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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gilroy Gardens review

You’ve probably heard us mention the Gilroy Gardens family theme park a time or two. We hadn’t heard of it before we had kids, but once we took our wee little girls there (as pudgy little one-and-a-half year olds many years ago), the whole family was hooked.

They say Gilroy Gardens is “California’s only horticultural theme park” -- I say it’s a cool amusement park built in the middle of gorgeous flowers and trees. There are rides for every age of kiddos -- from toddlers up to elementary-school kids -- and the whole park is shaded and non-crowded, two things I ADORE.

Ro and Ree are pretty familiar with the park by now, so I let them take the lead on where to go:

They headed for their fave ride first: the antique cars. It’s similar to Disney’s Autopia, but with short enough lines that you can actually ride over and over. And believe me, we do because everyone needs a chance to drive...


We floated down the peaceful Rainbow Garden boat ride, then thought to ask on Facebook if anyone else was at the park that day, and we were thrilled to hear that two of the girls’ buds were there. Fun!

All the kiddos were up for rollercoasters, so that was next up on the agenda. Gilroy Gardens has two rollercoasters, the Timber Twister (which our girls were tall enough to go on starting around age 5) and the Quicksilver Express Mine (which is pretty dang fast and good for thrill-seeking kids).

There are also some fun “spinny” rides that I can’t go on (my stomach is too wimpy), but Ro and Ree could ride all day – Balloon Flight, Tubs ’O Fun, Garlic Twirl.

While they’re twirling their hearts out, I relax and admire the flowers and trees. Seriously, what wouldn’t I give to have my backyard look like this?!

Gilroy Gardens was built to showcase their six gardens; they're designed and manicured to reflect the best in landscape architecture. They've won a Golden Ticket landscaping award (2nd or 3rd place!) every year since 2005.

Oh hello there! Look who joined us during a snack break!

Fun place. Beautiful scenery. Lots of shade. Short lines. Need I say more? Head on down to Gilroy Gardens and check it out. And please send me an email if you go, we love seeing friends there.

Since the girls are back in school now, it’s even more of treat to head there on weekends. Any other suggestions of things to do as a family to decompress after a busy school/work week?


  1. Anonymous8/16/2012

    How lovely. Where exactly is Gilroy Gardens?

    1. Oh, it's in Gilroy, CA.

  2. Anonymous8/16/2012

    Thank you, M, for focusing on the "Gardens" aspect in this post.

  3. I have been wanting to take my 16 month old toddler boy there:) We live in Sacramento area:) Selima

  4. That is the coolest tree I have ever seen in my life! Wow.

    Second grade? They are so cute and so grown up. I am freaking out that my little one is going to first grade in a week. She is having freak outs too. I am hoping we both overcome it and do okay. Have a great school year!!!

  5. We love Gilroy Gardens! Beautiful park and a great way to spend a day with special friends!! Miss you sweetie!

  6. I love this place. Great for grandparents. No having to deal with the teenage crowds. I wish it was closer to me. I would be there all the time if only to look at all the flowers and things.

  7. Anonymous8/19/2012

    Gilroy Gardens sounds great. If we're ever close enough to go, we would really like to, and you know we'll give you a heads up. : )
    Let's see, some of our fave decompression activities....
    * We prepare something together in the kitchen. OR
    * The kids take turns 'presenting' an idea. Could be something they learned that day, or a completely random subject. ( I like this..depends on how tired they are after homework) OR
    * They make 'movies' on the iphone or ipad and we watch them
    together while garfing down whatever was prepared in suggestion #1.
    * I drop whatever I'm doing and jump on the trampoline with them. (never fails to bring laughter from all)
    * Play a board game under a tent in the backyard, with Christmas lights if you feel really fancy. ( you know Ree and Ro would feel fancy and want lights!) This is best on a weekend.

    Stay beautiful and be well,