Turtle bay Exploration park to the rescue
Northern California weather is a bit more unpredictable than the rest of the state. Especially if you have to plan vacation trip couple of month or even couple of weeks in advance you will never know what kind of climate conditions to expect. Thus whenever we travel with our little son we like to have a plan B in case the weather turn out to be sub optimal for nature explorations. I marked Turtle bay Exploration park in Redding as a secondary destination for our trip up North.
We were quite surprised to be welcomed by heavy downpour when we arrived to the unofficial capital of northern California – Redding. It is a small but a welcoming town with pleasant people and bellow hectic life pace. The hotels are relatively inexpensive here, especially if you stay 30 min south in Red Bluff.
Most of the tourists come to this part of the state for two Natural marvels – Mt Shasta and Lassen Volcanic Park. There are many more awesome natural features like – the McCloud falls, lava tube subway cave and the infamous McArthur-Burney Falls.
Clearly, most of the active entertainment is located surrounding the Redding, or so we thought. Clearly we had to stay inside until the rain was over and we completely restructured our schedule placing Turtle Bay Exploration park Museum at the top of the list.
Turtle Bay Museum and Forest Camp
General admission was lower than most of the other California’s museums taping out at $16 / person. Additionally, kids under age of 3 are Free! Check the official museum page for the schedule change, updates and free days information. Here’s the current schedule:
Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm
Saturday – Sunday, 10am-5pm
There are so many exhibits that your feet will barely be able to keep up with your eyes. Dinosaurs, fossils, lizards, live fish, a huge playground and much more awaits young explorers at the Turtle Bay Museum.
Our son spent just half an hour watching the moving fish in aquariums. Fascinated by endless chaotic movement of the ocean creatures and fresh water inhabitants was definitely one of the most impressive exhibits for him.
There are lots of cool displays, aquariums and installations all over the place, you will need at least half a day to explore them all.
Our favorite spot in the whole park was of course the giant playground with cool swings, our son really enjoyed it; and to be honest we got to play around too. It’s so awesome to be a parent and be able to spend time care free of all the adult restrictions.
What else to do at Turtle bay Museum with kids
As a bonus there’s even a bird feeding experience available outside on the Museum’s campus.
Icing on a cake – The sundial bridge. Clearly kids won’t be overly impressed by this architectural feat, however it’s a pretty uncommon decision for a public space and looks pretty impressive from up close as well as far away. The bridge surface is made out of glass, adding to the futuristic feel of the structure.
You should totally add the park to your itinerary while exploring the Northern California with kids. We really enjoyed checking out Mt. Shasta and Lassen National Park. Additionally it was fun to crawl through the subway cave and splash around at the McCloud waterfalls.
We also swung by the Lake Shasta and went on a boat and cave tour. It was fun, but we’d recommend it for wither kids up until age of 1 and then after 5. If you’re a kid less millennial you will also enjoy this spot no less than all the children.
Hiking around lake Siskiyou was also a very memorable experience for us. The short hike provides some of the best views of Mt Shasta and definitely was a great way to get some energy out of our little explorer.
We didn’t make it to the Mc Connell Arboretum & Gardens dues to rain restrictions, however you should totally check out the mini arboretum while in Redding.