Beyond the Office: How to Make the Most of Your Weekend Away

By MEGAN EILEEN McDONOUGH
If you travel for work, you’re already among the lucky few in the world. While visiting new locales is certainly exciting, it can be difficult finding the time (and energy!) to see and do it all. So, while the purpose of your trip may be to win over a new client, remember to get out and experience what Fresno County has to offer. With spring in full bloom, we’ve rounded up eight of Fresno’s best outdoor attractions.

 

1. Wander through Shinzen Japanese Garden.

Instead of working during your lunch hour, take a stroll through the Woodward Park
Shinzen Japanese Garden. Built by the local community in honor of Fresno's Sister City, Kochi Japan, the serene space features a koi pond and an authentic Japanese Ceremonial Tea House. Wander through the quiet gardens where native plants from the southern islands of Japan grow, like the Japanese sago palms that date back to the Mesozoic era. You will be overcome with tranquility as you stroll through this peaceful five acre garden. Don't forget to admire the extensive Clark Bonsai Collection, which houses over 80 amazing bonsai trees.

 

2. Laugh your face off at Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater.
Come dinner, splurge on a ticket to Roger Rocka's Dinner Theater, where an indulgent meal is served alongside a lively musical comedy. As the Central Valley's top destination for award-winning performance theater, it's the go-to spot to kick back and laugh the night away. Thursdays and Sundays are buffet style, while Fridays and Saturdays feature a set menu. Come hungry. There’s lots of food to go around.

 

3. Feel like a kid at Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
You don't have to be a kid to enjoy the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Spanning 39 acres, the park is home to more than 190 species. The 13-acre African Adventure exhibits house animals characteristic of the African plains and savannah—elephants, white rhinos, cheetahs and a giraffe. There’s even an on-site restaurant, should you get hungry. On the flipside, the Sea Lion Cove gives guests a glimpse into marine mammal behavior.


4. Travel through time at Simonian Farms.
Not a fan of crowds? Spend an afternoon at Simonian Farms. Located in southeast Fresno, the farm looks and feels almost like it did in the 1900s. Time travel back to the days of balloon-tire bicycles and family farming. Their collection of dried fruit and nuts is the largest in the valley, so make sure to take a look at their shop and pick up a unique gift or a delicious snack for your trip home.

 

5. Get cultured at Arte Americas.
Calling all art connoisseurs! Arte Americas is the area's premier spot to experience Latino art and culture. Exhibits and events are educational in nature and aimed at both showcasing and celebrating the variety of artwork represented. Themes are all across the board, from traditional and folkloric in nature to more avant-garde styles. Despite its humble beginnings, the nonprofit now has 10,000 square feet of gallery and performance space.

 

6. Hike through national parks.
After hours hunched over your laptop, a jaunt through nature is exactly what you need. Considered to be the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite National Park, famous for ancient sequoias and jaw-dropping granite cliffs, is just a bus ride away through the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS). Another must-see is Sequoia National Park, where the largest concentration of sequoia trees in the world grows. There’s no better place to disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in a natural landscape within 90 minutes from Fresno!

 

7. Veer down vineyards.
Beyond Fresno's upscale wine bars and low-key watering holes are vineyards that stretch for miles. The Fresno County Wine Journey encompasses 11 wineries, two breweries and two retail tasting rooms. That said, each space is different from the last, so plan your visit wisely! For an even more immersive wine experience, tour through the Madera Wine Trail. The grape-growing region has a long tradition of producing award-winning wines.

 

Visit Fresno County, California’s year-round playground! 

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