Names can be deceiving, and the Secret Sidewalk in the Niles Canyon in Fremont is no exception. This water aqueduct earned the name “sidewalk” because it appears to be a sidewalk from far away. The Secret Sidewalk is surrounded by legends and ghost stories, and also happens to be home to the former location of Charlie Chaplin’s movie studio.
Barron Park in Palo Alto is home to two donkeys, Perry and Niner, who are 20 and 30 years old respectively. The park has been home to donkeys since 1930s, since the park was part of Bol farm. The donkeys are taken to Bol Park every Sunday morning, where they can be visited.
Visiting Monopoly in the Park in Discovery Meadow in San Jose is a perfect activity for board game lovers, as Monopoly in the Park is the Guinness World Record holder for the largest permanent board game. While the park is open year-round, reservations need to be made in advance to play with the pieces on the board.
The grounds of Almaden Quicksilver County Park used to be the richest mercury mines in North America. The over 4,000 acre park features over 34.2 miles of trails, including 10 miles of biking trails, camping sites, and other cultural venues, such as the Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum and the Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch.
Located on Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose, the Lick Observatory is the first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory in the world. The observatory is owned and operated by the University of California and features five active telescopes. The Summer Visitors program allows visitors to view cosmic objects through the observatory’s 36-inch Great Refractor.
The Bay Area has its very own ghost town located near Fremont. Formerly known as Saline City, Drawbridge was created in 1876 by the South Pacific Railroad and once boasted a population of nearly 1,000. However, by the 1950s, most of the residents abandoned the town as San Jose increasingly pumped water during its building boom.
Note: Visiting Drawbridge is illegal, but the town is within viewing distance from the Mallard Slough Trail in the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
The Montalvo Arts Center is located in Saratoga and was originally a mansion constructed by businessman James Duval Phelan. The grounds of the center are open seven days a week and feature 3.5 miles of hiking trails and an arboretum. The center is known for fostering artists through its arts programs, including the Art on the Grounds program, which allow artists to display their artwork in nature year round.
Take a day trip to the beautiful Alamere Falls, located north of San Francisco. Visiting the 40-foot tide fall that flows directly into the ocean entails an 8.4 miles hike round trip.
Started in 1996, Pandemonium Aviaries in Los Altos is now one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the United States. The organization works toward promoting the conservation of birds and breeds a selected six species of birds from New Guinea and Philippines. Though the aviary is not usually open to the public, Pandemonium Aviaries offers a variety of volunteering opportunities that allow members of the community to become involved in the organization.
Images Courtesy of Flickr and Pandemonium Aviaries.