciting permanent collections as well an ever-changing roster of visiting exhibitions spanning history, science, and art.

The Haggin has special spaces just for kids, including the Discovery Room where little ones can engage in hands-on play and learning. Families can also join a docent-led tour, scavenger hunt, or other programs catered for children.

Make an afternoon of marveling at the Egyptian mummies, Impressionist masterpieces, dazzling gemstones, vintage automobiles, and more under one roof. Don’t miss this opportunity to spark creativity and conversation for the whole family.

Marvel at the Marvelous Machines at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum

At this Smithsonian-affiliated history museum, families can climb aboard massive threshing machines, steam tractors, and other relics of Stockton’s agricultural past in the “Marvelous Machines” exhibit. Kids will love pretending to drive these retired workhorses from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Parents can share stories and explain how these engineering wonders revolutionized farming in the Stockton area.

The San Joaquin County Historical Museum also boasts reconstructed businesses, prototype horseless carriages designed by local mechanics, and interactive displays highlighting how people lived, worked, and developed new technologies to thrive in San Joaquin Valley. Through hands-on history in this 7-acre outdoor museum, kids and adults alike gain inspiration from our forebears’ triumphs.

Take a River Cruise on Stockton’s Inland Waterways

See the waterfront side of Stockton while sailing smoothly along the San Joaquin River channel aboard the Midnight Sun River Cruises paddle-wheeler boat. During daily public cruises or speciality cruises focused on wildlife sightings, holiday themes, or live music, families can relax together on deck and enjoy 360-degree views.

Kids are invited to visit the pilot house to see firsthand how the boat operates. And everyone will learn interesting facts about Stockton’s evolution during an onboard narrative highlighting historic sites along the riverfront. Capture photos together while marine life breaches alongside the paddlewheel and appreciate Stockton from this unique vantage point.

Prowl Through the Peacock Acres Miniature Horse Farm

At this one-of-a-kind farm attraction, families can interact with and learn about gorgeous miniature horses, donkeys, ponies, cattle, and other friendly critters during guided walking tours. Peacock Acres specializes in breeding champion show quality miniatures and educating the public about their care.

Kids can pet, feed treats to, or lead these pint-sized equines around the stables and pastures while asking the staff questions. There are foals, mares, stallions, elder horses, rescue animals, and more to meet that will steal kids’ hearts! With magical miniature steeds and hands-on fun, Peacock Acres creates special memories for animal lovers of all ages.

Pick Fresh Fruit Together at an Area Farm

From cherries and grapes to nectarines and tomatoes, the fertile farmland around Stockton provides bountiful pick-your-own produce each summer and fall harvest season. Heading out fruit picking together makes for inexpensive outdoor family fun while gathering ingredients for tasty treats later on.

Many nearby farms like Twin Peaks Orchard, Fruit Bowl Farm, or Townsend Vineyards have u-pick programs with competitive rates by the pound or bucket. Kids will enjoy selecting their own ripe, juicy morsels to enjoy later. And parents can snap photos of memories in the making wandering through sunny orchards or lush vineyards amid bounties of berries and other delights.

Visit the Magical Micke Grove Zoo

Micke Grove Zoo gives animal lovers young and old chances for memorable meet-and-greets with over 200 species including lemurs, porcupines, foxes, jaguars, reptiles, tropical birds, insects, and endangered wildlife. Interactive attractions like the Asia Quest with red pandas, the giraffe feeding station, the Lorikeet Landing aviary, and the Dexterity Exhibit with primates delight kids while teaching about conservation.

Micke Grove’s Safari Railroad train ride, play areas, and seasonal programs like trick-or-treating at Boo at the Zoo or winter wonderland events further the family fun. Enjoy a full day out with kid-friendly dining, rides through the zoo, hands-on encounters, and magical moments spying on active animals in naturalistic habitats.

Pick Up Fresh Finds at the Stockton Certified Farmers’ Market

On Saturdays mornings year-round, the Stockton Certified Farmers’ Market sets up downtown offering farm-fresh produce straight from over 70 regional growers. Exploring this sprawling open-air market together allows families to taste juicy samples while supporting the local food system. Kids can pick out fresh fruits and veggies for snacks or family meals from the rainbow of hometown harvests.

And mom and dad will find great deals on sustainable groceries, artisanal goods like jams or baked treats, beautiful bouquets, and handcrafted items made by local artisans. Savoring the sights, smells, and flavors of this wholesome community market makes for Saturday morning fun!

See a Show at the Historic Bob Hope Theatre

This spectacular restored vaudeville palace designed in the French Baroque style hosts world-class entertainment suitable for viewers of all ages. Families can enjoy children’s theater productions, musical headliners, dance extravaganzas, cinema screenings, and more under the Bob Hope Theatre’s resplendent stained glass ceiling.

Kids will marvel at the lavish décor while experiencing their first live show in this iconic atmosphere. With reasonably priced tickets, shortened matinee runtimes for young ones, and dynamic all-ages performances scheduled throughout the year, it’s easy to share the magic of the theater right here in Stockton.

Make a Splash at One of Stockton’s Water Parks

When summertime temperatures spike in Stockton, cooling off at a local water park transforms into the perfect family activity. Favorite options like Victory Park, the city’s massive slide pool featuring a 350-foot waterslide and zero-depth kids’ pool, make for an action-packed escape.

Or check out family recreation staple Swenson Park and its “sprayground” water play structure and lap pool. Various city neighborhood public pools also offer open swim plus swimming lessons for the kids. Treat the family to wet and wild fun while beating the Central Valley heat!

Explore Family-Friendly Trails Along Stockton’s Waterways

The many paved paths following the winding waterways around Stockton offer smooth riding for family bike trips or nice footing for jogging with a stroller. The 9-mile University of Pacific “levee trail” along the Calaveras River boasts scenic river and valley views for a longer ride or walk together.

Families also love the picturesque 1.5-mile trail circling lovely Oak Grove Park’s lake or the paths through shady Swenson Park alongside scenic Fourteen Mile Slough. Seek out Stockton’s interlinking trails for active adventures enjoying nature’s beauty and the city’s abundant waterfront habitats teeming with birds, fish, and other wildlife.

Enjoy Interactive Exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Stockton

The wonderful Children’s Museum of Stockton provides little learners ages 1 through 8 with sensory-rich, hands-on installations focused on science, math, reading, culture, and health. Kids can don chef hats in the pretend grocery store or pizza parlor, perform science experiments in the tinkering lab, construct structures with giant Legos, identify world currencies while “traveling” abroad, or any number of learning games in interactive themed spaces.

Parents will find conversation-starters and opportunities to engage kids’ curiosity throughout this nonprofit early education play space. With drop-in hours almost daily plus memberships and camps available, it offers weatherproof entertainment with an academic twist.

Get Creative at Color Me Mine Ceramic Studio

Unleash family creativity with a hands-on ceramic painting session at Color Me Mine studio. This lively art space lets kids and parents choose from a diverse selection of ceramic pieces from mugs to figurines to bank shapes.

Then commandeer a cafe-style table stocked with paints to decorate your bisque masterpieces however you envision. Staff help with firing and glazing too. Leave with custom ceramic art keepsakes out of your fun DIY afternoon creating together.


From museums and zoos to farmers markets and water parks, Stockton overflows with family-oriented attractions and activities. With scenic outdoor spaces, historic entertainment venues, hands-on learning centers for kids, and events happening year-round, Stockton makes creating special memories simple and fun for families of all ages and interests.

Use this guide to pinpoint plenty of spots where your family can play, explore, and bond together while appreciating everything Stockton has to offer.

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