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How to Spend a Day in Gilroy Gardens
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How to Spend a Day in Gilroy Gardens

The magical Gilroy Gardens offers plenty of fun for everyone! Check out the one-day itinerary options we put together.

Palig Dzadourian

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4 min read

April 25, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products mentioned in this article.

Wide smiles, careless laughter, and attractions for all the family to enjoy. With how fast the world is moving, we might find ourselves struggling to enjoy the small yet essential things in life; moments that seem meaningless might end up becoming the warmest, most cherished memories tucked away in our hearts. Theme parks are a great way to strengthen bonds and have fun, and with such a wide selection of theme parks in California, hidden gems like Gilroy Gardens might get overlooked. Built with the intent to educate families, especially kids, on the importance of trees and give them a newfound appreciation of horticulture, a trip to the Gilroy Gardens family theme park is sure to be a day to remember. Get your tickets and prepare for a day full of excitement!

Gilroy Gardens Cabana Rental

One of the things to do in Gilroy California is to have lunch at the Cabana Rentals in the family theme park. Located in the Water Oasis, there are 12 Cabanas you can choose to rent out from, a changing room located in the center part of the area and restrooms are just outside the facility on the main pathway. Relax in the shade while enjoying the delicious food delivered straight to you and your family. If you want to get acquainted with what foods they offer, a sample menu can be found on their official website.

Gilroy Gardens Rides

The Quicksilver Express will take you for a ride to remember, fasten your seatbelts! (Jeremy Thompson/Wikimedia Commons)

As we shed light on the more underrated spots in the Golden State, the more places that are worth visiting show up on our maps. Being one of the smaller destinations to visit – as tourism in Gilroy California grows with each passing day – it’s time we introduced the family theme park and the many attractions available for visitors.

Gilroy Gardens is a family theme park that caters mostly to children aged 1 to 6, but that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t welcome to the young at heart! The park unfortunately doesn’t allow dogs or any other pets into its premises.

With a total of 21 open rides available for visitors, from carousels to boats and swings, you and your kids will definitely be spoiled for choice. The Gilroy Garden hours are from 10 am until 6 pm, single-day tickets are worth $45 when bought online, with an additional $20 for parking spaces if you require them. While there are some height restrictions for safety reasons, most of the rides are built for kids to enjoy. However, if you are looking for a more daunting type of ride, there are also two roller coasters that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

Gilroy Garden Water Oasis

The water oasis is packed full of slides, splashes, and endless fun for kids and grownups alike.

The Water Oasis is where all the water feature attractions can be found, most of them being children-oriented, so kick back while your kids take advantage of the watery fun. While there are gentle water play attractions for your little ones, if you have older children – or would even like to participate in the fun with them – you absolutely can! There are twisty water slides made for the bigger kids and any adult wishing to partake in the fun.

If you are still feeling hot and would like to cool down, there are a few options you can go for: you can either brave the bucket, where a giant bucket filled with water will splash anyone standing under it with 300 gallons of water at the end of its countdown! You can also go to the Bonfante Falls, an interactive natural water feature where visitors will be able to go behind the waterfalls and discover the 5 different falls the Gilroy Gardens offers.

Educational Park Tours and Exhibits

The Gilroy Gardens can offer a fun and educational experience for the young ones and grownups alike!

Fun fact! Did you know that Gilroy, California is famous for its annual garlic festival in Santa Clara County? It’s the main reason why the mascot of the Gilroy Gardens is a giant garlic head. This family theme park is a place where fun meets education, where your kids can laugh and play while learning about various things such as the importance of trees and the preservation of the environment. The educational park tours offered at the park are a great way to achieve this, like the Agricultural Tour, the history and culture tour, the water and environment tour, and the beautiful Gardens tour. There is so much to discover on every single one of these tours, you and your family will not be disappointed.

Gilroy Gardens is also home to the Circus Trees, which were actually created and grown by Axel Erlandson. The intricate shapes of these trees are truly intriguing, as they look like they have been weaved together. It is a must-see!

Lastly, the educational tours at the Gilroy Gardens family theme park also include a monarch butterfly exhibit in the Monarch Gardens facility, where you will be able to gaze at the fragile but enchanting big monarch butterflies and learn tons about them! The Gilroy Gardens has raised and released over 1,200 of these butterflies, an amazing and inspiring feat.

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The Green Barn

The artist in your child will bloom at the Green Barn.

The Green Barn: where art and science work in tandem to create an educational yet fun experience for your children. It’s a studio and a lab where kids can discover that they, too, can become young scientists and learn about nature, work in groups and get their creative juices flowing. The Nature Exchange program consists of 3 stages, the first one being the natural treasure hunt, where kids can go outside and explore the park, pick something they find interesting like a rock, or a leaf and bring it back to the Green Barn and begin the second stage, where the trained staff of the park will give information on what the object is. If they have earned enough points through the second stage, they can use them to trade their items with other more interesting ones.

Then, if your child is enthusiastic about art and creating, they can create different types of art in the Art Studio, like leaf rubbings or making an animal collage with whatever they can find in nature.

Last but not least, the Reading Nook is where your children can get their minds working, and discover if they are left-brained or right-brained! They also have the possibility of checking to see if their favorite book or story is listed on the bulletin board in the room.

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