Every October, prudent citizens head to pumpkin patches to secure a suitable replacement head should they happen to catch autumn's trendiest disease, sleepy hollowism. Carve the perfect likeness with today's deal: for $7, you get admission for two to the pumpkin patch at MacDonald's Ranch (a $14 value). The working horse ranch in north Scottsdale lies in the serene Sonoran Desert and was named Best Place to See the State Bird in 2002.
Unlike a pumpkin-picking excursion to the local supermarket, a trip to Macdonald Ranch's pumpkin patch provides entertainment for the whole family and never has a costumed scarecrow in the parking lot yelling Chamillionaire lyrics. The journey begins with a horse- or mule-drawn hayride to the pumpkin patch, or little ones can choose to ride a pony. Once inside the purview of the pumpkinkind, visitors can pick an orange gourd, which range in size from smallish to largish ($3–$12), before participating in a variety of other activities. Hop along in a sack race, challenge a horse to a game of horseshoe tossing, visit the petting zoo, or wander about the hay maze looking for the mythical haynotaur. Visit the online photo-patch for a preview of the family-friendly activities or to catch a glimpse of the local fauna. When visiting in real life, purchase some nachos and a hot dog from the snack bar, bring some sack lunches and enjoy an outdoorsy meal at one of its picnic tables, or join the raw-foods movement by devouring a pumpkin in front of its horrified pumpkin-patch family.
The Phoenix New Times named MacDonald's Ranch the best place to see the state bird in 2002.
- …what makes MacDonald's Ranch special isn't what it has, it's what it doesn't have. You won't find any mechanical farm equipment here, because the ranch still operates with true "horsepower." That's just cool. – Phoenix New Times
There's something timeless about MacDonald's Ranch. Maybe it's that visitors can take a guided horseback ride through the desert, pose for an old-time photo, or ride a stagecoach—which in certain cases, might be held up by actors dressed as outlaws. But whatever the reason guests dock their zeppelin at MacDonald's Ranch, the staff hopes to treat them to a fun ranch experience. They surround them with music, cowboy shows, and seasonal attractions such as the annual pumpkin festival.
MacDonald's Ranch covers 1,300 acres of the scenic Sonoran Desert. Whether on horseback, train, or a hayride, guests can explore the area and view its desert flora, hawks, petrified spurs, and coyotes.