LATHROP – Trick-or-treating is so passé.
Well, OK, it’s tradition. And you’re probably not going to pass up the opportunity to get free candy. But over the course of the last two decades, the standard pumpkin patch has been replaced by mega holiday-themed parks that are semi-permanent and completely designed to turn the spirit of the season into something that’ll draw in your family and make it a tradition of its own.
How can you beat a pumpkin maze?
While they’re not the first to come up with the idea, Dell’Osso Farms has grown to become the biggest – growing out from a singular corn maze into a fully-functioning attraction that draws people from the Bay Area and all over the Central Valley once the weather turns. You might as well get in on the fun now that it’s here.
Here are the things worth doing:
• The Corn Maze – It has become the “it” thing for fall fun, but the Dell’Osso Family were among the first to take a simple idea and turn it into something massive. And I mean massive. Multiple sizes make it perfect for different age groups, but the big maze is what draws the big crowds, and unless you’ve got a keen sense for finding your way through rows and rows of stalks, it’s bound to swallow up up – at least for a little while.
• The Pumpkin Blasters – This year, thanks to a miniature pumpkin shortage, they’re the apple blasters. But switching from a vegetable to a fruit doesn’t take the fun out of launching something towards either abandoned cars or pumpkin-shaped targets set up in a firing-range field that have served as a draw for several years. Take aim and let ‘em fly – you aren’t going to find anything else like this anywhere else.
• The Zip Line – Here’s where things get interesting. The entire Dell’Osso Farms setup is geared around the holidays – the fall season and Christmas – but there’s also a hint of theme park in here too. And here’s where it is most evident. Climb up the stairs behind these stacked storage containers, clip your harness onto the line, jump, and let gravity do the rest – feel yourself whisk away over a manmade lake and past the gathered crowds that watch on with envy as you feel a rush that you never thought you’d get from something in your own backyard. Why drive to the Bay Area for the theme park feeling?
• Haunted Castle – What’s Halloween without spooky fun? It’s not for everybody – some children might find the scares to be a little bit too intense – but the overall experience helps tie in with some of the best holiday themes and adds a heart-racing good-time to an afternoon out with the family. If scary movies are your thing and you don’t mind something lurking around the corner, this is what you’re looking for.
• Holiday Food – Want a slice of pumpkin pie? A massive turkey leg? You can get them both at a walk-up stand, and the joint’s General Store offers a wide-arrange of fall eats that are perfect to complement that cold-weather dinner that you’re serving up for the guests that are in from out-of-town. These are the kinds of goodies that people will drive hours for, so it’s not necessarily such a bad thing to have.
Dell’Osso Farms is located at 501 S. Manthey Road. To get there from Manteca take I-5 South to the Manthey Road exit and turn right. The entrance will be on the left. For additional information visit www.pumpkinmaze.com or call 209.982.0833.