*This guide was originally published in 2015 and has been updated for 2017.
by Julie S
Fall has arrived, and what better way to spend it than at one of the numerous family farms around Kalamazoo! Whether you only have an hour or you have the whole day, something on this list is sure to become your new family favorite for the autumn season.
8544 Gull Rd, Richland | 269-629-4214
Gull Meadow Farms opened early September with the petting farm, apple orchard, pumpkin patch, wagon ride, and family activities in pumpkin lane and the back forty. Their donuts are made fresh daily and are some of the best in SW Michigan. Don’t forget to grab a gallon of cider after a trip back from the apple orchard or pumpkin patch. They offer activity wristbands for their Fall Fun activities (Back Forty and Pumpkin Lane) for $8.00 on weekdays (Monday – Thursdays from 4-7pm) and $9.50 on weekends (Friday 4-8pm and Saturday/Sunday 10am-close). Some fun events to watch out for are:
- September 16-17: New! Some of the Pumpkin Princess’s friends have decided to join her for this special event, both princesses and superheroes!
- September 29 – October 1: Alaskan Lumberjacks: Lumberjacks compete in chainsaw carving, log rolling, ax throwing and timber climbing.
- October 27-29: Kalamazoo Balloon Fest: FREE! Check out the farms as it’s filled with tons of giant, colorful hot air balloons! Join us for the beauty of the balloon glow just after dusk on Friday & Saturday night! This is a great opportunity for terrific photos and a perfect way to spend a relaxing evening on the farm!
Here’s a list of other fun ideas to do at the farm if you don’t want to purchase an activity wristband or are looking for a less expensive option but still have some fun fall traditions:
- Purchase a wagon ride for $1/person during activity hours as well as a UPick peck bag (the smallest size $8.99) and go pick apples together.
- Purchase donuts, cider, and a wagon ride and go around the farm in the evening or on a weekend.
- Apple Cannons do not require a wristband. $2 for 3 shots or $5 for 10 shots (Apple Cannons are open during activity hours)
- Purchase a wagon ride for $1/person during activity hours and head to the U-pick Pumpkin Patch and pick out a pumpkin. Or find one in their pre-picked section!
(photo courtesy of Tara Fletcher Photograhy)
13988 Co Rd 215, Grand Junction | 269- 427-7777
Located in Grand Junction, just 12 minutes from South Haven, Stokes Homestead Farm Market is another place to enjoy fall family fun. Their wagon rides travel through working fields of strawberries, asparagus, apples, pumpkins and blueberries while the tractor driver tells you what it takes to keep a farm running. They also have a ton of activities from mining for gems and fossils, farm animals, cow train-rides, a jump pad, a pedal kart track and a fun playground complete with a tire climb. Activities are $5.00 for children two and over, and adults are $2.00 per person. The wagon rides (weekends only) are an additional fee.
Don’t forget to stop by Hazel’s Bakery and Café for their fresh “Farm to Table” meals. They have both breakfast and lunch and donuts that are fried every morning, and pies made from the blueberries grown on the farm. U-pick apples happen in the fall and you can choose from many different varieties.
18725 M-40, Gobles | 269-628-5401
2017 marks the 10th anniversary for Harvest Moon Acres Corn Maze & Fun Park. They open on September 16 for the season and will be open until October 29. They have a variety of fun things to do with the family including a petting zoo, a pumpkin slingshot, ziplines, and a 40-foot super slide complete with a secret tunnel.
The 2017 Corn Maze theme is “Pure Michigan.” In honor of Harvest Moon Acres Corn Maze & Fun Park 10th anniversary, they are celebrating all things MICHIGAN this fall! Don’t forget to pick up a pumpkin while you are there! They are open only on weekends.
8619 West ML Ave.Kalamazoo | 269-375-0153
A popular tradition for many families is a visit to VerHages Fruit Farm and Cider Mill. Activities include a zip line, hayrides, pumpkin jumpin’, apple train, pony rides, and more! There is also a cider mill, donut shop, country store and a snack shack, which serves homemade fudge! Rides and activities are only available on the weekend. Make sure to stop by the donut shop for a sweet treat. Special events to look forward to are:
- Apple Fest 2017 is on Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24.
- The Pumpkin Patch Party (similar to Apple Fest) is set for Saturday, October 14.
- Trunk or Treat and the Kids Costume Contest is scheduled for Saturday, October 28.
(photo courtesy of Crane Orchards)
6054 124th Avenue (M-89) Fennville | 269-561-8651
Crane Orchards has a 20-acre corn maze open on weekends from 10:00-6:00 pm daily when u-pick is open and costs $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for kids 6-10 and 5 and under are free. They also have an adorable cow train for kids ($2.00) and a tractor-driven hayride through the orchards ($3.00). Don’t forget to pick some apples while you’re there, with over 17 types, you can try something new!
24976 M-86, Sturgis | 269-467-7719
This year marks the 30th year that Nottawa Fruit Farm offers its “Fall Family Fun” which begins on September 23rd and continuing through October. Hours are 11:30 am-4:00 pm and starts with a hayride as part of the “Weekend Hayride Package” for $10.95 and includes picking a large pumpkin from the field, walking through the Sorghum Path, riding the John Deere pedal tractors, catching a balloon in Strawberry Typhoon, crawling through the straw tunnels, digging for a dinosaur egg, playing Musical Characters, fishing in the ‘Ole’ Fishing Hole, painting a mini-pumpkin and visiting the farm animal family.
This year in October for three weekends (October 12-13, October 19-20, and October 26-27) there is also a Thursday and Friday afternoon package, which is only $6.95 and includes the hayride, sorghum path, musical characters, painting a mini pumpkin and choosing a large pumpkin from the field. Hayrides only leave at 3:40, 4:20, and 5:00pm. They are located in Sturgis, near the Indiana line.
1850 Friday Rd, Coloma | 269-468-3075
The Jollay Orchards Farm has a fall harvest festival that includes many activities such as a playground, a corn maze, caterpillar crawl, corn maze, a haunted house and hayrides. They offer u-pick apples from well maintained and manicured orchards making it easy to pick with your family. When you’ve picked your apples, they will be transported up to the Farm Market for your convenience.
They also offer a ten-acre pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkins from, and a hay wagon to take you there, which is your mode of transportation through the farm stopping at all of the sights and attractions. The farm is open during the week but their Harvest Festival is weekends only from 10:30 am-6:30 pm and is $8.75 for children and adults, two and under is free. Don’t forget to stop by the farm market to pick up one of their homemade jams or jellies made from fruit from the orchard.
29 W Park Ave, Coldwater | 574-215-0751
Enjoy the beautiful fall colors of Michigan on this train ride starting in Coldwater and get a pumpkin fresh off the farm trailer in Quincy too! Sundays in October at 11:00 am and 2:00pm. Advance tickets needed. Schedule and pricing can be found online.
311 Danforth St, Coopersville | 616-997-7000
This is a fall tradition not to be missed! A cast of wacky characters love to sing and dance for you! Each paid child’s ticket includes a good-sized pumpkin that kids can pick from the pumpkin patch at the end of the ride. Children under 2 are free and also get a small pumpkin. The train runs Saturday and Sundays and there are 200 seats on each train.
22637 M 43 Highway West, Kalamazoo | 269-668-2952
If you’ve never visited Gene, you’re missing out on a Kalamazoo area legend. For 58 years, Gene the Pumpkin Man has stood out on West Main/M-43 with orange barns, orange tractors, and an orange car. He offers pumpkins, squash, honey, and pumpkin butter and opens September 16th. Pumpkins arrive October 1st, so don’t delay your visit to this local gem!
Let us know what other great places you plan on checking out this fall!