Forestiere Underground Gardens Fresno
Where are we going today?
Did you know that there is a nationally listed Historical Site RIGHT in Fresno? Yep - there is, and it's called the Forestiere Underground Gardens!
These unique gardens are part of a hand-built network of underground courtyards, rooms and passageways - that are often compared to ancient catacombs!
It's a great place to explore, as there are some really unique features, which also means it's a great education for the kids too! There are unique fruit producing trees - some of which are nearly 100 years old, as well as amazing Ancient Roman architecture, including vaults, arches and stone-built walls.
But gardens underground? Of course! The Forestiere Underground Gardens have an underground micro-climate, and temperatures vary between 10 and 30 degrees, so certain plants can thrive.
The gardens were a hobby and devotion of a man named Baldassare Forestiere, who was a Sicilian immigrant. When he settled in America, he built an amazing subterranean complex of grottos, patios, and courts all interconnecting with passageways. These all circle where he actually lived! A great place to escape those hot Fresno summers!
What's amazing about the Forestiere Underground Gardens, is that he didn't ever plan out on paper how to build them. He just used simple farmer tools and carved out what he saw in his mind. Pretty amazing! It took him 40 years in his spare time, and by the time he was 44 he had excavated over 10 acres.
Guided tours, weather permitting, are the only way to see the gardens. There are a number of tours seasonally, and it's a great way to ask those questions as you go!
Have a unique Fresno experience underground - who knew!?
How much does it cost?
- Children$7 (Ages 5 to 15)
- Free Under: 4 years
When can we go?
Tour times vary on the season so check before you go
All year round. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays between Dec and Feb
You must reserve any groups more than 15 people, and there is a group discount. It's a great way for students to learn!.
They don't have a snack or picnic area, so enjoy something before you arrive. There is an In N Out burger across the street if you want!.
Bottled water may be purchased downstairs.
Any Top Tips?
All tours are weather permitting as it must be dry enough to walk on. Check before you go if it's cancelled or still on if you are in doubt.
Doing our bit
As an historical site, they are committed to keeping the site well looked after for all future visitors! .
Need a little extra help?
Standard wheelchairs may be accommodated in dry conditions. A user must be strong enough to safely move an occupied wheelchair user down the step, long inclines and narrow ramps. .
No strollers are permitted.
It's worth noting that the summer temperature can reach over 100 degrees in Fresno. Note there is no mechanical air conditioning underground, and while the temperature is a little cooler underground, is still might be too hot for those with medical conditions.
What people are saying?
by Michael Cook
A beautiful place to visit in an otherwise dull and barren Fresno landscape. A unique history of a devoutly Catholic Sicilian! From above the grounds looks rather unkempt and small but down below tells a different story. It is incredible that a man was able to accomplish so much. Very interesting and worthwhile. Hope this places stays in family hands for generations to come.
by Shelley Moreno
This was a very interesting place. The time and dedication it took for that man to dig that much is amazing. It is worth every penny to get to hear the history and walk through the main tunnels and see his home. The tour guide was amazing. She made the tour so enjoyable and fun! This is a great place to visit during the summer because it is so cool underground. A must see if you are looking for something to do in Fresno!
by Rochelle R
We LOVED it. I'm actually glad they still have the old sign out front and it doesn't look like much from the outside. It adds to the drama as you walk in and see how awesome it is! My grumpy hubby and son thought I had gone nuts to make a special trip there when they got out of the car and looked at it....but in the end, they admitted that they were completely amazed and impressed!
by Robert Hanson
This place was totally worth the stop and the $$. Its very unassuming from the street, but as soon as you walk through the gates you're greeted by a friendly face guiding you to the entrance (not particularly obvious). The friendly faces continued through the whole visit. And the tour, oh the tour, truly inspirational! The work done here by this gentleman is truly a masterpiece. There's a surprise around every corner and pure genius. Its heartwarming to know that what's left of the property is still in the hands of the Forestiere family.
by Michele Berionne
Extremely interesting! Best thing to do in Fresno during a short stay. And best thing: it's cool inside while 100+ outside.