Monday, October 7, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Report: Spina Farms

Toddler X and I started out our week of pumpkin-patching by visiting Spina Farms, located at the intersection of Bailey Ave. and Santa Teresa Blvd. in South SJ. (From 101 South, take the Bailey Ave. exit (first exit after the Hwy 85 interchange); turn right on Bailey, and continue a short distance until the stoplight at Santa Teresa. The farm stand and pumpkin patch will be on your left.)

Spina is a classic pumpkin patch and great for children. Toddler X and his pal had a good time, and we will almost certainly be back in the years to come. Here are the details:

  • Open daily in October. Sunday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. -7:00 p.m. No fee for parking or admission. 
  • Pumpkins of different sizes are arranged/spread in various areas within the lot. You are not walking among actual pumpkin vines -- the pumpkins have been picked and are spread on the straw ground covering for you. Kids do get the joy of searching for the perfect pumpkin, though, as there's plenty of selection and the patch is a reasonably good size. 
  • The patch is completely walkable for a toddler -- no need to bring a stroller. 
  • Amenities include a train and hayrides, a petting zoo and pony rides, a toddler size straw maze, a snack bar serving cold drinks and treats, and a small shop with Halloween decor. 
  • The train and hayrides operate daily and are $2/person (everyone over age 1 needs a ticket). We skipped the train ride -- it just goes in two loops around the center of the patch -- and opted for the tractor-drawn hayride instead. That made a nice loop around and through the sunflower fields surrounding the patch -- a really pleasant ride, which both the kids and adults enjoyed. Definitely recommend it.
  • The petting zoo and pony rides only operate on weekends from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and are $3 and $5, respectively. The petting zoo wasn't open during our visit, but looked pretty small. 
  • The toddler size straw maze had more kids running on it than through it, but they were all having a blast. It's right in the middle of the patch and it's free.
  • Plenty of photo ops, including an oversize chair, plenty of Halloween cut-outs, and a huge jack-o-lantern with space for kids inside. An area near the entry, with lots of large pumpkins collected in front of a cute little barn, and a semi-circle of hay with toddler-size pumpkins in the middle both made for good backdrops. 
  • There are plenty of picnic tables, some under awnings, but for the most part the whole patch is in direct sun. It was HOT today.
  • Next door is a farm stand with lots of local produce, drinks, dried fruit and other treats. We bought some corn, apples, and zucchini and pumpkin breads, as well as a strawberry popsicle that miraculously averted an impending toddler meltdown and was the best money I spent all day.
  • Pumpkin prices seemed reasonable, with the layout below beginning at $3 for the smallest and increasing by $2 increments for each size larger.

Overall, I was very pleased with Spina Farms -- though it's not as bucolic as some of the spots in Half Moon Bay and you're not walking among actual pumpkin vines, it was on a perfect scale for families with toddlers and was a heck of a lot closer than the pumpkin capital of the world. I'm going to give it four happy jack-o-lanterns (on a scale of 1-5), and will gladly recommend it to you, my toddler friends. 
Happy Halloween toddling!

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