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When it comes to recreation, Atwater has it all. From things to do and see right down the street to the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite National Park just a short drive away, Atwater offers something for everyone.
The Castle Air Museum, located on the grounds of the former air base, chronicles our nation’s aviation history and pays tribute to the men and women who defended our country. The facility has 47 aircraft on display from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam Era. It includes an indoor museum featuring vintage uniforms, interesting artifacts and other displays. More than 30,000 people visit the museum each year. For more Information: (209) 723-2178.
Also located at the former air base is the Challenger Learning Center. This space-science facility is for children from grade levels three through high school and adults. The curriculum includes math, technology, team building and more with a two-hour space mission in the center’s simulator. Corporate and public programs are also offered, as well as birthday parties, dinner mystery parties and tour groups. for more information: (209) 726-0296.
Aviation Challenge California, also at the former air base, is part of the U.S. Space Camp Foundation. It teaches math, science and the principles of aviation through hands-on, interactive classes featuring flight simulators, land and water survival areas, a 3G centrifuge, ropes courses and more. Weeklong and weekend programs are available. For more information: (209) 726-0156.
Golf enthusiasts will enjoy Atwater’s Rancho Del Rey Golf Club, a semi-private, challenging 18-hole course. For more information: (209) 358-7131.
Atwater’s Parks Division maintains the city’s 10 parks. Each has varying amenities including picnic shelters, playground equipment, tennis courts and sports fields.
Adults and children alike can keep busy year-round in city-sponsored recreation leagues. Activities for adults include dance aerobics, softball, volleyball and men’s basketball. Children enjoy the summer drop-in program, the FIST self-defense and safety program, youth basketball, flag football and girls’ volleyball. For more information: (209) 357-6320.
Merced offers a variety of fun activities. Applegate Park, at 26th and R streets, features a zoo, picnic areas, a rose garden and the Kiddieland Amusement area with a miniature train that meanders through the park. For more information call (209) 385-6855.
The Merced Courthouse Museum at 21st and N streets features historical exhibits of Merced County and the state. Admission is free. For more information call (209) 723-2401.
The Merced Agricultural Museum houses antique farm equipment, gas engines, horse-drawn buggies and a working blacksmith shop. It is located at 4498 E. Highway 140. For more
information call (209) 383-1912.
Atwater is fortunate to have some beautiful outdoor recreation areas within a short drive. Lake Yosemite near Merced offers boating, wind sailing, swimming, canoeing and picnic areas with barbecues and facilities to rent. For more information call (209) 385-7426.
Yosemite National Park is a scenic 90-minute drive from Atwater by taking Highway 99 to Merced and then Highway 140 east. Visitors from all over the world come to see some of the most beautiful natural landscape on earth. The park is most famous for its cascading waterfalls and mammoth rock formations. There is a never-ending list of things to do in Yosemite, including hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, horseback riding, fishing, rafting, skiing, snowshoeing, star-gazing and more. For more information call (209) 372-0200.