There are oodles of fun things for kids and the young-at-heart to do in San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley area. Here are a few of the more dramatic highlights!
In San Jose, Santa Clara and nearby
Happy Hollow Zoo and Park This is a great place for younger kids. It features a petting zoo, non-scary rides, and places to run off steam. Happy Hollow is undergoing a giant renovation and will be closed for part or all of the summer of 2008. Please double check the website or phone the park prior to visiting to make sure it’s open! Tel 408 277-3000.In Los Gatos: Oak Meadow Park (12 acres) and Vasona Lake County Park (150 acres – these are adjacent, interconnected parks). Oak Meadow is a town of Los Gatos park, Vasona is a county park, but they are connected! Of special note at Oak Meadow are the real Air Force jet that kids can climb on (local kids often refer to it as “the airplane park”), the hand painted carousel and Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad train which begins in Oak Meadow but mostly rides through Vasona, and the paddle boats on Vasona Lake. (Post on Live In Los Gatos about these 2 parks.) There is a fee to park at Vasona. Los Gatos town residents can park for free at Oak Meadow – but places fill up fast!
The Children’s Discovery Museum in downtown San Jose can’t be beat, especially on a too warm, too cold, or too rainy day! It is a hands on, fun place for kids. One of the most popular items is a stagecoach which kids can climb into. Warning to parents: the acoustics could be better and sometimes it’s overly loud in there.
California’s Great America in Santa Clara. Suitable for all ages but teens will like this best! This park does offer some water play areas and some little kid areas (but it’s expensive for that). Shows in air conditioned theaters will be welcome on warm days. Check out the Wow Card (or VIP Pass if you want to park close) if you’ll be back again in the same season.
List of Attractions Throughout Santa Clara County and Beyond
Gilroy (south of San Jose)
Gilroy Gardens (formerly Bonfante Gardens)Want to make a bigger trip of it to The Garlic Capital of the World? Gilroy offers great shopping to dress up those kids (or yourself)! . And maybe when that’s all done, do some wine tasting. If you can take a tour, the kids may not even get bored. List of wineries (and breweries) in and near Gilroy. And lastly, don’t forget the Garlic Festival! It happens in late July every year. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, they do really serve Garlic Ice Cream. You need to try it at least once! The Gilroy Garlic Festival – information, recipes, calendar, fun stuff for kids.
>Over “The Hill” – Mountains, Santa Cruz & Monterey Areas
The Mystery Spot (in the Santa Cruz Mountains)
Santa Cruz Beach BoardwalkSummertime: free concerts on Friday evenings!
And, of course, all the fabulous beaches at the Monterey Bay! Capitola is especially nice with shops and restaurants next to the lovely beach. Something for everyone.
A fun way to trek to the beach & boardwalk is to park and ride – on a narrow gauge train ride through the beautiful redwood forest! Or just take a train ride through the trees. It’s a trip back in time to our logging days in the 1880’s and I highly recommend it. Roaring Camp & Big Trees
Well worth the 90 minute drive from San Jose to Pacific Grove: The Monterey Bay Aquarium
On The San Francisco Peninsula
Kids love airplanes, and they’ll love the Hiller Airplane Museum in San Carlos. The Hiller Aviation Museum
Six Flaggs Discovery Kingdom Theme Park offers rides and animal interactions. Not open late – a daytime venue. This can be a fun stop on the way to Wine Country, Sacramento or Tahoe.
Please also see Kid Friendly Restaurants in Los Gatos on the Live in Los Gatos Blog.