The Irvine Park Railroad’s pumpkin patch is ideal for households of all sizes – Orange County Register
For my extended family, child-friendly excursions are not only important, but also incredibly important. We look for events and places to have a big party and we give ourselves enough space to tire all the kids.
On the opening weekend of the Irvine Park Railroad’s annual pumpkin patch, we brought seven children and seven adults, met with another family of four, and had space to roam. That’s part of the beauty of such a great event in the middle of a large park: lots of grass and trees.
Although it’s still hot, it’s easy to immerse yourself in the cozy feeling a bunch of bright orange pumpkins, haystacks, and scarecrows can bring. The fall decor is great. Add the scent of popcorn and a few giggles and screeches and you have a perfect fall event.
You can choose to just browse the pumpkin patch, enjoy a snack, and snap lots of photos, but there are plenty of activities too.
Free activities include a haunted house – scary enough for the kids but not too scary for the little ones – and a huge howling maze. There are also plenty of picture stands with various Halloween and fall-inspired scenes that make for cute (and fun) photo opps.
Activities that require tickets include two bounce houses (one ticket gives you 10 minutes of bounce time), John Deere tractor rides (for kids ages 5 to 8), face painting, gold panning, carnival games, and my favorite Biscuit decoration. Of course, don’t forget the train ride, which takes you through Irvine Regional Park and a spooky tunnel, and the hay ride, which is a 20-minute tour of the park.
Activity tickets are $ 4 each, or you can purchase a 15-ticket book for $ 50. (You can win tickets to the OC Moms Cute Kid of the Month competition until the end of September.)
Pumpkin prices are based on weight and there are hundreds throughout the patch of all different shapes and sizes.
The Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch is open now through October 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Pony riding is only possible until 4 p.m. (USD 4 per child; activity cards are not valid here)
More tips before your visit:
For a family on a budget, bring your own snacks. There are plenty of tables for picnicking, and if the pumpkin patch area gets too crowded, you can always take a stroll through the rest of the park.
When buying snacks, plan on getting them at least an hour before closing (and getting to the bouncy castle) as they sometimes close early.
Try to take care of the bathroom business before heading to the pumpkin patch. There are potties available, but keep in mind that you are in a park – they are not particularly pleasant to visit, especially at the end of a busy day.
Vouchers are available for some activities as well as bicycles and paddle boats at Wheel Fun Rentals (open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Wheel Fun Rentals has bikes and boats of various sizes that you can rent and ride around the park, and it’s actually a lot of fun.