Located within San Jose's Kelley Park, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo was designed in 1957 by San Franciscan Daryle O. Chapman. The zoo was added ten years later, and in 2008 the park underwent a green renovation. Happy Hollow offers rides, play areas, zoo exhibits, an education center, a puppet theater, classes, school and Girl Scout programs, and camps and sleepovers .
About Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
Alden Campen and former San Jose Mayor Ernie Renzel proposed the development
of a children's park in 1956, and purchased 7.5 acres of the Kelley family
property on behalf of the city. The name for the new park was supplied by Gary
Shippam via a newspaper contest in March of 1957. Through community support and
organizations, Campen, Renzel, and the Jaycees were able to move the project
forward by hiring Daryle O. Chapman to design the park, and construction began
the following year. Ponds were created, trees planted, the puppet theater, tree
house, and a Monkey Island built, and rides purchased, including Danny the
Dragon, paddle wheel boats, and a Viking Ship purchased for a dollar from
Benicia's Navy shipyard. By 1964, the park also boasted a carousel, an octopus
ride, and putt-putt cars, as well .
The zoo was created in 1967, and the Kelley Park Express Train from Happy
Hollow to History Park was added in 1979. During the 1980s, the zoo enclosures
were improved to benefit both animals and visitors, leading to Happy Hollow
Zoo's accreditation in 1993 by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
Further renovation followed after Coyote Creek flooded the park area in 1994,
including improvement of the animal habitats and the 1960s-era infrastructure
of the park's attractions, as well as the addition of new animals to the zoo.
Happy Hollow closed from 2008-2010 to complete its green renovation, which
included the addition of a veterinary building, education center, restaurant
and gift shop, all Silver Certified by the LEED program .
Today, Happy Hollow Zoo is home to pygmy goats, fossa, collared peccary (javelina),
capybara, lemurs, wallabies, miniature horses, meerkats, jaguars, guinea pigs,
squirrel monkeys, dwarf donkeys and dwarf zebu, turtles and tortoises,
cockatoos, parrots and macaws, ducks, egrets, vultures, and several other bird
species. The Double H Ranch Exhibit offers both play areas and an Animal Barn
petting zoo, and the Lemur Woods Exhibit offers kids a playground in parallel
with the lemurs' enrichment habitat. The park offers rides and play areas for
children and toddlers, as well as classes and educational activities at the
L.O.D.G.E. Education Center .