The Nut Tree Plaza: A destination or stop along the way

2012 Copyright
Christine Hull,
Windy Pinwheel

The Nut Tree Plaza is a nice pit stop off I-80 in Vacaville, CA for parents and kids alike to play and have fun.

Orange Pinwheel nut tree plazaTraveling to Northern California, my entire life, to visit family was a pretty regular thing. As a child, I remember stopping in Vacaville, CA to visit The Nut Tree and ride the train. At the time, Vacaville was truly a cow town until the Vacaville Premium Outlets were built. Sadly, in the late 1990’s, The Nut Tree closed until it was recently rebuilt as a shopping area. Located right off Interstate 80, The Nut Tree started as a roadside fruit stand and has since grown into a massive complex that includes a small airport.

Recently, my Nana (my grandmother on my mom’s side) and Mom mentioned to me that The Nut Tree had reopened and I knew, on our next trip to the Bay Area, we would need to make a stop; probably more so because of the memories I had as a child myself.

The Nut Tree: Cut Out, 2012 Copyright Christine Hull, Windy Pinwheel nut tree plaza
2012 Copyright
Christine Hull,
Windy Pinwheel
The Nut Tree: Carousel, 2012 Copyright Christine Hull, Windy Pinwheel nut tree plaza
2012 Copyright
Christine Hull,
Windy Pinwheel

I was excited to find the kids area to be so well thought out. I think it’s a brilliant move on the architects of The Nut Tree’s part to mix shopping, a kids fun area, and eating; all in one place.

It’s the new and improved Nut Tree! Keeping some of the classic Nut Tree items, such as the rocking horses, life size giraffe statue, classic train and carousel and adding some new favorites such as a life-sized Checkerboard and Chess set all made for an amazing adventure with the kids. The Nut Tree Kiddie Area also includes mechanical rides that cost a quarter, all just steps away from Fenton’s Famous Ice Cream Parlor and a retail store of the Jelly Belly Factory (view our article about the Jelly Belly factory).

The kids were beyond excited and we even wound up stopping there a second time on our trip. The prices for the rides are affordable and the staff was incredibly friendly, even when the almost two year-old had a two year-old tantrum. We had lunch and ice cream at Fenton’s, which was incredibly yummy.

I highly recommend a stop on your way to the bay next time you find yourself in Nor Cal.

Have you been to The Nut Tree since it was rebuilt? What was your experience? Please share your thoughts. We’d love to hear how your visit was.

Where: Head west on I-80 towards San Francisco. Take the Nut Tree Exit in Vacaville, CA about 3-3.5 hours from Reno

What: Shopping, Food and Fun!

Need to know: The Carousel and Train are $2 per child. Kids under two get the first ride on each for free. For children under 42″ a parent is required to ride with them. Check out their website for more details about price and rules.

Extra Extra: Check out the Vacaville Premium Outlets while you are there, there is a playground for kids just outside the Restoration Hardware Kids Outlet.

Website/Contact Information:

Nut Tree Plaza, Vacaville, CA

  • Price 9
  • Customer Service 10
  • Number of Activities 10
  • Activity Quality 9
  • Photo Opportunities 10
  • Age Appropriate Activities 9
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