(Re)Discovering Gilroy Gardens

gilroy_gardensThe last time I ventured to Gilroy Gardens, it was still known as Bonfante Gardens.  I had gotten a group discount with the Palo Alto Menlo Park Parents’ Club for the Holiday Lights festival around Christmas. Of course the weekend that we visited, it poured down rain.  We tried to make the most of it, but after an hour we were all drenched, cold, and ready to quit.  That was at least eight years ago. We’ve never been back since.

That was, until a few weeks ago, when my Aunt suggested we take her grandkids and my kids to Gilroy Gardens.  We needed a place to take kids ranging from 3 months to 9 years.  Some like roller coasters, others find the carousel more their style.  We’d been to Happy Hollow in San Jose a bunch of times and were ready for a new park.  Too young for Great America, too big of a range of water readiness for Raging Waters.  So we decided to give Gilroy Gardens a try.

It turned out to be a perfect day.

Gilroy Gardens is a small theme park perfect for kids ages 2-10.  My 9 year old didn’t have as many exciting roller coasters as he’d like (there are two at the park), but he gladly tagged along with his little brother and cousins.  There’s a giant water area for kids to get soaked; a requirement for a hot Gilroy day.  My toddler was in love.

There were so many rides for little ones.  From traditional carousels to adorable artichokes, I loved how much of the park celebrated the agricultural past (and present) of the area.  There was a sense of preserving the environment, eating healthy, and staying active throughout.  My kids didn’t seem all that impressed with the Circus Trees, but all of us adults marveled at them.  There are 19 of them in the park, displaying careful craftsmanship in the art of tree grafting.  It’s like nature’s own “believe it or not.”

I don’t know if we just lucked out for a nice day or if we picked the right day to go… But the Wednesday we were there was very quiet.  We didn’t have to wait more than one round for any ride.  However, all shows are in hiatus on Wednesdays.  It wasn’t a big deal for us, but I heard other families complain.

We stayed until the park was closed.  All the kids were sad to leave.  I was so glad that my Aunt had suggested something a little of the woods for us.  The park is off the beaten path, reminding me much of the culture I remembered as a kid growing up in this area.  As we walked to the car, I promised the kids that we would return to this hidden treasure.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.  I paid for my own tickets.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.

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  1. August 14, 2013
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