I visited Fresno Chaffee Zoo last summer for the first time. I’ve been to the much bigger San Diego Zoo, but much to my surprise, the smaller Fresno Zoo did not feel underwhelming. The land on which it sits felt diverse and expansive, more so due to its open concept, in which most of the animals aren’t behind an obvious barrier. With all the fun I’ve had there, I was surprised that there’s more to come: Kingdoms of Asia, whose construction I witnessed.
This exhibit will feature new animals, such as sloth bears, Asian small-clawed otters, and Malayan tigers. Their video will detail all that is to come as a part of the new exhibit.
Despite living in Fresno for the last 8 years, I have not once been to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, even though I have heard nothing but good things about it, and have seen shows sponsored by the zoo at unrelated events (like Academic Decathlon, where I first heard about Fresno Chaffee Zoo). I was pleasantly caught off guard on how well done the zoo is. There’s a large variety of animals from various regions, be it from the continent of Africa, Asia, or Australia.
The largest section of the zoo is currently African Adventure, a relatively vast expanse composing of rhinos, elephants, giraffes (which were not roaming now; instead they were only at the giraffe feeding location), and various other ungulates (most notably, the Greater Kudu, which has very distinctive horns). In case you were wondering, the zoo does have safari activities, but since COVID-19, details about that are murky. Chaffee Zoo has a livestream of its African Adventure (if you’re watching it now, you may pick up on some naughty rhino activitiy…).
You may have noticed that most of the exhibits did not have any obvious barriers between the animals and humans, a concept which aims to show kids animals that aren’t in some kind of prison behind bars. Of course, barriers are there for potentially dangerous predators like lions and komodo dragons (or those with a very high flight risk, like birds for example, pun intended). There is much more about the zoo I could write about, but most of the fun and adventure is going there yourself (and when their new installation Kingdoms of Asia is finally open).