Turtle Bay’s Museum is the hub of the Exploration Park experience and your first stop on a day of adventure. From the permanent exhibits about our region to the changing exhibitions telling stories from all over the planet, and even the building itself, the Museum is where the worlds of art, science, history, forestry, and horticulture meet.  

Located just above the river bank the Museum building is, itself, an exhibit and part of the landscape. The wood and steel structure and floor-to-ceiling glass help the building sit “lightly” on the natural site. The airy, light-filled space blurs the line between indoors and out just as the design of our permanent exhibits highlights the intersection between the natural world and human culture. Separately lit and climate controlled galleries allow Turtle Bay to host traveling exhibitions from all over the world.

Hardy-Board siding, a white membrane roof, recycled glass tile, pressed paper and soy countertops, LED lighting, oriented strand board features, large beams made from laminated boards, and other building products and design choices align with Turtle Bay’s desire to be both ecologically and economically sustainable. We use local vendors whenever possible and strive to reduce, reuse, recycle. New, City of Redding sponsored twin waste and recycling bins placed throughout our campus help guests make wise disposal choices.

Deep roof overhangs help keep the Museum cool and protect from sun and rain, allowing our guests to enjoy a spectacular view of the Sacramento River and Sundial Bridge from the patio of the glass-walled Museum Store and Coffee Bar, which borders our xeric garden and blends naturally into the popular Sacramento River Trailhead. It is a perfect place to people watch! If watching wildlife is more your style, the Boardwalk between the Museum and Paul Bunyan’s Forest Camp winds through a forest of cottonwoods and oaks, well above the seasonal wetland and year-round riparian habitat. Keep an eye out for some of the wild native creatures that are NOT part of Turtle Bay’s animal family.  

Current Exhibitions

Future Exhibitions 

Design Zone
Turtle Bay Museum Art Gallery
January 27, 2018 – April 6, 2018

What does it take to create a video game, line up rhythms with the best DJs, or design a roller coaster that produces the biggest thrills? Go behind the scenes to see how developers, producers, and designers use math to do amazing things. From the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, this interactive exhibition highlights the relationship between mathematical thinking and the creative process. Explore concepts like patterns, variables, scale, slope, and ratios used by artists, architects, engineers, musicians, and other innovators.

World’s Largest Dinosaurs
Turtle Bay Museum Art Gallery & Exploration Hall
May 5, 2018 – September 9, 2018

How did they get so big? Go beyond the bones and into the bodies of these titans to find out what scientists have discovered about the link between size and heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and reproduction. Hands-on data gathering and computer stations, arcade-style learning games, touchable fossils and models, and a paleontology dig pit are just a few of the interactive elements in this exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History. The centerpiece, a 60-foot Mamenchisaurus with multimedia projection, provides a glimpse of what’s going on inside that giant body.

 Arts & Culture: Exhibits

Oak Tree
Have you ever wondered how big the root system of tree is? In the Sierra Pacific Industries sponsored Oak Hall, a glass floor lets you see the root ball of an oak and compare it to the spread of the tree’s branches.

Wintu Bark House
The Wintu People have lived in our region for millennia. Step inside this traditional incense-cedar bark home and hear stories told in both Wintu and English. Walk out on the land and imagine a village of these homes on the northern bank of the river.

Atsugewi Lumjawi
The Atsugewi are one of the Wintu Tribe’s eastern neighbors. This dugout canoe, used for hunting waterfowl and for transportation, was discovered in the Rising River and conserved by the museum. Today it is a model for contemporary Native canoe-making projects.

Venture into the dark on a creaky boardwalk past bats and spiders and other species adapted to life in a cave. Learn more about Shasta Caverns, find the hidden creatures, and see if you can identify all the different formations.

River Lab
Meet some of Turtle Bay’s namesakes, find out how to tell the difference between a reptile and an amphibian, and learn to identify local waterfowl while you discover how important the Sacrament River is to our ecosystem in this combination science lab and indoor animal habitat. Be on the lookout for new experiments!

History Gallery
What was life like for early settlers in our region? Find out how and why people moved here and discover if you have what it takes to be a pioneer as you meet some of the characters, check out maps, and pack your mule for the trip!

Dignity Health North State Presents: Dam to Bridge
Flowing from one Northstate icon to another, this exhibit details feats of engineering and human ingenuity, as well as how we have affected the Sacramento River between Shasta Dam, completed in 1945, and the Sundial Bridge, completed in 2004. Sponsored by Dignity Health.

Resource Gallery
Our region is rich in natural resources. From salmon fishing and fur trapping to gold mining and farming, hands-on exhibits and multimedia stations explore the complex history of people and the land we rely upon.

Bee Hive
What goes on inside a hive? Ask our bees! Turtle Bay’s indoor beehive is an opportunity to watch a colony at work. Learn to spot the queen, use the interactive kiosks to discover the fascinating details and challenges that face these important pollinators, and watch the bees come and go on the live Bee Cam.

Water Wall
Pouring over recreations of ancient petroglyphs created by Native people near a local creek and into a recirculating system, this sculpture reminds us that we all need water and it is a precious commodity.

Dignity Health North State Presents
Artifact of the Month

This rotating exhibit features objects from Turtle Bay’s 35,000 piece collection of art and artifacts. See what it on display and help us choose future exhibits by voting in our popular poll.

Arts & Culture: Public Art

Turtle Bay Exploration Park is part of the Redding Cultural District and the campus features many works of public art. Stroll along the trail from the Monolith, visit one of our families of artistic turtles by the Museum Store, cross the Sundial Bridge, and head west into the gardens to look for sculptures, fountains, and other playful works of art.

Buster Simpson Monolith
Ceramic, Steel, Concrete, Aluminum, Stone, Paint. Seattle-based artist Buster Simpson transformed the historic Monolith, the last remaining trace of the massive operation required to build Shasta Dam, into a work of public art to honor the history and those involved in the construction of the dam.

Colleen Barry Turtles
Concrete, ceramics, glass, stone. Located on the River Trail right the museum front door, this family of mosaic turtles reminds us to slow down and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

Sundial Bridge
Concrete, granite, glass, steel. Soaring up in to the sky and linking both side of Turtle Bay’s campus, Santiago Calatrava’s masterpiece is art you can walk on. For all the details about this feat of architecture, visit the Dam to Bridge exhibit in the Museum.

Paul Rideout Pyramids
Concrete, ceramic tile, glaze. Created by Paul "Palul" Rideout, Pyramids is a study of harmonies, forms, symbols, rhythms, and man and is located at the East end of the McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

Colleen Barry’s Earthstone
Cast concrete, stone, glass, and ceramic with embedded tile and contemporary manufactured materials.Earthstone celebrates the flora and fauna of Northern California and was created by local artist Colleen Barry. The monolithic sculpture is dedicated to the late Don Oestreicher, former Vice President of Citizens Utilities, and was commissioned by Lawrence Dillon and is located in the McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Betsy Damon Sounds of Water
Granite, marble, concrete, ceramic. How much water do you use? Betsy Damon’s sculpture is located on the central corridor of the McConnell Arboretum & Gardens.  It is a contemplative space that provides subtle messages about how we use water in California.

Colleen Barry Mosaic Oasis
Concrete, ceramics, glass, stone, found objects. Redding-based artist Colleen Barry created a seating area and fountain located in the Children’s Garden near the West gate of the McConnell Arboretum & Bontanical Gardens.  Mosaic Oasis emphasizes recycling through adaptive reuse of materials donated by dozens of area residents.

Troy Corliss Turtles
Fiberglass-reinforced and stained cast concrete. Originally commissioned for our Visitor Center in 2000, Troy’s family of Western Pond Turtles and Red-eared Sliders now welcome you to the West Entrance of Turtle Bay’s McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

Past Works - Some art is made to be temporary.
Patrick Dougherty’s Lookout Tree. Willow. Created by sculptor Patrick Dougherty, Lookout Tree was a two-year installation, a willow structure within one of the most majestic trees in the McConnell Arboretum & Gardens site, the immense oak inside the West gate.

Donate to Museum / Object Donation

Turtle Bay cares for a collection of 35,000 objects and artworks, which are also available to researchers and other institutions. The Permanent Collection is comprised of the holdings of the former Redding Museum of Art and History and Forest Museum, and pieces acquired by Turtle Bay since the 1997 museum merge. Some of these artifacts, such as the Shay Locomotive and Atsugewi Lumjawi, are on permanent display. We also use the collection in temporary exhibitions in the Museum and Mill Building. Check the Exhibitions page to see our current offerings.

Due to space constraints, we are not currently able to accept object donations.