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Things to do in Fresno

  • Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park Fresno, California
    Visit the homestead of one of the Revolutionary Yosemite National Park in east central California, stretches out over the Sierra Nevada Mountains covering 761,266 acres in the Madera, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties. Over 3.5 million people come here every year, with a lot of them spending most of their time in a seven square mile area in Yosemite Valley. The park became a World Heritage Site in 1984, with huge sequoia groves, spectacular waterfalls, beautiful cliffs of granite, magnificent clear streams and a marvelous biodiversity. The national park, was part of the developing national park idea, although not its first. With over 95% of the park designated wilderness, it is one of the biggest and least fragmented habitats in the Sierra Nevada mountains, with a large amount of plants and animals. The elevation runs from 2000 feet to 13,000 plus feet, and has five vegetation regions; alpine, sub-alpine, chaparral/oak forests, lower and upper montane; which is lower than the sub-alpine areas of mountains, but above the lowland regions. California has over 7000 varieties of plants, with half of them in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and over 20% of that in Yosemite. Over 160 rare plants thrive in the valley, with the unique formations and soil composition. The geology of the park is characterized by the granite rocks and remains of more ancient rocks. It was around 10 million years ago that the mountains were raised up, and tipped to the east so that the gentle slopes of the western side of the mountains could be less accentuated and the deep canyons were formed. A million years ago, ice and snow began to accumulate, and glaciers were formed at the higher elevations, and guesses have put the thickness of the ice at over 4000 feet. When these glacier moved, they began to form the deep ravines and valleys that were sculpted including the U shape valley that brings throngs of visitors here. Surrounded by wilderness areas, Yosemite has the Ansel Adams Wilderness to the southeast, Emigrant Wilderness in the north, and the Hoover Wilderness in the northeast. Measuring some 1189 miles, Yosemite is about the size of Rhode Island in the northeast part of the nation, and is home to thousands of ponds and lakes, 350 miles of roads, 800 miles of trails and 1600 miles of streams. There are two federally named wild and scenic rivers in the region, the Toulumne and the Merced, that flow west through the foothills and into central California. Most of the landforms were cut from the granite rock of the Sierra Nevada Batholith, with some metamorphosed volcanic and sedimentary rocks in the east by Mount Dana. They are called roof pendants since they once belonged to the roof of the granite rock that lay below. It was the erosion process that created the many diverse domes, valleys and canyons that are found there today, with many other extraordinary features abounding. Although Yosemite Valley is about a percent of the park's massive areas, it is where most of its visitors come to view and also stay. The El Capitan is a huge granite cliff that looks out over the valley, and has grown into the most popular rock climbing area in the country, and brings climbers from all over the world. It is accessible year round, and has a plethora of climbing routes. There are granite domes, called Sentinel Rock and Half Dome that rise into the sky and have become two of the most favorite. There are magnificent areas in the high country of Yosemite, like the Kuna Crest, Tuolumne Meadows, Clark Range, Dana Meadows and Cathedral Range that will keep you captivated for hours. The Pacific Crest Trail and the Sierra crest go through the park with peaks of red metamorphic rock, like Mount Dana and Mount Gibbs, as well as many other granite peaks, like the Mount Conness and Mount Lyell, which is the highest point in Yosemite. You can find three spectacular ancient Giant Sequoia trees, the Merced has 20, the Mariposa has 200, and the Tuolumne has 25. The fantastic trees grow bigger than any other species of tree, growing into the tallest and the trees that live longer than any other. There were many more before the last ice age, and in certain places you can see the remnants.

  • Fresno Metropolitan Museum
    The museum has just recently gone through a major renovation, and now has been restored to its glorious beginnings, set within a 1922 Fresno Bee building, and helped by millions of people around the state. The five story brick building has terra cotta ornaments and arched windows, and was built by George D. Hudnett, Inc of Sacramento, and cost was one million dollars. It is an Italian Renaissance style architectural beauty that was completely different from all other buildings in the early 20th century in this city's former styles. It would house the Fresno Bee, the local newspaper, and numerous mythological Greek spirits decorating the exterior. The McClathy family owned the paper, and as it grew, it was expanded to include the radio station known as KMJ. This caused the building to be increased in size in 1936, and again in 1951, which saw the exterior decorations taken away, as well as the brick façade. Growing in statue and size, during the 1950s and 1960s, with additional construction going on inside. The paper eventually outgrew its space, and in the early 1970s, left the building and it was slated to be sold. The owners wanted to take it down in 1978, but the local banker, Lewis Eaton wanted to do something else with it. He contacted Carlos McClatchy, and asked him to stall the demolition, and said he wanted to put a museum there; if the community felt likewise, and the engineers found out about its stability. Carlos said he would wait, and Lewis got the structural engineers to check it out. While the building was checked out, public support grew, and it was decided and agreed that the building would be perfect for a museum. In 1979, the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art, History and Science was chartered and Eaton named the first president of the board of directors needed to oversee the works. The permanent collection contains landscape paintings, many from the 19th and 20th centuries, which much of was a gift from Dr. and Mrs. John D. Reife, with artists Chris Jorgenson, David Cox, Thomas Hill, Hugo Anton Fisher and Maynard Dixon. Another venue is the Charles and Sharon Small jigsaw puzzle collection, with over 1200 puzzles, the William and Dorothy Petesch Collection which are numerous caricatures from the 18th and 19th centuries, decorative arts and crafts, Native American collection, Ansel Adams photo collection, and many wonderful venues throughout the year.  

  • Kings Canyon National Park
    This national park is just outside of Fresno, California, in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, and began in 1940 with over 462,900 acres that include the General Grant National Park; which was started to protect the General Grant Grove. The Sequoia National Park is located just to the south of Yosemite, and many call it the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and managed by the National Park service as one locale. Kings Canyon was well known by local settlers as early as the mid 1800s, and after John Muir visited the canyon and region in the 1870s, it began getting attention. Muir couldn't believe how much alike this canyon was with Yosemite. The future of the park was in doubt for the next five decades, as some wanted to build a dam on the west end, while many others preferred to have is preserved as a state park. It was inaugurated into the national park in 1965, and received the name from its river, Kings. The park is home to two regions, the General Grant Grove, where the giant sequoias are located, and the famous General Grant Tree, as well as the Redwood Mountain Grove where the biggest sequoia grove in the world is located. Over 15,000 sequoia trees are found here, with all having over a foot in circumference in their bases, on a 3100 acre park. The sequoia forests belong to the 202,000 acres of old-growth trees, which are mostly conifer trees.

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  • Sequoia National ParkSequoia National Park California
    The Sequoia was the second national park to be opened in 1890, just after Yellowstone. It is located in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains and east of Visalia, California. It contains over 400,000 acres of land, and inside has a vertical relief of 13,000 feet, as well as the highest peak in the nation, Mount Whitney, which sits at just over 14,500 feet above sea level. It is south of and part of the Kings Canyon National Park, as mentioned earlier on this page when discussing the Kings Canyon National Park. The park is of course, most famous for its huge sequoia trees, that includes the General Sherman tree, which is one of the biggest trees on earth. It grows in the Giant Forest, of which the five out of the ten biggest trees on earth grow. It is connected to the other park by the Generals Highway, and also the Kings Canyon National Grant Grove, where the General Grant Tree is growing along with other sequoias. Many visitors enter through the Sequoia park entrance near Three Rivers by Ash Mountain, and this area has a beautiful park service protected area of yucca plants, grasslands, chaparral foothills, blue oak woodlands, steep but mild river valleys; where numerous animals thrive, like the mule deer, bobcat, fox, ground squirrels and rattlesnakes; and occasionally the reclusive mountain lion. As the elevation climbs from here, you will notice the change in the landscaping, as the trees become Ponderosa pines, Sugar pines, lodgepole pines and the Jeffrey pines. The meadows that grow between the massive forests have held huge snowfalls and as they begin to melt in the spring and summer, the fields become lush with wildflowers and other exciting flora, as well as more mule deer, American black bears, Douglas squirrels and other wild critters who will try to enter your vehicles to steal food or whatever looks good to them. This enormous region is roadless, meaning you will have to park your vehicle and either walk or horseback ride your way into the vast wilderness. On the high Sierra trail, you will see Mount Whitney on the eastern border, and on the path you could come into contact with the backcountry resort of Bearpaw Meadow, which is just before the Great Western Divide. Here you can rent rustic tent cabins and gourmet meals that have been cooked by seasonal resident park crew members. One of the little known facts of the park are the hundreds of caves that exist here. There are over 240 known caves, with more being discovered all the time. There have been 17 found here since 2003, and the last was named Ursa Minor. Most of the caves are made of marble rock, limestone that has been metamorphosed by the pressure and heat of the formation and uplifting of the batholith. Some, like the White Chief cave in Mineral King have literally been carved out of the rock by the many streams or waterways that pass through the mountains.  Other marvelous attractions besides the camping, hiking, backpacking, and fishing include the Moro Rock which is a granite outcrop that will give you the most beautiful panoramic views of the Great Western Divide and foothills of the park, the Tunnel Log is a sequoia that had fallen many decades ago and cars drive through it, the Crescent Meadow where John Muir called the gem of the Sierra sequoia rimmed meadow and the Crystal Cave that was found in 1918 and protected. There are numerous campgrounds in the park, with three in the foothills; the Potwisha with 42 sites, the South Fork with 10 sites and the Buckeye Flat with 28 sites. In the higher elevations there are the Atwell Mill with 21 sites, Dorst with 204 sites, Cold Springs with 40 sites and the Lodgepole with 214 sites.

  •  Downing Planetarium
    The Downing is home to a 74 seat star theater with 30 foot dome, Minolta MS-8 star projector, 36 slide projectors, and two video projectors; that are controlled by a computer system. The lobby is large, with donor wall and photograph of the comet Hale-Bopp, a gravity wall, sundial, solar system scale and elements scale. The opposite side holds science toys, meteorites and the entry to the star theater. The gift shop has T-shirts, posters, science toys and bookmarks. The museum contains hands-on physics and astronomy displays and a donor area that can always use help in maintaining and enlarging the facilities. Current shows being held here include the Bad Astronomy lecture that has Phil Plait, notorious bad astronomer dispelling the myths and theories that include UFO sightings, the lunar landing hoax, horoscopes and errors in the movie industry. The planets show features up-to-the-date news on the solar system with fantastic imagery to assist the show. The Case of the Disappearing Planet has detective Skye Watcher looking at various objects in the universe that tells us about the stars, and any related information about them. Destination: Pluto is where Captain Smith and his heroic crew take us on a journey to the planet Pluto going from the sun. The Perseid Meteor Shower that was in August of 2009, is a lecture informing you of the best place to view the shower, and all the related facts that will assist you in doing that. In July of 2002, Lynette Cook painted two magnificent murals along the south side of the lobby, using only paint brushes and an airbrush to create these awesome pictures. And all are invited to the next solar eclipse in May, 2012.

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Local Restaurants in Fresno
  • Campagnia Restaurant
     Appetizers offered; peppered goat cheese with sundried tomato-olive relish, roasted garlic & herb flat bread; crisp fried calamari with scallion, jalapeno & chili-lime dipping sauce; smoked chicken & caramelized onion quesadilla with tomato-jicama salsa, guacamole & lime crema; spicy ahi tuna & shiso tartare with pickled cucumber salad, soy-ginger aioli and sesame cracker; oven dried tomato & fresh mozzarella bruschetta with pesto; savory Argentine prawns with orange-tarragon glaze; Thai beef lettuce wrap with jicama, bell peppers, red onion, avocado & peanuts tossed in jalapeno-lime vinaigrette. Salads and soups; soup of the day; baby greens with orange miso vinaigrette; Caesar salad; pear & butterleaf lettuce salad with strawberries, candied pecans, bleu cheese & poppy seed dressing; romaine "wedge salad" with buttermilk bleu cheese dressing, grape tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, olives & bacon; chopped salad with warm goat cheese, toasted almonds, golden raisins, crisp pita & pomegranate vinaigrette; grilled Chinese chicken salad with peanuts, crisp wonton strips & spicy black bean soy vinaigrette. Entrees are; grilled salmon & gulf white shrimp with fingerling potatoes, ratatouille & lemon-caper sauce; seared sesame crusted ahi with Fuji apple-daikon salad, shrimp-edamame fried rice & three sauces; roasted shiitake mushroom stuffed chicken breast with spinach gnocchi, root vegetables & red wine reduction; Floro's signature grilled pork chop with steamed jasmine rice, red Thai curry glaze & coriander emulsion; broiled New Zealand rack of lamb with savory fennel-sausage bread pudding, roasted sweet onion, mustard jus & apple-mint butter; grilled angus beef 16 ounce ribeye steak with roasted garlic baked potato, baby carrots, wild mushroom glace and gorgonzola horseradish butter; grilled applewood bacon wrapped 9 ounce filet mignon with chive twice baked potatoes, sautéed veggies, green peppercorn demi glace & cambazola cream; braised boneless short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed broccolini, gremolada & chipotle aioli; linguine with shrimp, mushrooms & assorted veggies in spicy red Thai curry-coconut milk reduction; penne with Italian sausage, eggplant & spinach in spicy roasted tomato ragout; smoked chicken fettuccine with portabello mushroom & sugar snap peas in sherry wine cream sauce.

  • Max's Bistro and Bar
    Appetizers, soups & salads; baked goat cheese salad with arugula, spinach, roasted baby beets, sweet candied almonds & raspberry balsamic vinaigrette; spinach salad with feta cheese, candied pecans, strawberries, poppy seed dressing; calamari with flour dusted and fried, calamata olives, roasted sweet peppers, tomatoes & drizzled with lemon aioli; soup of the day; caramelized apple salad with sugared walnuts, mixed greens, apple cider vinaigrette, fourme de ambert bleu cheese; seared scallops with celery root, granny smith apples and lemon emulsion; cheese plate with assorted artisinal cheese served with apples, grapes, currants and assorted berries; poached pear salad with baby spinach, strawberries, grapes, white balsamic vinaigrette, bleu cheese candied walnut stuffed pear; foie gras with caramelized shallots, apple reduction, browned pan bread, petite herb salad; Max's Caesar salad with Spanish anchovies, house croutons; organic mixed greens with champagne vinaigrette; sweet potato fries with jalapeno-arugula aioli; Thai coconut prawns with mango coulis, Thai dipping sauce. Lighter Side offerings; 3 scallop dinner with truffled mashers, mushroom leek blanquette; truffled beet salad with bleu cheese, pancetta, organic greens, white truffle vinaigrette, orange segments; ahi tuna tostada with crisp flour tortillas, black bean jicama relish, chipotle crema, chili lime vinaigrette; petite filet mignon with wilted greens, potato gratin, brandy peppercorn; crab cakes is house made tartar sauce, seasonal veggie salad; olive oil & thyme poached swordfish with asparagus, roasted potatoes, roasted red bell peppers, lemon caper aioli; pan roasted lobster tail is sautéed spinach, tarragon lemon butter mashed potatoes. Entrees; rack of lamb with hearty veggie tart, mint infused demi; chicken under a brick is spinach gnocchi, grilled seasonal veggies; filet mignon with gourmet four cheese macaroni, sautéed spinach, black truffle demi sauce; tofu fillo wrap with spinach, mushrooms, tofu, feta cheese, quinoa, soubise; grilled angus bone-in ribeye with sautéed green beans, buttermilk bleu cheese mashers, burgundy reduction; pan seared duck breast with duck confit risotto, roasted portabello, micro greens, orange segments and citrus vinaigrette; Max burger with aged cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, dijon mayo, lettuce, tomato, caramelized red onion, house made bun with fries; Max's pork chop is roasted pork chop, sweet potato and pear hash, balsamic quince demi glace sauce; pan roasted salmon with Peruvian potato puree, steamed asparagus, warm tarragon dill creme fraiche.

 

Seared Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Campagnia Restaurant Fresno, California

 

Floro's Grilled Pork Chop Campagnia Restaurant Fresno, California

 

New Zealand Rack of Lamb Campagnia Restaurant Fresno, California

 

 

 Rack of Lamb Max's Bistro & Bar Fresno, California



Pan Seared Duck Breas Max's Bistro & Bar Fresno, California


Pan Roasted Salmon Max's Bistro & Bar Fresno, California

 

Grilled Angus Bone-in Ribeye Max's Bistro & Bar Fresno, California

 

 

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  • Kearney Mansion Museum Kearney Mansion Museum Fresno, California
    The Kearney Mansion is just seven miles west of Fresno's downtown area, and contains two wonderful buildings that were constructed in the French Renaissance architectural style, and one is the main house and the servants quarters. The materials were indigenous to the area, as well as the Victorian moldings, and were workers employed by M. Theodore Kearney. The walls of both buildings are two feet thick adobe brick, then covered over by a thin layer of plaster for waterproofing the structures. On top of these monstrous walls, the roof was influenced b the Schwab home in New York City, which in turn was modeled after the Chateaux de Chenonceaux. The dormer style windows, ridgemolding, high roofs, ornate pinnacles and high chimneys have created a marvelous skyline view. The insides of both residences have the usual Victorian trim, with crown moldings, stair and fireplace railings and in the main house, the wall finishes were imported wallpapers from France. Mr. Kearney wanted the two buildings to become part of a greater and loftier idea of a complex known as the Chateau Fresno, and in that vein, contracted a few architects to carry out that plan; Thomas E. Collcutt, Maurice Hebert and Willis Polk. Theodore had intended to have the main house become the caretakers house, once his mansion had been constructed, and he lived there while waiting for the grander chateau to be built; unfortunately for him, he passed on in 1906, with only these two buildings completed. The house is managed by the Fresno City and County Historic Society and has become a museum with over half of the furnishings being left there by the Kearney's. The servants quarters is where the gift shop is located, and it all sits on 225 acres of landscaping that is called Kearney Park. It was built in 1892, and over the next 14 years, turned a barren flat land into one of the most beautiful landscaped parks in the nation.

  • Woodward Regional Park
    In 1968, long-time Fresno resident, Ralph Woodward left the majority of his estate to the city so that a regional park and bird sanctuary could be developed, in the northeast corner of the city. This 235 acre plot was soon enlarged with another 65 acres and soon it was a large park area of 300 acres full of amenities for all the citizens of the city. The birds that live and frequent here are marvelous to watch, and an amphitheater that holds 2500 people has been constructed there. An authentic Japanese garden, 7 picnic areas with electricity BBQs and water fountains, fenced dog park, 3 small ponds, 3 children's play areas, small lake and 5 miles of wonderful trails are part of the park's attraction. The trails run on the San Joaquin River Parkway's Lewis S. Eaton trail, and when finished, it will cover over 22 miles. Six sheltered picnic areas with 7 tables each are found here, as well as the numerous tables that are set up in the park's areas, but uncovered, and on a first come, first served basis. The Shin Zen garden area is a very popular place for weddings and the beauty of the area makes for a magnificent setting for that type of affair.

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  • Kings River ExpeditionsKings River Expeditions Fresno, California
    The best of all whitewater rivers in the state come from the Southern Sierra, going west through the Kings Canyon National Park, and is the divisor between the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests. The Kings River is where all the best class III rafting occurs, and Two Pines Camp is the home of the Kings River Expeditions, setting above the Pine Flat Reservoir in the National Forests, east of Fresno, by the banks of the Upper Kings River. There are one or two day trips that will thrill you and test your skills. Food is taken care of by the company, serving delicious and filling foods that will give you strength for the tough trip ahead. It is an exciting trip either way, and you'll have the best whitewater trip of your life. The guides are professional and friendly, making your trip all you want it to be. Although they have done this excursion many times before, these great folks will make you feel like it is the first and best trip they have ever taken. There is a list of all the necessities you will need or possibly need, with a store nearby to assist you with those items you don't have or didn't bring. All you need to do or bring is a healthy attitude and the will to have the best time you have ever had. Great for family outings or office building teams trips. The weather doesn't matter since you will be dressed for whitewater rafting at its best and the water is always wild and wet. Enjoy your time here and be sure to enjoy the whole experience.

  • Meux Home Museum
    The Meux Home Museum is located in Fresno, California, and one of the finest examples of historical and architectural buildings in the state. Built in 1888, by Dr. T. R. Meux, coming here from Tennessee the year before. Dr. Meux was a Civil War surgeon for the south, and because of the turmoil in Tennessee, and the bad health of his wife, Meux knew it was time to move on and find a better climate for his wife. With this in mind, he came to Fresno for a new start, and the house was filled with the chatter and laughter of the Meux family until his daughter, Anne died in 1970. Because of the significance of the marvelous house, the residents of Fresno had the city buy the property. Thomas Richard Meux was born and raised in Wesley, Tennessee, in 1838, then left to attend the University of Virginia. After graduation, he went on to the Pennsylvania Medical School, graduating in 1860 at 22. The next year, 1861, he enlisted in the Ninth Tennessee Volunteer Regiment, Company C, Maney County's Cheatham Division of the Confederate Army, as a private. Involved in the battles of Murfeesborough, Atlanta and Shiloh, as an assistant surgeon, leaving the service as a captain in 1865. In 1874, Meux married Mary Ester Davis in Brownsville, Tennessee; then had three children, Mary D., Anne Prenetta and John W. His wife suffered bad health, so when his brother, John, who had already moved to San Francisco in 1879, suggested that the Dr. move his family here for improvements. In 1887, the doctor moved his family to Central Valley, and they registered into the Southern Pacific Hotel in Fresno. He bought some prime real estate in the city, and the family moved into the house in 1889. He started his medical practice that same year, and was a doctor for the city until he retired. The doctor was the president of the Fresno County Medical Society in 1896, and became a staunch supporter of the county democratic club and the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The doctor and his brother John bought some vineyards in the county, and kept an avid interest in the agricultural properties. It was always lived in by his family, that totaled 81 years, the doctor died in 1929 at the ripe old age of 91, and his daughter, Anne, died in 1970, living in the house since she was four years old.  The house/museum has been kept as a wonderful middle-class house, although it seems elegant to us today. It was constructed for $12,000 and came from a carpenter's catalog, and atypical for a Victorian style home of the period. It is somewhat different than the catalog version with various changes made by the doctor to personalize the home for his family. The 10 rooms are furnished with period furnishings, and was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

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  • San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation TrustSan Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust Fresno, California
    During the mid 1980s, the desire for growth and expansion began to pressure the area around the San Joaquin River and the local newspaper, the Fresno Bee, told the news to the residents of the city. Within a year, the community had come together to make a grassroots organization called the San Joaquin River Committee so that they could save the area around the river and keep sprawling developments out. While the debate went on, the idea of the San Joaquin River Parkway developed, and soon the San Joaquin River Reconnaissance Study emerges to specifically document the numerous cultural and natural elements the river benefits the community. Public hearings are held, and a non-profit land trust, the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust is born. The state voters approve a proposition and money is obtained for the lands in 1988. In 1989, the ecological reserve is created and the state's wildlife conservation board gets the first plot of 286 acres by a gift/purchase from Don Underdown. A plan is created and published, and the 30 mile plus greenway of parks, open space and natural reserves is approved. In 1990, the second property is bought, a 147 acre critical wildlife habitat from the Ball Ranch. As the years go by, more land is acquired, and visitation by students and residents confirms the need and pleasure of the natural environment. By 2000, the parkway contains almost 2800 acres of magnificent and beautiful landscapes that will give the community and the future residents a wonderful natural park to enjoy and visit. Exhibits showcase the many changes and growth of the county, the San Joaquin River and lands surrounding it. It tells of the story of how the area came about and the many historical facts that relate to the city and county.

  • Chaffee Zoological Gardens of Fresno
    The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is found in the Roeding Park area of Fresno, California, home to a fabulous zoo, and the Ross Laird Winged Wonders Bird Show. The zoo started in 1908, and the first animals to occupy its land were unwanted pets donated by Sezer Tamcakir. These were fifty different birds, and two bears. With a newly constructed amphitheater, people began to frequent the zoo, and local cats, hoof stock, birds and bears were added to the growing collection. The official opening was in 1929, and it was called the Roeding Park Zoo; with most of the exhibits being held in log cabin style displays. During the 1940s and 1950s, the zoo was able to grow in size and quality, and housing 100 animals by 1947. The first headman was Eldon "Curley" Blocker, and he was hired from the San Diego Zoo, thus making it easier to gain some reputation and more animals. In 1949, Nosey, the elephant was added with the help of the Fresno Rotary Club, and the name came from a contest held in the city. This event happened about the same time as the 49ers Days Rodeo Parade, and Nosey made quite an impression, which in turn created the Fresno Zoological Society, that helped increase awareness of the zoo and give fundraising a chance. In the 1950s, 10 big displays were added, that included a polar bear habitat, monkeys, African bird aviary, sea lions, camels, giraffes and on-site feed and medical facilities. It joined AZA in 1957 and in the 1960s, went through some major changes, one was in response to numerous vandalisms; so the grounds were fenced off, and an admission fee of 25 cents was started; and trust fund established for the zoo and the city council. Dr. Paul Chaffee was hired in 1965, who was a vet and the first director for the zoo; giving him the management duties. In the latter part of the 1960s, the displays were rejuvenated, adding climate control to many of the habitats, and in 1967, the Birds of Prey exhibit built. The zoo was expanded by a third in the 1970s, and many wonderful new displays added, like the prairie dogs, elk and bison. When the Bicentennial Celebration was held, the grizzly bear compound was enlarged, and another trust fund iniated, this time it was the Park Zoo Trust Fund. In 1979, the Edward A. Kane Reptile house was created, and it held the first computer-controlled reptile habitat. Nosey the elephant's compound was enlarged in 1982, so three more elephants could be brought in, and a red wolf display was created called Wolf Woods. This happened in 1984, and the Doris and Karl Falk Wildlife Education Center was finished and became the backbone of the educational center. In 1985, the name of the zoo was changed to the Fresno Zoo and in 1988, a walk through rainforest was constructed. In the 1990s, the name was changed to the Chaffee Zoological Gardens of Fresno in honor of Dr. Chaffee who died that year; and it has become known more popularly as Chaffee Zoo. In 1991, the entrance was broadened to include the Roeding Park Playland and Storyland attractions, and the Winged Wonders Bird Show added. In 1993, Nosey passed on, at the age of 47. In 2004, Measure Z was passed by the city's voters, adding money to expand the zoo and improve the exhibits. This $150 million change has been put on hold waiting on the environmental impact report. And again, the name was changed to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in 2006. A traveling stingray bay display was brought here temporarily in 2007, and a few stingrays were born from that. A permanent stingray bay exhibit was created in 2009, as well as the butterfly house in the rainforest exhibit was redone to be called the Tropical Treasures display that had poison dart frogs and a sloth.

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  • Forestiere Underground GardensForestiere Underground Gardens Fresno, California
    Venture into the unique and unusual world of Baldasare Forestiere, an Italian immigrant, who spent 40 years building this extraordinary underground gardens in Fresno, California. Beginning in 1906, Baldasare built his incredible enclave with numerous skylights and catch basins, with many intricate hybrid and grafted trees. The underground temperatures hindered any chance of frost, and it is maintained by his surviving family members today. It is one of the most fantastic and unconventional examples of vernacular architecture in the world. The hand built underground rooms, passageways and courtyards are spectacular in every way, and the fabulous trees that grow here are so different that it surprises many visitors. Many are over 90 years old, as the temperatures vary only slightly, perhaps 10 to 20 degrees throughout the year. The arches and stoneworks have been copied after the catacombs of Europe, and the fact that Baldasare was self-taught, both as a builder and artist makes the entire complex that much more unique. He left his home of Sicily, and an iron fisted father, who although wealthy, wanted his son to learn it all on his own. So he did, coming to America in 1901, his dream began to take shape as the grottos, garden courts and patios began to emerge from the rock underneath the city. The passageways that interconnect all the various rooms, circle his living quarters, as he strived to find relief from the hot summers. Baldasare had always loved the catacombs, and he began patterning the site from his memory of the old world. While the original catacombs are dark and dank, Baldasare has created well lit areas with the openings and skylights that bring the sunlight and warmth of the region. There were never any plans, just his mind's eye, blooming in his mind and blossoming in the tunnels. Using only the barest tools, a pick, shovel and wheelbarrow, he dug, carved and chipped his cavern complex for forty years in his spare time. By his 44th birthday, he had created a magnificent garden home on 10 acres of land. The marvels didn't stop with his superb home, he also planted varieties of fruit trees that would grace his table and sustain his existence. On some trees, he had grafted lemons, grapefruits and oranges; with dates, strawberries, quinces, loquats, jujube and kumquats he raised others, being able to bend down on the surface and pick his luscious fruit whenever he felt like it. The genius of this man is seen in every surface, every nook and cranny, every sunlit passageway that winds and meanders through this amazing maze. Truly a wonderful place to visit and imagine, a place to relax and meditate, a place that will make you realize that dreams can come true if you belief with all your heart and work towards obtaining that dream.

  • Fesno Grizzlies
    The Grizzlies had a fair season, coming in third in the PCL South division of Triple A ball. Their final record was 71-73 losses, starting out great, but then fading towards the end of the season. It must be really distressful for these Triple A teams, because once they get some good players on their squads, they have a better than average chance of losing them to the major league teams they represent. The Grizzlies are the minor league team for the San Francisco Giants, and they had some great players this year. John Bowker batted an average .342 for the season, and won the PCL batting title; only the second player from Fresno to ever do that. He tied an all-time Grizzlies record by hitting in 7 RBI in one game in August,2009, and set a new club record for most home runs in any month with 12. He received the PCL Player of the Week twice, and was picked to be on the All PCL Team, recognizing the best at the end of the year. The team had one member on the 2009 Triple-A All-Star game with starting pitcher Kevin Pucetas, pitching a hitless inning in the game at Portland against the International League. Kevin had a great year though, with a awesome 8-2 game stats and an ERA of 3.57. John Bowker would supposed to go to the game with him, but hey, he was called up and that is where he went. Dan Rohn, the coach, got his 1000th career victory in the pros, with an 8-6 win over the Salt Lake Bees on July 21st. The team made it to the stats board, with Jesus Guzman, the first baseman hitting for 27 games straight, and John Bowker, again, getting on base 34 times straight. John would still be going if the Giants hadn't called him up in September. Individually, the team had some great and exciting moments, which add up for the people in the stands. In July, Buster Posey was promoted to the Triple-A league without stopping at the Double-A team. Posey helped the team win nine straight with his behind the plate expertise. Coming here from Florida State, Posey hit .321, with 5 homers and 22 RBIs. This young fellow will be someone to watch, as he also was called up to the Giants in September.

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May 09, 2011