Operated by Cedar Fair, Gilroy Gardens is a botanical gardens and family theme park operating in Gilroy, California, the Garlic Capital of the World. Since its founding in 2001, the nonprofit’s mission has been to “educate and inspire families, especially children, to appreciate horticulture and the importance of trees in our lives by providing fun and memories in a beautiful garden setting.” Known for its world-famous Circus Trees, the 70-acre Gilroy Gardens features six majestic gardens, educational exhibits and over 40 family rides and attractions to draw more than 400,000 families looking for wholesome fun for children age 12 and under.
To help families escape the summer heat, Gilroy Gardens decided to offer its first new water attraction so that kids could have a cool new way to play. Staying true to its original vision, Gilroy Gardens decided to showcase the environment; importantly it wanted new water attractions to conserve water.
The Water Journey™ is very popular with boys age six to eight – something we didn’t expect. They like the science of it, and to see the impact on the water. Guests are bringing their own rubber duckies and boats to place in the water and watch the water flows.— Barbara-lea Granter, General Manager | Gilroy Gardens
Gilroy, California, USA
Gilroy Gardens worked with Vortex, landscape architect Hirsch & Associates and the park’s founder and original landscaper, Michael Bonfante to develop the “Water Oasis,” a new concept for families with children age eight and under to experience water play elements that include different types of water attractions that go beyond a traditional pool. Water Oasis combines learning with fun; as guests move from one water play element to the next, they learn through playing and gain a better understanding of the hydrologic cycle, including interacting with water moving through the environment. Water Oasis also teaches guests about what they can do to improve water quality, and simple changes they can make to conserve water.
The half-acre Water Oasis features three distinct play areas: a 1,500-square-foot Splashpad®, a 1,800-square-foot the Oasis Lagoon pool with low-profile waterslides and low-level interactive water play features for developmental play; and the first-of-its-kind Water Journey™ feature, which simulates how water moves in nature. Guests can get soaked by giant flowers, pump and direct the flow of water, slide into a lagoon or just sit on an Adirondack chair and sip a lemonade.
Water Journey™ sets Vortex by itself because no one else on the market makes anything like it. And the design (of the park) from Hisch & Associates really presented Water Journey in a way that has made it a hit across our demographic.— Barbara-lea Granter, General Manager | Gilroy Gardens
The water conservation is an important component to Water Oasis, Granter said. “Our water comes from a closed system. Water is collected by a dam on our property, which stretches up to the Santa Cruz Mountains, and is used in our water attractions and to water our botanical gardens, which includes drought-resistant plants and trees. We try to use as little water as possible. We promote water conservation and the importance of environment.”
The filtration tanks on the water recirculation system turn over the water four times per hour, double the regulated industry standard. Its patented Chlorine and Acid Dosing Controller automatically adjusts the chlorine and pH management functions. This self-adjusting system ensures that the balance tank always contains pristine, safe and healthy water – without human intervention, effectively reducing required maintenance, lowering chlorine usage, saving money and ensuring optimal water quality. 90 percent of water Gilroy Gardens uses is conserved and are reused.