Fall in Chicago
The best pumpkin patches near Chicago have it all—and a trip to one of these should definitely top your list of the best things to do in October. I mean, it wouldn't really be the fall season without a big ol' pumpkin, right? Make a whole day out of it and take a trip to try out some corn mazes or do some apple picking.
RECOMMENDED: The complete guide to fall in Chicago
Where to find the best pumpkin patches near Chicago
Fall fun is the name of the game at Goebbert's, where you can not only pick up quite a few pumpkins, but you can also put the kids on a massive slide or check out the exotic petting zoo (seriously, there's a giraffe). And you can't miss the pumpkin-eating dinosaur or the corn maze.
On weekends, as part of a concert series called Barnyard Jams, the main stage features performances by local musicians and hourly pumpkin-catching shows by a giant, orange mechanical creature known as Peter the Pumpkin Eating Dino. All ages can hop aboard the "Moo-Choo" tractor ($2) for a ride around the farm, while kids under 3 can also ride the pedal tractor in the toddler play area.
A pumpkin patch right in your neighborhood park—what could be more convenient? The Chicago Park District does pop-up pumpkin patches in parks across the city with face painting, pony rides, arts and crafts and plenty of food and drink. Of course, you'll find plenty of pumpkins, too. Check the Chicago Park District website for park locations and dates.
Under new ownership in 2015, this pumpkin patch has a little bit of everything. On the activities front, families can enjoy old-fashioned wagon rides, a petting zoo, face painting and interactive classes like taffy making and pumpkin carving. The patch also hosts one of the largest pumpkins in the world, standing at more than 10 feet tall. The cafe and bakery serve classic autumn treats like caramel apples and pumpkin pies. The patch also hosts plenty of special events throughout the fall season.
Visit a pumpkin patch and learn a little history. The farm, about an hour from the Chicago area, houses an old barn that's on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to the pumpkin patch, petting zoos and corn maze, check the farm's website for Revolutionary and Civil War reenactments and even a lumberjack show.
Weekend getaways for the whole family
When you just need a little escape, hop in the car for a family weekend getaway to another cool Midwest destination. We all know Chicago is great when it comes to taking kids to the beach or playgrounds with water features, but sometimes you just need a change of scenery. Check out these sample itineraries to discover quaint small towns and even resorts full of awesome activities for kids.