Yesterday, I visited the Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose, CA. The park just re-opened the previous weekend after an almost two-year renovation. When I arrived shortly after 10 a.m., I already saw a long line of cars waiting outside the toll booths. The parking lot itself was already about a third full. I saw a number of parties park outside the parking lot and walk in. $10 is a bit much for parking, but you can buy a $40 for 10 visits parking pass at the admission booth. From the parking lot, it’s only a short walk to the main entrance.
The entrance features a number of whimsical sculptures, such as this delightful pig family. The park features additional sculptures inside.
When you enter the park, the first ride I encountered was the Keep-Around-Carousel. I loved all the different animals, such as zebras and ostriches. This carousel was a bit different in that I could only hear music whenever I passed the attendant’s booth. No centralized pipe organ music typically found in carousel rides. Actually, I couldn’t figure out whether the music I heard was part of the ride experience or just something the attendant’s were listening to at the moment. Riding a merry-go-round in semi-silence is odd. Also, the ride operators have not completely worked out the kinks in their system. The kids were all seated on their animals for a long, long time before the ride started.
I encountered the same problem on the Pacific Fruit Express Family Roller Coaster. The one minute roller coaster ride takes two quick laps around the short track. However, it took 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 minutes to unload / load the passengers each time. They really need to work on turning around the rides to keep the line moving and the kids happy.
The longest wait was for the Danny the Dragon ride, located at the back of the park. If you really want to ride on the dragon, come early and head straight for the back of the park. Compared to Disneyland, the lines here don’t look long. But, for whatever reason, the line was moving just too slow and we ended up skipping this ride. Too long a wait in the hot afternoon.
Oh no! Dorothy and Toto kills the WIcked WItch of the East.
The puppet theatre features three different shows throughout the day. I saw the Three Little Pigs show, which offered a humorous twist on the original story. Overall, a fun day for the family. Oh, we also packed lunch because I read that the food service was a bit slow. The park has a lot of picnic tables, and only one place selling food. Pack a lunch and save some time.