Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is celebrating its 50TH year as a family fun destination. As many of us do as we age, Happy Hollow has had a little work done. It has new animal exhibits, it has family rides, it’s educational, and is just good clean fun! The “New” Happy Hollow is a place that San Jose can be proud of.
Happy Hollow is both an amusement park and an accredited zoo. The zoo features many endangered species. In fact, one of the new exhibits is the fossa. This cute catlike carnivore is a native of Madagascar and is the only one of its kind on display in the Bay Area. There is also a new lemur display called “The Lemur Woods Exhibit” that features endangered lemurs. After the children watch the lemurs play there is a play area designed for the children to mimic the movements of the lemurs.
Though I love to see the animals in their habitats I truly enjoy being able to touch them. In the upper zoo area you can. I had a fun time feeding the goats. Some of the goats have “manners” and will wait for you to give them the hay pellets. Other goats live up to the warning sign, “Goats will be goats!” If they know you have food they can get creative in taking it away from you. One goat climbed up the front of me to get a treat. I found it amusing but I’m bigger than the goats. Brushing the goats may be less intimidating to a small child than feeding an excited goat. If a small child wants to feed an animal the miniature horses were very gentle and so were the sheep in the barn. I loved the goats and will visit them again soon.
All of the animals have unique stories to tell on how they came to be at Happy Hollow. I’d like to share the Broad Breasted Turkey’s story with you as it was shared with me by Vanessa Rogier, a member of the Happy Hollow staff. “He is part of “The Presidential Flock” that was pardoned last Thanksgiving. Foster Farms, the California Company, was asked to raise the turkeys for The Presidential Flock. Out of 25, two of the turkeys go to the President and they look for homes for the rest of them. So we are home to one of the Presidential Flock of turkeys.”
The Amusement Park is geared for guests aged 2-12 though even I took a ride on the signature ride, Danny the Dragon. Danny the Dragon is green in color but he has gone “green” inside and out and is now battery operated. In fact Happy Hollow is the first Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified amusement park and zoo in the country. Happy Hollow is about having fun but it is also a great learning experience. If you look up you will see plants growing on top of 7 of the buildings roofs to help regulate temperature and reduce storm water runoff. If you look down you can see the metal grate that collects rain water and helps prevent flooding and runoff. If you look all around you will learn while having a fun time!
There are new rides and returning favorites to look forward to. When you enter the park you are greeted by the beautiful Keep- Around- Carousel that features endangered species characters. The Giggle Grove has Kiddie Swings, Frog Hopper, Granny Bugs and the Mini Putts. There is also a family rollercoaster and the Redwood Lookout features climbing areas along with slides, swings, ropes and a sitting area for the parents! Another favorite attraction is the puppet show. It is very popular so get there early so you can get a good seat.
Happy Hollow is a very clean park and is family oriented. All of the children I saw had huge smiles and seemed to be having a great time. The staff and volunteers I met were very friendly and helpful. Happy Hollow is open all year round so come on out and play!
I would like to thank Vanessa, Heather, Valerie, Greg and Piper for taking time out of your busy day to answer my questions. Thank you.
If you would like to know more about Happy Hollow please go to this website: http://www.hhpz.org/
Coming up in October are some special events:
From Oct. 15 – 30 there will be a Pumpkin Patch with a corn maze, face painting, crafts and more.
Oct. 15 is the Howl-O-Ween Family Sleepover
Oct. 28 & 29 are the Flashlight Safaris
Oct. 30 from 1 – 4 PM Haunt The Hollow – Trick or Treat through the Park and Zoo
1300 Senter Road
San Jose, CA 95112