Summer Fun in the North State with the Kiddos
By Kimberly Boney
Photo by Bret Christensen
Summertime: the season of long, lazy days, balmy nights, endless opportunities for fun – and, perhaps, a time of restlessness for children with too much time on their hands. Don’t pull your hair out just yet, Mom and Dad. These summer adventures are sure to cure boredom, bring smiles and create happy memories. How many adventures can you sneak in before that school bell rings in August?
TURTLE BAY EXPLORATION PARK: Home to the increasingly popular and ever-beautiful Sundial Bridge in Redding, Turtle Bay Exploration Park (turtlebay.org) also boasts stunning botanical gardens, a children’s play area, miles of walking trails, exciting rotating exhibits, a natural history museum, animal programs, Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp, a café and a museum store. Score a family pass and find something new to do at Turtle Bay with each visit.
KID’S KINGDOM & FANTASY FOUNTAIN: Imagine a joyful, adventure-filled, tree-lined haven that could entertain your wee ones for hours at no cost to you. Kid’s Kingdom, nestled in Enterprise Park in Redding, offers picnic benches and a huge wooden fort, complete with swings, slides, nooks, crannies and even a wobbly walking bridge. Bring swimsuits and water shoes and enjoy a splashing good time in the adjacent Fantasy Fountain, where laughter abounds. Visit reddingrecreation.org for more information.
REDDING AQUATIC CENTER: There is plenty of heat to contend with in the North State during the summer. Keep cool with a visit to the Redding Aquatic Center for swimming lessons for children of all ages (group or private lessons available), open swimming sessions and age-appropriate summer adventure camps. For schedules and fees, visit reddingrecreation.org.
SERENDIPITY FARMS: Few things are better than enjoying delicious fresh fruit on a hot summer’s day – except the joy of picking it yourself from a local farm. Serendipity Farms in Anderson boasts delicious, pesticide-free fruit and a warm reception from the owner. With fresh seasonal offerings including peaches, blueberries, plums and nectarines, the whole family can leave with full bellies and smiles on their fruit-stained faces. Call (530) 949-5985 for more information.
LAKE SHASTA CAVERNS: Take a rockin’ adventure to Lake Shasta Caverns (lakeshastacaverns.com) in Lakehead and feast your eyes on remarkable rock formations that have been eons in the making. The guided tour includes a boat ride across Shasta Lake on a catamaran, a scenic bus ride and an hour-long guided tour through the caverns.
PATRICK’S POINT: Take a trip to Patrick’s Point in Trinidad and treat your family to picturesque views, miles of good-for-the-bodyand- soul hiking trails, fascinating tide pools, unforgettable sunsets and the chance to admire some wildlife along the way. Home to gray whales (seasonally), sea lions, birds and more, your little adventurers will be more than enchanted by the wildlife. Agate Beach is the happy place of rock lovers big and small. With a visit to Sumêg Village, where the traditional Yurok lifestyle is recreated in the form of houses, common buildings and a Native American Plant Garden, visitors can add culture to the list of things to enjoy at this local treasure. Call (707) 677-3570 for more information.
ALL FIRED UP: Check out All Fired Up in Chico (chicoallfiredup.org) or in Redding (reddingallfiredup.com) for hands-on, creative fun with your kiddos this summer. Select from their already once-fired pieces of ceramic pottery in varying themes, paint to your heart’s content and they’ll call you once your creation has been immortalized with a second firing. The souvenir you create will be a lifelong reminder of all of the fun you had together creating as a family. No appointment is necessary, but do allow for at least two hours of painting time to create your masterpiece.
BARRY R. KIRSHNER WILDLIFE SANCTUARY AND EDUCATION CENTER: Founded in 1994 by Barry Kirshner, this wildlife sanctuary in Oroville is a loving home to many special needs animals from around the world that have been affected by illness or injury. Virtually every continent is represented here. Take a self-guided tour (no reservation required) or schedule a guided tour featuring an interactive session with the sanctuary’s reptiles. Go to kirshner.org to
plan your family’s visit.
MT. SHASTA CITY PARK: Just one mile north of Downtown Mt. Shasta rests the majestic headwaters of the Sacramento River. Its mesmerizing beauty is second only to the delicious taste of the pure spring water. Bring a few storage bottles and have the kids collect some fresh spring water to bring home. Stop for a jaunt at the playground and enjoy a picnic lunch and a beautiful walk here. Everyone is sure to leave happier and more at peace. For more information, visit msrec.org.
WHISKEYTOWN LAKE: From kayaking adventures and astronomy programs, to historical walking tours and training in fire prevention and wildlife protection, the rangers at Whiskeytown Lake have you and your kiddos covered. Take a moonlit kayak tour, visit the historical Camden House or star gaze with your wee ones. They’ll love becoming “Junior Rangers” and can make it official by picking up their own Junior Ranger Card at the visitor’s center. These fun-filled, free to the public ranger-led tours are offered between June 14 and September 1. For a complete listing of ranger-led tours available at Whiskeytown Lake, visit www.nps.gov/whis/planyourvisit/rangerprograms.htm.