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Pumpkin Patches: Stranger Than We Remembered

By Olivia Leigh in Miscellaneous on Oct 18, 2007 4:24PM

We've been itching to take a trip out of the concrete jungle and hit up a pumpkin patch. When we started our search for local places to check out, we were expecting to find a decent variety of spots to enjoy a nice hayride, sample some cider, and pick a pumpkin or two. Instead, what we found were farms chock full of the weirdest crap we've ever heard of. Whether you have kids in tow or not, any of these places sound like a worthwhile Saturday diversion.

  • 2007_10_dino.jpgIf you're looking for the granddaddy of patches, take the 55-mile trek to Goebbert's Pumpkin Patch in Hampshire, Ill. A pumpkin patch on 'roids, this spot promises a llama-stocked petting zoo, pig races, and omgz, a pumpkin-eating dinosaur (see photo).
  • While you're out in Hampshire, head 20 minutes south to Maple Park, where Kupiers Family Farm gives Goebbert's a pretty good run for the money on the weirdness meter. Here, your admission will not only get you access to the apple and pumpkin farms, but you can also check out the "Bunny Barnyard," compete in the tractor derby, let your kids play in a sandbox full of corn, or take a "roll in the straw" — what, no romp in the hay?
  • If apples are more your speed, the Apple Holler in Sturtevant, Wisc., offers ample fruit picking, and then some. Adults can sample apple wines and apple butter, while kids can enjoy something called the "Teddy Bear Moonwalk," as well as the "Cool Cow Maze" and the "Golden Goat Bridge."
  • And last, but not least, if you're looking to stay close to home, the Chicago Park District has a surprisingly large array of fall activities slated for the month. Scattered across the city, events will offer the chance to pimp out your pumpkin, get freaked out by some carnie characters, and pick pumpkins in your local park. Who knew?