California State
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Historic Sites
Tourist Attractions

Historic Sites

Benicia Capitol State Historic Park
Benicia Capitol State Historic Park is the site of California's third seat of government (1853-54.) It is the only pre-Sacramento capitol that survives. The original building has been restored with reconstructed period furnishings and exhibits. The interior includes a board-for-board reconstruction of the building's original floor with ponderosa pine. The desks, three of which are originals from the Benicia period or earlier, are furnished with a candlestick, a 19th century newspaper, a quill pen and a top hat. For information call: (707)745-3385


Bodie State Historic Park
Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of 10,000 people. The town was founded by Waterman S. Body (William Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of gold in hills north of Mono Lake. In 1877, the Standard Company struck pay dirt and a gold rush transformed Bodie from a town of 20 people to a boomtown. Only a small part of the town survives, preserved in a state of "arrested decay." Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods. The museum is open daily during summer. The park is closed in winter. Designated as a National Historic Site and a State Historic Park in 1962, the remains of Bodie are being preserved in a state of "arrested decay". Today this once thriving mining camp is visited by tourists, howling winds and an occasional ghost. Bodie is now listed as one of the worlds 100 most endangered sites by the World Monuments Watch. For information call: (760)647-6445


El Presidio De Santa Barbara State Historic Park
El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park is the site of the oldest building in Santa Barbara and the second oldest in California. Visitors can step back and view this historic site surrounded by modern buildings. El Cuartel, the oldest existing building in Santa Barbara, is all that remains of the last of four Royal Presidios (Spanish military outposts) built in alta California.The presidio in Santa Barbara was built in 1782. It served as the military and government headquarters for the lands between Los angeles and San Luis Obispo until 1846. Two original buildings have been restored and five other reconstructed. Handmade adobe blocks were used to reconstruct the Padres' Quarters and Presidio Chapel. For information call: (805)965-0093


Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
Located in Jamestown, three miles south of Sonora, the park is the place where the Sierra Railway Company began its short-line operation in 1897. The trains hauled passengers and freight into the Mother Lode. The old steam locomotives were replaced by diesel engines in the 1950s. From the end of May through the end of summer the park's famous steam trains offer excursions through the Sierra foothill gold country. The engines and cars have starred in movies and television shows since 1919, in productions such as High Noon and Little House on the Prairie. Tours of the roundhouse and blacksmith shop are offered on weekends. The park also features a slide program, gift shop and picnic facilities. For information call: (209)984-3953


San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park
This 50-acre park commemorates the american takeover of California. Both General Stephen Kearny and andres Pico claimed victory in the bloody engagement between Dragoons and Californios at this site. a visitor center and museum present the action in video, maps and diorama. For information call: (619)220-5430


Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park
The Temple of the Forest Beneath the Clouds" is the oldest continuously used Chinese temple in California. On display are art objects, pictures, mining tools, and weapons used in the 1854 Tong War. This Taoist temple is still a place of worship and a fascinating look into the role played by Chinese immigrants in early California history. The temple was built in 1874 as a replacement for another that had burned. In 1956 the state took over operation and restoration efforts. One of the most successful State Parks artifact conservation efforts in recent years was made possible through funding from the Statewide Resource Management Program. The "Chinese Lion Dancer's Headdress" was brought back to life and placed in a beautiful exhibit case in the Visitor's Center of the Weaverville Joss. For information call: (530)623-5284


Tourist Attractions

Napa Valley Wine Train
Gourmet dining year-round aboard lavishly restored 1915 Pullman dining and lounge cars. Enjoy relaxing while journeying through the picturesque Napa Valley. For information call: (800)427-4124


Warner Bros. Studio Tour
Only tour of working studio plus museum. Visit backlot sets; see costumes, filming, and more. Limited photography OK. No kids under 8. M-F, hourly 9am-3pm in winter; half-hourly 9am-3:30pm in summer. Reservations recommended. For information call: (818)972-TOUR


Queen Mary Seaport
Relive the elegance of transatlantic travel with historic shipwalk tours, elegant restaurants, unique shops, 16 art deco salons, and an on-board hotel. For information call: (562)435-3511


Six Flags Magic Mountain/Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
Features the world's most thrilling rides plus exciting shows and family adventures. Next door, Hurricane Harbor water park is open May-Sept. Separate admission required. For information call: (805)255-4100


Disneyland Resort
Disneyland is almost synonymous with southern California. This playland for children of all ages was the brainchild of Walt Disney himself and has grown to be one of the largest theme parks in the world. For Information call: (714)781-4560


San Diego Zoo
The World-Famous San Diego Zoo is home to many of the world's most rare and exotic animals and plants, including the only pair of giant pandas in the U.S. For information call: 619/231-1515