Where to go for Pumpkins and Fun
By Matt Kite
If you’re a Tacoma parent or merely a kid at heart, October can only mean one thing: Halloween. And one of Halloween’s time-honored traditions is a visit to the pumpkin patch.
Though a city of 200,000-plus, Tacoma is rural on its fringes. Bucolic communities nearby offer plenty of opportunities to visit a pumpkin patch. And the city itself hides a few surprises, too.
Prime pumpkin hunting, of course, is best done in late September and early October. But even if you’ve waited until the last minute to find a jack-o’-lantern, it’s worth making a quick visit to the patch nearest you. Even if the pumpkins have been picked over, there’s still plenty of fun to be had.
Below is a quick sampling of pumpkin-flavored haunts in or near Tacoma. For prices, availability and directions, be sure to click on the link of each location.
Formerly known as Richen Farms, Double R Farms sits just off River Road, between Tacoma and Puyallup. According to their website, theirs is “the largest selection of pumpkins in the valley.” Visitors have at their disposal not one but three pumpkin slingshots. If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, a five-acre corn maze awaits your exploration. Weekend visitors can go on a free tractor-pulled hayride, too.
Lurking on the old Sumner-Buckley Highway near the town of Buckley is the mother of all pumpkin patches. Maris Farms features more amenities and events than we can list. But some of the more exotic ones include zip lines, a speleo cave and human foosball. On weekends, the fun extends to paintball safari rides, a mechanical bull and a “destruction zone.” And on Halloween night, things get spooky with a flashlight maze. If you just want to hunt for the perfect pumpkin, there are still plenty to choose from. But the corn maze and haunted woods, among other attractions, also beckon.
Located just off River Road in Puyallup, Picha Farms is open from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekends. Bring a grubby pair of boots or shoes so you can wander the fields in search of the ultimate pumpkin. Other activities include hay rides, a corn maze and a pumpkin slingshot. If it’s chilly, you can warm yourself with hot apple cider or a latte, among other toasty beverages (weekends only).
This fourth-generation working farm in Puyallup offers a full selection of produce, plants and flowers at its onsite store. Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., it also features a corn maze and pumpkin patch. Looking for nursery stock, jams, salsa, sauerkraut or farm-fresh produce? Consider this your one-stop shopping experience.
Spooner Farms in nearby Puyallup has been hosting the Annual Harvest Festival for 22 years running. Visitors can tour the corn maze, send pumpkins flying from a giant slingshot and sample from 49 varieties of pumpkins, gourds, squash and ornamental corn seven days a week, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Be sure to visit Becky’s animal barn and the gift shop. Face painting, concessions and roasted corn are available weekends only.
Looking for something different? The Tacoma Glassblowing Studio is taking its glass pumpkin patches on the road. Displays will be set up for one-day-only events in several cities, including Gig Harbor, Puyallup and Tacoma. The glass pumpkins on hand will vary in size, shape and color. Each one promises to be a unique piece of artwork. McLendon Hardware on Pearl Street will host the Tacoma pumpkin patch on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tacoma Glassblowing Studio, meanwhile, displays a collection of glass pumpkins year-round in its gallery.
If you prefer your pumpkin patches on a much smaller scale and don’t want to leave Tacoma, the conservatory at Wright Park is featuring “fanciful exhibition mums and a plethora of pumpkins” inside the conservatory’s cozy confines. Alas, the pumpkins aren’t for sale, but they make for a perfect photo op for you and your family.
Long-time residents still remember Terry’s Berries, which was recently purchased by the Green family and renamed. Located on River Road just east of Tacoma, Wild Hare Organic Farm is your year-round stop for seasonal fruits and vegetables. The farm’s charming pumpkin patch, alas, has more mud than pumpkins at this point, but you can still decorate your home with winter squash and colorful gourds, all of which are still in ample supply.
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