ORANGE CRUSH — Your guide to area pumpkin-picking adventures
With the falling leaves comes the promise of pumpkin pie, hot apple cider and the joy of children experiencing all the pleasures that fall can bring.
It’s the best time of the year — pumpkin-picking time. Most pumpkin farms are opening now for fall revelers.
Here’s a roundup of area farms that are offering fall pumpkin adventures. Make sure to check websites for coupons, discount days and rules on pets, strollers and more.
Abbey Farms of Marmion Abbey, 850 Butterfield Road., Aurora, Ill., (630) 897-6936; abbeyfarms.org. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Sundays, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Columbus Day.
Abbey Farms Pumpkin Daze season is open to Oct. 27. In addition to one of the largest corn mazes in Kane County, Abbey Farms has wood fires and a fun, non-haunted, evening flashlight corn maze on Saturday evenings. Patrons can expect a new wine and craft beer tent, larger corn maze and petting zoo, 8-acre you-pick pumpkin patch, new rope adventure maze, kids’ zip line, pirate ship adventure, new hillside family slides, lasso challenge, upgraded scarecrow tractor ride with built-in seats or hay, kids’ craft barn, bouncing rodeo race course and pony rides (for a fee).
Admission: $10; $5 for seniors; free for ages younger than 2. Credit cards are accepted.
All Seasons Apple Orchard, 14510 Illinois 176, Woodstock, Ill., (815) 338-5637, allseasonsorchard.com. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Columbus Day.
This is a pumpkin farm, apple orchard and corn maze that pays homage to master of spookiness Scooby-Doo. A wagon takes one to the pumpkin patch, where thousands of pumpkins await. Other activities include a farm market, petting zoo, goat bridge, cow train, jumping pillow, sandbox, spiderweb, corn crib, pedal cart track, mini zip line park, giant swings, tube slide and tractor tires.
Admission: $8-$18.50. Credit cards are accepted. Online ticketing is available. No pets are allowed.
Andersons Fun-E Farm, 508 Illinois 126, Plainfield, Ill., (888) 352-5837, andersonsfunefarm.weebly.com. Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, Sept. 28-Oct. 30. Haunted hayrides run dusk-10 p.m. or later Thursdays-Sundays from Oct. 1-31.
Fall fest activities include a pumpkin patch, train rides, horse-drawn hayrides, tractor-pulled hayrides, wagon rides, inflatables, haunted house, Micro Zoo, petting zoo, craft area, kid-friendly haunted house, working beehives and Baby Critter Corner.
Admission: $11; some activities cost extra. There is a $2 coupon on Facebook.
Bengtson’s Pumpkin Farm, 13341 W. 151st St., Homer Glen, Ill., (708) 301-3276, pumpkinfarm.com. Hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, Sept. 28-Oct. 30.
New for 2013 are free unlimited kiddie rides and a lower admission price. Attractions include hayrides, a haunted barn and fun barn, two corn boxes, pig races, petting zoo, pony rides, camel rides, giant horse rides, corn maze, pumpkin launcher, Halloween shop, rides, a playground and a 90-foot slide, pumpkin patch and food.
Admission: $9.99 on weekdays and $11.99 on weekends or free for ages 3 and younger. Pony rides, camel rides and giant horse rides cost extra.
The Children’s Farm at the Center, 12700 Southwest Highway, Palos Park, Ill., (708) 361-3650, thecenterpalos.org.
Visit the farm’s Pumpkin Days festival during the week to find pumpkins, gourds, mini pumpkins, carving tools, straw bales, local honey and cornstalks. Visit the Pumpkin Playland on the weekends, where guests will find free hayrack rides and concessions plus a giant corn box, petting zoo, Crazy Maze-y and haunted woodshed. New for 2013 are haunted hayrides at 6:30, 7:15 and 8 p.m. Oct. 25-26. Pumpkin Playland hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends.
Free admission; $7 for Pumpkin Playland. Only cash or check are allowed.
Didier Farms, 16678 W. Aptakisic Road, Lincolnshire, Ill., (847) 634-3291, didierfarms.com. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends to Oct. 31.
In addition to the large selection of pumpkins and gourds in the pumpkin patch, visitors will find a corn maze and straw bale maze, petting zoo and exotic petting zoo, parakeet encounter and hayrides. Children’s activities include a burlap bag slide, strawberry spin, scrambler, kiddie Ferris wheel, dragon train, haunted forest and duck pond.
Free admission, but activities require tickets, which cost $1.
Dollinger Family Farm, 7502 E. Hansel Road, Channahon, Ill., (815) 467-6766, www.dollingerfarms.com. Hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily, Sept. 28-Oct. 30.
At this farm, one will find a pumpkin patch, four-acre corn maze, petting zoo and farm animals, horse-drawn hayrides, steam train rides, farm playground, spooky family barn, gift shop, concessions and Abyss Haunted Barn ($25). A Civil War Days event will take place Oct. 19-20.
Free admission, activities cost extra. Only the corn maze, petting zoo, farm animals and playground are available on weekdays excluding Columbus Day.
Forest View Farms, 5300 W. 167th St., Tinley Park, Ill., (708) 560-0306, fvfarms.com. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 1-30, Tuesdays to Sundays and Columbus Day.
Visitors to this equestrian farm’s fall festival will find a pumpkin patch with pick-your-own and pre-picked pumpkins, horse-drawn hayrides, tractor-pulled hayrides, wagon rides, haunted rides, a haunted trail, rest rooms, picnic area, face painting, pony rides, petting zoo and farm animals.
Goebbert’s, 42W813 Reinking Road, Hampshire, Ill., (847) 464-5952, and 40 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, Ill., (847) 428-6727, pumpkinfarms.com. Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily to Oct. 30 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 31.
Goebbert’s is marking its 65th anniversary at its original Hampshire pumpkin farm. Visitors can enjoy a fall harvest market, petting farm, pony rides, camel rides, pig racing, Pumpkin Express train, haunted house, cornstalk maze, Munchkin maze, paintball shooting gallery, tennis ball blaster, wagon rides and 3-D haunted mine (Hampshire only). In South Barrington, there are many of the same attractions including a giraffe barn and a Farmer Gem’s Mining Co. plus new corn box and Charlotte’s Web climbing activity.
Admission: $5 and $15; check website for exact prices.
Harms Farm & Garden Center, 4727 W. Crystal Lake Road, McHenry, Ill., (815) 385-5385, harmsfarmandgarden.com. Hours are 8 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends from Oct. 1-31.
Pumpkins, squash, gourds, Indian corn, firewood, apples and cider are offered. For the children: a pumpkin train, animal zoo, corn maze, petting zoo, spook house, Nessie’s Nest and haunted walk.
Heap’s Giant Pumpkin Farm, 4853 U.S. 52, Minooka, Ill., (815) 475-7373, heapsgiantpumpkinfarm.com. Hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily to Oct. 31.
This working farm has more than 30 acres of pumpkins both great and small. There is a wide selection of pre-picked pumpkins, or one can take a hayride to the patch and find a family’s perfect pumpkin. In addition, this farm offers hayrides (weekends only and Columbus Day), a soybean maze, moonlight hayrides, a kiddie corn box, a giant corn maze (closes at 5 p.m.), concessions, a haunted corn maze on weekends, animals and fall plants.
Free admission; activities are $1-$3 each. Credit cards are accepted.
Johansen Farms, 710 W. Boughton Road, Bolingbrook, Ill., (630) 759-8711, www.johansenfarms.com. Hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily to Oct. 31.
At the Children’s Zoo, kids can see animals such as chickens, pigs, ducks, goats and rabbits, or go on a hayride, train ride or pony ride. There’s a kid-friendly corn maze, hay tunnel, an inflatable castle (weekends only), inflatable obstacle course (weekends only) and two-story air slides available. There also are pre-picked pumpkins.
Admission: $8.50 on weekdays, $12 on weekends and Columbus Day, $1 less for seniors and free for ages 23 months and younger. Credit cards are accepted.
Keller’s Farmstand, 2500 Johnson Road, Oswego, Ill., (630) 554-1325, kellersfarmstand.com.
The Oswego farm has a massive pumpkin patch where visitors can pick the perfect pumpkin right off the vine. This patch is open daily to Halloween. On weekends, the 13th annual Keller’s Corn Maze is open from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. to Oct. 27 and on Columbus Day. Visitors will find a 13-acre corn maze, rope maze, hay wagon rides, animal barn, pedal tractors, kids’ straw maze, grain boxes and a large kid’s play area.
Admission: $8.99 or free for ages 3 and younger. Ages 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
Konow’s Corn Maze, 16849 S. Cedar Road, Homer Glen, Ill., (708) 301-8845, konowscornmaze.com. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily to Oct. 30.
In addition to pumpkins of varying sizes as far as the eye can see, Konow’s is home to a 3.5-mile corn maze and easier kid-friendly maze, pedal tractor track, indoor playland, mechanical bull rides, hayrides, animal barn, straw bale playground, corn pit, jumping pillow, cow train and evening bonfires. There will be an Oktoberfest celebration on several weekends with beer, wine and live music in the Tilsy Barn and under the big tent. Ages younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult in the giant corn maze.
Admission: $9 or free for ages 2 and younger. A coupon is on the website.
Kuipers Family Farm, 1N318 Watson Road, Maple Park, Ill., (815) 827-5200, kuipersfamilyfarm.com. Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays to Oct. 30.
New for the 2013 Pumpkin Festival: pig races and the Cowboy Randy Roping Show. Returning activities include a mountain slide, duck races, corn crib, tractor tire mountain, woodland walk, pony rides, farm animals, hay wagon rides, pumpkin patch, cornstalk tunnel, haunted forest, pedal tractors, beanbag toss, Charlotte’s web and Charlotte’s rope maze, giant chess and checkers, and a refreshment stand.
Admission: $8.75 on weekdays (includes rides), $11.75 on weekends and Columbus Day (rides extra), $5 for ages 65 and older or free for ages 2 and younger.
Larson’s Family Farm, 4404 Somonauk Road, Sandwich, Ill., (815) 786-2249, larsonfamilyfarm.com. Open in October; call for hours.
The October harvest features a variety of gourds, pumpkins and squash along with apples, caramel apples, seasonal decorations and snacks. Fall activities include hayrides to the pumpkin patch, bonfires, spooky hayrides, old-time playground, enchanted woods and spooky cemetery. Open for school tours and private parties.
Norton’s Hollow, 39W369 Illinois 64, St. Charles, Ill., (630) 377-8118, nortonsproduce.com. Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays to Halloween.
Norton’s has made a roaring comeback by allowing guests to turn their smartphones into a global positioning system-enabled maze map. One can get a punch card, trivia questions and checkpoint hunt right to his or her smartphone and turn the maze into interactive fun. The Norton’s Hollow playground is for ages 2-10,and includes straw mazes, corn bundle tunnel, animals, a straw mountain and other activities. There will be free hayrides to the pumpkin patch Oct. 19-20 and 26-27. Guests can bring a picnic lunch, but alcohol is not allowed.
Admission: $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and free for ages 2 and younger.
Odyssey Fun Farm, 19112 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park, Ill., (708) 429-3800, odysseyfunfarm.com. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, Sept. 28-Oct. 27.
Located across the street from Odyssey Fun World, this farm has pumpkins, cow train rides, a corn maze, flashlight maze, zip line, kiddie corn maze, hay bale maze, corn cannon, pig races, goat walk, tractor-pulled hayrides, pony rides, petting zoo and farm animals. If one dares, he or she can take the Zombie Safari Hay Ride, which runs from
7 p.m.-midnight Fridays-Sundays in October and costs $20.
Admission: $11. Pony rides and zip line extra cost extra.
Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm, 17250 S. Weber Road, Crest Hill, Ill., (800) 304-3276, ourpumpkinfarm.com. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily to Oct. 31.
New in 2013 are the Statesville zombie paintball ride and Lexi’s Jumpin’ Blob Jamboree. Other activities include two corn mazes, three playlands, a kiddie tractor maze, dwarf slide, giant slide, climbing wall, pumpkin patch moonwalk, haunted fun barn, petting zoo, kiddie train, ghost town railroad, spooky spiral, gem mine, pony rides (on weekends), cafe, obstacle course, tee ball challenge, climbing web, corn crib, Halloween shop and Statesville Haunted Prison haunted house.
Admission: $12-$14. There is a coupon on the website.
Sonny Acres Farm, 29W310 North Ave., West Chicago, Ill., (630) 231-3859, sonnyacres.com. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily to Oct. 31.
It’s a harvest festival celebration with pumpkins spread across the grounds and activities including the low-scare Spook Shed, Dizzy Zone, Kiddie Koral, hayrides, petting zoo, hay maze, wagon rides, train and pony rides and giant slide. The haunted barn and haunted wagon rides operate Friday nights and weekends in October.
Free admission; pay per attraction. A $10 wristband can be purchased for unlimited rides on Wednesdays in October.
Windy Acres Farm, 37W446 Fabyan Parkway Parkway, Geneva, Ill., (630) 232-6429, windyacresfarmstand.com. Hours are 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. weekends, Sept. 28-Nov. 5.
This family-owned and family-operated farm is chock-full of harvest fest activities. In addition to a variety of pumpkins for pick-your-own, there are fall decorations, concession stands, a new bakery and picnic area. For kids, there is a face painting, corn stalk maze, balloon artist, two-acre petting zoo with miniature ponies, new Buttermilk Barnyard, four inflatables including a 40-foot slide and an obstacle course, hay rides, hay stack, hay tunnels, a play area, kiddie haunted house and Halloween shop
Annie Alleman is a local freelance writer.