Museums In and Near Milpitas

I’m not counting the “collection” in our garage, no I’m not! As some of you know, we homeschooled our son. So I’m going to talk about our favorite “field trips” in the area. I’m going to focus on museums for children and the young at heart.

Park and History Museum Plans

Park and History Museum Plans

Plans for Milpitas History Museum

Milpitas is the only large city in Santa Clara County without a museum.

Locating a museum next door to the Milpitas Public Library and Municipal Parking Garage is ideal and must be preserved.

A group has formed to promote this property as a park and place for historical buildings and museum. The Milpitas Community Museum group — which last year placed a winning $315,000 bid to buy the property from the successor to the city’s former redevelopment agency — closed the deal in mid-March.

The Children's Discovery Museum

The Children’s Discovery Museum

The Children’s Discovery Museum

We were members for years when Scott was younger, going to the BIG PURPLE BUILDING where they “let you play in the street” almost once a month. Well, the “street motif” is gone, but the newer design provides room for more hands-on exhibits. The Children’s Discovery Museum is easily reached by the Light Rail, stopping right in front of the building. Getting there by train doubles the fun. The museum is located on Woz Way, named after Apple Computer’s inventor, Steve Wozniak, who was the prime benefactor for the museum. The museum is supported by individual and corporate members.

Children are encouraged to get right in exhibits and think and play with the concepts. Interactive workshops are scheduled for Sunday afternoons. Contact the Children’s Discovery Museum for more information. Their phone number is 408-298-5437.

Irvingtonian Landscape

Irvingtonian Landscape

Children’s Natural History Museum

Irvington Fossils. This fossil collection was excavated in the 1940’s-60’s in a quarry located in the Irvington area of Fremont by a group of young boys. The collection of fossils included mammoths, sabertooth cats, giant cave bears, dire wolves, camels, western horses, sloths, and pronghorn antelopes.
4074 Eggers Dr.
Fremont, CA 94536

Charlie Caplin

Charlie Caplin

Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

Best time to visit is Saturday evenings when they show a double feature of classic silent movies. The town of Niles was the Hollywood of the silent movie era, and movies by Charlie Chaplin and Broncho Billy were made in the area. Tours of the town to see the old film day buildings are also available. The whole area is considered historic. You can also ride a train up the Niles Canyon, once scenery for cowboy movies. Map of best things to do in Niles.

We offer weekday tours and activities for school groups that will fill their day of fun in Niles.

NESFM Tour offers:

  • A viewing of one or two silent films made in Niles by Broncho Billy and Charlie Chaplin
  • A brief talk on early film making history and Niles role in it.
  • A tour of the Edison Theatre c1913, Museum exhibits and the original tin lined projection booth.
  • A “Zoetrope”, (moving pictures) workshop where the students get to make their own moving picture strip.
  • A guided walking tour of the historic Niles district with our local historian / docents.
The Tech

The Tech Museum of Science & Innovation

The Tech

Now the Scott’s a teenager, The Tech Museum of Science & Innovation is by far the coolest museum in Silicon Valley. Upon entering, he makes a beeline for the submersible robots on the bottom floor.

Second Sunday each month is free admission.

We also like to see whatever movie is playing at the IMAX theater.

If you can’t make it to The Tech today, visit their online galleries and mess around with science for a bit.

The Tech has its fabulous store online for those looking for science stuff for home education. I just wish they had their books in here, too.

Intel Museum

Intel Museum

The Intel Museum

At the Intel Museum in Santa Clara, you can experience the power of computer chips first hand, and the evolution of their development. Explore the pages of the site and interact with our Web movies to learn more about the museum and computer chips.

Intel Corporation’s Robert Noyce Building, Main Lobby
2200 Mission College Boulevard
Santa Clara, California

Display at the Computer History Museum

Computer History Museum

The Computer History Museum

Spend a day at the Computer History Museum. Find out why computer history is 2000 years old. Learn about computer history´s game-changers in our multimedia exhibitions. Play a game of Pong or Spacewar! Listen to computer pioneers tell their story from their own perspective. Discover the roots of today´s Internet and mobile devices. See over 1,100 historic artifacts, including some of the very first computers from the 1940s and 1950s.
1401 N. Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA 94043

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

An affordable, sustainable, conservation-centered outdoor adventure for families with children.

Come play with us! The education department at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo encourages children of all ages to embrace their wild side. Join us as we explore our natural world and make new friends!

In the 1950’s, people from all over the USA fell in love with Disneyland, and wanted some place like Disneyland in their home town. Jaycees, Alden Campen and Ernie Renzel (former Mayor of San Jose) took this dream to heart, and following Oakland’s lead (the creation of Oakland’s Fairyland), approached City “fathers” in 1956 with the idea of developing a children’s park on property owned and for sale by the Kelley Family.

O'Brian's at the San Jose Historical Museum

O’Brian’s at the San Jose Historical Museum

San Jose Historical Museum

When you’ve completed your stay at the park and zoo, take the little train over to the San Jose Historical Museum, which is more of a city than a “museum.” I think all the historic buildings in the area are hauled here, renovated, and then opened to visitors. Children will like the horse drawn trolley rides and O’Brian’s Candy Store. The dentist office will help them appreciate their dentist even more!

1650 Senter Road
San José, CA 95112
Phone: 408-287-2290

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Egyptian Museum

A four year old once told me he didn’t believe in mummies, so I took him along with us to the Egyptian Museum. Maybe ghosts are debatable, but mummies are in abundance here! The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, architecturally inspired by the Temple of Amon at Karnak, houses the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on exhibit in the western United States — including objects from pre dynastic times through Egypt’s early Islamic era.

Planetarium: Journey to the Stars 2:00 pm every day
Tomb Tours: Wed – Sun
1660 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95126

Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House

No feature about area museums would be complete without a note about our most famous tourist trap/historical house. You are kept waiting for the next tour in the gift shop, so it’s a bit hard not to spend more than you intended.

Not many remember, but the Winchesters not only invented rifles but also roller skates! One section of the store is dedicated to a “museum” of the inventions of Mr. Winchester. If you stick to this end of the premise before the house tour, you’ll have a much less expensive stay.

The mansion was continuously under construction for the life of its owner, Sarah Winchester. I’ll let the link tell the story. What is myth and what is fact is frequently debated locally. It’s an especially spooky place to visit in October and open all night on Halloween.

Directions: 525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128

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