Hotspots in San Jose, CA
Knowns as the "World's Strangest Home," the Winchester Mystery House has over 160 rooms. Sarah Winchester, the Winchester rifle heiress, left Connecticut in 1884 and traveled to San Jose where she began building this mysterious house. To this day, it is unknown as to why she was so obsessed with building such a large house, with more and more rooms added on. One of the staircases in the house is very strange, as it descends seven steps, then rises eleven steps. When taking the tour, make sure to stay by your tour guide and not wander off, or you could be lost in the maze of hallways and rooms for hours. Hidden rooms and secret passageways are all found within the walls of this mysterious home.
An art museum dedicated to the diverse populations of the area, its collections range from modern masterpieces to recent works by young artists. The permanent collection has 1,400 pieces of work, and has a special focus on West Coast art. In 1969, the old San Jose library building faced demolition, so a group of citizens fought to save it, and is now the home to the San Jose Museum of Art. A new wing was added in 1991. Guided tours are always available, and art-making activities in the galleries are a popular attraction for visitors. Paper, pencils and clipboards are available for use throughout the museum for hands-on activities.
The Fallon House was built by one of San Jose's first mayors. When touring this house, you will learn about Thomas Fallon and Carmel Fallon, two important people in San Jose's history. The Peralta Adobe house was built in 1797, and is the last structure from El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe. It is the oldest building in San Jose. A popular site is the horno, which is an outside oven famous during that time period. The two rooms inside the house are furnished similar to how the Gonzales and Peralta families may have furnished them. San Pedro Square Market is currently being built around the Peralta Adobe house.
A large area of zoo animals and park spaces, the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo is fun for all ages. By providing stimulating environments for the animals, it allows their animal behaviors to be enhanced. The park area is filled with different themes for all ages. Young children love the Double H Ranch Exhibit, where they can interact and get up close and personal with domesticated species of animals. Family rides are found in the park, and include a carousel, roller coaster and Danny the Dragon ride. The Giggle Grove is perfect for toddlers and younger children, and offers smaller play equipment. The Happy Hollow Park and Zoo also offers a puppet theater, classes and camps.
San Jose's "sister city" is Okayama, Japan, and the Japanese Friendship Garden is a symbol of that partnership. It is modeled after Korakuen Park in Okayama. This garden is a great place to go to sit on a quiet afternoon and collect your thoughts. The garden is located in between the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, and History San Jose. Koi fish have recently been returned to the park, and feeding them is a fun family activity. Make sure you bring quarters with you to purchase fish food. The different fountains and bridges are the more popular things to see while visiting. Admission to the garden is free.
With over 4,000 Egyptian artifacts on display, the Rosicrucian Museum houses the largest collection on exhibit in western North America. The Junior Archaeologist Program allows children ages 5 to 17 to experience behind the scenes and hands-on learning opportunities. You can take a guided tour, or download the MP3 tour and experience it at your own pace. Because cats were a big part of the ancient Egyptian culture, you will find a wide variety of cats displayed in bronze, wood and even mummies. Learn all about how mummies are made and the process it takes to become mummified. Learn about the scribes in ancient Egypt, and the tools they used to create their writings.
Over 87 acres of farm land donated to San Jose by Emma Prusch in 1962, the Prusch Farm Park was once a working dairy farm. When donating the land to the city, the conditions set by Prusch was that the city would make it a place of relaxation, recreation and enjoyment for the people of San Jose. The original farm house is one of the largest freestanding wooden barns in California. The Friendship Forest is full of trees planted from around the world. Typical farm animals such as chickens, pigs and rabbits can be found in the small farm animal enclosure, and large animals such as cattle, sheep and swine are found in the large barn. Smaller animals such as chickens, guineas, ducks and geese roam free throughout the farm.
This children's museum has over 150 exhibits, making it one of the largest of its kind in the nation. The focus of this museum is having children learn by touching, feeling and doing. With over 28,000 square feet of semi-permanent and traveling exhibits, children will learn to be creative and discover the world around them. The Kids' Garden area is a real working garden where real fruits and vegetables grow. Children can learn what it's like to tend to plants, and why it's important to grow a garden. Morning chores, making flower wristbands and watering the garden are all chores the children can participate in. Other exhibits at the museum include the art gallery, bubbles, cornhusk dolls, theater and secrets of circles.
A collection of different parts of San Jose's history all combined into one area. The Transportation History exhibit starts with the Native Americans traveling by foot and canoe, and follows travel all the way through to the airport and high speed rail system. A collection of buildings can be found here, and include Bank of Italy, Blacksmith Shop, Empire Firehouse, Pasetta House, Stevens Ranch Fruit Barn and Umbarger House. Special events are always scheduled, and can be found on their website. The History Park section holds family activities every weekend from May through October. Admission is free for everybody November through April.