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4351 Mines Rd., Livermore
Reviewed 10/08/11 by Hauntmistress
Nestled in a little valley on the edge of Livermore, Joan’s Farm bustles with families during October as little ones and adults alike embrace the season and seek out some Halloween fun.
The entrance to Joan's is a half mile past your first glimpse of the patch if you're coming from Livermore. Just about when you start to ask yourself if you missed the entrance you'll see it on your left. Pulling into the entrance you'll again question if you missed something, it looks like you're driving into a construction site but, yes, that's the correct path. Just follow the signs and drive slow. We felt a little like we were going 4-wheeling. The dirt road is long and just bumpy enough to get your bones rattling if you have a lead foot. Going slow also allows you to take in the views of the cows grazing and some fine young studs hanging out in pens by the road. After parking it's a short walk to the patch entrance.
The first thing you'll come to is an Antique Farm Equipment Museum in an old barn. I actually thought this was a little creepy (in a good Halloween way), as the old rusty sheep hooks, chicken catchers, meat saws, branding irons, and sheep shears looked a little spooky hanging from the barn walls. It's a good learning moment for little ones to learn about the tools and effort that goes into bringing our food from the field to the table.
After enjoying the museum, it's another short stroll through an alley of smaller pumpkins to the main pumpkin patch area (with larger pumpkins), which is bordered by Mocho creek. The patch itself is more than just pumpkins though. It’s quite large and houses many activities.
The theme is an Old Western Town and there are teepees, a covered wagon, a Fort Maze, an old school house, a jail, and more. You can also pan for gems for $3, and take photos using the many cutout photo ops. You can be a sunflower, a scarecrow, a rider in a pumpkin carriage, or a cow! There is also a wooden tape measure that your kid can stand in front of that says, "How Tall This Fall 2011". Snap a photo and then come back next year and see how much your child has grown! Or how much grandma has shrunk!
There are also plenty of animals to watch, including a donkey, sheep, cows, and llamas. There are also pony rides and face painting to bring a smile to you and your little one's face.
Adjacent to the main pumpkin patch there is a large corn “maize”. I didn’t enter the maze, but I saw a couple who did and they didn’t come out for about 30 minutes.
There is also a fun tractor-pulled hayride that takes you on a trip around the patch and corn maze. In case it’s hot and sunny, as it unfortunately was on the day we visited, there are umbrellas propped up in the bed of the tractor to block you from the sun’s hot rays.
Last but not least, Joan’s has a snack shack where you can get shaved ice, hot dogs, chips, nachos, cold drinks, and more. Grab your grub and take a seat at one of the picnic tables.
And, of course, don't forget about the pumpkins. There are plenty to choose from and wagons, carts, and wheelbarrows to haul them (and/or your kids) back to the car.
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