Children’s Discovery Museum In San Jose Review


We were on holiday in the States recently and stayed in San Jose for a few weeks, visiting friends. As we tried to combine quality indoor time (hiding from the heat) and lots of outdoor fun, we came across the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose. If you’re ever around and have a small child to entertain, don’t hesitate to pop by. It’s conveniently located next to a big parking facility if you arrive by car, and though public transportation is not great in the city, the tram has a stop nearby. It’s hard to miss it: a bright purple building (hence it’s nick name: Purple Museum).

The museum is suitable for smaller and bigger children equally, even our 15 month old little girl had great fun. Our 3 year old just simply had a blast.

These were our favourite (we visited twice!):

1. Water Ways

He enjoyed exploring water physics by playing with simple plastic balls and tubes using water pressure, gravity, water ways and streams. It is designed very cleverly to catch the attention of the children: water squirting high and lifting up balls or stream changing direction and pulling the ball. Or just sit down and enjoy the sound of the rain for a while.

2. Thomas The Tank Engine Playroom (temporary exhibition)

I think we could have left them both in the playroom for hours and they’d have still screamed upon announcing leaving. The big hit was the train table: both of them played with, sharing the little trains nicely and occasionally fighting over the favourite characters. Everybody wants to play wit Thomas! There are also benches placed strategically around the train table for parents, as they surely have to spend a long time in there. Apart from that, there was a big Thomas and a Percy train to climb on, drive it and fix its wheels. Fantastic fun. Photo opportunity for #instaparents: dress your child as a ticket controller and pose with Thomas in the background. (Both mine refused to do it. Duh.)

3. Secrets Of Circles

This exhibition combines the science of the circles (experimenting with symmetry, 2D and 3D versions of a circular form, problem solving and drawing) with how we use them in real life (how does a wheel or a clock work, circular sensory objects for small children like a fruits, even a Vietnamese circular boat). I did like the way this exhibition tries to mix in the local, diverse Silicon Valley culture.

4. Bubbles

Which child doesn’t like bubbles from early age? In fact, I think “bubble” was one of the first words of both of mines.

With these very hands-on bubble making experiments they can try different ways to create bubbles: blowing, stretching a film or waving a wand. The water is very soapy, so the good quality bubbles are guaranteed. And this is suitable for very small children too. Babi was absolutely mesmerised and kept shouting “bubbles, bubbles!” Las loved creating them as he loves playing with water anyway.

5. Streets

So, where do I begin here… there is a REAL fire truck. An ambulance car. You can hop on them, explore what’s inside, put white robes on to pretend you’re a doctor. Or a firemen’s hat. Pretend to drive them. Make noises. It’s even fascinating for a grown up, let alone a 3 year old, who loves all sorts of vehicles. We explored a small version of a city with traffic lights, zebra crossings, etc. Bigger children can also learn how do these things work, when and why is the traffic light changes colour or how the power is being generated which operates them.

6. Wonder Cabinet

This part of the museum is designed specifically for young children from 0-4 years. There’s crawling and climbing space for the littles, basic sensory games to play, story telling, even a child size kaleidoscope. Our biggest enjoyed sending balls through tunnels and building with big blocks whilst our little girl was fascinated by the kaleidoscope.

There’s a few more exhibits like the Mammoth Discovery and the Rainbow Market which both worth a visit too.


Since you’re probably going to spend a good few hours in the museum (just saying), you will need to grab something to eat and drink. The Foodshed (it has to be pronounced as Füdshed for some hipster reason) provides very good options. The food is fresh, organic and locally sourced. They have a lot of healthy options as well as treats. There’s a bit of a queue around classic lunch time hours and there’s only bad filtered coffee available unfortunately.

Adult and child tickets are $15, special discounts available.

Another great place to visit with the children around here: Palo Alto Junior Museum And Zoo

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Mummyemblog September 4, 2017 - 5:31 am

This place looks awesome. So much to see and do.

We have one in London but it is mostly based around reading and shows are put on based on the books.

I’d love somewhere in the U.K like this x

Tamara Tanner September 4, 2017 - 10:24 am

Wow this place looks amazing! Your little ones look as though they had the time of their lives there – so cute! x

Susie/So Happy In Town September 11, 2017 - 11:20 am

The Discovery Museum looks awesome for kids – my three would all love it especially the water ways and bubbles and the youngest could spend hours in that Thomas the Tank Engine room. We’ll just have to take a holiday to San Jose to visit it! Thx for linking up to #GlobalBlogging.

Reply September 11, 2017 - 8:10 pm

I know it’s not a real holiday destination, but if you’re happen to be around or live/move nearby (Silicon Valley/San Francisco) with children, it’s good to know!

Sam - Stressy Mama September 12, 2017 - 3:11 pm

WOW!!! This museum looks absolutely fantastic. If I ever find myself nearby I will be sure to visit. My little girl would love it. #FamilyFunLinky

Reply September 13, 2017 - 12:33 pm

I think every child would love it there!

jeremy-thirstydaddy September 13, 2017 - 3:54 pm

this looks great. We are fortunate enough to have several children’s museums within an hours drive. Always a good day #humpday

Reply September 13, 2017 - 9:21 pm

That’s very lucky. We’re lucky to live near London, great museums!

Plutonium Sox September 14, 2017 - 10:10 am

Oh, this is my sort of museum! I love it when places are interactive so children gain so much more from it. That Thomas room looks amazing too, my two would love it.
Thanks for linking up to #familytraveltips

Reply September 16, 2017 - 7:55 pm

Absolutely! Thanks Nat x

Tammymum September 15, 2017 - 1:22 pm

Oh wow it looks like a perfect way to spend the day with kids. Something for everyone is always a winner in my book, especially the little ones as I find them the hardest to entertain! Thanks for joining us at #familyfu

Reply September 16, 2017 - 7:51 pm

True, the age group who just started to walk and wants to do everything like the older children – definitely the hardest to entertain.

Rachel @ The Daisy Pages September 16, 2017 - 8:22 am

This looks like a fantastic place to visit! My kids are fans of science and experiments, too, and it must have been a joy to get playing in that water when it was so warm outside. And the benches for the parents, win-win…it’s a joy to be able to watch your kids having fun, especially if you can sit down and don’t have to stand with all the bags!

Reply September 16, 2017 - 7:49 pm

Especially that we spent a considerable time in there…! You just need to sit down ?

sarah nichols September 17, 2017 - 7:51 pm

wow this looks amazing, my little boy would esepcially love the water physics :). wish we had somewhere like this round here x

Reply September 19, 2017 - 8:19 pm

I wish that too! It was my son’s favourite during the holiday.


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