The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is a seriously amazing zoo! If you are ever in California near Fresno, you need to visit! We spent over 4 hours there and didn’t even see everything. There is so much to do and see!
Here is a video of the highlights of our zoo trip:
We felt this zoo was VERY reasonably priced! Admission prices when we went in December 2016 were $10 for adults and $5.50 for children (ages 2-11) as well as seniors. Since we had never been to this zoo before, we actually didn’t expect it to be as big or as nice as it is based on those prices. We are used to zoos similar to the size of this zoo charging 4 to 5 times this price, so this was an extremely nice surprise!
The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is located inside Roeding Park in Fresno, CA. There is a $5 cash only parking fee to enter this park, so be sure to bring $5 cash to park when you go to the zoo. There are other things to do within this park, so you might want to check those out before or after your zoo visit. We didn’t look too closely at the other attractions, but it looked like there was a small amusement park, train, playground, and picnic benches throughout the park.
We went on a weekday in December and felt like we had the entire zoo to ourselves! There were a few other families there, but we were all very spread out. At most, there was one other family at an exhibit with us – however, we got to experience most exhibits by ourselves!
There is a huge selection of animals at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo!
These animals can be found in different exhibits, such as the African Adventure, Sea Lion Cove, Valley Farm (petting zoo), Stingray Bay, Dino Dig, and Roo Walkabout.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to experience the Stingray Bay, Dino Dig, or Roo Walkabout. We accidentally passed the Stingray Bay and forgot to go back, we didn’t even realize there was a Dino Dig until later when we were looking at our video footage from the day and saw a sign for the Dino Dig, and the Roo Walkabout was closed because we went on a weekday.
I was really sad that we missed the Roo Walkabout. This looked like an awesome experience! It looked like you could actually walk through the kangaroo exhibit! If you love kangaroos (as well as emus and kookaburras which are also in the same exhibit), I suggest visiting the zoo on a weekend day so you can experience the Roo Walkabout! We hope to come back on day during the weekend to see the kangaroos up close!
The Fresno Chaffee Zoo offers a few experiences that cost extra money. The first one is Stingray Bay. I believe this experience is $2 per person to enter and then $1 per feeding to see and feed the Stingrays. We accidentally missed this exhibit, so I don’t have much to share about it.
The second experience that costs extra money is feeding the giraffes. This was one of our favorite parts of the day! It is $2 per feeding, but that comes with two pieces of lettuce. Each of our kids were able to feed the giraffes one piece of lettuce per feeding time, so it came out to $1 per person. We ended up doing this experience twice because we loved it so much! I actually wanted to go back to do it a third time! We have never been so close to a giraffe before! It was such a cool experience! Definitely try to feed the giraffes when you go!
We bought food from the Kopje Lodge for lunch. Oh my goodness, it was delicious! We aren’t huge fans of amusement park/zoo food usually, so we didn’t have high expectations. We usually find this type of food to be overpriced and just taste okay. This food experience was different!
We passed a few food places before we stopped for lunch at the Kopje Lodge. We found ourselves inside a huge room with tons of food choices: pasta, salads, sandwiches, soup, pizzas, burgers, etc. It was laid out as if it was a cafeteria style restaurant, but everything was made to order! We got two individual sized specialty pizzas for ourselves, mac n cheese for the boys, a side of garlic knots, and a drink in a refillable souvenir cup. This all added up to about $25, which is a great value for a zoo!
The best part, though, was where we ate our lunch. This dining option has a covered patio with tables that overlook the African Savannah exhibit. This exhibit is home to elephants, rhinos, wildebeest, giraffes, ostriches, zebras, and more! The boys really enjoyed looking for the animals while they were eating. We enjoyed it as well!
If you play the Pokémon Go game, this is a fantastic place to visit! There were Pokéstops EVERYWHERE! They had Pokéball signs throughout the zoo to indicate there was a Pokéstop in that location.
If you are visiting the Fresno Chaffee Zoo during the holiday season, be sure to check out a special nighttime event called ZooLights! They decorate the entire zoo with lights and holiday decorations in addition to giving out complimentary hot chocolate and cookies!
Admission prices for this event in 2016 were $7 for adults and $5 for children (ages 2-11) as well as seniors. This is a 3-hour event from 5pm to 8pm.
We thought this would be such a fun event for our boys, but the event is only held on certain nights so we missed our chance to experience it while we were in town.
This zoo also has rentals available if you need them. They offer wagons to put kids in for $7.50, wheelchairs for $4.00, and electric wheelchairs for $20.00.
We had a great time and highly recommend it to everyone!
Here are some additional pictures from our adventure:
Link to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s website: