Raising Kids

With state-of-the-art schools, a sunny climate, cultural activities, and ample opportunities for outdoor playtime, Chico is an ideal place to raise children. Small communities where neighbors really know their neighbors foster a nurturing environment for kids to thrive. Add that to the awesome options for fresh produce and market choices, and Chico has something substantial to offer for families of all ages.


Chico is home to many public, charter, private, hybrid, and home school options to suit every child’s scholastic needs. 

Pictured: Chico High School
Pictured: Loma Vista Preschool
Pictured: Marigold Elementary School


There are plenty of childcare options, from daycare to early learning centers. For those who believe in the Montessori method, the Chico Montessori Children’s House offers preschool students an education. The Butte College Child Development Center, open to children six weeks to 5 years, can be a wonderful option for parents attending college courses. Chico Area Recreation & Park District has a host of fun, safe, and affordable after school programs

For short-term play sessions, there are pay-as-you-play centers where children can be dropped off for supervised play with no reservations needed. With many options for preschool and afterschool programs in the city, parents can find the best match for their little ones.

Summer Camps and Recreational Programs

Chico really shines during the summertime with recreational programs for kids. From traditional outdoor adventure camps to the unique STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) of Camp Wild Heart, young campers can enjoy their summers making friends and learning new skills. CARD and the Boys and Girls Club have both toddler-age and school-age camps along with other classes and recreational opportunities. 

Looking for exercise opportunities? The Chico Aqua Jets is a renowned year-round swim team for all ages, while Girls on the Run is a great way for young girls to make friends and build confidence while getting outside.

Museums and Activities

Curious minds will meet their match at Chico’s museums. The Chico Children’s Museum has not only exhibits but summer classes, events, and other kid-focused activities on its calendar. The California Regional Theatre and Gateway Science Museum provide kids with interactive activities that both educate and excite!

Play Spaces

It’s no secret Chico is a bike-friendly community, no matter what age you are. With an extensive bike path and trail system, it’s a great place for kids to hop on their bikes daily and get the wiggles out. Couple that with lots of playgrounds and parks, and there are many options for outdoor playtime. Kids twelve and under can explore the fantasy playground of Caper Acres when accompanied by an adult. Or run wild through the 35 acres of Hooker Oak Park in north Chico, which has everything from sports fields to picnic areas. 

Quote: “Caper Acres is such a special place for kids—and grandparents who get to take them there (same goes for parents).” —Chico Parent

Farm Fresh Food​

Chico has a thriving local food scene courtesy of the farmers markets and local farms that supply the area with fresh produce, meat, dairy, and other foodstuffs. 

Parents can provide their kids with a healthy diet and some enjoyment while browsing the Chico Farmers Market weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For an education experience, they can visit the CSU Chico Farm at the College of Agriculture. They offer monthly guided tours and are open to guests.