Fall is in the air: Take the kids to a farm or pumpkin patch
Photo: Carpinito Bros.
For many families, October means it is time to take a day out of the city to visit a pumpkin patch. Not only do you get the chance to pick up orange gourds, which are nicer than any you’d find at the supermarket, you also get to spend a crisp fall day in a lovely corner of the countryside. And almost all pumpkin patches offer more than just pumpkins. Mud, for starters.
Some pumpkin patches are slow-paced, with plenty of time and space to gaze at the scenery. Others have fairground atmosphere complete with rides, raucous activities and entry fees. What makes sense for your family is up to you.
Some pointers: Don't bring pets. Going earlier in the month gives you a chance to avoid the crowds and get first dibs on the gourds growing on the vine. (They'll keep on your doorstep as long as you don't carve them.) Cash is usually the easiest way to pay for things. And do be ready for mud.
Here’s a sampling of fall fun in local farm country. Related: Tips for planning a full excursion and picking the perfect pumpkin | Harvest festivals and other events | Where to go watch salmon returning to our local rivers | One family's favorite "boutique" farm
Pumpkin patches with corn mazes
Craven Farm has two, a 15-acre one built on an “Alice in Pumpkinland” theme, and a smaller one geared for younger folks. The big maze is open 9:30 a.m. until dusk daily Sept. 22 through Hallowe'en, plus there are times it is open at night. Also at Craven Farm: miniature golf, human foosball (you need 12 humans), and rubber duck races.13817 Shorts School Road, Snohomish
The Farm at Swan's Trail has a 12-acre corn maze inspired by the geography of Washington State, with corn-y renditions of 400 towns and landmarks, each labeled with educational facts. Open noon to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends Sept. 29 through Oct. 31. Also at The Farm at Swan's Trail: petting farm, corn box, live duck and pig races, a hay maze in the barn, and u-pick apples.7301 Rivershore Road, Snohomish
Bob's Corn and Pumpkin Farm boasts a 10-acre corn maze, plus two kids corn mazes. The main maze is open until 6 p.m. every day from Sept. 8 until Hallowe'en, and until 10 p.m on Friday and Saturday nights starting Sept. 29. You can rent a fire-pit inside the maze, if you like. Also at Bob's: hayrides, trike track, playground, apple cannon and cow-train rides.10917 Elliott Rd, Snohomish
Thomas Family Farm has a 10-acre corn maze. Also available on the weekend: a giant slide, gem sluicing activity, a ride in a monster truck named "White Lightning," a paintball shooting gallery, and other activities. Open weekends in October 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can also do a night time corn maze treasure hunt, and older kids might enjoy other pursuits such as Zombie Paintball. Look here to find which nights the farm is open.9010 Marsh Rd, Snohomish
Foster's Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze has a 10 acre-corn maze, this year with a "Wizard of Oz" theme. Weekend visitors can also try a pumpkin slingshot or an apple cannon and or take cow-barrel train rides. Open throughout October. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.5818 WA-530, Arlington
Stocker Farms: This year, Stocker Farms seven-acre corn maze pays tribute to community heroes. Sunflowers are a specialty at the farm. The weekends of Sept 29/30 and Oct 6/7, the farm is showcasing the flowers in its Sunflower Jubilee. There is also a Family Adventure Farm with a jumping pillow, human hamster wheel, farmer foosball, and other sources of hilarity. For teens with an appetite for fright, there's an after-dark feature called "Stalker Farms," which creates the feel of a horror movie. The corn maze and family adventure farm are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 29 to Oct. 31. The maze also has some night time hours.8705 Marsh Rd, Snohomish
Carpinito Brothers: Along with a state-of-the-art corn maze, this pumpkin patch has a farm fun yard where kids can see animals (inlcuding piglets), feed goats, jump in a corn bin, navigate a hay maze or race rubber ducks. Open Sept. 28 to Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.27508 West Valley Highway N, Kent
Spooner Farms: The theme for this year's five-acre corn maze is "Destination Earth." The pumpkin slingshot is available on weekday afternoons or all day on weekends. Weekend only activities include: pony rides, pedal carts, face painting and Pumpkin Pete's Playtown. Open Sept. 29 through Oct. 31. Maze is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Pumpkin slingshot is open 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. Weekend-only kids activities are open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.9710 State Route 162 E, Puyallup
Thomasson Family Farm has a five-acre corn maze, along with a Kids Korral full of activities including rubber duck races, a bubble table, various things to climb on, and a box full of nine tons of corn. On weekends, there's also laser tag available. Open Oct 1 to 31st from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.38223 236th Ave SE, Enumclaw
Schilter Family Farm: The five-acre corn maze is a "Lou Gehrig" maze, raising money and awareness for the ALS association. Other activities include a hay maze, hay rides, animals, a giant sand table and a giant jumping pillow. Sept. 29 through Oct. 31, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Closes at 4 p.m. on Hallowe'en.)141 Nisqually Cutoff Road SE, Olympia
Double R Farms has a five-acre corn maze, three pumpkin slingshots (one of which is kid-sized), farm animals, and, on weekends when the weather isn't too terrible, tractor-pulled hayrides. Open through October. Call (253) 227-5385 for hours.5820 44th St E, Puyallup
Picha Farms has a five-acre corn maze, a slingshot they claim is the best in the Puyallup valley, and hayrides. Open Sept. 30 to Oct. 31. 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends.6502 52nd St E, Puyallup
Maris Farms has a five-acre corn maze plus a long list of other activities, including a jumping pillow, pedal carts, zip lines, an animal barn and human foosball. On the weekends, visitors can try more activities, such catch-and-release trout fishing, zombie paintball, an escape room and live pig and duck races. Open Sept. 29 through Oct. 31., 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Evening activities are 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.25001 Sumner-Buckley Hwy, Buckley
Mosby Farms has a corn maze throughout the week. Hayrides are available on weekends, weather permitting. Open Sept. 29 through Oct. 30, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.12754 SE Green Valley Road, Auburn
Rutledge Corn Maze is big and changes every year. Daytime activities include storytime with Spookley the Square Pumpkin, swings and a cow train. Open Sept. 29 through Oct. 31. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Corn maze stays open until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights.) Zombie paintball available some nights.302 93rd Ave SE, Olympia
Serres Farm: It takes most visitors between 10 and 15 minutes to navigate the corn maze at this small Redmond farm. Other weekend attractions: rubber duck races and hayrides. Open weekends Sept. 29 through October.20306 NE 50th St, Redmond
Pumpkins as projectiles
Jubilee Farm: If you relish the spectacle of watching a medieval siege weapon catapult pumpkins through the air, then come to Jubilee Farms to see their pumpkin trebuchet in action. Other attractions: hay maze, horse-drawn hay wagon, animals. Saturdays and Sundays in October 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Trebuchet launch schedule is posted on the side of the barn.229 W Snoqualmie River Rd NE, Carnation
Carleton Farms has two pumpkin cannons, which send pumpkins sailing over the fields with a wallop of air. Also at Carleton Farms: a three-acre corn maze (theme: Seattle Mariners) , zip line, kid's barn, and after dark zombie hunting adventures for teens. The cannons and play areas are open weekends Sept. 29 through October, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The pumpkin patch and corn maze are open during the week in October. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.630 Sunnyside Blvd SE, Lake Stevens
Oxbow Farm: This organic farm and education center has a Pumpkin Slingshot available for use during its Oxtober Fall Festival. Other activities: crafts, kids' farm tours, hayrides and scavenger hunt. Oxtober fall festival runs October weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.10819 Carnation Duvall Rd NE, Carnation
Meet the animals
Fairbank Animal Farm: When you arrive at the farm they give you a cup of feed that you can throw to the chickens and ducks. They have a variety of other animals there – including baby animals. Also, there's a small corn maze and a hay tunnel. Open weekends Sept. 30 through Oct. 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.15308 52nd Ave W, Edmonds
Lattins Country Cider Mill and Farm: On weekends kids can see - and even feed - animals, including baby animals, take pony rides, and sample apples. Last weekend in September and every weekend in October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.9402 Rich Road SE, Olympia
Carnation Farms: Along with meeting the animals, your kids can also participate in arts and crafts, get their faces painted, take part in hay rides, pumpkin bowling and a scavenger hunt. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 13, 14, 20 and 21.28901 NE Carnation Farms Road, Carnation
Fall City Farms: Scenery, farm animals, wagon rides and mini-donuts are the main side benefits to picking up your pumpkins at this farm, less than ten minutes from Snoqualmie Falls. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 to Oct. 28. Fridays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.3636 Neal Rd, Fall City
Pick fruit and vegetables (other than pumpkins)
Bailey Family Farm: Check ahead to find out what's ready for harvest at this farm which offers a U-Pick apples and a variety of U-pick vegetables. Also, there are wagon rides and a free play barn. Open weekends Sept. 29 through October. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.12711 Springhetti Rd, Snohomish
Bellewood Acres offers the chance to pick a variety of apples from its immense orchard. You can ride the "apple bin express," a tractor-driven train, out to the trees. The farm's ripening calendar lists 10 varieties of apple that are ready for picking in October, including familiar favorites (Jonagold and Fuji) as well as more hard-to find varieties. (Idared, Orin, and something called WA-2). Call the farm (360) 318-7720 in advance to check what's available on the day you are coming.6140 State Route 539, Lynden
Rides, inflatables and more fun things
Remlinger Farms: The Family Fun Park has lots of rides, including a half-sided steam train, kid-sized roller coaster, Ferris wheel, miniature Model Ts, pedal cars and a carousel. They also have pony rides, a corn maze, and a petting farm.6104, 32610 NE 32nd St, Carnation.
Fox Hollow Farm: The weekend admission ticket of $50 per car gives up to seven of the car's occupants access to: ATVs, petting areas, a hay maze, a corn bin, inflatables, playhouses and something called pumpkin bowling. Fall festival runs Wed.-Sun. Sept. 28 to Oct. 26 (Closed Thurs. Oct. 4) 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends. Sat. Oct. 27 is the farm's Hallowe'en Carnival 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.12123 Issaquah Hobart Rd SE, Issaquah
Simple Farm Fun
Two Brothers Pumpkins at Game Haven Farm: If you are looking for a pumpkin patch which is all about pumpkin cultivation, and not about the extras, this could be the place for you. They do have farm animals, though. Open Sept. 29 to Oct. 31. 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.7110 310th Avenue NE, Carnation