Out and About

By Jessica Laskey
July 2024

Nature Walk

Trail guide offers adventures along lower American River

A trail guide to the lower American River is available thanks to a local mom’s pandemic experience and love of outdoors.

“What began during the pandemic as a way to keep my preschool-aged boys from climbing out the windows soon turned into delightful daily discoveries along the lower American River,” says Ashley Shult Langdon, author of “Mildly Scenic: A Trail Guide to Sacramento’s Lower American River.”

“It’s the guide I wished I’d had at my disposal in 2020,” Langdon says.

Langdon has traveled the world but found captivating nature in her own backyard. She decided to share it with others
looking for a way to appreciate the beauty of our area’s biggest water feature.

The book is a compendium of more than 70 trails running from Downtown to Lake Natoma, plus photos, trail tips and easy-to-read maps created in partnership with students in Sacramento State’s Geography Department.

“There’s no need to drive far or wait for the weekend. There’s a little slice of wild, natural beauty running right through Sacramento County,” Langdon says. “Spotting river otters on a run between work calls or finding wildflowers during an afterschool outing is entirely possible.

“I’m excited for people to be able to use this guide just in time for summer,” she continues. “How lucky are we to have the mildly scenic American River right in our backyard?”

For information, visit mildlyscenic.com.


Calling all active-duty military personnel and their families! Through the Blue Star Museums initiative, seven area museums are offering free admission through Labor Day, Sept. 2.

The museums are Aerospace Museum of California, California Automobile Museum, California Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Town, Sacramento Children’s Museum and Sacramento History Museum.

Free admission is for those serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard (including reservists), National Guardsman (regardless of status), U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Qualified members must show military ID for entrance.

For information, visit arts.gov/initiatives/blue-star-museums or sacmuseums.org.


Pioneer Park in Old Sacramento has been renamed Mary Gregory Park to honor the early Sacramento businesswoman who once owned the land.

According to the Center for Sacramento History, England native Mary Eugenie Gregory settled in Sacramento with her husband in the 1850s. When her husband died, Gregory took over and expanded their retail stores. In 1883, she bought four lots in Old Sacramento and constructed a large building that served as a trade hub, shipping products across the U.S. on the newly built Transcontinental Railroad.

“The name change is an important step toward recognizing the contributions of Gregory and other Gold Rush-era women whose role in the development of Sacramento has been largely overlooked,” the center reports.

For fun facts about Sacramento history, visit centerforsacramentohistory.org.


Concerts in the Park at Cesar Chavez Plaza wraps up at the end of this month.

Headlining are MVSSIE on July 12 rock night, Kool John on July 19 R&B/hip-hop night and The Brodys on July 26 pop/punk night.

Free Friday night concerts run 5–9 p.m. For information, visit godowntownsac.com.


“The Cool Factor: A Celebration of Air-Cooled Automobiles” is on display at the California Automobile Museum in time for a sweltering summer.

Check out 15 cars, including classic VW Beetles and buses, Porsches, Citroens and BMWs featuring air-cooled engines popularized in the 1930s. New cars cycle in and out of the exhibit through September.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for vintage (65 and older), $10 for military and students, $6 for ages 6–17, and free for children 5 and younger. For information, visit calautomuseum.org.


If you’ve ever needed a costume or gag gift, chances are you’ve entered the whacky, wonderful world of Evangeline’s in Old Sacramento. The iconic emporium celebrates 50 years in business this month.

Dorothea Evangeline Chaussé opened the store in the historic Howard House in 1974 to sell antiques. The store evolved into a destination for offbeat toys, funny cards and eccentric gifts. When Dorothea retired in 1985 and her daughter, Deborah Chaussé, took over, Halloween costumes were added to the mix.

“It’s hard for me to believe that it has been 50 years!” Deborah says. “I still look forward to coming to work every day and helping to keep Sacramento supplied with new and quirky gifts and toys. I love seeing how pop culture and trends have evolved over the years.”

To celebrate Evangeline’s birthday month, customers can enjoy prizes and free interactive experiences, plus lower prices on popular items from the 1970s, such as lava lamps, mood rings and Kit Kat clocks. For information, visit evangelines.com.


Learn about a project to enhance crucial habitat for native fall-run Chinook salmon and steelhead trout at a virtual information session July 24 at 6 p.m.

The River Bend area in Rancho Cordova and William B. Pond Recreation Area in Carmichael are critical for salmon and steelhead to lay eggs during spawning season.

The project includes construction of nearly 5 acres of spawning habitat, more than 3 acres of rearing habitat for young fish to hide from predators and find food, and more than 2 acres of enhanced riparian landscape.

During the session residents can ask questions of the project team, including what to expect during construction, scheduled for August through October. For information and to register, visit waterforum.org/habitat2024.

Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey@gmail.com. Submissions are due six weeks prior to the publication month. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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