Summertime Fun in the Valley

Jun 21, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Arts & Entertainment, Kathy Eide Casas

by Kathy Eide Casas

Don’t let the sizzling days of summer drag you down. Cool adventures abound for all ages throughout the Central Valley.

Check out this little list of big things to do. We’ve included activities for kids, families and even for the adults! A few are date specific but other activities are ongoing all summer long. Be sure and check the accompanying contact info for dates, time and costs (where applicable).


Forestiere Underground Gardens
What could be cooler than going underground at the Forestiere Underground Gardens? This unique jewel is an adventure unlike any other. Also known as California State Landmark No. 916, the Gardens are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and, of course, are listed on the Fresno City and County Historical Site as well.


Multi-grafted Citrus Tree 20 feet Below Ground at Forestiere Underground Gardens

Easy access from Highway 99 at Shaw, this tour promises to be a memorable adventure. Using only farming tools of picks, shovels, wheelbarrows and a Fresno Scraper pulled by two mules, Baldassare Forestiere built this amazing multi-acre site in his spare time. His work was patterned after the ancient catacombs, but these Gardens are full of light, and though completely underground, even include fruit-producing trees and vines. With three levels, the Underground Gardens were carved and created with cool airflows in mind and walls that are curved like an upside-down teacup for extra support. Experience this unique environment first hand.

Call ahead or check the website at to schedule your tour or to find out more information about this unforgettable jewel, located right here in our midst.

The Discovery Center
There’s much to discover at The Discovery Center. From hands-on science featuring an interactive science arcade, to the outdoor park area where visitors can dig, fish, or experience the Whisper Dishes, play on the Egyptian Maze or explore the Worm Farm, T-Rex, or Cactus Garden, there’s something for every level of interest and imagination at The Discovery Center. Rentals are available for parties, picnics and more.

Cactus garden at Discovery Center

Summer workshops for kids are running now through August and include: Chemistry in the Kitchen, Space Boot Camp, Weird Science, Shark Week and Monsters and Giants. Intriguing topics, to be sure!

Call (559) 251-5533 or visit the web site at: to learn more.

Fresno County Libraries-Not just books anymore!
If you’re looking for something for those tweens and teens, rediscover the library. Books, movies, CDs and more, the library has it all. This year, the library is holding a new giveaway, found at Register on the site and you can win a free book. Winners are announced on Mondays and the only requirement is that you be a resident of Fresno County. Somebody has to win-why not you? library

There are also a lot of fun events for teens and kids during their Summer Reading Program which began on June 14. They can also get prizes for reading!

Visit your local branch or go online at to find music, books and more and to see all the events happening for the summer.

The McDermont Field House
All ages can take fun to the extreme, with a host of indoor, outdoor, daytime and evening activities, happening on any given day and time at the McDermont Field House. This premier sports and entertainment destination was originally a fruit packing house, but has been transformed into a state-of-the-art, 172,000 square ft. venue, buzzing with activity. Visitors can enjoy everything from The Flowrider to the Eagle Mountain Rock Climbing Wall to golf, soccer, aquatics and everything in between! Located in Lindsay, the short drive is well worth the big adventure of fun.

Call (559) 562-3326 or visit the website at:

Warnors Center for the Performing Arts
Enjoy the cool air-conditioned comfort and bask in the historic beauty of the Warnors Theatre in downtown Fresno. This year, Warnors is presenting their ‘Classic Film Series.’ 10 classic films will be shown on the third Thursday of every month, with the exception of June. The June classic will be shown on June 26th. All films begin at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6 p.m. warnors

Plan to enjoy the true classic, True Grit, in June. If you dress in western wear, your admission is free! To peruse the series for your favorite classics, purchase tickets, or to find out more about other events at the Warnors, go to: Also check out this full article on the film series in this week’s issue of KRL.

North Fresno Rotary 29th Annual Pancake Run to benefit the North Fresno Rotary Charities
If you love pancakes, walking, running, and shopping, (and who doesn’t?) Fig Garden Village is the perfect place to start your summer Saturday morning on July 12. Register now for the 5k Race and 2 Mile Fun Run/Walk and receive a t-shirt, goodie bag and try out the world famous rotary pancakes. Awards and ribbons for walk/run participants will be given out. As a reward for burning off all those calories, pile in at the entrance to the Elbow Room from 7-10 a.m. and enjoy the world-famous pancake breakfast that features live music, face painting, balloon animals for the kids and a raffle with prizes from Fig Garden merchants. Post-pancakes, walk off those carbs by power-browsing the sidewalk sale and searching for unique bargains.

For information and to register for the walk, run, go to:

Annual Toro Nagashi (Floating Lantern) Ceremony at the Shinzen Japanese Gardens in Woodward Park
Held each year on the second Saturday of August, this year’s lakeside ceremony will be held on August 9, from 7-9:30 p.m. The Toro Nagashi, or Floating Lantern ceremony, is an ancient Buddhist Ceremony dating back to the 7th Century and is traditionally associated with the Obon Season in Japan, when ancestral spirits are welcomed to earth from the “heavens.” The Toro Nagashi Ceremony is held at the close of the Obon Season when these beloved spirits are led back to their “other world” homes, thus ending their brief visit on earth with loved ones. This beautiful and emotional ceremony is enjoyed typically by over 200 families. For more information or to order lanterns, go to the Shinzen Japanese Garden website at or call (559) 840-1264.

Daily Tours at the Shinzen Japanese Gardens in Woodward Park
The Gardens are open daily from 5 p.m. until dusk. The 5 acre garden includes stream beds with waterfalls, seven bridges (including the stone double-moon bridge for double good luck), and a Koi Pond. Paved pathways lead you through the Spring Section where azaleas, camellias, crabapples, irises, flowering cherries and plums are a viewer’s delight. The cooling waters of the Koi Pond are the centerpiece of the Summer Section.

Downing Planetarium on the Fresno State Campus
The sky’s the limit with your up-close personal view of the stars at the Downing Planetarium. The planets align as you star gaze and view the solar system in a whole new light. Unique programs and shows highlight the summer schedule for all ages.

Schedules and programs change, so call ahead to 559-278-4121or visit to find out what’s in store at the Planetarium.

Pow Wow and Native Gathering
Enjoy the cultural splendor of the native regalia as the dancers follow the rhythms of the drums at these Valley Pow Wows. Visitors will find food for every taste and crafts and vendors abound.

The North Fork 43rd Annual Indian Fair Days & Pow Wow, is Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 3 and 4, at the North Fork Recreation Center, in North Fork.

For more information about the 2014 Indian Fair Days & Pow Wow, including dates, times and admission prices, contact the Museum Pow Wow Committee at (559) 877-2115 or email staffmonomuseum@gmail[dot]com.

If you enjoy theatre check out KRL’s theatre event page to learn about this year’s Woodward Shakespeare Festival.

Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.

Kathy Eide Casas Kathy Eide Casas is a valley native and has been involved in politics, public policy and public relations her entire career. From the U. S. and state capitols to local projects, she has been a guiding force. Most recently, Eide-Casas completed the writing for two U Turns Allowed magazines, benefiting Focus Forward. Additionally, her work has run in several other local publications, including Valley Health Magazine.


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