Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Review: Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm

Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm

We like the Clayton Valley Pumpkin Patch partly because it is not too far from us. Even so, it is a very nice pumpkin patch, with lots for kids to do.

The Clayton pumpkin patch seems to have expanded somewhat this year since our last visit a few years ago. They have two separate play areas for kids now instead of the one they had at our last visit. With a separate charge for each one, although they do offer a combination charge that saves you all of $1 if you do both. We decided against going down to the play areas this year due to the cost. It felt overpriced the last time we were there to me, although the kids loved it.

There is also a very small train ride for a smaller cost that makes a loop around the upper patch area. We did take a train ride this year, and it was what one would expect for that type of ride, although there were some cute decorations set up along the route to look at and even a tunnel to go through.

Even without spending much money, there was enough to keep our kids busy and happy for the hour or so we spent at the Clayton Pumpkin Patch. There was a small hay tunnel that they went in and out of over and over and over again with enthusiasm. I understand there is a much larger version of this in the pay-to-play area.

There are also a few farm animals to look at. Two pigs and two goats that we could see the day we visited. While the kids can't go in with the animals or touch them, they have a neat contraption for the kids to feed them with. It is sort of a stationary bike connected to a pulley. They can buy animal feed for a quarter, put the food into a can, and then peddle the can up where it will tip over the fence into a bowl before coming back down. My children were a little disappointed that the animals were not interested in the food pellets they peddled into their bowl, but not disappointed enough to keep them from asking to do it again.

Then there are the pumpkins. They are divided into piles by size. They even have piles of the more exotic green and white pumpkins some folks like. There are wheelbarrows in the pumpkin area to load up your pumpkins to take to the payment counter. The wheelbarrows are small and easy enough to handle that I never touched it, my 5 and 9 year old kids could maneuver them on their own. My husband learned that they don't actually grow the pumpkins there at the Clayton Farm; they are brought in from other places in California.

They also have a shop with other nice fall items, such as gourds, Indian corn, and Halloween decorations. The prices were not the lowest I've seen, but they are reasonable. The workers were all very helpful, and did their best to keep anyone from waiting for help.

We visited in mid-morning, and never had to wait in a line except for the train, and then not more than maybe 5 minutes. However, by the time we left, parking was very full, and I noticed that the train line was easily 5 times as long as when we had taken our ride. So aim for an earlier visit if you want to avoid the more crowded parts of the day.

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