I got to visit Merced, California while attending an old friends wedding. They have a great little concession stand with great prices and variety. The people in Merced were so nice there I had to mention them. While in town we visited the Merced County Courthouse Museum. They have cool exhibits and is a great walkthrough of history. If you are traveling down 99 Hwy, you will see the Courthouse (easy to spot as it is the tallest building the city!) and they have a nice little park for the kids.
I have two young children, so I decided to take them to Kiwanis Kiddieland. They had an amazing time, and after going to Kiddieland and the Zoo, I spent a total of $30.00! So if you have kids and are strapped for cash then you must visit. The Zoo was great. You can buy goat feed for 0.25 cents a cup and let the kids feed the goats. The zoo had everything you would expect with one mountain lion, bears, monkeys, bobcats, and a reptile area. It won't be much for the adults but the kids are sure to love the visit and at a price so affordable you will be happy to pay to keep them preoccupied. Overall, I recommend the city of Merced as a great place to take your family.