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50 FREE Things To Do in Santa Clara with Kids
August 17, 2021

Entertaining kids doesn’t have to cost a dime. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities, and fun things to do in Santa Clara kids can enjoy them for free!

Home to Silicon Valley, this tech region is a place where heritage and innovation perfectly blend together. With fragments of its past remains amidst the modern facade, Santa Clara covers everything from fun family attractions and interactive museums to historic sites and exciting kid-friendly activities. If you’re a parent looking for free things to do in Santa Clara with kids, then you won’t have to look far. You can find just about anything that can cost you nothing.

It’s time to take a break to explore Santa Clara with the whole family and have a great time without breaking the bank. There is a vast range of things for families to do and kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara that won’t cost a cent. From parks to landmarks, the area offers plenty of no-cost ways to entertain your little ones. The only thing better than family Fun is FREE family fun!

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Below, you’ll find a list of entertaining ideas of the best family attractions, interesting must-go places, kid-friendly activities, and more free things to do with kids in Santa Clara!

Campbell

Ainsley House - free things to do in Santa Clara with kids
Ainsley House

Ainsley House 

300 Grant St., Campbell, CA 95008
Phone: (408) 866-2119

The Ainsley House is Campbell’s historic house museum. The home was built in an English Tudor Cotswold cottage during the Arts and Crafts movement. Built in 1925, the home was the third residence of local canning pioneer John Colpitts Ainsley and Alcinda Ainsley’s wife.

Tours of the Museum last approximately 45 minutes and require short periods of walking, climbing stairs, and more extended periods of standing. Admission is FREE for kids seven years and below as well as the museum members. For more information, please visit their website.  

Campbell Park

Campbell Ave. & Gilman Ave., Campbell, CA 95008
Phone: (408) 866-2145

Campbell Park is a community park that is a perfect place to spend an afternoon relaxing or catching up on your fitness routine. On-site, you’ll find several basketball courts that are lit up at night with terraced spectator seating, small open turf areas, horseshoe pits, picnic areas, benches, a playground with a toddler area, and a water feature.

There are a very small number of first-come, first-served picnic tables available in the park. Dogs are allowed to travel through the park on a leash. It is a central access point to the Los Gatos Creek Trail, which connects Downtown San Jose to Vasona Park and Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos.

Jack Fischer Park

1499 Abbott Ave., Campbell, CA 95008
Phone: (408) 866-2105

Jack Fischer Park contains various children’s play equipment, including an interactive water feature, a “beehive” hill with a walking path, large open playfields, and restrooms. The unique features of this park are mainly geared for young kids. The toddler area is partially fenced-in, making it easier to keep track of your little ones. There is a big sand play area with a water feature to make sandcastles and such.

The big hill has a paved path that goes round and round up to the top. It’s fun for kids to ride their bikes or trikes on. There is also a huge grassy area for picnics, soccer, kites, and bathrooms nearby. Considering the proximity of its neighbors, barbecues, rental party equipment, and large parties are not allowed at Fischer Park.

Cupertino 

Apple Park Visitor Center - Santa Clara family attractions and kid-friendly activities
Apple Park Visitor Center

Apple Park Visitor Center 

10600 North Tantau Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014
Phone Number: (408) 961-1560

The Apple Park Visitor Center showcases Apple products, the Apple Park, and company-branded merchandise. It also has several programs for kids and adults called “Today at Apple.” It’s open to the public, and there are many free things to do with kids, including an AR experience. Don’t miss the Apple Park augmented reality experience, which lets you peek into the campus through an iPad.

It’s easy to miss the upstairs roof deck, but it’s the highlight of the visitor’s center. Look for the Jony Ive-designed stairs. Once you’re on the roof, you get the closest view of Apple Park available to the public. For more information, please visit their website.  

Rancho San Antonio County Park

22500 Cristo Rey Dr Cupertino, CA 95014
Phone Number: (650) 691-1200

One of Santa Clara County’s family attractions and most popular parks, Rancho San Antonio County Park, is leased by the County of Santa Clara Parks and Recreation Department to Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD). Rancho San Antonio County Park provides both formal and informal recreational opportunities for kids and the whole family.

The most popular kid-friendly activities in this part of Santa Clara are jogging and hiking. Stretching bars are available at the restroom parking area and equestrian staging area. The park provides walking, bicycling, and equestrian trails, which connect with over twenty-three miles of trails within the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve.

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Stevens Creek County Park

11401 Stevens Canyon Rd., Cupertino, CA 95014
Phone Number: (408) 867-3654

Escape the busy streets of Santa Clara County and retreat to Stevens Creek County Park. With more than 1,000 acres (405ha) of woodland, it’s a favorite with locals who enjoy its leafy hiking trails and fishing at the reservoir. Stock up on picnic provisions at Erik’s DeliCafe on Stevens Creek Boulevard and find a sun-dappled patch of grass. The park is open year-round from 8 am to sunset.

There are so many free things to do with kids in Santa Clara, such as hiking and biking, and enjoy a variety of over 9 miles of single track and multi-use trails. Solitude may be found along many of the trails which connect with the Mid-Peninsula Open Space Fremont Older Preserve. It is also one of the most popular birding parks in the bay area. Over 125 species have been sighted and recorded to date.

Gilroy     

Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park - free things to do in Santa Clara with kids
Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park

Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park

10001 Watsonville Rd., Gilroy, CA 95020
Phone Number: (408) 842-2341

This beautiful and culturally significant 4.3-acre park features the beautiful Uvas Creek and a wealth of cultural artifacts, including bedrock mortars and petroglyphs left by the Ohlone Indians. The park includes a self-guided interpretive walk and an interpretive shelter focusing on Ohlone Indian culture and the Adams schoolhouse, which was sited on this property from the 1850s until 1956.

The site includes chemical toilets, potable water, and a limited number of picnic tables. No barbecue facilities are available. Guided educational programs are available by reservation for groups of up to 35 students, giving kids a glimpse of what life was like for the Native American people who once inhabited this site.

Christmas Hill Park

7050 Miller Ave, Gilroy, CA 95020
Phone Number: (408) 846-0446

Christmas Hill Park is a 50-acre community green space that features plenty of wide-open spaces to relax. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a day out with the family. The park houses various hiking trails, jogging trails, and bicycle trails suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

On-site leisure facilities allow participation in a range of outdoor kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara. There are dedicated picnic areas, playgrounds, and fields where kids can play soccer, baseball, and football. The park is surrounded by multiple trees giving the space peace and tranquility.

Gilroy Museum

195 Fifth St., Gilroy, CA 95020
Phone Number: (408) 846-0446

The Gilroy Museum offers a glimpse into Gilroy’s history. It includes research facilities, photographs, and artifacts covering everything from the Ohlone Indians through the Spanish-Mexican period, all the way up to the “Garlic Renaissance” and recent city history. It is housed in the historic 1910 Carnegie Library Building, built with a $10,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie.

The Museum is staffed by community volunteers and members of the Gilroy Historical Society. Join members of the Gilroy Historical Society as they guide you on free Walking Tours through Gilroy’s historic districts. Tours are given on the 1st Saturday of each month. For more information, please visit their website.  

Los Altos

Los Altos History Museum
Los Altos History Museum

Los Altos History Museum

51 S San Antonio Rd., Los Altos, CA 94022
Phone Number: (650) 948-9427

Located in one of the few remaining apricot orchards of Santa Clara Valley, the Los Altos History Museum is one of the family attractions that explores the rich history of local people. It also shows how the land use over time has transformed the agricultural paradise once known as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight” into the high technology hub of today’s Silicon Valley.

The History Museum complex is admission FREE. They provide educational opportunities for children and adults to learn about our community via exhibits and hands-on activities. Don’t wait for a school field trip to visit. It is a fun little stop you can enjoy with the kids. For more information, please visit their website.

Shoup Park

400 University Ave., Los Altos, CA 94022
Phone Number: (650) 947-2790

Shoup Park is home to the Garden House, The Underground, and Patriot Corner Picnic Area. It is adjacent to Adobe Creek and connecting trail to Redwood Grove Nature Preserve. Adobe Creek forms the backdrop for Shoup Park, including picnic tables, barbecue pits, turf areas, playground, parking, and public restrooms.

There are two playgrounds — one intended for the abilities of younger children and another for older ones. There is also a trail looping around the park where kids can run scooters and practice riding bikes. All in all, this is a lovely park filled with old-growth trees, lots of greenery, and a great natural space.

Morgan Hill

Anderson Lake County Park - free things to do in Santa Clara with kids
Anderson Lake County Park

Anderson Lake County Park

19245 Malaguerra Ave., Morgan Hill, CA 95037
Phone Number: (408) 918-7980​

Anderson Lake County Park is considered Santa Clara County’s largest reservoir. Bring your family and enjoy the seven-mile-long, 1,250 surface acre lake with shoreline picnic and BBQ facilities. First-come, first-serve family picnic areas are available year-round along Coyote Creek below Anderson Dam. Also, there are two group picnic areas available by reservation.

The 4,275 acre Anderson Park also features the Coyote Creek Parkway multiple-use trails, the Jackson Ranch historic park site, the Moses L. Rosendin Park, and the Burnett Park area. This unique combination of recreational resources makes Anderson Lake County Park a magnet for powerboat enthusiasts, bicyclists, equestrians, picnickers, and nature lovers.

Uvas Canyon County Park

8515 Croy Rd., Morgan Hill, CA 95037
Phone Number: (408) 779-9232

Outdoor enthusiasts will find that Uvas Canyon Park has much to offer. This park has 7.2 miles of hiking trails, including a one-mile Waterfall Loop that travels along Swanson Creek past many of the park’s waterfalls. There are pamphlets available at the trailhead and ranger’s office, highlighting Uvas Canyon’s flora along this self-guided interpretive trail.

The park contains individual picnic sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Black Oak Group Picnic Area is available by reservation for groups of up to 75 people. The campground has 25 individual campsites and showers. The Upper Bench Group Camping Area is reservable for up to 50 people.

Mountain View

Deer Hollow Farm - Santa Clara family attractions and kid-friendly activities
Deer Hollow Farm

Deer Hollow Farm

22500 Cristo Rey Drive, Mountain View, CA 95014
Phone Number: (650) 903-6430

Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour and learn about the history of the Farm. The friendly farm animals, a volunteer-supported garden, and an orchard are available for viewing during regular farm hours. Please note, the buildings and pens are closed to the general public. Visitors may also explore 24-miles of trails in the surrounding Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve.

Picnic tables are available at the north end of the Farm. Be prepared to remove all garbage as there are no garbage cans at the Farm or Preserve. Your kids will love the “Touch Table” with its bones, feathers, nests, and more. Admission is free except for special events. For more information, please visit their website.

Google Merchandise Store and Android Statues Park

1981 Landings Dr., Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone Number: (650) 253-0000

At the Google campus, one of the free things to do with kids in Santa Clara is visiting Google’s sculpture garden. Google Android Statues Park features a new colorful candy Android sculpture each time an operating system (O.S.) is developed. You’ll know you’ve arrived a the Visitor Center when you spot the collection of colorful Android-themed sculptures, all ripe for being part of your selfies. Just watch for the primary-colored Google bikes as you cross the parking lot. They’re often ridden in packs!

Next to the Garden is Google Merchandise Store, where visitors can shop for wearables, merchandise, and accessories. You can take a piece of this iconic company home with you, whether it be purchasing one of their products or through some merch like a t-shirt or coffee mug.

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NASA Ames Research Center

Moffett Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94035
Phone Number: (650) 604-6497

NASA’s Ames Research Center, one of ten NASA field centers, is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. This is a favorite place for families who love to learn about aircraft, space and have fun free things to do with kids in Santa Clara. There are interactive educational displays, video clips, movies, and displays of Nasa’s projects in space. Volunteers offer free tours for visitors, and children can ask all the questions they want.

You can see a natural moon rock, a Martian asteroid, learn how astronauts live and work in space during your visit, and much more. It is a small shop and Museum of NASA artifacts for fans of space and aeronautics. For more information, please visit their website.

Shoreline Park

3160 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone Number: (650) 965-7474

Shoreline features a 50-acre small boat sailing lake operated by Silicon Shores, a Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Among the amazing family attractions in this part of Santa Clara include an 18-hole golf course, Michaels clubhouse, and banquet facilities. It also has the historic Rengstorff House, irrigated meadowlands, wildlife and habitat areas, a self-guided interpretive sign system, environmental docent-led tours program, and eight miles of paved trails.

There are kid-friendly activities in this part of Santa Clara County that include jogging, walking, bird watching, kite flying, and sailing. Families love coming here for picnics, bike rides, stroller jogs, and boat rides. There’s a playground area that’s based around a sunken ship!

Los Gatos

New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU)
New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU)

New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU)

106 E. Main St., Los Gatos, CA 95030
Phone Number: (408) 354-2646

Formerly The Museums of Los Gatos (Art Museum of Los Gatos and History Museum of Los Gatos), New Museum Los Gatos (NUMU) has three times more exhibition space than its previous location. It allows us to build a vibrant community hub for all ages to engage the community at the intersection of art, history, and education through innovative, locally connected, and globally relevant exhibits, programs, and experiences.

The NUMU Studio houses the MakerSpace, a multifaceted studio where students and their families can explore, discover and create! Family Programs are offered as opportunities for the entire family to explore various materials, art forms, and expressions. FREE entry to essential workers, Los Gatos residents, members, youth under 18 years of age, families of up to 4 (with a current EBT card and valid ID), and active-duty military personnel and their families (through September 6). For more information, please visit their website.  

Vasona Lake and Los Gatos Creek County Parks

333 Blossom Hill Rd Los Gatos, CA 95032
Phone Number: (408) 355-2375​

The 152-acre park and connecting parkway are among the best family attractions and the most popular regional park and recreation areas in Santa Clara County. Vasona Park is an excellent place for everyone. They have three large playgrounds to choose from and a bike path that goes along Vasona lake. 

It has 45 acres of lawn which can be used for informal play such as frisbee tossing, softball, or soccer. There are also several picnic areas available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Adjacent to Vasona Lake County Park is the Town of Los Gatos’ Oak Meadow Park. Here, visitors can ride a carousel, picnic, play informal sports, or enjoy the playground. Miniature train rides on the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad originate in Oak Meadow and run through Vasona Lake County Park. Be sure to visit the fantastic Youth Science Institute at Vasona. Lots of natural and stuffed animals…FREE but donations requested.

Whitney Modern

24 N Santa Cruz Ave., 2nd Floor Los Gatos, CA 95030
Phone: (408) 402-5922

Whitney Modern is Silicon Valley’s Contemporary Fine Art Gallery located in the heart of Downtown Los Gatos. Take your kids from a creative experience to a thought-provoking collectible work of art from internationally recognized, mid-career, and emerging contemporary fine artists. Art enthusiasts will find Whitney Modern a place for inspiration, conversation, and discovery.

The Whitney Contemporary Fine Art Gallery strives to engage the public in the arts via its inspiring galleries filled with beautiful artworks worldwide. The on-site exhibits feature mainly contemporary works from both established and up-and-coming artists. For more information, please visit their website.

Milpitas

Ed R. Levin County Park - Santa Clara family attractions and kid-friendly activities
Ed R. Levin County Park

Ed R. Levin County Park

3100 Calaveras Rd Milpitas, CA 95035
Phone: (408) 262-6980

A beautiful national park, Ed Levin County Park is one of the best Santa Clara family attractions. The park caters to picnickers, with plenty of benches and tables under pavilions. There is a playground for the kids, a lake for adults to fish in, and tons of hiking and horseback riding trails. There is even an area in the park that dogs can roam free in, as long as their owners are watching them, of course.

Visitors may enjoy the playground, fly kites, and play frisbee on one of the three lawn areas. The park is also home to the Wings of Rogallo hang gliding club. It is a unique experience to watch these beautiful hang gliders and paragliders soar in the skies above the park. A beautiful day in the Garden is just one of the best free things to do in Santa Clara with kids!

Shirdi Sai Center

1221 California Cir,‎ Milpitas, CA 95035
Phone: (408) 909-1221

Now known as Shirdi Sai Parivaar, this little gem is a Hindu temple. The place is so clean and well kept with friendly staff wandering around occasionally. The building is always tranquil, so it is the perfect place to pray if visitors are religious. Guests can also sit and enjoy the solitude since it is a great way to be at peace with oneself.

Whether visitors are religious or not, it doesn’t matter. The quiet of the building and the peaceful surroundings will bring on a remarkable calm over those that come here.SSP also provides Thursday kids’ activities, language, dance, yoga classes, all of which are free by its volunteers. For more information, please visit their website.

Palo Alto

Gamble Garden
Gamble Garden

Gamble Garden

1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto CA 94301
Phone Number: (650) 329-1356

There’s a lot of fun and free things to do with kids at Gamble Garden — from the big moments to the small. Children see the magic of growing plants, and would-be gardeners of all stripes learn from its Master Gardeners and horticultural reference library. Plan a visit with the whole family, or just take your lunch break in the Garden to get back a few moments of the day.

The 2.5-acre property, located in Palo Alto, is among the best Santa Clara family attractions,  a point of historical interest. Admission is FREE every day! For more information, please visit their website.  

Magical Bridge Playground

3700 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94306
Phone: (650) 380-1557

There are so many free things to do with kids in Santa Clara, and of them is going to the Magical Bridge Playground. Its flagship playground opened to the public in April 2015 in the heart of Silicon Valley. Located in Mitchell Park in Palo Alto, Magical Bridge is heralded as the nation’s most innovative and inclusive playground, attracting visitors of all ages and abilities. They also have the second playground in Redwood City and more in the works or planned for Morgan Hill, Sunnyvale, and other communities.

Magical Bridge thoughtfully considers the needs of those living with cognitive and physical disabilities, autism, sensory challenges, visual and auditory impairments, the medically fragile, and even our aging population. In short, Magical Bridge is NOT a special needs playground – instead, Magical Bridge Playgrounds are a playground for everyone and everybody, at every stage of life. For more information, please visit their website.

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Palo Alto Art Center 

1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Phone Number: (650) 617-3501

The Palo Alto Art Center is your place to see and make art, activate your creativity, and expand your community. Visitors can have free things to do with kids, view free exhibitions with artwork in a wide range of media, and participate in free events in Santa Clara. Events include Friday Night at the Art Center, Family Days, The Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, and the Clay and Glass Festival.

Free Family Days provide festive afternoons of art-making fun for the whole family and kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara. They offer enriching art experiences for children and meaningful experiences for parents. For more information, please visit their website.  

Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo

1451 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94301
Phone Number: (650) 329-2111

The Junior Museum & Zoo is where children and their caregivers come to explore, discover, create and play. Through hands-on science exhibits and a diverse community of live animals, your child’s natural scientist will be nurtured. All shows allow children to become physically involved and immerse themselves in the essence of life, poke, prod, pull, pick up, and smell.  

They offer a menagerie of science programs for schools and community groups and classes, summer camps, birthday parties, and kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara. Individual admission is free. A $5 donation per person is appreciated. For more information, please visit their website.    

Cantor Arts Center

328 Lomita Drive at Museum Way, Stanford, CA 94305
Phone Number: (650) 723-4177

The Cantor Arts Center’s diverse collections span continents, cultures, and 4,000 years of art history and include the largest gathering of Rodin bronzes outside Paris. See a wide range of changing exhibitions and take advantage of docent tours, lectures, gallery talks, symposia, classes, special events, and kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara.

Serving the Stanford campus, the Bay Area community, and visitors worldwide, the Cantor Arts Center provides an outstanding cultural experience for visitors of all ages. The Rodin Sculpture Garden outside is inspiring for kids to play around. For more information, please visit their website.  

The Museum of American Heritage

351 Homer Ave Palo Alto, CA 94301
Phone Number: (650) 321-1004

One of the best Santa Clara family attractions is this delightful Museum in downtown Palo Alto. Started by Frank Livermore, the Museum is a collection of historical artifacts and objects that illustrate the evolution of technology from the 1750s through the 1950s. Its permanent collection highlights the 1920s and 1930s, an early 1920s general store, a prints shop, a radio repair shop, and a historic garden.

Each year, the Museum of American Heritage (MOAH), The Bay Area LEGO User Group, and the Bay Area LEGO Train Club (BayLTC) created a unique Holiday season display at MOAH called the Living LEGO-by: Legendary LEGOs and Terrific Trains. Parents love the no charge for admission and can pick up a few toys at the little gift shop. For more information, please visit their website.

San Jose        

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library 

150 East San Fernando St., San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 808-2000

In 2003 San Jose State University and the City of San Jose came together to form a unique partnership to offer joint library services to citizens of San Jose and SJSU students and faculty, spanning 475,000 square feet across eight floors. Public computer workstations are available for free use, with exceptional art, literature, and history collections housed on its fifth floor.

This library is home to 30 award-winning art installations and hosts weekly events from book fairs and author signings to poetry readings and musical performances. Special research collections are available to everyone at the King Library, including the Beethoven Center, the Steinbeck Center, and the Cultural Heritage Center. For more information, please visit their website.  

History Park San Jose

1650 Senter Road, San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 287-2290

History Park is located at the south end of Kelley Park at Senter Road and Phelan Avenue. Through 32 original and reproduction homes, businesses, and landmarks, History Park is one of the family attractions that reveal Santa Clara Valley’s past. Complete with paved streets, running trolleys, and an old-fashioned ice cream shop, this 14-acre site offers the charm and ambiance of times gone by.

Walking into History Park is literally like taking a step back in time. The historical and cultural campus features 19 partner organizations who each tell their history in their own words, capturing San Jose’s beginnings in a fresh, fun, authentic, educational and fascinating way. The park is open for outdoor enjoyment, except for the listed public holidays. Admission is free year-round, except during special events and programs. For more information, please visit their website.  

Japanese American Museum of San Jose

535 North Fifth St., San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 294-3138

One of the best free things to do with kids in Santa Clara is visiting the Japanese American Museum. It showcases a unique collection of permanent and rotating exhibits chronicling more than a century of Japanese American history. Visitors will learn about the early immigration of Japanese to America, their leadership in the agricultural community, their incarceration during World War II, and the challenges they faced while adapting and contributing to West Coast communities.

JAMsj provides a historical forum that stimulates present-day discussions on civil liberties, race relations, discrimination, and American identity. Admission is free to JAMsj members, active military and family, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, and kids below five years old. For more information, please visit their website.  

Lick Observatory

7281 Mount Hamilton Rd., San Jose, CA 95140
Phone Number: (408) 274-5061

On the forefront of astronomical research since 1888 (before there was even a road up Mount Hamilton), the Lick Observatory is nothing short of an icon, with its foundation set firmly in Silicon Valley innovation and technological prowess. Beyond the stunning views from 4,209 feet above the valley, the brilliant history of how these giant telescopes were even dreamed up, and the mind-blowing discoveries that have taken place with them, just being able to see light-years away through the lens is enough to send one into orbit.

Add in tours, music series, lectures by leading researchers doing cutting-edge work, and other special events. You have one of the most unique and powerful experiences of the city. The Gift Shop & Visitor Center is open year-round. Admission is free, and the Gift Shop gives tours inside the dome of the 36-inch Great Refractor every half hour. For more information, please visit their website.  

Plaza de Cesar Chavez - free things to do in Santa Clara with kids
Plaza de Cesar Chavez

Plaza de Cesar Chavez

194 S. Market St., San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 794-6504

This park in the middle of downtown San Jose has a lot of fun free things to do with kids.  There’s a water feature that little ones love. Watch them be shocked as the water shoots up right from the ground. It features sprinklers and sprayers for kids of all ages and heights that get kids excited and soaked. When kids tire of the spray, dry off on the nearby playground, stick around for musical performances, and even open-air theater for families.

Plaza de Cesar Chavez is a popular place to hang out as it is located near museums such as The Tech Interactive and the illustrious San Jose Museum of Art. They host several notable kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara, including the Park’s San Jose Jazz Festival and Christmas in the Park. A stroll through the park is complemented by beautiful water fountains, flower beds, and more. For more information, please visit their website.  

Rosicrucian Park

1660 Park Ave., San Jose, CA 95191
Phone: (408) 47-3635

Rosicrucian Park is a five-acre public park and museum complex that serves as the headquarters for the American branch of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, a philanthropic and cultural organization similar to Freemasonry. It is home to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Rosicrucian Research Library, Rosicrucian Planetarium, and the Rosicrucian Peace Garden!

Visitors can explore the park’s grounds for free daily during daylight hours, including its beautiful Peace Garden, which is constructed according to Egyptian tradition and showcases plants that can be used for food and medicinal purposes. Guests should note that while the park and peace garden is free to explore, other attractions may require a ticketed upcharge. For more information, please visit their website.

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Rotary PlayGarden

438 Coleman Ave., San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 298-7657

The Rotary PlayGarden provides an inclusive place to play for all children and their families, focusing on children with special needs. The resulting PlayGarden design incorporates standard play elements and adds adaptive swings, a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round, kinetic art, sensory experiences, and much more. It is the Rotary Club of San Jose’s centennial gift to the community.

There are many free things to do in Santa Clara with this stunning six-million-dollar project, including a new parking lot and reconfigured intersection. It creates an inviting place for children with special needs to play alongside their siblings and friends. Two areas can be reserved in advance. All other areas/tables are first come, first served.

San Jose Museum of Art

110 S. Market St., San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 271-6840

It’s always a good idea to expose kids to a bit of culture, but it’s even better when there’s something you know they’ll enjoy. The diversity in the San Jose Museum of Art’s collection promises to deliver something for everyone — from DIY art on Summer Sundays, unique sculptures and paintings to their live exhibits, there’s guaranteed to be something to pique your child’s interest.

The SJMA celebrates new ideas, stimulates creativity, and inspires connections with every visit. Welcoming and thought-provoking, the Museum rejects stuffiness and delights visitors with its surprising and playful perspective on the art and artists of our time. Students with valid IDs will receive free entry to the Museum. And beginning August 6, all visitors after 5 pm on the first Friday of the month will also receive free admission. For more information, please visit their website.  

Santa Clara

Intel Museum - Santa Clara family attractions and kid-friendly activities
Intel Museum

Intel Museum

2200 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95054
Phone Number: (408) 765-5050

Go behind the scenes in the high-tech world of California’s famed Silicon Valley. See what it’s like inside an ultra-clean, highly automated silicon chip factory, and connect with technologies that give us new ways to work, learn, play, and communicate. The Intel Museum is 10,000 square feet of fun, interactive learning, and kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara.

Not only is entry free but also there’s no cost for guided tours (you need to reserve a spot in advance). This Museum is one of the few technology companies and family attractions in Santa Clara that goes all out for visitors. A tour of the Museum takes about an hour and is great fun for kids of all ages. For more information, please visit their website.

Mission Santa Clara de Asis

500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
Phone Number: (408) 554-4000

The Historic Mission Santa Clara, a California historic landmark and one of the must-visit family attractions, is located on the beautiful grounds of Santa Clara University. The campus is simply bucolic with fragrant roses, other flowering plants, and impressive trees—still eye-catching even in the throes of a drought. The picturesque mission-style buildings are all tan with brown tile roofs.

The University’s Campus Ministry and Mission Church staff and the Santa Clara Jesuit Community collaborate in the liturgical and pastoral activities conducted in and around the Mission Church. Enter quietly and respectfully so as not to disturb others inside. For more information, please visit their website

de Saisset Art Museum

500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95050
Phone Number: (408) 554-4528

One of the kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara is visiting the South Bay’s FREE Museum of art and history. The de Saisset is also located on the campus of Santa Clara University, perpendicular to the mission. The Museum is committed to supporting education for all ages through various educational programs, including lectures, symposia, workshops, and family days. In addition, the de Saisset provides free docent tours of the California History Collection and Mission Santa Clara.

One of the unique permanent installations is the California History Museum. The art museum’s proximity to the mission contains much historical information and a collection of Spanish Colonial art. Some of the unique modernist prints include works by Chagall, Matisse, and Picasso. For more information, please visit their website.

Edward Peterman Museum of Railroad History
Edward Peterman Museum of Railroad History

Edward Peterman Museum of Railroad History

1005 Railroad Ave., Santa Clara, CA 95050
Phone Number: (408) 243-3969

One of the best free things to do in Santa Clara with kids is visiting the quirky Museum in the historic Santa Clara Depot. Located on the Santa Clara freight yard, Edward Peterman Museum of Railroad History sits at the point where the San Francisco peninsula commute and Union Pacific Coast lines converge. Established in 1989, this Museum provides an exciting way of learning about Santa Clara’s rail history – a vital part of its past.

The Museum contains operating scale model displays as well as railroad artifacts dating back to the 1800s. Within the Depot are two operational HO and N scale model railroad layout displays depicting various railroad eras and operations venues. For more information, please visit their website.  

Santa Clara Fire Museum

1900 Walsh Ave., Santa Clara, CA 95050
Phone Number: (408) 727-5770

One of the Santa Clara family attractions is the fire station. The Museum has plenty of history to showcase, from a variety of firefighting tools and equipment. Firefighters use these throughout the history of the Department since its inception in 1855. Located behind Santa Clara Fire Station #2, this volunteer-run Museum contains memorabilia and equipment dating to the mid-19th-century.

Visitors can catch a glimpse of a restored Model T Ford truck used for parades and special occasions. The restoration project took more than a year and required the expertise of many volunteers. It was rebuilt from the ground up, with many original parts restored with the wooden wheels and the 20 horsepower engine. For more information, please visit their website.  

Steve Carli Park

1045 Los Padres Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95050-5133
Phone: (408) 615-3140

There are so many Santa Clara kid-friendly activities at Steve Carli Park. It has a prominent kid structure with slides, ropes, ladders, and opportunities for climbing, while a separate small toddler structure is nearby. Possibly the best feature for parents of little ones is the two-parent-tot double swings where you can pop your tiny person in the bucket swing while you sit on the swing facing them.

Don’t miss out on the Disneyland-like spinning teacup spinner. It also features themed log climbers and a log balance beam. This three-acre park also contains basketball courts, restrooms, and a little league field – home of Westside Little League. The playground is well-shaded, with lots of benches to stop for a snack break.

Triton Museum of Art

1505 Warburton Ave., Santa Clara, CA 95050
Phone Number: (408) 247-2438

For 55 years, the Triton Museum of Art has been a destination for the community. It provides a venue where local artists exhibit their work alongside regional and national artists and where students of all ages learn about art and the creative process. The Museum collects and shows contemporary and historical works, emphasizing artists of the Greater Bay Area.

You’ll know you arrive when you see the whimsical, larger-than-life modern sculpture of a pair of flashy eyeglasses on the street outside the Museum. They provide free parking and free admission to their exhibitions and many of its community events plus more free things to do with kids in Santa Clara. Classes, on-site and off, are provided for children and adults of all skill levels. For more information, please visit their website.

Saratoga

Hakone Gardens
Hakone Gardens

Hakone Gardens

21000 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070
Phone: (408) 741-4994

An oasis of serenity in the heart of Saratoga, California, Hakone Gardens is one of the oldest Japanese gardens in the West. A timeless traditional Japanese-style estate has a range of unique gardens with their atmosphere: A koi pond, moon bridge, dry landscape, lush bamboo grove, and more. A strolling park consists of a grassy hill and a pond, and a traditional tea house offers hot cups of green tea.

The Cultural Exchange Center is located in a faithful reproduction of a 19th century home and shop of a Kyoto tea merchant. The estate sprawls across 18 acres on the Saratoga hills, overlooking Silicon Valley. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Free admission to Santa Clara County residents on the first Tuesday of the month, March through October, and the first Saturday of November through February until August 2023. (Verification such as driver’s license is required). For more information, please visit their website.

Montalvo Arts Center

15400 Montalvo Rd., Saratoga, CA 95071
Phone: (408) 961-5800

The Montalvo Arts Center is a center for the arts in Saratoga, California, snuggled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Among its Santa Clara family attractions include an art and cultural center, a park with hiking trails, and the historic Villa Montalvo, which is open to the public by appointment only. Its grounds are also available to the public for free!

Montalvo also presents a wide array of kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara such as public festivals, art classes for all ages, literary events, performing arts in the beautiful outdoor Lilian Fontaine Garden Theatre, and more. Bring your kids and take a hike up to Lookout Point for a fantastic view of Silicon Valley, engage with outdoor art installations, or have a picnic on the Great Lawn. For more information, please visit their website.

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Wildwood Park

20764 4th St., Saratoga, CA 95070
Phone: (408) 868-1259

This gorgeous park right off the main drag in downtown Saratoga is one of the best family attractions in Santa Clara. It has a great play area with a water feature and many climbing options. Little performers will enjoy performing on the stage among the redwoods. Small trailheads from the play structure, up through the trees above the park, and drops you off by the stage. Head down to the creek under the Bridge to see what might swim, hop or fly around the water.

The park has a beautiful setting, situated alongside a flowing creek with shaded picnic tables and BBQ areas, a sand volleyball court, and a beautiful grassy glen popular for picnics. Toddlers will love running back and forth on the wooden Bridge over the creek. There are so many free things to do with kids in this part of Santa Clara that can entertain them all day!

Sunnyvale

Las Palmas Park
Las Palmas Park

Las Palmas Park

850 Russett Dr., Sunnyvale, CA 94088
Phone: (408) 732-4041

This well-shaded 24.3 acre Polynesian-themed Park is one of the best Santa Clara family attractions.  This place is a beautiful spot for families to relax and hang out with lush palm trees surrounded by a picturesque pond. Established to provide outdoor excitement with plenty of kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara to residents and visitors of Sunnyvale, Las Palmas Park has lived to its full expectation. The park is highly recognized because of its play areas designed to maximum satisfaction, especially for kids.

The swings, slides, and more are what make a lot of free things to do with kids in Santa Clara for an afternoon delight. You will also find the baseball field and the basketball court. For lovers of pets, you are not left out too. In an area of Las Palmas is the structure designed as a dog park. What a good choice for your family together!

Ortega Park

636 Harrow Way Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Phone: (408) 730-7751

One of the free things to do in Santa Clara with kids is visiting this 15-acre park with a large children’s playground that includes two playground climbing structures, sandpits, bucket swings/big kid swings, a climbing wall, and a fun splash park. There are also tennis courts, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, shuffleboard, and a cricket pitch.

The park is trendy on weekends for parties, reunions, BBQs, etc., and can get very crowded. There are plenty of picnic tables and grassy areas to snack at. There are also lots of shade at this park and vast expanses of grassy lawn ideal for kid-friendly activities in Santa Clara.

Serra Park

730 The Dalles Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Phone: (408) 736-4229

This Sunnyvale park has a fantastic array of play equipment and landscaping. One of the Santa Clara family attractions is the riverboat. Next to this are walls that look like a western town. There is also a forest of poles that sprays water in all directions. There is a natural-looking artificial rocky creekbed that runs by the redwood-shaded picnic areas.

A babbling brook runs through this 11.5-acre, Mark Twain era-themed park, which has four picnic sites to choose from to host a gathering. Serra Park has a children’s play area, lighted tennis courts, basketball courts, a skating rink, and a water play area with a timer that kids can splash around in.

Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum

570 E Remington Dr., Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Phone: (408) 749-0220

Another one of the best free things to do in Santa Clara with kids is visiting the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum. This Museum was established to preserve and protect the rich social and cultural history of the region and replicates the 1850s Murphy Family Home. It showcases history through some living and even interpretive exhibitions.

You will find artifacts that depict a more cultural history of Sunnyvale city. Adding to that is an apricot orchard and a barn just at the outside of the Museum. They have been preserved for a long time, and they showcase agricultural history too. Accessing the Museum is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit their website.

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If you’re looking for somewhere to take the children on a day trip to any family attractions, or you want to fill the school holidays with kid-friendly activities and exciting adventures, Santa Clara is your playground. You don’t have to be a big spender to enjoy your family outing. You can find top free things to do with kids in Santa Clara today, tomorrow, and just about every day. The tech region of California has tons for you and your little ones to experience together!

Santa Clara offers so many opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of resources, or browse through our things to do in Santa Clara with kids. Still looking for more activities for kids in Santa Clara? No problem! Check out our comprehensive listing of places to go in the region and our highly recommended things to do blog posts.

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