October 14, 2015 Healthy Living

Family Friendly Fall Harvest Fun!

Ah, fall. The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, and there are a host of regional activities to experience with your family and delight in the season. While apples may still be ripe for the picking, we compiled the following guide to focus on late-fall, family-friendly activities, including pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and hayrides. For those who like a good scare this time of year, a few of the locations also offer haunted activities.

Capital Region

Ellms Family Farm

448 Charlton Road, Ballston Spa, NY 12020

The quintessential fall experience, Ellms Family Farm, located in Ballston Spa, offers an entire day’s worth of activities for the whole family. Try a corn maze, visit the pumpkin patch, or stop by and meet some of the many animals that call Ellms home. Check out the Ellms Family Farm website to download a printable map before you go, and explore their comprehensive list of offerings. Keep Ellms in mind for the winter season, too – it’s also a great place to participate in holiday activities!

Bowman Orchards

141 Sugar Hill Road, Rexford, NY 12065

 Situated on 98 picturesque acres, Bowman Orchards offers year-round seasonal activities. In the fall, visitors can pick up fresh produce and maple products, as well as pick their own pumpkins. A dedicated kids’ corner features a playground, pony rides, and pedal carts. Fun fact: This local farm was started in the 1800s by Elizabeth Shepherd, whose brother was named John Macintosh – as in, you guessed it! – Macintosh apples!

Engelke Farm

463 Garfield Road, Troy, NY 12180

Located in Rensselaer County, Engelke Farm features a farmers’ market and nursery where visitors can pick up all things fall, such as mums, corn stalks, pumpkins, and more. Haunted hayrides and a haunted corn maze operate every Friday and Saturday night in October for just $20 for both ghostly events. If getting spooked isn’t for you, their zip line is open daily, enabling you to fly through the air with the greatest of ease!

Hudson Valley

The Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze

Van Cortlandt Manor

525 S. Riverside Ave., Croton-On-Hudson, NY 10520

Through November 15, you can experience the biggest Halloween event in the tri-state area at the historic Van Cortlandt Manor, previously home to one of New York’s most prominent political families. Appropriate for all ages, this event features 6,000 hand-carved jack-o-lanterns lighting up the fall night sky. If you decide to attend, be sure to purchase your tickets in advance – last season, this incredible event sold out all 30 nights it was open!

Dykeman Farm

823 W. Dover Road, Pawling, NY 12564

Dykeman Farm features pick-your-own pumpkins, gourds, squash, and corn stalks. Corn is also picked and sold fresh the same day, guaranteed. During weekends in October, visitors can take hayrides out to the pumpkin patch and enjoy refreshments, including fresh-pressed apple cider. Face painting and children’s activities are also available in their kids’ tent.

Central New York  

Pick-a-Pumpkin Pumpkin Patch

2716 Creek Road, Esperance, NY 12066

Located in Schoharie County, Pick-a-Pumpkin Pumpkin Patch is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a host of fun, family-friendly activities. In addition to, of course, pumpkin picking, Pick-a-Pumpkin Pumpkin Patch also boasts a four-story treehouse, petting zoo, hayrides, burlap sack slide, and corn kernel play pit. Adults and children 2 and older can enjoy  an entire day’s worth of fun for just $3.

Fright Nights at the Fair

581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse, NY 13209

Do you have some thrill seekers in the family? Perfect! Recommended for ages 9 and older, Fright Nights at the Fair takes place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights during the month of October at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. Five different spooky attractions are available for one low admission price, and all events take place regardless of rain.

If you are looking for more pumpkin picking ideas, please refer to Farm Fresh: A Guide to Pick-Your-Own Farms and Recipes. In addition to pumpkins, October is also prime time for picking peppers. Happy fall!


Photo by Liz West / CC BY



Natalia Burkart
About the Author

Natalia joined CDPHP in 2015 as a communications writer/editor and currently serves as director, communications strategy. Born and raised in the Capital Region, Natalia earned a BS in marketing and management from Siena College and an MBA from Union Graduate College (now Clarkson University). A self-professed news junkie and lover of iced coffee, Natalia currently resides in North Greenbush with her husband and two kids.

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