just another picnic day at the farm

Picnic Day at UC Davis is a 98 year-old tradition and the largest student run event in the country. It started out as simply a day to escape from the hectic early 20th century life on Berkeley’s campus to the “University farm” up in Davis. Then it kept going as an annual campus celebration and open house for present students and alums and residents of Davis. And sometime in the recent past it became an excuse for students to start drinking at 6am and be the least sober day of their lives. That’s why getting to campus early is paramount… so that your daughter can pet the animals before she gets pushed out of the way by drunk co-eds wanting to milk the cow. Winking smile

With Mr. M organizing a recreational work event (aka. paintball!), Mother M and I set out to visit all of the farm animal exhibits first and ran into Laura and Miss E on our way there (who had helped to encourage the early schedule in the first place). Miss L has seen her fair share of horses and sheep and cows and goats from the comfort of her carseat, but seeing the baby animals up close was definitely a new experience.


She even got a little adventurous with the goats, and decided to help them out by hand feeding them hay and nuzzling their noses.


But when it came to that whole “MILK A COW!” station… well, let’s just say the idea was so much more exciting than the execution.

She saw the cows. She wanted to wait in line. She approached the cow’s udders, listened intently to the undergrad explain what she needed to do…


… and then she bolted!


We’re not quite sure if it was the idea of the udders, or the fact that the extremely nice dairy cow turned her head right as Miss L approached, but whatever it was she was out of there! I guess we’ll have to try again next year…

After hanging out with the foals and horses, we headed over to what could easily be renamed the “dog field.” Situated on the large recreation area were multiple dog rescue organizations, and two canine activity areas: sheep herding and an acrobatic/flying area.


If you’ve never seen a sheep herding dog do its thing… you’re truly missing out. It’s amazing to see them completely control the movement of the flock and watch them crouch and crawl and bolt around the field. Miss L was sold. (Good thing Memphis wasn’t around – being herded by other dogs would be one of her least favorite activities)

It was getting miserably hot around noontime, so we bought Miss L her very first snowcone. For a kid that already loves to chew ice, this was just the greatest thing ever!


With naptime approaching and then passing us rapidly by… we stopped at the fire station to see the helicopter, get a hat, and sit on the firetruck.


The thing is that kids love firetrucks. And once they’re sitting in one, they usually don’t want to leave. Ever. And if it’s past naptime, well then the brakes really get put on. Even smiles and more hats from nice firemen won’t clear up those tears.

But you know what does work?


Strawberry popsicles.

Oh Picnic Day. You had baby animals and sheep dogs. You were hot. Your heat contained the drunk co-eds to their homes and the shade. And you had ice cream stands every 200 feet. In all, you were pretty darn great for a Saturday in the spring.


  • Kira

    So fun! I’ve only every heard of picnic day from the undergrad perspective but it looks like there are so many fun things for families as well!

  • Kate

    The little guy’s daycare actually brought a petting zoo to them for Purim this year. BUT we missed it by 2 days. The pictures are amazing though and I can’t wait till he can experience it next year.