Family Adventure

Winter Family Adventure

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 North 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. Even with an offi­cial trail, it’s easy to get lost, so make sure to bring a map and GPS, maybe only the old­er kids, and a will­ing­ness for a lit­tle adventure . Get ready for a spec­tac­u­lar view.

Dine at Mom’s

With hearty break­fast, brunch, and lunch menus, Mom’s is the per­fect spot to fill up on com­fort­ing food before get­ting out­side for win­ter adventuring.

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. 

Go Ice Skating

From mid-Novem­ber though ear­ly Jan­u­ary, you can hit the ice with the whole fam­i­ly in Chico! The Chico Ice Rink in the Plaza puts you right in the mid­dle of down­town, so you can make a day of skat­ing, shop­ping, and din­ing! It’s open dai­ly (weath­er depen­dent) and fea­tures themed nights and oth­er fun events through­out the season!

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. Call to make reser­va­tions for your pri­vate group trip.

Enjoy Win­ter Birding

With its loca­tion along the Pacif­ic Fly­way, Butte Coun­ty becomes home to thou­sands of migrat­ing birds through­out win­ter, and kids of all ages will love get­ting an up-close view of this avian delight! The Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in Gri­d­ley fea­tures a view­ing plat­form with high-pow­ered tele­scopes for quick and easy view­ing, or you can enjoy easy hikes along two flat trails and enjoy the view from two obser­va­tion blinds!

With two obser­va­tion plat­forms along a half-mile walk­ing trail, the Llano Seco Unit in Chico is anoth­er pop­u­lar spot to enjoy the views of large groups of win­ter­ing birds, while you can find oth­er loca­tions for win­ter bird­ing across the county.

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 and an indoor rock climb­ing wall. 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.