Summer may be the hottest season, but fall is the coolest. And nothing says fall fun like hayrides, corn pools, and cider donuts. We’ve rounded up all the best pumpkin patches and apple orchards in Greater Des Moines, as voted by locals. Go big or gourd home! #CATCHdsm
Center Grove Orchard
Truly one of the most Instagrammable and family-friendly attractions in all of Greater Des Moines, Center Grove Orchard is perhaps the most well-known of its peers, stuffed with things to do while you stuff yourself with things to eat. You can and will spend a whole day here eating, playing, and making memories. Not only does it feature a 25-acre pumpkin patch, but a 20-acre apple orchard as well. Looking for a new profile pic? Head over to Sunflower Meadow where fun is always in bloom.
Location: 32835 610th Avenue, Cambridge
Hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., daily through November 7
Admission: Monday through Thursday, $14.95; Friday through Sunday, $21.95; children ages 2 and younger are free. Pro Tip: Buy tickets online for a cheaper admission!
Activities: The Farmyard is your stop for all things activities. With 25 different attractions, you’re sure to find something to please everyone. Test your sense of direction in the corn maze, bounce around on the giant jumping pillows, or even bottle feed a baby goat.
Eat and Shop: Center Grove Orchard doesn’t lack for anything, especially when it comes to food. With nine different food stands, you can get your fill of apple and pumpkin treats. Here are just a few: Feed Bunk (burgers), Shucks (grilled cheese), Apple Jacks (All things apple, including their famous Apple Cider Slushie). We recommend the s’mores shake up, it’s ALMOST too pretty to eat. And of course, make sure to grab plenty of apple cider donuts, farmhouse pies, kettle corn, and fall preserves at The County Store on the way out.
Though Geisler Farms may be on the smaller side, the fun is upscale. Their corn maze has over four miles of trails, with 20 different paper punches hid throughout. Find all of them? Go redeem your free piece of Casey’s Pizza. A corn maze and gas station pizza? This pumpkin patch knows how to Iowa. This is their grand finale season, so get out there while you still can!
Location: 5251 NE 94th Avenue, Bondurant
Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., weekends through October 30
Admission: Farm admission, $8 each. Children ages 2 and younger are free. Pumpkin patch visitors pay no admission.
Activities: Geisler Farms boasts more than 30 different farm activities. You can ride pedal karts and trikes, take part in a rubber duck race, play cornhole, and so much more. Sounds to us like a day that will end in the kiddos taking a well-deserved nap.
Eat and Shop: Head to the Red Shed for anything and everything you may need. Geisler describes it as “the hub of all farm activity.” There you can find jams, apple crisp, take and bake pies, and so much more.
The Pumpkin Ranch
Out in beautiful Madison County, experience one of the biggest corn mazes in Central Iowa. With over 10 acres, The Pumpkin Ranch specializes in making a fun design each year. Plus, they have a farm ninja obstacle course to test your skills. Need an adrenaline rush? Try out the zipline. On specific Sundays, they even offer free horseback rides.
Location: 2425 Hiatt Apple Trail, Winterset
Hours: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturdays; and Noon – 5 p.m. Sundays, September 17 through October 31
Admission: $8 on Fridays and $10 on Saturdays and Sundays. Children ages 2 and younger are free.
Activities: The Pumpkin Ranch makes sure you get the ultimate bang for your buck. Hay rack rides, jumping pillow, horseback rides, and tunnel slides. They’ve got it all.
Eat and Shop: The Pumpkin Ranch has your staple pumpkin patch treats, but they also take it a step further with food trucks on the weekends. Plus, be sure to make a stop in their Shopping Barn. From décor to jellies and jams, they've got things for both your shelf and your belly.
Howell’s Pumpkin Patch
Howell’s is not only a large pumpkin patch, but they have a beautiful greenhouse as well. Grab your pumpkins and your flowers, and then take a tractor ride to the corn maze. Good luck finding your way out, so you can enjoy the cornucopia of activities that Howell’s has to offer.
Location: 3145 Howell Court, Cumming
Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily through October 31
Admission: $11 per person; children under age 2 are free.
Activities: Two words: Pumpkin. Cannon. Let the kids experience the joy of seeing a pumpkin fly through the air, we promise it’s worth it. Climb on the haystacks, make mud pies (yum!), swim in the corn bin, and go down the cow slide. Sounds pretty fun to us.
Eat and Shop: Be sure to make a stop at the Country Gift Shop for the ultimate fall décor options. Full of jack-o-lanterns, corn stalks, mums, and so much more, your house will be ready for the fall season.
With no admission fee, Pumpkinville in Mitchellville is the perfect place for a spontaneous day trip. Featuring all sizes of pumpkins and gourds, Pumpkinville is the epitome of hometown heartland.
Address: 618 Center Avenue S., Mitchellville
Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., daily September 18 – October 31
Admission: Free to visit; $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.
Activities: Even if Pumpkinville is free, they don’t lack activities. They feature two different corn mazes, a straw train, a football field for pickup games, sack races, and tug a pumpkin (think tug of war). But we really love the idea of the campfires...they even get the fire started for you and provide additional wood, roasting sticks, and chairs!
One of the newer patches in town, the Rose Farm in Norwalk puts an emphasis on admiring the beauty around you. With 25 acres of sprawling grounds, you can explore the entire farm freely. The Rose Farm is all about learning and growing, and they are known for hosting workshops and classes that allow you to get hands-on experience with the farm. From flowers to pumpkins, you’re sure to see the beauty of nature (and life) at The Rose Farm.
Address: 7197 43rd Avenue Norwalk
Hours: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sundays; September 10 – October 24
Admission: Admission to the farm is free, but visitors can make purchases throughout the farm and at The Shoppe.
Activities: Grab your pup and come explore the farm area. Experience one of the many workshops available. The Rose Farm offers anything from watercolor painting, bouquet building and yoga. You’re guaranteed to find something to bring a little fall into your life.
Eat and Shop: The Rose Farm’s newest addition, The Floral + Market Shoppe, is home to all things fall. Looking for new décor? They’ve got it. Need a new candle or some flowers? This is the place. So, stop and smell the roses, literally! Plus, on certain Sundays, you may stumble upon a coffee or bakery truck. Just your luck!
As much as we love a good pumpkin, fall means apple season as well. Deals Orchard in Jefferson is a fourth generation apple orchard that features 45 acres of apple trees with more than 25 varieties of apples. Spend your day picking apples, as well as exploring their family fun area, Apple Acres.
Address: 1102 244th Street, Jefferson
Hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sundays through October 31
Admission: Free for ages 2 and under and 65 and over; $9 for ages 3 – 17; $6 for adults.
Activities: Apple Acres features numerous fun activities for the whole family! Start out your day by feeding the goats and racing ducks, and then head over to experience the Human Hamster Wheel. You can also bounce on the jumping pillow, and ride down the giant slides.
Eat and Shop: Deals Orchard has a bit of fun for adults as well. They have their very own Hard Apple Cider, sold both at the orchard and locally in stores. They have multiple flavors including Blackberry, Raspberry, Peach, limited edition Pear, and more. The kids can have fun, but don’t worry, the adults can too.
Everyone wants to talk about cider donuts, but to us, fall season means pie season. When it comes to pies, Iowa Orchard might be the delicious option around, with flavors like Dutch Crumb Apple, Black Raspberry, and Chocolate Pecan. Pie talk aside, they also have a pumpkin patch, strawberry patch, and family fun zone.
Address: 9875 Meredith Drive, Urbandale
Hours: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m Tuesdays through Sundays; closed Mondays
Admission: $5 for the Family Fun Zone, free for pumpkin patch and farm market.
Activities: From 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. daily, you can make an appointment to pick strawberries, which is a fun alternative to your usual pumpkins and apples. The Family Fun Zone is open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. through October and has a giant corn box, jumping pillow, hay slides, and giant legos.
Eat and Shop: The Farm Market is open year-round and offers 20 varieties of apples, cider, caramel apples, fudge, mini cider donuts (weekends only), and those pies we raved about.