Adding life to years
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Senior Safari at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo

Senior Safari at Happy Hollow Park & Zoo


To better serve older adults, Happy Hollow Foundation has opened its doors for six straight years for the “Senior Safari”. Visitors age 50 and up are invited to take over the iconic San Jose park, which has traditionally focused on serving young children and their families. Older adults enjoy the fresh air and exercise, animal meet-and-greets, zookeeper chats, dancing, art, and hula hooping.

This program is designed to help older adults improve their health, avoid social isolation, and enjoy a unique, ADA accessible environment that stimulates both mind and body. Senior Safari admission and parking are free, and guests are welcome to stay for the day after gates open to the general public. In 2019, we expanded advertising to include Vietnamese language postcards and radio spots in addition to outreach in English and Spanish. Last year’s attendance was almost 3,500, which was more than a 10% increase from the year before.

The County of Santa Clara is a vital partner for this event series and provides resource tables for attendees to learn about services and opportunities for older adults from County agencies, including Valley Medical Center, Emergency Services, Senior Nutrition, Public Health, and Aging and Adult Services.

Key facts

Main target group: Older people in general

Sector(s): Other

Other sector(s): Parks & Recreation

Desired outcome for older people:
Be mobile

Other issues the Age-friendly practice aims to address:
  • Accessibility
  • Healthy behaviours (e.g. physical activity)
  • Inclusion
  • Participation

Contact details

Name: Diana Miller

Email address:

Age-friendly practice in detail (click to expand):

Engaging the wider community

Project lead: Local authorities

Others involved in the project:
  • Civil Society Organisation
  • Social or health care provider

Older people’s involvement: Older people were consulted during the planning process

Moving forward

Has the impact of this age-friendly practice been analysed: No

Do you plan to evaluate your age-friendly practice? Yes

Looking back

The main challenge was helping the park adjust their customer service, activities, and marketing for older adults, since they have traditionally focused on serving young children and their families. For example, it took several iterations of the event and feedback from older adults who participated to open up the amusement park rides for the event. Tracking participation was also a challenge, but last year we added a Senior Safari “Passport” card that encourages repeat visitors while allowing us to track visitor data.