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Peek into science, art and history at local museums

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Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015 11:21 am

Have you ever wanted to take a look at an early tractor? How about explore the science of light? Do you want to visit exotic animals from around the world? Or maybe you’d like to see what a home looked like in the early 1900s, or just browse through work by new and established local artists. With a small zoo and several museums and galleries, Lodi and the surrounding area can provide hours of varied entertainment for visitors with a passion for history, art, science or animal behavior.

Lodi’s Museums and Galleries

World of Wonders Science Museum

2 N. Sacramento St.


The World of Wonders Science Museum — also known as the WOW — specializes in interactive science. Exhibits include the Shadow Table, where visitors can explore light, shadows, reflection and motion; the Shadow Wall, where strobe lights temporarily freeze visitors’ shadows; Delayed Conversation, an exhibit that causes a delay in your speech to confuse your brain; and an exhibit that uses mirrors and a laser to allow visitors to see the patterns of their voice on a screen. Be sure to check out the Cranium Cafe, a brain teaser exhibit.

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

San Joaquin County Historical Museum

11793 N. Micke Grove Road


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. It also has a collection of historic tractors — including a 1919 Holt 75 Caterpillar — and other agricultural equipment, a small vineyard of Flame Tokay grapes, an exhibit on the Delta and a children’s gallery that changes regularly.

Hours of operation: Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (summer); Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (winter). Closed certain holidays.

Micke Grove Zoo

11793 N. Micke Grove Road


Home to more than 130 animals, from geckos to yellow-knobbed curassows (a type of bird) to lemurs and a leopard, Micke Grove Zoo offers plenty to see and do. Family-friendly events such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day at the Zoo and HalloWILD bring special themed games and activities. Visitors can even purchase art created by the animals at the zoo’s gift shop. The zoo is located in Micke Grove Regional Park, so it’s easy to turn a trip into an all-day outing.

Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas. Gate admission closes at 4:30 p.m.

Hill House Museum

826 S. Church St.


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: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday; other times by appointment.

The Serpentarium: A Living Reptile Museum

2379 Maggio Circle, Unit C


This privately owned, two-story museum specializes in showing exotic snakes, lizards, tortoises, frogs, geckos and arachnids in their natural habitats. Exhibits include Burmese pythons, rainbow boas, anacondas, monitor lizards, tortoises, frogs, tarantulas, a panther chameleon and more.

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

Lodi Community Art Center

110 W. Pine St.


Located in the heart of Downtown Lodi, 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: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Open the first Friday of each month from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Double Dip Gallery

222 W. Pine St.


With a combination of fine contemporary expressionist art and delicious Gunther’s Ice Cream, you can’t go wrong. The gallery is owned by Tony Segale, who painted several of the murals found around Lodi. It features local artists and offers classes throughout the year.

Hours of operation: Opens at noon seven days per week; closing time changes with the seasons.

Barriga’s Fine Arts Gallery

9 S. Sacramento St.


Air brush artist Daniel Barriga opened a gallery in Downtown Lodi to showcase his fine artwork. He is also an auto body artist.

Hours of operation: By appt. only.

School Street Gallery

123 S. School St.

Owned by William Poulson, a stained glass and fine furniture artist, and glass artist Bobbette Budworth, the gallery featured a number of local artists in a variety of mediums.

Joseph Spenker Museum

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


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.

Other area museums

McFarland Ranch

8899 Orr Road, Galt


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: Open for special events. Otherwise, by reservation only. School field trips are available.

Rae House Museum

204 Oak Ave., Galt


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.

Haggin Museum

1201 N. Pershing Ave., Stockton


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.

Children’s Museum of Stockton

402 W. Weber Ave., Stockton


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, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Field trips available by appointment.


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