Wine Country/Santa Rosa, California, USA
This remarkable petrified forest is slightly tainted by its tacky touristy atmosphere. In order to enter or exit, one must walk through a huge gift shop selling all kinds of factory-made "gems." Kids love the store though- suckers! The store sells petrified shells and fish, but you gotta love the petrified poop!
The walk lasts about half an hour. There are many oak trees. Along the way, you'll see huge redwoods that were hurled down 3 million years ago by a volcanic eruption. Ash mixed with water and filled gaps in the trees where they were decomposing. This petrified the trees into stone. Kids like to hear about how this happened and enjoy seeing the giant trees stricken to the ground. A giant tree that stretches deep into a lit cave and you can peer in.
The trees were discovered in 1871 and Robert Louis Stevenson visited them in 1880.
Not far from here is Calistoga and its wonderful wineries, such as Montelena Chateau, a great place to take kids. Don't miss out on Sterling Vineyards, one of the most wonderful experiences you and your kids will have!
More petrified wood!
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Petrified Forest is located at 4100 Petrified Forest Rd, Calistoga CA 94515, call (707) 942-6667. Exit Highway north of Santa Rosa at River Rd. Head east and follow Mark West Springs Rd- it becomes Porter Creek Rd. Follow the road for about 10 minutes until you come to a T. Turn left on Petrified Forest Rd and you will see the entrance to the Petrified Forest on your left in half a mile.
$12 for adults, $8 for teens aged 12-17 and $11 for seniors aged 62 and up, $6 for kids aged 6-11, and free for kids under 6 years old. Open daily 10-7 in summer, 10-6 in spring and fall, and 10-5 in winter (Nov-Mar).
Tours are at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm for no extra charge, or you can walk around on your own.
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