Pumpkins and Kids – Color Your Weekends Orange.

I think October should be officially set aside to celebrate all things orange.

Perfect Pumpkins in the Sun

Perfect pumpkins come in all sizes but the most popular color is always orange.

I do not mean orange and black or orange and green, simply orange. Why? Orange is a happy color but except for harvest time which is also pumpkin time, it is relegated to coloring sessions when crayons make magic in little hands and grass, bunnies and occasionally people turn up orange.

Pumpkin patches and corn mazes go hand in hand but I have pumpkins on my mind because the shades of orange in any pumpkin patch signify a harmonious connection with our planet. I am inspired by the countless creative ways gardens and farms embrace the season and focus on scree free fun for all ages.

Pumpkin village at Dallas Arboretum

Autumn at the Dallas Arboretum includes a world class pumpkin village, a magical pumpkin carriage, and oodles of screen free families activities.

Near to my home and at the top of my list is the Pumpkin Village at Dallas Arboretum. The colorful pumpkins, gourds and squash population number well past 50,000 and create a setting that must be seen to be believed. Each season I watch tykes and their older companions awed by the remarkably artful Pumpkin Village and Cinderella’s magical pumpkin carriage.

The annual Keene Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire pays homage to the color orange populating the festival with thousands of lit jack-o’lanterns and those in attendance have a chance to go pumpkin bowling.

Dewberry Farm South Texas Twins and Pumpkins

The awesome pumpkin patch at Dewberry Farm has pumpkins for tykes and enough family activities to last all weekend.

One of the best agri-adventures in the country is at Dewberry Farm in South Texas where acres of pumpkins ready for picking, and pumpkin carving and corn cannons add to the fun. On Saturday nights Pumpkin Hollow is aglow with hundreds of artfully carved pumpkins.

The Great Pumpkin Farm not far from Buffalo, New York has everything pumpkin-related from pumpkin decorating, and scarecrow stuffing to pumpkin pie eating. As an added bonus they have “FSI: Farm Scene Investigation” corn maze experience with its own interactive app.

Red Arty Hubbard Pumpkins

The best pumpkin patches prove pumpkins have personalities just like people and the come in all shapes and sizes from smooth and sunny to warty and quirky.

Not far from Wichita, Kansas, Walters’ Pumpkinfest is all about seeing more orange. From the pumpkin cannon blaster and pumpkin sling shots to pumpkin salsa, pumpkin chili, pumpkin bread and pumpkin soup, the festival is really orange.

Not far from Los Angeles Underwood Family Farms showcases more than a dozen varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds during their Fall Harvest Festival plus in Hollywood style Farmer Craig’s Chicken Show features an animatronic chicken clucking to popular tunes.

Our aMAZEing Fun folder features dozens of awesome places to encounter pumpkins, cornstalks, scarecrows and screen free fun. The season is turning more orange by the minute.

Nancy Nelson-Duac

Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files

Harvest Time Agri-Adventures Offer Screen Free Fun for Everyone.

The best agri-adventures and farmstead experiences offer creative and often challenging pathways through 10-foot corn stalks, pumpkin fields ready to harvest and a menu of screen free things to do outside with kids.

Minnetonka Orchards Scarecrow

Scarecrows make perfect harvest time companions for humans of all sizes but do they keep the birds away?

In addition to first person rural life experiences like hayrides, scarecrows, pony rides, farmyard animal encounters and corn pile play boxes many locations have added extra ways to enjoy farm time with kids. The most popular activities include goat walks, pig races, pig painting, apple cannons, pumpkin bowling, and nifty barrel-train rides.

The screen free menu of choices keeps expanding. The most ambitious additions include ziplining over corn fields, orbing down hills, cranberry bog experiences, giant viewing towers, and secret earth-tunnels. Plus, many locations have created night time maze adventures adding an extra dimension to family to the agri-adventures.

Corn maze at Minnetonka Orchards

The corn maze at Minnetonka Orchards is only part of the agri-adventure which also includes apple picking, wagon rides, barnyard animal encounters, and an awesome haystack.

Our aMAZeing Fun folder features least nine dozen locations to find terrific agri-adventures, corn mazes and fall festivals from coast to coast including great spots in Canada.

One of the world’s largest corn mazes is at Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove, Illinois. Their agri-adventures pedal trikes, a 50-foot high viewing tower, zip lining, and a zorbing adventure inside an 11-foot orb.

The corn maze at Dell’Osso Family Farm near Lathrop, California is large enough to be viewed by NASA from orbit. Along with the maze challenge they run a pumpkin tram, have pumpkin blasters, zip lining, and aerial ropes course, and a plank plunge.

An agri-adventure at Marni Farm near Ipswich, MA includes 10 miles of pathways and hundreds of questions to be answered plus a larger-than-life spider web challenge, apple cannons, and thousands of pumpkins.

Dewberry Farms Pumpkin Field

The awesome pumpkin field at Dewberry Farm near Houston offers so many tempting choices.

The Texas Maze at Dewberry Farm near Houston includes an awesome pumpkin field, interactive corn maze with dozens of “cornundrums” plus honey bees at work, corn cannons, singing chickens, rubber ducky races, calf roping, and ziplining.

French Prairie Gardens Fall Harvest Festival in St. Paul, OR has a “Pigtucky” Derby and an opportunity for visitors to watch the secret lives of chickens.

The season looks very promising.

Nancy Nelson-Duac

Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files

 

Add More Zip To Your Next Family Vacation.

What’s green and screen-free? Ziplining. It’s a way to for families (even those members who are secretly afraid of heights) to zip, soar, jump, glide and feel free as a birds. Zipline adventures add new perspectives, elevated thrills, and “whoa!” moments to any family outing.

Sky Valley Zipline Tours near Boone, North Carolina

At Sky Valley Zipline Tours near Boone, North Carolina the fun for families is in doing it together.

Historically ziplines have been a practical method of transportation for not just people but also supplies. Now ziplines have taken on new importance becoming synonymous with family fun and adventure from Ohio to California and St. Lucia to Maui.

For parents vacationing with “always bored” teens a zipline excursion may just be the answer. The chance to literally fly through the tree tops above boulders, streams, bogs, lakes, canyons, secret caves, and across meadows, traversing bridges, and jumping off rock faces will get the attention of even the most jaded teen. Really, it is all about being able to say “I did it!” which makes all the difference no matter what your age.

The choices are many with more than 700 registered zipline courses on the planet and as one might imagine no two zipline adventures are the same. Location, time of year, weather, time of day and age all make a difference but for families looking to share an adventure any time will be a good time. Doing it together is what matters.

Smoky Mountain Ziplines in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Smoky Mountain Ziplines in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee makes it easy to soar through the treetops with a smile on your face.

At Smoky Mountain Ziplines in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee they are geared to first-timers and assist families who want to zip together. The two most popular routes zip along around 95 feet above the ground at about 20 mph. Tykes ages five to seven years of age may travel the route in tandem with a guide.

Sky Valley Zip Tours near Boone, North Carolina begins each adventure with an off-road ATV ride through creek and up a mountain trail before releasing participants to zip and soar through the tree tops above boulders, streams, secret caves, and across meadows.

The new Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach has 13 different elevated trails color coded to indicate degree of difficulty and ziplining night is an option. An additional 40 platforms, crossings, and ziplines scaled down for younger climbers ages five to nine make up the area dubbed The Labyrinth.

My advice for those who usually avoid the thrill of heights but still desire to share the zipline adventure – don’t look down, look out and remember your kids are watching so try to smile.

As always I welcome feedback. Do you have a favorite place for a zipline adventure just Tell Mom.

Nancy Nelson-Duac

Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files.