10 Perfect Pumpkin Picking Patches

Picking out your own pumpkin is one of the most enjoyable ways to celebrate the fall season. Farms across America incorporate hayrides, petting zoos, mazes, games and more to keep every member of the family entertained throughout the day. Just remember that the largest "official" pumpkin weighed in at nearly 1,400 pounds - so better do some pushups before heading out to any of these picking places for your own "Great Pumpkin."

1. THE GREAT PUMPKIN FARM, Clarence, NY

Picking a pumpkin is just the beginning. At their annual Fall Festival, kids can participate in the Pumpkin Parade, carrying giant puppets. There are also contests for decorating the best gourd, making the most creative scarecrow - even pie eating. No wonder families know to spend the whole day here!

2. SHADY BROOK FARMS, Yardley, PA

This century-old farm is one of the most popular local destinations for picking a pumpkin. But it also gets points for the haunted house, giant corn maze (they do a spooky night-time version, where you navigate it by flashlight), petting zoo, pig races, go-carts and much more.

3. LINVILLA ORCHARDS, Media, PA

Families in the Philly area head here to Pumpkinland to get their gourd on. Not only can you pick your own pumpkin, there are giant displays of carved jack-o-lanterns, hayrides, costume contests and mazes made of both corn and hay bales.

4. YAHOO FARM, Jasper, GA

They add a twist to the usual pick-your-own-routine: kids can participate in their Pumpkin Hunt to see what the Pumpkin Bunny has "lost." Then everyone can try their hand at some pumpkin carving - and even enter a contest if you're up for it. Hayrides, hay and corn mazes and more add to the experience.

5. SIEGEL'S COTTONWOOD FARM, Lockport, IL

Established in 1909, this 40-acre farm serves up tons of fall fun. Start with a hayride to get to the pumpkin patch. After picking the perfect one(s), you'll want to stick around to take in the corn maze, petting zoo, climbing wall, pony rides and more.

6. ACKERMAN FARMS, Morton, IL

The farming community of Morton grows 90% of the pumpkins in America, earning the title of "Pumpkin Capital." The popular century-old Ackerman Farms draws folks who want a great Halloween pumpkin for carving, "fancy" ones for decorative use, and, for the foodie - the kind that are perfect for home canning (they supply the nearby Libby factory).

7. WALTER'S PUMPKIN PATCH, Burns, KS

Their annual "Pumpkinfest" is a big draw for folks in the Wichita area. Besides being able to pick your own pumpkin, you can watch 'em being shot from their "PumpGun Cannon" (you know you want to see THAT), explore the corn maze - and even sample some pumpkin salsa.

8. PAPA'S PUMPKIN PATCH, Bismarck, ND

There's no shortage of activities at this super-popular place. Hundreds of pumpkins and gourds are available - and you can even launch 'em from the cannon or trebuchet. Climb up into the giant Great Pumpkin Chair for a fun photo op.

9. CRAVEN FARM, Snohomish, WA

This family farm created the area's first pumpkin patch back in 1983. Since then, the patch has expanded to 20 acres, and features 30 different types of pumpkins. You're guaranteed to find one that's the perfect shape and size. Pick up a few extra "minis" to shoot out of their "Pumpkin Slinger." Whee!

10. NASH RANCH, Redding, CA

Roam the 12-acre patch and choose from amongst 30 varieties of pumpkins - you're sure to one that'll make an awesome jack-o-lantern. Kids will also enjoy the bounce house, petting zoo, train rides and hay maze. It's an excellent place for the family to spend an autumn day.

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