Gilroy Gardens all a glow

 Young visitors enjoy frolicking in the ‘snow’ and exploring the various holiday sights and interactive demonstrations at Gilroy Gardens.

SCORES of families have been making their way on weekends this month to Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park on for its Holiday Lights program.
The park has embraced the holiday spirit each December for more than a decade. Most recently it has featured “A Charlie Brown Christmas” while operating its normal attractions. The playground and rock maze also remain open.
Gilroy Gardens was founded and created by Michael and Claudia Bonfante. After selling their supermarkets, they built the park to educate guests and promote a greater appreciation of horticulture. In November 2004, the park hosted its first Holiday Lights show.
Visitors are greeted by giant toy soldiers as they enter the spectacle. They are invited to take a walk down Candy Cane Lane, a forest of brightly lit candy canes leading into a winter wonderland where thousands of lights adorn the entire park, including Coyote Lake. There are presents, lollipops, cupcakes, an oversized gingerbread house, even a train that takes passengers to the North Pole.
Santa Claus calls Gilroy Gardens his home, which means visiting children have the opportunity to talk with him. Kids can make their last plea of how well they’ve behaved this year and have their letters delivered to old St. Nick. In his honor, there is also a s’mores station and a handful of sleighs.
For those families interested in the deeper meaning of Christmas, the Peanuts Gang is there to help. Charlie, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, and Sally share the stage singing holiday classics. They interact with the audience in a 20-minute performance, providing a message of world peace and caring for one another. Also in the spirit of Christmas there is not one but two nativity scenes. The park also features several traditional Christmas trees, poinsettias, and plenty of hot chocolate stations.
Gilroy Gardens will be open Dec. 18-23, and Dec. 26-30 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online tickets start at $42. Discounted tickets of $28 can be found on TravelZoo.com. Details: www.gilroygardens.org/holidaylights.

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