Thursday, May 13, 2010

Looking Into the Past

We may not be very active right now, but we sure were in 2004! This is a visit to a beautiful place in our memory banks, Bonfante Gardens in Gilroy, CA. Years have passed, and we believe the ownership and management of the Gardens have changed, but you'll see it as we did, and read what we wrote at that time.

We visited Bonfante Gardens with a group from the FMCA Chapter we had just joined (FMCA/Thousand Trails West).
From 2004 Bonfante
Bonfante Gardens was a genuine surprise to us. We had not expected anything so grand and beautiful. Of course, it is managed by Paramount Parks, so it is done professionally. The idea started with the "circus trees.' Nineteen are still alive in the park, and they are a curiosity, but they are almost incidental to the experience.

The most spectacular features of the park, in our estimation, were waterfalls strategically located throughout.

Nearly all looked quite natural, not just built and put into place, and the flow of water was amazing.

There was serenity everywhere, with trees of every description providing shade, background and structure. There seemed to be hundreds of sycamore, redwood, pine and cedar trees, plus what appeared to be oleanders shaped into trees. There were dogwood trees of a variety we'd never seen before.

Blooming flowers abounded in every color, shape and aroma imaginable, all well-groomed but seldom appearing "manicured."

Although the park features a number of rides suitable for young and old alike, this was a "Garden Day" and few were running. This meant very few young families were in the park, and accessibility was greatly improved for the physically challenged. Wheelchairs could be seen everywhere, many with attendants or aides, and at times a queue of them would be waiting to board the Coyote and Redwood Railroad which circled the park.

All the rides and attractions were completely accessible, with the possible exception of boat rides; we did not get close enough to them check out.

A new feature at Bonfante Gardens is the Wild Bird Adventure. Inside a specially designed screened enclosure more than 300 wild birds entertained visitors.

For a dollar, Suzy bought a "seed stick" and thus became a mobile feeding station.

She'd have as many as five birds at a time vying for a spot on her hand and arm to get to the snack she offered. The birds were familiar with the process and did not hesitate to approach.

To see more pictures from Bonfante Gardens, click here for our web album.

A booklet from the park included this quote from the founder of Bonfante Gardens, Michael Bonfante: "all of our gardens start with four basics: rock, water, trees and flowers." With those four elements, Signor Bonfante did a fine job, and it was a good early visit during ... Our Life on Wheels.


  1. Isn't it great to have such wonderful memories as those you and Suzy have of Bonfonte Gardens!!!

    What a unique and beautiful place.
    Thanks for sharing this special place with us.

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  2. Fabulous pictures, Jerry! We will have to add Bonfante Gardens to our list of places to visit when we are in that area again.

  3. Thanks for shareing this trip with us the bird on susie's hand was just great.

  4. Terrific pictures of the park - thanks for the tour! I've never heard of this place before but if its still in operation, we'll have to check it out next time we're in that area.

  5. This place is awesome looking. I would want to go there!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Cindy and Walker

    P.S. Your pictures are done really well. Very clear and very vivid.

  6. What beautiful photography! Thanks for sharing a past experience.

  7. What a fabulous place. Thanks for sharing that information. Your pics were beautiful. We may have to check this place out one of these days.

    Have a great weekend.


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