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Culture time: museums and galleries

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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 1:00 pm

Local museums are where curiousity meets a vast wealth of knowledge. Whether visitors want to uncover the agriculture roots of the area, enjoy interactive science and wildlife exhibits, or even crave some football history during the offseason, at least one of these Central Valley museums can provide that information.

San Joaquin County Historical Museum

11793 N. Micke Grove Road, Lodi

209-331-2055

Located in Micke Grove Regional Park, the museum grounds hold several historical buildings — including the one-room Calaveras School built in 1866 and Stockton founder Charles Weber’s cottage. All buildings features items from the early days of San Joaquin County, donated by the estate of William G. and Julia Harrison Micke. This year’s summer events include a special exhibit on civil liberties held in mid-June and a benefit concert by Randy Sparks in July.

Hours of operation: Summer — Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Winter — Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

World of Wonders Science Museum

2 N. Sacramento St., Lodi

209-368-0969

Specializing in interactive science, the World of Wonders is also aptly known as the WOW Museum. Exhibits include the Molecular Buffering exhibit, where visitors manipulate ball bearings representing molecules in motion; the Lego Raceway, where participants construct their own Lego racecar; and the Shake Table, where visitors can design buildings that can withstand earthquakes. The museum also hosts regular science-themed events.

Hours of operation: Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Haggin Museum

1201 N. Pershing Ave., Stockton

209-940-6300

Located in Stockton’s Victory Park, this three-story museum contains more than 34,000 square feet of exhibition space. It houses artwork from late 19th-century American and European painters and includes multiple local and regional history exhibits. Football and military fans can enjoy a special exhibit running until September on NFL players who served in the armed forces.

Hours of operation: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; 1:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; 1:30 to 9 p.m. first and third Thursdays.

The Knowlton Gallery

115 S. School St., No. 14, Lodi

209-368-5123 (gallery)

209-747-0557 (cell)

The Knowlton Gallery features nationally known fine artists, who work in oil, pastel and watercolor. The gallery focuses on representational art, primarily focused on California landscapes.

Hours of operation: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

Lodi Community Art Center and Gallery

209 N. Ham Lane, Suite 1373, Lodi

209-333-3855

Located within Lodi’s Lakewood Mall, the art center features paintings, photography, mixed media and jewelry by Lodi artists. Several classes for adults and children are offered as well.

Hours of operation: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hill House Museum

826 S. Church St., Lodi

209-369-6073

This Queen Anne Victorian house is a veritable history of Lodi. Built for jeweler George W. Hill in the early 1900s, the Hill House still has most of its original furnishings. Exhibits feature watch repair tools, women’s clothing, a ceremonial sword and feather hat that George Washington Hill owned, a turn-of-the-20th-century Victrola and a Victorian baby crib, among other historical items.

Hours of operation: Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.; other times by appointment.

The Serpentarium: A Living Reptile Museum

2379 Maggio Circle, Unit C, Lodi

209-369-7737

This privately owned, two-story museum specializes in showing exotic snakes, lizards, tortoises, frogs, geckos and arachnids in their natural habitats. Featured exhibits include Splash, a 6-foot water monitor lizard; Crazy Legs, an 11-foot albino Burmese python; and the Invertebrate Room, where visitors can interact with insects like tarantulas, scorpions and hissing cockroaches.

Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Joseph Spenker Museum

Jessie’s Grove Winery, 1973 W. Turner Road, Lodi

209-368-0880

The museum, located at one of Lodi’s premier wineries, is housed in a tin-roof barn with exhibits depicting agricultural life in Lodi in the 19th century.

Hours of operation: Seven days a week, noon to 5 p.m.

McFarland Ranch

8899 Orr Road, Galt

209-745-0951

The living history ranch provides hands-on activities teaching children about farm life in the late 19th century. John McFarland, a Galt pioneer who gave the town its name, lived on the ranch located between Galt and Thornton. The venue also hosts the annual Old Car Show at the end of September.

Hours of operation: By reservation only. School field trips are available.

Rae House Museum

204 Oak Ave., Galt

209-745-2753

Built by John Rae in 1868, the house is a restored Queen Anne that contains photographs and artifacts of the early days of Galt.

Hours of operation: First Sunday of each month, 1 to 4 p.m., except when the first Sunday is part of a holiday weekend. Then it’s open the second Sunday of the month. Tours available by appointment.

Children’s Museum of Stockton

402 W. Weber Ave., Stockton

209-465-4386

Located in downtown Stockton, the Children’s Museum of Stockton gives kids the chance to let their imaginations run wild. Children imitate being a doctor, news anchor, farmer or mailman as they explore real-world job exhibits and learn through play.

Hours of operation: Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Field trips available by appointment.

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