There is something classic about visiting a pumpkin patch in the fall. The smell of hay bales permeating the air. Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and colors either carefully placed in a festive setting or still clinging to their vines. Children, hay rides, petting zoos, and corn mazes. All sights that put a smile on my face. We have been to two different pumpkin patches this year and while we have yet to actually select a pumpkin, (hey that's what the grocery store is for. Once again proving what a cheapo I am. ) we have experienced all the fun and excitement a pumpkin patch can bring.
The first patch we went to was the Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm in Clayton, CA. We met up with our friends Jess, Mazzy, Grandma Karen, Michelle, Brent and Nick. This farm is great because not only is it located at the base of Mt Diablo
which provides some really nice scenery but it also has a really cool Plumpkin Playland. The play area has a hay bale tunnel maze, giant pool filled with lima beans, a ball return (Ben's personal favorite), farmer phone booth, giant tic tac toe booth, bean bag toss, and of course the ever popular hay bale pyramid. The kids had an absolute blast in this area. Mari and Ben were a little scared to go very far in the hay bale maze because it was so dark but the older kids loved running through it again and again. It was a really neat concept. There are also duck races and a train which we didn't do (mainly due to a massive tantrum by Ben which later revealed itself to be a result of roseola. Poor guy had a rash all over his body by the time we got home) but they sure looked like fun. There were also some farm animals that you couldn't pet but you could feed by paying for the feed and then sending it through a shoot. How weird is that? We passed on paying to feed them through the shoot. Not exactly the up close and personal animal experience we become accustomed to. And of course there were lots of pumpkins. Now normally trying to take a picture of five toddlers in a pumpkin patch would be difficult but when one of them is in the throws of a massive breakdown it is impossible. Oh well, you can't win them all. Here are some pictures of some of the fun we did have.
The other pumpkin patch we visited was Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon, CA. This place has the world's largest corn maze according to Guinness Book of World Records. So of course we had to conquer the maze.
We went on a Saturday evening after Paul finished work. The sun was setting which made for a fun jaunt through the maze. They provide you with a map but I lost my place after chasing Mari when she took a wrong turn so from there we winged it and followed people with maps and some concept of where they were. There is a bridge at the entrance of the maze and all you can see from the top is a sea of corn.
By the time we finished it was completely dark and we failed to think to bring a flashlight (our previous corn maze experience had floodlights) so it made things interesting. Mari had a blast running through the most of the maze until it got too dark and she needed to be carried. Ben was a little unsure of how uneven the terrain was so his patience for walking was thin. We ended up carrying him the majority of the way. Strollers are not allowed in the corn maze (not that we brought one anyhow) so if you aren't up to carrying your littlest ones part of the way, don't go. If you don't mind lugging a toddler for a while then I say definitely go! It was so fun. The kids loved it, the adults loved it, all I saw around me were smiles.
Some of us were more excited than others to have made it out of the corn maze alive...
From the corn maze we went and checked out some of the other attractions Cool Patch had to offer. There was plenty to see including scarecrows for the scarecrow contest, little houses for the kids to play in, and a teepee that contained a group of giggling teenage girls on a couch. Mari walked into the teepee and started giving the girls hugs. She had never seen any of these girls in her life but I guess she felt the need to spread some love. Ben decided to plop down on the couch next to them and give his most charming smile. The girls were all smitten and after more giggling and screeching than my ears could handle we had the kids bid farewell to their teenage fan club.
From there we went to the pyramid of hay. Mari happily climbed all the way to the top with no assistance and Ben happily took all the assistance he could weasel out of us. Once at the top Ben decided that he was not a fan of standing up so high all by himself and looked to Daddy to save the day.
Our last stop was the corn bath. It was basically a large vat of corn kernels to play in. It was fun to sink into the corn and play with the kernels. Ben was happy to sit in one spot and throw corn (heaven forbid he actually do anything that might challenge himself) while Mari and I crawled around and avoided rambunctious boys playing tackle.
It was getting late and our beds were calling. Our Saturday night at the patch went fantastically. Can't wait to do it again next year!