Fall Fun for Everyone
Updated: Sep 27
Check out some of our local favorites we love to visit when Fall season is here!
Highlight: Small(er) family operated pumpkin path that recently added more kid friendly activities. New attractions since our last visit in 2020 include rides and a petting zoo.
In the Fall of 2020 we took the kids to Sonny Acres Farm, a family owned and operated pumpkin patch in West Chicago, IL. This was our kids FIRST pumpkin patch experience and in the midst of the COVID pandemic, it was nice to take part in an outdoor activity. We spent the morning walking the trails with our strollers and taking some photos with their festive fall décor. We finished the day by stopping in the store for some cider donuts and taffy apples.
Flash forward 3 years and this beloved farm has had several updates and upgrades for their fall festival which include hayrides, a petting zoo, amusement rides, a haunted hayride and barn on top of their already famous pumpkin patch, delicious treats, and (newly expanded) farm fresh store. Admission is no longer free and prices varies depending on the experience and activities you select. Sonny Acres is open Tuesday through Sundays and Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day. Fall festivities run from mid September until Halloween, but the farm offers a variety of other entertainment and special events throughout the year. This is your one stop spot for parties, field trips, weddings (new facilities coming in 2025), a Christmas market, holiday light show, a Christmas Story house replica, visits with Santa, Christmas trees, Spring florals and more. We're excited to visit Sonny Acres this fall season to see all the new additions!
Highlight: This place is massive and the star of the show is the rides. More than 13 family friendly rides are included with admission.
Bengston Pumpkin Farm is the premier fall festival and pumpkin patch in the Chicagoland area for good reasons. Rates vary from $19.99 to $36.99 depending on the day you visit and military personal and children 1 year of age and under are free. Admission includes unlimited access to all rides and activities. The fall festivities run from mid-September until Halloween and hours of operations are from 10am/11am to 8:30pm. We visited Bengston's last season and it did not disappoint! With over 13 rides and attractions there is Fall fun for everyone. Even at the age of 2 our kids were able to enjoy most of the rides (with us). This farm is massive (you will need a map), but the paved walkways make it easy to maneuver (especially with strollers and wagons). Kids will delight in watching the pig races, meeting hundreds of fluffy farm friends, and multiple play areas while parents will enjoy the wide variety of food and beverage options!
Bengston's doesn't mess around when it comes to food and their is something for everyone to enjoy. They have a massive food "court" area that has ample seating and is surrounded by play areas. Offering way more than just your traditional cider donut, visitors can choose from tacos, elote, artesian sandwiches and award winning BBQ. Popcorn and ice cream amongst other treat items can be found in the sweet shop. Of course you can take home your choice of honey, flavored butters and specialty sauces to get your fall fix! We were able to get a minute to relax and enjoy our food while the kids played at the park.
The options for picking your own pumpkin are endless. Throughout the park you will find areas designated to pick your favorite (price per weight)! We recommend arriving when the patch opens because they draw large crowds even during the weekdays. Anticipate spending the entire day at Bengston's Pumpkin Farm because there is plenty to do, see and eat here.
Highlight: Another massive pumpkin patch that boasts one of the best petting zoos. You can even feed a giraffe!
Although many associate Goebbert’s with fall fun did you know they are open year-round? Each season is special and unique. In the Spring the greenhouses are filled with flowers while the Summertime offers a variety of vegetables and winter nights are brightly lit with a holiday light show. The best part, you can enjoy a gorgeous and fun light show from the comfort of your vehicle! But their fall festival is what they are known for! Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard offers family-friendly activities for all ages. A general admission fee is $17 per person on the weekdays and $20 on the weekends with a senior discount of $12 every day. Parking and children 2 and younger are FREE. The family-owned farm has two locations in South Barrington and Pingree Grove. We took our little ones to the South Barrington location, but their second location in Pingree Grove includes an apple orchard. Hours of operation are from 9am to 6pm daily. They are closed after Halloween (November 1) and the fall season ends until next year. We love that they open at 9am since our kids are early risers and we can avoid the crowds!
Upon entering Goebbert’s South Barrington location, you walk through massive farm stand and garden center. The farm stand offers fresh produce including apples, baked goods, homemade sweets, home décor, holiday decorations, clothing, and more! The greenery has gorgeous flowers and plants for purchase. It is impossible to leave without bringing home a souvenir (or two). There is an attraction for everyone at Goebbert’s. Kids will love their haunted house, corn box, corn maze, pumpkin eating dinosaur, pig races, straw mound, pony and camel rides, jumping pillow, pedal carts, pumpkin express train and hayrides. Parents will love the endless photo opportunities throughout the property, including the obligatory “How Tall This Fall”. This pumpkin patch is extremely interactive for children with multiple playgrounds and slides. What truly sets Goebbert’s apart from other pumpkin patches is their animal attractions. This is not your average petting zoo! Guests get the opportunity to feed and closely interact with exotic animals like giraffes and zebras. The animal land is beyond what we could have imagined. We paid extra to purchase corn and carrots to feed all our new furry friends. The kids loved being so close!
There is so much to see and do you are bound to work up an appetite. Luckily, the café has several baked goods and meal options. They offer homemade apple cider donuts, caramel apples and apple cider. We couldn’t resist the fresh hot apple cider and it did not disappoint. There were several food stands throughout the patch as well, but they are typically only open during the weekends and high peak times. The farm is also available for private events, weddings and parties. It would make a beautiful backdrop for any occasion.
Highlight: There is a cider house. Enough said.
This apple orchard AND pumpkin patch is sure to delight both kids and adults! When we took the kiddos they enjoyed the fall festive activities while we enjoyed the cider house flights. General admission tickets, pricing and hours of operation vary depending on when you plan to visit and what activities you're interested in participating in. They have two separate days; Fall Festival Days and Weekdays. Fall festival days will require general admission and are full of activities and attractions. Weekdays provide a more relaxing environment for shopping in their market, eating fresh treats, sipping local drinks, and apple picking.
This orchard is the ultimate destination for adult friendly activities like live entertainment, food trucks, campfire sites, a haunted corn maze (10 acres), a cider house tasting room and store/bakery. Their pumpkin house (yes a house make of pumpkins) and flower fields makes for the perfect backdrop for any and every photo! Kids will delight in the corn maze, play areas (complete with giant bubble wands), wagon rides, jumping pillow, giant slides, apple train, pony rides, and petting zoo. The corn crib was our kids favorite area to explore and they would have been content playing in there all day. We did go during the week and not all the attractions were operational like the weekends, but there was still plenty to do and explore.
As you would expect prepare to leave this charming family owned farm with at least a few pumpkins and delicious bakery treats!
Highlight: The Green Oaks/Libertyville location is the closest to Chicago making for an easy and quick commute.
This no-thrill orchard has the most affordable pricing around. Heinz doesn't charge any admission or parking fees, but you won't find any agri-tainment here. There are no bathrooms, hayrides, pumpkins, or petting zoos which allows them to remain affordable. You have two choices when apple picking here; $10 for a half-peck bag (5-6 lbs) or $20 for a full-peck (10-20 lbs). They accept cash, major credit cards and phone payments (like Apple, Google and Samsung Pay). Make sure to check out their webpage for updates on what varieties of apples they offer and availability. It's also best to consult their site for hours of operation as it varies depending on crop. This is the perfect place to enjoy a beautiful outdoor setting and the simplistic joy of apple picking!
Don't let the simplicity of this apple orchard deter you from going. We had the best time and the apples are delicious. Heinz is conveniently located by Lambs Farm and if you want something else to accompany your apple picking activity you can easily pop over there too. We spent about 30 minutes picking a half-peck at the orchard and went to Lambs Farm after to enjoy the petting zoo, feeding the animals, mini golf, and lunch at Magnolia Café. Being at Lambs Farm is like a blast from the past and not much has changed from when we were kids. The pricing is reasonable ($5 admission per person which includes mini golf) and you're supporting an amazing non-profit organization that has been helping people with developmental disabilities since 1961. Lunch at the on-site café was not only convenient, but really delicious too!
Highlight: The photo opts are endless and the food is good.
JoJo's Shake Bar is bringing all the fall spirit to all their locations this year with their pumpkin patch. Enjoy specialty shakes, cocktails, caramel apples and more at the pop up staple. The patios are decked out and the perfect place for photo opts! The great thing about JoJo's is it's a restaurant first and foremost. You are guaranteed a great meal and exceptional drinks/treats in a super festive setting! Each year they offer a variety of activities during the pumpkin patch pop up like pumpkin painting, basic witch mixology classes, and succulent workshops. We loved our drinks and the staff was super accommodating for families. Get your fall fill at JoJo's by making a reservation today!
Autumn at the Zoo
Highlight: If you have a Brookfield Zoo membership you can enjoy the fall festivities for no additional charge. Lincoln Park Zoo is free admissions unless there is a special event.
When the temperatures drop is one of the best time to visit your local zoo! Everyone is more comfortable including the animals and they are typically more active. Both Lincoln Park and Brookfield Zoo have fall festivities to enjoy during the season.
On Saturdays and Sundays from October 7-22 Brookfield will be all treats and no tricks! Enjoy fabulous photo ops throughout the zoo, a new spooktacular 4D theater show (Jinxed), animal pumpkin feedings, treat stations, pumpkin decorating , special zoo chats, magic shows, and a Boo! Draw Wall near the Nature Stage. Costumes are encouraged for guests under the age of 13. Check out everything Boo! at the Zoo offer!
Lincoln Park Zoo will host their annual Fall Fest from September 20 to October 29 daily. Dive into the wonderful world of Autumn and enjoy picking a pumpkin, hot apple cider and toasted s'mores. Entry into the zoo is free (no registration required) and family-friendly. Guests will enjoy musical entertainment, story times, professional pumpkin carvers, and fall-themed animal enrichment. Ticketed attractions will include a Fun Slide, Harvest Maze, inflatable attractions and much more. Special events with age restrictions will also be offered during the Fall season. Check out everything Fall Fest has to offer!
We joke about Katie's love of the Christmas season and Amanda's obsession with holding on to summer weather, but we both genuinely love the fall season. It arguably has the best fashion and has incredible activities and traditions to partake in. Call us basic... we love apple picking, pumpkin patches, leaves changing colors and warm beverages! We love all the local fall festivals throughout the city and suburbs we get to enjoy and savor during those precious last warm weather days. The season is short and there is only so many activities you can squeeze in (especially in a Midwest climate) so we recommend prioritizing what is the most important to you and your family! Everything else you manage to fit in is just a bonus. There's nothing wrong with a taking it slow and curling up on the couch watching a Fall or Halloween movie under a warm blanket with an autumn candle burning while eating your favorite seasonal treats.
For an even more in-depth and comprehensive list of local pumpkin patches, apple orchards and fall activities we highly recommend following and checking out Kidlist and your local social media community!
XO - Katie & Amanda