One of San Jose’s best kept secrets is History San Jose park. This mini, historical town features buildings which were saved from demolition, and brought here to recreate San Jose’s early days as an American town.
The buildings all have some sort of special meaning to local history. They were lived in by people who helped settle the area, or they were businesses which were a first in the area. Such as the first candy shop owned by the O’Brien Family pictured below. (apologies for the reflection, I took this photo through the window since the building was closed.)
The park is often used for events, picnics, and corporate parties. Some of the buildings are normally open to the public, and serve as mini-museums which tell their story, and how it fits into local history.
Of course right now, since we are partly shut-down due to the pandemic, only the outdoor areas are open. We will have to go back when things open back up in order to show the kids the inside exhibitions.
History San Jose is a beautiful park to spend some time walking around, and learning about local history. If you are local to the Bay Area, I highly recommend checking it out. There is free parking right in front-but it is limited. So arrive early. Otherwise, there is a fee lot a few feet away from the entrance. If you are traveling to the area, be sure to check it out, and learn about our early days!
Shop my fitness look:
Have you visited History San Jose? What did you think? You can learn more on their website here.
Zoo day! We were so excited when we heard the San Francisco Zoo was allowed to re-open. It’s a great place to go with the family; and since it is outdoors, it is very safe.
The SF Zoo has tons of safety protocols in place, which made it a fun, relaxing way to get out of the house while staying safe.
The Zoo now offers online reservations so they can limit how many people enter the zoo at one time. This is great because it leaves a lot of space between visitors. I felt like I was taking a VIP tour of the zoo! You know I love me some VIP treatment!
In addition to spaced out visitors and easy reservations, everyone wears a mask. The zoo also roped off high touch areas in order to remind visitors to visit touchless. We felt really safe, and enjoyed the private walk-through of the zoo. Did I mention we felt like we had VIP treatment? Oh yeah, it was like that.
We took about three hours to wander through the SF Zoo and visit all the animals. The hippo even came out of the water for us! He started by playing with a giant ball. Then, he splashed and swam around. After he was done swimming, he climbed out of the pool and ate some grass. It was amazing! I have been visiting the San Francisco Zoo since I was a small child, and this was the first time I saw the hippo so active. I guess he was happy to see guests returning to the Zoo to visit him!
Then we saw this guy taking a morning nap on an old keg. I guess he partied a little too hard the night before. LOL
I dressed comfortably for the occasion; knowing I would be doing a lot of walking. I cannot even tell you how amazing it felt to put on an outfit and go somewhere. Let alone wear jeans! Who knew jeans could feel so good?
The zebra and I had the same color palette in mind that day.
It was a really fun day at the zoo! If you are local, and are looking for something safe to do, this is your activity! Visit SFZoo.org and book your reservations! If you aren’t local, be sure to visit our zoo when you visit us. It’s a relaxing day outside, and the animals will be excited to have visitors again!
Have you ever been to Drawbridge, California? I had no idea it existed until my husband suggested we take the kids there, and explore the area. Apparently his Mom took him there when we was a child!
Drawbridge is a ghost town. The only abandoned town within the boundaries of the San Francisco Bay Area. It was originally a little vacation spot where people enjoyed duck hunting. It also had a train station, which made it fairly easy to get to in the late 1800’s through the late 1970’s. As the salt industry changed the landscape of the Bay, the landscape of the town began to erode, causing the town to begin sinking into the Bay. This was the main reason the town was abandoned.
Drawbridge sits at the bottom of the Bay, adjacent to Milpitas, San Jose, and Fremont. It’s slightly hidden from view, until you hop on an Amtrak train which speeds by the town. Although there used to be tours of the town, which is how my husband visited it several decades ago, it is now fenced off; with plenty of “no trespassing” signs around the area.
We parked at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in San Jose. This area offered a flat hiking trail filled with wildlife, which has returned to the area after massive restoration efforts over the past few years to bring the Bay back to life when many of the salt flats were removed. It’s incredible to be able to see so many different types of birds, and plants, in the area; which used to be desolate when I was a child. It makes the long hike into Drawbridge both pretty and educational.
Initially I was excited about this hike. Since it was flat, I assumed it would be fairly relaxing and easy. Apparently I was wrong! While wearing a mask helps cut down on the bottom-of-the-bay smell, it did nothing to shorten the length of the hike. The trail looks easy, but the surface is hard, and it’s roughly an hour and a half down the trail to get to Drawbridge.
Our kids were fine for the first two hours of the hike, the last hour was a little tough on them, and on me. Keep in mind, if it’s ninety minutes to get from the parking lot to Drawbridge, it’s ninety minutes to get back. The three hour, round trip trek was tough on a hot summer day. Thankfully I packed snacks and water, so we were at least fueled and hydrated-just really tired!
I don’t recommend bringing small children on this hike. My kids are teenagers, so they could handle it with a little grumbling. I did see people biking, and one person on a scooter. Those are great alternatives to navigating the trail and making it easier. I highly recommend being prepared, and going out to see Drawbridge at least once in your lifetime if you live here in the Bay Area. If you don’t live around here, and you love ghost towns, check it out!
Drawbridge can be viewed from a lookout which has a bench and signs detailing the ghost town’s history. It’s a fun little part of our local history, and it’s interesting to see a ghost town!
Have you visited Drawbridge before? What did you think? Do you enjoy visiting ghost towns?