• Winona Rajamohan

Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch Park to Host Grand Opening of Remodeled Visitor Center


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Santa Clara County’s newly remodeled Coyote Lake Visitor Center will hold its grand opening ceremony at the end of this month at Harvey Bear Ranch Park.

The center—its walls dressed in murals depicting fresh nature and mountains—is adorned with new displays, posters, interactive boards, and realistic models to provide children with an educational experience.


The Gilroy-area center now holds a larger amount of updated information that showcases the wide variety of wildlife at the park as well as its rich history and recreational opportunities such as horseback riding, cycling, power boating, jet-skiing, and sailing.


“Before this the visitor center was outdated, and it looked old,” county Parks and Recreation Department spokeswoman Tamara Clark said. “We wanted to bring life to a public space and offer vegetational opportunities to children.”


New exhibits installed at the center which will now feature taxidermy, including those of a mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, and various species of local birds. Snakes will be slithering in display tanks alongside aquariums teeming with lake fish. Outside, the park is home to numerous species, including some rare ones like the western pond turtle, California tiger salamander, and Bay checkerspot butterfly.


“There’s a lot going on inside the space with the sounds, what they’ll see underwater, and the different animals in the park,” Clark said. “We want to embrace the opportunity to have children engage in nature.”


The lakeside getaway opened in May of last year, making it the second-largest park in the county. It encompasses two new additions to the county parks system: Harvey Bear and Mendoza ranches, which boast histories that trace back to the Gold Rush settlers, Spanish explorers, and, long before that, indigenous tribes.

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