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Snow & ice at 22 feet in the 209
Snow hill.jpg
The snow tubing is under a roof protecting you from the elements at Dell’Osso Family Farm.

Considering a day trip to the snow to get some snow tubing play time?

Get ready for at least a two hour drive. Once there you’ll need a safe place to park your car. You’d better carry chains that will run about $200 unless you already have them.

Clothes could get wet so you’d better carry extras. Best take extra food and water just in case you get stuck.

You may have to hike a bit to find an appropriate hill to slide down. Remember to keep you guard up as you have no idea what’s lurking beneath the snow whether it’s rocks, trees or an air pocket.

Perhaps you will get in about two dozen runs before the kids get cold and cranky. Then you have to pile into the car and head home for a couple more hours on the road.

There’s got to be an easier way to have a couple hours of winter fun and build memories.

There is. All you need to do is head out to the farm.

The Dell’Osso Family Holidays on the Farm opens today for its ninth season and is in operation through Jan. 6. It is not at 6,000 feet accessed by a curvy mountain road. It is at the 22-foot elevation in Lathrop just off Interstate 5. 

There is snow tubing, ice skating, zip lines, the Dell’Osso Express Train, giant super slide, ball throw arena, pony rides, petting zoo, country store bakery that’s new this year featuring fresh apple spice and cherry doughnuts among other goodies, fire pits for making s’mores,  Christmas shopping and photos with Santa. There are even free attractions such as pedal cars and the tire pyramid.

There is no general admission charge as tickets are sold for each attraction you want to access. The only online tickets are for the snow tubing given the demand as the 90-minute sessions can sell out fast. Parking is free. There is also a food court although guests are welcome to bring their own food.

Magical Lights on the Farm displays can be seen either via a train ride for $4 a person or an open air hay ride for $6 per person.

Guests in the rides are supplied blankets to help bundle against the cool weather. More than a few have been known to bring hot chocolate with them while on the rides.

The Lights on the Farm is in operation nightly except Christmas Day and Christmas Eve from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The time on Sunday, Dec. 23,  is extended for an additional hour to 10 p.m.

Snow tubing is $21 per 90-minute session for all ages. Sessions start times on Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16, are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. while on Sunday, start times Monday, Dec. 17 through Thursday, Dec. 20, are at 5 and 7 p.m., Friday-Sunday on Dec. 21-23 they are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Then from Wednesday, Dec. 25, through Sunday, Jan. 6, start times are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Due to high demand buying tickets in advance online is highly recommended.

Given there is an escalator and sessions are capped you can easily get in 15 runs if not more. Also this weekend — but especially this coming Monday and Thursday evenings — locals can take advantage of light crowds by easily squeezing in more rubs. For available times and to buy tickets go to

Ice skating starts at 10 a.m. today and Sunday. It then moves to a noon start time Monday through Thursday from Dec. 17-20 then switches back to a 10 a.m. stay through Jan. 6 except for Christmas Day when the farm is closed.

Monday through Thursday ice skating is $12 for those 8 and older and $10 for those 7 and under. All rates include skates. Stroller skating is available during the first two hours of Monday through Thursday sessions for $10. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday rates are $14 for those 8 and under and $12 for those 7 and under. Those with their own skates can skate for $2 less than the posted prices.

There is no time limit but once you leave the ice rink area you do not have return privileges.

Group skating lessons are available — 30 minutes instruction and 30 minutes  supervised practice - at $20 per person with a 15 maximum on Sundays Dec. 16 and Dec. 23. Private lessons are $45 per 30 minutes and can be arranged by calling Cynthia at 510-427-5915.

Zip lines are available for $8 a ride of $12 for two rides for the same person.

Pony rides are $7, the petting zoo is $2 while $5 gets any age an unlimited use wrist band for the ball toss area, giant slide, and spinning pumpkins.

One of the neatest things about Holidays on the Farm is the fire pits where you can not only warm yourself but can make s’mores.

The Country Store Bakery with its fresh doughnuts made on site and other treats is worth the trip to Dell’Osso Farms even if you don’t do anything else. The Santa is top drawer with photos, if you opt to have them taken, professional quality at $8 each. Santa’s last day on the farm is Dec. 24.