Fresno Chaffee Zoo – A Great Place for Family Fun

Looking for a great place to spend a day with the family? Check out the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, a great place for kids of all ages to have fun and learn about animals.

The zoo opened in the early 1900s, with donated, unwanted pets as its first animals on display in makeshift cages. The zoo grew with its addition of the amphitheater and new, exotic animals, with more modern-type exhibits developed, beginning in the 1940s.

Significant renovations were made in the 1960’s, and the namesake of the zoo, Dr. Paul Chaffee, was hired as director in 1965. Since then, the zoo has grown and modernized, with an increasing focus on animal comfort and education.

Today, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo houses dozens of animal species, as well as event venues and special attractions. About 40 species of these animals are either endangered or no longer exist in the wild today, and the zoo participates in a global conservation effort with 26 projects worldwide.

Here are a few examples of some of the fun exhibits you’ll enjoy at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo:

  • African Adventure. This is a 13-acre, naturalistic exhibit with elephants, cheetahs, white rhinoceroses, and giraffes, all on a natural savannah with interactive play areas and live interpretation exhibits.
  • Dino Dig. This exhibit lets kids experience paleontology like a real scientist, digging up fossils with free tools provided, including a full-size T-Rex!
  • Roo Walkabout. This Australian walk-through exhibit allows you and your kids to experience kangaroos, wallabies, emus and other native Australian animals in a fun, walkable area. The Roo Walkabout is wheelchair accessible to welcome all zoo guests.
  • Sea Lion Cove. This exhibit celebrates the wildlife of the California coast, complete with crashing waves, sea lions, seals and pelicans in a breathtaking natural coastline display. Visitors can view the animals in their natural surroundings from a 35-foot underwater viewing window, and kids can relax on the beach area and build sand castles.

You can visit daily year-round, except for major holidays. Admission rates range from $7.95 to $12.95 for a day pass, or you can get unlimited admission when you become a member, starting at $69/year. The zoo is a great option for birthday parties and private events, and onsite learning programs provide fun, educational opportunities for kids and animal lovers of all ages.

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Next, explore a truly unique open-air museum at Forestiere Underground Gardens, a registered historical landmark.