The Sacramento Valley is the northern section of the Central Valley. Chico and the Wilbur Hot Springs resort are two of the main attractions.
Chico is home to Bidwell Park — one of the twenty-five largest municipal parks in the United States. It's named for John Bidwell, who was part of the first wagon trains that reached California in 1843, when he headed west to work for gold pioneer John Sutter.
The city has grown quite a bit since then. It now has a branch of the California State University system and all the restaurants and businesses that you'd expect to go along with it. Two must-see spots for tourists are the Chico Air Museum and the National Yo-Yo Museum.
Chico Air Museum
The Chico Air Museum opened in 2004, boasting indoor artifacts as well as an outdoor aircraft display. Its particular focus is on local aviation history, which includes aerial firefighting — a great resource given the prominence of California wildfires.
Special events at the museum include presentations by legendary pilots, as well as demonstrations of aircraft maneuvers. Learn more at
National Yo-Yo Museum
Admission is free at the National Yo-Yo Museum, where you can see Big-Yo, the world's largest working yo-yo, which weighs a staggering 256 pounds. It's more than four feet wide and reads “No Jive” along its side — no doubt making it the most popular photo op in town.
The yo-yo is not at all a modern invention. Its earliest reference is believed to be from 5000 b.c. in Greece, where it was called a disc. Many years later, in the 1700s, it gained popularity as a stress-reliever among France's elite. It seems to have come to the United States in the 1860s, when two men from Ohio received a patent for their version of the toy.
If you happen to be visiting Chico during the first Saturday in October, you can attend the National Yo-Yo Contest that's held at the museum. Learn more at
Wilbur Hot Springs
The Wilbur Hot Springs is an 1,800-acre private nature preserve in the town of Wilbur Springs, which is about an hour and a half southwest of Chico. It takes advantage of the natural hot springs from which the town got its name, adding to Mother Nature's offerings with its own hotel, massage spa, and yoga classes. This is a resort for anyone interested in connecting with nature on a spiritual level. Details, rates, and room descriptions can be found online at