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Things to do in Orange County

The Best Pumpkin Patches in Orange County


Here’s your first pop quiz of the school year, what do leaves, pumpkins and green apples all have in common? Wait for it.

Answer: It’s the sign that fall has officially arrived!

As part of the fall traditions in our family, visiting the local pumpkin patch is a must do. But with so many pumpkin patches to choose from, which one is the best fit for your family?

Here’s a rundown of some favorite pumpkin patches in Orange County:

My girls are so ready to hit the Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch.

My girls are so ready to hit the Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch.

#1 Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch
Friends warned me about the high level of fun activities at this popular pumpkin patch – and they were right. Families will enjoy hay and train rides, games, cookie decorating, panning for gold, the spooky haunted house, pony rides, a bounce house, face painting and much more. With so many activities, allow most of the day to enjoy. Open September 21-October 31, every day at 10:00 a.m. (weather permitting). Located inside the Irvine Regional Park. Parking costs $5.00 per vehicle. Call 714-997-3968 for more information.

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#2 Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch
Known for its breathtaking 30-acre country-side farm and pick-as-you-go Wagon rides, Tanaka Farms is located in the heart of Irvine. Families will have a chance to wander the corn maze, visit the petting zoo – and capture some amazing photos in “Tanaka’s Pile of Pumpkins.” Visit the farm September 28-October 31. Call 949-653-2100 for more details.

My friend's lil' pumpkin at Tanaka Farms.

My friend’s lil’ pumpkin at Tanaka Farms.

#3 Pumpkin City’s Pumpkin Patch (Laguna Hills Mall)
This smaller, quaint pumpkin patch is conveniently adjacent to the Laguna Hills Mall right off the 5 Freeway. Children of will have a blast on the ponies, riding in the chair swing, playing carnival games,  – and my daughter’s favorite – the wipeout obstacle challenge. Don’t forget the plethora of pumpkin selections to bring home! This little patch is open September 28-October 31. Hours vary from day to day, so call 949-586-5862.

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#4 Pumpkinpalooza at Zoomars
Located in the historic mission area of San Juan Capistrano, your family will feel like you’re in the Old West while interacting with lots of kid-friendly animals. My two daughters make a beeline to the rabbit and guinea pig petting zoo area every time. Falling right behind that is the pony and horse rides, jack-o’-lantern painting, train rides and touring the haze maze. Open October 1-31, daily 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Call 949-831-6550 for more information.

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#5 The Pumpkin Factory
Another mall-convenient pumpkin patch that has two locations in Orange County, one at the Westfield Main Place Mall in Santa Ana, and the other at Westminster Mall off the 405. This pumpkin patch boasts its pumpkins are homegrown from their family farm. Kids can enjoy a variety of activities including face painting, bounce houses, pony rides, petting zoo and slides. For hours and open dates, call 800-719-4420.

Note: Many of the pumpkin patches have an admission fee and/or rides and activities are purchased with tickets usually starting at around a $1 each.

All in all, you really can’t go wrong in taking your lil’ pumpkins to any of these Orange County patches. You’ll be creating memories for a lifetime – and you’ll just wish for another pop quiz when they’re all grown up.

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls ages five and eight, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.
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