Turtle Bay Exploration Park
The heart of Redding beats at Turtle Bay Exploration Park.
The privately owned nonprofit organization is much more than a collection of 35,000 historical artifacts in a museum that draws national touring exhibitions. It’s more than an arboretum featuring the winter season’s biggest hit – the Redding Garden of Lights. It’s more than the home of a four-star Sheraton hotel and Mosaic restaurant.
Connected by the world-renowned Sundial Bridge, the 300-acre Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Arboretum is not just the cultural hub of the North State – it is simply the destination. It’s a fun spring day exploring the museum with the kids. Or a summer evening stroll across the Sundial Bridge. And this year, a winter wonderland lighted with thousands of festival bulbs.
It’s also daily walks along naturally restored riparian habitat as fly fishermen float down the Sacramento River looking to snare a trout or salmon. It’s a gathering place for friends and a “must-see” place to visit when friends and relatives visit.
“We love hearing stories of how a Turtle Bay experience inspired them to pursue a new passion, discover a career or enjoy our natural world a little more,” says David Maung, marketing and public relations manager.
The merger of small, yet culturally significant organizations – The Redding Museum of Art and History, Carter House Natural Science Museum and Redding Arboretum by the River – created the 1997 formation of Alliance of Redding Museums and paved the way for what is now known as Turtle Bay.
That same year, Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp opened, followed by the boardwalk and visitor center and, in 2002, the Turtle Bay Museum. The museum is built on a culturally significant site – the Turtle Bay campus sits at the place where aggregate rock was placed on conveyor belts and shipped 18 miles to build Shasta Dam. The Monolith is a remnant of the dam-building era incorporated into the park.
“We envision Turtle Bay to be a vibrant place where our community is strengthened through education and cultural engagement,” says Maung.
In 2004, the Santiago Calatrava-designed Sundial Bridge opened, providing a link in the expansive Sacramento River trail system, ultimately linking the museum on the river’s south side to the McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens on the north side.
For all the beauty and fun had on the sprawling Redding campus, Turtle Bay Exploration Park is, at its core, a living, learning attraction and history lesson. “As a nonprofit organization that relies on our donors and memberships, we continually strive to deliver our mission to our community through the programs, exhibitions and experiences that we offer,” says Maung. “We want to inspire wonder, exploration and appreciation of our world.”
And keep Redding’s heart beating loud and proud.
Turtle Bay Exploration Park
844 Sundial Bridge Drive, Redding, CA 96003