12 Things To Do With Family In Fresno, California

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Fresno is located in California’s Central Valley and is the fifth largest city in the state. With its ideal location and Mediterranean climate, Fresno offers many fun activities for families throughout the year.

From exploring exciting attractions like the Fresno Chaffee Zoo and Forestiere Underground Gardens to participating in seasonal events, families visiting Fresno will never run out of things to see and do together. This article highlights 12 of the top things for families to do in Fresno to make the most out of their visit.

Explore Fresno Chaffee Zoo


The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is one of the top attractions in Fresno, featuring over 190 species from around the world. Families can visit wildlife exhibits featuring African lions, tigers, cheetahs, grizzly bears, otters, penguins and exotic birds. The zoo has lots of interactive elements like the Sea Lion Cove, Stingray Bay and Lorikeet Landing where guests can get up close with animals.

There is also a tropical rainforest exhibit with exotic reptiles and the Islands of Adaptations area focused on Madagascar’s diverse ecosystems. With special events held throughout the year and amenities like dining areas, gift shops, and misting stations, Fresno Chaffee Zoo offers a memorable day out for families.

Marvel at the Forestiere Underground Gardens


An intriguing Fresno attraction, the Forestiere Underground Gardens is a series of subterranean tunnel networks and courtyards artistically designed with fruit trees and vines by Baldassare Forestiere in the early 1900s. Visitors are awestruck walking through the dimly lit catacomb passages leading to open air courtyards with skylights overhead.

With a consistent 60-70 degree temperature year-round underground, it’s an ideal place to explore on hot summer days. From the citrus orchard and greenhouse tunnel to the relaxing garden patio and aquarium, families will be fascinated learning about how one man single-handedly created this unique historic landmark over a span of 40 years.

Attend the Big Fresno Fair

The Big Fresno Fair is one of the largest annual events in Fresno attracting over 600,000 attendees each year. Held in October, this family-friendly fair has carnival rides, concerts, livestock competitions, horse racing and exhibits displaying the region’s agricultural offerings.

Families can ride the Ferris wheel together, catch a show, play games along the midway, watch a demolition derby event or enjoy tasty fair food options. With special discounts and promotions available on certain days, visiting the Big Fresno Fair is an autumn tradition for many local families and tourists alike.

Explore Kearney Park

Nestled in central Fresno, Kearney Park is a popular 56 acre public park that features Japanese gardens, picnic areas, sports fields and lots of shade from mature trees making it ideal for family fun. Families can feed koi fish in the Shinzen Friendship Garden pond, stroll along peaceful walking paths, play disc golf across the park, have a barbecue with friends or let kids burn off energy at the playground.

The park also hosts events like summer movies in the park and food truck festivals. With plenty of open green spaces and amenities, Kearney Park is one of Fresno’s beloved community parks perfect for families.

Go Wine Tasting at Local Vineyards

Fresno County has several family-friendly vineyards that offer facilities and activities catered towards guests of all ages. Many vineyards allow leashed pets and offer play areas for kids alongside wine tasting rooms and patios for parents.

Some even have picnic grounds, bocce ball courts, discovery trails and seasonal events like grape stomps, live music, and outdoor movie nights that provide fun for the whole family. Popular wineries like JS Estate Wines, Hannah Nicole Vineyards and Viaggio Estate and Winery create a welcoming ambiance for families to enjoy Fresno’s burgeoning wine country.

See Exhibits at Fresno Art Museum

Fresno Art Museum is located in Fresno’s Cultural Arts District and features intriguing rotating exhibits of contemporary artwork from around the world alongside innovative programming. Families can explore three floors of galleries displaying painting, sculpture, photography and more.

The museum also hosts public events like art workshops for kids, film screenings, poetry readings and live performances making it a dynamic arts institution for visitors of all ages. Families visiting Fresno looking for exposure to art, culture and creativity will enjoy a trip to the Fresno Art Museum.

Go Back in Time at Meux Home Museum


History buffs will love visiting the Meux Home Museum located in downtown Fresno, consisting of a restored 1889 Victorian house museum and carriage barn. Family members can take a guided tour to learn about the Meux family’s history and see what life was like at the turn of the century.

Tour highlights include viewing the ornate antique furnishings in the formal parlor and dining room, beautiful stained glass windows, intimately preserved second floor bedrooms and the expansive attic playroom filled with Meux family toys and props. From the vintage clothes on display to early 20th century toys, the Meux Home Museum provides families an inside look into Fresno’s past.

Picnic at Woodward Park

One of the top parks in Fresno for families is Woodward Park, a sprawling 300 acre botanical oasis near the city center with duck ponds, Japanese garden, playgrounds, amphitheater and biking/walking trails to explore. Families visiting the park have plenty of open green space and shade to choose an ideal picnic spot and spend a lazy afternoon together enjoying the natural beauty.

Kids can partake in the nature programs at Woodward Park’s amphitheater, view koi at the Shinzen Japanese Garden bridge, hiking some trails or cool off at the Pop Laval Water Playground. For an effortless day outdoors appreciating nature, Woodward Park is the perfect family-friendly destination.

Attend the Rogue Festival

Each February, Fresno celebrates the Rogue Festival, an inclusive arts event featuring musical performances, literary readings, independent films and children’s activities. Families can attend poetry slams, watch unique dance shows, listen to live folk bands or browse vendor exhibits at the multi-day event highlighting local talent.

Kids enjoy story time sessions while parents can take a date night at the comedy club showcases or avant garde theater productions. With many free events held downtown in Fresno’s Tower District, the Rogue Festival blends performing and visual arts into an eclectic celebration for all ages showcasing the area’s thriving creative community.

See Musical Performances at the Saroyan Theatre

Owned by the Fresno Convention Center, the historic Saroyan Theatre located downtown has been providing world-class entertainment to Fresno since its opening in 1939. Families can attend a variety of musical performances from big Broadway musicals and symphony orchestras to rock concerts and touring comedy shows.

Some standout productions families have enjoyed include The Lion King musical, The Blue Man Group performance art and The Nutcracker ballet around the holidays. With seats over 2000 across multiple balcony levels modeled after European opera houses, the Saroyan Theatre creates an unforgettable viewing experience for families supplemented by its beautiful interior architecture.

Check Out Exciting Exhibits at Discovery Center

The Discovery Center science museum is another family-favorite attraction in Fresno featuring three floors of fun interactive exhibits to spark kids’ interest in science and technology concepts. Children can view reptiles like snakes and turtles in the vivarium, dig for dinosaur bones at the paleontology sandpit, learn about optics at the prism tunnel or manipulate objects with robot arms.

Other exhibits let kids race pine wood cars down spiraling tracks, explore marine ecosystems in the aquarium room, identify gemstone properties, play music using pipes and levers or view the night sky in the planetarium. With new traveling exhibits cycled in regularly, the Discovery Center offers dynamic hands-on educational fun for families.

Enjoy Theater Performances at Good Company Players

Good Company Players is a revered theater company based in Fresno performing musicals, comedies and dramas in the intimate 266-seat Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater and various venues around town. Families can enjoy well-known productions like Beauty and the Beast, Annie, Peter Pan and A Christmas Carol presented in high-quality sets and costumes that bring the stories to life.

With kid-centric shows every Christmas and reduced ticket prices for young audience members, Good Company Players aims to inspire creativity and passion for the performing arts in children and adults alike. Attending plays at Good Company creates cherished memories families can bond over while supporting talented local actors.

Conclusion


Fresno offers many exciting things for traveling families to experience together from museums and cultural sites to fairs, parks and seasonal events. Families visiting Fresno have plenty of options to bond over creating lasting memories through activities that blend entertainment, learning, nature and quality time together.

From perennial attractions like Fresno Chaffee Zoo and the Forestiere Underground Gardens to annual events like the Big Fresno Fair and Rogue Festival, families will have their pick of sites to see and events to attend during their Fresno travels. With mild weather year-round, Fresno allows the flexibility to plan outdoor adventures in any season.

By exploring Fresno’s vibrant arts scene, historic landmarks, science discovery centers, wine country and community parks all welcoming to guests of all ages, families are guaranteed to have a meaningful visit filled with rich experiences.

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