Between carefully placing snow chains on car tires and navigating twisty, icy roads, taking a trip to the snow-capped Sierra Nevada during the holidays can be quite the hassle. Luckily for 209 residents, Dell’Osso Family Farm in Lathrop brings the snow to the Central Valley during the colder months with their Holidays on the Farm attraction, giving visitors the opportunity to experience a winter wonderland just yards above sea level.
Twenty years ago, the excitement at Dell’Osso began with a corn maze during Halloween time. As the years went on, more features were added, including a haunted house, pumpkin blasting and more, turning the farm into one of the top fall attractions in the area. Then, one night in April 2009, a dinner conversation sparked the idea to create a Christmas-themed event at Dell’Osso.
“We were sitting around talking and thought, ‘Why don’t we do something for Christmas this year?’” said Dell’Osso Marketing Director Yvonne Sampson. “By November, that discussion turned into us having full erected the Snow Mountain.”
Snow Mountain is just one of many ways visitors can experience a snow-filled winter in the 209. Thanks to Dell’Osso’s snow machines, man-made, fluffy snow is sprayed over the massive hill in order to create separate tubing lanes for those who enjoy a speedy ride, and an under coil system beneath the lanes keeps the snow ice cold and ready for tubers. Snow Mountain also has an escalator that takes both the rider and their tube to the top of the hill, where they are assisted by a tube handler before they make their way down the steep mountain.
“It’s a delight for people of all ages,” said Sampson. “It’s a great first-time snow tubing experience.”
Tubing sessions are 90 minutes long, and it is recommended that visitors reserve their tickets online ahead of time, as they often sell out. Although tubing is open to riders of all ages, to ride alone, children must be at least 42 inches tall. Children between 36 and 42 inches tall may ride with an adult on a double tube, as long as they can reach both handles.
Along with exciting tube rides, visitors to Holidays on the Farm can also try their hand at ice skating. The farm’s outdoor ice skating rink was added just a year after Snow Mountain was constructed and caters to skaters of all sizes, said Sampson, from toddlers to “big foot.” Ice skating is available on a first come, first serve basis.
In addition to blowing snow over Snow Mountain, Dell’Osso also shoots the snow into the air, creating a realistic snow experience for visitors. Children and adults alike can make snowballs, snowmen and snow angels, even under the glare of the Valley sun.
“We say we’re the closest thing to snow in the Valley,” said Sampson. “When you think of the picture of Christmas time, you think about snow and the country. It’s a magical time of the year, and we try to recreate that.”
Holidays on the Farm also features a magical path of lights, complete with a 200 foot long light tunnel, known as Lights on the Farm. Visitors can drive through the trail in their own car, or enjoy the show from the comfort of a cozy hay bale on the farm’s hayride. Caroling is often encouraged during this festive activity — drivers can tune in to a radio station playing holiday hits — and blankets are recommended for those who choose to take the hayride.
“The light show is really loved by so many people and it really gets you into the holiday spirit,” said Sampson.
Dell’Osso is also home to The Country Store, where during the holidays visitors can find a great Christmas shopping selection and take photos with Santa Claus. The store’s bakery provides a delicious selection of holiday treats like fudge, cookies and fresh-baked pies. Tickets for the Dell’Osso Express Train may be purchased inside The Country Store as well. Other Dell’Osso attractions that remain open during Holidays on the Farm include the zipline, petting zoo, rollercoaster and much more.
Holidays on the Farm is open from Dec. 17 to Jan. 7. For more information on pricing or to purchase tickets, visitwww.holidaysonthefarm.com
“We’re about creating memories that last long after you leave our farm,” said Sampson. “People come happy, but leave even happier than when they came.”