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Napa and Sonoma: 6 fab corkhead adventures with the kids

Karen D'Souza, The Mercury News on

Published in Travel News

Thirsting for a delicious Napa or Sonoma getaway, but stumped about what to do with the kids? We feel your pain.

But California's famous wine country offers more than cabernet tastings. Here are six super-fun, family-friendly things to do while you're there. Some spots, such as Sterling Vineyards and Safari West, combine vino and adventure. Others are near the vines, but not among them, so you can keep the children tickled and entertained between sipping-swirling opportunities.

The result: No whining amid the wine-tasting. Cheers to your next corkhead vacation with the kids.

1. Sonoma TrainTown Railroad

All aboard for one of the most charming, old-fashioned amusement parks you'll ever see. This vintage quarter-scale railroad park features locomotives the kids can climb all over, plus 20-minute rides aboard a choo-choo to the zoo, where you can feed the critters.

There are scads of other pint-sized rides, too, including a Ferris wheel and a carousel. And did we mention the ice-cream treats? You'll have a hard time getting the fam to leave. But if you can pry them away, Sonoma's darling town square with its great bakery and cheese shop are a stone's throw away.

Details: TrainTown admission is free; you just pay for the rides, including the train ($6.75). Open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, weather permitting, through Labor Day and Friday-Sunday through the fall and winter. 20264 Broadway, Sonoma; www.traintown.com

2. Old Faithful Geyser, Calistoga

Ramble around the famously fainting goats, sheep and llamas while you wait for this punctual geyser to blow its top. Old Faithful goes off every 20 to 30 minutes, often creating a lovely rainbow in its delicate clouds of mist. The geyser is also reportedly a reliable predictor of earthquakes. Whenever the geyser's eruptions deviate from its regular schedule, a quake is likely to occur within a 500-mile radius.

Details: Admission is $9-$15. Open from 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. daily through Sept. 30, until 6 p.m. in October and 5 p.m. November-February. 1299 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga; www.oldfaithfulgeyser.com

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