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Fun Outdoor Activities for New Silicon Valley Residents

Serving as the epicenter of tech innovation and business, Silicon Valley is home to some of the biggest corporations in the world. Corporate giants like Google, Tesla, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple all call Silicon Valley home. Silicon Valley got its name in the 1970s, which comes from the silicon chips that are used in the area’s semiconductor industry. Some of the area’s major cities include Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and San Jose. 

If you have recently moved to the Silicon Valley, you’ll soon discover some of the best outdoor activities available in the region. Whether your activities partner is your bestie, your partner, or your children, you’ll have plenty to do in this bustling residential area!

Arizona Garden

Known to locals as the Arizona Cactus Garden, this botanical garden sits on Stanford University’s storied campus. Landscape architect Rudolph Ulrich planted the garden in 1883, designating it as a gift to Leland Stanford and his wife. The garden was originally planned as an addition to the Stanford’s personal residence. However, that estate never got built. Although the garden project was completed, it fell into disarray in the 20th century. Thankfully, Stanford University staff and volunteers refurbished the garden into its current form. These days, the beautiful cactus garden serves as a free daily attraction to the residents of the area. Some of the things you can see when you visit include daily showcases of cacti and succulents, as well as plantings of agave, crassula plants, and aloe. 

Baylands Nature Preserve

Local residents call this land the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. It’s still the Bay Area’s largest tract of unfinished marshland. Spanning almost 2,000 acres across the Palo Alto region, the preserve is officially owned and run by the city of Palo Alto. Residents say that it’s one of the best places for migratory bird watching. 

The preserve also serves as the home of the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center. The center is named for a fervent activist of natural conservation. The Baylands Nature Preserve offers visitors exhibits and a public boardwalk. It also features over 15 miles of trails that run all throughout the marshland. The preserve is a great place for visitors of all ages to explore the freshwater and tidal habitats. 

Emma Prusch Farm Park

This 44-acre public park showcases the former personal property of Emma Prusch, who donated her farm to the city of San Jose in 1962. The mission of the property is to showcase the agricultural history of San Jose. It features the area’s largest freestanding barn. Some organizations use it to this day, including the Future Farmers of America and 4-H, which uses it for raising urban livestock. 

The San Jose farm also features a rare orchard, which is operated by the California Rare Fruit Growers Association. Visitors to the orchard can see over 100 species of rare and exotic fruit trees. They even have plantings of subtropical fruits! The Veggielution farm spans six acres and is run by volunteers of all ages. These volunteers work together to create a sustainable solution to the urban hunger crisis. Visitors to the park also have access to free-roam grassland as well as picnic and demonstration areas. 

Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve

A 467-acre preserve located in San Mateo County, Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve is well-known for its spring wildflowers. The park stands on land that was formerly developed and is now owned and run by San Mateo County. Originally, plans were made to build a golf course on the property. However, environmental concerns shelved that option and over two-thirds of the land was saved for the creation of a natural preserve instead. In the early ’90s, the entire area was developed for the creation of a natural preserve. 

These days, the Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve receives more than 50,000 visitors a year. Some of the activities you can do within the park include hiking and wildlife watching in its chaparral, wetland, grassland, and woodland ecosystems. 

Ardenwood Historic Farm

Established as a Fremont Historic Landmark, Ardenwood Historic Farm centers around the Patterson House estate. The estate was built by George Washington Patterson in the 1850s. Fun fact – the estate received its name from the forest region in William Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It”.

The city of Fremont bought the farm and estate in the 20th century and it opened to the public in 1985. Visitors to the estate can also explore to the Railroad Museum at Ardenwood. This museum showcases a recreation of Fremont’s South Pacific Coast Railroad. You can also attend one of several events held at the estate and farm throughout the year. 

Some of the events that you can attend at the Ardenwood Historic Farm include these gatherings:

  • 4th of July celebration
  • Renaissance Festival (September)
  • Harvest Festival with haunted railroad (October)

There are tons of fun things to do in the Silicon Valley. Whether you are new to the area or simply new to the places on this list, exploring these locations is worth your while!

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