Located in beautiful Fresno, California, Woodward Park is nestled along the San Joaquin River. With over 300 acres of pure enjoyment, Woodward Park is the largest in Fresno.
Ralph Woodward donated the majority of the land to the city in the late 1960s, and the rest of the land was purchased not long after. Since then, Fresno residents and visitors have had a beautiful state park that meets all their outdoor needs. Outdoor activities abound here at Woodward Park.
TAKE YOUR FAMILY TO WOODWARD PARK
WITH A TON OF THINGS TO DO
Enjoy hiking the trails, take a family picnic, delight in the playscapes with your kids, or revel at nature’s beauty as you bird watch.
Check out the Rotary Amphitheater or the Woodward Shakespeare Festival. Be sure to head over to the Japanese Garden for breathtaking beauty and serenity.
With so much to experience, let’s take a deeper look and explore all there is to do at Woodward Park.
1. ENJOY THE AMPLE TRAILS
Woodward Park has over 22 miles of trails that are perfect for enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Bring your bike and cruise through the shady areas to get in your day’s exercise. The trails are perfect for the entire family as you take a stroll through nature. Watch the honey bees visiting the flowers and listen to the leaves rustle about as you tone out the bustling sounds of the city. Join a trail-running group and build your endurance as you meet your fitness goals along the trails.
Teens have been spotted in this area searching for Pokémon on the popular game “Pokémon Go.” Show your teen you are up with the times and take them to get fresh air and exercise while still enjoying playing their games.
Trails like those offered at Woodward Park are a great way to breathe in fresh air while enjoying the simple things in life. Make it to the high points of the trail to enjoy the breathtaking views of the valley below.
2. THE SHINZEN FRIENDSHIP GARDEN
The Shinzen Friendship Garden exhibits an expansive collection of Asian beauty in both bonsai and various sculptures intended to capture your attention and bring you to a place of peace.
Explore and experience true serenity through the quiet and delicate sounds of the water flowing over the rocks and the rustling of the trees and shrubs. The Shinzen Garden offers both self-guided and docent-led tours.
A small fee is required to enter the garden. If you’re interested in the docent-led tours, you must schedule in advance for availability. Online scheduling of tours is available for your convenience.
Consider planning your visit in advance, as dogs are not allowed within the garden and must be taken into consideration before entering the park.
Come experience Zen at the Shinzen Friendship Garden.
3. WOODWARD SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
The Woodward Shakespeare Festival aims to provide cultural inspiration and entertainment to the Fresno community.
Beginning in 2001 with a vision to bring the classic arts to the community, the production began at the existing Rotary Amphitheater. Now, as the production has grown over the years, performances are held at the Festival Stage in the northeast corner of the park overlooking the San Joaquin River and the bluffs.
Each summer, the festival offers theater performances to the community from June until September. Performances range from Shakespearian to other classic works.
From fall until spring, the Shakespeare Festival partners with the local library to educate community members about the beauty and history of Shakespeare through readings, discussions, and performances.
4. WOODWARD ROTARY AMPHITHEATER
The Rotary Amphitheater sits within Woodward Park and offers an eclectic mix of artists for you to enjoy. With over 3,500 open-air seats and lawn seating available, patrons are generally surprised by the intimate nature of the theater and the close proximity to the stage.
Since Fresno can get extremely hot in the summer, enjoy the added shaded areas that keep temperatures 20 degrees cooler than direct sunlight all while keeping you dry.
Performances range for orchestral presentations to jazz and Latin music. There is something for everyone here. Parking is available close to the venue. However, no outside food or drinks allowed inside the amphitheater.
5. BODIES OF WATER
Woodward park sits along with San Joaquin River in a lush and beautiful landscape.
Three ponds are also nestled within the 300-acre park. Enjoy sitting along the water and taking in the quiet tranquility. Ducks and swans frequent the area and would love a tasty treat of oats or cut grapes.
Bring your kid and teach them the timeless classic pastime of skipping rocks along the tops of the water and watch their face light up as they see their first stone careen smoothly along the water’s surface. Or simply stick your toes in to keep cool in the hot summer months.
6. TAKE YOUR KIDS TO THE PLAYGROUNDS
After you visit the trails and spend some time counting fish down by the water, allow your child to let loose on one of the area playgrounds.
With several different play areas, your child will delight in the variety of structures on which they can run, jump, and play.
Take them to one or take them to all, depending on the amount of time you plan on spending at the park. Either way, your child will never tire of the possibilities.
7. BRING A PICNIC LUNCH TO ENJOY
Woodward Park offers several picnic and barbecue areas for you to set up your next feast. Whether you are here with your child and are going to delight in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag of chips or are coming with a large gathering to cook up some ribs on the barbecue grill, Woodward Park has got you covered.
Find your perfect spot nestled among the trees and refuel your body for more to enjoy at the park.
Have a party coming up? Get there early enough to find your ideal location or reserve one of the seven shelters or activity areas for your perfect event.
8. BINOCULARS AND BIRD WATCHING
Woodward Park is a hot spot for birds of all different species. Do you have an affinity for birds? If you do, this park is the place for you. Bird watching is still a thing and can be a relaxing way to center yourself on nature and enjoy all things around you.
The birds at Woodward Park tend to congregate down by the river. If you are new to bird watching, this would be a great place to begin your search. Equip yourself with a bird guidebook or map or freestyle your way through the hiking trails with binoculars in hand.
How many birds can you find? Each trip will be different, and eventually, you’ll find all that the park has to offer.
9. TAP INTO YOUR INNER DAREDEVIL
AT THE BMX COURSE
Located across from the amphitheater, experience the thrill of biking through this dirt track. Race over the hills and around sharp curves with others in close pursuit.
Not your thing? You can spectate as others learn the art of BMX racing, or experienced riders show off their impressive skills. The Woodward BMX course offers new rider race clinics and practice days. Pay the park admission and race entrance fees to play.
Don’t have a bike? Rent one here along with a helmet to keep you safe.
Woodward Park takes pride in providing such an awesome adventure sports venue for the community. This is a sport that anyone can participate in, so long as they are willing.
Give it a try the next time you visit Woodward Park.
10. PLAY WITH YOUR DOG AT THE DOG PARK
Let us not forget about the beloved furry family members. Dogs love Woodward Park as well.
Whether you are bringing them to tag along side you on the trails or to keep you company while you picnic, your pup is sure to delight in a trip to the park.
Try taking them for some off-the-leash time at the dog park. Bring a Frisbee or a ball and play with your furry friend until they tire out and are ready for a long afternoon nap.
Did you forget the dog toys? That’s OK. Your pup is sure to find a friend to socialize with as they romp about. Your dog is sure to give you extra love later for bringing them along to the park today.
TAKING IN ALL WOODWARD PARK HAS TO OFFER
We hope this guide has helped you in deciding the best way to tackle the great Woodward Park in Fresno, California.
Whether you are a resident or someone visiting from out of town, this park is sure to provide you with the perfect outdoor activity to meet your needs.
With venues ranging from theatrical to adventure-seeking and everything in between, Woodward Park is sure to please.
Bring the whole family and surround yourself in the raw and natural California beauty and visit Woodward Park and see what all the fuss is about.