It’s everyone’s dream vacation. A trip to wine country. Just what the doctor ordered. Oh, wait. The doctor forgot. You have kids. So now what?
You can’t go wine tasting with the kids. Well, you can, though they can’t taste (not that they would want to, either). And have you ever seen small children accompanying their parents in wineries? They are bored out of their minds. Some savvy wineries have children’s areas. Fess Parker has his old videos of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett for the kids to watch. But in most wineries it’s boring for the children.
And what else is there in wine country? Well, in Santa Ynez wine country there is plenty for kids to do.
Ostrichland is in Solvang, right next to Buellton. They have ostriches and emus. And they are fun, not just for the kids, but for you too. You don’t find a place like this just everywhere. The kids will love feeding the birds. You can get up close to these big birds and the barriers will keep everyone safe. And if these birds make you hungry, you can buy ostrich and emu eggs, depending on the season.
Ostrichland is located at 610 East Hwy 246 in Solvang. They are open 7 days a week from 9 am until dusk. 805-686-9696. Guided tours can also be offered. www.ostrichlandusa.com.
Have you ever seen miniature horses? They are a true delight. Quicksilver Ranch, also in Solvang is where you can find them. Miniatures are very gentle animals and remarkably gentle and patient, and can be smaller than some large dogs.
Quicksilver Ranch is open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 3 pm (closed Sundays) at 1555 Alamo Pintado Rd, Solvang, CA 93463 (805) 686-4002. www.qsminis.com.
What do you do with the kids in the evenings? Even if you do go wine tasting, what do you yourself do in the evenings? While you can go to the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, this may not be the right place for the kids. But in the summer, there is the outdoor Solvang Festival Theater. This great showplace has famous musicals, comedies and dramas that are put on by the Pacific Conservatory Theater. PCPA is a professional theater and theater school operated in conjunction with Allen Hancock College in Santa Maria. And while the Solvang Festival Theater operates only during the summer, in nearby Santa Maria the shows go on all year.
Solvang Festival Theater is located at 420 2nd Street in Solvang. 805 922-8313. www.pcpa.org.
Since all the places mentioned here are in Solvang, just what exactly is Solvang. Solvang (Danish for “sunny field”) is a charming Danish village, right in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country. It was founded by Danish expats in 1911 and is now a modern town with great food, quaint shops with unusual merchandise, and delicious pastries. There are also several Danish festivals in these quiet tree-lined streets. Solvang is a great place to visit any time of year.
But did we leave out just how delicious the wines really are here? We have been talking about what there is for your kids, but we haven’t forgotten you. If you want the big flavorful wines that Santa Barbara Wine Country has to offer, yet your time was limited by what you wanted for your children, then simply head out to Los Olivos, right near Solvang, and enjoy the many (we mean at least 25) tasting rooms with some of the best wines California has to offer. And trust us, you’ll be back.