Sprawling across 300 acres, Turtle Bay Exploration Park has all the space it needs to showcase Northern California's ecosystems as well as the history of its people. Located in Redding, which was named one of the top affordable summer driving destinations by CBS News, this celebration of nature, anthropology, and art starts in the McConnell Arboretum. Its gardens use 200 acres to form a living map of the five major Mediterranean climate zones: Chile, South Africa, Australia, the Mediterranean basin, and California. In addition to providing picturesque views, these gardens use water-wise methods to emphasize the importance of sustainability. * Paul Bunyan?s Forest Camp displays artifacts and photographs from early lumber camps while also teaching visitors about the local birds and reptiles that continue to thrive in the nearby forests. * The Turtle Bay Museum helps visitors explore the region's animal life or general scientific topics through rotating exhibits along with a 22,000 square foot aquarium. * The Sundial Bridge features sweeping, 217-foot pylon that supports the bridge's elegant design while minimizing its environmental impact on the river below. * Buster Simpson's The Monolith is an installation built inside the ruins of the Kutras Aggregate Plant, which provided the gravel used to create the concrete for Shasta Dam.
Bald eagles soar through the air, trout and bass dart beneath tranquil waves, and fresh mountain water pours into three different lakes: Trinity, Shasta, and Lewiston. Across these landscapes, visitors can embrace the great outdoors at Shasta Recreation Company’s campgrounds and semipermanent yurts. After making camp, visitors can hit the hiking trails that wind through the towering pine trees and along the shore—where each of the three lakes sets the stage for aquatic activities. In the hands of guests, fishing lines plunge into Shasta Lake in search of bass; boats churn up water along Trinity Lake's 145 miles of tree-lined shoreline; and canoes transport paddlers across Lewiston Lake's placid waters.
Vintner's Cellar puts just as much effort into its art and entertainment as it does into its robust wine selection. International and local wines are paired with bistro-inspired fare, including platters arranged with cured meats and gourmet cheeses. Each month, the bar features wines from a different winery during events such as tastings, wine dinners, and winemaker meet-and-greets with trivia. Meanwhile, rotating art exhibits display photographs and paintings on the wine bar's walls. Music comes from guest musicians and other live performers?and from a baby grand piano that tinkles away without a player as long as no one is looking directly at it.
Shasta Glide 'n Ride's tour guides time their running commentary, broadcast through headsets, to the whir of Segway wheels propelling patrons through scenic stretches of the paved Sacramento River Trail. First, riders hone Segway skills during a brief session that includes hands-on training, an instructional video, and tips on how to garner the best mechanical performance by impersonating a mother robot. With new Segway knowledge in hand, tours embark from the parking lot at Turtle Bay Exploration Park. Roadsters obediently bend to their riders’ whims as they zoom across the nearby Sundial Bridge and through sunning flocks of wildlife to the tune of tales about the Gold Rush and Old West. Available cooling vests enable comfortable treks, even on days with 100-degree temperatures or hot-cocoa downpours, and modern technology allows Segways to slice through fog or light rain. Patrons can also design their own tours atop rental bikes and pedal through local flora and fauna for hours at a time.
NorCal Trail Rides’ wise guides lead horseback explorers of all skill levels on safe and comfortable excursions through the Northern California countryside. Before embarking on 60-minute trail rides, guides supply riders with the tack, helmets, and water necessary for the trip, and then pair them up with one of the stable's horses. The group then sets out for a relaxing jaunt by the Sacramento River, where they can feast their eyes on local wildlife while gulping down local fresh air. NorCal Trail Rides leads excursions every day of the year, but potential rein operators should call ahead for a reservation, as times can change depending on the season and forecasts for bad weather or alien invasion.