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General FAQ

School Programs (Preschool to 6th Grade) FAQ

Youth Development Programs (7th-12th Grade) FAQ

Summer Camp FAQ

General FAQ

  1. What is Hidden Villa?
    Hidden Villa is a nonprofit educational organization that uses its organic farm, wilderness, and community to teach and provide opportunities to learn about the environment and social justice. 

  2. Is Hidden Villa private?
    Founded by the Duveneck family over 60 years ago, Hidden Villa has been a private nonprofit organization since 1960.  We receive no government funds and rely on donations to provide this valuable service to our community.

  3. Can anyone come and visit?
    Yes, we are open to the public.

  4. When are you open?
    Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until dusk (closed on Mondays, except holidays). We are closed during the summer for our camp program, except for a few open weekends – check Visit Us for updates.

  5. Is there a fee to visit?
    We ask for a $10 parking fee per vehicle to offset the costs of maintaining the land. (paid either to our gate keeper, if on-duty, or by honor system in the canister near the Gate House or Welcome Kiosk). The parking fee is waived for rentals and preregistered public programs participants. If you plan to visit often, you may also purchase a season pass.

  6. How can I come for a visit?
    Individuals or families can come to the farm during open hours of operation: Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until dusk (closed on Mondays, except holidays). Map and directions. Park at the Main Parking Lot. Parking fee is $10 (paid either to our gate keeper, if on-duty, or by honor system in the canister near the Gate House or Welcome Kiosk). 

    Guidelines for Groups Totaling 10 or More and Not Attending an Activity Scheduled Through Hidden Villa:

    • Tuesday – Friday (September Through May): Groups must schedule a visit in advance with the Rental Department at 650 949-8648 or
    • Saturday – Sunday (September Though May): Groups must schedule a visit in advance with Public Programs at 650 949-6326 or
    • Summer - (June Through August): For the safety and security of our summer campers, we are closed to public visitation.

  7. Where can I park?
    Please park at the Main Parking Lot. The Dana Center lot is used only as overflow.

  8. Are you a petting zoo?
    No, Hidden Villa is not a petting zoo. You cannot go into the pens with the animals unless on a guided tour.  Even guided tours may avoid entering some animal pens in accordance with changing conditions on the farm.

  9. Can we go inside the animal pens?
    Due to safety reasons, you may not go inside the animal pens unless you are on a guided tour.  Please note that even guided tours may avoid entering some animal pens in accordance with changing conditions on the farm.

  10. Can we feed the animals?
    No, please do not feed the animals. They are well fed and are often on special diets.

  11. Is it OK to pick plants or take found natural objects?
    We respectfully ask that you do not pick any plants.  These items are grown for our programs or have other intended uses.  We also ask that you leave natural objects as you find them so that others may enjoy their discovery.

  12. Can I bring a picnic?
    Yes, you may. Please note that no food or drink (other than tap water) is available for purchase on the farm. Large group picnic site rentals are available.

  13. Where's the garbage?
    There are no public garbage cans at Hidden Villa. Hidden Villa is committed to a trash-free environment, so we ask that you pack to minimize rubbish and be prepared to take any trash home afterwards.

  14. Is it stroller friendly?
    Yes. The farm is stroller friendly. The roads at Hidden Villa are coated with an environmentally friendly surface but are not paved (similar to dirt roads, surfaces are uneven in places).  Hiking trails are not stroller friendly.

  15. Are dogs allowed?
    Dogs are allowed on the farm but not on the wilderness trails.  People visiting the farm with a dog must follow these rules:
    • Dogs must be on a leash 6’ long or less. Self-retracting leashes are allowed with a max extended length of 25 feet.
    • Do not allow dogs to harass farm animals, wildlife or other visitors.
    • Bag and remove dog waste from Hidden Villa by packing it out. Do NOT leave bagged waste at Hidden Villa or outside our restrooms.
    • Dogs are not allowed in the farm animal areas.
    In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Hidden Villa accommodates service dogs wherever we allow public access. 

  16. Are drones allowed?
    No.  Public use of drones are not allowed due to risk they pose to starting a fire; the potential to get caught in trees; disturbances they may cause to wildlife and other visitors; privacy protection for visitors, volunteers, and staff.  

  17. Do I need to register with someone if I have a big group of people and we do not need a tour?
    Yes. Groups of 10 or more must contact the Public Programs Department in advance at (650)949-6326 or

  18. Do I need to be part of a tour to visit?
    No, you do not need to be a part of a tour to visit. The public is invited to visit on a casual basis and go on a self guided tour during the hours of operation. Self guided tours may not enter animal pens.

  19. How do I arrange a tour?
    If you are interested in a public tour on the weekends, please sign up here. You may also arrange a private tour by contacting  If you are interested in bringing a school group, please contact Hidden Villa’s Environmental Education Program (HVEEP) at (650) 949-8644.

  20. Can we enter the buildings?
    Our buildings are all active offices so we ask that you not enter the buildings unless you are part of a group that is currently renting the facility.

  21. How can I volunteer?
    There are many opportunities to volunteer at Hidden Villa from working in the fields to data entry. Interested individuals and groups should contact the Volunteer Coordinator (650) 949-8655.

      1. Who can I talk to about:

        General Information



        • Making a donation


        Public Programs

        • Weekend Farm Tours, Classes
                and Workshops
        • Parking Fees and Passes
        • Birthday Parties
        • Suggested Hikes


        Hidden Villa’s Environmental
        Education Program (HVEEP)

        School field trips
           (Pre-K through 6th grade)


        Community Supported
        Agriculture (CSA)

        CSA Membership
        Purchasing Produce & Flowers


        Animal Husbandry Program

        Buying eggs, pork, or lamb



        • Venue and Site Rentals
        • Staying at the Hostel


        Summer Camp





School Programs (Pre-K to 6th Grade)

  1. Can I bring a group to Hidden Villa without arranging for a tour?

    Guidelines for Groups Totaling 10 or More and Not Attending an Activity Scheduled Through Hidden Villa:

    • Tuesday – Friday (September Through May): Groups must schedule a visit in advance with the Rental Department at 650 949-8648 or
    • Saturday – Sunday (September Though May): Groups must schedule a visit in advance with Public Programs at 650 949-6326 or
    • Summer - (June Through August): For the safety and security of our summer campers, we are closed to public visitation.

  2. What programs do you offer for school groups?
    For children in preschool, kindergarten, and first grade, we offer a “Farm Tour” that lasts an hour and 15 minutes. For students in second to sixth grade, we offer full-day programs of up to 5 ½ hours.

  3. Can we enter the animal pens without a guide?
    For your safety, we cannot permit visitors to enter animal pens without a Hidden Villa guide.

  4. What if we decide to bring more or fewer people than we originally registered for?
    We assign just enough guides to accommodate the pre-arranged number of participants. If you contact us more than 30 days before your visit, adjustments can be made to your reservation and fees. Within 30 days of your visit, if you have fewer participants than were pre-arranged, you will not receive a refund. If you have more participants than expected, they will pay the same rate as the other participants.  More than five additional participants without prior notice may result in some individuals being turned away.

  5. Do tours still take place if it is raining?
    Yes, our programs run rain or shine!  If we determine that conditions on the ranch are unsafe, we will contact you on the morning of your tour.  Only tours that must be canceled by Hidden Villa will be refunded or rescheduled for a later date.

  6. Can we feed the animals?
    Please do not feed our farm animals unless you’re on a guided tour that allows you to do so. Because we are an organic farm, the animal care staff must be very careful about what the animals are fed.  Only under the direct supervision of a specially trained Hidden Villa guide may tour participants offer token amounts of approved feed.

  7. My students have already been to Hidden Villa once.  Do you offer any other programs?
    For students in second grade and up, please inquire about our Special Programs.  We can also adapt our standard programs to refresh the experience for repeat visitors by emphasizing science standards for the next grade level or by adopting a special theme.

    In addition, we encourage students to return to Hidden Villa with their families and friends on the weekends.  Our Community Programs Department (Public Programs) offers a wide range of fun and educational activities for all ages!  Check out our Calendar of Events!

  8. This program sounds great!  How can I help out?
    We rely on a diverse, passionate crew of volunteers to make our programs unforgettable.  Find out how you can become a farm and wilderness guide.  We also benefit from the assistance of a talented group of Environmental Education Interns who spend a year teaching in our program, learning about organic farming and working in our popular summer camp program.

  9. Can accommodation be made for kids and/or adults with special needs?
    We encourage and welcome participants with special needs of all kinds.  In consultation with you, our staff will do our best to create a memorable experience for your students or clients within the limits of the rural atmosphere of Hidden Villa.  Please contact us prior to booking your tour to discuss the possibilities.

  10. What forms of payment do you accept?  When are our payments due?
    We accept credit cards, cash, purchase orders, school checks, and personal checks.  Your non-refundable deposit of $50.00 is due ten days after you book your visit.  The final balance is due 30 days before your field trip date.  See more registration details and policies.

  11. Are scholarships available for school programs?
    If your students qualify for the Federal Lunch Program, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships! At least 25% of your students must be eligible for or participating in the Federal Lunch Program.  All scholarship-supported visits take place from November through February.  Contact us to apply.

  12. Can adult chaperones bring additional children (for example, younger siblings of program participants) who are not members of the class?
    Siblings and additional children are welcome on Farm Tours as long as they are included in the expected numbers.  The same fee is charged for them as for the other participants. Siblings or additional children are not allowed on Farm and Wilderness Experience programs.


Youth Development (7th-12th Grade)

  1. What happens if it is forecast for rain?
    We conduct programs rain or shine. We have indoor facilities for activities, but also some of our best programs are conducted in the rain as it is very much a part of nature. If it looks like rain before your trip, prepare your students with positive messages such as the vast importance of rain to the health of each of us and our world! If possible, have them wear rain gear. No umbrellas. We provide some rain gear, and our staff will check with you prior to the trip to make sure that all youth have proper gear. Should conditions at Hidden Villa become unsafe (i.e. if there are high winds, lightning, etc.), we will contact you by 7:30 AM on the morning of your trip.

  2. What if we have youth who have special needs?
    Please let us know any special needs on the Program Request form. We can usually prepare for and accommodate needs to make sure that all youth are fully safe and included in our activities. If there would be any concern or discussion needed, we will contact you.

  3. Do you provide transportation to and from Hidden Villa?
    We do not provide transportation to our site at this time. Transportation must be arranged by the partner who is coming.

  4. Is there a refund if we arrive with a smaller number of youth participants than expected?
    Once the MOU and invoice have been sent based on the participant numbers you give us, we cannot reduce fees. We use the original participant number to set our staffing, equipment, set-up and food expenses which do not change due to late participant number changes.

  5. What if we are running late?
    Please try to call or text us at one of following #’s. It helps us to know so that we can adjust the program for a shorter day.
    Maranda Duval        650-949-8606             
    Erin Lence              650-949-8606
    Leslie Luck             650-949-8641

  6. If we are on the trails, how strenuous is the hiking? I have some youth who have not hiked before.
    Please put any physical limitation information about your youth on the Program Request form.  We have 8 miles of trails of varying lengths and difficulties which we adapt for the ability of each group. We make the experience rewarding and exciting, not overly demanding!

  7. Who provides the camping equipment for the overnight camping program?
    The school or individual families of the youth participants generally provide the sleeping bags and pads, but Hidden Villa can assist with some equipment if some youth do not have access to it.

  8. What if some of our youth do not have the equipment that is on your “What to Bring” list?
    Please let us know ahead of time. We can generally have equipment (raingear, water bottles, etc.) available for those youth. We do not want any youth left out due to lack of resources. 

  9. What if some youth cannot afford to come?
    Please contact Maranda Duval for information on scholarships to ensure that all of your youth can participate.

  10. If the youth are camping outside, is it safe?
    Our campsites are in a very safe area near to our other facilities such as bathrooms, kitchens, telephone etc. There are always adults with the youth at each (boys and girls separately) campsites.

  11. My youth has a food allergy…will she/he be safe?
    The school / organization which is bringing the youth is responsible for meals while at Hidden Villa. They will be checking with all participants regarding allergies and advising Hidden Villa staff.  The snacks provided by Hidden Villa always has alternatives to be sure that all youth have safe access.

Summer Camp FAQ

  1. Is Hidden Villa Summer Camp an Accredited Camp?
    Yes! Hidden Villa Summer Camp has been in operation since 1945 and is accredited by the American Camp Association, the organization which sets standards for camps nationwide. This accreditation ensures that we comply with up to 300 health, safety, and program-quality standards.

  2. How are your counselors selected?
    Our fantastic summer counselors come from all over the country and around the world. They are hired as a result of an extensive application and interview process, which includes references. Once hired, our counselors are required to be fingerprinted and background-checked by the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the National Sex Offenders Registry. An average of 40% of our counselors return from previous years at Hidden Villa. Counselors must be certified in first aid and CPR, and they must also attend up to two weeks of orientation at Hidden Villa. Our counselor camper ratio is 1:8, except for Kinder Camp which is 1:5.

  3. What kind of camp program does Hidden Villa offer?
    Hidden Villa’s programs are designed around our organic farm and wilderness. In addition to traditional camp activities, such as swimming and hiking, campers participate in farm-based activities. As campers grow older, the camp program continually adjusts to meet their needs, campers grow, the program grows with them, introducing them to new elements of wilderness activities and fostering leadership skills and responsibility, all while emphasizing respect for the environment and for others.

  4. Who are Hidden Villa campers?
    Hidden Villa campers come from all over the Bay Area and around the world so that your youth has a broad, multicultural experience.

  5. What if my child wants to attend camp with a friend?
    Camp is a wonderful place to make new friends! Hidden Villa Summer Camp brings youth together from different backgrounds to learn and have fun together! In keeping with our mission and to help create an inclusive atmosphere for all, we do not take requests to place a camper in the same group as a buddy. Campers may get together with their friends during mealtimes, pool time, and some free-choice activities together in the course of the camp session, but we do not fulfill requests to place children in groups or cabins with their friends.

  6. What is your camp’s food like?
    At Hidden Villa Summer Camp, we are committed to providing our campers with healthy food, choosing organic products when they are available. Each food item ordered from our vendors is vetted to assure it meets our high standard criteria. We reference the Harvard Healthy Plate as we develop our menu each session, ensuring that every meal will be healthy and diverse for campers. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options are always available.

    If your camper has a food allergy or more specific food needs, please contact the camp office to see if we can accommodate your youth's needs.

  7. How do I register?
    Registration opens in mid-January. Details regarding registration can be found here.

  8. How soon do we need to sign up?
    Due to the popularity of Hidden Villa camps, we encourage you to enroll when registration opens. Some camps fill up immediately while others take a few months.

  9. Can I register for more than one session?
    Our goal is to offer our program to as many youth as possible therefore we do not allow campers to register for more than one session. Please return the following summer for a new level of fun on the farm.

  10. What if the session I want is full?
    If the session you want is full, you will be added to the waitlist for that session at no cost to you. Openings can become available at any time from January until the first day of that camp session.

  11. How does the waitlist work?
    When a space in camp becomes available, we will begin contacting families on the waitlist by email. Once an email is sent, you have 24 hours to make the required deposit or tuition payment.

  12. How likely am I to move from the waitlist to enrollment?
    This varies every year. We cannot say for sure whether you will move from the waitlist or not. Although we could contact you at any time, the most change happens in late May to early June (after final payments are due) and then again within 1 week of the start of camp.