The Discovery Center’s Park is about 6 acres and has many things to see and do. Below are just some of the things we have
Walden Pond -
This is one of our most popular areas of the park and one of the first things you see as you enter the Park gates. Walden Pond is a 13,000 gallon ecosystem filled with all sorts of different pond life. Tadpoles, turtles, frogs, crawdads, fish, and many other creatures call Walden Pond their home. Visitors are able to use our nets (which are provided near the pond) to catch and release the smaller animals that can fit into the provided nets. We also have an observation tray full of water in which smaller animal can temporarily be located to before being released back into the pond.
Sequoia Round -
This Sequoia Round is a cross section of a Sequoia tree to help demonstrate the age of the tree and how you can read it. Along the rings are significant landmarks in history to give you a reference of how old it actually is. Sequoias are the biggest trees in the world some living over thousands of years, and hundreds of feet tall. The Boy Scouts donated their services to make this exhibit nice and new.
Deutsch Cactus Garden -
Our Deutsch cactus garden is home to over 250 species of cactus and succulents. The garden was originally started in the 1930′s by Fred Deutsch and his family. What started as a hobby that soon became a life passion. Fred and his wife traveled collecting rare and exotic cacti. The Discovery Center was donated the garden by the Deutsch family in 1994, which used to reside on Van Ness Boulevard. The Discovery Center did have a cactus garden before the donation but thanks to the Deutsch family it tripled in size. Constant care is taken for these plants to make sure they are healthy and beautiful. Many people come to see the unusual and interesting plants many of which are quite rare.
Gemini Space Capsule -
Our Gemini Space capsule is an actual space capsule that was donated to us fro NASA. This capsule was created during the Gemini space missions (1961). This Space capsule didn’t go into outer space because of a flaw they discovered shortly after its construction, however NASA astronauts did use this space capsule for simulation purposes. Many visitors to the Discovery Center love to explore the inside of this capsule to see the control panel and seating inside. Besides for being a excellent learning tool children (and parents) have a lot of fun with the Gemini Space Capsule.
This is one of the first things people may notice before they even enter The Discovery Center. This building was once used by the Roessler family to produce 50,000 to 100,000 gallons of wine a year. This building is even part of the reason the street was given it’s name “Winery”. The building was created in 1893 making it well over 100 years old. It is made mostly out of adobe brick making it one of the oldest ( and largest ) adobe buildings in Fresno California. For more info feel free to visit this link to see our other page with a little bit of the History behind the Winery. You can also visit the The Local Registry of Historic Resources for more info
Worm Farm -
Our worm farm houses several different kinds of worms that help demonstrate an effective use of composting. Composting can take biodegradable “trash” and turn it into something useful like in this case as great source of food for our worms, which in turn creates a great fertilizer. We put left over food from our animal care and other organic material that we think the worms would like in our worm farm as well as newspaper and coffee grounds. The caffeine in the grounds help speed the worms up and they make the soil fertile at a quicker rate. The worms are housed in our beautiful mosaic decorated farm for visitors to see.
Egyptian Maze -
Our Maze is riddled with twists and turns that little ones (and adults) can have a fun time getting lost in. Along the walls of the Maze are accurate Egyptian hieroglyphs and symbolic figures to give our maze an overall theme. The outside of the maze is painted as well with bright colors and animals to make it look like the Nile. We also feature a staircase right outside the maze which is high enough for parents and guardians to make sure they can keep an eye on their child so they’re never out of sight. This ensures that our maze is not only a fun but safe experience.
Miwok Bark Houses (Indian Village) -
In our Indian Village we have 3 different Miwok bark houses that were built by actual Miwok Native Americans who were taught the traditional ways of making bark covered homes. Although some may confuse these for a Tipi they are quite different. These houses are a great compliment to the basket collection The Discovery Center is known for and important teaching tools for accurate historical representation of Central California American Indian’s culture. Feel free to spend some time visiting these houses the next time you are at The Discovery Center.
Dino Dig -
Our Dino Dig area is a great place for your kids to explore, dig, and practice being little paleontologists. The Dino Dig consists of actual cow bones, and plenty of sand to cover and uncover the “fossils”. We have shovels and buckets provided so children can explore and excavate the the dig site.
Whisper Dishes -
Whisper Dishes are sound reflectors, which means that they can create a louder than typical sound when you sand facing them because of their shape. We Have two whisper dishes at our park that face each other so they can bounce from one another. How do you use them? You simply have at least one person at both whisper dishes and face towards the inside of the dish (so your backs are turned from one another). You then speak with a normal speaking voice or a whisper and see if you can hear what the other person is saying. You may be surprised at how well you can hear one another, and how easy it is to have a conversation using only these dishes.
At the Discovery Center park we have several different kinds of trees and plant life. You may see several acorns on the park floor from time to time. These come from our Valley Oak trees which used to cover much of the Central Valley floor. These acorns and the Valley Oaks have deep traditions with past Native Americans living in the central valley providing them with a food source and other materials. We also have several pine cones that come from our pine trees. All of these trees provide excellent shade and make for an enjoyable experience when eating at any of our several different picnics tables.
Grass Meadow -
In the center of the Discovery Center Park is our huge grass meadow. This is a great area for kids to play in and for guardians to keep watch of them while taking rest under the shade of a tree along the outline of the meadow. Along the outer part of the meadow is a trail which you can take a walk on to see and explore the park and everything we have to here. Occasionally on hotter days we have some designated water areas for children to play in and keep cool in the meadow.
Listening Pipes -
Our listening pipes are an easy way to experience how sound travels and interacts with different shapes and objects. The difference in pipe length determines what kind of sound is made when air travels through them. You might not hear anything from a distance but just like when you put a sea shell next to your ear you can hear the air traveling through the pipes and the different sounds they make when you put your ear close to the pipes’ opening.
Pipe Phones -
Next to our Whisper dishes are our pipe phones which also demonstrate how sound works. These pipes are connected underground where the sound can travel from one pipe to the other. The way this works is like most things traveling through an insulated hollow structure, it finds it’s way out the other end or opening. In this case you can clearly hear the other person through the pipes. This usually works best when one child listens and the other talks and once they are finished they switch off.
T-rex vand Pteranodon
If you follow the trail along the outside of the grass meadow you will come to our giant metal T-rex and Pteranodon. These metal features have become increasingly associated as the iconic symbol of The Discovery Center. In fact The current Discovery Center logo features this metal T-rex.