As October rolls around, we know that the best of fall is approaching fast. With Halloween not far away, one thing is certain -- it's pumpkin time again. A true American standard, this plump fall classic signals joy at every stage of the game. From selecting the perfect pumpkin to carving a silly smile to turning it into a pie, everyone in the family will enjoy a pumpkin-patch jaunt. South Bay offers many sites for not only choosing the best pumpkin, but for a fun family day as well.
Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park
14485 Monterey Road
San Martin, CA 95046
Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park is the ideal place to create fun family memories. Delightful attractions including a carousel, a train and hayrides for the kids' enjoyment. Also, there are pumpkin competitions and tons of entertainment including music, dance and comedy shows. A trip to Uesugi Farms is guaranteed to be a great day for all while scoping for the perfect pumpkin. Meals, desserts and snacks are available too. The park is open through October 31, opening at 9 a.m. and closing at various times throughout the evenings. General park admission is free but tickets to attractions are priced at $3-7. Parking is free on weekdays and $3 per vehicle on weekends. Credit cards are taken at the ticket booth and gift shop only.
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Pick of the Patch Pumpkins
8 South Bay locations
Pick of the Patch Pumpkins is a family owned and operated business that has served the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 30 years. In association with ABC Tree Farms, Pick of the Patch Pumpkins has over 17 locations throughout the Bay Area with eight locations in South Bay. All park locations are open through October 31 and offer a wide variety of inflatable amusements for children ages two to 12. Parents can also bring the family to visit the haunted house, which currently is only at the San Jose, Tully Road location. All lots have different types of pumpkins and pumpkin accessories, along with retail shops and refreshments to get families through the day. Admission to the pumpkin patches is free, but parents must purchase wristbands for their children to play on the inflatable rides. The fees for the inflatables range from $7-10 for 30 minutes of play and $10-14 for 60 minutes of play. All-day play passes are $20-25. Children under two and over 12 are not permitted on the inflatables. Discount coupons are available online with additional coupons sent to online email sign ups. Most locations are open Sunday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Check the website for specific locations and hours.
2300 San Felipe Road
Hollister, CA 95023
Swank Farms is a long-time, family-run ranch now operated by husband and wife Dick and Bonnie Swank. Located in bucolic Hollister, Swank Farms is a great setting for the Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch, an adventure the farm hosts each year. Swank Farms offers a lot more than great pumpkins. Adults and children can enjoy the Maniac Maze with its twists and turns, but the spooky Conover Mystery Ranch, located in the cornfield, is not for young children. The Kiddy Corral, newly updated this year, is a special place for kids and welcomes teacher-led field trips on weekdays at $6.50 per student. Call 831-637-4704 to book in advance. The Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch are open daily through October 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The after-dark Corn Maze and Haunted Ranch are available on weekends only. Daytime prices are $6-10, combo passes are $12-25 and night passes are $16-33. See the website for specific ticket pricing but note that you can only purchase tickets at the farm as they aren't available online. Credit cards are accepted.
Melanie Graysmith is a freelance writer and artist based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. Melanie is a member of an independent filmmaking group and aims to spin her stories into film. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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