When Hoosier Poet James Whitcomb Riley wrote about the “frost on the punkin” he probably didn’t foresee the popularity of pumpkin patches, U-pick apple farms or corn mazes. Make taking the kids out into the country on a crisp, autumn afternoon one of their favorite traditions. Here are a few fun fall activities in Indianapolis to check out with your family this season.
5717 N. 300 W., Greenfield, (317) 326-2778, Monday-Saturday, 9 am to 7 pm, closed on Sundays.
Grab a little red wagon or bring your own as you explore the pumpkin patch at this 85-year-old family farm east of Indianapolis. Tuttle’s apples have a 50-year-history of winning Indiana State Fair ribbons and several varieties can be picked each fall, including Early Blaze, Cortland and Ida Red. The 2015 corn maze is called “Bee-Amazed” with activities families can complete along the way. Catch a narrated hayrides offered at specific times, too! Did we mention pumpkin donuts and homemade caramel apples?
1200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, (317) 630-2001, October 2-4; 9-11; 16-18; 23-25
There aren’t too many places where you can find elephants smashing pumpkins except at the annual fall celebration at the Zoo. Little ones (and grown-ups) line up to see the elephants smashing, stomping or beating the pumpkins in an effort to get to their favorite snack. Guests can also watch the brown bear bobbing for apples and enjoy Halloween music at the Dolphin exhibit. Costumes are encouraged!
Read more about the Indianapolis Zoo in “Top 10 Kid Friendly Activities in Indianapolis“
9101 Moore Road, Zionsville, (317) 773-1700, Saturday, October 10, noon to 7 pm
Come celebrate all things German at the Oktoberfest celebration at Traders Point, an organic dairy farm and artisan creamery in Zionsville. A few of the festivities include a polka band, hog roast, cow-milking demos, a German Biergarten, hayrides and a pumpkin patch. Don’t leave without trying the chocolate milk.
Downtown Greenfield, Thursday, October 1 to Sunday October 4, parking at the Hancock County Fair, shuttle downtown for a donation of 50 cents.
Speaking of the “Hoosier Poet,” the Riley festival features one of the largest parades in Indiana beginning at 11 am on Saturday, October 3. Honoring its famous Hoosier son, Greenfield also celebrates with a fiddlers’ contest, decorated pumpkins, a large craft show, quilts and plenty of fall food.
795 S. US 421, Zionsville, (317) 769-4556, Saturdays and Sundays in October.
Word has it that the Bankert family has a new donut machine to keep up with the demand for its hot apple cinnamon donuts at the 16th annual October festival in Zionsville. Aside from the fall cuisine (don’t forget the apple cider slushies or the fresh-popped kettle corn), families can experience life on a farm with hayrides, a corn maze, farm animals, pumpkin decorating and a hay bale climb. New this year: small children can have a barnyard photo taken with baby animals.
13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers, (317) 776-6000, October 9-11, 15-18, 22-25, gates open at 6 pm.
This educational park transforms into “Conner Scairie” each October. Bring the family to a land haunted by friendly ghouls all vying to be mayor after Lord Moldywart accidentally turns himself into a fuzzy bunny. For those who dare, come face to face with the menacing Headless Horseman on the haunted hayride. You can make history by visiting the craft area and participating in Conner Prairie’s attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records by folding more than 6,000 origami bats.
6848 N. 250 E., Whiteland, (317) 535-9150, opening Friday, October 2 and continuing weekends through the end of October.
If your children ever ask, “Where does milk come from?” this is the place to show them! Every day, cows at Kelsay Farms produce eight gallons or 128 glasses of cold, fresh milk. Fall is a special time on the farm with hayrides, a seven-acre corn maze (bring your flashlight to explore at night), pumpkin bowling and the Moo Choo Express. Dairy snacks such as chocolate milkshakes and grilled cheese are standard fare.
19975 Hamilton Boone Road, Sheridan. (317) 769-4636, Fall Harvest Fest, weekends in October.
Watch cider being pressed at this working orchard and farm or pick some of the 27 varieties of apples grown on 4,000 trees. During October, come for the Apple Fest and Apple Butter Contest, the Cider Fest and Flashlight Corn Maze Night or the Pumpkin Fest and Pumpkin Pie Contest.
11366 State Road 38 East, Noblesville, (317) 773-3344, through October 31
Have the kids make candles in a special candle-making cabin at this Noblesville pumpkin patch as part of the 43rd Pumpkin Harvest Festival. Shoot corn cobs over the pond, go on a hayride to pick a pumpkin, and make your way through the haunted straw maze. Some activities take place on week days and others on weekends, so visit the website for details.
Be sure to take advantage of the abundance of fall activities in Indianapolis and around our area to enjoy with your family this season!