Update: October 19, 2017
Weekend visitors are now required to obtain a free parking pass thru the Tanaka Farms website in order to park at the farm. Please note this is only for Saturday and Sunday visitors only. As we stated at the end of our original post, it makes sense to drop in during the week. Final entry is at 5:30, and they close at 6 p.m. daily.
Original Post: September 29, 2017
Pochacco, My Melody, Chococat, Keroppi, and Hello Kitty have arrived at Irvine's Tanaka Farms. Their year-long visit kicks off pumpkin season starting today, and we paid them a visit to give you the photo ops and details you're wanting to know about. If you're lucky enough to head out there today, here's what you can expect. Note: we are not advocating skipping class for this (*cough* *cough*).
Entrance is only $3 (ages 2 and under are free), and includes access to all photo ops, the corn maze, and a big 'ol pumpkin patch. There's also a petting zoo, featuring sheep, goats and an alpaca for an additional $3. They've got a special $10 package that includes entry, the zoo, plus a wagon ride around the 30 acre farm. This can only be purchased when you first arrive at the patch, so go for it if you're not in a rush. If you want to get some farm fresh produce, their U-Pick Veggie Garden allows visitors to stock up for $2.99 per pound.
Every weekend in October they'll be holding a Fall Harvest Festival. Additional activities, ATV rides and kid-friendly games will be available. This weekend in particular, they're offering free wagon rides with paid admission. Bonus: We also hear Keroppi and Hello Kitty will be there on Saturday afternoon.
Look out for the pumpkin cannon and save your squash selection for the end, as you'll be lugging it around otherwise. We scored a silvery blue Jarrahdale pumpkin for our front door. They've also got an even bigger Halloween event scheduled for Saturday the 28th, complete with costume competition and a special appearance by Hello Kitty! Be sure to check out their specially branded Sanrio shirts, plush and pins by the produce stand, only being sold at Tanaka.
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Open every single day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Halloween, chances are opening weekend . . .heck, all weekends in general will be crazy busy. Trust us when we say a weekday morning or early afternoon will be less stressful. Parents that are looking for an educational visit should keep an eye out for future Tanaka Farms programming, as they'll also be incorporating the Sanrio experience into upcoming workshops.
If you're on social media, be sure to hashtag #sanrioxtanakafarms. Those on Snapchat can check out the super kawaii filter they've set up for the season. See you on the farm!
(If you happen to be at tonight's Decadence event at Hotel Irvine, we might have some limited edition Sanrio swag to give away if you say hi to us. Just sayin'.)
Tanaka Farms is at 5380 3/4 University Dr in Irvine, (949) 653-2100; www.tanakafarms.com.