NOTE: The Trailmix.net store in Old Sacramento is sadly closed. I’m so glad I got to visit it. You can still be an inspired nature explorer by joining the last remnant of the shop: The Rock of the Month Club.
I first “met” Mike Barlow of Trailmix.Net in April 2009. It was a year after I started blogging FunOrangeCountyParks.com — and 6 months after Mike and his wife Sara officially launched their online store of kids outdoor gear and educational toys. We immediately connected on our quest to provide outdoor opportunities for our own kids. We interacted on Twitter on and off over the past year.
At some point, I realized their ties to Old Town Sacramento. They became very local-focused promoting local authors and creating cool scavenger hunts and e-books, in addition to keeping up with their blog and social media. I figured out why – they opened a REAL store! In Old Town – right across from the California State Railroad Museum.
When we were looking at our travel itinerary for our Tahoe trip, I figured out we were going through Sacramento. I’ve been to Old Town on a high school field trip and thought it would be fun for the kids. Plus, I could actually meet Mike in real life (IRL). We coordinated on Twitter and ended up in his store bright and early on the 5th of July (that’s me and Mike in the photo above). Well, the store is beyond fun and definitely worth our detour. My daughter immediately made herself at home in the nature art studio where we consulted a “menu” where she “ordered” a flower to paint.
There was also strawberry planting and other choices for all interests. I thought it was a neat touch having a hands-on component to the store with rotating projects to keep it fresh.
The store provides a line of educational products that facilitate interaction with nature, the outdoors, and the sciences. The majority of their products fall into one of these categories:
- Animal Watching With Kids
- Backyard Safari Gear
- Hiking With Kids
- Geocaching With Kids
- Birding With Kids
- Gardening With Kids
- Science Projects
My son bought some excavating projects with his allowance. My daughter chose some gemstones. My husband and I got a book on California State Parks and another on introducing birdwatching to kids.
Mike was on the move the whole time we were there. He knows his inventory and provided tips to teachers, families, and tourists. The highest praise came from my 8 year old son who said: “If I ever get married, I’m taking my kids to that store!” Right after our visit, they wheeled in a cart where you can custom-create your own Happy Trails Trailmix. Darn! That would have been good for the road trip. Oh well, maybe next time.
I’m just happy to make a real life connection with one of the many amazing people I meet through social media. Mike and Sara’s vision began in 2004. I’m glad it’s a reality for their family. Read more about their history and store HERE. Take a virtual tour HERE. They still have their online store, so you don’t have to be in Sacramento to benefit from their products. You can even check out Trailmix.Net on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
This is NOT a sponsored post. Just wanted to share a cool spot created by a nice family.