Pumpkin playtime: County farms pump up the fun

By Erin Middlewood, Columbian special projects reporter

Published:

 

Sure, you can pick up carving pumpkins at the grocery store. But when was the last time you saw hay rides or corn mazes or petting zoos there?

Four farms in Clark County have carved out a niche for themselves at pumpkin time by offering a variety of activities to round out a fun family outing.

Here’s what you’ll find at each.

Busy Bi-Zi

Bi-Zi Farms is probably the busiest Clark County farm in October. In addition to families trekking through the fields on weekends, the farm offers school tours during the week. Attractions include hay rides, a corn maze, a petting zoo, duck races, a straw bale maze and pyramid and live music. But the pumpkin launch is what really sets it apart among the Clark County options. Admission gives you two flings.

When: Every weekend in October; 2-5:30 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The corn maze remains open 6-9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Where: Bi-Zi Farms, 9504 N.E. 119th St., Vancouver.

Admission: $8, free for children 2 and younger. Admission includes a pumpkin of any size and a hot drink. While children 2 and younger receive free admission, they do not receive a free pumpkin.

Admission is $5 for the night-time corn maze Fridays and Saturdays.

Telephone: 360-574-9119.

On the Web:bizifarms.com.

City farm

You can pick a farm pumpkin without leaving the city at Joe’s Place in Vancouver. It doesn’t cost to get in, and you can stop at the farm store for other fruits and veggies. Hay rides are $1, as is a try at the hay-bale fort maze. Expect a crowd. On October weekends, as many as 2,000 people visit the farm a day.

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Hay rides are offered only on the weekend.

Where: 701 N.E. 112th Ave., Vancouver.

Admission: Free, but pumpkins, hay rides and the maze cost extra.

Telephone: 360-892-3974.

Pumpkin people

Pomeroy Living History Farm in Yacolt offers a mile-long hay ride through Pumpkin Lane, which is lined by pumpkin-headed scarecrows. “We call them pumpkin people, instead of scarecrows, because we don’t do scary,” said Bob Brink, director of the nonprofit educational farm. The trip ends at the pumpkin patch, where visitors can pick out a gourd. Other attractions include a hay-bale maze, petting zoo, children’s games, scarecrow-making and food at the farm’s cafe. The farm draws as many as 1,000 a day on October weekends, but Brink said Saturday mornings tend to be a little less busy.

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays in October.

Where: Pomeroy Living History Farm, 20902 N.E. Lucia Falls Road, Yacolt.

Admission: $5, $4 for children 3-11. Admission includes a hay ride.

Pumpkins are not included in admission.

Telephone: 360-686-3537.

On the Web: pomeroyfarm.org.

Frightland

La Center Farms is fairly new to the pumpkin game. “We’ve only been doing it for three years,” owner Steve Boynton said. “We’re still working things out.” He admits the farm doesn’t draw near the numbers that the other farms do — maybe 80 visitors a day compared to the thousands at the other spots — but that might be just right for those who find crowds to be a little too frightening. Kids can’t get stuck in the tree maze, which is set off by ropes they can duck under. A potato gun fulfills the urge to propel produce. The last two weekends of October, the farm will introduce a scarier element: Nightmare Theater in the barn, which features a 15-minute play about a witch looking to land a man, and the Haunted Woods walk. Each costs $2.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October. The Haunted Woods walk and Nightmare Theater are open from 7-10 p.m. Oct. 22, 23, 29, 30.

Where: 31215 N.E. 40th Ave., La Center.

Admission: Free. Haunted Woods and Nightmare Theater, $2. Pumpkins are extra as well.

Telephone: 360-573-8965.