Without the abundance of seasonal decor that seems to pop up in store windows six weeks too early, it is easy to forget that seasons change in Los Angeles. Fortunately, about 45 minutes from Los Angeles sits a veritable altar to the glories of fall: the Underwood Family Farms Fall Harvest Festival. Pumpkins, cider, roasted corn, hay rides, kids running around with faces smeared by the remnants of Mr. Softee–what could be a better way to spend a day together as a family?
Let’s discuss the many pros:
- Admission: typically $15-20 on weekends, cheaper on weekdays. I know, you’re thinking, “that’s not a pro!” But here is the key: kids under 2 are FREE. And kids under 2 LOVE this festival. We have been taking the little V every year and she now talks about it for weeks afterward.
- Activities: You can easily spend a few hours here (it opens at 9) before nap time or the whole day if you lucky parents can get your little one to sleep in a carrier or stroller. Besides the typical fall festival games like the corn cannon and corn maze, Underwood Family Farms also offers a petting zoo, tons of room to run and play, an amazing playground with a pumpkin house, tractors to climb and slide down, and pony rides. This year, we also noticed a bean pit, which is essentially sandbox filled with beans and toys instead of sand. Genius.
3. Animal Education: Underwood Family Farms offers a farm camp and educational activities for school kids, but even the littlest littles can learn more about the animals at the farm. At the petting zoo, they teach you how to pet and brush the bunnies, goats and sheep. You can even feed the baby ducks and goats. There is a live animal show as well, and all around the farm are signs with information about the different animals. Their ponies for the pony rides are very well-attended and appear happy and healthy. Beware the cuteness overload.
4. Pick your own: Despite the traditional pumpkin patch with the friendly scarecrows, Underwood does have seasonal you-pick options. You ride on a truck to the fields with your containers and as usual pay for what you take. If you prefer the pre-picked variety (much less sunburn and thorns), you can buy their delicious produce at two farm stands. Prices are much more reasonable than Los Angeles–we bought an entire flat of strawberries for $15. At our local farmer’s market, prices range from $5-8 a mere pint. Highway robbery.
5. A time of giving: Underwood helps raise a great deal of money each year (last year it was over $100,000) for local organizations. This year, several emergency responders from local communities gave away “little deputy” stickers, made ID badges, and even allow kids to climb into real fire trucks and SWAT vans. They also have a Harvest Giveback Fundraiser. For the first two weeks of the festival, Underwood Farms donates $3/paying customer to the school, and gives a $2/person discount.
6. Pig races: Have you ever seen a pig race? You need to, immediately. Nothing will make your kid smile more quickly.
7. Infant/toddler friendly facilities: There is a nursing mother’s room and baby changing area in the playground by the front entrance.
1. You do have to pay extra for a lot of the activities like the petting zoo and bouncy house shaped like a cow. We paid $20 for 23 tickets, but honestly we did not use all of our tickets before we left for the day.
2. It can get crowded, especially on the weekends closer to the end of the festival.
3. Moorpark is farther inland than LA, so bring extra sunscreen.
4. Port a potties.
Nitty gritty details:
At the farm stand, they sell farm-related toys, seasonal children’s books, seasonal decor, and their delicious fresh produce.
The Underwood Family Farms Fall Harvest Festival runs from 9/30-10/31. Hours are 9 am-6 pm.
Address: 3370 Sunset Valley Road
Moorpark, CA 93021
Where do you take your family to enjoy the changing seasons?