I visited the Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo earlier this week. We’d visited a few times when we still lived in Fresno. I happened to be in Fresno and my daughter and I decided to check out the Zoo. What a pleasant surprise! The Zoo has become a testament to the good that can happen when taxes are used for the benefit of the community.

Measure Z – Taxes

Fresno County initially passed Measure Z in 2004 and voted to renew the tax in 2014. It provides a 1/10th Cent sales tax for use by the Zoo. The funds received have been used for various programs and facility improvement projects.

Fresno County also has a tax in place for the benefit of the library system. They have manages to build and staff several new branches and have made facility improvements throughout the system. Just another example of a dedicated tax that is doing what it was intended to do: benefit the taxpayers.

What’s new at the Zoo

It’s been 20 years or so since I was last there. Some of the changes I noted:

Improved Sea Lion exhibit. Previously it was a kiddie-pool in which the sea lions swam laps alongside the sting rays. Today, the sea lions have a dedicated pool area created with enough room for them to swim and play. Provision have been made to give visitors several vantage points from which they can see these beautiful creatures up close.

Sea lion cove exhibit at Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Property was acquired and a new Africa section was added to the park. A large plains area exists on which Ware Buffalo, Rhino, Giraffe, elephants and lions can be seen in a more “natural” environment. Previously, Nosey the Elephant was housed in a much-too-small exhibit. She would have loved this new space.

The Africa Plain exhibit at Fresno Chaffee Zoo

A shaded dining area exists which overlooks the Africa plain. Summer days in Fresno are normally about 100 degrees F. So a shady place to enjoy a snack is very welcome. This is a top-of-line entertainment location.

Next up is a dedicated Asia exhibit. Once completed it will be home for animals like tigers, orangutan and other Asian animals.

While walking about, we ran into several groups of youngsters attending a summer learning program. A city like Fresno would certainly benefit from such a program.

Your taxes at work

The new zoo, has a feel like you would find at any great theme park. Landscaping helps you forget that you are in California’s central valley and that the air temperature is over 100 degrees.

This is exactly what people hope to see when tax dollars are collected. They see a beautifully executed facility that serves the community. Well done, Fresno. Well done!

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