During Zoo Lights, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo's annual holiday celebration, families are treated to dazzling illumination displays and holiday activities and crafts. Bask in the complimentary good cheer provided by live entertainers, or satiate holiday hungers with free hot cocoa and Santa-approved cookies. Mr. Claus himself will be making special appearances every night, personally accepting gift requests from good boys and girls. Hardcore yuletide fans can snag a photo-op with Father Christmas.
Hundreds of reenactors from several western states descend on Kearney Park for a living-history lesson that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the civil war. Wander through a civilian town and military encampments housing battle-weary soldiers as live music from the period drifts through the air and artisans craft non-anachronistic wares. Time-traveling visitors may stumble upon Abraham Lincoln for a chat about emancipation or about how he plans to decorate his beard for Halloween as a collection of stagecoaches gleams in the sun nearby.
Arte Américas is a nonprofit cultural emporium of Latin-Americana that integrates more than 10,000 square feet of eclectic artwork, theater classes, live music, book readings, poetry slams, and many workshops. This season's summer concerts in the Plaza give you a chance to gyrate your hips to the sizzling cumbia of La Sonora Explosion Dinamitera (August 6); groove to the songs of Santana as delivered by Zebop (September 3); or anachronistically Charleston to 40-Watt Hype's fusion of hip-hop, Latin, soul, and R&B (September 10). And come Mother's Day, your membership puts you y tu mama tambien on the VIP list for the perpetually sold-out Rebozo Festival, which recognizes the achievements of Hispanic women in categories other than Being Salma Hayek. The laid-back atmosphere of Arte Américas is reflective of the vibrant Hispanic and Latino influences found throughout the museum as you stroll around, absorb the creative energy, and daydream about siestas where you're dreaming about siestas.
Moravia Wine's Howard Hammond is the patriarch of the family vineyards. For Howard, farming is a family tradition that stretches back to the late 19th century, when his Danish ancestor, Hans Jacob Jeppesen, arrived in America aboard a Norwegian vessel named "Moravia." Today, Howard, his wife Barbara, and a new generation of Hammonds carry on that tradition at the family's vineyards, a 400-acre estate in West Fresno. There, they produce Moravia wine inside a World War II-era farm and equipment barn. The barn's interior has undergone major changes to accommodate the production process and frequent tasting events. But its exterior still uses the original brickwork, maintaining the building's character.
In the late 1940s, a group of artists came together to create the Fresno Arts League—a forum for art exhibition and critique. Their inspiration lives on today at Fresno Art Museum, a hub for artistic culture. The museum houses a permanent collection of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican art exhibits by the likes of Norman Rockwell and Ansel Adams. Members get more than entry to the museum; they also receive free access to opening receptions and Conversations with The Artists events, among other benefits.
For three generations, the family at Ficklin Vineyards has nurtured 35 acres of portuguese vine varietals to sustain a supply of small-production California-style port wines. Plum-flavored notes blossom from bottles of spicy Old Vine Tinta port ($15), and bottles of chocolate, hazelnut, and raspberry passport ($14) arrive at palates with fruit-infused flavors and up-to-date customs papers. Sauces such as the raspberry-chocolate port sauce ($18) help to accentuate desserts, and the L'Andalus orange aperitif wine ($30) inaugurates pre-dinner revelries with hints of apricot, honey, and orange blossom. To commemorate the rarity of exceptional growing seasons and Harlem Globetrotter losses, the Ficklin family bottles a vintage-dated port in limited quantities of 1,000 cases. Eight vintage ports have been bottled in the past 50 years, marking seasons such as 1996 ($36), 1988 ($41.25), and 1957 ($360).