Our first visit to a pumpkin patch in Hawaii was at Aloun Farms. It was okay, but it's in Kapolei, the hottest place on earth. We cooked a little bit. Last year however, right about the time the owners of Aloun Farms were being charged with human trafficking (the case was dropped, you can buy your pumpkins with a clear conscience), Waimanalo Country Farms started a pumpkin patch. I tagged along with Micah on his school field trip to check it out. When we arrived, there was an apparent lack of pumpkins. Six school groups, hundreds of kids and no pumpkins. I thought that was a little odd, it being a pumpkin patch and all. As we were being whisked away on the hay ride, a tractor came and dumped some pumpkins in a few cleared corn fields. Okay, that's one way to do it. But there were great mountain and ocean views and a cool breeze, so I dragged the family back again this year. If you're used to pumpkin patches on the mainland, you'll note a few Hawaii-fications. For example hot apple cider is replaced with shave ice and pumpkin chunkin' is replaced with a canon that shoots golf balls at pumpkins. Is that an improvement? I can't decide. The farm is a bit disorganized and a little pricey. For example, $3 will get you into the petting zoo, sort of. It gets you to a fence where you can then pay more to feed the animals. It will cost you another $3 if you want to actually enter the area with the animals. But I forgive them (sort of) because they had delicious lemonade in a Mason jar (for $7). And at least the corn was grown there. If you have an open mind and $20-$40+ to spend, go check it out. The kids will love it. Hit the beach afterwards because you'll be nice and dirty. Only open to the public on the weekends for the month of October, find out more here. *2015 Update* Did anyone notice baby Mila's clenched fists of fury? Love that little angry face. Since 2011, there have been some changes in the pumpkin patch world. Aloun farms has turned into a major event with carnival rides and bounce houses. The best part is that you can actually pick pumpkins and sunflowers and a few other things. I think we'll check it out next year instead. There have been minor changes in Waimanalo. The corn maze was replaced by sunflowers, they moved things around a bit and tried to add a bit of rustic charm along with new kid's activities (a.k.a. more ways to take your money). The kids didn't love it so much this year - "Can we just get our pumpkin and go home?" And I leave you with a pumpkin picking technique from Mila. "Knock on it. You have to find the one with the best beat."
Check out the Keiki Monday archives for more oahu activities for kids and don't forget to sign up for the Little Bird Post below to receive monthly updates on Oahu family fun!