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Once a dry desert, Fresno, and a million acres surrounding it, are now lush with vineyards, orange groves, and plantings of cotton and other crops.  In fact, Fresno County is one of the nation’s agricultural leaders.  Conveniently located in the central San Joaquin Valley, this is one California city not to be missed.  Just to the west it is predominantly flat, with the land devoted to agriculture.  To the east, the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains rise out of the low foothills.

 

Blossom trail is a scenic, 63 mile self-guided tour encompassing vineyards, orchards, and historical points of interest. It serves as an orientation to the area.   The trail passes almond, peach, apricot, plum, and nectarine trees in blossom from late February through March.

 

With four very moderate seasons, Fresno’s weather is generally mild throughout the year. Summers are dry and warm; winters are cool and sometimes a little misty.  The scenic mountain elevations above 5000 feet are sprinkled with snow in late fall and winter, adding to the beauty of the area. 

 

The first European settlement of the Fresno region was by the Spaniards as they searched for suitable mission sites.  It was declared to be the property of the United States in 1846 following the Mexican War.  Today the city and the entire county play host to thousands of visitors who come to enjoy including the nearby National Parks. 

 

Fresno is the only city in the United States with three National Parks within an hour and a half drive.  Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia are three spectacular sites.  One of the most popular is Yosemite National Park., renowned for its magnificent valley, great granite domes and peaks, waterfalls, giant sequoia, and spectacular high country.  Sequoia National Park is an unspoiled treasure of some of the most striking scenery in the world. Its towering giant sequoia trees and soaring mountain peaks, its cascading creeks, flowering meadows and star studded evening skies adorn this masterpiece of nature.  Spring and summer offer sensational hiking, horseback riding, fishing and cave tours. Winter boasts cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding in the Sierras.  Kings Canyon’s 461,901 acres are largely wilderness.   The park features summits of the High Sierras and two huge canyons on the Kings River. Kings Canyon was established as a national park in 1940 and adjoins Sequoia.  They are administered as one unit. 

 

In addition to visiting the nearby National Parks, there is much to see and do within the city.  The Chaffee Zoo offers visitors the opportunity to experience a diversity of animal and plant life.  This unique zoo focuses on our good fortune in having such diversity of life on our planet At the Downing Planetarium, visitors have the opportunity of gazing into the stars.  With a 74 seat theater and a 30-foot dome, the planetarium allows visitors to experience the heavens without even going outside.  For those who just want to splash around and have some fun, the Fresno Island Water Park is a must visit attraction.  With over 20 water slides and rides, a huge arcade, as well as an amusement park and miniature golf, it’s fun for the whole family.

 

The Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art, History, and Science is fascinating for all ages.  It displays memorabilia from author William Saroyan, a native of Fresno.  A science gallery has more than 40 interactive stations with exhibits geared toward children.  Forestiere Underground Gardens is an amazing underground retreat designed and created by hand to resemble the Roman catacombs by Sicilian immigrant Baldasare Forestiere in the early 1900s.  Under the earth are extensive rooms, passageways, gardens, patios, and courtyards filled with exotic plants.  The rooms are lit by skylights.   Another favorite site is Roeding Park which features Rotary Playland with a carousel, rides, a miniature railway and the Japanese War Memorial. 

 

Whatever the reason for visiting, whether business or pleasure, Fresno leaves its visitors breathless from its unparalleled beauty and eager to return for another visit.

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