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Photo TR: Gilroy Gardens and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom


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This year my family drove up to Northern California the week after Christmas to visit Gilroy Gardens and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. This was my first time visiting both parks, and they way exceeded my expectations. They were a blast! I'll give a few notes on each park and then show lots of pictures I got over the week there.

 

~Gilroy Gardens~

 

This small family park was amazing. By far the most beautifully landscaped park I've ever been to, with all the various circus trees and different garden areas spread out. Most of the rides there are geared toward smaller children, but there was still plenty of fun attractions for me to enjoy as well. Both roller coasters were very fun, especially the mine coaster, Quicksilver Express. The park was only open from 3-8 the day I went. The park was currently hosting their annual Holiday Lights event, with Christmas lights and decorations throughout the entire park. It was very cold and got dark pretty quickly, but overall I enjoyed this little theme park a lot and definitely suggest giving this park a visit if you are ever in the area.

 

Here's the rides I rode that day:

Timber Twister

Rock Maze

Quicksilver Express x5

Monarch Garden Greenhouse

Ferris Wheel

Train

Garlic Twirl

Timber Twister x2

Banana Split

Antique Cars

Quicksilver Express

 

Now onto the pictures, I visited the park on Friday December 27th.

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After a long six hour road trip, we made it to Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world.

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Parking was $10

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Entrance sign reminding guests which park they are visiting. Also giving a sneak peak of their Holiday Lights extravaganza.

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One of many circus trees outside the entrance

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These were very strange to see in person, yet still really beautiful

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The turnstiles

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Upon entry, you immediately cross a large bridge which leads to the main area of the park

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Looking off the side of the bridge, it's no secret that this park is simply beautiful. Just look at that scenery

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After crossing the bridge, the park is essentially a large circle to go around

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The carousel

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This park is managed by Cedar Fair. It was kind of funny to see that even this small family park had fast lane.

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A small manger scene they had setup in front of the carousel

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Credit #1 of the trip

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This small coaster was really hidden in the trees

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A look at the train in the station

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That scenery

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Small fountain area

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Your friendly neighborhood balloon ride

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Construction site in the back area of the park

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The train went over a pretty cool bridge

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The train that circled the park

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Huge lake in the middle of the park. The paddle boats were closed

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This was awesome

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This was a really cool maze with lots of dead ends and tunnels that can keep you running around in there for a while

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There was a bridge that went over the maze so you could look down on the whole attraction

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Another view of the maze

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Amazing circus tree

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Bonfante Falls was a set of really beautiful waterfalls in the back of the park

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No caption needed

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You would never guess that this is a theme park

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Very nice area of the park

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Passed by the train station and rode it later that night

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This was a really cool awning

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The back corner had a monorail, which was closed

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Just another circus tree, no big deal

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It was finally time!

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I was expecting this to be similar to Goldrusher at Magic Mountain, but was way more fun

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This coaster was also very hidden in the trees

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A look at Quicksilver's station

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The back row was the best seat

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This is the turnaround from the station to the first lift hill

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The Monarch Garden did not have butterflies

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It did have lots of trees though

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The train and monorail both go through the large green house

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Just another circus tree, move along

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Funky looking palm tree

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The park's ferris wheel

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The line for the ferris wheel went through a bamboo forrest

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The holiday lights started coming on once it got dark

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Bonfante Falls by night

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The park was even more beautiful at night with all of the lights

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Best themed tea cups ride ever

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It's not everyday that you get the chance to ride in a giant garlic. And they spun fast too!

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The king of circus trees!

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This was the huge tent where we had dinner

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A giant banana

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The antique cars was all decked out with lights

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There were two tracks. Once was classic cars

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I rode the other side, which had antique cars

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Artsy shot while I was waiting in line

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Ferris wheel looking purty at night

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I was able to catch one last night ride on Quicksilver before the park closed

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As part of the Holiday Lights, the park had a light show going on every half hour at the Bonfante Falls. I made it for the last showing at 8

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Almost as good as World of Color

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More Christmas lights

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This was the small games area

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Looking back down Candy Cane Lane

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The lights were truly amazing to see at night

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Thanks Gilroy Gardens for maintaining such a beautiful and family friendly park! Thanks for reading my report! I'll have the pics from Six Flags up within the next day or two.

Edited by 6flagsbrad
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^Cedar Fair wasn't the reason the name changed. The park went bankrupt when Michael Bonfante ran it and Gilroy took possession of it with a non-profit board of directors in control and it was renamed. Paramount Parks was brought in by the non-profit to manage the day to day operations of the park, a deal that Cedar Fair took over the contract for when they bought out Paramount. I believe Michael Bonfante actually still plays a major roll on the board.

 

Gilroy Gardens such a hidden gem. Just an amazingly beautiful little park. I wish the glass elevator at the falls still worked. Great trip report!

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Great report, thanks for sharing!

 

I really enjoyed Holiday Lights this year. Quicksilver Express is even better at night, it was pitch-dark (and freezing cold) the last time I rode it.

 

Looks like land clearing has started to pick up on the new water area. I'm looking forward to seeing it next season.

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~Six Flags Discovery Kingdom~

 

Magic Mountain's smaller sister park was very fun to visit. A good selection of coasters, flat rides, and animal exhibits. My favorite rides ended up being Superman, V2, and Medusa. I guess the best way to express my opinions on the park is with a pro and con list.

 

Pros:

- Very fun and thrilling coasters. This park had a great selection and variety of rides, including 3 kid areas.

- It was nice to see that this park decorates so elaborately for the holidays. Lights everywhere, Christmas themed shows, and tree lighting, and even a hill with snow to sled down.

- The employees are very strict and professional with safety here. At each ride, upon calling "all clear", each employee literally gives a look around to make sure the area is clear and it is completely safe to operate the ride. I was really impressed with this.

 

Cons:

- I was not a fan of the park's layout. Having two dead ends on each side of the entrance felt really weird. After the park added the coasters over the years, it's really caved in the entrance.

- Parking was a mess. There were no employees directing traffic or working the crosswalks. And it's a terribly long walk from the parking lot to the front entrance with a very narrow walkway that everyone has to squeeze onto.

- A lot of the animal exhibits were not kept clean at all. Sea lions swimming in green and smelly water, sting rays swimming in murky water, and dirty glass at the walrus exhibit. The "Sea" area of the park really needs some more attention and care.

 

Here's the list of rides I went on. I visited the park on Saturday December 28th and Sunday December 29th.

 

Saturday:

Superman

Roar

V2 x2

Sky Screamer

Sharks

Walrus

Roadrunner Express

Butterfly House

Boomerang

Tasmanian Devil

Kong

Sea Lion Show

 

Sunday:

Medusa x2

Cobra

Superman x2

Roar

V2 x2

Tiger Show

Voodoo

Thrilla Gorilla

Wave Swinger

Sky Screamer

Medusa

V2

Medusa

 

And onto the pictures, these are from the first day: Saturday December 28.

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Welcome to Six Flags!

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The skyline from the parking lot

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Superman was testing as I made the trek to the front gates

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Medusa busting some moves

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The Oasis section of the park

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V2 hanging over the entrance

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Roar trying its best to look pretty too

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Arrived at Marine Kingdom, I mean Discovery World

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Time to ride some coasters!

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Tony Hawk got an extreme make over

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It was hard to compare this ride to Full Throttle. I thought Superman felt more forceful with the launches, it was just a little short.

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Both are very excellent coasters

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Coming up to the station. The new seat belts didn't slow down dispatches too much, as long as the guests listened to the ride operator and didn't pull down the lap bar

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Next up was Roar!

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I found Roar to be still fun. It wasn't the smoothest woodie, but certainly not the worst either. I'd ride this all day over Ghostrider. I really loved the layout too

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They only had one train running which kept the line a little long

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This beautiful beautiful ride

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This was the big surprise of the trip for me

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This was such a fun coaster, very underrated

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Another look at Roar

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It is pretty massive once you walk up to it

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The large station

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A look at the train

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This ride was a blast (no pun intended)

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The penguin exhibit was very nice

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Some of the Christmas decorations they had setup

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Monsoon Falls was lacking a little water. You could still see one of the mazes from Fright Fest inside the station

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Heading over to the opposite side

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Sky Screamer was fun, not much different from Windseeker. It was just really cold to ride it that day

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I was surprised how short the lines were for a Saturday

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A fun and relaxing ride

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After some rides, I went over to check out some more animals

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This exhibit was really cool with a moving platform that went through the middle of the tank in a tunnel

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Best theme park gift shop?

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Yes, yes I did

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Ca-ching

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This wonderful contraption

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Hammerhead up close

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Doin its thang

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A house for butterflies

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Pretty plants

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Backside of water

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This is a butterfly

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Small reptile house

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Giraffica

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The "zoo" area of the park was very nice

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People petting an elephant

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Boomerang

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This really hurt

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The only good thing about this ride is the color scheme

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This was fun

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The headrests were odd, but the ride really picked up speed

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This was not fun

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At least it looks nice

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My first SLC. I only expected it to be a head banger, not a bone crasher

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Nice sunset shot of V2

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These poor sea lions swimming in green chlorinated water

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Even the cheesy show had green water for the sea lion to swim in

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Pictures from day 2 will be up soon!

Edited by 6flagsbrad
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Hey, nice TR's! Gilroy looks like a great little park and seems very "Euro", defiantly one of Cali's jems. And it seems that SFDK becomes a ghost town after Christmas, I went to the park on the 15th and it was crazy packed, then I went back today and everything was a walk on.

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I seem to remember the Vekomas at he park being not that rough.

This might be the case compared to other parks. This was my first SLC so the ride experience for me really caught me off guard. As far as Boomerangs go, the three I've been on are Discovery Kingdom's, Knott's, and Hershey's. All three were about the same, I still enjoy riding them though they are nowhere near my favorite ride.

 

Here's the last batch of photos from the last day I visited Discovery Kingdom. These are from Sunday December 29th. Crowds were extremely light that day.

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And I'm back for one more day of fun!

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I didn't get to ride Medusa the day before, so I made sure to go straight there the next day

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This was a great coaster!

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Compared to other B&Ms I've been on, this one seemed less intense. Instead of speeding through the inversions, it had a lot of hang time which was really fun. Overall just a really fun and enjoyable ride

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Decent theming with the station

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Oh, did I mention I had a train to myself?

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A look at the front side of the station from the exit. The drop out of the station was an added bonus

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Good things about this.......It has a cool train!

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Back for more victory rides

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A look inside the station

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Up close and personal with the train

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And zipping through the station!

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Saying farewell to Superman

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Another ride on Roar

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I went around to check out the rest of the park

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The old water ski stadium along the large lake on the side of the park

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The park's rapid ride

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Lacking some blue stuff that would help the ride work

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The tiger show

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The show was a bit of a let down since the tiger got distracted by a girl in the audience with a hot pink jacket. The whole show was watching the trainers try to stop the tiger from pacing and grab its attention again

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They finally got him to do a few tricks

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Favorite flat ride

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Who doesn't like a giant gorilla head in the middle of a ride??

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The park had a hill with snow setup for guests to sled down. The line was really long though

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Bumper cars is a funny name when you think about it

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Mini Sky Screamer

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Mini Windseeker

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Another shot of Kong

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Thanks to Discovery Kingdom and its friendly employees for a fun filled weekend!

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Awesome photo update. I loved both of these parks when I was in Cali last April. I really enjoyed Six Flags Discovery Kingdom a lot. But than again I am coming from Six Flags America being my home park so most parks are better than that. I think what I liked most about SFDK was the layout. I however did not like that I could not get the kiddie credit without a kid lol

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Hey Brad! Funny thing...I was actually at Gilroy Gardens on that same day too! I actually see myself in a lot of your photographs there. The one you took of the back seat of Goldrusher? I'm the guy in the red jacket at the front of the train.

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Hey Brad! Funny thing...I was actually at Gilroy Gardens on that same day too! I actually see myself in a lot of your photographs there. The one you took of the back seat of Goldrusher? I'm the guy in the red jacket at the front of the train.

No way! I think I saw you there too then.

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