I know the long weekend just ended and if you're anything like me, you are already planning your next getaway. This past weekend was one of the most fun ones we have had recently- we visited Gilroy Gardens before heading to Monterey to celebrate our friends getting engaged! The weather was perfect and we just had a blast!

I had heard on the news that Memorial Day weekend this year was going to be one of the busiest in recent years in terms of road traffic, so we decided to get an early start. Since we were meeting friends in Monterey later that evening we headed out and decided to find a place to stop along the way. Originally I was thinking the Gilroy Outlets- ha- but remembered a place my grandmother loved going before she passed, Gilroy Gardens formerly known as Bonafonte Gardens. 

We couldn't have picked a better place and date and time to visit Gilroy Gardens!! For all parents of little ones in the Bay Area you HAVE to head here!! It is the perfect place to take your toddler and young children. Even Jesse had a blast, which says a lot because he doesn't like theme parks the way I do!

There are 22 rides, a water park (I think is for members only), lots of fun activities, and your little one will love it!! It's great because they have a legend for parents about rides- how tall your child has to be to ride the rides together and what the thrill level is. We went on the rides meant for the youngest children and Lillian absolutely loved them!

We've been talking about taking Lillian to Disneyland and honestly Gilroy Gardens is so much better for the location and price!!! I highly suggest it for Bay Area families!! The best part is that it's a non-profit!!

Here are some pro-tips for you:

  • Buy tickets online. I'm glad we checked this out while driving in the parking lot! Tickets at the gate are $58 dollars at the gate and only $39 online. I guess I am weary but I thought it was a scam but luckily it wasn't and I highly suggest you buy online!
  • Ride the train first. Go in and ride the train first because it goes around the entire property. That way you can see all of the attractions and then decide what you want to go back and see.
  • Bring snacks. There is the normal theme park food but since we went on a Friday before the summer season a lot of the concession stands were closed. Honestly, the food quality isn't great so I wish we had more snacks with us.
  • Consider ditching the stroller. The park is small so you really don't need your stroller. Lillian walked most of the way or was on Jesse's shoulders.
  • Sunscreen. Obviously, don't forget to apply sunscreen. It was overcast but it cleared up and the sun came out. The weather was perfect for us but everyone who worked there was saying how cold it was because they are used to higher temperatures in Gilroy.
  • Get a park map. The paper maps are helpful and so much better than their online map.
  • Bring small cash bills.  None of the kiosk vendors take bills larger than $20.
  • Be okay going on rides by yourself. Ha! This is sort of a joke but Jesse and Lillian stayed back when I went on the Quick Silver roller coaster by myself!


Travelcaroline curran