Visit the JMZ

The Junior Museum & Zoo is currently closed to the public due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  We will reopen in 2021 in our beautiful new facility in Rinconada Park.

Groups of 10 or more, please call (650) 329-2111 to make a reservation.  Fee: $5 per student. Teachers and adult chaperones are free. Note: $5 fee is waived if you book a science program for during your visit. See our Classes & Camps page for a list of offerings and fees.

Upcoming Events

Please check back for future events

Current updates, and cancelled or postponed events will be listed on the City’s dedicated webpage on the coronavirus situation at www.cityofpaloalto.org/coronavirus.

Accessibility

We welcome people of all abilities. We design our experiences to be accessible to visitors with physical and developmental disabilities.

At the JMZ, you will find:

  • Accessibility Resources, available for check out during your visit;
  • A Calming Nook area--a place to rest with sensory support materials;
  • A Social Story to help prepare your children for a visit. Please download the Social Story in English or the Social Story in Spanish;
  • Exhibits that are designed according to the Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design;
  • Wheelchair accessible exhibits, or exhibits that help a child or parent in a wheelchair interact with visitors using the exhibit;
  • Multi-sensory, hands-on exhibits that engage different abilities depending on a child’s strengths;
  • Signage designed to be legible to people with vision impairments;
  • Experiences for visitors with vision and hearing impairments;
  • A welcoming and engaging experience for people with autism and other developmental disabilities;
  • Trained staff who are accommodating to your child's special needs – please ask if you need any assistance; and,
  • Accessible parking.

 

Super Family Sundays Events

Periodically, we have free events for families who have children with disabilities. See our Upcoming Events section to learn more. 

Field Trips for Children with Disabilities

If you would like to schedule a field trip for your group with special needs, please call (650) 329-2111 to make a reservation.  Fee: $5 per student.  Teachers and adult chaperones are free. We will do our best to tailor an experience to accommodate your group and any special needs.

Volunteer Opportunities for People with Disabilities

We welcome volunteers who have physical or developmental disabilities. Children must be at least 14 years old. To discuss volunteer opportunities, please call (650) 617-3100 ext.1463 or email Lisa.Eriksen@cityofpaloalto.org

Plan Your Visit Time

If you would like to visit the JMZ when it tends to be quieter and less crowded, we suggest visiting during the school year between noon and 2 pm. Summers and school holidays are often busy all day long.

Photos from our past Super Family Sunday events

During our Super Family Sunday events, trained staff tailor experiences to your child. Often, a special animal to touch will be brought out with touchable animal artifacts to increase the sensory experience. A science activity is also developed for each event. Our goal is to give each family a chance to experience the magic of the museum and zoo in a quieter setting.

Museum & Zoo Exhibits

When you visit, you'll discover twenty-five hundred square feet of indoor exhibits to engage you and your family's curiosity in science and nature.

Through these hands-on exhibits, you'll playfully explore a variety of science concepts as you help your children build, problem solve, observe and let their imaginations soar in our two current exhibitions: Clean Green Energy Machines and Buzzzz. Exhibits are developmentally appropriate for children from birth through nine years of age.

Clean Green Energy Machines

Child using kid power machine exhibit

Clean Green Energy Machines introduces visitors to renewable energy and the science behind it. Our hands-on machines help visitors investigate wind, solar, water and kid-power—creating connections between the choices we make and our environment. It's a timely topic that we think will generate a lot of energy!


Buzzzz

Buzzzz exhibit entrance wall

Visit Buzzzz and help your child explore the beauty of bugs and their fascinating life stories by observing live and preserved insect and spider specimens, and other invertebrates.  This exhibition also includes a baby's only area called the Baby's Bramble.  Here, pre-walkers can relax inside a giant monarch butterfly chrysalis, or exercise their developing legs on our baby walking ramp. 


Everbright

Child using Everbright exhibit

Everbright is an interactive light wall for all ages. Inspired by the Lite-Brite, it's a huge grid of hundreds of adjustable color dials that rotate endlessly in either direction through the color spectrum. It looks like a giant Lite-Brite, but it does things that no Lite-Brite can do. Come with your children and get creative with color together!

This exhibit is made possible through a partnership with, and generous donations from, the Valley Medical Center Foundation, Silicon Valley Creates, the Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, and the Palo Alto Art Center.

 

Admission

Individual admission is free. A $5 donation per person is appreciated.

Ages

The Museum & Zoo serves children, ages birth to nine, and their adult caregivers.

Parking, Biking, and Public Transportation

  • Onsite parking is free.
  • Bike racks are available.
  • Caltrain stops at the San Antonio station. The museum is a 20 minute walk.
  • The Museum is located directly in front of the VTA #35 bus stop at Montrose Road.
  • The Palo Alto Free Shuttle runs Monday through Friday. The Crosstown Shuttle stops at Middlefield & Charleston, and the museum is a four minute walk.

Food

Vending machines in lobby. Food and drink are only permitted in the Lobby.

Crowds

If you would like to visit the JMZ when it tends to be quieter and less crowded, we suggest visiting during the school year between noon and 2pm. Summers are often busy all day long.

Directions

  • The Museum & Zoo is located at 1451 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301. It is located near Embarcadero Road and Rinconada Park.
  • HIGHWAY 101: Take the Embarcadero Road West exit. Continue down Embarcadero Road and turn right on Middlefield Road. The Museum & Zoo will be located on your tight.
  • FROM DOWNTOWN PALO ALTO: Head south on Middlefield Road. The Museum & Zoo will be located on your left just after Melville Ave.