Gilroy Gardens will officially kick off its 20th birthday party festivities June 15

Photo by Marty Cheek

By Barbara-Lea Granter

Barbara-Lea Granter

All of us at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park are thrilled to announce our plans to open for the 2021 season Saturday, May 22. We look forward to welcoming children back to their gardens to enjoy safe outdoor fun with their friends and families.

And we are especially excited that we will finally get to celebrate our much-anticipated 20th birthday party.

Re-Opening Safely

We know kids (and parents) are getting tired of being cooped up at home, going to “Zoom school,” and working remotely. That’s why we feel it’s so important to re-open our healthy outdoor environment as soon as we can. Our park is spread out over more than 28 acres, with lushly landscaped gardens, more than 10,000 trees, and plenty of wide-open natural spaces to explore and play together.

The Gilroy Gardens leadership team will be working closely with city, county and state health authorities to ensure that our reopening plan meets all required health and safety regulations.

We are planning several operational changes that will be in effect upon our reopening. Those plans continue to evolve to align with the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape. As always, the safety of our guests as well as our employees is a top priority.

It’s Time to Party!

Gilroy Gardens will officially kick off our 20th birthday party festivities June 15, which is the birthday of founder Michael Bonfante (and was also the original park opening day back in 2001). The celebration will continue all season long, with a Birthday Clubhouse, special themed “party patios,” a live musical show, and Memory Spots that showcase the park’s unique history and special memories from the past two decades. And, of course, there will be cupcakes with lots of sprinkles. We invite you all to come join the party and celebrate this very special milestone.

Keeping the Gardens Growing

Like so many other local businesses, Gilroy Gardens had to remain closed throughout the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020 and early 2021.

Re-opening the park will be a major boost to the local economy, as we typically employ up to 300 part-time and full-time workers, including many local high school and college students. We are already accepting job applications and plan to hold Virtual Job Fairs in April and May. Please check our website ( for more information.

There has been at least a little bit of a silver lining (or should we say a “green” lining) to the long closure. Our landscaping team has had plenty of time to do significant pruning, exhibit maintenance, and other major projects. As a result, the trees and gardens are looking more fabulous than ever!

Membership Information

Any families who purchased 2020 Memberships will have those memberships extended throughout the 2021 season.

And we’re also providing additional in-park benefits to 2020 members to thank them for their support and make this season extra-special.

We’re also offering the best prices of the year on 2021 memberships — where everyone pays the kid’s price of just $48 per person for a 2021 Value Membership (unlimited daytime visits) or $79.99 for a 2021 Premium Membership (which includes Halloween and Holiday night-time events as well as free parking and other benefits).

See You Soon…

We know that this past year has been an incredibly difficult and challenging time for so many people. We look forward to reopening and providing children and their families a place to once again experience joy and wonder together.

Please check our website ( for an updated season calendar and additional details as we get closer to May 22’s opening day. We hope to see you all very soon!

Barbara-Lea Granter is the vice president and general manager for Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park. She wrote this column for Morgan Hill Life.


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