When my family arrived at Happy Day Farm in Manalapan, I knew we had come to the right place—this 130-acre farm is filled with farm activities for every age. From climbing onto one of their tractor rides and feeding the animals to getting lost in the giant corn maze or hitting the target with one of the pumpkin blasters, you’ll find a full roster of fall activities here. And then there are those fantastic Insta-worthy photo ops, thanks to the eye-catching and stylish displays around the property. The best part is that Happy Day Farm is run by a family who truly embodies the name. When you spot the owner (he goes by Farmer Tim) out and about smiling at each memory-making moment, you can see why every day here is a happy one. We spent the most glorious fall day visiting this gem—read on to learn more about it, and for more fall fun, check out our guide to family-friendly farms in NJ. (featured photo credit: Happy Day Farm)
It’s the prime season at Happy Day Farm, and when we arrived bright and early on a Saturday, we were fortunate enough to have our pick of where to start. The littles made a bee-line for the inflatable corn maze, and the big kids were psyched about zipping down the giant fun slide. What we love about Happy Day Fall Harvest Days is they offer something for every age group. My kids were all smiles with the ring toss and giggled as they climbed through the rope-woven spider web. By far, though, our family favorite was the hand-pump rubber duck races, where kids were side-by-side pumping to get their duck across the finish line first.
With all the playing, my kids were hungry, so we headed to the food trucks. We weren’t allowed to bring outside food, but it didn’t matter since there were a ton of options, including pizza, cheesesteaks, burgers and fries, chicken tenders, and gyros, as well as some ‘fair food’ type favorites like zeppoles, fried Oreos, and funnel cakes. We ordered and sat down at a table (there’s ample seating, including some parts with shade). While we were waiting, the kids ran over to hang on the playground, with little swings shaped like horses and a corn tunnel perfect for the pint-sized crowd.
After lunch, we were ready to take on the corn maze, which changes themes each fall (this year, the theme is Dolls). It’s a total of 10 acres and named one of the Top 10 Corn Mazes in the country by USA Today, with 3 miles of pathways and a lookout bridge. The maze includes two paths—a shorter one (15 min – 25 min) that’s perfect for smaller kids and a more challenging one (45 min – 60 min) for big kids ready to take on a real test of their maze skills. There are also interactive games to play while making your way through, like Maize-o-poly, and if you’re stumped about which way to go, shoot a ‘corn text’ to the number given at the entrance, and you’ll get a hint to help you out.
Making camera-ready memories
Anyone who’s scrolled through #NJfarms on insta will recognize many of Happy Day’s iconic spots—photo ops are huge here. It’s like being a kid in a candy store filled with a ton of selfies and #nofilter moments. There are houses made of pumpkins, acres of sunflower fields, and giant porch swings with hand-carved signs. It’s obvious the Happy Day team takes great pride in creating them and ensures stylish details are included. Our favorites were Pumpkinville, a village of houses made out of pumpkins, and that gigantic porch swing where I posed for a snap with my daughter.
Take your pick of pumpkins and sunflowers
My boys couldn’t wait for the tractor ride, and there were big smiles when that big green John Deere pulled up. After you have your fill of the ‘agritainment activities, the tractor ride gives you an overview of the farm grounds and brings you down to the pumpkin patch and sunflower field, where you can pick your own. The sunflower fields are a nice relaxing break to take in all the beauty, and they are filled with unexpected and charming touches that make for some beautiful pictures, like colorful doors and cool vintage cars nestled amidst the sea of yellow and green.
What to Know Before You Go
The biggest things to remember are planning ahead and coming ready for an action-packed fall day. More than 35 activities are included with admission for Fall Festival Days, which are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and select other dates through October 29. You need to buy tickets online ahead of time for Fall Festival Days, and fair warning—they will sell out. The farm is cash only, so remember to bring some for anything you buy on-site.
There is a lot to do here, so you’ll want to be prepared for a full day of fun and pace yourself (and the kiddos) accordingly. While more than 35 activities are included with admission ($27 per person), a few other things cost extra, like the paintball and pumpkin blasters.
Because the property has uneven terrain, the farm is not wheelchair accessible, but we didn’t have any issues navigating our strollers. There are porta-potties and hand-washing stations throughout the farm, and we loved seeing the nursing stations for mamas and their babes—truly a family-friendly addition.
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