Turtle Bay Exploration Park
While living in Northern California for 20 years we have never gone and explored Turtle Bay. Sure we walked across the sundial bridge which was nearby but we never entered Turtle Bay itself. I decided to change that horrible fact.
My company had a day off in June and I decided that we were going to utilize this free vacation day to enjoy some of our surroundings. I ordered tickets which were $18 each and we made our way into Redding on this very hot day.
With the Redding summer starting to climb into the 110s, we arrived early so that we weren't dying in the heat. I also worry for Ryton as I don't want him to get dehydrated and overheated in this awful temperature. So we arrived at 8am, got a coffee, and walked around outside first to see all of the animals.
They are doing an art exhibit to feature all of the waste that lands into our oceans. As you walk into the lobby, you will see jellyfish made of plastic bottles hanging from the ceilings. The penguin that you see below is made of all types of objects that was thrown into the ocean. There is even a toilet seat on the base of the sculpture that was pulled out of our waters. This display brings these issues to life and when I go back I will take more pictures of the artwork to show you.
We walked past both a big kids play area which had a zip line that the kids loved, and a small kids area. We passed the Parrot Playhouse as they weren't open just yet and carried on around the trail to see the other animals they have to show.
The caretakers were just putting the animals in their pens in the morning and honestly the staff were the most attentive, talkative, and knowledgeable staff I have met. While we watched them put the animals into their cages, they talked to us about the names of the animals and showcased tricks that they can do. They shared with us some of the facts about the animals, for instance how the raven is one of the smartest birds in the wild however owls are actually not that wise as their large eyes take up most of the room in their skull. The caretakers made us feel welcomed and really elevated the experience for us.
Afterwards we made our way back to the Parrot Playhouse. We paid $1 to feed the parrots and they just began flocking to us for that nectar. Watching their tongues lick the nectar like a dog was incredible. One parrot landed on Ryton's head and I laughed so much as Ryton had no idea what was going on and just had this look of confusion on his face. This was my favorite exhibit and was so interactive.
Afterwards, we went inside to see their 22,000 gallon tank. They had all kinds of fishes as well as other surprises in there. We saw rainbow trout, a duck, and a beaver! I had no idea that a beaver was actually that big. I always imagined them to be smaller but seeing them up close and swimming showed me that I was wrong. Ryton absolutely loved the fish tank. He couldn't take his eyes off of it. I also decided that this would be the perfect place to feed him. So I fed Ryton with this beautiful view in front of me. It was very serene.
Afterwards it was time to go see the animal show. We found a spot in the shade and I took Ryton out of his harness and sat him on my lap. The temperature was now over a hundred and to keep Ryton cool I had a wet cloth that I put on his neck and head. It was important to me to keep him cool and hydrated even while we were in the shade.
The animal show was more than entertaining and informational. It kept the kids attention and even the adults were in awe by what the animals could do. All these animals are not able to wild as they have been disrupted by humans. All these animals had tricks up their sleeve and how they naturally used these tricks in the wild so that they are able to survive. They showed us how a raccoon will use his hands to spin tops off of bottle. How a porcupine, although slow moving, was able to climb down a tree backwards and so much more.
After the show, my mom, Ryton, and I headed to the restaurant near the animal show to cool down and grab some lunch at a place called Mosaic. The food was really good and I definitely would go back for the delicious meal. My mom ordered the garden pizza (I believe) and I ordered the Ahi tuna bowl. It was a perfect end to our day.
Remember if you decide to go to Turtle Bay you also may walk the famous sundial bridge or tour the gardens as well.