For many families, the winter can mean doldrums: locked indoors, holiday reruns on TV, and desperately trying to avoid going anywhere during peak travel months. But not your family!
If you and your crew are the more adventurous type--or if you’re simply trying to put a day or two of fun together to liven things up in the drearier months--Butte County is a fantastic place to seek out a full slate of winter escapades. It rarely gets too cold or wet around the area, and both nature and local businesses embrace the season festively, providing ample opportunities for the activity-minded family to enjoy.
What’s on your to-do list for the winter? Make an itinerary from some (or all!) of these local favorites, and hit the road.
Explore Phantom Falls
With the start of the rainy season emerges Phantom Falls, a beautiful and ephemeral waterfall in the Table Mountain Ecological Reserve in Oroville. Unlike other year-round waterfalls in the area, Phantom Falls only flows after a lot of rain. It’s a beautiful image, and well worth bundling up for. There’s no official trail, so bring a GPS, maybe only the older kids, and a willingness for a little adventure. Get ready for a spectacular view.
Hit Some Pins at Tyme to Bowl
If the weather outside is frightful, head indoors for something more delightful for some family fun at Tyme to Bowl. This 24-lane bowling alley located next to Gold Country Casino has a video arcade, pool table, and a fully stocked Pro Shop. With prices set for the whole family to enjoy a couple of games, everyone will enjoy an evening here!
Dine at Foodie Cafe
After adventuring, it’s time for a break, so head out to Chico for lunch at the Foodie Cafe. With a focus on local vendors for their meats, produce, and breads, as well as a love of fresh and wholesome ingredients, Foodie Cafe creates over-the-top breakfasts, sandwiches and burgers like nothing you have ever eaten! Enjoy breakfast and lunch on Saturdays from 7:30am-2pm or lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday from 11am-8pm.
Discover at the Gateway Science Museum
Next, spend a few hours at Chico’s Gateway Science Museum, which focuses on the exploration of science and natural history in the Butte County region and beyond. Stay warm while you enjoy the interactive and rotating exhibits. Open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5pm.
Skate at Paradise on Ice
Head up to Paradise for Paradise on Ice, the annual outdoor ice skating rink. Since 2013, Paradise on Ice has been a go-to winter activity for people living in Butte County. Open daily (weather dependent) from mid-November through mid-January, Paradise on Ice features open skate, special theme nights, and other events.
Explore Butte Meadows
In the winter, the high-elevation Butte Meadows turns into a winter wonderland complete with snow-laded pines and rolling hills. Bundle up (don’t forget the hats and gloves), grab a sled, and get ready to have a great time. Bring your camera, too, as it is simply picture perfect and too pretty to pass up the opportunity for some family photos.
Dine at Farm Star Pizza
For an easy, farm-fresh lunch, Farm Star pizza offers hand stretched pizzas, as well as appetizers, salads and desserts. They are committed to using locally sourced and organic products wherever possible. With gluten-free and dairy-free options available, everyone can enjoy a slice.
Discover the Chico Children's Museum
Created with the whole family in mind, the Chico Children’s Museum in the heart of Downtown is a space to connect and learn through play. With a multi-sensory zone designed for children with special needs as well as a swing that accommodates wheelchairs, every member of the family is welcomed here. Discover Chico through the miniature artistic replica of the city and explore interactive exhibits. Open Tues.-Sat. 10am-5pm and Sun. Noon-5pm.
Play at the Rare Air Trampoline Park
Warm up with some indoor activity at Rare Air, where kids of all ages can literally bounce off the walls. The matrix of open-jump trampolines is home to air jumping, flipping, dodgeball, and balance games. There’s even a designated junior court area for the younger kids to enjoy. It’s the perfect place to get out of the cold. Check Rare Air’s website for details about waivers, prices, family nights, toddler time, and seasonal camps.
Skate at Cal Skate
If you didn’t get your fill of skating at Paradise on Ice but definitely got your fill of being cold, head inside for some old-school roller skating at Cal Skate. Enjoy theme nights, public skating lessons, and even family price specials on Saturday nights.