On Saturday my parents invited us to go to Gilroy Gardens for their Lumination event. We've never been to Gilroy Gardens before, and weren't exactly sure what to expect. True to its name, it is a bunch of gardens, but it's also a little kid theme park with rides, arcade games, a train, a splash pad, and tons of stuff that'll entertain kiddos all day long. We got there about two hours before the park closed and Ez was in a mood so the only rides we did were the carousel (Declan only), the train, and the cars. The cars were probably the highlight. They were a much nicer version of Disney's Autopia, which is one of Ez's favorites. Declan was very excited about the train before we got on it, and kept trying to cut the line while pointing and screaming CHOO CHOO!!! But once we were actually on it he had the most serious, stony face you've ever seen. Kinda like his face on the carousel below ⬇
After the rides Ez and Declan beelined for the playground. It was a madhouse with kids running everywhere but they were in heaven sliding down the slides over and over again. We were there for an event for my stepdad's work so we got to stay for normal park hours all the way through the evening Lumination hours too. Basically they kick everyone out of the park at 5:00 and then at 6:00 they turn on all these really pretty Asian-inspired light installations. We also got a buffet style dinner too. Ez and Declan had a blast running around with the other kids in the event center. Or rather, running around next to the other kids, since most of them were quite a bit older and faster.
Right at 6:00 they let us back into the park to check out all the lights. The displays were so intricate and made out of the weirdest things. Like a dragon made out of teacups and saucers. Or lions made out of little bottles of colored water. Unless you looked really closely you couldn't even tell. It was absolutely beautiful and magical, and unlike anything I've ever seen before.
The highlight for Ez and Declan was definitely the waterfall, which was lit up all kinds of changing colors. You can walk through a pathway behind the fall and Ez and Declan demanded to go again and again and again until we were all soaked. Ez would run through screaming the entire way and Declan would run right up until the actual waterfall part, then he would stop short and demand to be carried, screaming and laughing the whole way. Eventually we had to lie and say the waterfall was closing just so we could get out of there and check out other stuff.
The gardens are pretty expansive and even though it didn't feel like it while we were walking we wound up exploring over 6 miles. And Ez walked a good portion of that all by himself. He was so hyped up after the waterfall, and a rock maze, that he was on the hunt for more fun stuff to do the whole night. Eventually we went back for dinner, since we were all ravenous, and then we headed back out for more exploring.
My favorites were definitely all the installations they had on the water. The reflections were so pretty and you could walk around the entire lake and it would look completely different depending on your angle. They also have a butterfly house which was done up with pandas, and every single walkway was really elaborately lit up with arches or lights in the trees. Pictures can't do it justice, it was all so beautiful.
Aside from the waterfall, and the maze, and all the rides and running around with other kids Ez and Declan's next favorite thing was the walkway above. They had all those red lanterns and twinkling icicle lights, as well as music playing from speakers. Declan was in heaven. He demanded to get out of his stroller so he could touch all the lights on the trees and stop and dance every few steps. We capped the night off with some dessert and refreshments and then headed home were the boys fell asleep right away and slept all the way through to morning.
A big thanks to Gangy and Grampa for inviting us!! To say we enjoyed it is an understatement.