Visit Redding, California
Visit Redding, California
A bike ride across the Sundial Bridge in Redding, Ca
Two people hiking next to a lake at Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Kayaking and paddleboarding at Shasta Lake
Middle McCloud Falls
Kyle Sheppard
A family at Lake Shasta Caverns National Natural Landmark in Redding, CA.

9 Reasons Your Kids Will Love the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Museum

By Redding CVB | 02/05/2020 | Cultural District, Downtown Attractions, Family Friendly , Parks & Gardens, Things to See and Do, Top-Sights

If you’re looking for a place for a family vacation, Redding, California, is a great choice. It’s in one of the most beautiful parts of the state, surrounded by mountains, lakes, and forests. The Sacramento River runs through town, and there is a wide variety of options for hiking, biking, paddling, boating, and sight-seeing for family members of all ages. You can even find outdoor adventure just steps away from downtown Redding at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park.

This sprawling indoor and outdoor park is home to a natural history and science museum, botanical gardens, live animal exhibits, butterfly gardens, and walking trails. Young kids will find playgrounds and interactive exhibits, and older kids will love the miles of trails to explore.

Families enter the park via the parking area by the world-famous Sundial Bridge. It’s worth letting the kids stretch their legs on this bridge first; it’s pedestrian-only and visually appealing with a tinted glass floor and sundial feature. Afterward, head to the Turtle Bay park entrance and explore the indoor exhibits. Here are nine things to do at this impressive Redding park that will ensure your kids will have the time of their lives.

Read More

1. Enjoy Educational Events and Opportunities

Not only is the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Museum fun, but it’s filled with educational opportunities, from guided walks to onsite demonstrations. Take advantage of these experiences by looking over the events calendar before you arrive. Remember, Turtle Bay’s lectures and events are not just for kids—lectures on hawks and other birds of prey and demonstrations on local art and culture of the region’s indigenous people are just examples of presentations that are fascinating for adults as well.

Read More

2. Explore the River Aquarium

Turtle Bay Exploration Park

Get to know the freshwater species of the Shasta Cascade region—while still staying dry—at the Visible River Aquarium. Explore on your own or take advantage of the interpretive programs that teach visitors about water ecosystems. See fish and beaver feedings, learn more about turtles, and get to know what’s going on below the surface of the Sacramento River. There’s a saltwater tank, too, for seeing marine life from the Pacific.

Explore More Family-Friend Activities in Redding>>

Read More

3. Get Active at Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp Playground

Do the kids need to burn off some energy? Head to the playground at Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp for some outdoor fun. Turtle Bay Exploration Park

Museums are great, but sometimes the kids just want to play. Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp is modeled on the forest camps that were common in the region more than a hundred years ago. This area of the park offers educational opportunities at the Mill House, a butterfly house, a water feature, animal shows, and playgrounds!

Both Babe’s Corral Playground, for younger kids, and the Forest Adventure Playground, geared toward older children and adults, are a big draw with age-appropriate activities that include swinging nests, super slides, climbing walls, and ziplines. They are a perfect spot for kids to enjoy some unstructured playtime. Also, be sure to take advantage of the wildlife woods hiking trails in this part of the park, and don’t miss the interpretive forest and turtle pond.

Read More

4. Learn About Mining History

Before exploring Redding’s storied mining history with a short trip to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area—where families can access more hiking trails and historic sites—give the kids an introduction to the subject at Turtle Bay’s history gallery. The Shasta Cascade has a long history of mining, fur trapping, and Native American culture, and kids can get a hands-on look here.

Read More

5. See the Parrot Playhouse

Kids can get up close to the birds in the Parrot House—they can even feed them.Don DeBold

Found in Paul Bunyon’s Forest Camp, this year-round, walk-through aviary allows kids to feed the colorful Australian lorikeets as they taste nectar from a cup. Careful…they’ll land on your head in their enthusiasm. While having birds eat right from your hand may be fun for some, it may feel a little overwhelming for others. You can watch from the screened doorways of the Playhouse first, or take in a show at the amphitheater, which still features live birds, just not as close up.

Read More

6. Get a Hands-On Overview of the Shasta Cascade Region

Explore a cave, learn about the local watershed, and create your own dams and eddies with hands-on exhibits that teach about the specific topography of the area. Kids love this section, which pairs well with a later trip outdoors to explore the “real” thing. Walk through the cave in the museum before a trip to Lake Shasta Caverns, and study the watershed before a fun day trip to Lake Shasta.

Read More

7. Spend Time with Reptiles

Photo by Dan Shepler

What kid doesn’t love reptiles? The Mill Building in the Paul Bunyon Forest Camp is the spot to find a wide variety of creatures, including a variety of snakes and lizards. There is also a Rock’n Reptile program where kids can see reptiles up close and learn more about them. Additional interpretive exhibits abound in this building, especially for the younger set.

Read More

8. Explore the Temporary Exhibits

Inside the museum, you’ll always find a variety of exhibits that are interesting to everyone in the family. Turtle Bay Exploration Park

There’s almost always a new and interesting temporary exhibit on display at Turtle Bay, so you can return again and again and get a new experience each time. Past exhibits have included art exhibits, a holiday village, a look at the human genome, an interactive trip to the Mayan Empire, and fashion displays.

Read More

9. See Live Animal Shows

Animal Show at Turtle Bay Exploration Park.
Photo by Dan Shepler

The animal programs at Turtle Bay are grounded in conservation and education—their inhabitants are non-releasable and rescued. You can see local species here in addition to many North American animals seldom seen in the wild by most people. During the winter months, be sure to catch the Survival Indoor Animal Show, and learn how wild critters survive harsh winters, protect their young, and find food. You can catch the same show in the summer, but it’s outdoors, under a shaded pavilion.
There are a variety of other live animal shows as well. Join a porcupine or skunk in a walk around the park, learn about turtles and other aquatic animals, or find out if/how the animals at the park are related to your pets at home!

Read More

If you liked this article, then you may enjoy reading:

Written by Amy Whitley in partnership with Redding CVB.

Read More
7 Reasons Redding is the Perfect Place for your Mini-moon
By the time wedding bells ring, you’ve spent months planning your big day—finding the right cake, figuring out invitations, hiring a photographer, and on it goes. Even if you can’t celebrate with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to some far-flung destination, you…
Why Redding is the Perfect Spot for Adventurous Couples
Redding’s the heart of Northern California and one of the Golden State’s premier launchpads for adventure. For outdoors-loving couples, there’s no better place for a getaway—especially given you can combine all that outdoor exploration and thrill-seeking with fantastic accommodations, great…
The Best 5 Fishing Spots Around Redding
Anglers from all over the world have long been drawn to the streams, creeks, and rivers around Redding—and for good reason; the fish bite all year long. It’s so popular, Forbes listed Redding as a “Top 10 Trout Fishing Town…
An Insider's Guide to Mt. Shasta Ski Park
Since 1985, Mt. Shasta Ski Park has distinguished itself with more of a local feel, bypassing the gaudy corporate features at nearby resorts for a more comfortable, down-home vibe that caters to skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. In all,…
The Joys of Snowshoeing the Lassen Volcanoes
The roughly 106,000-acre Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of Northern California’s geological masterpieces and it’s also one of the great winter playgrounds in Redding’s big backyard. This gorgeous highland realm at the far south end of the Cascade Range—just…
How to Have a Perfect Girls Weekend in Redding, California
There are times in life when all you need is a quiet (or maybe rambunctious) weekend away with the girls. There’s no better place for these get-togethers than one that puts outdoor adventure, shopping, arts and culture, and wining and…
6 Places to Catch a Stunning Sunset in Redding, CA
Greater Redding’s spectacular setting—this Northern California crossroads of the Cascades, the Klamaths, the Coast Ranges, the Central Valley, and the Great Basin—looks mighty good in any light, but it’s hard to beat the painted splendor of sunset. Golden sheen over…
Best Waterfall Hikes in Redding, CA During the Shoulder Season
Every spring, snowmelt trickles off the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges, flows through gorges and canyons formed by volcanic rock, and powers its way through towering forests. Where does it end up? In part, it makes up the nearly…
10 Reasons To Enjoy Redding, According to the Locals
When you want to explore the outdoor beauty of Northern California, Redding is the place to go. The town serves as the perfect base camp for adventure, as it’s surrounded by mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests. You’ll find state and…
5 Hiking Adventures With Rewarding Views In and Around Redding, CA
The entire state of California is covered in some of the best hiking in the world, though the northern part is particularly blessed with incredible hiking trails. Redding is a hot spot for adventurers all over the world, due to…
An Insider's Guide to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
This spot is perfect for anyone who loves to be on or in water: anglers, paddlers, swimmers, water skiers, and sailors.
Road Trips Worth Taking From Redding to Fit Any Schedule
Horizons are meant to be chased. Lucky for you, the UpStateCA wilderness offers a variety of sight lines to keep you entertained for that windshield time. Volcanoes, mountain peaks, crystal clear alpine lakes, multiple national forests, wildflowers and sweeping meadows…
9 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Redding This Spring
Redding is perfectly situated in the middle of a nature-enthusiast mecca. The largest city in the Shasta Cascade region – known as UpState CA – surrounded by mountains, natural wonders with majestic waterfalls, scenic lakes and rivers, volcanic activity and…
7 Ways to Discover the Fascinating History of Redding, CA
A trip to Redding, California, means that you’re going to be surrounded by forested mountains, gorgeous valleys, and scenic lakes. But in addition to the physical beauty of the region, you’ll also find a rich history of the people who’ve…
March 2020 Events In Redding You Can't Miss
Planning a trip to Redding and looking for events, festivals, concerts and things to do in March in 2020? The weather is turning nice, early spring blooms are beginning and there isn't a better time to visit Redding for a…
Going Underground in Redding: An Insider's Guide
Sitting at the southern edge of the Cascade Range, Redding, California, has long been a literal hotbed for volcanic activity. Mt. Shasta lords over the horizon, Lassen Volcanic National Park sits an hour’s drive east, and millions of years of…
7 Accessible Hikes in Redding, CA That Can Be Enjoyed By All Levels
Redding sits in—and is surrounded by—no shortage of natural beauty. No matter your level of hiking ability, you can find accessible trails throughout the region that make it easy to see those sights without a demanding, heart-pumping trek.
9 Reasons Your Kids Will Love the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Museum
From animal shows and playgrounds to butterflies and birds this recreation area will keep your kids entertained for hours.
An Empty Nester Guide to a Great Weekend in Redding
Family vacations don’t have to end when the kids leave home. With pleasant weather all year long, a busy calendar full of arts and culture events, and no shortage of outdoor adventure, Redding, California, is a great spot for an…
A Fly Fishing Guide to Redding, CA
Situated along the Sacramento River and surrounded by mountains on three sides, Redding has fishing opportunities for multiple species in nearly every direction, and it has a fly-fishing and outdoor culture that makes the end of the day that much…

Contact Us Website Developed by Drozian Webworks