Picking oranges seems like a quintessentially Southern California activity. And yet finding a place to take the kids to try it out for themselves wasn’t so easy.
Enter Heritage Park in La Verne. It features one of the last working orange groves in Southern California, where visitors can pick fruit right off the tree. The 1.1-acre Heritage Park includes Weber Ranch, home to a small grove of about 150 orange trees. The ranch is also filled with haystacks, old wheel barrels and rusted cars that are reminiscent of La Verne’s old days and add a ton of charm.
Orange picking at Heritage Park is a very quaint way to spend a couple of hours. Unlike many other U-pick farms we’ve been to, there aren’t any other big draws aside from the oranges – no petting zoos, huge fruit stands or other attractions to speak of.
The joy is left to the picking.
Orange picking isn’t all that complicated, making it perfect for kids. Look for the orangest oranges, usually found high in the tree. A long picker can help you grab the ones you want; it’s even more fun to climb the tree instead (no one said we couldn’t). The only warning for little ones is to leave the oranges that have fallen to the ground on the ground.
It costs just $5 for an eight-pound bag, which was plenty for us.
Besides orange picking, Heritage Park is also home to year-round events including concerts in the park during the summer, a pumpkin patch in October and a Christmas tree farm during December. These events help raise money to maintain the ranch.
Date of most recent visit: February 2012
Who: The entire family!
Weather: High 60s, sunny
- Using pickers to grab oranges high in the trees (grabbing oranges off the lower branches was fun, too)
- Breathing in the scent of oranges while standing in the shade of all the trees
- Tasting juicy oranges right off the tree
- Eating a picnic lunch under the pine trees
- You can go orange picking at Heritage Park on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; the season is weather dependent, but usually runs from early January through mid-March
- Entrance to Heritage Park is free; cost to pick is $5 for an eight-pound bag (use of a picker is free)
- Heritage Park’s annual “Spring Squeeze” features a demonstration of how oranges were picked & allows kids to squeeze an orange picked from the grove; runs 9 to 11 a.m. from March 6-16
- Heritage Park features both the grove at Weber Ranch & an adjacent park with picnic tables, a play structure & a large grassy area
- The Big Explorer (at age 7) was able to use a picker to reach oranges high in the tree; The Little Explorer (at 3.5) could easily pick from lower branches
- Flush toilets available
- Ample, free street parking available
- No food or drinks available for purchase on site, but you are welcome to enjoy a picnic lunch in the park
Heritage Park is located at:
5001 Via De Mansion
La Verne, CA 91750