Living in Silicon Valley, we are blessed with good weather much of the year. If you’ve got a young family like I do, you’re probably always looking for outdoor activities for kids to get them out of the house. So instead of heading out to the mall or a museum, check out these five open-air suggestions.
1) Los Gatos Creek Trail
San Jose and surrounding communities have an extensive urban trail system, but to me this one is the crown jewel. The trail runs just over 9 miles from Meridian Avenue in San Jose to Lexington Dam above Los Gatos, and all but the 1.8 miles from downtown Los Gatos to the dam are paved. It’s great for a family stroll or bike ride as the trail passes through several parks and playgrounds. Much of it is also shaded.
2) Vasona Lake County Park and Oak Meadow Park
These two gems are adjacent to one another in Los Gatos and the Los Gatos Creek Trail passes right through Vasona. Scenic picnic areas surround the lake and during the summer months visitors can rent various watercraft for lake recreation. Oak Meadow is a haven for younger kids. There are several elaborate play structures with more slides than I’ve ever seen in one place. And to top it off, Oak Meadow has a carousel and a train that gives rides around the park.
3) San Jose Flea Market
More than 6,000 vendors sell everything under the sun – including a wide variety of food – to more than 4 million visitors every year. Take the kids to the toy store and the experience is over in a matter of minutes, but your family can make a whole day out of the Flea Market.
4) Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
35 miles south of San Jose, this theme park is virtually unknown compared to its more famous neighbor to the north, Great America. But in many ways, Gilroy Gardens is a better bet for families with small children because the scale is much smaller, the rides are less scary, and the price is much lower. The park is actually a non-profit organization with a mission to educate children about horticulture, but don’t let that fool you. There is still much traditional amusement park about Gilroy Gardens.
5) Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
Located in Kelley Park near downtown San Jose, Happy Hollow is designed to provide children with an outdoor adventure while also educating about conservation and sustainability. It is a popular destination for class field trips and features a little bit of everything for kids, from rides and playgrounds to animal interactions and classes.
– Los Gatos Creek Trail
– Vasona Lake County Park and Oak Meadow Park
– San Jose Flea Market
– Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
– Happy Hollow Park & Zoo