The Petaluma Wildlife & Natural Science Museum has a huge collection of taxidermied animals as well as live animals, and is open to the public every Saturday. The property also includes an aviary, dioramas, and a fossil and mineral collection.
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum hosts an exhibit of Robert Louis Stevenson ephemera such as 8000 manuscripts, photos, letters and the like. It is, in fact, one of the largest collections of Robert Louis Stevenson's works outside of Scotland and a must-see for fans of his work. Virtually all of his first editions are here. Stevenson spent his honeymoon in the area and wrote The Silverado Squatters.
This is considered by many to be the most beautiful 18th-century chateau in North America. The chateau also has one of the most prominent vineyards. Domaine Carneros produces award winning sparking and Pinot Noir wines. You'll feel just like a king in the Louis XV-style salon with gracious service to match. Snuggle up to a warm fire during the cold winter months or enjoy the summer air from the terrace. Check out the in-house store, where you can pick up a number of vintages for friends and family. The tasting tours are offered daily.
Take an unforgettable hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley. A typical adventure includes an hour-long balloon ride with your pilot narrating the sights, followed by a garden champagne-brunch. Launches begin at sunrise. Enjoy incredible aerial views of Napa vineyards. Rates vary, call for details.
Founded in 1973 by former photographer Jack Cakebread, this winery has produced a plethora of award-winning vintages. The winery produces 85,000 cases annually and is best known for its classic rich Rutherford Cabernets, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The entire family is involved with the winery operation, which includes promoting healthy food. The Cakebreads founded the American Harvest Workshop, an annual four-day event that promotes local agriculture and involves chefs, winemakers and farmers. The family also sells organic produce grown on winery grounds when available. Tours and tastings are by prior appointment only.
The CIA's (Culinary Institute of America) West Coast campus resides in the former home of the Christian Brothers winery—an imposing three-story building over a hundred years old. This is a masters-level training center for working, certified chefs. Visitors can take part in cooking demonstrations and sample the chef's creation. Visit the website for demonstration times and days. CIA's Campus Store stocks an impressive supply of cookware and cookbooks for the serious cook. You may also want to dine at the campus Wine Spectator Greystone restaurant—the view of St. Helena from the terrace is grand.
A picnic ground and trailhead at the base of the hill lead to steep trails up to the boulder-strewn valley rim. Hikers and horse riders to the Skyline Wilderness Park are greeted with pretty views of the valley and a respite from the wine-soaked tourist crush of the valley floor. Some moderate degree of cardiovascular fitness is advisable before setting off.
Originally a movie palace, downtown Napa's majestic theater was shuttered for a decade before re-opening in 2010 as a concert venue. A local builder, who remembers the Uptown from his youth, expanded the stage and lovingly restored the interior to its art deco origins. Be sure to look up at the murals on the ceiling and take in the small details, like the iron-accented sidelights, that make this theater a distinctive place to catch a national act.
Historic architecture, open-air markets, clothing boutiques, antique stores, gourmet food shops - all surrounded by fabulous vineyards and wineries - this is downtown Napa. Buy quality clothing from the Mustard Seed Clothing Co., hunt for treasures at Antiques On Second, and don't forget to stop into one of the dozens of award-winning cafes and restaurants to refuel. Just a few miles away on Factory Stores Drive you will find the Napa Premium Outlets, the number one spot in the area to find designer brands such as BCBG Max Azria, DKNY, and Coach, at heavily discounted prices.
Restored in 2003, this magnificent Opera house never knew it would live to see its good old days again. But now, its fate has reversed and restored it stands. Past events have included plays such as I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, as well as performances from acclaimed artists like the Indigo Girls. For those who love their funny bone tickled, do not miss the stand-up comedy competition, or better yet compete in it. Making a fool of yourself could not be more fun!
Hop on this train and experience a first-class meal and fine wines as you tour wine county. The train offers a champagne brunch, casual lunches and fancy dinners. It is ideal for romantic dinners, executive parties and tourist excursions. The train's decor is elegant, though daytime travels are casual. Take in the sights both outdoor and indoor: mahogany, brass and etched glass in the restored 1917 Pullman Dining Car. At the McKinstry Street Station starting point, you will find a handful of charming little shops that specialize in wine (of course), gourmet foods and gifts.