Coming Soon: Chocolate After Dark!

When you think of chocolate, what comes to mind? Most people, when asked that question, think of decadent desserts like chocolate mousse or chocolate cake or brownies – the list of delicious desserts featuring chocolate goes on and on. Chocolate has been a traditional favorite of people the world over for millennia. We presented an entire exhibition talking about everything chocolate in the Museum in 2012 titled: Chocolate: the Exhibition. But does bacon come to mind? How about potato chips? Since 2012, Chocolate After Dark: A Wine and Chocolate Experience has been Turtle Bay’s valentine to all things chocolate – both sweet and savory!

Love chocolate

This year’s Chocolate After Dark will be held on February 2, 2017 in the Turtle Bay Museum. Tickets are on sale now for this 21 and over event and can be purchased online or at the Museum for $35 each. This wine and chocolate tasting event is a fundraiser for Turtle Bay and features local restaurants and area wineries providing tastes of wine, adult beverages and sweet and savory chocolate items for our guests to enjoy. Thanks to Win-River Resort and Casino and Anderson’s Fine Jewelry, we are also featuring a raffle during the evening with two prizes: a stocked wine refrigerator and a 14kt gold and sterling silver diamond bracelet. Tickets for the raffle will be on sale during the evening and you must be present to win.

Win-River raffleIn previous years, Chocolate After Dark has offered tastes highlighting exotic combinations such as chocolate-dipped prawns with oven toasted coconut on a coconut infused white chocolate sauce, or slow roasted pork tenderloin – with a cocoa powder rub served with a red wine chocolate demi-glace along with a toasted crostini or even bacon wrapped sea scallops – with a white chocolate vanilla dipping sauce. This year’s chefs are still finalizing their tasty menus.

This year’s Chocolate After Dark will feature both sweet and savory tastes from some of Redding’s favorite restaurants and chocolatiers: Clearie’s Restaurant & Lounge, View 202, Cicada Cantina, Premiere Catering, Market Street Steakhouse, From the Hearth, Chocolat de Nanette and Sweetspot. Each will present their own favorite chocolate items for you to enjoy. Paired with wine from Moseley Family Cellars, Dakaro Cellars, Merlo Family Vineyards, Churn Creek Cellars, and Lassen Peak Winery, it’s sure to be an evening your taste buds will never forget. Come join the fun!


Chocolate bacon

Chocolate dipped bacon, anyone?

Purchase your tickets here before they sell out!

Plant-a-Tree Community Planting Day

Raise a hand if you remember the Fountain Fire of 1992? One of the worst fires in our county in recorded history, devastated 100 square miles of land and claimed over 300 homes forty miles east of Redding.

In response, the Forest Council of Turtle Bay started the Plant-a-Tree program to help reforest an area lost adjacent to the Hillcrest Rest Area on Hwy 299. The first trees were purchased in 1997 and were planted at that location through 2008, when the site was fully planted out. Smaller sites were planted between 2006-2008 as well, including at the Knighton Road/I5 interchange and in the Turtle Bay Arboretum Savannah.

In 2008, Turtle Bay joined forces with the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District to select new sites, meeting scientific criteria as areas of high need for rehabilitation. The first site was the historic Phillip Brothers Mill near Oak Run, California. Known as “America’s Last Steam Mill”, this special site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Check out their website to learn more about this amazing place… and schedule a tour!

In 2014, the first trees were planted at a new site on public lands – Lower Clear Creek’s China Gardens, Bureau of Land Management land accessed off Hwy. 273 southwest of Redding. This area was damaged by gold and aggregate mining and Whiskeytown Dam and is now part of a comprehensive plan to improve the riparian and floodplain habitat through restoration, ultimately aimed at improving the salmon population. For more on this area, check out this half-hour movie “From Devastation to Restoration – The Rebirth of Lower Clear Creek

People purchase trees through this program for many occasions: weddings, births, holidays… but most trees are in memoriam. In 2014, we were honored to respond to requests to allow loved ones to participate in the plantings with our first Community Planting Day, held Nov. xx. Due to the drought in 2015, we were unable to plant, however, after a better year, we are pleased to offer our second Community Planting Day on Oct. 29 from 10-noon… and YOU are welcome to join us! Trees will be available for purchase on site, or anyone who has purchased or received a tree since Fall 2014 is welcome to join in. WSRCD will provide seedlings, shovels, and instruction.

Photo by Andreas Fuhrmann; Record Searchlight
Photo by Andreas Fuhrmann; Record Searchlight

Interested in checking out the site? It’s a lovely spot for a fall picnic. To get there…

  1. Take Highway 273
  2. Turn onto Clear Creek Road; go approx. 1 mile.
  3. Park at the 1st BLM gate on the left (the gate is yellow)
  4. Walk in and down the road about a quarter mile. You will see the tree tubes to the right.



Many groups have been memorializing their members through the Plant-a-Tree program. Special shout-outs to Redding Newcomers, Redding Elks Traildusters RV Club, Redding Emblem Club #515, Nor-Cal Chapter III Women’s Army Corps Veteran’s Association, Redding Elks Lodge #1073, Shasta County Assessor-Recorder Staff, Redding Rambling A’s, Redding Moose Lodge, Redding League of Women Voters, Doughty-Lewis Chapter for City of Hope, among many others, for their long-time support!



For more information on Plant-a-Tree and the organizations involved, here are some links:

Everything you need to know about 4th of July weekend at Turtle Bay

4th of July at Turtle Bay

How is Turtle Bay rocking out this weekend? By offering discounted admission! July 1-4, guests will have full access to the Park for just $10 for adults and $5 for kids (4-15) and seniors (65+). Members, as always, get in FREE!

But there’s even more: if you’re headed down to the Civic Auditorium for the Freedom Festival on July 4th, come in, cool off, and enjoy the Museum from 5-8pm for just $4 per person (again, Members are free!). Or grab a Freedom Freeze and snacks at the Museum Store and Coffee Bar, which will be open until 8pm, as well, on Monday. (On the flip side: the Botanical Gardens will be closing early at 5pm on July 4.)

Alright, alright, so you’ve made your plans to explore the Park this holiday weekend, what else do you need to know? Parking.

Parking in the Sundial Bridge lot may be limited this weekend, especially on July 4th, so plan accordingly. Overflow parking is available in the Redding Civic Auditorium lot. Cart service may be available for elderly and disabled guests from the Civic Auditorium parking lot to the Sundial Bridge turnaround (9am-5pm July 2-4 ONLY). The McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens parking lot (the one off of N. Market Street) is CLOSED on July 4th for a special event.

Here are some reminders about the Freedom Festival:

  • Freedom Festival live music begin on the Civic lawn at 7:30pm
  • Fireworks begin at 10pm
  • No smoking, alcohol, or dogs allowed at Freedom Festival
  • No fireworks viewing available at Turtle Bay, Botanical Gardens, or Sundial Bridge
  • Sundial Bridge Drive and surrounding parking may be closed to traffic and parking as early as 8pm
  • River Trails may close as early as 8pm
  • Sundial Bridge closes at 9pm


With all the details out of the way, Turtle Bay wishes everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Special events at Turtle Bay

As a nonprofit, Turtle Bay relies on a variety of funding sources to help support our mission. One of the most fun ways to raise money is holding fundraisers, or as we call them: special events. All of the funds raised at our special events go toward supporting the educational programs and exhibitions at Turtle Bay.

Over the years, our special events have covered a wide variety of fun activities for guests of all ages, such as a wine and chocolate tasting, a live and silent auction, a Halloween-themed night of fun for the whole family, a golf tournament, harvest festival, art and craft fair, and more. Some events have stood the test of time and have been held annually for over 30 years, and others have been discontinued as trends come and go. Our newest special event is next week’s Brews by the Bridge. For Brews by the Bridge we’ve gathered together a mix of some of Redding’s favorite breweries, thrown in some live music, delicious food, and a beautiful setting to make what we hope will become an annual favorite. Brews by the Bridge will be held in the McConnell Arboretum’s Quarry Patio on Friday June 24th from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets are available now online and at the Museum.

Golf for Green
Players enjoying a beautiful day on the golf course at Golf for Green 2013

When planning a new special event we take into account a variety of factors: one of the most important being what I like to call the “fun factor.” Does this sound like fun? Will it encourage a wide variety of people to attend? Will it appeal to individuals who aren’t members and might not visit our campus otherwise? As the Special Event Coordinator, these are the questions I ask every time we begin planning a new event. Other important factors to consider are manpower issues and cost. How much people-power is needed to hold the event? Are there partners who could help make it possible? And most importantly, can the event be held with a minimum of expense? The special event volunteers who work with me on our annual live and silent auction – Jeans, Jewels & Jazz — like to refer to me as the “budget police” because my first thoughts for any new idea are always “how much will this cost?” No matter what type of event, we aim to be good stewards of our resources!

Members of Turtle Bay’s staff at Spooktoberfest

Another factor to consider is the space where the event will be held. By its very size, the venue for any event will dictate the number of patrons who can attend. Our Museum, the site of our annual event Chocolate After Dark, a wine and chocolate tasting, can accommodate a maximum of 500 people. When you add up the number of people working to serve the wine and food to the guests, the number of total guests that can attend is reduced to 450 people. For an event like Spooktoberfest, our annual Halloween-themed outdoor event held last year in the McConnell Arboretum, we hosted over 950 people with room for more.

Guests at Auction 2015 Jeans, Jewels & Jazz: Under the Bigtop

The “feel” of the event is also important. Is this a casual event or something a little more glamorous? In other words, do you need to get dressed up or can you just wear your shorts and a tee shirt? It may sound a little silly, but people really do care about wearing the right attire. For Spooktoberfest we encourage the volunteers and guests to wear Halloween costumes. For Jeans, Jewels & Jazz, we encourage our guests to dress in their best jeans and add in a little bling.

The final point that we take into account is originality. Is the event something someone else is doing? Can we add something to the event to make it unique? For Spooktoberfest, we include a mini animal show, which has proven to be extremely popular. Other organizations may hold Halloween-themed events, but we are fortunate to have popular animal celebrities like Cricket, our barn owl or Spike, our North American porcupine.

Featuring beers from two of our favorite local breweries – Wildcard Brewing Co. and Fall River Brewing Company — as well as from regional favorites Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Lost Coast Brewery, and Mad River Brewing Company, Brews by the Bridge is sure to have something every beer lover will enjoy. Combined with music from the up-and-coming local band Gringo and delicious food from C.R. Gibbs American Grille, Subarama and pizza by the slice from Angelo’s Pizza Parlor, the evening promises to offer something to appeal to almost everyone. The beauty of the outdoor setting – the Quarry Patio with its amazing view of the Sundial Bridge as the sun goes down – guarantees the evening will be a night to remember. So why not grab your friends, a couple of lawn chairs and come join us?


To purchase tickets to Brews by the Bridge stop by the Museum or go to:


Who has a Little Free Library on campus? Turtle Bay does!

Little Free LibraryCalling all readers young and old! Turtle Bay now has a Little Free Library for your enjoyment in the McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, thanks to support from the Shasta Early Literacy Partnership. Our Little Free Library is located in the Children’s Garden, across from the Mosaic Oasis and picnic tables. It’s hard to miss: it has been designed and painted to look like Snoopy’s doghouse, with Snoopy himself reading on top! (Speaking of, have you seen our current exhibits yet? Sorry, sorry, that isn’t the point of this post, but mentioning it is part of my job around here; I can’t help myself…)
When the first round of books was placed in the Library, Turtle Bay staff was swarmed with kids and families eager to get reading before the books were even inside. In less than two weeks, the Library was wiped out, thanks to eager readers. But have no fear! The Shasta Early Literacy Program, the Redding Library’s bookstore, and Turtle Bay staff and guests have all contributed to help keep our LFL stocked (so much so that we plan to add a second Library on the Museum side of campus too!).

Little Free Library on day oneWait, wait, back up, PR Pixie, what in the world is a Little Free Library? As an avid reader, let me tell you how incredibly excited I am to help spread the word about LFL. Little Free Library’s mission states: “to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.” At the time I’m writing this, there are over 36,000 Little Free Library book exchanges around the world, “bringing curbside literacy home and sharing millions of books annually”–and Turtle Bay is now a part of that!

You can help out (and get an admission discount in return, if you aren’t a member) by donating books for our Little Free Library at the Museum front desk, as part of our Great-Full Giving program. We’re accepting any and all books in new or gently used condition, but children’s books are specifically needed. Each donated book is good for $2 off daily Park admission (one $2 discount per donated book per person only). Or, of course, if you aren’t in need of or interested in the discount, you can always just add books directly to the LFL for other readers to enjoy (and borrow a new one for yourself, while you’re there).

Have you borrowed from our LFL yet? Or do you know of other LFL locations in town (I can think of at least one other off the top of my head)? Let me know in the comments and share the reading love!



Cristy Kidd

Marketing & PR Manager


Doing work @turtlebaypark on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat

(& babbling @cristyinread … also on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat)