Escapes: Soaring wildlife in Chico

Chico’s annual Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway starts Wednesday and celebrates the migrating waterfowl that now call the region home.
Chico’s annual Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway starts Wednesday and celebrates the migrating waterfowl that now call the region home.


Snow Goose festivities

Snow geese, tundra swans, sandhill cranes, pintail ducks and many more flood the northern Sacramento Valley’s rice fields and wildlife refuges every winter. The 16th annual Snow Goose Festival of the Pacific Flyway celebrates these millions of migrating waterfowl that now call the region home. Starting Wednesday, take part in one of more than 65 field trips, workshops and other activities during the five-day event.

Weekend events on Saturday and Jan. 25 are free and family-friendly. There’s a massive exhibit room with educational booths about birds, native plants and restoration parks, as well as children’s activities. But there will also be one-time workshops, talks and video screenings on wildlife issues far beyond just snow geese. Find the festival headquarters inside the Chico Masonic Family Center, 1110 West East Ave., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Most field trips and workshops require advanced reservations – many are already full – but walk-in registration may be possible. Some involve hikes and tours, others presentations and birding instruction. Prices range from $5 to $45. For more information, visit


Hands-on workshops

What: Hands on Healdsburg offers 50 days of various hands-on workshops through Feb. 28. On one day, learn to meditate. A few days later, take a class on pruning and propagation. Learn some kitchen tricks from a Top Chef contestant, and later, how to create a work of art out of a recycled book. And of course, it being Healdsburg, there will be plenty of wine-tasting opportunities.

When: Today through Feb. 28

Where: Multiple locations vary

Cost: Prices vary, $20 and up



All about bees

What: Learn about California’s native bees from Dr. Robbin Thorp, professor emeritus at UC Davis. He’ll detail why they’re so important as crop pollinators as well as encourage the creation of more bee habitats.

When: 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Rush Ranch Nature Center, 3521 Grizzly Island Road, Suisun City

Cost: Free




What: Expect a family-friendly celebration of the migration of the gray whales at the fifth annual Whalefest Monterey. Thousands of attendees turn out for live music, whale watching tours, expert panels, documentary screenings, demonstrations, historic walking tours and a 60-foot model gray whale.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Fisherman’s Wharf, One Old Fishermans Wharf, Monterey

Cost: Free



Provocative photography

What: A new exhibition, “She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World,” showcases 12 photographers who challenge perceptions of Middle Eastern identity. Some might be considered fine art, others photojournalism, but all of the photos provide insight into the region’s complex political and social landscapes.

When: Jan. 28 through May 4

Where: Cantor Art Center, 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford

Cost: Free



Scientific boozing

What: The ever-popular Science of Cocktails at the Exploratorium showcases both the art and science of mixology. Consider it an interactive class in the physics, chemistry and biology of cocktails. And drink up – tickets include an open bar and hors d’oeuvres plus activities and demonstrations.

When: 9 p.m. Jan. 30

Where: Exploratorium, Pier 15, San Francisco

Cost: $120


Bee Staff