A store geared towards outdoorsmen might not seem like family fun destination of you are looking for this weekend but if you head over to the new Bass Pro Shop in San Jose you just might be surprised. Activities for kids, Santa’s Wonderland and gear for even the smallest camper is all available under one (very large) roof. Plus, the attached Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill is not to be missed (who doesn’t like under water bowling?). Read on to learn why you should set up camp at this outdoor emporium ASAP.
Come In to Explore the Outdoors
The 140,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shop is easy to spot from highway 85 on Almaden Espressway. Before heading into the store, make sure you check out the boats and recreational vehicles on display in the parking lot. Little skippers will enjoy being able to climb aboard and play captain.
As you walk through the main entrance you will be transported to a cozy lodge in the woods. A massive fireplace greets you and hand-painted murals cover the walls and ceiling. See if you can spot the California condor above the front door. The dioramas in each department depict realistic landscapes that were built from actual foliage from nearby Tilton Ranch. Look down and you’ll see animal footprints that you can follow throughout the store.
Kids will instantly be drawn down the main aisle to the far wall display where a mural of Yosemite surrounds a tank with tons of large fish that are local to our area. Kids can step right up and press their faces against the tank. If you happen to be there on a Saturday at noon, you are in for an extra special treat. This is when they feed the fish and talk about all the different species in the tank—what they like to eat, their natural habitats and other interesting facts.
Photo by the author
Near the tank you will find a display of fishing rods for the smallest anglers (some in the ever-popular Disney Princess and superhero designs). Bass Pro wants kids to get interested in all sorts of outdoor sports from an early age and has small sized equipment available. In early February they will host the Fishing Classic which is a special promotion where kids can practice casting into a bucket and learn about the sport from the pro fishermen on staff.
The store carries camping gear for families, camouflage clothing in all sizes and even pool toys in the summer months. You can find out about in-store events by signing up for email notifications or by going to the store’s Facebook page. Families can look forward to camping workshops, in-store scavenger hunts, boating safety classes and other events throughout the year.
Photo by the author
A seasonal favorite at all Bass Pro Shops is Santa’s Wonderland. From early November through Christmas Eve, a large section of the store is transformed into a winter wonderland. Kids can meet with the big man himself and get a free 4×6 photo taken. If you plan on visiting on a busy weekend, consider stopping by early in the day to grab a Bass Pass which will allow you to see Santa at a specific time later in the day (and avoid the line). Seasonal crafts and games are also available.
Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill
A destination in and of itself, Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill is conveniently attached to Bass Pro so that you can even grab a meal while you are visiting. This combination bowling alley and restaurant is designed with an Atlantic Ocean theme with sea creatures on every surface and even appearing to come out of the walls. The menu includes many kid favorites like pizza, burgers and even alligator for the more adventurous eaters.
The bowling alley is integrated into the restaurant and bar and allows patrons to order from the restaurant menu while bowling. Kids will love the great white shark and octopus ball returns. Starting in early 2016 they will be offering birthday party packages for both children and adult parties. Two party rooms (one with a pool table) are available for bigger functions.
Bass Pro Shop
5160 Cherry Ave.
San Jose, Ca
Hours: Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
What outdoor adventure are you planning next? Let us know in the comments below!
Photos courtesy of Bass Pro and Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill except where noted.