With the population greater than 126,000, according to 2011 information from the U.S. Census Bureau, you can easily find fun, family activities in and around the city of Visalia, California. Located in the heart of the agricultural San Joaquin Valley, 45 minutes south of Fresno and just an hour drive from the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains, many family-oriented opportunities await visitors and residents alike.
The city of Visalia has numerous parks and recreational areas (ci.visalia.ca.us) perfect for families. Riverway Sports Park (no website; 3611 North Dinuba Blvd; 559-713-4365) features a large playground area, a tot lot, splash pads, sports fields and picnic areas. Blain Park (no website; South Court and Parkview; 559-713-4365) provides a large open field for general play, a playground and plenty of space for picnicking. In addition to large grassy areas, sports fields and a playground, Recreation Park (no website; N. Jacob and W. Center; 559-713-4365) also features a skate park, basketball courts and volleyball courts.
The Tulare County Museum (no website; 27000 S. Mooney Blvd; 559-733-6616) provides families with a historical look at the pioneer farm community. The museum grounds house a pioneer village of vintage structures, including a blacksmith's shop, livery stable, the Surprise Schoolhouse as well as a collection of farm equipment. Video presentations are also part of the experience. The Imagine U Children's Museum (imagineumuseum.org) offers fun, interactive exhibits that the entire family can enjoy. From learning how electricity works to digging for bones and fossils in excavation boxes, this is the perfect place for curious minds. There's even a Toddletown, which includes a toddler play area, infant crawl space, train table, imagination station and a place to read to the little ones. The Hanford Carnegie Museum (hanfordcarnegiemuseum.org) is 20 minutes away from Visalia in Hanford. Exhibits showcase the history of Kings County, looking at early businesses and settlers of the area. The museum offers bimonthly workshops designed for kids ages 5 to12 that explore the history of life in Kings County and other museum-related topics.
Visalia Adventure Park (adventurepark.com) boasts fun for all ages in a family-friendly environment. It offers several amusement options including go-karts, miniature golf, bowling, laser tag, bumper boats, batting cages, video and redemption arcade games and San Francisco-style pizza. If you're family has pizza on their minds, Chuck E. Cheese's (chuckecheese.com/loc/43) also has a location in Visalia. It provides a family-friendly environment with an arcade and redemptive games, play structures, kiddie rides and of course, plenty of pizza. Time Out Pizza and Fun Center (timeoutpizzafuncenter.com) is in Tulare about 20 minutes from Visalia -- and features batting cages, water slides, air hockey and various other arcade games.
For a fun, roller-skating outing, Roller Towne (rollertowne.com) is an excellent option. It aims to maintain a safe, family-oriented environment offering a weekly family night with discounts and special family rates. AMF Visalia Lanes (amf.com/visalialanes) is a bowling option for families. It features 40 lanes of traditional bowling fun with special deals for families and plenty of food options. Visalia is the hometown for the Minor League Baseball (milb.com) team, the Rawhide. Every Sunday home game is dubbed, Family Fun Day. Kids Club members can participate in the pregame autograph sessions as well as run the bases after the game.
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images