Ongoing Educational Experiences

Here’s a listing of museums, learning centers and zoos that are continually open during the month for family fun in and around the Central Valley.

Information is compiled six weeks in advance. In light of recent community developments, many hours have been altered. Please call the telephone numbers provided to verify that the business you plan to visit is currently open.


Kids learn about agriculture and have fun too. There are tractors to climb on, a water pump station and even a cow to milk. Temporarily closed. Suggested Donation: adults $5, children 12 and under $3. The Agricultural Museum & Learning Center, 4500 S. Laspina Street, Tulare. 688-1030


Applegate Zoo specializes in California native animals like cougars, bears, bobcats, birds, coyote, and more. Visit the Kiddie Coral where kids can have a close encounter with smaller animals like chickens, rabbits, alpacas, and more. Thursday and Friday 10 a.m.–3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Masks and social distancing required. Gift shop is closed. Weather permitting. Ages 16-61 $3, Ages 5-15 $2, Ages 62+ $1.50, Under 5 Free. Tours for 2-6 people $12.50. For tours call 209-628-7999. 1045 W. 25th Street, Merced. 209-725-3337


Castle Air Museum gives visitors a peek into the past and lends insight into the evolution of aircraft and the past milestones of aviation. It offers visitors of all ages a glimpse of what the future of aerospace might hold. Castle Air Museum has amassed the entire collection of U.S. Air Force jet fighters from America’s first operational jet fighter the Lockheed P-80 to the amazing General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon from the Korean War to Desert Storm. 9 a.m.–4 p.m., daily. Last admission at 3:15 p.m. Masks required in the Gift Shop and Indoor Museum. May close due to high temperatures. Adults: $20, Seniors, Youths, and Military: $15, Children: $10, Children under 6: Free with paid adult. 5050 Santa Fe Drive, Atwater. 209-723-2178


The Discovery Center, the museum of science and natural history, welcomes visitors to tour the grounds which include the beautiful Deutsch Cactus Garden, Egyptian Maze, Metal T-Rex, Miwok Bark Houses, Worm Farm, Whisper Dishes, Walden Pond, Wilderness Falls, and other outdoor science exhibits. Special science days occur throughout the year. Outdoor areas are open. Social-distancing and mask are required. Park admission is free for families. Museum: $6; Children 2 and under, Veteran, and Military are free. Open on Saturdays and Mondays 9 a.m.–12 p.m. by reservation only. 1944 N. Winery Ave., Fresno. 251-5533


It feels like it’s been an ice age, but the museum is now open and guided tours are back! Come see Ice Age fossils from one of the largest fossil beds in California. Call ahead for the Mock Dig, where children can excavate their own fossils! Masks and social-distancing are required. Checks or cards are accepted, no cash. Call to make required reservation. Guided tours Wednesdays–Fridays at 12 and 1 p.m. Self-Guided tours Saturdays 10 a.m.–4 p.m. One hours slots include the Mock Dig. Admission: adults $10, seniors and military $7, students $6, children 3 and under free. Mock dig $4. 19450 Avenue 21 1/2, Chowchilla. 665-7107.


Visitors can see more than 700 mammals, birds, and reptiles as they tour the zoo. Reservations required. Must make time reservation online before arriving. Open daily from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Last entry at 5 p.m. Zoo admission: $14.95 for adults, $8.95 for seniors and children ages 2-11, ages 1 and under free. $5 Roeding Park entrance fee per vehicle, $7 on holidays. 894 W. Belmont Ave., Fresno. 498-5910.


Observe wildlife, complete with five life size models of animal “homes” with signs along the way to tell the stories about animals living around the San Joaquin River. Tip toe through a mouse house, climb inside a caddis fly cocoon, be a baby eagle in our giant eagle nest, then picnic and explore the River Center grounds. Don’t forget to print out the Scavenger Hunt sheet at! The Hidden Homes Trail located at the San Joaquin River Parkway River Center is wheelchair and stroller accessible, and is specifically designed for preschool children. Open daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Historic Ranch and River Center Exhibits open Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m.–3 p.m. 11605 Old Friant Road, Fresno. 248-8480


A place where children and families can enjoy a hands-on multicultural learning experience which features the “Imagination Center” where children can dress in costumes and play musical instruments. For the small members of the family there is “Toddletown” with crawl spaces and other toys. Also there is science and nutritional learning experiences available. Open Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Children $15, Adults $10, Seniors $7.50, under 1 are free. 210 N. Tipton, Visalia. 733-5975.


Visit some of the world’s most endangered species of cats, including the Bengal tiger and the clouded leopard in natural habitats at the Project Survival Cat Haven. Visitors learn about the cats and efforts being made to save them from extinction. Open Wednesday–Monday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., last tour leaves at 4 p.m. Face masks are required. Adults $15, Children ages 4–12 $10, Seniors $12, Military $10. Located on Hwy 180, 45 miles east of Fresno and 15 miles west of Kings Canyon National Park. 38257 E. Kings Canyon Rd. Dunlap, CA. 338-3216  


Storyland is a small themed amusement park where families can enjoy a day of fun, fantasy and adventure. Walk into the pages of a storybook at Storyland and see the old lady who lived in a shoe, the Willis B. Kyle Express Train (additional cost), the three little pigs, or King Arthur’s castle. Storyland admission: adults $6, children ages 11 and under $4, seniors 65+ $5. Storyland Hours: Wednesdays–Sundays 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Check or on Facebook @storylandplayland for Playland opening date and hours.