Explore Unique Art & Wine at Paradise Ridge in Santa Rosa, CA

When I first ventured into Santa Rosa, California, I was expecting the usual wine country experience. But boy, was I in for a surprise! This charming city, nestled in Sonoma County, is brimming with unique activities that go beyond your typical vineyard tour.

Explore the Charles M. Schulz Museum

When I first added Santa Rosa to my itinerary, I never imagined stumbling upon a treasure trove dedicated to one of the world’s most beloved comic strips. However, the Charles M. Schulz Museum proved to be an unexpected highlight of my journey.

Walking through the doors, I instantly felt a rush of nostalgia. Everywhere I looked, there were traces of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang. It’s not just a trip down memory lane; it’s a deep dive into the world created by Schulz himself. The museum houses the largest collection of Peanuts artwork in the world, offering a fascinating glimpse into the creative process of the comic strip that has captured hearts for decades.

One of the most captivating exhibits I encountered was the recreation of Schulz’s studio. It’s set up exactly as he left it, giving visitors a rare peek into the workspace of a comic legend. I could almost picture him there, sketching the next adventures of his beloved characters.

The museum isn’t just for die-hard Peanuts fans. It’s designed to be engaging for visitors of all ages and interests. There are interactive exhibits that not only entertain but also educate on the art of cartooning. Here are a few highlights:

  • Morphing Snoopy: An exhibit that shows the evolution of Snoopy’s character over the years.
  • Peanuts Tile Mural: A stunning piece made of 3,588 Peanuts comic strip images.
  • Outdoor Sculpture Garden: Features whimsical sculptures of the Peanuts characters.

Moreover, the museum plays host to various temporary exhibitions and educational programs. These events offer deeper insights into Schulz’s work and the impact of Peanuts on culture and art.

For anyone planning a visit, it’s worth noting that the museum also has a research center. It’s a goldmine for scholars, students, and anyone keen on learning more about Schulz’s work and legacy. Plus, the on-site gift shop is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir to remind you of your visit.

Discover the Beauty of Safari West

After my unexpected journey into the world of Peanuts at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, my adventure in Santa Rosa took an even wilder turn. I stumbled upon Safari West, often hailed as the “Sonoma Serengeti,” and I couldn’t believe I was still in California. This 400-acre wildlife preserve brought the essence of an African safari to the rolling hills of wine country.

As I ventured into Safari West, I was greeted by the sound of a distant lion’s roar and the sight of giraffes gracefully striding across the horizon. It felt like stepping into another world, one where the wild wonders of Africa meet the tranquil beauty of Northern California.

Safari West offers a variety of experiences that allow visitors to get up close and personal with over 900 animals from over 90 unique species. I opted for the Safari Tour, a three-hour guided adventure in an open-air vehicle that offered incredible encounters with animals like zebras, rhinos, and antelopes. Witnessing these magnificent creatures roam freely in large, naturalistic habitats was an experience I’ll never forget.

But Safari West isn’t just about observing animals; it’s about conservation and education. Every guide shares in-depth knowledge about the animals and the importance of preserving their natural habitats. It was enlightening to learn about the conservation efforts and how every visit contributes to the wellbeing of these animals.

For those looking for an even more immersive experience, Safari West also offers overnight stays in tent cabins that mirror the safari tents found in the heart of Africa. Falling asleep to the sounds of wildlife and waking up to a chorus of exotic birds was a highlight of my stay. It brought a sense of adventure and connection to nature that’s hard to come by.

The preserve also has dining options that provide a taste of Africa with a Californian twist. Enjoying a meal while surrounded by such stunning landscapes and the gentle sounds of nature was yet another piece of the Safari West puzzle that made the experience truly unforgettable.

Between the educational tours, thrilling wildlife encounters, and the chance to sleep amongst the animals, Safari West offers a unique blend of adventure and learning. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the thrill of an African safari without leaving the heart of California wine country.

Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride Over Wine Country

After my incredible experience at Safari West, I was thirsty for more of Santa Rosa’s unique adventures. That’s when I decided to take to the skies with a hot air balloon ride over wine country. It’s not every day you get to float peacefully over rolling vineyards and stunning landscapes, but in Santa Rosa, it’s an unforgettable adventure that’s just a booking away.

Waking up before dawn might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but believe me, it’s more than worth it for this experience. The ground crew and pilot were incredibly welcoming and professional, ensuring safety protocols were thoroughly explained. As the balloon filled and rose, so did my excitement. Standing in the basket, waiting for lift-off, I felt a mix of anticipation and awe.

The view from above was nothing short of breathtaking. Watching the sunrise bathe the vineyards in golden light while floating silently above them was a moment of pure magic. The valleys glowed, and the distant mountains framed the scene perfectly. From this vantage point, I could see how the vineyards quilted the land, each patch a different shade of green, brown, and gold. It was a photographer’s dream come true.

Flying over wine country isn’t just about the views, though; it’s also an educational journey. Our pilot pointed out notable wineries and landmarks, sharing bits of history and viticulture along the way. I learned that the unique climate and topography of the region make it ideal for producing world-class wines, something I’d only vaguely appreciated before seeing it from above.

Balloon flights typically last around an hour, which seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. Upon landing, there was a sense of camaraderie among us passengers, having shared such a serene and beautiful experience. The tradition of toasting with a glass of local wine or champagne after landing added a delightful closure to the morning’s adventure.

Not only did I walk away with incredible memories and photos, but I also had a newfound appreciation for Santa Rosa’s landscape and its wine-producing prowess. Floating over the area offered a perspective that’s impossible to gain from the ground. It was a reminder of the beauty and complexity of the region, and why it’s become a beloved destination for wine enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

Shop and Dine at the Lively Historic Railroad Square

Stepping into Historic Railroad Square in Santa Rosa feels like stepping back in time – and not just because of the charming early 20th-century architecture. This area is a bustling hub where history meets modern-day boutique shopping and gourmet dining. I found myself completely enveloped in its unique character and vibrant atmosphere.

One of the first things that caught my eye was the variety of shops. From antique stores brimming with nostalgia to chic boutiques offering the latest fashion, Railroad Square has it all. I couldn’t resist popping into a few shops, each more enticing than the last. The shop owners were incredibly friendly and passionate about their offerings, making the experience all the more personal and memorable.

Dining in Railroad Square is an adventure in itself. The range of options is impressive, with everything from cozy cafes to fine dining establishments. I decided to try one of the locally-owned restaurants that boast a farm-to-table menu. The meal was exquisite, highlighting the fresh, flavorful produce of Sonoma County. I also took notice of the vibrant outdoor dining scenes, where locals and visitors alike gather to enjoy good food and the warm California sun.

Adding to the charm of the area are the special events that take place throughout the year. From seasonal festivals to farmers’ markets, there’s always something happening. These events showcase the community spirit of Santa Rosa and provide a wonderful opportunity for visitors to mingle with locals.

For those just as interested in the history as I am, you’ll find that Railroad Square has a rich past, closely tied to the rail line that once connected Santa Rosa to San Francisco. Historical markers and preserved buildings offer a glimpse into the area’s significance during the early 1900s. Taking a moment to learn about this history made my visit even more fulfilling.

As I wandered through the streets of Railroad Square, I felt a strong sense of community and a connection to both the past and present of Santa Rosa. Each storefront, each restaurant, and even the cobblestone pathways tell a story. It’s a place where one can easily spend a whole day exploring, dining, and simply soaking in the lively yet laid-back atmosphere that defines this charming corner of Santa Rosa.

  • Don’t miss out on the artisan coffee shops.
  • If you’re a fan of antiques, allocate plenty of time to explore the various stores.

Immerse Yourself in Art at the Paradise Ridge Winery Sculpture Garden

One place that captured my heart and imagination in Santa Rosa was the Paradise Ridge Winery Sculpture Garden. Nestled atop rolling hills, this hidden gem offers more than just exquisite wines; it’s a cultural haven that marries the beauty of art with the splendor of nature. Surrounded by panoramic views of vineyards, I found myself wandering among a diverse collection of sculptures, each telling its own unique story.

The garden exhibits works from local and international artists, making it a vibrant hub for art enthusiasts and those curious about the creative process. I was fascinated to learn that the exhibits rotate annually, ensuring that repeat visitors always have something new to discover. The sculptures, ranging from abstract to representational, are thoughtfully placed throughout the landscape, creating an interactive experience that invites reflection and introspection.

Walking through the sculpture garden, I couldn’t help but appreciate the way the art pieces contrasted with and complemented the natural beauty of the setting. One moment, I was observing a whimsical figurine poised delicately among the wildflowers, and the next, I was standing before a grand, imposing structure that seemed to command the surrounding space. The diversity of materials and themes meant that there was always something unexpected around the corner.

For those interested in learning more about the art and the artists, the winery offers guided tours. I opted for a self-guided stroll, however, preferring to let my curiosity lead the way. I noticed plaques near each sculpture providing insights into the artist’s vision and the piece’s backstory, which added depth to my experience.

Besides the art, the winery itself is worthy of note. I indulged in a wine tasting session, savoring the bold flavors of their estate-grown wines. The staff were incredibly knowledgeable, sharing stories about the winery’s history and the winemaking process that enhanced my appreciation for the craft.


I’ve always believed that the best travel experiences are those that offer something unique and unforgettable. That’s exactly what you’ll find at the Paradise Ridge Winery Sculpture Garden in Santa Rosa. It’s not just about admiring art or savoring fine wine; it’s about engaging with culture in a setting that harmonizes with nature. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a wine enthusiast, or simply someone in search of a serene escape, this place promises an enriching experience. So next time you’re in Santa Rosa, make sure to carve out some time for this cultural gem. Trust me, it’s an adventure that’ll stay with you long after you’ve returned home.

+ posts

Ben Rutstein is the publisher of this website, he started traveling to northern California in 2014, and the Santa Rosa is one of his favorite places to visit, from that time onwards he has explored everything from visiting cafes to yoga in parks, local hikes.

He is known to drop everything at a moments notice for a visit to a winery or a visit to a park.

Scroll to Top