Well, here we are with a pleasant mix of rain and sun, but that shouldn’t keep us from taking in some of the greatest kept secrets within the greater Redding area to find and explore. Some you drive by daily, and others you say you’re going to get there, but just haven’t made it. So, this is your impetus to get back on the trail of seeing these area treats, with your friend, family or just yourself. In not any particular order, let’s start off with…
Yes, you’ve heard of it, but not quite sure how to get to the BLM-operated dam. Finished in 1950, and 157-feet tall, you can walk, bicycle or drive across, while remembering the massive Shasta Dam is just a few miles up the river.
This 440-acre regional park is full of everything you can imagine: heritage trees you can swing through like Tarzan, fishing pond, horse trails, bocce ball, soccer, golf, baseball, picnic areas, rental spaces and the Sacramento River running alongside. Operated by Anderson City Parks & Recreation.
Built in 1907 as Redding’s City Hall and Police Department, and used as such until the 1960s, now it’s headquarters of Shasta County Arts Council & Arts Center. Art exhibits, theatrical productions, community TV channel and art classrooms are located in this beautiful brick building.
McConnell Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, Redding
Located within the Turtle Bay Exploration and Sundial Bridge complex, this 20-acre garden of wonder is within walking distance of Redding and links to more than 200 acres of trails and pathways. Mediterranean climate plants, water features and sculptures by local artists make this a place to be during all the seasonal changes.
Founded in 1849 as a stage mail stop, Cottonwood hasn’t changed much as you explore Front Street. Still a vision of the past with the preserved store fronts and quaint shops, don’t forget to take in the Cottonwood Rodeo every spring.
Redding City Hall on Cypress Avenue
This three-story civic complex doesn’t just doesn’t hold city offices, it’s also a three-story art museum. Exhibits run all year-round with fine art from local artisans.
This 1934/’35 Art Deco icon was purchased by Jefferson Public Radio Foundation of Ashland, Ore., and restored to its original grandeur in the late 1990s. Its history is a must-read on the Cascade site. This author recalls taking a Greyhound Bus, at age 11, from his home in Anderson, for 25 cents, and going to almost every Saturday matinee, also for 25 cents. The main features were preceded by The Little Rascals and Buster Crabbe adventures. Next door was the Golden Pheasant Soda Fountain where you could sip on strawberry sodas and munch on tuna sandwiches on Little Miss Sunbeam white bread.
Batter Up! is the sound you hear from this semi-pro baseball park. Opened in 1923, it’s located in mid-Redding, just down the street from Redding City Hall and next to the Redding Library. What a great place to take the grand kids to watch college players knock it over the 424-foot fence onto Cypress Avenue hamburgers and hot dogs cooked right in front of you. It’s all you could want while watching these games on a hot summer night.
IOOF Hall – Shasta Lodge 57, Redding
In case you aren’t sure what IOOF stands for, it’s International Order of Odd Fellows, a vintage fraternal organization that provides numerous amenities to the community. The McConnell Foundation has finalized purchase of the 1888 Italianate brick building (oldest in Redding) and intends to restore its integrity within the Downtown Plan.
Located on Placer and Magnolia streets, and in the south end of the Redding School District office building, Schreder Planetarium opened in 1979 and is an excellent place for school-age youth and family members to view the stars in a domed theater-like setting. About 50 seats recline for your viewing of the galaxy show of the season. School class visits and reservations.
Redding is home to hundreds of miles of walking and bicycling trails. Just a few are: McConnell-Lema Ranch, Clover Creek, Ross Pond, Turtle Bay and alongside both sides of the Sacramento River. All to be enjoyed year-round in Redding’s 10-month great weather.
Now, the last place to explore is one that you have to ask around town to find out how to reach out to the owners. The family owns a huge number of antiques and vintage memorabilia that you have to see. One is the vintage merry-go-round that was in Caldwell Park’s Kiddieland playground until the 1960s. Plus there’s a steam engine and a small-gauge railroad that takes visitors around the property. There’s also a 1940s dental chair and office, 1950s complete soda fountain, and much more. The owners want to share their goods, but also want a sense of privacy. So, if you really want to see a remarkable collection, right here in Shasta County, start asking around for their phone number and name, and make an appointment. It’s treasure-hunt time.