It’s time to pick the perfect pumpkin—or at least snap the requisite pic of your little one surrounded by a cornucopia of gourds. Read on for where to go for pumpkins and plenty of adorable photo ops, plus pony rides, petting zoos, corn pyramids and a whole lot more.
Underwood Family Farms - Moorpark
Even if you're not into crowds, a trip here is definitely worth it. Underwood knows what they're doing and as jam-packed as it may seem when you arrive, the pros that work here keep everything running smoothly. In addition to acres of pumpkin varieties you never knew existed (like Aladdins, Cinderellas and Big Macs), there's pig races, tractor-drawn wagon rides, a corn pyramid, combine slide, animal exhibits, live entertainment and more—all included with admission. Other activities that you pay extra for include mini tractor rides (that kids drive themselves!), pony rides and a petting zoo (complete with baby goats just waiting to be bottle-fed).
Schedule: Open daily, 9a.m.-6p.m., from Sept. 28-Oct. 31.
Cost: Admission is $8, Mon.-Fri., and $16 on the weekends of Sept. 28-29, and Oct. 5-6. After that, the weekend price jumps to $22. Games and attractions are available at an additional cost.
3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Gilchrist Farms - Santa Clarita
Horse-drawn wagon rides are the big draw at Gilchrist's Harvest Festival. Weekdays, you can take advantage of the quieter atmosphere and still enjoy the pumpkin patch, straw bale maze, petting zoo, pony and wagon rides and farm store. Come the weekend, there's face painting, pumpkin decorating, fall farm crafts, live entertainment, loads of yummy foods and goat milking demos at 10a.m. on both Sat. and Sun.
Schedule: Open daily, 9a.m.-6 p.m, from Sept. 28-Oct. 31. On weekdays, pony and wagon rides are only available from 2p.m-6p.m.
Cost: Admission is free and includes milk demo and pig races. Ticket prices range from $5-$10 per activity or $40 for full-day wristband on weekends, and $25 on weekdays.
30116 Bouquet Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA
Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch - Culver City
Come for the pumpkins, stay for the celeb sighting. In addition to seeing stars, you'll find a petting zoo, pony rides, a pumpkin village, face painting, a straw maze, oversized slides, a giant rocking horse and bounce houses.
Good to Know: VIP passes aren't just for the famous. Anyone who's willing to spend $55-60 a person (yep, that's the price for kids, too) can get access to a VIP area with private bathrooms, free chilled water, a secure area to store personal items, private view of the stage (for live performances) and guaranteed wagon access. Kids also get unlimited access to attractions including the petting zoo and slides.
Schedule: Open Mon.-Thurs., 9a.m.-8p.m., and Fri.-Sun., 9a.m-9p.m., from Oct. 5-Oct. 30.
Cost: Admission to the patch varies by date and day of the week, ranging from $5 to $20. (Get details here.) You'll also need to purchase additional tickets for various activities.
10100 Jefferson Blvd.
Culver City, CA
Shawn's Pumpkin Patch - Culver City
Shawn’s is decked out in corn stalks, straw bales and pumpkins of all sizes, along with a wide selection of rare gourds and squashes. (Added bonus: You can also find carving kits here.) Kids will be entertained for hours with bouncers, a train ride, giant slide, “bungee” jumping, a petting zoo, ponies and more. There's even a little kids' Play Land featuring an inflatable corn maze course.
6020 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Culver City, CA
Tina's Pumpkin Patch - Sherman Oaks
Located right behind the Sherman Oaks Galleria (just off the 405), this is a convenient spot for Valley residents and Westsiders. With a petting zoo, pony rides, giant slide, free straw maze and mini train, it's got plenty to entertain little ones. Added bonus: Everything's also under a giant tent, offering plenty of shade or coverage on drizzly days.
Schedule: Open Sun.-Thurs., 10a.m.-8p.m, and Fri. & Sat., 10a.m.-9p.m., from Oct. 4-Oct. 31. Ponies are only at the patch Thurs. afternoon through Sun.
Cost: Free admission, including straw maze, and parking. Activities cost extra, from $3-$6.
4827 Sepulveda Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA
Tapia Bros Farm Stand and Pumpkin Patch - Encino
This farm-fresh market stand is known for corn, tomatoes and strawberries throughout the year. Come Oct. 1, there's also pumpkin patch, popular corn maze and more. On weekends, you'll also find petting zoo and pony rides.
Schedule: Open daily, 10a.m.-6p.m., from Oct. 1-Oct. 30.
Cost: Free admission and parking. Prices for activities vary.
5251 Hayvenhurst Ave.
Lopez Ranch Pumpkin Patch - Venice
For a more low-key pumpkin-picking experience, head to this small but friendly neighborhood patch (they also have Christmas trees come the holidays). They also have face painting, pumpkin decorating and pony rides for little ones.
Schedule: Open daily, 11a.m.-9p.m., from Oct. - Oct. 30.
Cost: Admission is free; price for activities varies.
1020 Victoria Ave.
Pasadena Pumpkin Patch - Pasadena
If you live nearby, then this neighborhood patch is worth a visit. They've got pumpkins of all shapes, colors and sizes, along with pony rides, jumbo slides, bounce houses and a petting zoo. Critics might gripe that it's located in a parking lot, but there are tents for shade, plus bales of hay, corn stalks and gourds galore for atmosphere.
Schedule: Open daily, 10a.m.-10p.m., from Oct. 1-Oct. 31.
Cost: Admission if free, while prices for activities vary. Check Groupon for a $26 deal for two, with access to all the bounce houses and petting zoo.
900 N. Lake Ave.
Pa's Pumpkin Patch - Long Beach
With mechanical rides, games and even funnel cake, this patch prides itself on creating a county fair setting. Pa's also offers a large variety of pumpkins to choose from, as well as haystacks, corn stalks and other gourds.
Schedule: Open daily, Sept. 27-Oct. 31. Hours vary by week and day.
Cost: Prices for individual activities start at $4.
6701 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.
Worth the Drive
Tanaka Farms - Irvine
Hello Kitty had a farm, ee-i-ee-i-oh. Yep, that's right. This farm is partnered with Sanrio (the company behind HK), which means Hello Kitty herself will make an appearance on opening day, Sept. 21. You can also find Hello Kitty cut-outs, decor and even scarecrow-versions her and her pals around the farm. But that's not the only reason to make the trek. There's also a wagon ride that takes your around the 30-acre farm, face painting, games, a petting zoo, corn maze and (saving the best for last!) a pumpkin cannon that blasts gourds up into the hills!
Need to Know: Parking passes, $10, must be purchased online and in advance for every weekend during pumpkin picking season.
Schedule: Open daily, 9a.m.-6p.m., from Sept. 21-Oct. 31. (Pumpkin cannon, games and face painting are only on weekends.)
Cost: Admission is $4, while the wagon ride and petting zoo are additional $6 each. For $20, you can get the Sanrio Entry Package which includes the wagon ride, petting zoo and your choice of a Hello Kitty Plush Doll, Hello Kitty and Friends Zippered Tote Bag or Hello Kitty and Friends Coffee Mug. Games and activities are $5 each.
5380 3/4 University Dr.
Live Oak Canyon Pumpkin Farm - Redlands
If you’re looking for an escape from the city (and are up for a 60-90 minute drive), this destination is a must—plus, it's close to the best apple picking around. There are plenty of oak trees that provide shade and great picnic spots, along with countless photo ops, a petting zoo, pony rides (both real and the carousel variety!), hay and train rides, zip lines, a corn maze and more. You can also grab a wheelbarrow and stroll through rows of gourds. The farm gets crowded on weekends so be sure to arrive early—or try to make the trip out during the week.
Schedule: Open weekends, 9a.m.-8p.m., from Sept. 21-Sept. 29; and open daily, Oct. 1-Oct. 31. See the farm's calendar for exact hours.
Cost: Admission is free in Sept. (Hooray!) In Oct., admission is $5 for kids, ages 3 -10, during the week, $10 for adults. Weekend admission is $7 for kids, $13 for adults. Free admission is also offered on selection weekdays. Prices for individual activities start at $4.
32335 Live Oak Canyon Rd.
—Christina Fiedler, Andie Huber & Shannan Rouss