‘Tis the season for changing colors, crunchy leaves, cooler weather and pumpkins. We are fortunate to live in an area that has farmland to enjoy just a short drive from home, no matter where in the Portland area you live. We’ve gathered some of the most delightful farms and gardens for you and your littles to check out.
Photo: Bauman’s Farm and Garden, credit Brian Bauman
Drive Time: One Hour
Bauman’s Farm and Garden
You can bet the farm your pumpkin-pickers will have the best day-o-pumpkin-play at this farm with a giant slide, several mazes, a tire pyramid, anut house, animal barn, obstacle course, rock wall, zip line, hayride, frontier fort, little kids’ play area, apple cannon, brand-new entertainment stage and a huge jumping pillow. There’s plenty to do and much of it is under cover, so you can go rain or shine.
12989 Howell Prairie Rd.
French Prairie Gardens
Their website tells it like it is: pumpkin patch, pig races, mazes and more. The Pigtucky Derby – pigs racing for doughnuts – makes it worth checking out, but you also don’t want to miss the pig trains, kids’ maze with a Thomas the Train theme, tire swings, slides and an excavation site.
17673 French Prairie Rd.
St. Paul, Or
This particular Hood River pumpkin event is so popular, their Pumpkin Funland name is trademarked. This year’s theme of Mythical Creatures will entice and inspire children of all ages. Bowl a strike at the pumpkin bowling lanes and dash the corn maze, with its “Ugly Duckling” story of the year.
3020 Thomsen Rd.
Hood River, Or
Drive Time: 30 Minutes
Those in the know in Vancouver tried to keep this one from us, but the word is out. Included in the admission cost for anyone over two years of ages comes a huge list of freebies, including a free pumpkin, warm drink, wagon ride, two shots with the pumpkin launcher and a chance to harness their inner cowpokes with a calf-roping station. Live music, a giant tractor for climbing on and a covered corn maze round out the action.
9504 NE 119th St.
The famous farm family, from the TV show Little People Big World, Roloff Farms attracts thousands of visitors each October. In addition to being reality TV stars, the farm also shines with a petting zoo featuring exotic animals, like a baby tiger and pygmy porcupines, and their hay pyramid earns a big gold star for keeping the little ghouls actively busy for hours.
23985 NW Grossen
Hands-down one of the best adventures to be had when it comes to Portland pumpkin patching is Lakeview Farms. Even midweek you can climb aboard a train to head out to the pumpkin patch. Another option is to set sail to find your pumpkins on a pontoon boat ride through the lake with a couple of surprises that (slowly) pop out of the lake as the boat glides by. Face-painting, photo ops, and hay pyramids are also part of the festivities.
32055 NW North Ave.
North Plains, Or
Photo: Bella Organic Facebook page
Drive Time: Under 30 Minutes
Bella Organic Pumpkin Patch and Winery
Bella Organic Pumpkin Patch and Winery has a selection of orange and white pumpkins and free hayrides to get you there and back. There are also plenty of activities to keep the little farmhands busy, like riding the cow train ride, the grain train, hay maze, corn hole, duck races, farm animals and two corn mazes. The Disney Jr. Jake and the Neverland Pirates-themed corn maze takes visitors on a 2.8 mile jaunt through the corn. On Friday and Saturdays beginning Sept. 26th, the Jake Corn Maze transforms into a family-friendly Twilight Maze – think a Halloween festival of lights with superheroes, princesses and other favorite children’s characters. Adults and older kids will like winding around lost in the dark in the spooky, Hopworks Abominable haunted corn maze at night.
16205 NW Gillihan Rd.
The Pumpkin Patch
Their free, climbing hay pyramid and animal barn, home to bunnies, chickens, llamas and other small animals you can see, are reason enough to go. In peak season, several cow trains are rolling along as well as hay rides out to the U-pick pumpkin patch. The lines for the cow train ride and hay ride still can be long, so bring your best people-watching sunglasses. There’s also an extensive corn maze to do with a little older kids. (It’s no fun to get totally lost with a whiny one who’s over it.) And definitely wear rain boots. There’s some mighty rich and fertile mud out there. There’s also a small pumpkin area near the hay pyramid where even the littest of pickers can choose (and carry) their own tiny pumpkin.
16511 NW Gillihan Rd.
Plumper Pumpkin Patch
This working farm is a must-visit with all the pumpkin patch must-haves: train and hay rides, mazes, tube and hay slides, and tasty treats in the farm store. They make our short-list for the superb add-ons like tire climbing, play structures, teepee, pumpkin bowling, croquet, grain jumping, an obstacle course and a fallow field with a hay fort.
11435 NW Old Cornelius Pass Rd.
Already have a favorite pumpkin patch of your own? Tell us where your family visits each fall in the Comments below!
— Marianne Walters