Pumpkin patches, apple orchards and corn mazes to visit in central Iowa in 2021
Fall is nearing, which means it's apple orchard, pumpkin patch and corn maze season.
Here are some central Iowa destinations where you can make memories and enjoy the best of Iowa's 2021 harvest season:
Center Grove Orchard
With 25 acres of ripening pumpkins and gourds and more than 6,000 assorted apple trees, Center Grove Orchard is a pick-your-own paradise. Farmyard admission gives you access to more than 25 fun-filled activities including a five-acre corn maze, 135-foot super slides and pig races.
With many eating venues, a gourmet coffee shop and The Country Store retail shop all within close proximity, finding food is not a problem. Nosh on apple nachos, sip on the Apple Cider Shake-Up at Shucks or grab soup in a bread bowl at Hay Cafe. But be sure to save room for The Feed Bunk's famous applesauce and homegrown, hand-cut fries. And no visit to Center Grove Orchard is complete without taking home farmhouse pies, turnovers, cake rolls and, of course, cider donuts from the bakery.
Location: 32835 610th Ave., Cambridge
Hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily through Nov. 7
Contact: (515) 383-4354; centergroveorchard.com
Admission: Monday through Thursday, $11.95; Friday-Sunday, $15.95; children age 2 and younger are free.
USA Today named Deal's Orchard, a fourth-generation operation in Jefferson, among the nation's top orchards in 2021. Deal's features 45 acres of apples, 10 acres and pumpkins and grows other produce including squash, sweet corn and tomatoes, as well as Christmas trees.
Its Apple Acres family play area includes a four-acre corn maze, sunflower patch, corn box, petting zoo, giant slides, jumping pillow, apple slingshots, and more.
They also offer bakery items like apple cider donuts, caramel apples, apple pies and fudge, and produce about 35,000 gallons of apple cider each year. Plus they make their own hard cider — six different flavors are on tap.
Location: 1102 244th St., Jefferson
Hours (through October): 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays
Admission: Free for ages 2 and under and 65 and over; $9 for ages 3-17; $6 for adults
Pumpkins are the passion at Geisler Farms. But there's plenty more to find, including outdoor decorations like straw bales, heirloom pumpkins and gourds.
Edible produce — pie pumpkins and butternut squash — is also available. And homemade pies and jams are found in the Red Shed. Kids can zoom on over to the Fun Zone, which has over 30 attractions including grain wagon hoops, a pumpkin punch rope maze, the barrel roll and steer roping.
Location: 5251 N.E. 94th Ave., Bondurant
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends through Oct. 30
Admission: Farm admission, $8 each. Children age 2 and younger are free. Pumpkin patch visitors pay no admission.
Harvest Barn Marketplace
You may know the Boyer family from their stand at the Des Moines Farmers’ Market. In addition to raising and processing beef and making other delicious items such as fudge, cheeses, salsa and more, they also take pride in their assortment of pumpkins and gourds. Visit the Harvest Barn to select a pre-picked pumpkin, and make sure you bring the kids and come with an empty stomach.
Fall Farm Fun for the whole family is in full swing now through the end of October. Enjoy family dodgeball, the human hamster wheel, round bale hay maze, zip line and much more. On the weekends, go for a wagon ride. Concessions are available every weekend at Trixie’s Feed Bunk, including farm-raised BBQ beef, breezy bacon burgers, apple crisp caramel sundaes and more.
Location: 2721 U.S. Hwy 34, Osceola
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays; 9 a.m-5 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays
Admission: Fall Farm Fun admission $6 Wednesdays-Fridays; $8 weekends. Children age 2 and younger are free. Pay no admission to shop pumpkins or in the Harvest Barn.
Uncle Bill's Farm
Uncle Bill's Farm in Grinnell features 10 acres of pumpkins, a corn maze, scenic wagon rides, giant jumping pillows, farm animals and plenty of photo ops. Shop for barbecue sauces, jams, fall decorations and goods from local artisans, dine on take-out food at the concession stand, and don't forget to pick up some fall mums in a wide assortment of colors and sizes.
Location: 244 400th Ave., Grinnell
Hours: Beginning Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays
Admission: $13 per person. Children 2 and under are free. Admission includes all attractions.
Howell's Pumpkin Patch
At Howell’s Pumpkin Patch, it's all about having fun on the farm. You can pick your own pumpkin or buy one pre-picked. There are plenty of attractions to go along with the popular corn maze — including a bathtub train, two-seater trikes and push-pull go-karts. Kids can take a ride on a wagon with the price of admission or a pony for $5 more.
Hunt for fall decorations and dried flowers in the gift shop and then refresh yourself with a fall treat from Greenhouse Cafe, such as hot dogs, homemade ice cream and freshly baked pumpkin bars and cookies — a full menu is served on the weekends, including kettle corn and slushies. And don't forget to shoot some fall produce into the air with the corn and pumpkin cannons and take a thrilling zip-line ride down the hill (two rides for $7).
Location: 3145 Howell Court, Cumming
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through Oct. 31
Admission: $11 per person; children under age 2 are free.
When fall sets in, Iowa Orchard's unmistakable display of pumpkins appears. The apple cider is famous here, as well as 22 varieties of family-recipe pies with a sought-after flaky crust. But keep your appetites open for fruit crisps and caramel apples made from scratch using maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, butter, sweetened condensed milk and pure vanilla.
Don't miss the corn box, big slides, straw bale maze, jumping pillow and giant Legos.
It's also a great time to nibble on apple cider doughnuts Iowa Orchard makes for the Iowa State Fair. And if you're looking to pick some apples, visit the orchard at 13140 NW 102nd Avenue in Granger.
Location: 9875 Meredith Drive, Urbandale
Hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week through Oct. 31
Admission: Free. Hayride and Farm Fun Zone, $5 per person; children 2 and younger are free.
Pierce's Pumpkin Patch
Since 1981, Pierce's Pumpkin Patch in Chariton has been the place to go for more than 120 kinds of pumpkins and gourds. Enjoy a hay bale maze filled with tame animals and a country store filled with decor and costume ideas.
Take a tour of the grounds to discover a 1942 World War II-era twin-engine Beechcraft airplane, fire truck, antiques and collectibles, and a large private collection of about 180 handcrafted model trains.
Location: 2491 IA-14, Chariton
Hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily Sept. 25-Oct. 31
Admission: Free for all ages. Call ahead for group tours.
The Pumpkin Ranch
There's something for everyone at The Pumpkin Ranch, but the main attraction is the 10-acre corn maze. While you’re there, don't miss the two 30-foot tunnel slides, the Toddler Town playground, the Ninja Farm obstacle course, corn pool and the jumping pillow. Also, adults and kids alike can soar down a fun zip line.
Shop for gourds and pumpkins or pick your own perfect pumpkin from the patch. Sip on some specialty cider or snack on walking tacos, breakfast sandwiches or fresh popcorn or sample some tasty morsels from the food trucks parked on the farm.
Location: 2425 Hiatt Apple Trail, Winterset
Hours: Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sundays, noon-5 p.m. Sept. 17 through Oct. 31
Admission: $8 on Fridays and $10 on Saturdays and Sundays. Children age 2 and younger are free.
Pumpkinville & Cornmaze
You can use your GPS to navigate your way through the 20-acre "scavenger hunt" big maze at Pumpkinville and Cornmaze in Mitchellville or you can let the kids loose in the 15-minute mini-maze.
Show your strength with a game of "Tug a Pumpkin," closely resembling tug-of-war, or show your speed with a sack race.
There's no shortage of straw here — kids can jump around a straw train or jump into a big pile of straw. Shop for a wide variety of pumpkins, savor some cinnamon-spiked cider and hot chocolate, and nibble on tasty treats, including nachos, burgers and hot dogs.
Location: 618 Center Ave. S., Mitchellville
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily Sept. 18-Oct. 31
Admission: Free to visit; Big maze: $7 for ages 7 and up, $1 for ages 3-6, free for kids younger than 3; Mini maze: $1 per person. Campfires are $25 for the first two hours and $10 for each additional hour.
Wills Family Orchard & Pumpkin Farm
It's Apple and Pumpkin Fest time at Wills Family Orchard on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 24. Pick your own pumpkins or choose from a pre-picked selection. Pick-your-own apples will be available in limited supply, but pre-picked apples will be available for purchase. Brats, hot dogs, chips, pie by the slice, cider doughnuts and caramel apples are available to whet your appetite.
When you're not roaming through the rope maze, take a ride on the hay wagon or pet the barnyard animals. Then go shopping for cider, wine and other treats made from apples picked right on location. Let the kids loose in the expanded kids’ area and the hay bale maze or bring out their inner Picasso with gourd painting.
Location: 33130 Panther Creek Road, Adel
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays. Sept. 18 through Oct. 24
Admission: Free to visit the farm store and pumpkin patch. $7 plus tax for the corn maze and activities; children 2 and under are free.
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