The beautiful Sundial Bridge will probably always be the first thing we think of as we remember Redding California. Not only a thing of beauty and amazement, this unique structure and it’s surrounding grounds provide a gathering place where Redding’s citizens come to relax, get a little exercise, and gaze upon some of the natural and man-made beauty of their town.
Spanning the Sacramento River, the bridge is described in technical terms as a “cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge”, that spans the river without any support structures in the river. Visualized and designed by famous architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, the bridge is also a work of art. It’s beautifully curved sundial pylon stands 217 feet tall and dominates the area.
Only 23 feet wide, the bridge with it’s glass paneled deck (translucent) makes a pleasing and fascinating pedestrian passage across the Sacramento River. Large cables support the sundial’s pylon, anchor into the deck itself, and add to the fascination of the structure. White lights on the deck, and purple lights beneath the deck, light the bridge at night and make an awesome display.
Exploration Park and the Sundial Bridge
If you’re looking for a good place to take a stroll, the portion of Exploration park on the south side of the river has wide walking paths along the river, through pleasant gardens, and natural surroundings.
The Arboretum and gardens on the north side of the bridge also have nice walking paths through the garden displays. There are also some very interesting mosaic sculptures. Additionally the arboretum presents several climate controlled rooms, featuring separate zones with plants typically grown in those zones.
Names like California Gardens, Sounds of Water Gardens, Australian Gardens, Medicinal Gardens, and Mediteranian Gardens, suggest variety and unusual displays, and do not disappoint. The Arboretum has over 200 acres of walking paths, climate controled gardens, and water features that are pleasing to the eye.
The area quickly became our favorite place to go for walks, especially at sunset and early evening.
The park also has a very nice museum. Current exhibits are “Liberty on the Border”, an excellent display of events surrounding the American Civil War, and “Toytopia”, a walk down memory lane featuring a huge model railroad, a lego wall, and a giant Etch-A-Sketch.
Situated just a short drive from I-5, and a part of Redding’s Exploration Park, the bridge and park are easy get to. From I-5 take the 44 west exit and then the first exit on 44 west. Follow the exit road around to the right to the parking area.
Sunsets from the center of the Sundial bridge often are spectacular. Fishermen wade the river and small boats move up and down the slow current.
Short Video Fly-over courtesy Bill Talbot and You-Tube
We have truly enjoyed our stay here in Redding, CA and the Exploration Park with it’s Sundial Bridge has been a peaceful, pleasant, and momorable experience. Tomorrow we head south again to more adventures in our retirement travels.