Managing 27 grocery stores and more than 2,500 employees is a stressful task. Nob Hill Foods owner Michael Bonfante learned that the best way for him to manage that stress was to retreat to a shady, secluded spot surrounded by majestic trees. These occasional escapes into nature inspired Bonfante to found a park dedicated to teaching visitors of all ages?but especially children?how to appreciate horticulture, wildlife, and trees in particular. Along with his wife, Claudia, Bonfante eventually sold his grocery stores and committed all of his efforts to educating the public and spreading his love for nature.
Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park receives virtually all of the Bonfantes' attention now, and it attracts visitors with combination of educational exhibits, carnival games, and amusement-park rides. The map features more than 40 possible destinations where guests can learn something new about local horticulture, enjoy an adrenaline-pumping joy ride, or simply enjoy the scenery. With family-friendly attractions available for all ages, the park includes everything from carousels to paddleboats to a mine-cart roller coaster that takes passengers through a thrilling series of dips and speedy turns. An interactive water attraction called Water Oasis and the Octonauts live show were just added to the roster in 2014.
Even while visitors are standing in line or buckled into a ride, they are still surrounded by nature at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park. Five waterfalls?representing the five major styles of waterfalls that occur in nature?gush with torrents of water. The grounds also feature 19 of Axel Erlandson's famous Circus Trees, which he created by grafting saplings so that they grew to form shapes such as hearts, lightning bolts, and basket weaves. In addition to touting the importance of animals such as monarch butterflies and honeybees, the park features six distinctive gardens brimming with informative displays and everything from conifers to tropical and subtropical flowers.
A miniature Tyrannosaurus Rex?a species that never had to dodge any hunters' arrows?stands outside the front door of Predator's Archery. Anachronisms aside, the fearsome creature presents a worthy stand-in for Curtis Campisi and Mike Pierce's approach to life and business. Since founding their archery shop in 1993, the duo has armed human carnivores with gear such as compound and recurve bows and custom arrows, and taught them how to use their new apparatuses through new-owner orientations on safe handling and technique. Enthusiasts can also visit the shop to launch a few arrows on the indoor range, or enroll in lessons with certified Master Coaches to take their target practice to the next level.
Snap Fitness 24-7, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its state-of-the-art facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneaker to treadmill or lift their first weight, personal coaches meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting a personalized fitness plan based on each client's strength, and cardio condition. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthy eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists.
Open 24 hours, this 33,000-square-foot facility has something for everyone, boasting a multiarea layout that includes a hardwood-floored studio for its more than 25 group fitness classes, a separate area just for spinning, and a punching-bag-lined zone devoted to mixed martial arts and free weights. While tots play in the Kidz Club area, members can work out on the state-of-the-art machines, swim laps in the 60-foot pool, challenge friends to racquetball, or hone Richard Nixon impersonations in the sauna.