Activities

Caper Acres

You'll find this fairy tale playground near the One Mile area in Bidwell Park (behind the baseball diamond).

Your young children will be delighted with the child-size scale of this playground, (adults must be accompanied by a child in order to enter) and by Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall above the sandbox.

They'll giggle as they slide through the Swiss cheese holes and take a drink from a lion's mouth!

Other structures include a crooked house, a medieval fort, swings and slides . . . and the newest addition, the Nico Project, with its mosaic dragon that undulates through an ocean of blue play mat, and its shipwreck play structure! National Public Lands Day | Girl Scout Links 2006

Other things to do in Chico for you to do with your kidlettes:

  • Katherine's Cottage (2201 Pillsbury Rd) - thousands of dolls from antique to modern, plus bears and other toys
  • Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation (Durham, CA) - Visit lions, tigers and leopards located minutes away from Cico at the Barry R.Kirshner Wildlife Foundation. Open 7 days a week by appointment 9:00a.m.-5p.m. 530-345-1700 www.kirshner.org .
  • Funland (2465 Carmichael Dr) - roller skating, batting cages & miniature golf. Check out their website for more information.
  • Shubert's (178 E. 7th St) - family owned & operated ice cream & candy shop since 1938

Chico Art Center

You'll find them housed in Chico's historic railroad depot at W. 5th & Orange Streets.

In addition to fostering & promoting local artists in the visual arts, and offering exhibits and art classes, Chico Art Center sponsors the Open Studios Art Tour during its Artoberfest celebrations in October.

Visit the center , and be sure to stop in at Empire Coffee Car out front - its a refurbished 1947 Pullman railcar and it houses an ever-changing gallery as well as the Empire Tea & Coffee shop, which also has cookies and pastries - a nice respite from a busy day!

More from the Arts:

  • Janet Turner Print Museum (Laxson Auditorium Mezzanine, 1st & Salem) - over 2,000 original prints from the internationally known printmaker
  • Orient & Flume Art Glass (2161 Park Ave), and Satava Art Glass (819 Wall St) - these two internationally recognized glass artists have their studios in Chico

Historic Butte Creek Canyon

Take a drive along Honey Run Road (turn left off the Skyway), and you'll find yourself in a different world altogether. Pastoral and scenic, there's something new around every corner!

Besides the pastoral and scenic drive, the main attractions are the

Honey Run Covered Bridge (stop to explore and maybe have a picnic lunch!); and

Centerville (don't blink - you'll miss it!) with it's historic schoolhouse, cemetery, and beautifully appointed

Colman Museum (Indian artifacts, gold mining artifacts, Civil War relics, and the history and relics of Centerville's founding families).

More things to do in Chico for the history buff:

  • The Stansbury House (307 W. 5th St) - former Victorian home to Dr. Oscar Stansbury & his wife, it's now a museum
  • Bidwell Mansion (525 Esplanade) - former home of John & Annie Bidwell, founders of Chico
  • Chico Museum (Salem & 2nd Streets) - the former Carnegie Library building hosts over 85 exhibits celebrating Chico's past - plus they now manage the Patrick Ranch ; don't miss the Threshing Bee & Antique Equipment Show in June!
  • National YoYo Museum: The largest display of Yo-Yo memorabilia in the nation is right here in Chico. Located inside Bird In Hand (320 Broadway in downtown), the National Yo-Yo Museum is home to the world's largest wood Yo-Yo weighing in at 256 pounds. Plan to be in Chico in early October for the annual National Yo-Yo Contest. The National Yo-Yo Museum is open daily and admission is free. For more information, contact the museum by calling (530) 893-0545 or check out their website: www.nationalyoyo.org.

Bidwell Park - Upper & Lower
(Starts at Pine & Valombrosa)

Bidwell Park, at 3,670 acres and nearly 11 miles in length (with Big Chico Creek running down the middle), is one of the largest municipals parks in the United States.

It's so big, in fact , that it's divided (by Manzanita Avenue) into Lower Park (the more "developed" section) and Upper Park (the "wilder" portion).

Lower Park has roads, trails, picnic areas, playing fields, playgrounds (see Caper Acres, above), the Chico Creek Nature Center, and Sycamore Pond at the One Mile Recreation Area (Sycamore Pond is a unique swimming hole created by Mother Nature, but improved upon by man, who cemented around and under Big Chico Creek - it's the largest in-creek swimming pool in the United States).

But Lower Park also is a get-away-to-nature spot with its opportunities for creekside play and its canopy of trees - stroll, hike, ride a bike or a horse, birdwatch, discover the salmon finding their way upsteam; you'll enjoy the feeling of getting away from it all, even though One Mile is just a few blocks from downtown Chico!

Upper Park - If you like your nature getaways a little more rugged, try Upper Park, to the east of Manzanita & Centennial or Manzanita & Chico Canyon Road (Upper Park Road).

At first you'll see some developed areas (like Five Mile Recreation Area, Horseshoe Lake, & Wildwood Park - there's even a municipal golf course).

But soon you'll start to climb into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to leave civilization behind while you climb Monkey Face Rock or follow the beautiful canyon of Big Chico Creek.

Follow the Yahi Trail (pedestrians only, while the North Rim Trail is for pedestrians, bicyclists, & equestrians) alongside Big Chico Creek and you'll discover the less well-known (read "insider secret" ) attractions of the park: the series of swimming holes along the creek!

You'll come to Alligator Hole first , followed by Bear Hole (some say the spelling should be "Bare" Hole, for the obvious reason), the Diversion Dam (not a swimming hole, but a point of interest), Salmon Hole (usually less busy than Bear Hole), Devil's Kitchen, & Brown's Hole (highest up & the least busy of them all). On a hot summer's day it can be heavenly to take a dip into Big Chico Creek's cold, clear waters!

And, if you're real lucky while in Upper Park, you might get a peek at some of the area's indigineous wildlife - the park shelters mountain lions, several deer herds, raccoons, and even bear! BIDWELL PARK AND PLAYGROUND COMMISSION MINUTES OF JANUARY 28 ...

More things for nature lovers to do in Chico:

  • Have a pleasant walk and do a little birdwatching at the USDA Genetic Resource and Conservation Center (2741 Cramer Ln) - the path is called the Comanche Trail and it meanders along Edgar Slough among exotic species planted long ago
  • Go salmon, steelhead, or shad fishing along the Sacramento River , or float the river in an inner tube or a kayak - Try Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park (River Road) for starters, and enjoy the riverine habitat
  • Take a drive up to Table Mountain at any time of the year for the beautiful scenery, but especially in the Spring when the wildflowers are blooming outrageously!

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

You've surely heard of Sierra Nevada beer! Well, Chico is lucky enough to claim Ken Grossman as one of its own - he started a little brewery back in 1979 using "dairy tanks, a soft-drink bottler, and equipment salvaged from defunct breweries" - today that little brewery is considered one of the best craft breweries in the United States.

The brewery is located at 1075 E. 20th St. Sierra Nevada Brewing is a gorgeous facility of brick, copper, and glass and contains the brewery, a taproom & restaurant, an event room, and a gift shop.

Guided tours are free and offered daily, or you can do a self-guided tour. Then stop in for lunch or dinner and try the beer sampler! You'll be glad you did!! Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Farmer's Market

 
Take advantage of all the wonderful produce grown locally at one of Chico's Farmers Markets. Every Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (rain or shine), you can find venders selling their goods in downtown Chico at 2nd and Wall Street. On Wednesday mornings from June through October, a Farmers Market is held at North Valley Plaza Mall on the corner of East Avenue and Pillsbury Road. For more information on these two markets, contact the Chico Certified Farmers Market , (530) 893-FARM.

The Thursday Night Market, put on by the Downtown Chico Business Association (DCBA), is held weekly from 6:00-9:00 p.m. during the months of April to October. This market is located on Broadway between 2nd and 5th Street and features local produce, arts and crafts and live entertainment. For more information contact the DCBA , (530) 345-6500.

Chico Funland

Are you looking for a clean, safe and fun environment for your family? With mini-golf, batting cages and roller-skating, Chico Funland, home of Cal Skate, may be just what you are looking for.