By Megan Marples
When autumn rolls around, Valley farms open their doors for people of all ages to enjoy the season. Pumpkin patches have grown beyond simply selling pumpkins. From hayrides to carnival games, here are a few exciting pumpkin patches to visit this fall.
Vertuccio Farms is the perfect place to pick a pumpkin, but the Mesa venue goes beyond that. Pizza lovers can visit the “Pizza Farm.” Each “slice” of pizza represents an ingredient, including tomatoes, wheat, herbs and olives. They also offer games such as mini-golf and pumpkin bowling. For animal lovers, they have a special section to visit with the farm animals.
Vertuccio Farms, 4011 S. Power Road, Mesa, 480.882.1482, vertucciofarms.com. Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, through November 5. Price: $9-$10.
Chili and pumpkin lovers come together once a year for a yummy festival at Schnepf Farms. In addition to food, it offers experiences such as ziplining and rock climbing. More eclectic activities include pumpkin launching and pig racing. Fireworks light up the sky Fridays and Saturdays. Little ones can run around in the Lil Farmers Play Yard or ride the carousel among many other activities.
Schnepf Farms, 24610 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek, 480.987.3100, schnepffarms.com. Hours: Various through October 29. Price: $20. Discounts available at Fry’s Food Stores, and through SRP.
Head over to MacDonald’s Ranch Annual Pumpkin Patch for a western twist to the traditional fall farm celebration. Children can participate in many of the western-themed games such as the kid’s shooting gallery and cow milking. Guests can also pan for gold at the gem mine and can keep what they discover. A hayride and a train will be running regularly to and from the pumpkin patch where families can pick out the perfect pumpkins.
MacDonald’s Ranch, 26540 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480.585.0239, macdonaldsranch.com. Hours are: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Monday through October 31. Special hours on Halloween, 9 a.m. to noon. Price: $10-$12. Various discounts available.
Tolmachoff Farms offers the traditional pumpkin farm experience with fun games and activities for the whole family. In addition to the regular 6-acre corn maze, they also offer a mini corn maze, perfect for younger children. Kids can also say hello to the farm animals at the petting zoo and play in a corn box. Families can battle it out on the pedal cart track and climb the hay pyramid. A bounce house will be open on the weekends.
Tolmachoff Farms, 5726 N. 75th Avenue, Glendale, 602.999.3276, tolmachoff-farms.com. Hours: noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; noon to 11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday in October. November hours: noon to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Price: $12.
Mother Nature’s Farm
For one of the best selections of pumpkins in the Valley, visit Mother Nature’s Farm, which offers pumpkins up to 500 pounds. Each child who enters receives a pumpkin and stickers, and has access to games, a petting zoo and Alexander’s Adventure Maze. Families are encouraged to bring their own picnic lunches or purchase hot dogs and other concessions from Maneau’s Munchies.
Mother Nature’s Farm, 1663 E. Baseline Road, Gilbert, 480.892.5874, mothernaturesfarm.com. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through October 30; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. October 31. Price: $10 kids, $5 adults.