Berkeley Parents Recommendations for Places To Go & Things To Do

Bonfante Gardens

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July 2001

I'm wondering if anyone has visited the new Bonfante Gardens in Gilroy. Was it fun? It is possible to see most of the park in one day? Did anyone combine that trip with visiting anything else nearby, such as sights in Monterey or Santa Cruz? I'm thinking of taking a two-or-three-day trip with my almost five-year-old in late August and am looking for recommendations. Also wondering about a fun place to stay overnight in the general area, somewhere with a pool. Gretchen


Check out: http://www.parentcenter.com/community/ppt/picks/funActivities/familyTravel/themePark/bonfante5-8/ Leah
We visited with 2 8 year olds and a 2 year old the last weekend in June at a discounted price just under $20 each. The park does have gorgeous landscaping and unusual "circus" trees. The rides were added to get people to come see the trees. The rides are geared for ten and under- teenagers would not be interested, no "thrill" rides, i.e. upside down roller coasters, anything too scary. The roller coasters are moderately tame. I heard parents commenting that they liked the rides because they felt comfortable going on them with their kids. There is a fun water park where the water shoots up from the ground and statues at random moments that the kids loved, so bring a change of clothes. Easy to see in a day and was not crowded at all, even on a Saturday. Christine
We recently visited Bonfante Gardens with our two kids, ages 5, and 2. Both kids loved it but the two year old did not get the concept of waiting in lines. Fortunately, we went on a Thursday, and the park was not crowded. I'd estimate it was at 25% capacity judging by the parking lot. The park was very pleasant and family oriented. The teenage attendants were quite nice and let us ride repeatedly if we desired. Our five year old could ride on all but 2 of the rides. The majority of rides are tame. Teens might be bored at Bonfante. There are no characters, but bucolic themes of nature and agriculture. Highlights were the circus trees, rock maze, waterfall, mine rollercoaster, car ride and water ride. It would be very fun to go on a hot day. Wear shorts and sandals, because you will get soaked in some areas. Negatives: New age(?) music piped in everywhere at a loud volume. Very expensive. Avoid the carnival section where cheap prizes are offered. Better to just buy a souvenir at one of the many gift shops. For more info, go to www.bonfantegardens.com Betsy
my friend did a story for the NY Times about the gardens....her opinion was that it is a great place for kids up to the age 11. it's quite beautiful she said there are little water spouts that are fun and get the kids wet so one should bring a 2nd set of clothes. sadly its expensive $28. a pop for full access. Anyway I have a baby and look forward to taking him when he's older. look for the article in the times Lloyd
I took my two children 9 and 2 years old to Bonfante Gardens in Gilroy and they enjoyed it every single minute, it is a beautiful park and peaceful, the trees and gardening are gorgeous. There are two discounts one is from AAA about 10% off and the other one which it is a better deal is from Nob Hill Store. They have a coupon for $5 off for each ticket. There is a Nob Hill store near the Bonfante Park. Marianela
Nob Hill Foods (owned by Bonfante) has discount coupons in the stores I have been to. Also check lobbies of local motels, hotels, etc., for brochures about local attractions ... I'm not sure if that one's up yet, since it's new, but check them out for other attractions, too. (remember ... even locals can be "tourists"!). Nakeemca
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