In the Loop


June brings more daylight hours and more families on the road, and destinations across the state respond by providing more to do. For a sampling of summer-long activities and more, take a look at this monthly roundup of tips for short hops to nearby events and longer trips around California and even into the heavens.

To the northwest, Yosemite welcomes the season with the reopening of Housekeeping Camp, Yosemite Valley Stable and the open-air Valley Floor Tours ( and YARTS, the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System, has announced new, expanded public transit schedules (; you can purchase tickets online; 877-989-2787).

In Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum offers six-mile round trips in the Sacramento Southern Excursion Trains’ vintage passenger cars or the first class “El Dorado” observation lounge car every Saturday and Sunday (; 916-445-6645).

Closer to the coast in Oakland, eight different itineraries of free 90-minute walking tours every Wednesday and Saturday explore the city’s changing skyline, landmarks, churches and history. Each sets out from the front of the African American Museum and Library, 14th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way (reservations recommended; e-mail; 510-238-3234).

Down below in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, the California Science Center charges no admission for permanent exhibit galleries. The Endeavour occupies the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Display Pavilion while awaiting its permanent home, and a Simulator Experience and three movies (not free) enhance an already unforgettable adventure. For just one example, immerse yourself in the IMAX “Hubble 3D” and see Earth from space and distant galaxies as you never have before (; 323-SCIENCE).

To the south in San Diego’s Balboa Park, the Spreckels Organ Society holds Sunday-afternoon organ concerts and, on Monday evenings, the Annual International Summer Organ Festival June 25 through Aug. 27 (; 619-702-8138).

Celebrate nuts: On the other side of the Sierra Nevada on the grounds of Kern County Museum in Bakersfield, enjoy music, arts, crafts and the culinary delights and health benefits of almonds, pistachios and walnuts at the Saturday, June 15, community-wide Kern County Nut Festival (; 661-301-6763 / 661-302-8171).

Celebrate in style: The 2013 Golden Poppy Awards on Saturday, June 8, at Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades supports the California State Parks Foundation with an elegant soiree under the stars (; 800-963-PARK).

Looking ahead to celebrate from SpaceShipTwo: Virgin Galactic’s commercial space flights may begin as early as next year thanks in part to the recent successful test flight in Mojave (

When you simply do not feel like leaving Ridgecrest, escape with a movie at HSUMD’s free Westerns series and Disney series (flex Wednesday nights) and Leonard B. Stern Classic Silents Series (non-flex Tuesdays) at the Historic USO Building (; 760-375-8456).

Ridgecrest resident Donna McCrohan Rosenthal covers travel stories for AAA, Bakersfield Magazine and several West Coast publications. The author of 14 books, she has appeared on Oprah and A&E Biography and lectured at the Smithsonian.

Story First Published: 2013-06-05