608 Spotswood-Englishtown Rd.
Monroe Township, New Jersey 08831
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A PROMISE MADE TO MOM
In the middle of the Great Depression, a baby was abandoned in a coal bin. The child was discovered and brought up in a state-sponsored foster home by a remarkable woman named Elizabeth Van Fleet. She managed to raise 60 children, three of whom were mentally challenged; with skill and love in the course of her life. The boy left in the coal bin was nicknamed "The Greek" by the kids in the home who learned of his ancestry, and he kept this name as a reminder of the place where he was raised. "Greek" also made a promise to the lady who raised him that he would devote half of the money he made in life to charity, and specifically, to causes involved with the physically and mentally challenged. For better or worse, I am the child found in the coal bin.
In 1970 I purchased an existing farm as a site to house both my landscaping operation and Greek's Playland. By 1972, Greek's Playland was ready to hold free parties for the handicapped and disadvantaged. State organizations were invited to bring disabled children and adults for a free day of fun. All of our day trips included food, refreshments and amusements. Since 1972 over 100,000 disabled children and adults have attended day trips to Greek's Playland. Their biggest thrill was a ride on the Fire Truck that Greek bought from the Middlesex County Fire Department.
The Playland is dedicated to the life of Elizabeth Van Fleet, who spent most of her life helping under privileged children. She taught us to be unselfish, charitable, and respectful towards religious and racial diversity. Her life served as an inspiration for the creation of Greek's Playland & The Stone Museum. Greek's Playland, Inc., a non-profit organization with no paid employees, permit #226289-923-000 where children and adults from state organizations can come and enjoy themselves in the fresh outdoors. "Mom" would have liked the idea and we are grateful for her memory.
Now I have advanced in age and slowed down my landscaping business. I knew I needed to provide a stable source of funding to guarantee the continued existence of Greek's Playland and The Stone Museum. With this purpose in mind, I converted a section of the Playland into Garden Falls, a reception facility to fund the Playland and the Museum. Joe and Trinia Cayre from Brooklyn, New York, donated one hundred thousand dollars to buy the building material so I could build an enclosure. Marcello Lucas from Morganville donated all the piping, dirt and stone that the Playland needed. Jim Gary, the famous Dinosaur Man, donated 3 dinosaurs. The free portion of Greek's Playland is only open to New Jersey state organizations.
On October 16, 2013, we entertained over 400 special needs children and adults for our 12th annual Octoberfest, which was hosted by Barbara Smith. Everyone donated their services, including the entertainers. Michael Pelligra, owner of Twin Oaks Caterer donated the food.
Greek's Playland will be open 11a - 5p, Friday through Sunday starting May through October 2015. Free parties for disabled children & adults. State organizations only. Call Barbara at 732-521-2232 for scheduling.
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Garden Falls is a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants
Greek's Playland, Inc. is a non-profit organization, number 226-289-923/000. With no paid employees, its Board of Directors, are all volunteers with myself as President. My name is Spiro Drake, alias The Greek. I have been the sole financier of Greeks' Playland, Inc. for 40 years.
August 2013 I closed Wholesale nursery and that ended my cash flow. Garden Falls gives 10% of all rentals to Greeks Playland and the Stone Museum and does all of the maintenance. For 50 years I did landscaping, built pools & cabanas in 3 states. I made a lot of money so I built and operated Greek's Playland & The Stone Museum. In Greeks Playland there are 9 & 18 hole miniature golf courses that are covered and barrier free. The only ones like it in the world! A large barrier free maze, Happy the 50 foot clown holding a two foot bottle of coke, the world's largest tire park, a McDonald play area including The Hamburglar, This area is used by Greeks Playland for their free parties and is not open to the public.
Inside the free Stone Museum there are: rocks & fossil, fluorescent minerals, dinosaur eggs and Native American artifacts. Etc. The museum displays over 1,800 specimens from around the world which visitors can touch. Outside, for the kids: we have Monroe the Dino, a tall dinosaur replica in a stone-like enclosure that growls with real ferocity. There's a M60 tank, an apache helicopter, a 1955 Fire Truck, 2 of Jim Gary's dinosaurs, Pat Carmella's original shoe shop and an original tent from Tent City in Lakewood. Since 1973, over 100,000 underprivileged and handicapped children and adults have spent a Free Day here. At The Stone Museum, our curator has conducted over 800 free tours. The Stone Museum is open to the public, and has always had Free Admission. No fees or donations have ever been accepted from visitors. On the reverse side is a list of some the Groups that have enjoyed a free day. Greek's Playland has 4 Banquet Halls on the 87 acre site which is also used by Garden Falls for weddings and other special events. On our website (www.gardenfalls.com) there is a list of prices that are very reasonable, and this will help to ensure easy rentals. As long as there are weddings Garden Falls will be able to continue funding Greek's Playland and The Stone Museum. Garden Falls has all local and state approvals. Music can be played until midnight and is open from May 1st to November 7th.
The price includes the room rental, large barrier free restrooms with attendants, trash containers, tables & chairs, 400 blacktop barrier free parking spaces for cars and vans and a stone parking lot for 300 cars and buses, etc. (all on site). Also a heliport, a large undercover barrier free playground, 10 waterfalls, 2 lakes, 4 bridges, etc., a great place for photos. Catering is not included. All catering, decorating, DJ, event planners, helicopter & limo services, etc., are done by offsite vendors. Vendors are welcome to visit and use the facility. We do not charge them anything, all they have to do is do a good job, if not - they can never come back. We are open every weekend from 11am to 4pm. Call Patty the Banquet Manager for appointment at (cell-732-446-5900 or the office at 732-565-3333).
Last year Greeks Playland Inc. hosted Oktoberfest and there were over 400 guests. Some of them have been coming here for over 10 years. I am an orphan and they are like the family that I never had. This year Oktoberfest will be on Wednesday October 14th, 2015 from 10am until 2pm. Garden Falls still has weekend dates available for 2015.
If you would like a Garden Wedding that is different, check out our website, there is no place like it in the world. I guarantee it. If you would like to know more about this project, please visit:
If you would like to know more about this project, please visit:
608 Englishtown-Spotswood Road
Monroe Township, NJ 08831
Phone: 732-656-3333, Cell for Patti-732-446-5900
www.gardenfalls.com or www.gardenfalls.com/wordpress
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You can contact The Greek at 732-521-2232 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wish me luck,