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!

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!!



Turtle Bay Auction – Powered by Volunteers!

With only 35 full-time and 18 part-time staff for 300 acres, Turtle Bay is powered by volunteers who help with a variety of duties from giving tours to school kids to nursery sales to caring for our animals. In 2015, volunteers logged approximately 25,000 hours, the equivalent of 12 full-time employees!

auction volunteers
Volunteers Linda Warren, Rhonda Jaegel, and Keri Bosworth setting up decor

Volunteers are particularly integral to our fundraising events, such as the recent Jeans, Jewels & Jazz: South of the Border auction. Over 15 volunteers worked for nine months planning décor, requesting donations from community members and businesses, and inviting friends to sponsor patron tables.

auction volunteers
L to R: Dee Domke (Development Chair) Rhonda Jaegel (Auction Chair) Bev Stupek (Development Officer) take a moment for the camera at the beginning of the night

Dee Domke, Development Committee Chair, served as the Auction Chair since 2007, ultimately raising over $1,000,000 through this event for Turtle Bay’s exhibitions and programs during her tenure as Chair! This year, she mentored new chair Rhonda Jaegel through a super successful event. Rhonda saluted Dee from the stage at the event saying, “I can only hope that one day people will hear my name and have the same amount of respect they have when they hear yours [Dee]. You have taken a small fundraising idea and turned it into a hugely anticipated event. We are all grateful for everything you do!”

auction volunteers
Animal care staff and volunteers set the mood for the evening… with animals!

Turtle Bay’s staff & board extends HUGE thanks to the Auction Core Committee and all of the generous auction volunteers:

Rhonda Jaegel, Auction Chair

Dee Domke, Patron Table Chair

Judy Salter, Live Auction Chair

Sandie Morrison, Silent Auction Chair

Diane Leiber & Rhonda Jaegel, Décor Co-Chairs

Carol Skill, Food Chair

Jennifer Haynes, Blinkie Pin Chair

auction volunteers
L to R: Tom Wolph, Claire Morris, Laurinda Willard (Education Manager), and Rose Dorsey at the silent auction

And the entire 2016 Auction committee:

Keri Bosworth, Joan Corbeau, Chrissy Crain, Kris Dickey, Jennifer Finnegan, Valinda Fox, June Mackey, Mary Martin, Sandee Monroe, Georgie Parmely, Diantha Reynolds, Robyn Seamans, Shannon Seda, Vickie Shattuck, and Linda Warren

Their work was supported by staff members Christina Leadabrand, Auction/Special Events Coordinator, and Bev Stupek, Auction Raffle Chair.

Thanks also to the 30+ volunteers who helped the night of Auction 2016 in greeting/registration, Blinkie-Pin sales, silent auction, live auction, check-out and cleanup:

auction volunteers
Night-of volunteers getting excited for Auction 2016 at the pre-event training

Colleen Adams, Randi Blunt, Matt Bosworth, Wayne Clay, Wade Crabtree, Kathy Custer, Carol Dexter, Rose Dorsey, Janet Druckenmiller, Hilary Gorie, Stephanie Griffin, Rick Hargrove, Geoffrey Helmbold, Gloria Helmbold, Adrienne Hulst, Lois Jacobs, Hazen Kazaks, Sue Kermode, Ray Kermode, Pat Lawson, Debbi Lihn, Tom Mancuso, Frank Minear, Claire Morris, Roger Pierce, Sheila Riach, Steve Riley, Sally Rinker, Carol Schultz, Sabrina Skelley, Josh Stoudt, Sonny Stupek, Debra Townsend, Bernadette Underwood, Pat Valine, Tom Vlahos, Margaret Wagner, and Tom Wolph.

Turtle Bay exists and continues to thrive because of these dedicated folks and our uncommonly generous community. We’re truly YOUR Exploration Park!

Behind the Scenes: Our Development Team… and you!

Did you know we must raise over $1,000,000 each year to keep Turtle Bay operating?  We rely on generosity of our community to keep the Park serving as an educational gathering place, fun family destination, and source of pride for our community.

Bev and Faye
Fearless Leader, Bev Stupek, and Turtle Bay supporter, Faye Hall

Our Fundraising (aka Development) team is small but mighty, led by Bev Stupek, who has been with Turtle Bay since 1999! Five staff and a corps of volunteers rally support in the form of memberships, grants, sponsorships, special donor programs, events, and volunteers. If we charged admission that covered our expenses – without fundraising – admission would be about $40 a person – and that simply won’t do!

Megan, Julia, and Bev
Development Manager, Megan, “Curatrix,” Julia, and Development Officer, Bev.


This year, we are participating in the Shasta Regional Community Foundation’s North State Giving Tuesday event and are asking you to help us meet our goal and support YOUR favorite things at Turtle Bay! Whether you love the exhibitions, animals, gardens, or simply appreciate Turtle Bay as our community’s educational gathering place, North State Giving Tuesday is the best time to support YOUR favorite things at the Park! Shasta Regional Community Foundation is offering a variety of incentives to deepen the impact of your gift!

Donate online on Dec. 1 from 6 am -6 pm

In appreciation for your donation of $20+ online to Turtle Bay on Giving Tuesday, we’re offering:

  • 40% (!!!) off any one item in the Museum Store (show e-receipt)
  • Automatic entry into a raffle to win a behind-the-scenes experience at Turtle Bay
  • A special edition Turtle Bay Wonder-Full sticker (sent by mail)


Barn Owl
Cricket, Turtle Bay’s barn owl

And want to know what your donation does for Turtle Bay? Here are some examples:

$25 – Feeds Turtle Bay’s animals for one day

$50 – Subsidizes a school field trips for six students

$100 – Opens Parrot Playhouse immersive aviary for one day

$500 – Maintain the drought-tolerant gardens and park grounds for one day

$1,000 – Covers one day of hosting an awesome blockbuster exhibition!


Thank you for being a part of the team that keeps all of our favorite things going strong!