Pros:Inexpensive, fun, rides, animals...what more could you ask for?
Cons:The play areas are old and should be replaced
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is a wonderful place to spend the day with young children. It is inexpensive (about $4 a person) and is located near downtown San Jose. It offers something for everyone--a ride area and a small zoo area.
The ride area is on the left side as you enter the park. You will probably want to do this part first. There is a Dragon Train ride, two merry-go-rounds, a ladybug ride and a car ride. There are also various play areas with climbing structures and small houses for kids to play in and on. The playground areas are all old. This is my one complaint with Happy Hollow. They need to be updated. Despite that, there is still plenty of things for the children to do. In addition, there are remote control boats (bring your quarters!), an old fire engine to play on, and a large ferry boat for climbing. They also offer daily puppet shows (12:00 and 2:00).
This side of the park also is home to the snack bar. They do not allow food or drinks on the zoo side. The snack bar offers a variety of food at reasonable prices. However, we always bring our lunch because the line is usually very long (it's the only snack bar in the park).
The zoo side of Happy Hollow has an assortment of animals. There is a pygmy hippo, some pot belly pigs, guinea pigs, various birds, swans, turtles, tortoises, monkeys, lemurs, wallabys, meerkats, a jaguar and an owl. There is also a petting/feeding area complete with goats, a zebu, miniature horses, and vending machines with food for the animals (once again you'll need those quarters!).
For those of you who live in the area, I can't recommend enough how valuable the season pass is. It cost us $50 for our family pass (1 year). In addition to getting into Happy Hollow for free any time, any day of the year (they are open every day of the year--rain or shine!), you also get free entry to about 100 zoos across the United States. Two of these zoos happen to be the San Francisco Zoo and the Oakland Zoo--both nearby and very worthwhile day trips. We are on our third year of having a season pass and we will be renewing when July rolls around again. We've gone at all times of the year--sometimes doing just the ride side, sometimes seeing just the animals and sometimes doing the whole thing.
Happy Hollow is a lot of fun. I would highly recommend it to anyone with children under age 10. Maybe I'll see you there!
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