In 1849, George Washington Patterson came west to strike it rich in gold. Instead, he found fortunes awaiting him in the golden fields of Alameda County.
Ardenwood is a historic farm set in the 19th century with a beautiful mansion and elaborate Victorian Gardens. It's also a working farm, so kids can come and with seasonally changing activities. Be sure to check out their Fall and Christmas programs.
The park features from the website include:
- Arden Station and Deer Park Station: Board the horse-drawn train here. The ride takes kids more than 100 years back in time on a ride into the park with docents dressed in period costumes. For information, visit the Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources (SPCRR) website.
- Victorian Garden: The garden area looks much like it did near the turn of the 20th century.
- Patterson House: Home to three generations of the Patterson family. It began as George Patterson's bachelor farmhouse built in 1857. The house was expanded with a Queen Anne addition in 1889 as the family, the farm, and their place in East Bay society grew.
- Animal Farms: At Ardenwood, you will see sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, goats, and cows.
- Blacksmith Shop and Equipment Shed: The blacksmith fires up the forge. Look for vintage equipment, farm animals, and farmcraft demonstrations in the shed. For information, visit Ardenwood Forge website.
My kids are too little to appreciate the historical aspects of this farm, but they love the animals and the train. There are peacocks and chickens running around the gardens and goats and horses, too. The train ride was particularly awesome. The folks that work here are really terrific - they truly love this place and love to talk to visitors about it.
This historic farm is preserved in great condition and attracts history lovers and kids as well. If you are interested into agriculture, history, nature, trains or just simple plain outdoors, you will love this. Board the train and ride around the majestic eucalyptuses. Then admire the old tractors and wonderfully preserved farming building. Pet the goats and see the huge turkeys.
The house is also great, but indoor tours are not available for kids under six and you can't bring any food or drinks inside.
I have a 3.5 yr old and 1.5 yr and they both love visiting this farm. Children will have the opportunity to ride a train, tour the Patterson mansion and see all kinds of farm animals including sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, goats, cows and much more! During the summer, each week during toddler time, a different farm animal is featured. Throughout the year, there are fun activities for the whole family including Harvest Festival in October and Independence Day festival in July. For more info, please visit their website: http://ebparks.com/parks/ardenwood.
Ardenwood's Harvest Festival in October is an annual must for our family. My 4 year old son has enjoyed it every year, and I think he'll enjoy it a little more each year as he grows older and can participate in more of the activities offered. There are train rides, homemade ice cream samples, corn husk dolls to make, tractors to see, corn to shuck and animals to watch. Choosing our pumpkins at the pumpkin patch is a family tradition, so we were disappointed that there was no pumpkin patch in 2008, and are hoping it will be back in 2009. The Harvest Festival is already on our October calendar and we are looking forward to it.
We attend many of the events they have and I've never been disappointed. Check out their website...Firetruck Day is great. They also have farm animals you can feed and a wagon train ride. It's a beautiful setting to walk around and picnic. They also have a Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in October that is fun too.
We happened to go to Ardenwood on a free day, and we were very happy we did so. It is a nice place to walk around and see the sights and maybe smaller kids wouldn't realize there wasn't that much to see, but my kids are 4-9 and besides taking the train and walking around once, we were pretty much done. I might suggest people go once if they haven't been there, but I don't see myself going over and over.
It is nice to go back in time in the middle of the agitation of the cities surrounding this nice little park. There is always something happening: little train pushed by the horse, the feeding of the animals, the blacksmiths, the visit of the main Home (especially worth it at Christmas Time) and all the special events held all year long. One of our family favorite places to go!
It's educational and fun. I take my Kindergarten class to Ardenwood every year in October (except October '08, they were closed). They take us in a wagon ride through the fields and teach the kids about organic farming. Great educational activity and fun. There is also an old horse drawn train you can ride on and there are farm animals to view. You can buy produce and the kids can obtain a horse shoe (occassionally with their names engraved on them) at the working blacksmith shed.
Cute farm. You can see how life looked like a hundred years ago in the Bay Area. They also have activities for kids and adults like animal feedings and tours. We went last weekend to see the Monarch butterflies (MB). It was a nice tour for our 6 y/o because they talked about the MB and showed them high up in the trees. But they were very difficult to see (they look like dead leaves from below) so it was not very exciting for our 2.5 y/o. I hear they have rides in the spring summer and a pumpkin patch in the fall. We will check them out again.