As a Brit, pumpkin patches are a bit of a new concept for me. We have corn mazes back home but pumpkin patches are certainly not something that I grew up ‘around’ as such. Since living in America, I have been to 2 pumpkin patches in Iowa, both completely different from each other. For the readers that may not have been to one before, imagine a farm shop selling pumpkins and other homemade goods such as jam/jelly with the addition of a farm style type ‘theme park’, and you won’t be far off!
(Aerial photo of Enchanted Acres – Sheffield IA)
‘Fall’ and halloween are MASSIVE in the USA so it’s no surprise that pumpkin patches are so popular, especially in rural Iowa! I visited one by myself so could view it from an adult’s perspective, and another with the day job, with 20 odd 4 and 5 year olds! When I was travelling solo, I was able to observe the pumpkin patch on a regular open day and families would turn up, go crazy on the play equipment, have their yearly ‘how tall this fall’ picture and then literally jam pack a wagon full of pumpkins, maybe for halloween carving, maybe for home decor, either way it was a whole family affair which is obviously an annual tradition for most people! (FYI the toilets are usually porta potties!)
Pumpkin Patches in Iowa
(Thank you to Enchanted Acres for hosting my visit, as always opinions are my own)
Enchanted Acres – Sheffield
Location: 1071 250th St, Sheffield, IA 50475 (20 mins from Clear Lake/30 mins from Mason City)
Open until: Sunday 28th October 2018 (Fri – Sun)
Cost: $5 per person/under 2’s free (special events cost extra)
2018 marks Enchanted Acres 7th year anniversary. What I love about this pumpkin patch, is that they have activities that are aimed at adults. Most seem to be very child orientated but at Enchanted Acres they host events for adults too!
During my visit, I was able to attend goat yoga (my second goat yoga session! The first was at Coco’s Ranch in Cedar Rapids). There was only one child in the session, the rest were all adults and the turn out was HUGE! The goat yoga session took part in the barn (which also holds kids craft activities/pumpkin painting and ‘books in the barn’ storytelling) and we were joined by 4 goats, that were free to wander around us…one tried to eat my yoga mat! The reality of goat yoga, is that not much yoga really gets done, so don’t expect a ‘serious’ session! It’s just too hard to resist giving the goat a stroke as it trots by!
Other adult events for the 2018 season include: cookie decorating classes, tailgating workshops (another new concept to me!) and wine and donut sampling!
Another (adult friendly) section of Enchanted Acres that I thought was a GREAT idea is the fire pit, surrounded by swinging benches. You can purchase s’more making kits, hot dogs and campfire pie supplies in the ‘Market’ farm shop and cook them around the fire! Other ‘ready made’ snacks and drinks can be bought in the shop too.
Other typical pumpkin patch activities available at Enchanted Acres include:
- Farm animals! Enchanted Acres have Goats, chickens and rabbits. Check out the enclosure with ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’, complete with a troll under the bridge! Goat food can be purchased in the Market.
- Corn pool (again for non American’s…a ball pit with hard/dry ‘sweetcorn’ rather than plastic balls!)
- Hayrides (a wagon pulled by a tractor)
- A playground made from various farm equipment…tractor tyres you can climb on or through, tyre swings and an actual wooden tractor with parts from a real tractor (seat, steering wheel, exhaust stack)!
Visit the Enchanted Acres website or search for ‘Enchanted Acres IA’ on Facebook to find out about the events being held at this Iowa pumpkin patch!
Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz – Monticello
(I received free entry to Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz with my regular day job)
Location: 16359 170th Ave, Monticello, IA 52310 (40 mins from Dubuque and Cedar Rapids)
Open until: End of October 2018 (Wed – Sun)
Cost: $3 Wed – Fri/$5 Sat – Sun (entrance to the market place is free)
Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz in Monticello was my first pumpkin patch experience (and I’m going again this year)! There is a LOT of things to do with children, it’s like a sensory overload!
If you’re looking for a corn maze in Iowa…you’ll find one here! I came out with all the students I went in with so I’ll take that as a major win! There’s a huge corn maze in my home county of Essex UK, that my mum and sister recently visited, so this is something that the adults can enjoy as well as children! As well as a corn maze, there are smaller hay bale mazes, tractor tyre mazes…mazes where you wouldn’t have to worry so much about losing a child in them!
Another ‘adult fuelled’ activity, shall we say, is the human hamster roll! It’s a giant plastic container (?) that you can run in a little like a hamster wheel. The small children in our group found it hard to move without adult help, but please be careful, I managed to fall over and smash my bum to pieces and could barely move for a week (I’ve jumped off cliffs, out of planes, been on canyon swings and yet get ‘beaten’ by a hamster wheel…talk about ruin my thrill seeker image)!
I love the animals that they have at Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz! You can find: alpacas, ducks, rabbits, cows, sheep, pigs, peafowl and miniature donkeys and horses!
Other pumpkin patch activities at Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz:
- Corn pool – a really cool one with a small slide (really small…for like under 4’s) and a problem solving wall with connecting pipes to pour corn through
- The rubber duck races were a huge hit with our class (and me), where you use a hand pump to make the ducks float/race down drain pipes to the end.
- There are plenty of murals and cartoons to pose in front of!
- You can find plenty of giant versions of various board games and popular favourites (Twister, Checkers, sack races etc)
You can find more information on the Pumpkin Patch Pizzazz website!
Have you visited a pumpkin patch before? What do you enjoy the most about them?!
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