California wine country may be the perfect spot for elegant vineyard parties, boozy bachelorette brunches and terrace samplings of dozens of world-class vintages, but it turns out there’s also plenty of buzz-free entertainment if you happen to have the kids with you.
The wine country may seem like an unlikely place to catch a glimpse of a zebra, but it’s true that families don’t have to travel to the Serengeti to experience a real wildlife safari. Safari West, a 400-acre wildlife preserve sits between the vineyards and tasting rooms in Santa Rosa and provides plenty to see. A three-hour tour includes an open-air jeep ride and walking tour of the site, where families can see more than 80 species and 700 different animals. Monkeys, cheetahs and buffalo are just some of the African wonders that wander the plains here. Tour times are flexible, which means there will still be plenty of time for wine tasting once the little ones are all worn out.
Families can also head to the nearby scenic Russian River to relax on a giant inflatable canoe. Kids can look for wildlife along the shores, plop into the refreshing waters for an afternoon swim or enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach. Full- and half-day options are available, and travelers can paddle the shorter distance between Memorial Beach to Crow Bar or the longer journey between Memorial Beach and Wohler Bridge. Both are perfect options for making some family memories.