Life on the farm is a fabulous way for children to experience nature and a small town feel. Yasmine’s father-in-law lives in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, so trips back for the annual Johnson Family Reunion include hayrides and sack races alongside pigs, cows, and chickens. For little Angelenos, those experiences can be few and far between, but every fall Soraya and Yasmine pack up the kids and head to Underwood Family Farms for a truly special family tradition.
Underwood Family Farms has two locations; Soraya and Yasmine opt for the one in Moorpark. This place is everything you want it to be. Even the drive out reminds you that Los Angeles was an agricultural center before it became the sprawling city it is today. As you turn off of the 101 and cruise along the Moorpark Freeway, you begin to decompress and slow down.
Once you step foot into Underwood Family Farms, the magic begins. They have created fantastic farm-themed play areas, and don’t let the word theme scare you—they did it right. As your kid cruises around on a wee size John Deere tractor, goats teeter above on special goat walks! Underwood’s Fall Harvest Festival is happening now, so in addition to the year-round Family Animal Center, Farm Market, and little kids’ “cow” train, your children can get lost in the corn maze, climb the hay pyramids or (hopefully) let you take some timeless pictures of them in the giant pumpkin patch from now through October 31.
Underwood might be news to you if you are a first time mama, but lots of L.A. parents have become hip to this tradition, so let’s talk strategy. If you can pull off a weekday trip, you will avoid some serious weekend crowds. If the weekend is your only option, go early. If you have young kids, be sure to get there early enough to snag a wagon. This will save you from carrying tired toddlers once they tucker out. This place is big! It will also give you a place to stash your diaper bag and harvest pumpkins. There are lots of on-site food options during the festival, but if you want to pack your own picnic, bring along a blanket. Last, note that Underwood is a working farm without public bathrooms, just port-a-potties, so factor a pitstop into your drive over.
Oh, and if you haven’t completely exhausted yourselves, the Reagan Library is nearby. Even with the government shutdown, the (still open) Air Force One Pavilion is still a perfect post-stop for the tiny aviator in your brood.
With seven children ranging in age from eleven months to sixteen years between them, sisters and bloggers Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Soraya Delawari Dancsecs are experts at parenting in L.A. They take a break from PTA board meetings, cooking, and producing films to blog at CityThink each Thursday.