Patterson’s Fruit Farm in Chesterland, Ohio has become a perennial favorite fall activity for our kids. While it is located only 30 minutes from our house, our annual excursion definitely feels like a trip because it is so different from our norm. We always go for the Fun Fest, which is open daily from mid-September to late October and offers lots of opportunities for good, old-fashioned fall fun. We aim to go on a week day to avoid the weekend crowds and made our 2017 annual trip to Patterson’s earlier this week when the boys had a day off of school for conferences.
After you arrive at Patteron’s Mulberry Road location and park in the grass lots, make your way to the white apple barn to purchase wrist bands to enter the Fun Fest. Then, you walk around to the back to hop a tractor ride to the nearby field.
Once you arrive at the Fun Fest gate, you’ll see a picnic shelter filled with hay stacks of different heights and a few slides and tunnels for kids to climb and explore. My boys particularly enjoyed the tire swings hung off the roof of the shelter.
In previous years, the 50 foot double slide made with logs was a huge hit that always had a long line of kids and adults waiting their turn to slide This year, either a new surface or weather conditions made it not so “slide-y,” and the kids moved on quickly to all of the other areas.
There are several other slides on the property, including a few attached to a wooden play area and one built into a a silo. All play areas are custom made, primarily with wooden structures rather than metal play structures commonly available at most school playgrounds.
The corn maze is one of our favorites. This is no rinky-dink corn maze but could easily take 15 minutes or more of hiking through the well-worn and side paths with corn stalks surrounding you at all times. After you navigate your way out, there is a corn box (sand box filled with dried corn) that kids of all ages enjoyed playing in.
Even before the “Touch a Truck” concept gained popularity, the Fun Fest offered lots of opportunities for kids to drive John Deere play tractors and other big wheel vehicles around tracks and also climb up into real tractors.
There are also opportunities for trying out stilts and climbing.
After hopping a tractor ride back to the white barn, apple picking is a great way to end a trip to Patterson’s. On our last trip, Melrose were available to pick. The kids each got their own bag at the white barn, and we set off to find the perfect apples. The clerk was tied each kid’s bag with a different number of wrist bands so that they could keep them separate. Apples you have hand picked definitely taste better than anything you can buy at the store.
Patterson’s is really a great place to soak in fall beauty. Near the end of our last visit, my nine-year-old told me that although some of the things he remembered being fun when he was younger are boring now that he’s older, but Patterson’s was “actually, still really fun!”