The Great Pumpkin Patch Express at Orange Empire Railway Museum
By Megan McClain
All aboard… for The Great Pumpkin Patch Express.
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is a must in our household at Halloween. So I threw on my T-shirt proclaiming "I Got a Rock" and drove down to Perris to the Orange Empire Railway Museum with my eldest and his friend to take a ride on the Great Pumpkin Patch Express. The railway is home to a pumpkin patch through next weekend and on Halloween with plenty of fall fun for kids.
We hopped on board the PEANUTS™-decorated train and rode for 20 minutes before we arrived at our destination – the most authentic pumpkin patch I’ve ever seen. On the train ride, you get a ticket for a free pumpkin, and we saw some whoppers out there while looking for the perfect one. For those of you who are carrying, there were a lot with longer stems, making that part much easier.
As we looked for the perfect pumpkin to carve, Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Lucy came around the corner, greeting children and posing for pictures. There was also the perfect set of cutouts for a family picture.
Hint: Don’t worry, the pumpkin patch isn’t that far from the exit. If you have access to a stroller or wagon, it’s great for carrying pumpkins; otherwise, grab a trusty volunteer or strong Boy Scout to help carry them back to the car.
You can paint and decorate the pumpkins there, waiting for them to dry while dancing along to a fun concert with The Nick and Jen Show or bouncing in the bounce house. There are also temporary tattoos, face painting, tram and tractor hayride, a maze, or cookies for a snack. Vendors are also present. The rest of the museum is open for exploring during the event.
Tickets for the event are $25 for adults and $15 for ages 2-11 and include activities and pumpkin to take home. Tickets include a reservation on the Express to the pumpkin patch, so be sure to get there about a half hour before your reservation. Trains will depart on time.
The non-profit Orange Empire Railway Museum, 2201 S. "A" St., Perris, CA, has been preserving Southern California's railway history since 1956. Home to more than 200 historic railway cars and locomotives from Los Angeles and the West, the museum's 90-acre site in Perris, Calif., is open to the public 363 days a year. Railway trains operate every weekend. Experience a day of family fun exploring the large grounds and riding the trains and trolleys that helped create the Southern California we know today. Check out the calendar for a listing of special events, including steam train operations. www.oerm.org