The World-Class Gardens of
By BARRY EITEL
The vast majority of Fresno County days are sunny, so it’s a city meant to be enjoyed outdoors. From nostalgic countryside farms to unique underground labyrinths to public green spaces, Fresno County has a wealth of gardens. Here are some of the most fantastic gardens to explore on your weekend (or weeklong) trip to Fresno.
Take a journey back in time with a trip to Simonian Farms. This extraordinary farm includes acres of walkable gardens as well as a working farm. Since its opening in 1901, the ranch now grows more than 180 types of fruits and vegetables – and it is also a great place to hang out during a lazy weekend afternoon. Every day, families visit and bask in California’s glorious agricultural splendor – and can pick up some avocados or oranges at prices far cheaper than any grocery store. Part farm, part history museum, part tasting room and part hangout spot, Simonian Farms has a lot to offer. With several buildings packed with country charm, Simonian Farms provides a large collection of antiques and memorabilia. Attracting visitors from around the globe, this farm provides a one of a kind experience.
Clovis Botanical Garden
Spanning three acres of land, this extraordinary garden is a sight to see. Lined between Dry Creek Trail and Dry Creek Park, the Clovis Botanical Gardens is unique due to its emphasis in water conservation. The garden is home to seventy plants from vibrate colored succulents, flourishing shrubs and luscious landscapes all made for the hot summers and cool winters of the Central Valley. This water-wise demonstration is one of a kind garden in Fresno County.
Recently voted Best Underground Attraction in the USA, Forestiere Underground Gardens is a subterranean journey to the Mediterranean tucked away in the heart of Fresno. The gardens are one of the most distinctive experiences in the whole state. During the early 1900s, an Italian immigrant named Baldassare Forestiere sculpted a fantastic underground retreat for himself stretching out over 10 acres but deep underground. He spent 40 years creating the gardens, which visitors can now wander for hours. An amazing fully intact labyrinth of rooms, passageways, a multilevel aquarium, patios and courtyards greets guests. The gardens are gorgeous, filled with plantings of fruit trees and vines – some were actually planted by Forestiere himself. In an agricultural feat of wonder, many of these are grafted to grow more than one kind of fruit. The byzantine structure includes an abundance of stonework and building techniques patterned after the ancient catacombs of Europe. This hidden gem of Fresno County is a state-registered landmark.
This sprawling park is a favorite for Fresno locals because it has so much to offer. Whatever you have in mind for fun or relaxation, Roeding Park is just the place to spend the afternoon. Beautifully landscaped with cool blue lakes, huge groves of trees and rolling green lawns, this park is great for large groups of friends or families that want to do just about any activity imaginable. With eight championship-size tennis courts, two dance pavilions, horseshoe pits, playgrounds, picnic areas and barbecue pits this beautiful park is perfect for a family reunion or a simple relaxing picnic in the California sunshine.
Shinzen Japanese Garden
Friendship is the overarching theme at Shinzen Japanese Garden, so it is incredibly enjoyable with a group of your closest companions. The garden is a Japanese-inspired garden located within Woodward Park, so it’s easily accessible from anywhere in the city. Built by the local Japanese community, this unique garden offers plenty of shady spots perfect for thoughtful meditation or a brilliant retreat for those seeking some solitude. The one of kind features such as an authentic teahouse, koi pond, ume grove, double moon bridge, meditation area, streams and beautiful waterfalls create a picturesque scenery found nowhere else in Fresno County.
Visit Fresno County, California’s year-round playground!