A great place for family fun this summer is Gilroy Gardens Theme Park in Gilroy, CA.
The rides are mainly for the younger kids, but they do have some bigger rides such as a roller coaster and the famous mushroom swings (shown above).
Anyone can have fun there enjoying the beautiful gardens, famous circus trees, learning about our natural world, or taking a paddle boat ride. They have some spectacular picnic areas and even a gorgeous wedding event area.
I very much enjoyed the waterfalls, butterflies, and beautiful flowers.
Swallowtail butterfly at Gilroy Gardens
Roses at Gilroy Gardens
circus tree and flowersat Gilroy Gardens
Waterfall at Gilroy Gardens
I don't know of any other theme parks that have so much greenery or are focused on education. They even have educational displays throughout the park where you can learn about bees, irrigation, earthquakes, local history, and more.
The kids' loved the Octonauts show
and all the children got to be on the stage and part of the show.
They loved all of the rides, especially the boats
relaxing on the boat ride
My daughter loved relaxing on the boat ride that cruised gently along a man made river. My son was in for an adventure, steering a Mallard shaped boat himself across a pond and along the base of scenic waterfalls. He was easily able to steer, once he got the hang of how it worked, though I did all the paddling as he couldn't reach the peddles.
Duck Paddle Boat Adventure
It's best to take family or friends if you have little ones of different ages. I was there alone with my kids for part of the day, but quickly found we could not go on any rides all together. My 7 year old was too tall to go on the kid rides, but my 4 year old was not tall enough to go on the bigger rides. We waited for Daddy, but we could easily have played on the playground or in the water play area.
We were disappointed to learn that the new Water Oasis was not quite open yet. They told us it will be in just a few more weeks. It looks like it will be a ton of fun, with a pool, water slide, and lots of water play.
According to their website, it will teach all about water conservation. Also, they are conscious of the current drought here in California, and state that all their water comes from and cycles back through their property in the most conservative way.
Fortunately, the other water area, the Splash Garden, was still open. They could have played happily there all day and gone no where else! I loved that it's mostly enclosed, and small enough that I could see my kids almost anywhere they went. My husband and I sat and had lunch while they ran and splashed.
Splash Garden at Gilroy Gardens
What does this lever do? Splash!
We had a great day of fun at Gilroy Gardens. I can't wait to go back and definitely recommend you pan a visit!