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Things to Do in San Jose: Activities for Young Kids

Updated on July 11, 2012
Kid playing badminton
Kid playing badminton | Source

Young kids are restless, curious and eager to learn. They love to explore and see new things. It's a good idea to take them to new places often and let them explore. If you are in San Jose CA, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo and Children's Discovery Museum are the two perfect places to keep your kids entertained and is educational at the same time. Most of the activities at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo are hosted outdoor while Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose keeps all the fun indoor.

If you're looking for place to spend time with your little ones in San Jose then Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is a perfect amusement park and zoo to go. According to, Happy Hollow Park was build between 1957 to 1961. Taking the idea of Disneyland, it featured kid-friendly activities such as Danny the Dragon rides and Merry-Go-Round. In 1967 Happy Hollow Park extended to include a Zoo to host some animals. Through out the years, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo has made numerous improvements and additions. The biggest renovation was the millions of dollars on green renovation in 2008. All the rides and activities are designed mainly for young kids and are fun as well as educational. Here are the things kids will enjoy doing:

Amusement Park for Toddlers: Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

kids riding on a carousel
kids riding on a carousel | Source
Kids driving Cars
Kids driving Cars | Source

- Rides for Toddlers

There are many rides that are fun for toddlers, such as Kiddie Swing with a gentle speed just for your little ones, Frog Hopper with a silly looking design that kids adored, Granny Bugs - giant red ladybugs each with seats for two, Mini Putts - a ride that can satisfy the little ones' curiosity of being a driver, and a carousel that comes with different animals.

A Girl Visiting Animals
A Girl Visiting Animals | Source

- Learn About Animals

You will have the opportunity to see a large collection of animals at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. There are mammals such as Pygmy Goat and Fossa, reptiles such as Red-Eared Slider Turtle and African Spurred Tortoise, and birds such as Military Macaw and Cattle Egret. You can also learn more about these animals by participating child education programsthey offer on site.

- Parking

There is a large parking lot right at the entrance of Happy Hollow Park and Zoo for $10 per car.

Children's Discovery Museum - Indoor Activities for Kids

Children Playing at Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose
Children Playing at Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose | Source

Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose is a perfect year-round playground for children whether rain or shine since everything is hosted indoor. A 52,000 square foot purple building contains hundreds of hand-on activities to meet the needs of your overly curious little child. It is a place that allows children to explore and learn by watching, hearing, and touching. The place is constantly updated to introduce new interactive exhibits to keep the place fresh and interesting. It provides kid-friendly environment and easy to learn concepts about cultures, technologies and history. It is a very popular place for school field trips and birthday parties. The place is covered with children almost all the time.

Bubble Fun

Making Bubbles
Making Bubbles | Source

- Bubble Fun

Kids love playing bubbles. There is an area designated for bubbles only inside Children's Discovery Museum. It is located downstairs by the front area. It is visible from the main level and you can either take the stairs or an elevator. Kids can learn different ways of making bubbles such as: blow it, swing it and pump it. It was one of my kids' favorite activities at the museum. There is a sink and paper towel to clean your kids' hands after they're done playing bubbles.

Water Fun for Kids

Balls in Water
Balls in Water | Source

- Water Fun for Kids

The another area that will keep your kids staying there for hours is the water playing area. With all those colorful balls and different fun ways to play with them, kids will have tons of fun there. Make sure you bring an extra set of clean clothes if you're planning to let your kids to play with the water. Although there are plastic aprons for kids to wear, there is no guarantee you kids won't get wet.

Other Activities at Children's Discovery Museum

The Bubble and Water Play areas are the two main activities that remain the same over the years, many other activities are changed from time to time to give the museum a fresh look. My kids have learned how a street parking meter worked, how to make a parachute, how to power a light bulb and many more. Kids are allowed to hand on almost everything there which is an excellent way to feed their curiosity. Play the video to watch some of the activities my kids have enjoyed at Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.

- Parking

There is a large public parking lot across the street of the museum with reasonable price - $7 for a whole day, but it fills up fast on weekends. There are some street parking with meters between the museum and the parking lot. If you go there early on Sunday, you might be able to find free street parking space. There is also a very convenience and safe drop off area right by the front of the museum and away from the street.


show route and directions
A markerHappy Hollow Park & Zoo -
1300 Senter Rd, San Jose, CA 95112, USA
get directions

Tel: 408-794-6400

B markerChildren's Discovery Museum of San Jose -
180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA 95110, USA
get directions

Tel: 408-298-5437


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    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

      Great Hub! San Jose really is a great place for kid-friendly activities and attractions. This is well-done and very comprehensive. Thank you for sharing this information and the adorable photos :)

    • kittyjj profile image

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Sure they did enjoy the time there. Now they're older but still love looking at the pictures from time to time. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. :)

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Gosh the last time I visited Happy Hallow I was 12...I think. I don't remember anything except for the animals. Thanks for bringing back some memories! It's a great place to take kids! I can tell your kids had a blast at the Children's museum too. :-)