Crossroads – Gilroy

Last Call for Lumination

The one-of-a-kind Lumination at Gilroy Gardens will soon come to end.

If you haven’t yet gotten out to see the incredible light displays of Lumination at Gilroy Gardens, you’d better hurry! This unique night-time festival celebrating Chinese history and culture ends Jan. 8. The recent winner of the prestigious Brass Ring Live Entertainment Excellence Award, the colorful lighted sculptures are built from silk and steel by master lantern builders from Zigong, China.

There are 30 different colossal displays spread throughout the park’s 26 acres. As you enter, you walk beneath dragons atop the Lumination Welcome Gate and past the colossal Nine-Heaven Pagoda. Guarding the entrance to Water Oasis is the Porcelain Dragon, an incredible structure that stretches over 170 feet long and is made up of more than 60,000 Chinese porcelain plates, cups and bowls, all painstakingly hand-tied together. Monarch Greenhouse is transformed into a Panda Sanctuary, with dozens of the adorable black-and-white bears playing in a bamboo forest.

Be sure to get up close to the Bejeweled Qilin, mythical beasts with the head of a lion, the eye of a tiger, the antlers of a deer, the body of an ox and the scales of a dragon. (Don’t worry—they don’t bite!) These incredible light displays were constructed using thousands of tiny glass bottles filled with colored water to create a dazzling jewel-like effect at night. And two of Lumination’s most remarkable displays were actually constructed right in the middle of Coyote Lake: the towering Temple of Heaven and the spectacular Carp Jumping over the Dragon Gate, which brings an ancient Chinese legend to breathtaking life.

When you visit, be sure to catch the “Lumination Live” show in the amphitheater, featuring talented jugglers, acrobats and face-changing artists from China. You’ll also find unique hand-crafted gifts (and can even watch the artists at work) in the Artisan Marketplace and authentic Chinese food from The Wok and various food stalls.

For the first time ever, Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park is also open during the daytime over the holiday break. So if the kids are getting tired of being cooped up inside, bring them out to enjoy their favorite rides and attractions—and the outdoor ice rink! Both the park and Lumination are open daily through Jan. 8. Separate day and night tickets are required, but admission is free with 2017 park memberships.

Did you know that January is also California Restaurant Month? This gives you a great excuse to check out the many wonderful restaurants we have right here in Gilroy—and maybe visit someplace new! The Restaurants page of the visitgilroy.com website includes a compete directory of local favorites, including Family, Fine Dining, Asian, Italian, Mexican and specialty cusine. Or stop by the Gilroy Welcome Center—we’re in Building A of Gilroy Premium Outlets, near Forever 21—to pick up our handy Restaurant Map and browse through sample menus.

This article was provided courtesy of the city of Gilroy Welcome Center. For more info about these and other events, go to visitgilroy.com.