Since its inaugural season in 2001, Gilroy Gardens intertwined business and charity to create a one-of-a-kind experience for both visitors and residents.
“Gilroy Gardens is the jewel of Gilroy,” said Susan Valenta, the President and CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce.
And it’s this combination of charity and business that earned Gilroy Gardens the Nonprofit of the Year award for the Chamber’s annual Spice of Life event.
The park’s seven-member board of directors, led by chairman Greg Edgar, pushed hard for more community outreach projects in 2011. And that push has paid off, said Barb Granter, the vice president and general manager for the park.
Gilroy Residents’ Day – where admission to the park is free – is one way the board thanks locals for their ongoing support.
Another way is through education. Nearly 5,000 second- and fourth-graders from local elementary schools studied nature and local plant life during this year’s Natural Science Days.
“Children get to use the Gardens as a living laboratory,” Granter said.
Gilroy Gardens is California’s only horticultural theme park, featuring more than 40 family attractions including six majestic gardens, educational exhibits, rides and the world famous Circus Trees. The park is located at 3050 Hecker Pass. For a complete operating calendar, list of upcoming events, or ticket information, visit www.gilroygardens.org or call 408-840-7100.
Last season, the park employed around 800 workers and tourists brought more than $350,000 to the local economy.
Granter said she was “thrilled” when she found out about the award.
“It’s a wonderful and prestigious award,” Granter said. “It’s very exciting to be recognized by the Chamber.”