Fresno's Chaffee Zoo free for kids on the 1st Wednesday of the month

FRESNO, Calif.

To kick off Wells Fargo Wednesdays there will be craft booths once the zoo opens at 9 a.m. This is a way to introduce more kids to animals and boost attendance.

Kids who want to get up close and personal with exotic animals like baby giraffes and elephants will be able to do so for free if they come to the Fresno Chaffey Zoo on Wells Fargo Wednesdays.

"It's great we're really excited to provide that opportunity for the community," Scott Barton said.

On the first Wednesday of every month for the next two years, children 11 and under get in for free. Zoo director Scott Barton says this gives more kids a chance to visit with the animals.

"This provides an opportunity for some low income area schools to get to the zoo and enjoy a great zoo," Barton said.

This is one of several programs the Chaffee Zoo recently launched to try to increase attendance.

In the spring a dino-dig exhibit featuring 35 foot tyrannosaurus rex bones was added and just a few years ago the popular sting ray bay exhibit arrived.

"From there we move on to the expansion of the zoo with a new Africa exhibit we're bringing back lions and rhino's all happening within the next three to four years," Barton said.

Organizers say having free access to zoo resources will enhance education for students all over the valley. "Children are so fascinated with animals it's a great chance to get them in at that age and get them excited about learning."

On Wells Fargo Wednesday's there are discounts on memberships. And every month Wells Fargo will sponsor a school which includes paying for the bus trip.

That sponsorship can save nearly a $1,000 for some struggling districts.

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