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Our Five Faves

Best fall family fun

Posted October 7, 2013
Updated October 10, 2013

— We have a lot of pumpkin patches, corn mazes and fall fun farms around here. I know this because I’ve been compiling the Go Ask Mom Halloween and Fall Fun Guide for several years, which lists them all.

For many families, a visit to one of these farms is an annual tradition. It’s kind of like getting your Christmas tree from the same farmer each year or going to the same beach every summer or getting ice cream from the favorite neighborhood shop. It’s not the same if you do it any other way.

So bear with me as I list five of my favorite fall fun farms in the region. If you have a favorite that I missed, please share in the comments!

1. Hill Ridge Farm, Youngsville. This one is big. When you think pumpkin patch, you think quaint farm with a field of pumpkins, maybe a hay ride and some farm animals. Hill Ridge has those and about a million other things. The 80-foot slide, kiddie train, corn house, pony rides, inflatables and more will keep kids entertained for hours. I featured the farm on Go Ask Mom last October. General admission is $10, which includes a pumpkin. There are additional costs for gem panning, the train ride, giant jumping pillow and pony rides.

2. Ganyard Hill Farm, Durham. Ganyard Hill offers a more authentic farm experience with lots of other attractions to keep kids busy too. There are farm animals, a corn maze, haystack mountain to climb, hay maze, corn crib and hay ride. But what makes the farm really stand out from the pack is that it’s one of the few places where you can actually pick a pumpkin off the vine. Most farms ship in pumpkins from other fields or elsewhere and line them up for you to pick from. But at Ganyard Hill, you can actually pick the pumpkin off the vine. You can pick your own cotton too. Admission is $12.50 per person.

3. Green Level Gourd Farm, Wake County. If you have young children or are looking for a low-key and inexpensive way to enjoy the season, there’s Green Level Gourd Farm near Cary and Apex. I featured this farm on Go Ask Mom on Friday. Admission is just $4 per person. For that, you can play on the playground, a mix of homemade pieces, traditional playground equipment and toddler toys; see farm animals; walk through a very small corn maze; and enjoy a ride on the spooky and fun hay ride. I use the word “spooky” lightly when I describe the hay ride. It’s goofy, low-tech fun. My four-year-old loved it.

4. Ken’s Korny Corn Maze, Garner. Ken’s has several claims to fame. It’s North Carolina’s first and longest running corn maze. And this year, it’s partnered with WRAL on a maze features the likeness of WRAL-TV’s own Mike Maze. It’s the Maze Maze! But there’s also a smaller children’s maze; rope maze; hay barn; corn crib; playground; miniature golf; and more. The maze is open through Nov. 10. Admission is $10 for ages 6 and up and $5 for ages 3 to 5. Pumpkins and hay rides cost extra. Ken’s Korny Corn Maze will host WRAL Day on Oct. 12. Maze will be on hand to greet crowds and sign autographs during the event. On WRAL Day, $1 of every ticket to enter the maze will be donated to WRAL's Coats for the Children, benefiting the Salvation Army of Wake County. For teenagers and others who love a good scare, there’s a haunted house, trails and corn field, which kicks off Oct. 25.

5. Vollmer Farm, Bunn. This farm, a favorite spring strawberry picking spot, also offers lots of fall activities including its Back Forty Playground with a jumping pillow, 80-foot underground slide; zip line; hay ride; barrel train; corn maze; farm animals; a homemade ice cream shop; and other offerings. A unique activity at Vollmer: The farm features campfire sing-a-longs and family movies on Saturday nights through Nov. 2, including Madagascar 3 this weekend, Oct. 12. Admission is $13 for ages 2 to 64 and $10 for ages 65 and up. That covers all activities, including the movie and all of the Back Forty fun.

Happy fall!

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