Forestiere Underground Gardens

5021 W Shaw Ave
Fresno CA 93722
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Opening Hours

  • Sat: 10am-3pm
  • Sun: 10am-3pm

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Forestiere Underground Gardens is the culmination of one man's 40 year quest to replicate the ancient underground catacombs that he had admired as a boy growing up in Sicily. Although Baldassare Forestiere passed away in 1946, he left what has remained one of the most unique landmarks in Northern California: 10 acres of subterranean rooms, courtyards and passageways filled with incredible architectural details and beautiful fruit-bearing plants. Every member of the family will appreciate this unusual site and the quirky history lesson it provides visitors as they experience what can only be described as the ultimate backyard fort experience.

Parking and public transportation at Forestiere Underground Gardens
Public transportation is available in the area via FAX (Fresno Area Express) bus routes, but being conveniently located on West Shaw Avenue immediately off the 99 makes Forestiere Underground Gardens extremely accessible by means of driving too. Because it is a family-owned private property (still owned and operated by the builder's nephew, Ric Forestiere, and his family) there is no actual parking lot but an abundance of parking is available along Shaw Ave and nearby side streets.

Best and worst time to go to Forestiere Underground Gardens
Thanks to the micro climates in this subterranean landmark, the Forestiere Underground Gardens are actually an ideal spot to visit in the hot months (late May to early August) when the dry Fresno heat can sometimes be uninviting aboveground. It's always a good idea to call ahead to check if there has been any fluke rainstorms though. The earthy walkways can get muddy in wet weather and cause unscheduled closures.

Admission to Forestiere Underground Gardens
Admission fees range from $7 to $15 with discounts offered for seniors, college students, active duty military and groups. No reservation is needed unless a member of your party requires a wheelchair because they require advance preparations to make the site accessible. No strollers or pets are allowed.

Must see/do at Forestiere Underground Gardens
Taking a one hour tour is really the only way to see the Forestiere Underground Gardens and is definitely worth every cent of the admission fee. Although named for the incredible underground fruit-bearing plants (some of which are 100 years old), the tour actually reveals that there is much more to this place than just "gardens." From seasonal bedrooms, a functioning kitchen and a parlor with working fireplace to a fish pond and conical skylights that were designed to force hot air out and preserve the cool temperatures, an incredible amount of detail and creativity went into every inch of this quirky underground escape.

Other places to visit near Forestiere Underground Gardens
No trip to Fresno is complete without a visit to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. The reasonable prices, interactive animal experiences, knowledgeable staff, state of the art enclosures and immaculate grounds all reflect this 20 acre zoo's exemplary funding and dedication to the community. As the host of several unique events throughout the year (including Ice Cream Zoofari, Zoo Boo and Zoo Lights) Fresno Chafee Zoo is always a fun and exciting spot for every member of the family.

Insider tip for visitors to Forestiere Underground Gardens
Bring a little spending money for the gift shop. It may seem unassuming but the gift shop at Forestiere Underground Gardens offers several fun souvenir and gift ideas for very affordable prices. Plus it's a great distraction while waiting for your tour to start.

Author's bio: Ann Milligan is a wife, mom, author, artist and California native. She can often be found photographing golden poppies, dancing with her kids, watching internet cat videos and nom-nom-noming.