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Charlotte Graham, Interim Public Information Manager
Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services
Happy Hollow Turns 60
San José Park & Zoo holds virtual celebration for Danny the Dragon
SAN JOSE, Calif. (March 30, 2021) – Saturday, March 27, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo celebrated 60 years of providing outdoor play in the Bay Area with a surprise virtual birthday party for Danny the Dragon.
"Happy Hollow holds such a special place in the hearts of those who grew up in or near San José – we knew we had to do something fun to commemorate the occasion," says Kiersten McCormick, Happy Hollow's General Manager. "Originally, our 60th Anniversary plans included a big, in person celebration, but due to COVID-19, we decided to go with something that everyone can enjoy from home." So far, over 3,500 people watched the video on Happy Hollow's Facebook, and around 2,000 people tuned in on YouTube.
"Our job is to keep Happy Hollow thriving for years to come," says Amy Pizarro, Executive Director of Happy Hollow Foundation. "If you've ever enjoyed a "ride in the sky" on Dragon Flyers, 'oohed' and 'aahed' at the red pandas or giant anteater, or watched your children clamor into the Crooked House for a whimsical adventure, then you've been touched by Happy Hollow Foundation, which helped bring these projects to life at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo. 60 years is a big milestone, and we wish for many more years to come." The virtual event was sponsored by Happy Hollow Foundation, the Park & Zoo's non-profit partner.
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The Park & Zoo has changed a lot since the gates first opened on March 27, 1961. The facility is now home to an Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited Zoo, eight family-friendly rides and nature themed play areas, one of California's oldest puppet theaters (Puppet Castle Theater), a Zoo Education with classes and camps for all ages, and a wildlife conservation program that protects threatened and endangered species locally and around the world. More information about the history of Happy Hollow is available online.
"Happy Hollow is a San José treasure," says Jon Cicirelli, Director of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services. "As the second most visited destination in San José, Happy Hollow provides essential connections to nature, while providing safe, fun and educational outdoor recreation."
Looking 10-15 years into the future, the Park & Zoo is working towards a new master plan, which was completed in 2018. This includes additional family-friendly play areas and attractions, as well as expanded animal exhibits, a more integrated trail system for the Coyote Creek floodplain and a seasonal splashpad for children to enjoy.
For now, the Park & Zoo is making a comeback after temporary closures resulting from the pandemic. "We're currently working on our phased reopening," says McCormick. "We started with Walk Through the Zoo, a one-way walking path through our Zoo areas – and next is reopening play areas and allowing picnicking through a timed reservation system. The most important thing - now and always - is the health and safety of our guests, employees and animals, and our cautious approach makes this possible."
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About the City of San José
With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California's largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José's transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City's anticipated growth through the year 2040.
About Happy Hollow Park & Zoo
Happy Hollow Park & Zoo has provided outdoor play to the Bay Area since 1961. Happy Hollow is a facility of the San José's Department of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services, and is supported by the Happy Hollow Foundation. The mission of Happy Hollow is connecting people to nature through play. Happy Hollow features a unique combination of family rides and amusements, a Puppet Castle Theater, nature themed play areas, special events for all seasons, an Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited zoo, and a zoo education and wildlife conservation program with classes, camps and events for all ages. Happy Hollow also offers annual memberships for families and individuals. www.happyhollow.org
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