Sure, the temperatures may be falling and the air turning crisp, but that’s anything but an excuse to hide inside as the days get shorter. With hot days at the beach now a thing of the past, it’s time to look closer to home for some uniquely South Jersey activities that promise family fun for all ages.
Between hunting for apples and pumpkins at pick-your-own farms (and don’t forget the homemade hot apple cider and donuts), getting lost and found in some of the area’s most expansive and unique corn mazes, and taking advantage of the numerous fall activities planned in the coming month, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
A hayride to the pumpkin patch is just part of the reason why this farm has become a must-see agritourism stop for families: There’s also a six-acre corn maze, cut into three miles of trail (which includes an optional maze game that takes up to two hours to complete); a playground area and barnyard filled with baby chicks, goats and more; and for the older kids, Creamy Acres transforms into a Night of Terror haunted attraction after dark. 448 Lincoln Mill Road, Mullica Hill, (856) 223-1669, CreamyAcres.com
Duffield’s Farm Market
Unique events help this 80-years-and-running family farm stand out, such as scarecrow making, offered every Saturday through October. Pumpkin-picking hayrides are offered, of course, as are pony rides, a corn maze, barn bounce and face painting. Check out the Pumpkinland shop before you leave, where you can pick up fall decorations of all types to help you get in the spirit. Greentree & Chapel Heights roads, Sewell, (856) 589-7090, DuffieldsFarm.com
G&G Farm Market
According to this family-run market, a crisp autumn night is the perfect time to enjoy a ride to nowhere. If you want to know exactly what they mean by that, come out for a trip on one of their nightly hayrides that are capped off with a bonfire—but note, these events require a group reservation. Offered daily is their corn maze—shaped in a patriotic theme this year—and on weekends are their daylight pumpkin-picking hayrides along with a haunted house, moon bounce, and a mini tractor racetrack. 1067 Township Line Road, Swedesboro, (856) 467-8166, GandGFarmMarket.com
This vineyard isn’t just for adults. Harvest Weekends are offered through the end of the month, featuring hayrides for both apple and pumpkin picking, plus live acoustic music played on the patio. Kids will also have the opportunity to feed the farm animals on the property. Parents: You may even be able to sneak in a visit to the tasting room, where fresh harvested baked goods are also offered—such as Heritage’s well-known apple cider donuts and locally made cider. 480 Mullica Hill Road, Mullica Hill, (856) 589-4474, HeritageWineNJ.com
Hill Creek Farms
This is the only the fifth year that Hill Creek Farms, established in 1956, has been open to the public, but it’s quickly become a popular spot—particularly for their apple picking at the 17,000-tree orchard. There are multiple apple varieties to choose from, but new this year is the availability of Asian pears. Plus, their own homemade apple cider and donuts are also available in the barn market along with locally made jams and jellies. 1631 Route 45, Mullica Hill, (856) 223-0028, HillCreekFarms.com
Indian Acres Tree Farm
Indian Acres—or Eerie Acres as its haunted attraction is known as—hosts an outdoor farm mall every Saturday through December, the perfect chance for families to come out, support local vendors, and take a trip on their pumpkin-picking wagonride. But between the zip line, rock-climbing wall, pony rides, pillow bounce and more, don’t expect this to be a quick visit. 111 Tuckerton Road, Medford, (609) 953-0087, IndianAcres-TreeFarm.com
Johnson’s Corner Farm
Pumpkin picking may come to a close at the end of the month, but then there’s hayrides offered for popcorn, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower through November, extending the life of the farm to fork lesson offered for your children. Along with fall harvest festivals, which take place every weekend, there’s a Trick or Treat at the Farm event coming up on Oct. 27 and 28, offering free hayrides for kids who meet one easily manageable requirement—showing up in costume. 133 Church Road, Medford, (609) 654-8643, JohnsonsFarm.com
Mood’s Farm Market
Take part in the action at Mood’s Farm Market with pumpkin-picking hayrides every Saturday, trekking past silly, not so much scary, things along the path. Though apple picking is finished, a wide selection of varieties can be found in the market. Also, families can enjoy their nautical theme maze and popular fresh-pressed cider and donuts, made in house daily. You may want to mark their Oct. 27 Halloween parade on your calendar, with a free apple awarded to each child who shows up in costume. Prizes (a free bag of donuts) will be given out for scariest, funniest, fanciest, most original and most farm-related costumes. 901 Bridgeton Pike, Mullica Hill, (856) 478-2500, Moods-FarmMarket.com
Springdale Farms takes its role as the last working farm in Cherry Hill pretty seriously, always planning entertaining events and remaining a strong part of the community. This year, through Nov. 4, kids can “Ride the Rails to Springdale Station,” the theme of this year’s corn maze—which is a giant steam engine train carved into the cornfield of the 100-acre farm. The pumpkin-picking hayrides take place through Nov. 1, and be sure to check out their popular pie-tasting weekends, coming up Nov. 3 and 4, 10 and 11. 1638 S. Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, (856) 424-8674, SpringdaleFarms.com
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 8 (October, 2012).
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