There aren’t too many San Diego pumpkin patches we don’t like. But for a harvest farm experience that takes place on a real working dairy farm, head on over to Oma’s Pumpkin Patch where you’ll find a no frills pumpkin patch replete with real tractor-pulled hayride, farm animals, pumpkins, and even a bit of Norwegian flair. Read on to discover why you should make a visit to Oma’s your new fall tradition.

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Finding the Perfect Pose
Toward the entrance of Oma’s, you’ll come across an area with various autumn themed displays, which makes for the perfect fall photo-op. Pose there, or use the pumpkins, Indian corn, corn stalks, gourds and hay bales (all of which are for sale) for your picture (holiday photo, anyone?). Be sure to snap a few photos on top of the open-bed vintage truck or with a pumpkin scarecrow in the background before your pumpkin lovers take off running.

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Where to Play
Oma’s features plenty for little tykes to explore without you having to open your wallet and purchase tickets for various attractions. All of these cool activities are included with admission, which means means your child can run through the hay bale maze and climb on top of, and pretend to drive, a variety of tractors (and other farm vehicles — even a few bulldozers!) as many times their little heart desires.

Your kids will love the petting corrals with sheep, billy goats and other farm animals. Outside the petting corrals is a large trough area with sinks where you can wash your hands with soap and dry them with paper towels.

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Several playground areas on the farm cater to different age groups. If you have toddlers, head towards the area that features a play kitchen, gas station and Little Tykes Cozy Coupe (foot-peddled) cars.  For the five and under, there’s a huge sand pile with toy trucks and tractors in a variety of sizes. For the more adventurous older kids, head over to “Cottonseed Mountain” where your little climbers can scale a large hill of cottonseed and come zooming down on a disc sled.

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And yes, your kids can even “milk” cows.

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Ride and Learn
Included with admission is a hayride where you can expect an actual tractor-pulled ride (yes, the real thing) through an operating dairy farm. After passing grazing horses, llamas and donkeys named “Sugar” and “Spice” (who are more spice than sugar) in the fields, you will get up-close and personal with dairy cattle inside an open-air dairy barn.  Just prep your noses for the waft of farm animal living.

OMAS PUMPKIN PATCH NO. 9While inside the dairy barn, you’ll learn fun facts about the life of dairy farming (think, breeding and milk production, which will certainly be more fascinating for you than the kids).  You’ll also hear a little history about the farm itself, including background on Gerrit and Gerry Van Ommering—the  Dutch immigrants who established the farm after emigrating from the Netherlands in 1960.

Insider’s Tip: “Spring Dairy Tours,” which are more interactive than the basic hayride tour, are offered in April and May for kids who are in kindergarten and older.

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Where to Eat
A bottle of water is included with each admission to Oma’s. But if your little explorers get hungry, you can purchase reasonably-priced snacks at the Cow Country Café. Oma’s welcomes picnic lunches and snacks from home, all of which can be enjoyed under shaded lunch tables.

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Pick Your Pumpkin
On the way out, choose one kid-sized (approximately 5-10 lbs) “Jack Patch Pumpkin” from a large pile in a tented area.  Pumpkins, ranging from itty-bitty to grandiose in size, are also for sale with seasonal crafts available at the gift shop.

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Oma’s Pumpkin Patch
14950 El Monte Rd.
Lakeside, Ca  92040
Online: omaspumpkinpatch.com

Hours: Tues.- Sun., Sept. 23 – Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday

Price: $8/kid, 1 year and older.  Price includes a water bottle and “Jack Patch Pumpkin.” Adult admission is free per paying kiddo. Additional adults are $4 each.

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Have you been to Oma’s Pumpkin Patch?  What’s your favorite thing about it? 

–Christina Q. Cross

photo credits: Joy Cerin, Christina Cross