(as always, click the image above for a larger view)
"Alotta" years ago, like even before I (or my dad) was born, a bored bean farmer in central California by the name of Axel Erlandson figured out that he could shape trees into specific patterns by pruning, grafting and bending them.
He did this as a hobby for the amusement of himself and his family. Around 1925, he created the "Basket Tree" you see in the center of the picture, above. He did it by planting six sycamore trees in a circle, topping them all at one foot, then grafting them together -- one to another -- to form the diamond patterns. He created other really cool trees too.
A few years (and a few financial misfortunes and transplantations later) the trees he created were bought and sold and eventually ended up at Bonfonte Gardens in Gilroy. Recently, they renamed the location "Gilroy Gardens".
We're excited to say that our family is one of their newest Season Pass/Lotsa Card holders. The girls don't really notice the amazing trees but they love the rides (especially the firetruck). And we love the cool breezes that blow through the gorgeous lush green park! I think we'll see much more of this place in the months to come!
A few observations though: If you have more than one child, keep in mind that most of the rides don't accommodate and "odd" number of occupants. If one of your children isn't content to sit alone, you'll probably have to pass on that ride.
Also, you only need the season pass for ONE person in your family. Everyone else can get the much cheaper "Lotsa card" for exactly the same price as a one time admission to the park. If you have just ONE season pass, you get the free parking and the park discounts.
The park is geared towards young children but older kids can find some fun there too. We really thought our girls would be too young for Gilroy Gardens but they could have easily been enjoying it since age 2.