Kids & Silicon Valley

What’s Are The Fun Places for Kids In and Near San Jose?

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 and Santa Clara
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.

The Tech Museum of Innovation Recommended for kids ages 7 and up, but especially for kids 10 and up. There’s an IMAX theater as well – fantastic shows! Great downtown location.

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.
Information on season passes & free return trips to Great America

This is a beyond-unique 160 year old Victorian Mansion build by Sara Winchester with the thought that if she never stopped building, she would never die. Interesting but odd architectural accents throughtout the home!This historic landmark sits near the lovely Santana Row shopping center, just off 280 and near Stevens Creek Blvd. (It is a “half exit” from 280 – you can exit 280 southbound to get to Winchester and you can enter 280 northbound from Winchester, but not vice versa.)

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)! Outlet Mall – List of Shops. 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 Boardwalk Summertime: free concerts on Friday evenings!

A fun way to trek to the beach & boardwalk is to park and ride – on a narrow guage 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

Kids and adults both will love this place! The aquarium is constantly improving and now offers an outer bay exibit. Plan to arrive early (parking will be helped too) and stay all day. Consider a membership and return for special events! If you have younger children, you may want to stop by the Dennis The Menace Park afterwards since they will most likely want to run and be loud for a change….It’s open 10am til dusk and is close to the aquarium at 777 Pearl Street in Monterey. Here’s an article on why this is a must-visit place:
Dennis The Menace Park, kids’ favorite place to play! And if you are there on the coast in October, plan to take a few quiet moments to see the migrating Monarch Butterflies. Monarch Butterfly Migration – where to see them.

On The San Francisco Peninsula

Kids love airplanes, and they’ll love the Hiller Airplane Museum in San Carlos. The Hiller Aviation Museum

North Bay

Six Flaggs Discovery Kingdom Theme Park.