By DENNIS WYATT
Considering a day trip to the snow to get some snow tubing play time?
Get ready for at least a two hour drive. Once there you'll need a safe place to park your car. You'd better carry chains that will run about $200 unless you already have them.
Clothes could get wet so you'd better carry extras. Best take extra food and water just in case you get stuck.
You may have to hike a bit to find an appropriate hill to slide down. Remember to keep your guard up as you have no idea what’s lurking beneath the snow whether it's rocks, trees or an air pocket.
Perhaps you will get in about two dozen runs before the kids get cold and cranky. Then you have to pile into the car and head home for a couple more hours on the road.
There’s got to be an easier way to have a couple hours of winter fun and build memories.
There is. All you need to do is head out to the farm.
The Dell’Osso Family Holidays on the Farm is open for its eighth season and is in operation through Jan. 6. It’s not at 6,000 feet accessed by a curvy mountain road. It is at the 22-foot elevation in Lathrop just off Interstate 5.
There is snow tubing, ice skating, zip lines, the Dell’Osso Express Train, rollercoaster, giant super slide, ball throw arena, pony rides, petting zoo, country store bakery, Christmas shopping and photos with Santa. There are even free attractions such as peddle cares and the tire pyramid.
There is no general admission charge as tickets are sold for each attraction you want to access. The only online tickets are for the snow tubing given the demand as the 90-minute sessions can sell out fast. Parking is free. There is also a good court although guests are welcome to bring their own food.
The big change this year is Lights on the Farm. Spacing problems between displays has caused issues in recent years due to inclement weather. The option of driving through in your own vehicle has been eliminated. Instead you will have the option of the train ride for $3.50 a person or an open air hay ride for $5 per person.
‘’We’ve bought what seems like a million blankets,” Susan Dell'Osso said.
Guests in the rides are supplied blankets to help bundle against the cool weather.
The Lights on the Farm is in operation nightly except Christmas from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Snow tubing is $20 per 90-minute session for all ages. Sessions are 5 to 7 p.m. through Thursday, Dec. 21 then start all day and evening sessions on Friday, Dec. 22, through Jan. 6 (except Christmas Day) during the two weeks area schools are out of session.
Given there is an escalator and sessions are capped you can easily get in 15 runs if not more. For available times and to buy tickets go to holidaysonthefarm.com/snow-tubing-2/
Ice skating is from noon to 9 p.m. through Thursday, Dec. 21 before going to 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday-Saturday, Dec. 22-23, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Ice skating after Christmas is 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily except for New Year’s Eve when it is 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and New Year’s Day when it is 1 to 9 p.m.
Monday through Thursday ice skating is $12 for those 8 and older and $10 for those 7 and under. All rates include skates. Stroller skating is available during the first two hours of Monday through Thursday sessions for $10. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday rates are $12 for those 8 and under and $10 for those 7 and under. Those with their own skates can skate for $2.
One of the neatest things about Holidays on the Farm is the fire pits where you can not only warm yourself but can make s'mores.
The Country Store is worth the trip to Dell’Osso Farms even if you don’t do anything else. The Santa is top drawer with photos, if you opt to have them taken, professional quality at $7 each.
The store is loaded with local crafts, desserts, jams, and more.
There are pies by the slice, white chocolate themed lollipops, cupcakes, brownies, shortbread cake, caramel apples, Tiger Butter (white chocolate and peanut butter) and more.
My favorite by far is the fudge. The Country Store offers 15 different flavors.