While your kids may lament that summer vacation has come and gone, summertime does not have a monopoly on family fun. Even if you live in the city, there are probably apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes a short drive away that are open from now until November.
Fall Fun On The Farm
Local farms provide the arena for entertainment as people come to enjoy fall crops and lose themselves in mazes formed among dead cornstalks. The farmers that participate are often the same ones who provided delicious produce to farmers markets in nearby cities. When you come to a farm, you may be able to buy fall crops, drink apple cider and enjoy delicious desserts, and enjoy activities such as bonfires, bounce houses, face painting, hayrides, cow trains, petting zoos, and pig races. You might even be able to tour the farm and milk a cow.
Three Family Friendly Ways To Enjoy Fall
Aside from the extra activities, farms usually have three main attractions.
- You can pick fresh apples or buy a bag or two. With orchards plentiful in many states, you have the opportunity to stock up on apples for pies, applesauce, and other fall delicacies. In orchards where you can pick your own, your kids will have a firsthand chance to see that apples grow on trees and didn’t always live in the plastic bags they see in the grocery store. When you leave the farm, laden down with apples, you can involve your family in making cider, deserts, or anything else apple you enjoy.
If you’re an apple connoisseur, you can select the orchard to visit by the type of apples it produces. You can even seek out organic orchards and more on this handy directory of orchards throughout the United States.
- You can buy pumpkins for Halloween or use them for pies. Most pumpkin farms have the pumpkins harvested and ready for sale, but your kids can still roam through a "patch" of them and select their favorite. (This is true even in areas that do not grow pumpkins; they are trucked in to form a patch.) Many of the farms supply pumpkins to stores in your area, but buying them from the farm holds a special allure your kids can’t get in the grocery store. You can start you search for a local pumpkin patch here.
- You can find your way through a corn maze. Created by a farmer and tractor equipped with GPS, the maze is an intricate pattern that forms a path amidst the stalks. Some corn mazes are intended for families who tour them during the day, but there are also "haunted" nighttime mazes popular with teenagers and adults for Halloween.
Corn mazes are created in fields of corn planted specifically for this use. Farmers use corn with just the right height and strength for the maze, and they spend considerable time keeping the pathways clear after they cut them. While adding a corn maze is a good use of lands not occupied with other crop production, some corn mazes are empires in themselves. In Dixon, California, there is a 45 acre maze that was once considered the largest corn maze in the world. However, this has been surpassed by the Adventure Acres corn maze in Bellbrook, Ohio near Dayton, that includes 62 acres of maze with 8.5 miles of trails.
For farmers, opening their property to these activities is also a creative way to sell their wares and create additional income before the snow flies. Visiting these farms and participating in these activities have become very popular around the country and can provide an afternoon or evening of family fun.