By DENNIS WYATT
Dell’Osso Farms is arguably the happiest place in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
Between 30 acres of corn and an old-fashioned creativity reflected in scarecrows to blasting mini-pumpkins at 90 mph Ron and Susan Dell’Osso have created the perfect antidote to the malaise sweeping our culture that the only way to have fun is via high-tech or the thrills and spills of spectator sports.
It is evident in the faces of little and big kids alike that imagination, friends, and family brought together in a low-tech environment are a winning combination.
The outdoor event features everything from a massive corn maze, zip lines, haunted house and giant human-master style pumpkin ball races to a pumpkin patch. The farm at Manthey Road off Interstate 5 between the 120 Bypass and Interstate 205 interchanges opens daily at 10 a.m. with the last entry at 8 p.m. Attractions start closing at 9 p.m. The farm is open daily through Oct. 31.
Last year, 150,000 people made their way to Dell’Osso Farms just south of the Mossdale Crossing of the San Joaquin River. The closer you get to Halloween, the bigger the crowds.
That’s why South County residents who want to avoid the lines that can get pretty long – especially at the pumpkin blasters, scarecrow rides, the Dell’Osso Express train ride, and even the haunted house —can opt for a weeknight or weekday if they want to avoid the throngs on weekends.
It seems a bit corny – pun intended – but the most fun is probably the 30-acre corn mazes. Sure, the pumpkin blasters and zip lines are a blast, but there is something about wandering through a maze trying to find your way out with friends and family that just can’t be topped.
How else do you explain laughter and smiles from simply walking around in what when all is said and down is simply a bunch of corn stalks? Try to have as much lively entertainment from simply talking and walking for roughly the same price as a trip to the movies.
Exploring the mazes at night by moonlight or flashlight adds an entirely different dimension.
The zip lines are a big hit with parents camcording their kids and spouses as they sail through the air.
At $8 for a single rider and $12 for two rides it is a lot cheaper than having to pay to go on a cruise to experience the sensation. Those 18 and under will need a signed waiver from their parents.
There is also a country store with pies, crafts, and more. Food and drink are available.
And what would a trip be to the Pumpkin Maze without lugging home your own pumpkin? All shapes and sizes can be purchased at the Dell’Osso Farms pumpkin patch.
Ron and Susan Dell’Osso have literally created a low-tech amusement venue that works and is something you can’t find anywhere else. That just doesn’t refer to all the stuff that is in one place but it is the only place in the world that grows its own ammo or even has a pumpkin blaster target range.
General admission includes unlimited access to the corn maze, haunted castle, the scarecrow ride with an international theme this year, Dell’Osso Express Train, hay ride, mystery tour, giant pumpkin ball races, tire pyramid, Dell’Osso Speedway pedal cars, petting zoo, ball shoot arena, lawn games, walking the plank, super slide, kiddie play land, kiddie Ferris wheel, kiddie coaster, kiddie swings, spinning pumpkins, pillow jumping, and children’s interactive critter.
The general admission also includes two new features — an entertainment stage aimed at delighting kids and pig races.
The attractions that have separate prices is the gem mining for $6, pumpkin blasters for $6, zip lines for $8 to $12, pony rides for $6, and pumpkin painting for $5. Food, merchandize, pumpkins and season gifts are available for purchase and not included in the general admission. Parking is free.
General admission tickets are $13.95 per person Monday through Thursday and $17.95 per person Friday through Sunday. Early bid entry before 2 p.m. on Monday through Friday is $10.95 per person. Children 2 years old and under are free. All tickets are sold only on the premises.
209 Info Box
WHAT: The 21st annual Dell’Osso Family Farm Pumpkin Maze
WHERE: Manthey Road at Interstate 5 in Lathrop
WHEN: Daily through Tuesday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last entry) with attractions starting to close at 9 p.m.
ADMISSION: General admission tickets are $13.95 per person Monday through Thursday and $17.95 per person Friday through Sunday. Early bid entry before 2 p.m. on Monday through Friday is $10.95 per person. Children 2 years old and under are free. All tickets are sold only on the premises.
MORE INFO: Go to www.pumpkinmaze.com or call Yvonne at 209.969.6048