From expansive scenic parks to professional sports teams to performing arts, San Jose offers families plenty of opportunities to keep the young ones busy all day. Whether it’s a trip to the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, a day spent at the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, or recreational activities at any number of picturesque parks, San Jose has it all.
1.The Tech Interactive
© The Tech Interactive
The Tech Interactive, often referred to as ‘The Tech’, is a renowned museum of technology and science in San Jose, California. This Silicon Valley museum is considered to be among the top technology and science museums within the United States. In 2015 it was awarded the highest honor that any United States museum can receive, the National Medal of Museum and Library Service. The Tech is also home to the world’s first IMAX Dome Theater that features a 4K laser projector. The museum offers a fun and educational experience for kids of all ages, where they can partake in innovation and science labs, as well as enjoy educational IMAX films.
201 South Market Street, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-294-8324
2.Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
© Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
The Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is a center for discovery and learning that is located in San Jose, California. At over 50,000 square feet, the sprawling purple museum focuses on serving the needs of schools, families, and children. Ricardo Legorreta, a renowned architect out of Mexico City, designed this striking museum. The museum offers a number of interactive exhibits, educational activities, and impressive art galleries for visitors to enjoy. A half-acre of outdoor space filled with many activities was added to the museum to help introduce nature to the community’s families and children. Some of the museum’s top exhibits include Mammoth Discovery, Secrets of Circles, WaterWays, and the Wonder Cabinet.
180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-298-5437
3.Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is a modest, 16-acre amusement park and zoo that is located in San Jose, California. The park was established in 1961, it closed briefly from 2008 to 2010 for major renovations. The zoo’s exhibits have been designed to provide secure and safe habitats for all of its animals, while providing the necessary space for species with specific behaviors, such as climbing, jumping, running, resting, etc. The park features several fascinating attractions that include The Crooked House, Doc’s Critter Care, Redwood Lookout, and the Lemur Woods Exhibit. Kids absolutely love the Puppet Theater, where they can catch shows of The Three Pigs, The Elves and the Shoemaker, and The Frog Prince.
748 Story Road, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-794-7596
4.Winchester Mystery House
Winchester Mystery House, an infamous mansion located in San Jose, is the site of purported paranormal activity. It was at one time the home of Sarah Winchester, whose husband was William Wirt Winchester, the famous firearm magnate. Since 1923, the fascinating story of Sarah and her very peculiar house has captured the imaginations of over 12 million people. They travel from all over the world to come and tour the mansion’s dark passages, lonely hallways, and ornate rooms. Some of the tours include the Mansion Tour, Explore More Tour, and the Video Tour. They also offer seasonal tours; parents can spook their kids at the Hallowe’en Candlelight Tour Experience.
525 South Winchester Boulevard, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-247-2000
5.Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is a museum that is devoted to Ancient Egypt, situated in Rosicrucian Park, within the Rose Garden neighborhood of San Jose, California. The museum was established by the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis. It is home to the biggest collection of Egyptian artifacts that are displayed on exhibit within Western North America. Children will have the chance to enjoy guided tours via a school trip, or potentially with their families. Kids can also partake in the Junior Archaeologist program, where young people will be introduced to the studies of Egyptology and archaeology. Every visitor should check out the Museum Tomb Tour, Alchemy Garden Tour, and Alchemy Exhibit in 360.
1660 Park Avenue, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-947-3635
Founded in 1975, Raging Waters is Northern California’s Largest Waterpark, offering panoramic views of the San Jose Foothills and Lake Cunningham. This waterpark features over one-million gallons of water, rides, slides, and attractions, all on a marvelous 23-acre property. This is the perfect getaway for the whole family, especially on those warm summer days. Parents will enjoy hours of relaxation while the kids splash around within the parks many attractions. Some of the park favorites include the 350,000-gallon Wave Pool, Family Raft Ride, Bombs Away, Sidewinder, Barracuda Blaster, and Great White Shark. The park also features a well-stocked souvenir shop and several onsite dining accommodations.
2333 South White Road, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-238-9900
7.California Great America
© California Great America
California Great America is a large, 100-acre amusement park that is located in Santa Clara, California. The park was originally built in 1976 by the Marriott Corporation; it is now operated and owned by Cedar Fair. The park is home to several coasters, thrill rides, family rides, kid’s rides, WinterFest rides, and a waterpark. Some of the top kid’s rides include the Character Carousel, Gr8 Sk8, Flying Ace, The Pumpkin Patch, and Snoop’s Space Race. The waterpark is a hit with the kids during the warmer months, there they can splash around in the Boomerang Lagoon, ride the waves at the Great Barrier Reef, and zip down the Tasmanian Typhoon.
4701 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, CA, Phone: 408-988-1776
8.Deer Hollow Farm
© Deer Hollow Farm
Deer Hollow Farm is a historical ranch that is over 160-years-old and located within the Silicon Valley, in Cupertino, California. The ranch’s mission is to develop and support educational programs that bring awareness to the environment. The farm receives over 100,000 annual visitors each year, 5,000 of which are students from 45 different schools within the Bay Area. The farm offers environmental education programs, a complimentary “living museum,” farm animals, orchard, and demonstration garden. There’s also a nature center equipped with exhibits of plants, animals, and birds. Visitors and children will have the chance to learn about sustainable agriculture; respect for farm animals, wildlife, and land; and the history of Silicon Valley farming.
22500 Cristo Rey Drive, Cupertino, CA, Phone: 650-903-6430
9.San Jose Museum of Art
© San Jose Museum of Art
San Jose Museum of Art is an art museum that features revolving exhibitions, located in San Jose, California. The museum celebrates new ideas, inspires connection, and stimulates creativity with every visit. Thought provoking and welcoming, the museum delights its visitors with a playful and surprising perspective on the artists and art of current times. SJMA has been a leader in showcasing contemporary and modern art within the Bay Area. It has earned a positive reputation for having fresh, distinctive exhibitions that engage visitors of various cultural backgrounds and ages. The museum also serves as a center of art education for approximately 40,000 school children annually.
110 South Market Street, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-271-6840
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10.Google Android Lawn Statues
© Google Android Lawn Statues
Google Android Lawn Statues is a park filled with sculptures, located on Landings Drive in Mountain View, California. For the uninitiated visitors, every version of Android device is equipped with a nickname. It all began with Cupcake, which moved to Donut, then on to Éclair, and eventually Froyo. There’s also Lollipop, Kit Kat, Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, Honeycomb, Gingerbread, and most recently, Marshmallow. Each of these treats has its own corresponding statue within the park. The park offers a fun little outdoor activity where families can bring their kids to check out these fascinating snack sculptures; they also provide excellent photo opportunities.
1981 Landings Drive, Mountain View, CA, Phone: 650-903-6300
The Lick Observatory is an observatory for astronomy that is operated and owned by the University of California, located in Mt Hamilton, California. The observatory is situated within the Diablo Mountain Range, at the summit of Mount Hamilton – just east of San Jose. This iconic observatory has been at the forefront of researching astronomy since 1888, securing its place within Silicon Valley with its technological and innovative prowess. The history of these giant telescopes and the incredible discoveries that they’ve made would be enough to send anyone into orbit. This family-friendly and educational attraction is the perfect way to introduce young minds to the brilliance of space.
7281 Mt Hamilton Road, Mt Hamilton, CA, Phone: 408-274-5061
12.San Jose Giants
The San Jose Giants are a baseball team in the Minor League, rooted in the city of San Jose, California. They’re a Class A – Advanced team within the Northern Division of the California League. They also serve as a farm team for Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants, and have been since 1988. The team has played continuously since the year of 1962; it’s had many different affiliations and names over the years. The Astro Jump Gigante’s Kids Club is one of the best deals in Minor League Baseball for kids. It is open to kids for a one-time fee for Season Ticket Holders. They’ll get access to the Family Fun Zone, receive gifts, and Run the Bases after a game.
588 East Alma Avenue, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-380-4501
13.CREAM San Jose
© CREAM San Jose
CREAM San Jose is a counter-service, ice cream shop that specializes in ice cream sandwiches, located in San Jose, California. In 2010, Gus and Jimmy Shamieh led their family in establishing the very first CREAM location, in Berkeley, California. Their goal is to share deliciousness and happiness with every community they find themselves in. The ice cream sandwiches started originally with mother’s fresh baked cookies and creamy ice cream. The delivery methods of the ice cream have evolved to include do’sants, brownies, and waffles right off the griddle. Naturally, the ice cream shop serves as beacon of happiness and joy for most children – and adults.
49 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-320-1519
14.The Willow Glen Sweet Shoppe
© The Willow Glen Sweet Shoppe
The Willow Glen Sweet Shoppe is an old-fashioned candy store that offers a wide selection of vintage brands, located in San Jose, California. The shop is operated and owned by the Willow Glen Family. By organizing enough space to house to separate party areas, the shop has made it possible to accommodate up to 40 individuals seated for special events like children’s birthday parties, graduations, and team celebrations. Willow Glen proudly serves Gelato Classico Italian Ice Cream, which is a great addition to any party. Guests will be able to bring their own cake and food at no additional cost. Children will find happiness in everything from old school candies to caramel apples to large selections of chocolate.
1140 Lincoln Avenue, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-279-4090
15.San Jose Children’s Musical Theater
© San Jose Children’s Musical Theater
San Jose Children’s Musical Theater is a performing arts theater that is located in San Jose, California. Their mission has been to educate and train today’s children through musical theater, encouraging them to make and achieve high personal and artistic goals, and inspiring them to be the exemplary citizens, artists, and patrons of tomorrow. Quality and inclusiveness are the two major touchstones of the theater’s vision. The theater is dedicated to offering the highest caliber of theatrical and musical training for children ages 4 to 20, from all ability levels. Some of the theater’s must-see shows include ELF The Musical, Chicago, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Mamma Mia.
1401 Parkmoor Avenue, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-288-5437
16.Rancho San Antonio County Park
Ranch San Antonio County Park is a county park and nature preserve that is located in Santa Clara County, California. It is joined with the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve to provide a larger public recreational area within the Santa Cruz Mountains. The park and preserve offer each visitor a wonderfully-unique experience with their interesting cultural history, diverse environments, and variety of activities. The park provides equestrian, mountain biking, and hiking trails that connect with many other trails within the Open Space Preserve. With a plethora of outdoor adventure awaiting, families with children can spend the entire day having fun under the California sun.
22500 Cristo Rey Drive, Cupertino, CA, Phone: 650-691-1200
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17.Hicklebee’s Childrens Books
© Hicklebee’s Childrens Books
Hicklebee’s Childrens Books is a bright children’s bookstore that is located in San Jose, California. The bookstore is home to the Teen Advisory Board, a group of teens with a fond love for books that meets once every month to coordinate and produce a variety of programs for those who get inspired by YA literature. Members of TAB use their enthusiasm for books, social media skills, and creativity to help in every aspect of event planning, promotion, and execution. Hicklebee’s has a vast collection of children’s books that are updated continuously, featuring a wide array of publishers, award-winning classics, and the newest in non-fiction and fiction.
1378 Lincoln Avenue, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-292-8880
18.San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks are a professional, National Hockey League team that are based in San Jose, California. They are part of the Pacific Division within the NHL’s Western Conference. The franchise is under the ownership of San Jose Sports & Entertainment Enterprises. The Sharks organization offers fun and exciting ways for children to get more out of professional hockey games, such as the Back to School items they give away at certain games with ticket pack purchases – like bobbleheads of various team members. Kids will appreciate the opportunity to see some of their biggest heroes up close on the ice.
525 West Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-287-7070
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19.Emma Prusch Farm Park
© Emma Prusch Farm Park
Emma Prusch Farm Park is a 43-acre park that is located in East San Jose, California. The park was donated to the city of San Jose by Emma Prusch in 1962, to be used for demonstrating the valley’s agricultural history. The park features community gardens, a 4-H barn, fruit orchard, demonstration gardens, expanses of lawn, and picnic areas. The park’s primary purpose is to promote and demonstrate contemporary, historic, and culturally relevant agricultural practices. The park hosts a number of fun events throughout the year that are family-friendly and perfect for children, such as the Intro to Honey Bee Keeping Class.
647 South King Road, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-794-6262
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20.Montgomery Hill Park
Montgomery Hill Park is a community park that is situated within the Evergreen area, just southeast of San Jose, California. The Montgomery Hill trail is unpaved and extends from Falls Creek Road/Evergreen Creek to Yerba Buena Road, traversing through oak tree forests and natural grassland areas. The trail provides the perfect opportunity for taking a short, but scenic bike ride with the kids. The park offers breathtaking scenery, especially during the spring months when the wild flowers are in full bloom. The trail system connects to Evergreen Creek for another 1.2 miles of trail access right along the bubbling creek.
Montgomery Hill Trail, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-535-3570
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21.Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve
© Yuval Helfman/stock.adobe.com
Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve is a nature preserve that is located within the Eastern Foothills of Santa Clara County, in the city of San Jose, California. The preserve offers visitors sweeping and stunning views of the Valley; it also provides the opportunity to experience diverse landscapes with trips through chaparral communities, rolling grasslands, and oak woodlands. Perched just above Alum Rock Park, the preserve offers watershed protection for Penitencia Creek. It’s also home to numerous protected wildlife species, such as the American Badger, Western burrowing owl, California tiger salamander, and California red-legged frog. The Aquila Loop Trail is a pretty mellow hike that is perfect for families with children and beginners.
5341 Sierra Road, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-224-7476
22.San Jose Spiders
The San Jose Spiders are an ultimate disc team that competes on a professional level, based out of Los Altos Hills, California. They are members within the West Division of the American Ultimate Disc League, or AUDL. The organization was founded in the year of 2014, after the league expanded its operations to the nation’s west coast. The games offer a family-friendly environment that everyone can enjoy. Children under the age of 8 receive free access to all of the games, while kids between the ages of 8 and 18 enjoy discounted prices. This budget-friendly, San Jose attraction is a fun experience for all ages.
12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA, Phone: 650-949-7777
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23.Penitencia Creek County Park
Penitencia Creek County Park is a sprawling, 163-acre community park located in San Jose, California. This regional trail and linear park incorporates open spaces and parklands from several agencies, including the City of San Jose, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Santa Clara County. There’s a walking/biking trail that’s four miles long following the winding Penitencia Creek. It begins at Alum Rock Regional Park and runs to the Coyote Creek confluence. Visitors will often find families with their children enjoying scenic and leisure bike rides along the developed portions of the trail. The park also provides an idyllic setting for enjoying a nice family picnic.
Mabury Road & Jackson Avenue, San Jose, CA, Phone: 408-262-6980
24.Frost Cupcake Factory
© Frost Cupcake Factory
Frost Cupcake Factory is a wildly-successful cupcake shop that is located on East Campbell Avenue in Campbell, California. The shop specializes in creative, signature cupcakes that they serve within a brightly colored space. The interior of the shop is warm and inviting, featuring lots of wood-finishes throughout. There are also a couple of lime-green sitting chairs, and a kids table in the front corner with several books for them to read. The shop displays its magnificent cupcakes through a clear bakery case at the counter. Frost even offers a special Kid’s Cupcakes Dozen – standard-size cupcakes in vanilla or chocolate with only vanilla or chocolate buttercream.
199 East Campbell Avenue, Campbell, CA, Phone: 408-866-9866
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25.Joseph D. Grant County Park
© Yuval Helfman/stock.adobe.com
Joseph D. Grant County Park, or Grant Ranch Park, is Santa Clara County’s largest park, and is located in the city of Mt Hamilton, California. It is nestled within the foothills of the Diablo Mountain Range, in the eastern portion of Santa Clara Valley. The 10,882-acre park encompasses some of the finest open spaces in the county, along with rich cultural, environmental, and recreational assets. Throughout much of the park, visitors will enjoy sweeping views of majestic oak woodlands and rolling grasslands. The park also features a 51-mile trail system where families with children can enjoy mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding; it features well-equipped campgrounds and picnic areas as well.
18405 Mt Hamilton Road, Mt Hamilton, CA, Phone: 408-274-6121
25 Best Things to Do in San Jose with Kids of All Ages
- The Tech Interactive, Photo: The Tech Interactive
- Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, Photo: Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose
- Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, Photo: ALEXANDRE/stock.adobe.com
- Winchester Mystery House, Photo: srongkrod/stock.adobe.com
- Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Photo: Melastmohican/stock.adobe.com
- Raging Waters, Photo: Andrei/stock.adobe.com
- California Great America, Photo: California Great America
- Deer Hollow Farm, Photo: Deer Hollow Farm
- San Jose Museum of Art, Photo: San Jose Museum of Art
- Google Android Lawn Statues, Photo: Google Android Lawn Statues
- Lick Observatory, Photo: Andrei/stock.adobe.com
- San Jose Giants, Photo: 33ft/stock.adobe.com
- CREAM San Jose, Photo: CREAM San Jose
- The Willow Glen Sweet Shoppe, Photo: The Willow Glen Sweet Shoppe
- San Jose Children’s Musical Theater, Photo: San Jose Children’s Musical Theater
- Rancho San Antonio County Park, Photo: Andrei/stock.adobe.com
- Hicklebee’s Childrens Books, Photo: Hicklebee’s Childrens Books
- San Jose Sharks, Photo: ronniechua/stock.adobe.com
- Emma Prusch Farm Park, Photo: Emma Prusch Farm Park
- Montgomery Hill Park, Photo: Andrei/stock.adobe.com
- Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve, Photo: Yuval Helfman/stock.adobe.com
- San Jose Spiders, Photo: Ints/stock.adobe.com
- Penitencia Creek County Park, Photo: Tierney/stock.adobe.com
- Frost Cupcake Factory, Photo: Frost Cupcake Factory
- Joseph D. Grant County Park, Photo: Yuval Helfman/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Uladzik Kryhin/stock.adobe.com