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“Take your kids under age 7 here.” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
Ranked #9 of 132 things to do in San Jose
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose has been a part of Bay Area families since it opened its’ gates in 1961. It’s a unique combination of family rides, amusements, a Puppet Theater, play areas and an accredited Zoo with over 140 animals, from endangered lemurs to miniature horses. Year round classes are offered for ages 12 months to adults as well as special events for all seasons. Happy Hollow Park & Zoo offers yearly Memberships for families and individuals.
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
63 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Take your kids under age 7 here.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 17, 2013

Such a surprise, this is a nice and clean little park and zoo. The entrance fee is a bargain compared to some of the other attractions in the Bay Area. The rides are free (included in the entrance fee) and they are all geared for kids under the age of 7. The lines for the rides were not bad at all (some rides didn't have any lines!) The longest line we waited in was probably about 15 minutes for the Danny the Dragon ride, which was a big mistake. It is the slowest, most unexciting ... I don't want to call it a ride, what's a better word? Just a slow moving tram? With nothing to look at but aging, motionless scenes of fairy tales. A tip, if your child wants to pedal on the racing tricycles, s/he'll have to wear closed-toed shoes. (Alas, my son could not in his flip-flops.) My kids especially liked the family roller coaster, swings and carousel.

The zoo is quaint, but in the blazing San Jose sun, the animals were all asleep or in the shade by mid-afternoon. Don't expect lions and tigers and elephants - here there are mostly lemurs, tortoises and one jaguar. There is also a petting zoo past the restaurant where you can feed the goats and other farm animals by hand.

Take note, you'll have to pay for parking. Also, we purchased our tickets online, but there was no separate line at the entrance for people who pre-paid tickets. We went through the shorter membership line. Not sure if we were supposed to do that, but we did anyway.

Overall, we had a wonderful day here and I highly recommend for young kids! The small size of the park makes it totally manageable and walkable for our 5 and 6 year olds. There's picnic areas as well, so you can bring your own lunch!

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank thejoyciecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Gilroy, California
Level Contributor
24 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Fun, Fun, Fun!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2013

A great place for children of all ages. Recently remodeled, Happy Hollow is a real treat. A small zoo, playground areas, picnic areas, rides, puppet shows, and a petting zoo. Who could ask for anything more?

***Quick Tip***
Get there early for parking under the shade. Especially on weekends or during the summer. Parking is $10 (machines take credit/debit/cash) , but the auxiliary lot is only $6-$8 (cash only).

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank Elissa516
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Poway, California
Level Contributor
55 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Great for tots.... but 6+? NOT!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2013

It was a great way to spend the afternoon Sunday. This entire place was recently renovated (maybe in 2010?), and so the playground had changed quite a bit since my last visit. Four-five hours is plenty of time to enjoy the place. If you have mobility problems, allow more time accordingly. Everything is fairly close, so there isn't too much walking (relative to larger parks like Disneyland or LEGOLAND).

Our visit included grandparents, my wife and myself, and the two kiddos (ages 2 and 5), plus my sister and nephew (4). This was my kids' first visit, so they were rather excited. The admission is reasonable at $12 each. There are a few small rides plus a small roller coast for the 4-5 year olds. My 26 month old actually did great on it and had a blast, but I think that is abnormal.

Unless the genuinely like playing with and entertaining little ones, older kids (8+) will be bored quickly. Good thing my sister didn't have her two older boys here (7 and 9). They would have babified everything, making it so my 5 year old son wouldn't enjoy it (they'd be too cool and it would be baby stuff). My son enjoyed it because his little cousin and sister were there, and for once he was the oldest. He actually even played with the smaller ones. Had the older boys been there he would have ignored the little ones.

Lots of great shady places inside to have a picnic lunch. I think officially you can't bring in food, but there was no issue for us. We blatantly carried a bag in an enjoyed it on a bench. There is a restaurant (The Picnic Basket) which gives access to ice and cold water so that you can fill your own water bottle.

Kelly Park itself (the surrounding park that Happy Hollow is within) is likewise a great park with bountiful shaded picnic areas. You could go to Happy Hollow by day and do a picnic BBQ dinner outside Happy Hollow after closing time.

NOTE: Parking is $10/car (exact change or credit card). I have not yet looked to see the feasibility of street parking.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank uclalum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California, United States
Level Contributor
66 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“A fun afternoon for little tykes”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2013

Happy Hollow offered a variety of amusement rides for kids that ranged in age from 3-8. After paying the entrance fee, the rides are all free. Cute theme, fun atmosphere. The zoo was small, hidden away in the trees, but nice nonetheless.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Marine Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, Ca.
Level Contributor
25 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Happy Hollow Park and Zoo”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 2, 2013

We are so fortunate to have such a fabulous city-run venue in San Jose. It has a petting zoo (bring quarters!!), an exotic animal zoo, a place where your little one can dig up dinosaur bones, tons of kiddy rides (for the 1 year to 5-year old age range), a massively tall climbing structure with slides and ropes and all sorts of athletic things to keep your toddler engaged, a train ride, puppet shows and so much more. My best advice: bring your own snacks and drinks inside and have a picnic while you watch the puppet show. If you forget to bring food, the cafe is reasonably priced, standard "fair" sort of food.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank bsmith1231
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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