Valley Voices

What’s better than being a mother? Being one in Fresno, as countless adventures await

Silva Emerian with her sons Silas, left, and James.
Silva Emerian with her sons Silas, left, and James. Emerian family photo

I became a mommy 15 years ago when I found out I was pregnant with our first son. It felt like a triumph after months of trying. Soon after came our second son, completing our family.

I often joke that I’m not crafty, can’t cook, can’t knit, can’t draw — but I did help create two boys! And they are two of my coolest (and stinkiest) blessings.

Silva Emerian - Headshot
Silva Emerian

Being a mother is amazing. It is exhausting. It is constant. It is often worrisome. But it is also fun and exciting and gratifying and inspiring.

You know what’s even better than being a mother? Being a mother in Fresno.

Yeah, I said it. I have nothing but praise for our city. I’ve lived in Fresno and Clovis for the past 17-1/2 years and every year I find myself loving it more and more.

My boys, now 11 and almost-14, and I have had countless adventures in the Central Valley.

At least once a year we visit the Forestiere Underground Gardens. Talk about a hidden gem! We especially love to go in the summer to escape the heat down below and see all the amazing trees Mr. Forestiere planted and grafted so many years ago. We imagine what it would be like to live in his summer and winter bedrooms. With a daddy who owns a construction company, we wonder, in awe, how he created this haven without any modern tools or machinery!

We’ve been to Project Survival’s Cat Haven several times. Those big cats are amazing to see up close! The tour guides are knowledgeable. And we always stop in to the School House Restaurant for lunch on the way home. Almost 100 years old and it still serves the most delicious meals in a really unique setting.

I recently shared with some newcomers how good the ice cream is at Superior Dairy — creamy, sweet and a “single scoop” is enough to feed an army! My boys always loved riding the train there, chatting up the conductor as he came through to collect their tickets. Of course we have to ride the carousel when we’re there, too. But we never seem to finish our ice cream, which is fine because we take it to go and it turns into a milkshake for the train ride home.

We also have many fun memories of visits to the Children’s Museum of the Sierra in Oakhurst. It was there that my boys became pirates, doctors, bank tellers, puppeteers, firemen and paleontologists, all in one afternoon.

We’ve gone stargazing at Downing Planetarium, jumped at Defy Clovis, painted at Color Me Mine, swam at Wild Water Adventure Park, cooked at Young Chefs Academy, traveled back in time at the Meux Home, tasted the freshest fruit in the country at many farmers’ markets, danced with Uncle Kopi at the Fresno Greek Festival, and surveyed the exhibits at the Fresno Art Museum.

Last Christmas we spent a night at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite National Park. We sat in the lobby and played board games under their giant Christmas tree, and hiked to the waterfalls the next day. Undeniably one of the nation’s most beautiful and wondrous parks right in our own backyard.

I’m so grateful to be a mom to Silas and James. And I’m grateful that we live in a fantastic city that allows for family fun and adventures. There is so much to do here, and I appreciate being able to plan activities that we can enjoy together, even as the boys get older.

Speaking of getting older, my boys will eventually grow up, go to college, get married and leave me. (Insert hysterical Armenian-mother wail.) But I will always have the memories.

Time to plan our next adventure. Happy Mother’s Day!

Silva Emerian of Clovis is a freelance writer and editor, wife and mother. Connect at, on her blog, on Facebook and Instagram @onmyshoebox.