To follow up on my post about locations to watch the annular eclipse, we decided on a trip up to Chico since we had never been. The destination was the Chico Community Observatory, an outdoor observation deck in the city’s Bidwell Park. While we didn’t make it to the observatory, we did have great fun in Chico and primarily at the amazing Bidwell Park.
Last weekend happened to be Commencement weekend at CSU Chico, but Sunday late morning when we arrived there were no large crowds, much to our relief. There were small family groups out celebrating their grads which made it a really pleasant atmosphere, though I get the feeling Chico is a pretty friendly place for the most part. We had a picnic lunch at the Children’s Playground near Bidwell Mansion after an aborted attempt to picnic at the City Plaza splashground, which had a “creepy homeless dude” vibe as a result of being populated by creepy homeless dudes sitting and watching children frolic in the fountain. No judging.
After lunch we strolled downtown Chico, which seems like a pleasant enough little area with a great bookstore and a big hardware store.
Thanks for still reading the post up to this point! After downtown Chico we headed up to Bidwell Park, which though we had just a few hours to explore it has become one of our favorite parks and definitely worth a full day trip up the valley. We found the swimming hole at “1 Mile” too crowded and possibly too much of a party atmosphere, so we headed to “5 Mile” and frolicked in the river for the duration. This was an amazing spot on Chico Creek with a few hundred feet of water of varying depths for swimming, wading, and cruising the riverbed. With tables and BBQs this one spot has a full day of excitement.
This is where we were when the eclipse hit. We picked Chico partly because it was more squarely in the path of best view of the phenomenon, and we chose wisely. We didn’t make it to the observatory as I mentioned but that was because at “5 Mile” there was a sunny patch without tree cover (Chico would be in the running for “City Of Trees” status were Sacto not so clearly deserving of that title, btw) that gave us an awesome view of the eclipse Sunday afternoon.