Shasta County’s First Mini Maker Faire

Trilogy Challenge
During the faire, Trilogy Architecture hosted the “You Shall Not Pasta!” Bridge Building Challenge. Students from Cypress show off their pasta bridges before they are tested.

November 12th was the first Shasta County Mini Maker Faire. With 100+ vendors, over 2000 attendees and countless opportunities to create, this event met all of our expectations and more! Here are some highlights and pictures from the faire.


Turtle Bay’s very own loom gave many makers the opportunity weave yarn to create a textile.

The Shasta County Mini Maker Faire was an opportunity for makers from all over North State and beyond to come together to not only showcase their passion, but to celebrate and inspire creativity, collaboration and hands-on experiences. This event was geared to be family-friendly and we are excited to share that over half of our attendees were under 18! We hope to continue this celebration as our younger community members are inspired by our local makers, educators, parents, and enthusiasts to build, design, innovate, and create.

Set up
Finalizing all the details before the participants arrive!

Although many of the activities provided by our makers are more difficult to recreate than others, we couldn’t help but to give you some ideas and activities you could do at home! Stay connected with the our maker community by following us on Facebook. Happy making!

From the Vault: This Place Matters

Postcard of Downtown Redding in the 1960s.

November 15 was the kick off meeting for the This Place Matters coalition in Redding. Turtle Bay was in attendance and we decided this was the perfect time to launch a new program we have been thinking about for a while. People love maps and aerial and historic photos. We are often asked questions about buildings, businesses, and neighborhoods. Sometimes we know the answer and sometimes we don’t.

Former Shasta High
Part of the Westside in 1936. The former Shasta High School – now Learning Center – is in the center. Unknown photographer.

We have photos of homes that no longer exist, of whole blocks that have been forever altered by redevelopment, and of neighborhoods that bear witness to a developer’s dream realized. Old, new, or somewhere in between, these are the places we live. The places we love. It’s time to put all this information together for easy public access.

Like our Famous Families project, this will be an on-going, additive endeavor. Working with the Shasta Historical Society, the City of Redding Planning Department, and YOU we want to discover and share the stories of the neighborhoods of Redding and the surrounding area. We hope this will grow to encompass other local communities.

Across town
Looking northeast across town. Probably taken in the teens. Note the Lorenz Hotel in the just above and to the right of center. Photo by Chester Mullen.

When we talk about local history, we tend to focus on the oldest possible stuff, which is great, but we don’t want to ignore more recent history. It doesn’t have to be “antique” to be interesting.

Do you have a neighborhood story? We want to hear it! Do you have neighborhood photos to share? We want to borrow them! We will scan your images, give you back your originals with a digital copy, and credit you whenever we use them. Let us know via email:

New subdivision
A new subdivision! Note the flooded conditions. This was probably during the flood of 1940. Shasta Dam made a lot of new neighborhoods, like Lake Redding and the Garden Tract, possible by preventing regular flooding.
Temple Hotel
Tearing down the Temple Hotel for redevelopment. Unknown photographer.


The Vault is always open!

Curatrix Julia

North State Giving Tuesday is almost here!

Did you know we must raise over $1,000,000 each year to keep Turtle Bay operating? We rely on the generosity of our community to keep the Park serving as a safe, educational gathering place for all families in our community. If we charged admission that covered our expenses (without fundraising) admission would be about $40 a person – and that simply won’t do!

So we fundraise! This time of year, we send out holiday mailers. The past few years, we have raised about $10,000 for the park through generous people who mail back checks. These unrestricted funds help us with everything from keeping the lights on to booking exhibitions to feeding the animals!

Redding Bank of CommerceAlso, for the 2nd year, we are participating in the Shasta Regional Community Foundation’s North State Giving Tuesday. We hope whether you love the exhibitions, cultural and science educational programming, animals, gardens or trails, you’ll include Turtle Bay in your selected charities through

United WayNSGT is the best time to support Turtle Bay as Shasta Regional Community Foundation is offering a variety of incentives to deepen the impact of your gift! Shout outs to Redding Bank of Commerce and United Way of Northern California for making these possible!

Donate online on Nov. 29 from 6 am – 6 pm

In appreciation for your donation of $20+ online to Turtle Bay on Giving Tuesday, we have some pretty amazing incentives:

  • Automatic entry into a raffle to win a 1-hour Family Photo Shoot + digital photos by Heather Armstrong Photography in Wildlife Woods with an Animal Ambassador!

A limited-edition Turtle Bay Wonder-Full foil temporary tattoo – the perfect little stocking stuffer! temporary tattoos

  • PLUS, if we hit our goal of $12,000, our President & CEO Mike Warren will be dunked in the dunk tank aka Visible River Aquarium! Watch on Facebook Live or at the Park on Wednesday, Nov. 30 @ 3:30 pm.

Need some motivation? Check out our Facebook page for kids speaking out on why they think the Park is Wonder-Full! We’re looking for more folk to join in on the fun too. Simply capture your friends & family on camera saying why you think the park is Wonder-Full, then upload to our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages with #whyitswonderfull so we can repost!


Thank you to all our members and donors!!



National Family Volunteer Day at Turtle Bay

A young volunteer helping to rake out soil in our Wildflower Meadows.
A young volunteer helping to rake out soil in our Wildflower Meadows.

Our Volunteers are WONDER-FULL and support operations throughout the Park! In 2015, with over 24,955 hours of volunteer service (the equivalent of 12 full-time positions), Volunteers are vital to Turtle Bay!

We had over 300 adult volunteers and 164 teen volunteers dedicate their time and efforts throughout the Park in 2015 through activities such as:

  • Weeding and planting in our McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens that extends over 200 acres.
  • Providing enrichments and maintaining animal habitats in our Wildlife Woods, Mill Building, and River Tank Exhibit reaching over 150 animals here at Turtle Bay.
  • Leading museum tours and providing formal interpretive and education programs to 102,000 guests.
  • Preparing exhibitions and caring for our permanent collection of approximately 35,000 historic and art objects.
  • Assisting with preparing our monthly membership renewal letters to 5,800 member households.
  • Providing reception and supporting our administrative staff
A young volunteer helping to create paper mache balloons for Whisper, our Bobcat.
A young volunteer helping to create paper mache balloons for Whisper, our Bobcat.

Turtle Bay also provides one-time opportunities for community members to contribute their time and energy to benefit the Park, such as National Family Volunteer Day!

Family Volunteer Day is a day of service that celebrates the power of families who work together to support their communities and neighborhoods. Volunteering is a great way for kids and adults to make new friends, develop compassion for their neighbors, and even pick up a new skill or two! Each year, thousands of families use the day to teach children valuable, real-life lessons about compassion and caring.

Whisper, our Bobcat, enjoying a paper mache balloon as an enrichment.
Whisper, our Bobcat, enjoying a paper mache balloon as an enrichment.

National Family Volunteer Day is Saturday, November 19 this year and we have a variety of activities suitable for families of all ages! From Animal Care to Gardening, you and your family can support Turtle Bay and be a part of this national day of service! Arrive at 9am to volunteer for the event and enjoy the remainder of the day at Turtle Bay with free admission for all Volunteers! Other goodies will include a chance to win a Turtle Bay Family Membership and free kids meal coupons to Home Town Buffet for all participating children. Event check in will be in front of the Museum by Domke Plaza, located at 844 Sundial Bridge Drive, adjacent to Sundial Bridge.

Head to for full details for this year’s National Family Volunteer Day and we hope to see you there!

Experiences of a Lifetime

Teen Volunteer GloriaBy Gloria Helmbold

An Animal Care Teen Volunteer

“You look like a chimney sweep,” animal trainer Erin commented with a grin. It was true. I was coated from crown to sole with a titanium powder that looked remarkably similar to soot. Later that day, twigs and leaves, adhered by super sticky spider webbing, would dangle from my soaked shirt and shorts. Even under all this grime, I am ecstatically happy. Why? We’ll get there.

Gloria in the Animal Show
Gloria in the Animal Show

I am an Animal Care Volunteer at Turtle Bay Exploration Park. My main job consists of cleaning up after the animals and educating the public about them. Put that way, it sounds gross and maybe boring. Why do I love it at Turtle Bay? Because they are one of the only facilities that allows teens to regularly come into direct contact with the animals. Sure, I’m cleaning enclosures, but the animals are still inside. While cleaning, I have been less than three feet from an awe-inspiring golden eagle, a burrowing owl and a very friendly skunk. I have handled smooth snakes, flown a barn owl during a real animal show, stroked a badger, hugged a beaver and assisted in the creation of new enclosures.

On the other side of the scale, cleaning exhibits can be rather disgusting. Let’s just say you don’t want to get a whiff of skunk feces or vulture casts. I have prepared animal diets. This task includes the dissection of whole mice and chunks of beef heart. Also, when a fastidious raptor leaves rat skins and mice skulls overnight, guess who gets to pick them up? Often dishes will reek of warm blood and guts. Sometimes food (that must be removed by yours truly) gets overrun by ants, or worse, meat bees. Still, all these trials are minor inconveniences in comparison to the wonderful opportunity to interact with the animals at Turtle Bay. I work hard and get dirty, but the rewards are experiences of a lifetime.

Gloria and Cricket
Gloria and Cricket

Remember that day I described? The day I became a “chim-chiminey” sweep? One of my most cherished memories was formed that day. It began like any other Turtle Bay morning–no dark and stormy nights. My brother, Geoffrey, and I arrived at eight o’clock and, after putting away yesterday’s dishes, we walked down to Wildlife Woods to begin the daily cleansing of exhibits. I started on Buzz, a turkey vulture whom we laughingly dub “The Chicken Vulture,” for her inveterate habit of fright. “Oh gross,” I thought as I pulled down feathers, soaked with mouse guts from yesterday’s dinner, out of her mat. Slowly, but moving purposely, I sifted the sand covering her floor. When going over or under her perches I pantomimed scrubbing them so Buzz wouldn’t think I was observing her every move. Later I brought vinegar and a brush in and actually cleaned them, the brush spraying me with tainted chemical. Suddenly, Buzz jumped from her high branch to her platform. I held my breath because her mighty wings would stir up all the tiny feathers and minuscule debris remaining in the enclosure. Sure enough, a powerful breeze reached me, actually blowing my hair about. Finally finished, I backed out of the mew just as Buzz bounded back to her original spot. I dumped my full sifter into the waiting five gallon bucket and headed to the burrowing owl. Swivel is one of most wonderful creatures at Turtle Bay. He is a nine and a half inch fluff-ball with eyes as big as a child’s at Christmas. As I struggle to open the stiff, rattly doors leading to his exhibit he calmly observes me. Compared to Buzz he is a breeze to clean. Once everything is nearly completed he hops down on his stump, less than a foot away. He stares at me then bounces to the floor. As I stand up to leave, he stays. He stays while I attempt to open the door single-handed, a very noisy endeavor and one I failed. He stays while I bend down, even closer to him, to set my tools down. He stays while I eventually win my war with the door and exit. Thanks, Swivel. Next, and last on my list (because, with five volunteers cleaning goes quickly) is another owl. The barn owl screeches as I hike up to his mew. Before being allowed to clean an enclosure by ourselves, the animal trainers teach us about that animal’s peculiarities. Cricket’s is quite curious. He toe-dusts: a motion where he spreads his wings and sticks his head down, a sign of an upset barn owl. However, with this particular bird toe-dusting is a pretend. Our mixed up owl was raised among both humans and owls. He learned the behavior of toe-dusting but not when to use it. With me, he usually bluffs for a minute or two then goes back to sleep. The last thing I do for Cricket is scrub and sift underneath his shelter, and him. While I half-shuffle, half-crawl the last three paces, I hold one hand high above my head in a singularly awkward position. The barn owl is two feet above me. Swiftly finishing, I scoot backwards then stand up and exit from the enclosure. Cleaning complete, with feathers clinging everywhere, dirtied knees and vinegar spotting us, we volunteers respectively walk, skip and run back to the Animal Care kitchen.

Animal Care Superstars
Animal Care Superstars

The next duty is preparing for the twice-daily animal show. The sound system must be turned on, mics checked, stage swept, ice brought, props prepared, animals kenneled, and chant recited. With the audience filing in and “Trashin’ the Camp” blaring from our loud speakers, we joked around, joining the song on the “whoos.” The staff arrived also “whoo whoo-ing.” They took one look around and decided that an animal show didn’t require nine people to run smoothly. Geoffrey, Adrienne, and I were dispatched to work on the new exhibits. Comprised of four huge logs set into a cement square and panels of reinforced steel netting, they’re quite a job to construct. Adrienne, an experienced staff member, set up her ladder and went to work by herself, instructing Geoffrey and me to work together. I scurried up a tall ladder inside the evolving exhibit and Geoffrey did the same on the outside. My job was to stretch the surprisingly stiff mesh to the edge, where Geoffrey would then Zip-tie it to a cable, thereby securing the ceiling until it could be wired to the cable. Throwing all my weight on the herculean mesh, I drew it across the gap. My fingers, intertwined in the holes, were already losing circulation. “Hurry,” I gasped to Geoffrey who was pulling on his side and also attempting to thread a belligerent Zip-tie through the cable and the mesh. “I’m trying,” he muttered, all his attention on the infuriating Zip-tie. By the end of an hour, our hands were striped with black titanium powder from the wire and our arms feel ready to drop out of their sockets. Erin joined us and commented in surprise, “Wow Gloria, you look like a… chimney sweep!” She was entirely correct. My arms were covered in a diamond pattern derived from the mesh weave. My face was smudged all over, additional dust added where I’d brushed hair out of my eyes, or where the extra mesh had tumbled down on top of me. My new khaki shorts were khaki no more. I was filthy. I couldn’t wait to build exhibits again.

Gloria and Timber
Gloria and Timber

Adrienne sent Geoffrey and me into the kitchen to clean up as best we could, requesting us to join her at the museum when presentable. After I blackened several paper towels and a washcloth, Geoffrey and I speed-walked along the sweltering trail to the museum. Taking the steep stairs two at a time in an effort to mimic my brother’s stride, I slipped through the gate into the beaver’s exhibit. Timber’s home is built on a hill with a giant swimming hole that looks into the museum. He shares with fish. Lots of fish. As soon as Adrienne realizes we’re there, she starts Geoffrey demolishing Orb Weaver webs, and sends me inside for a cloth. When I finally locate a yellow micro-fiber rag in the lab, I hurry back out. Adrienne explains why it’s needed, “The glass inside Timber’s den is difficult to see through.” She continues, “Would you mind going in and wiping it clean?” Of course, I agreed. Carefully, lest I slip and swim with the fishes, I navigated the stepping stones. Reaching the entrance to the den I crouched down and peered into its depths. Various sized sticks completely covered the floor. On top of the branches lay a generous amount of straw. On the two foot high ceiling hung twenty to thirty daddy long legs spiders. Now balancing on a small bridge, I eased my upper body inside. Crawling on my elbows and toes and grasping my dust cloth, I reached the glass. For a moment, I paused enjoying the topsy turvy view of the museum. Several guests waved. Lying on my stomach I scrubbed at the dusty glass. Finally, I felt it was as good as it was going to get and I awkwardly backed out, glancing into the aquarium below. I emerged dusty, disheveled, daubed with dirt but triumphant. Straw clung to my front and spider webs dangled off my back. Geoffrey laughed. I laughed. Timber laughed. Okay, maybe not, but still… Suddenly Adrienne handed me some of Timber’s diet. “If you hold it to one side, he will climb in your lap.” Guess what I immediately did? Clumsily, the beaver climbed onto me. He was soaking wet, but I didn’t care. “You can touch him,” Adrienne told me. I stroked his unbelievably soft, nut brown fur. A grin spread across my face as Timber stayed with me without food. I felt his flat tail, marveling at the weird sensation my fingers encountered. Once he climbed down again, Adrienne gave us the remainder of his food. I called him onto me again. I neglected to make sure I was stable and Timber almost toppled me over. While Geoffrey kept Timber’s attention, I clambered to my feet. I was now as wet as Timber himself. Eager for more food, Mr. Beaver stood on his hind feet, supporting himself on us. He scrabbled with gentle paws on our legs to remind us that we held the food. His feet were smooth, like wet earth. Unfortunately, we eventually delivered all his diet to him, saving only one piece to place in his den while we left. I beamed all the way back to the Animal Care kitchen.

Clearly, this day deserves its spot in my memories. That day I hung out with a beaver, I discovered my unlimited capacity for grime, and I helped create new homes for the animals. This wild experience of volunteering at Turtle Bay will remain treasured far beyond my Teen Volunteer years.

Mad Science Lab: Cabbage Chemistry

This experiment may be aimed for children, but if you release your inner mad scientist… we won’t tell!

Red cabbage juice may sound like the newest health fad, but really this liquid has been used in chemistry labs for years… That’s right, chemistry! Chemistry scientists, or chemists, study things that are so incredibly small we can’t see them. They study atoms and molecules. Because these particles are so small, the best way for chemists to study them is testing and observing how they act in certain environments and how they interact with other chemicals, like cabbage juice!

So, why cabbage juice? Red cabbage juice can be used as a pH indicator. When mixed with any liquid, the cabbage juice will change color depending on that liquid’s pH. The pH determines whether a chemical is an acid or a base. Acids have low pH values (1-6) and the molecules donate what we call a hydrogen ion (H+); bases have high pH values (8-14) and the molecules donate a hydroxyl ion (OH-). These ions interact with the cabbage juice and make it change color! When a substance does not have these ions, we call it neutral. For instance, pure water is neutral and has a pH of 7.

Safety First!

Some chemicals are safer than others; we will give you some ideas on safe chemicals to use during this experiment. If you want to explore more we recommend sticking to your kitchen supply; any food grade substance is safe to handle.

Red cabbage stains very easily, make sure you’re wearing clothes that are dark colored or that can be stained.

ALWAYS have an adult present when doing science experiments; not only do adults help you stay safe, they like to learn too!


Test Tubestubes

If you don’t have a set of test tubes and a test tube rack like this one, you can use clear glasses to hold your liquids.

Eyedropper – if you don’t have one you can easily use a straw! To use, submerge the straw into the liquid so that the level inside the straw is how much you’d like to transfer (for this experiment you want to measure 1-2 inches from the bottom of the straw). Then place your finger on top of the straw so that it is airtight. Then place you straw over where you would like to transfer it to and move your finger off the straw.

Red Cabbage – you don’t need a whole head, one cup of shredded cabbage will be plenty

Assorted Liquids –We recommend vinegar, baking soda (mixed with a little bit of water), lemon or lime juice, milk, aspirin (dissolved in some water), dish soap, and whatever else you’d like to test (remember our safety guidelines!).


  1. If your cabbage is not already shredded, have an adult chop it up into smaller pieces.
  2. Put cabbage into a non-aluminum saucepan and add just enough water to cover it.
  3. Bring to boil and boil for 10-15 min.
  4. Pour cabbage juice into a container while straining out the cabbage leaves. Place in fridge until you are ready to test!
  5. Collect the liquids and dissolve any solids you’d like to test. You should use enough of each so that the amount of liquid is about ¾ inch from the bottom and you can see it from the side.
  6. Once you have placed each liquid in their glass or tube, add enough cabbage juice until you can see the color.

What’s going on?

As we talked about earlier, cabbage juice uses color to indicate the pH level of liquids. Blue/Green color appears in substances that have a high pH value. Light/Bright Pink appears in substances with a low pH value. Remember which one is which? Arrange your tubes/glasses so that you make a pH rainbow! What liquids turned the juice pink? Which turned the juice blue or green? Did any leave the juice purple?

Remember: you’re a chemist! Record your data, ask questions, make predictions, and do some research if you’d like.

Make sure to take pictures and share with your friends too!

Don’t forget!

We are taking registrations for both of our single day camps. November 22nd is Up, Up, and Away Camp and December 20th is DIY Science Camp. More information and how to sign up can be found here.

From the Vault: Digging into the Past and Mining the Future for new Exhibitions

While we are known for bringing in exhibitions such as Titanic: The Exhibition, A T-rex Named Sue, and Art of the Brick, or the upcoming Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids from the American Museum of Natural History, much of what we do focuses on our region and happens in collaboration with local organizations and people.

Hauling Hay
Photo by Chester Mullen

Right now, we are creating Rooted in this Land: Growing Food in Shasta County. This exhibition bubbled to the surface while we were discussing Shasta County’s first post-European-contact industries. Trappers came through the area, but they did not settle and start communities. The mining and timber industries were both vitally important to our early and on-going local economy, but they did not come first. That honor goes to ranching and farming.

Euro-American settlers, such as Shasta County’s first non-native resident, P.B. Reading, came here to settle on the land and to use that land to produce food. The property the Museum sits on was part of Reading’s original land grant.

This land use was at odds with the Native American tribes who already lived here and it has permanently altered the landscape and environment in unanticipated ways. It has also provided food to millions and livelihoods to many thousands of people, some of them in multi-generational family businesses.

Drying Prunes
Photo by Chester Mullen

From historic cattle drives to modern Internet auctions and from sun-dried prunes and walnuts to organic wild rice and strawberries, things have changed over the years, but agriculture is still a big business in our region and it is part of our culture. So help us celebrate it!

Farm Equipment for Sale
Photo by Chester Mullen

The exhibition will run from January 21 – April 30, 2017. If you have an idea or a local story you want to share or equipment to display, please email me ( or give us a call at 530-242-3191. The sooner the better!


The Vault is Always Open!

The Curatrix

Grazing Cattle
Photo by Chester Mullen