Kids, booze and puppies

What more could one need?

I’ll admit, when I first heard the idea of putting a children’s museum on Main Street downtown, I laughed a little. And I said a silent, sad “RIP” in memory of the Towne Lounge, my old stomping grounds. Kids learning and adults out boozing just sounded like a strange mix. But, what do I know? I mean, look at it now. Just the paint job and the bright, clean windows have brought new life to that block. For that, I’m thankful.

A couple of weeks ago, I excitedly RSVP’d to an event being held last Thursday (Feb. 16) by the executive team of the Chico Children’s Museum. I was eager to hear a status report and find out more about the project. I also was eager to check out Parkside Tap House, which hosted the event as a soft opening.

First of all, I was impressed by museum founder and CEO Dana Leslie. As she addressed the crowd, she was very articulate and knowledgeable (not to mention passionate). If nothing else, that inspires confidence. The plan also seems well-thought-out, much of it based on other children’s museums (and therefore proven) around the country. There will be an area in the museum dedicated to teaching kids about growing their own food and following that food to market and to the table. Another exhibit will focus on teeth and dentistry. And a full third of the musuem will provide a multisensory environment for kids with special needs—particularly those with autism. All in all, seems pretty awesome.

Obviously work has begun, but Leslie said the museum needs to raise about $160,000 before it can open. Go to for more info.

Tapping in So, about Parkside Tap House: It’s very hip. This place feels like it belongs in a big city, which seems to be the way Chico is trending. It’s spacious, combining booth seating with bar space. Big picture windows provide an eye on the kitchen, which churned out some killer finger foods (my favorite was the lamb chop). But the coolest thing is the bar itself—it’s U-shaped, except the windows behind it—which face the large outdoor patio—slide up, so it’ll provide service to outside patrons as well.

Owned by Josh Snider and Josh Marks, who also own Bella’s Sports Pub on Broadway, Parkside Tap House (115 Third St.) is planned to open March 3.

Puppies! I was so happy to see a recent post on the Northern Star Mills Facebook page announcing the upcoming debut of a new shop dog. Jake was a local celebrity and he’ll always be missed. But if you need a dose of cuteness in your life, go check out the puppy pic on FB!

Rockstar coda I was over at Urban Wax Studios the other day on Longfellow Avenue and noticed a “for rent” sign next door. Turns out Chico Rockstars dropped the mic right after Christmas. A note from owners Cody and Erin Johns on the music school’s Facebook page says, “Our plan is to take this time to find a new location, re-evaluate our business model, and get back to providing services for musicians of all skill levels by mid-2017.”