Pumpkins on the front porch serve as a welcoming sign for visitors. Children enjoy selecting the perfect pumpkin to turn into a creative jack-o-lantern. Small orange pumpkins add a designer’s touch of fall color to fireplace mantles. Some people prefer to paint pumpkins or drill holes in an attractive design and fill with lights. Many people like to roast pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack while watching football. Everyone can agree that fresh pumpkin pie is a delicious dessert. Yes, pumpkins may be purchased at most grocery stores or farmer’s markets. However, visiting a pumpkin patch with the family each fall to select that special pumpkin is an awesome tradition. These three pumpkin patches provide great family entertainment.
- Center Grove Orchard: Center Grove Orchard, located in Cambridge, Iowa, boasts family fun. The orchard farm offers apples and pumpkins in addition to fun activities. Children may literally swim in a pool of corn. Laughter is often heard from the corn or hay mazes. Rubber duck races, hayrides, jumping pillows and farm animals are all included in the price of admission. Festivals are scheduled on weekends throughout the fall that include entertainment. Schedule and admission prices are available on the website.
- Schuster Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze: Schuster Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze is located off Schueller Heights Road in Dubuque. The pumpkin patch opens to the public on Saturdays and Sundays in late September through the month of October. Visitors may get lost in the corn maze, enjoy a cup of cider on the hayride and select the perfect pumpkin from the patch. Special children’s activities include face painting, bounce house, corn box, ring toss and a free kid’s maze. A food stand will be set up on the premises with special fall treats. Hours of operation are available online.
- Wills Family Orchard and Pumpkin Farm: The orchard and pumpkin farm is located approximately 20 minutes from Des Moines. The last two weekends in September and continuing through October is the annual fall harvest celebration at Wills Family Orchard and Pumpkin Farm. Families may view animals in the barnyard, try their luck with the corn maze, enjoy a hayride, pick pumpkins, pick apples, and play games. Festival food includes apple cider donuts, barbecue, caramel apples and more. Visit the website for hours and fees.
*Photo courtesy of Center Grove Apple Orchard by Carol VanHook at Flickr’s Creative Commons.