Puerto Rican Restaurant Boasts Playground, Pony Rides
Just off Highway-2 in the south of Puerto Rico (about twenty minutes west of Ponce) is the sort of restaurant you read about. I know I read about it on roadside signs in a good 30-mile radius, so when I had the chance to dine at Gaby's World, I jumped all over it and was rewarded in ways no restaurant has ever even tried.
First thing was the restaurant, which is so good I've asked for it by name, and we go out there maybe once a week. They've got authentic, fresh, Puerto Rican food ranging from stewed beef to roast chicken (though the Can-Can Pork Chops are famous, and were invented in Yauco, where the place calls home).
The French fries are the best we've had in Puerto Rico, but I eat myself silly on the rice and beans, to the dismay of my roommates.
Weekdays from 11:00am to 8:00pm (which is open to close) they have a lunch special menu starting at about $4. For this you get an entrée, small salad, rice & beans, plus your choice of fried plantanes (yummy, but odd), sweet plantains (yummy, but the unforgiving texture of a slug), or French Fries (my favorite).
But that's just the food. Now let's talk about the ambiance, because that is as unforgettable as you could imagine.
They have a playground that puts almost all others to shame. It's made up of mostly backyard-style plastic toys, like little houses and slides, but there has to be two dozen different ones. There's a stage and many covered areas so you could throw a corporate event or wedding there, if you were so inclined. Don't expect the million dollar stuff you see at a city park, but then again, it's Puerto Rico, so don't expect to see those things at the city park either.
The terrain is sloped and the ground is natural so watch your footing, but don't be surprised if you have just about the whole place to yourself.
Above - This is just a glimpse of the expansive playground available adjacent to Gaby's World restaurant.
But hold on to your butt because there's more, and it's the sort of more that justifies making this article twice as long as it would be otherwise.
Gaby's World has pony rides, and real horseback riding too. The 204-acre property allows ample room for a large pony track, the sort of thing that takes maybe ten-minutes to walk around a space big enough you can't see the start of it from the halfway point and the price is less than you pay anywhere else. Basically it's a value I've never seen anywhere else. Not at the zoo, not at the fair, and certainly not at the circus.
If you're up for more, they have half-hour, hour and longer horseback rides, all with an attendant to guide you along the path, so even an amateur can do it.
Above - Whether you like good food, a great playground, or a pony of diminutive stature, you can surely see the benefit of a restaurant such as this.
The hundred-plus horses are only available weekends during off-peak seasons, so check them out online at GabysWorldPR.com to confirm current schedule and rates.
They're easy to find. Take Highway-2 to Yauco (the first Yauco exit traveling from Ponce), and turn right. You'll find the entrance within about a half mile. Oh, and we met both Gaby Jr. (the owner, manager) and his son, Gaby III. Good people all around. You'll find them on site more often than not, so it's a hands-on business.
If only more restaurants had pony rides, maybe I'd go to those places too.
Above - I'm not one to wear my heart on my sleeve, but rather somewhere more exposed than that. As such, the joy you see all plastered about my giddy mug is real and cemented my love for this place.