'One Fresno Zoo Days' to provide free zoo visits for underprivileged kids

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- More people will soon get the opportunity to visit the Fresno Chaffee Zoo for free this summer.

Beginning next month, thousands of kids and their families will get the chance to experience the animals thanks to a donation from the mayor's One Fresno Foundation.

Mayor Jerry Dyer announced "One Fresno Zoo Days" are returning following a successful debut run last year.

"Our goal is to provide youth the chance for them to make special memories and they're going to be able to do that right here," Dyer said.

City leaders are upping the ante this year by expanding the program from 9,000 to 10,000 tickets that will go to under-served youngsters and their families through various social service agencies and community-based organizations.

The free tickets, along with parking, can be used any day of the week beginning June 7 through August 9.

"This is our opportunity for those who still have hurdles to coming in, whether it's through their circumstances or through the price and saying this is part of your life too and can be part of your vision for the future," said Zoo Director & CEO Jon Forrest Dohlin.

Dohlin believes this partnership with the city can have an everlasting impact.

"Being outdoors, being in a natural setting and the zoo is a natural setting is beneficial for children's health and beneficial for their future. So if we can, even with a small percentage of these kids, reset their vision of their own future and the future of their community it is worth every ticket we give away."

The program was made possible through a $10,000 donation from the mayor's One Fresno Foundation, with a local bank chipping in an additional $25,000.
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