In the middle of Oakland's Uptown neighborhood, a pumpkin patch-slash-amusement park has popped up for the Halloween season. Speer Family Farms has installed an activity-filled pumpkin patch in the East Bay for years, and this year is no different.
Ok, it is different. With separate gates for entering and exiting, a temperature scan upon entry, hand-washing stations outside the inflatable area, and masks required, Speer Family Farms is giving us a taste of what to expect as family destinations reopen.
My son and I went on a Friday evening, before sundown, and had no trouble parking at a metered space on William Street, on the backside of the patch.
There is no charge for admission. Pay only for pumpkins and activities. A $20 wristband allows access to giant inflatable slides and the giant Zorb balls. Small plastic climbers around the edges of the lot do not require a wristband.
Advanced tickets are required for weekend visits. (Add pumpkin shooting and pumpkin painting for extra fees.)
A large hay bale structure in the center of the lot invites little climbers to enter and offers an ideal setting for a DIY seasonal photo shoot.
Visit Speer Family Farms at 1911 Telegraph Avenue from 10 am to 9 pm seven days a week.
Looking for a day trip? See our guide to Pumpkin Patches around the Bay Area.
[Photos by Julian Currier except where noted. All rights reserved.]