Favorite Fresno Area Parks

Prior to this month, we had only been to two parks/playgrounds in Fresno. We have since become playground experts😉, well at least experts in what we appreciate in a park/playground. So we based our choices on these four aspects:

  • Green space
  • Playgrounds designed for little kids
  • A contained park space
  • Shade

Fresno and Clovis have some great areas that meet these standards, but there is also A LOT of room for improvement. At the end of this post I’ve included information about a grassroots movement, Parks for Fresno, that is currently collecting signatures for a ballot measure in November to greatly increase funding for parks and the arts in Fresno. Be sure to scroll down to find out how you can help! With that, here are our top (non-water) parks in the Fresno area!

1. Oso de Oro
This park has been and remains one of our absolute favorites! There are two well-separated play grounds for younger and older kids, and neither are as treacherous as some of the playgrounds we visited. For me, not having crazy anxiety about my kids running around and playing on a structure is at the top of my list for important qualities in a park. I like to give them a little space to explore and there were a few parks we visited that this just wasn’t possible. The red play ground is perfect for Bebe and is still fun for Kel. I actually can sit and watch them play on this playground! And let’s be honest… getting to sit as a parent is a real treat!Oso de Oro also has a lot of green space and is nice and shady! It features a wonderful path of walls showcasing California history for the kids to run around, that I find to be a nice break from the slides and monkey bars.

2. Valley View Playground at Woodward Park
I highly recommend checking out this area of Woodward Park. Though there is the $5 parking fee to get into the park, this area and playground was a perfect place for a picnic and for the kids to play. The trees provide a wonderful canopy right near the playground to lay a blanket and have a picnic.And the playground is awesome! I think my favorite from all the parks. It includes lots of cute woodland animal details and has an adventurous feel for the kids without anything that is super high or open. (The kids made a friend and were climbing around the equipment pretending to be cats.)Another thing I really liked about it was the shade over the play structure. Kept the kids out of the sun and the equipment didn’t get too hot. It also featured some really unique and interactive toys that I have not seen in other parks (pictured below).3. Dry Creek Park & Clovis Botanical Garden
A new favorite for us is definitely Dry Creek Park. I loved all of the green space and trails and there are three large playgrounds for all different age groups. A word of caution, the slides on the big kid playground are no joke. I always try to steer my little ones to the age appropriate area, but they are always mesmerized by the bigger equipment. On this visit, Bebe had a bit of a spill going down one of them and is now a little spooked when it comes to slides, so be careful with your little ones on the big area. This is where we should have been playing, but live and learn. Oh, and did I mention there is train shaped play equipment? That’s definitely a selling point in our house. Dry Creek is a great park in itself, and would probably still be on this list without Clovis Botanical Gardens, but with it… oh my, what a treasure! We had the best time walking around and looking at the beautiful blooming flowers.A highlight for the kids was the sensory garden. There are instruments to play, herbs to smell and taste, and this beautiful mosaic that the kids loved touching and I loved photographing.There were so many unique things to explore around every corner, and lots of wildlife (especially lizard)!4. Keith Tice Park

Though much smaller than our other favorites, Keith Tice Park offers all of the things that we are looking for in a favorite park. There are two playgrounds (one for younger, one older) but even the older equipment is relatively safe for the little ones. Beyond the playground is a nice open grass field that is lined with mature pine trees creating a great shaded area to run around in and play.

We love the parks that we have in our community but a lot of them need some TLC and there is so much potential for what Fresno COULD have to offer.  Here is what you need to know about Fresno Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Initiative (Fresno for Parks and Arts):

In the City of Fresno approximately $37.5 million annually over a 30 year period would be used as follows:

  • 46% ($17.25 million) for cleaning and maintaining safe parks for all of Fresno.
  • 8.5% ($3.2 million) on youth and senior programs and job training.
  • 21% ($7.9 million) on new parks and recreation facilities.
  • 11.25% ($4.2 million) on improved paths and trails.
  • 12% ($4.5 million) on expanded access to arts and culture.
  • 3/8 cent sales tax – which essentially equates to 10 cents a day or roughly $3 a month.

How can you help?

  • If you are a registered voter in the City of Fresno, SIGN THE PETITION.
  • To volunteer, call the Fresno Arts Council at 559.237.9734.


  1. Check out the “Art of Life Healing Garden” in Woodward Park. It has a fun musical instrument area. Equally fun for kids and parents. There is also a little tunnel that has a beautiful mural in it. Kids can explore and find hidden treasures on the mural like animals native to the area.

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