Experience Life on the Farm at McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch
October 9, 2014Posted by pamela |
McClelland's Dairy is a family-run, certified organic dairy farm located just west of Petaluma, and their annual Halloween pumpkin patch just keeps getting better and better every year. McClelland's is relatively low-key but bustling, and it offers a lot of fun for families, especially if you have small children or are just looking for a more genuine farm experience. If you haven't been there yet, it's definitley worth putting on your fall family itinerary.
The entrance to McClelland's can sneak up on you a little, so keep an eye out for their signs as you head down Bodega Road into the Two Rock area west of Petaluma. Turn into the dirt driveway and follow it over a little bridge to the dairy farm. On your left you'll see their three-acre pumpkin patch, where you're welcome to go pick that perfect Halloween pumpkin off the vine. Ample parking is available in the meadow on your right.
In addition to u-pick pumpkins, there's a hay maze, a big box full of wheat grains (perfect for digging—buckets and shovels provided), and a petting zoo where you can meet some gentle and friendly farm animals, including goats, calves, and a miniature horse. Don't miss the large arrangement of pumpkins and straw bales—it's perfect for a fall family photo op. There's also a cool vintage John Deere tractor that kids can pose on for photos. All these attractions are free!
For an added fee kids can jump around in one of two different bounce houses, tour the spooky haunted hay maze, and take a tractor-drawn hay ride. For $10 you can buy a wristband for unlimited fun and play all day.
When you're ready to go pick pumpkins, grab a wheelbarrow and head out to the field. You'll find pumpkins of all sizes, from enourmous to tiny. There are several different varieties and colors, too, from your standard orange jack-o-lantern pumpkins to white "Polar Bear" ones to bright red-orange French "Cinderella" pumpkins. You might also stumble across gourds and other kinds of squash out in the patch, too. It's a lot of fun to see what you can find! Pumpkin prices range from $1 for gourds and small pumpkins to $25 for giant monsters.
Make sure you visit the farm store, where you can shop for organic dairy products like McClelland's highly regarded European-style organic butter, free range eggs, pumpkin ice cream (from Spring Hill Farm down the road, home to the Peter Pumpkin Patch), snacks, drinks, and McClelland's Dairy merchandise, as well as some freebies like refrigerator magnets, dairy activity books, stickers, and pencils.
You can also look through a large window and watch cows being milked in the parlor. There's another viewing window in the building adjacent to the farm store where you can get a different view of the milking action. This is always a big hit with the kids and they really enjoy watching the how cows being milked.
If you want to learn even more about life on the farm, they offer guided farm tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. On the tours, you can learn about the history of the farm and how animals are cared for, pet babies in the nursery, and even try milking a cow by hand. Farm tours cost $15 for visitors ages 13 years and older and $7 for children 4 to 12; children 3 and under are free. Reserve your farm tour spots online, since tours often sell out in advance, especially during pumpkin patch season.
You can spend the whole day out at McClelland's—grab some lunch, go on a farm tour, hunt for pumpkins and gourds in the pumpkin patch, play, and more. It's a great addition to the fall pumpkin patch lineup, and a lot of fun to visit.
If You Go
McClelland's Dairy is located at 6475 Bodega Avenue, just outside Petaluma. To get there, take Highway 101 to the East Washington Street exit in Petaluma. Turn left (west) at the stop light and follow East Washington Street west. Washington Street becomes Bodega Avenue. Keep following Bodega Avenue west and keep an eye out for McClelland's pumpkin patch signs; they'll let you know when you're getting close.
Drinks, snacks, and souvenirs are sold in the farm store; credit cards are accepted with a $5 minimum purchase. There's also a food truck at the farm selling treats like grilled cheese sandwiches, milkshakes, and coffee. There's also a big shaded picnic area where you can eat lunch or just relax and watch the kids play.
The pumpkin patch is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am–6 pm through the month of October, weather permitting. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.mcclellandsdairy.com or call (707) 664-0452. You can also keep up with pumpkin patch happenings on their Facebook page.