It’s pumpkin patch time and of course that means What to do in Southern Oregon is going to hit at least two or three fall celebrations! Ok, maybe even more because WE LOVE FALL! Of course we always check out our Medford pumpkin patches right here in the Rogue Valley, but this year we wanted to tackle a new one so we decided to spend the day at Fort Vannoy Farms in Grants Pass. If you live in Medford, to some it may seem a little far to drive to a pumpkin patch, but this isn't just any pumpkin patch. This is the amusement park of pumpkin patches! I’m not kidding; we were smiling from ear to ear the whole day!
When we got there we went directly to buying our tickets. We started our little pumpkin patch adventure with getting Olivia and Ilias' wiggles out by running around the hay pyramid. It was actually a FREE activity that ended up being Olivia's favorite thing to do all day. In the same little area were rubber duck races and a mini hay maze that both kids had fun doing, both of these activities were also FREE!
We then went over to the zip line and we were the only ones in line so we got on the free hayride out to the zip line loading area right away. Ilias and Gary got harnessed up first and headed out on another tractor ride up to the platform. When they came down they had huge smiles on their faces and Ilias immediately asked me if he could go again. Now the boys don't get to have all the fun, it was my turn and I've got to be honest with you, I was nervous. The ride out was actually calming because the view just gets better and better as you get above the farm. As I climbed the tower I had butterflies in my stomach and I when I got to the top I almost gasped because the view was simply breathtaking. I felt like I was on top of the world and then I remembered that I would be flying down a cable, plummeting to the earth in just a few minutes. The young man up there to help was super sweet and patient and let me take my time psyching myself up to go. He gave me some very good tips, telling me to just sit down and lift my feet if I didn't want to jump off of the platform and that is exactly what I did. It was amazing! Flying through the sky, with the wind flying through my hair, a chill in the air and a bird’s eye view, a perfect moment. It was so exhilarating and one I hope to repeat in the near future. Once we got our harnesses put away we hopped back on the hayride to the farm and immediately jumped on the cow train.
Now, the cow train is not just for the little kiddos. All four of us hopped on and we could not stop laughing. It was like a roller coaster, with lots of ups and downs, twists and turns and even a tunnel, but you are sitting in cows with names like Buttercup…and Dude. We went so fast over some of the hills that my cell phone flew right out of my pocket. It was pure childhood fun and we loved every moment.
We decided that after the train we needed a break so we did a little duck racing and then got the HUGEST cotton candy that was gone in under ten minutes.
After our little treat, it was time for us to take on the Pumpkin Chunkin'. Seriously this was soooo fun! Even if we didn't do it ourselves it was so fun just watching. Ilias carefully picked out his pumpkin…, the rounder the better, shaped more like a bullet according to him. They put the pumpkin in the cannon and then you line things up, honk the warning horn, and then push the button. What happens after that is awesome, amazing, fantastic, and all of those other adjectives we use to describe an experience that is one of the coolest we've EVER had. If you hit the bus you hear a huge boom and watch as your pumpkin is obliterated. Ilias and Gary both hit the bus. It was truly so cool! They also have an apple cannon; not as magnificent in destruction but still crazy fun to watch! Gary and Ilias had so much fun that after we conquered the corn maze, they bought two more tickets to use the pumpkin cannon.
The corn maze was HUGE; we had to use the map because we would have gotten lost, lots of twists and turns, and dead ends. If you get lost, don't worry, Fort Vannoy Farms has Search and Rescue volunteers at the farm in case anyone needs help getting out. They even have a drone that they can use to find people. I'm not kidding! Our corn maze pro (Ilias) gave it huge thumbs up, promising to bring his cousins with him so that could conquer it together. With that I have two tips for you. Number one; make sure that you have everyone use the facilities before you head into the maze. It is long and we had to zoom to the end halfway through so that Olivia could get to the potty. Number two, make sure that you have water and maybe even a snack if you have the kiddos with you. Always essentials to survive anything that takes more than ten minutes, for some reason kids think that they need to be sustained constantly (and somehow I forget that a lot). :)
Last, but not least we took a ride on the monster truck! Olivia had a permagrin on her face as we rode in circles and skidded around on the dirt track (and I did too.) We thought it was a cool addition to the usual harvest festival festivities!
If we were to name our favorites of the day, I don't know that any of us would have just one thing because the whole day was our favorite. From the friendly employees, to each activity, Fort Vannoy Farms has thought out every single thing. They also have face painting, food trucks, and even have a huge seating area to sit down under a canopy to rest. And when you watch the kids play on the hay pyramid they have chairs around it so that you can sit and enjoy watching. When you go, plan to spend at least half of your day having fun! We already want to go back, it was well worth the drive to Grants Pass, and the drive out there is absolutely beautiful once you get out of town.
Fort Vannoy Farms is open every day 10am to 6pm. The Corn Maze ($6pp 5 and under free) and Pumpkin Patch is daily 11am to 6pm | They will have the Haunted Corn Maze on Saturdays and Sunday, October 20th & 21st, 27th & 28th, 7pm-10pm, tickets are $12 per person.
Admission is FREE and the cost of activities are as follows: Zip Line $12 | Cow Train $6 | | Pumpkin Chunkin' $6 | Apple Cannon Blaster (5 shots) $6 | 8 acre corn maze $6 per person | Bounce House $6 | Monster Truck Rides $6