Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
Gilroy CA 95020
- Mon: 11am-5pm
- Tue: 11am-5pm
- Wed: 11am-5pm
- Thu: 11am-5pm
- Fri: 11am-5pm
- Sat: 10am-6pm
- Sun: 10am-6pm
Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park, formerly known as the Bonfante Gardens Theme Park, is nestled in the western foothills of Gilroy, California. A nonprofit organization, the park pays tribute to the rich agricultural heritage of the area with its horticultural theme. It has more than 40 amusement rides, including a carousel, Ferris wheel, roller coaster, monorail, teacup ride, train ride and more, as well as such attractions as themed gardens, water play areas, a rock maze, learning sheds and a live monarch butterfly exhibit. The park is especially popular with families with young children.
Three Must-See Attractions at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
Located throughout the park are the famous Circus Trees. They are intricately and whimsically shaped sycamore, box elder, ash and Spanish cork trees that were created in the 1940s and 1950s by Axel Erlandson.
The park has six differently themed gardens. One is the South Country Backyards Gardens that visitors can cruise through in a 1920s roadster or 1950s Chevy to see how South Santa Clara Valley looked years ago.
The Bonfante's Splash Garden, one of the several water features at the park, is perfect on a hot summer day. The water play area has an 18-foot tree house designed to look like the Basket Circus Tree, a teeter totter that shoots up water, squirt gun station and more.
Where to Stay Near Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
Several hotels and motels are available about three to four miles away in Gilroy. Lodging is also available several miles further in Morgan Hill. Some hotels and motels offer Gilroy Gardens family package that includes lodging and park tickets, such as Best Western Plus Forest Park Inn in Gilroy and Comfort Inn in Morgan Hill.
Best and Worst Time to Go to Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
In general, the park is less crowded on the weekends from September through November, and during the weekdays from June through August. The park is fuller on weekends from late May through August.
Discounts at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
Active and retired military people and their guests receive a discount on the entrance fee. The park offers three levels of seasonal passes that allow unlimited visits at discounted prices, which ends at the end of November. Premium and elite membership levels also give free parking and discounts for food and merchandise. Individuals with Great America gold or platinum season passes have unlimited admission to the Gilroy Gardens. AAA offers discounted tickets to its members, which must be purchased in advance.
Food at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
The park has a range of food options from food carts to snack bars and casual dining restaurants. For example, Castroville Corners offers such items as artichoke hearts, garlic fries, mini corn dogs and fish and chips, while San Juan Grill has chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, roasted chicken and hamburgers and fries on its menu. Food prices in the park range from $3 to $4 dollars for a snack to $10 to $14 or more for an adult meal. The park offers a kid's meal deal and a family meal deal that feeds four people.
Parking at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
Buses and 15-passenger vans park for free while all other vehicles must pay a flat fee, which was $12 in 2015.
Transportation Alternatives at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park
Other than taxi service, no public transportation alternatives are available to the park.
Author's bio: Susan Echaore-McDavid writes a blog about Hollister and nearby areas.