As the air turns crisp, many fall farms have opened and will stay open throughout October or longer.
This is the time to plan out the perfect fall fun for you and your family.
Here are eight places (in no specific order) to find fall fun within just 30 minutes of Eden Prairie, ranging from low-key to action-packed:
Location: 10-minute drive. Just outside of Chanhassen at the intersection of Lyman Boulevard and Audubon Road.
What to expect: Pumpkins, hayrack rides, corn maze, corn pit, air cannon and other activities. No U-pick apples.
A good choice for: Relaxed fall fun and the perfect pumpkin.
Location: 15-minute drive. West of Chanhassen at the intersection of Highway 5 and Rolling Acres Road.
What to expect: A farm store with pre-picked apples, a huge variety of classic and unique specialty pumpkins, squash and gourds, baked goods and gifts. North Star Apple Cider Donuts. No U-pick apples.
A good choice for: A quick in-and-out with high-quality apple and pumpkin products.
Location: 15 minute drive to festival at 150th Street West in Shakopee (pumpkin patches located in Chaska).
What to expect: A large festival grounds with a corn maze, corn pit, jumping pillow, pumpkin blasters, petting zoo, obstacle course and more. Two U-pick pumpkin patches located separately from the festival.
A good choice for: A lively fall festival with many activities and food and beverage choices. Pumpkin patches to pick your own pumpkin from the field.
Location: 20-minute drive. Just west of Carver Park Reserve.
What to expect: Hayrack rides, and a schedule of food trucks and live music. Here you will also find Parley Lake Winery. (U-pick apples is closed for the season.)
A good choice for: A relaxing fall outing with both apples and wine.
Location: 30-minute drive. Just northwest of Lake Minnetonka near Burl Oaks Golf Club.
What to expect: U-pick apples, pumpkins, hayrack rides, “playgrounds,” scavenger hunt, apple cider donuts, brats, other kid’s activities. Certain activities have a $10 admission cost.
A good choice for: Lots of kid’s activities and U-pick apples. Visit during weekday U-pick hours for a more low-key experience.
Location: In Eden Prairie, on the northwest corner of Eden Prairie Road and Pioneer Trail.
What to expect: More than 50 varieties of pumpkins and gourds as well as mums, corn stalks, Halloween/harvest décor, local apples with caramel dipping sauce.
A good choice for: A quick drive for family-friendly fall activities in October. Includes a corn maze, haunted house, jumpin’ pumpkin and a coffin selfie station.
Location: 30-35 minute drive. South on Highway 169 near Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store.
What to expect: U-pick apples, pre-picked pumpkins, hayrack rides, farm animals, hard cider, food & beverages, apple cider donuts
A good choice for: Lots of kid’s activities and U-pick apples, plus hard cider.
Location: It is technically a little over a 30-minute drive. Located a few miles southwest of Watertown.
What to expect: Pre-picked apples, pumpkins, fully stocked apple store and gift shop, grill and pub. Many activities including a corn maze, apple slingers, farm animals, kiddie train, and more.
A good choice for: Lots of kid’s activities, plus adult beverages.
Looking for more options?
Minnesota Grown (www.minnesotagrown.org) provides the most complete directory and an interactive map of Minnesota apple orchards, pumpkin patches, tree farms and other local farms.
Google Maps is also an effective way to find nearby orchards. I suggest using the search terms “apple orchard,” “pumpkins,” and “fall festival” and then zoom in to the areas you are willing to drive.