Pumpkin Patch Visit: Center Grove Orchard

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Center Grove Orchard is hard to describe – it goes so far above and beyond typical orchards or pumpkin patches. I told a friend that it’s like a Midwestern fall amusement park! We had already been to Wills Orchard and Pumpkin Patch and Geisler Farms so I wasn’t planning on going to a third place but then read about “pumpkin destruction day” on their website. My kids *love* big trucks and tractors so I figured we would give it a shot, and we had so much fun! The “farmyard” activities are shut down for the year – but I’m sharing all about the day so you can get excited to go next year! CGO does have holiday events planned with Santa and trees and sleigh rides, so there is still a reason to drive out even though the fall season is over.

You can see more specific details on the Center Grove Orchard page or check out its location on the interactive map.

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You park in a grassy lot – be prepared for a bit of a hike on a weekend! The whole place is stroller friendly, if you’re coming with little people.

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This is the back of the main building – those silver feed bunks are where you buy tickets and to the right is the back of the store. I highly recommend buying some of the apple cider doughnuts!

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Lots of pumpkin patches have corn bins, but CGO has the biggest corn barn by far. My kids love jumping down into the kernels; my Mom always says “but think of all the animal urine in there!”, she is such a worrywart.

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Ubiquitous pedal tractors, one of my son’s favorite spots!

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Past the pedal tractors are all the animals and a bunch of fun little wooden houses and face-in-hole photo spots.

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I really love the goat enclosure! It has a funky bridge that they trot above, I loved the silhouette of this one against the sunset.

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We watched them butt heads for a while! Not unlike my two kids.

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The “learning barn” behind the fake cow reminded me of Little Hands on the Farm at the Iowa State Fair – kids take a little basket and “harvest” from each section.

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There are two jumping pillows, one for bigger kids and smaller kids. These are a big hit for my family!

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The mega slide is over in the corner, across from an apple slingshot. I burned off some skin on my elbow going down with my son, but they seemed to have fun.

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The last thing we watched was a pig race at this little house. Honestly, it was pretty hokey, but my daughter liked watching the critters run around! A few other things that are there but I didn’t take pictures of are a rubber duck water race thing that kids pump, a rope “spiderweb” to climb on, some bounce-y horses, larger pedal tractors for older kids (or parents with kids in their lap), firepits for marshmellows, a tractor hay ride, and a mini hay maze in the middle. There is also a larger corn maze, apple orchard, pumpkin patch, and a real ride-on miniature train.

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The special pumpkin destruction activities included a crane drop! They filled them with flour so they hit a giant dust cloud up when they dropped, it was super fun.

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Another pile of pumpkins got driven over by tractors, looked like a lot of fun.  center-grove-orchard-and-pumpkin-patch-des-moines-iowa-12

There was pumpkin croquet and good old fashioned pumpkin whacking. Both my kids really got into this! It made a giant mess, but they loved it.

We are thinking of making this day a family tradition, the kids had so much fun! It’s a pretty far hike out there but definitely easy to spend an entire day out and enjoying all the pumpkin-apple-corn-animal activities.

I uploaded a few videos that my kids are loving re-watching, check them out!

 

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