GREENFIELD – In “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” Linus searches for the most sincere pumpkin patch in hopes of a visit from the Great Pumpkin — and every year, he is disappointed.
Poor Linus should have come to Hancock County, home a plethora of hot spots for finding that perfect October gourd. around. Here’s a rundown of fall activities:
1611 N. Meridian Road
Lark Ranch opens for the season Sept. 24. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Open weekends, Lark Ranch features hands-on fun for families with young children, employees say. A pumpkin train takes visitors out to the pumpkin patch. Children can also purchase and sift through a bag of sand and rocks at the gem mine water trough and then identify the kinds of rocks they find. A giant birdhouse climber gives visitors of all ages a bird’s-eye view of the grounds below.
New this year at the ranch is an Indiana bicentennial-themed corn maze designed to look like the state of Indiana with the state seal in the middle.
Admission to Lark Ranch is $10 per person or $7 with a group rate. Additional fees apply for concessions and other activities.
1115 E. County Road 1000N, Fortville
Piney Acres, best known for its live Christmas trees, also offers activities for the fall. Owned and operated by Rex and Janice Zenor since 1999, Piney Acres is an example of agrotourism, featuring an eight-acre corn maze and an expanded play area called the Kid’s Zone.
The $15 admission to the Kid’s Zone includes a hay ride, access to the one-acre kids corn maze, a rope maze, a rock wall, pumpkin bowling, a hay mountain, a climbing net, pedal carts and a beanbag toss.
The farm store at Piney Acres features pumpkins, pumpkin pies, fall and Halloween décor and Christmas greenery. The snack bar in the farm store offers popcorn, apple cider, hot cocoa, hot dogs and pulled-pork sandwiches, chips, pies and beverages.
New this year is the cow train, described by Piney Acres event coordinator Haley Reneer as a tractor-led barrel ride with each seat decorated like a cow.
“It’s basically a hay ride for kids,” Reneer said. “We’ve also added a timed rope maze, where you race through and touch all the pumpkins and find out your time at the end,” Reneer said.
A bounce pad is a new addition to the kids’ play and explore area, which was built last year.
“It’s low to the ground and can accommodate 50 kids at a time,” Reneer said.
In October, when the Halloween activities kick off, Piney Acres will offer a variety of spooky events and activities including a haunted hay loft, a haunted corn maze, a haunted hay ride and a haunted trail walk.
2573 W. County Road 100N
Activities at S&H Campground aren’t just for campers, says Michelle Disman, campground office manager. A $3 fee admits anyone to the weekend events held at the family fun park on the grounds of the campground.
Fall festivities kick off this weekend with the pumpkin patch, hayrides and a pumpkin-decorating contest.
S&H has a theme for every weekend in October.
• Sept. 30 to Oct. 2— the Friendly Ghost: ghost stories, a pumpkin-carving contest, trick-or-treating with the Great Pumpkin and Otis, the wandering ghost.
• Oct. 7 to 9—Make Your Own Halloween: DIY costume session, caramel apples, pumpkin-decorating and live music on Oct. 8.
There are also plans for a Monster Mash and Mummies Weekend, a Murder Mystery Weekend, a Ghostbusting Weekend and a Halloween Zombie Prom Weekend Oct. 28 – 30.
5717 N. County Road 300W
Family-run Tuttle Orchards has been in business since 1928. Fields of apples, sunflowers and pumpkins are only part of the 150-acre farm. The site also sports a farm produce store and sweet shop, featuring caramel apples, apple cider slushies, donuts and pumpkin cheesecake muffins.
In addition to hayrides and the corn maze, new this fall at Tuttle’s is Tractor Town, an all-new play area for the kids.
It’s in a new area and about twice as big, said Ruth Ann Roney, farm store manager and fourth generation of the Tuttle family.
The cost for Tractor Town is $5, but a combo ticket, covering the playground, the corn maze and a hayride, is $8.
The behind-the-scenes apple tour, previously available only to school groups, is now open all visitors. Visitors can see how the apples are packed and stored in the large refrigerator and how apple cider is made. Tours are available at 5 p.m. each Thursday in October. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased on line.