I recently had the chance to check out a corn maze to celebrate the fall season. Though there are many options in the San Francisco Bay Area including Arata’s Pumpkin Farm, Spina Farms, Cool Patch Pumpkins, and Three Nunns Farm; I elected to check out Dell’Osso Family Farm over in Lathrop, CA.
Thinking that San Francisco is far from San Jose, Lathrop can seem like forever and a day away, but it’s only about 20-30 minutes more by car. I grabbed a bite to eat in nearby Tracy before continuing to Dell’Osso.
Upon arrival, I was surprised by just how large the property was. The freeway exit dumps right into the parking lot for the family farm, but we had to go multiple entrances before we could enter the parking lot. We did have a long walk to get to the ticket entrance, but at least, unlike other farms I had researched, there wasn’t a fee for parking.
Since I had purchased tickets earlier in the morning, we were able to bypass the in-person ticket purchase line which had maybe 20 people in it at the time.
Tip: buy your ticket in advance online and skip the general admission queue.
With a quick scan of the QR code, we were in—and quickly overwhelmed with where to go/what to do. There are a multitude of activities to do at Dell’Osso Family Farm, many of which are a little obscure as to what they are. For instance, do you know what Pillow Jumping is?
Given that I had come to the farm for the corn maze primarily and secondarily to see pumpkins, we headed to the cornmaze. The corn maze entrance is located in the dead center of the property in away from the main entrance. Essentially, if you enter the property and continue down the main path, taking a slight right to continue down the same direction, you’ll encounter an even longer flat path with the cornmaze at the end.
There are maps located around the property, should you need to redirect yourself. A few people had printed maps that I assume you could ask for.
Eventually we made it to the entrance of the corn maze. This particular year, the cornmaze was broken up into two mazes: Maze 1 and Maze 2. Maze 1 was the larger of the two, though both were a part of the same design.
Here is the maze design for 2022. The pumpkin corn maze depicts Halloween figures including jack-o’-lantern, a witch, ghosts, spiders, tombstones, a moon, a cat, a raven, and a haunted house. At the bottom, you can see the entrance to the cornmaze with two little arrows pointing in.
After going into corn maze 1, we found ourselves on a bridge that gave a nice vantage point of the vastness of the maze. It’s also from this lookout point that you can’t really make out the design of various components of the overall cornmaze design. You can definitely make out different paths, but noticing that you’re walking in a part of a Halloween carved pumpkin isn’t as apparent.
When on the ground, the height of the corn and the thickness of the fields in many places was impressive. In many cases, it felt like I was alone—just myself and corn.
Without taking a photo of the map at the entrance and glancing at it, it is possible to get somewhat lost. That said, the paths are wide enough and it looked like people had created their own paths to the point where the corn maze felt a little easier and less spooky that I thought it would be.
We actually made our way due north from Maze 1 into the bridge on Maze 2. Ideally, these two mazes would have been completely separate, but because of how the design was laid out, there were at least two parts where the two cornmazes were linked together.
One of the things that helped the overall experience was various trivia questions along the way. Trivia questions scattered around the two mazes meant that you would have to go into all the nooks and crannies (dead-ends) to solve the overall puzzle.
Eventually we made it through both mazes. Since admission includes a number of activities, we went to check out the haunted house. After, we got in line to play miniature golf.
Though there are 18 holes, the course is split into 9 holes with parties alternating courses. It’s possible to play all 18 holes, but you need to get in line again and ask the attendant. Though mini golf wasn’t super sophisticated, I had a great time playing and taking up the challenge of getting a hole-in-one.
After getting a fairly close score, we proceeded to the western side of the property where there were pumpkins for sale and pumpkin blasting. The pumpkins were neatly organized and sold by pound. Regular pumpkins, like those above were slightly cheaper per pound compared to some of the fancier and funkier gourds out there.
One of the other activities I wanted to do at Dell’Osso Family Farm was pumpkin blasting. For the uninitiated, pumpkin blasting is taking a small pumpkin or piece of a pumpkin and sending it into the air with some kind of explosive device. In our case, it seemed like the cannon used compressed air.
Pumpkin blasting requires ammo, which was charged based on the number of buckets you wanted. We got one bucket which was filled with apples (some partially rotting). I wish the ammo had been baby pumpkins or that the name of the activity had been apple blasting, but it is what it is.
The apple plops into the cartridge on the side. A plunger is pulled, then the apple is ready to be blasted.
It’s pretty hard to aim with this cannon as the apples are different shapes, sizes, and weights. Getting consistency across shots is something to be desired, but we were able to generally hit around the same area.
Tip: aim for the bell to win a pin.
Pumpkin, or rather, apple blasting was followed by checking out the pigs. There weren’t any pigs racing at the time, since they follow a timed schedule, but we did see a bunch of livestock being fed carrots. After oohs and ahhs, we decided it was time to leave and head back home.
Overall, I had a great time at Dell’Osso Family Farm. There’s so much to see and do, I could easily see bringing kids and letting them have free rein to play and do all the things. This is even the case with just general admission. Aside from paying for food on-property, you probably don’t need to spend extra unless you want to do things like pumpkin blasting or gem mining.
I do wish pumpkin blasting was called apple blasting and that the corn maze was more narrow. One of the things that took me out of the experience was seeing or hearing other people. For a more thrilling experience, I would want to go through a cornmaze at night during Halloween with subtle fog effects and haunt actors around.
Is that too much to ask?
Maybe, but one can dream.