Earlier this season, I posted a little Fall Bucket List for our family. In case you missed it, you can find it here. I made sure to keep it simple and feasible – full of things that I fully expected that we could get to. It was basically my to-do list for the fall. I’m happy to report that we’ve done almost all of the things so far with the exception of getting out to a football game. To be honest, that one is probably not going to happen. Maybe next season.
But, one of the things we DID do was visit a pumpkin patch. This is on my MUST DO list every fall because I love it so much.
Page Farms is our favorite patch to visit. They have so many fun activities for kids, but it’s not so much that it’s overwhelming. It’s affordable ($11 cash and $13 with credit card for guests 3 and over), and includes all the activities plus a pumpkin for each person. You can choose to pick one yourself straight from the patch, or choose one that’s already been picked. (We also love to go there for strawberry picking in the summer!)
Little loved the farm so much. He is at a really fun age now and he loves all things related to farms and animals. Old MacDonald is a big time favorite around here. All I have to do is suggest that we’re going to a farm and he is immediately excited. As soon as we got to the farm, he took off running to see what he could find.
We ended up spending most of our time watching the goats and chickens, playing with the trucks on the sand pile, sliding in the corn pit, and taking a ride on the hayride.
Little of course, stayed behind on the hay ride for a little just to say “hello” to the cows in the barn. I told you – he loves animals.
Page Farms also has tire swings, a tunnel slide, corn maze, and area for smaller children to play. It really is a family friendly place for kids of all ages.
After we had played for a couple of hours (yes, you really can spend that much time there), we headed out to the pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins. Fortunately, we remembered from last year to bring a pocket knife to help cut the pumpkins off the vine. They can be tough! Last year, I couldn’t get it myself, so I actually borrowed Mr. Page’s pocket knife. I actually don’t know who to pick them otherwise. (Open to tips, if you know the secret!)
Little’s pumpkin has successfully been painted and the others are happily resting on our mantel for the fall.
Being from rural North Carolina, I love local farms so much and the fall is an awesome time to visit. Below are some quick tips to make the most of your day at your own local pumpkin patch.
Make the Most of Your Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Go on a Weekday (if you can)
This is actually a great tip for any sort of seasonal activity like this – weekdays mean less crowds since many kids will be in school. Little and I usually go with my sister when she tracks out of school for this reason.
Go Early in the Morning or Later in the Day
This is another beat the crowds strategy. Maybe you don’t mind crowds. Or maybe you can just trust that your toddler won’t try to run off into the crowds, but this Mama really appreciates smaller crowds when we can make it happen. Crowds tend to increase in the mornings until lunch time and then taper back off later in the afternoons, I’ve found. Because Little naps pretty late, we went first thing in the morning. This also makes a big difference in allowing you to get to everything and still make it home in time for nap. Because as much fun as we had, I can’t say with certainty that it would be worth a missed nap in the afternoon. (And all the Mamas said, “Amen!”)
Look Up Admissions Prices and Information Ahead of Time and be Prepared to Spend Cash
Many local farms aren’t able to accept credit cards or will need to charge an additional fee to accept them. Be aware of this before you go. You might also need cash to purchase other things on the farm such as snacks or drinks, or other sorts of produce (For example, Page Farms also has honey and homemade jams available for purchase.)
Wear Close Toed Shoes
This goes without saying, but can be easy to forget.
Consider Packing a Picnic Lunch
Many farms will have picnic areas nearby where you can enjoy a packed lunch. This can be really helpful if you’re pushing close to lunch time and might not want to go out to a restaurant or risk a melt-down because of a late lunch. Check with your local farm though to be sure this is an option. Even if the picnic doesn’t work out, you definitely want to be sure to have a water bottle saved in the car.
This is something that I have to remind myself over . and . over again with a toddler. Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put into planning a fun day – that is centered solely around your toddler and things that you know they will enjoy, things just don’t go as planned. You might get there later than expected. Your toddler might decide to only enjoy one small part of the farm. You might not be able to go out for a fun family lunch afterwards because your toddler didn’t want to leave. Remember that the whole point of visiting the pumpkin patch in the first place is to have fun and create family memories. It’s not always picture perfect, but even the melt downs can hold a special place in our hearts if we let them. (Right? Tell me I’m right. It has to be so. Toddlers are no joke.)
Have you visited a pumpkin patch this year? What tips would you add to make the day a success?
What are your favorite fall activities?