For the younger crowd, our homeschool group usually does an annual trip to one of our local pumpkin patches. Whoever plans it decides which one. This year, I volunteered and set us up with my favorite one, which is run by a wonderful Christian family and truly has a farm feel to it!
We started things off with a hayride, and yes, we rode through the countryside on real bales of hay in wagons pulled my a tractor - no commercialized vehicles here! There's always one part of this ride where I'm always nervous and convinced we are going to tip although it's never happened. On one side of the wagon it drops off to a creek bed several feet down as you bump across a little rock bridge. Once we got past this "scary" part, we spent the rest of the ride trying to identify the many trees along the way!
After the hayride, we headed into the barn where we sat on hay bales in the main area between rows of animal stalls (open to the outside, so the animals were able to come and go as they pleased) where we listened to the farmer herself tell how a pumpkin grows from seed to fruit and showed us the many varieties of pumpkin they grow at the farm. No videos here! We got the real deal!
From there, we were able to meet some of the animals on the farm - a dairy cow, miniature horse, donkey, geese, ducks, goats, lambs, pigs and turkeys - before heading off to the real excitement for the kids, the play area!!! My kids especially love the corn bin, even though it grosses me out just a tad thinking about all the little bodies that have already been in there and where that corn could have ended up before my kids jumped in. *shudder*
We let them play a good 45 minutes or so before heading out to the patch and picking out our pumpkins! Each kid was able to pick out a miniature pumpkin or gourd to take home. They had some really cool looking gourds, but my husband told me we couldn't go to a pumpkin patch and NOT bring home pumpkins. Anyway, I love this pic so much, I've got to show you the unedited version!
Off to the left of the above picture, you can see the entrance to the HUGE corn maze they have. We did take a few minutes to go through it just long enough to find the exit (as opposed to go for the prize by finding the hidden items) before heading back home.
All-in-all it was a great day, and I was able to cross something off our family's fall bucket list!