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Bay Area Amusement and Theme Parks

These Bay Area Amusement and Theme Park field trip destinations have been recommended by homeschooling parents and kids. If you have a favorite that isn't listed here please call Homefires Journal at 650-365-9425 or E-mail Your Field Trip Destination. While we hope that this information is accurate, please do call to confirm.

Bay Area Amusement and Theme Parks

California's Great America

4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA
Phone: 408-988-1776 ext. 8858
Hours: Seasonal -- Call

100 acre theme park features exciting rides, movies, and shows. Costumed characters, food, shops and kids activities. IMAX theater. This park offers a Math Day and Science Day once-a-year (usually Spring) for students (and homeschoolers!) when the tickets are discounted, and students can learn the physics and math behind the rides - while enjoying the park attractions!


Children's Fairyland

699 Bellevue Avenue (at Grand) Oakland, CA
Phone: 510-452-2259 or recorded message 510-238-6876
Winter Hours: Friday - Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

A fairy-tale theme park featuring more than 30 colorful fantasy sets and more than 25 domestic animals - from tiny mice to a pair of frisky donkeys and a Welsh Mountain pony. Designed for kids 10 and under. Gentle rides, train, puppet shows, slides, animals.


Emerald Hills Golfland

976 Blossom Hills Rd., San Jose, CA
Phone: 408-225-1533
Winter Hours: Open Weekends only

Try one of our two 18 hole golf courses. Race around the world, battle skilled Kung Fu masters, or play skill games in our video arcade. Waterslide closed during winter (after September 26).
(Additional locations also in Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Castro Valley; see website for details.)


Gilroy Gardens

3050 Hecker Pass Hwy (Hwy 152), Gilroy, CA
Phone: 408-840-7100
Hours: September - October: Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; November: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission Tips: Discount for tickets purchased online; prices higher at the gate. Other pricing options include lunch buffet or season pass. Great America Gold and Platinum Season Passes include free admission to Gilroy Gardens, but not free parking.

California's only horticultural theme park designed for families with young children and garden lovers featuring 19 rides, 27 attractions, 6 majestic gardens and the world famous Circus Trees. Attractions are designed to educate guests and foster a greater appreciation of the natural world and man's ability to shape it.


Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

1300 Senter Road, San Jose, CA
Phone: 408-277-3000
Daily Hours: Currently closed. Park and Zoo are scheduled to re-open in Fall 2009. Activities and Events are still scheduled.

Admission: Entrance fee includes Zoo, Puppet Shows, and all rides. The Zoo provides hands-on experience with many animals along with the education that's necessary to secure the future of endangered species. There's also an Animal Contact Area featuring Goats, Miniature Horses, and Zebus.


Nut Tree Theme Park

1681 East Monte Vista Avenue, Vacaville, CA
Phone: 707-448-6411
Closed: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Call ahead for information on park/ride closure due to weather or special events.

The Nut Tree Theme Park is a place where all generations can share a fun and relaxing time together. Attractions include: Nut Tree Railroad, Carousel, Nut Tree Flight School, California Rescue Squad and more.


Oakland Zoo

9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland, CA
Phone: 510-632-9525
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; September and October, the zoo is open one additional hour on the weekends, closing at 5:00 p.m.
Admission Tips: Group discounts for 12 or more are available.

Nestled in the rolling hills of 525-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is home to more than 440 native and exotic animals. African Savanna exhibit ongoing with 11 exhibits including meerkats, hyenas, green monkeys and a savanna monitor lizard. See the Zoo's elephant herd, lions, giraffes, chimpanzees and more -- animals from around the world. Petting Zoo, mini-train rides, carousel, picnic grounds.

Be sure to visit the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo, located within the Oakland Zoo. It's part zoo, part children's museum and part playground. Designed to be a fanciful world of discovery, the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo encourages children to learn through exploration and play.


Pixieland Amusement Park

2740 E. Olivera Road, Concord, CA
Phone: 925-689-8841
Hours: Saturday & Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Pixieland Amusement Park provides fun for young children. Attractions include: Mini cars, mini train, merry-go-round, ferris wheel and more. All rides require 2-tickets.


Raging Waters

2333 South White Road, San Jose , CA
Phone: 408-238-9900
Hours: Closed for the Winter

Raging Waters, Northern California 's Largest Waterpark, offers 23-acres and millions of gallons of family fun and attractions, including the newest ride Dragon's Den.


San Francisco Zoo

1 Zoo Road, San Francisco, CA
Phone: 415-753-7080
Hours: Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 365 days a year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Family Farm and Hawk Hill, Insect Zoo, Nature Trail located in the Fisher Family Children's Zoo is open daily.

Admission: Discount rates with proof of SF residency, discounts for military and disabled, free days for SF residents, policy regarding free admission for certain specified SF school groups, and discount rates for school groups which are in a Unified School District outside of SF.

The first Wednesday of every month, admission to the Zoo is free.
The Zoo reserves the right to limit attendance on Free Days in the best interest of the animals. We recommend that you take public transportation because parking is limited.


Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

400 Beach Street, Santa Cruz, CA
Phone: 831-423-5590
Hours: Daily 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., Rides are seasonal - Call

A classic seaside amusement park and state landmark. It features a 1911 Looff carousel and a 1924 roller coaster "Giant Dipper" both named National Historic Landmarks. Rides take from 3 to 6 tickets depending on the ride. There are also multiple-ticket strips, all-day ride wristbands, and season passes available.


Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

1001 Fairgrounds Dr. (I-80 at state Hwy 37) Vallejo, CA
Phone: 707-644-4000 ext. 374
Hours: Seasonal - Call for times.

This 135 acre theme park contains wildlife park, oceanarium and amusement rides. See zebras, sharks, dolphins, alligators, butterflies, cheetahs, and a cheetahs. Educational shows and entertainment with over 30 animal attractions, 197 different species and 1,700+ animals. Offers Homeschool Discount Days year-round -- call to inquire.


Small World Park

2551 Harbor Street, Pittsburg, CA
Phone: 925-439-4879
Park Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m

Small World Park, where family time is quality time. Enjoy the beauty and family atmosphere of the park as you picnic, play or enjoy the rides or enjoy catch & release crawdad fishing. Drop-in for a special occasions, reserve a large picnic site or the party castle. Small World Park is open from April through October of each year.