Giant Forest Museum
The Giant Forest Museum (559/565-4480, 16 miles from the Hwy. 198 entrance) perches on the side of the Generals Highway. Inside this fun interactive museum, you’ll learn everything you ever wanted or needed to know about giant sequoia trees, which grow only here in the Sierra Nevada range. Kids and adults alike love the touchable, spinnable exhibits that provide context to the stated sizes of the trees.
This newer museum goes into great detail about the importance of fire in the life of a giant sequoia (and other plants and trees that grow in the same areas). Ironically, a commitment to stamping out all forest fires, even those caused naturally by lightning strikes, severely endangered the giant sequoias, which rely on fire to create the right habitat for their growth and reproduction.
You’ll also learn about how the park used to look, and why many of the buildings have been removed to make way for more trees. This is a great stop for families whose kids need a rest from hiking and long intervals in the car.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition