This article first appeared in Kidsburgh.org, a media partner of NEXTpittsburgh that focuses on making Pittsburgh a better place to raise kids.
By Kidsburgh staff
Pumpkin-picking season is here again! We’re ready for hayrides, corn mazes, fresh air and the search for the perfect pumpkin.
At these 10 local farms, you can do all of that — and find kid-friendly activities like hayrides, corn mazes, face painting and pumpkin decorating, plus petting zoos and delicious caramel apples and fresh apple cider from the local harvest.
Here are 10 fun-filled pumpkin farms you can explore this fall (be sure to bring masks along for Covid safety):
Harvest Valley Farms: 125 Ida Lane, Valencia
This small family farm located in Middlesex Township, Butler County, has been celebrating the fall season in a big way for more than three decades. On weekends in October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. the full-time working produce farm is transformed into a fun-filled, pick-your-own pumpkin festival.
Harvest Valley Farms has a long history. Art King is a second-generation farmer; his son and business partner David King is third-generation. Art says their Fall Festival attracts “hundreds and hundreds” of families for seasonal pumpkin fun.
There is no admission fee to participate in activities including hayrides, a cornstalk maze, a straw tunnel, face painting, farm animals and more. Listen to live music and watch a chainsaw carving demonstration.
“I call it family fun on a real farm,” King told Kidsburgh. “We do it for the kids.”
Triple B Farms: 823 Berry Lane, Monongahela
Pumpkin and apple picking has begun at the family-run Triple B Farms in Forward Township. If you’re up for the entire farmyard experience, Triple B’s fall festival includes hayrides, corn mazes, giant slides, jumping pillows, “Farmcade” games, a rope maze, a barnyard carnival and education all about farm animals, and much more — including the new “singing chicken show.”
“All of Triple B’s activities are designed with adults and children in mind,” says Triple B’s Suzanne Beinlich. “Kids love it when their dads and moms jump on the Jumping Pillow with them, race them up the Tire Mountain, then race them down the Liberty Tunnel Slide. The giggles are heard all over the farm.”
Triple B’s fall festival, which costs $14 a person, runs through Oct. 31. Pick-your-own pumpkins and apples are available at an additional cost.
Soergel Orchards: 2573 Brandt School Road, Wexford
Another family-run farm, in operation since the 1850s, Soergel Orchards is hosting its Fall Festival on weekends through the end of October.
On Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., have fun pumpkin and apple picking (apple picking while supplies last) and exploring the cornstalk maze and straw tunnel, along with other games and activities.
Grownups will find Arsenal Cider and Arrowhead Wine on site, along with pop-ups from Aurochs Brewing Co. and Boyd & Blair. JD’s Nuts and Kettle Corn will also be there. Soergel’s market and gift shop will be open, offering apple pie, candy or caramel apples, apple cider (made on site), plus more than 10 varieties of apples and lots of other fresh produce.
Trax Farms: 528 Trax Road, Finleyville
Trax Farms in Pittsburgh’s South Hills is open for pumpkin picking, and their fall festival is happening 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 24. Buy tickets in advance online ($10 each, free for kids 2 years and younger) for a hayride and 3-acre corn maze. You’ll also find live music and food trucks, and games available for an additional cost, including a train ride that’s perfect for younger kids ($3 per child), bungee jumping ($6 per ticket), rock climbing (also $6 per ticket) and even axe throwing (must be 13 or older, $7 for 12 throws).
Schramm Farms & Orchards: 1002 Blank Road, Jeannette
Hop on a hayride out to explore the pumpkin fields at Schramm Farms & Orchards in Harrison City, Westmoreland County. Schramm Farms has been in its current location since third-generation farmer Eugene Schramm Sr. relocated it there in 1981.
Activities will be a bit more limited this year due to pandemic concerns, but you can pick your own pumpkins, pose for photos with the farm’s scarecrows and play on a pirate ship during October on Saturdays (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Sundays (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and on weekdays (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.).
Enjoy hayrides ($4 per person, Saturdays noon to 6 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m.) and explore the Giant Living Maze for $5 each. Refreshments will be available too, including homemade apple cider, candy and caramel apples and fresh apples to take home. The wine shop will also be open.
Cheeseman Farm: 147 Kennedy Road, Portersville
Cheeseman Farm, Butler County, welcomes pumpkin pickers on weekends 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 30 (and also on Monday, Oct. 11, which is Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day). A hayride out to the pumpkin patch is $5 per person (kids 2 and under are free when accompanied by an adult) and you’ll also find a hay jump and petting zoo.
Prices do not include the cost of the pumpkin — as with most local farms, all pumpkins picked in the patch will be brought back to the barn and weighed to determine the price. Cheeseman’s also sells delicious honey and apple butter.
For families with older kids, Cheeseman’s features the super-scary Fright Farm with a haunted hayride, corn maze and walkthrough attractions on weekend nights during October. The genuinely jarring mayhem begins at dark and is geared toward teens. Kids 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Click here to learn more.
Shenot Farm & Market: 3754 Wexford Run Road, Wexford
Hayrides to the pumpkin patch and corn maze are popular attractions this time of year at Shenot Farm & Market, Marshall Township, a six-generation family farm. The pumpkin patch is open seven days a week throughout October. It’s $5 per person to reach the patch via hayride, and just $2 per person to take the scenic walking trail (strollers and wagons are welcome). Along with pumpkins, you can buy fall decorations such as corn stalks, straw bales, decorative gourds, “fairy tale” pumpkins and decorative corn. Food trucks drop by on weekends.
SpringHouse: 1531 Route 136, Washington
SpringHouse is a third-generation family dairy farm and old-fashioned country store and restaurant in North Strabane Township, Washington County, where tractor rides to the pumpkin patch are offered on weekends (11 a.m. to 5 p.m., last ride begins at 4:30) through Oct. 31. Along with pumpkin picking, you can explore the Big Folks’ Corn Maze and the Kiddie Korn Maze, climb up Bale Mountain and fly down the farm’s tube slide, and play games on top of the hill. The cost for all this fun is $15 each for pickers and $12 each for non-pickers. Kids 2 and under are free.
Simmons Farm: 170 Simmons Road, McMurray
Fall activities, including apple- and flower-picking, are open seven days a week at Simmons Farm in McMurray (Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday through Sunday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Hayrides out to the pumpkin field are available, but families can also walk (for fun or as a Covid precaution) out to the fields for pumpkin picking. Entertainment includes a petting zoo, rubber duck races, human hamster wheel and the new Farm Combine slide and basketball corn hopper.
A wristband for the full roster of fall activities is $13.50 (children 33 inches and under are free) or add in the hayride or walk on the harvest trail and any size pumpkin (no weighing needed) for $17 per person. Group pricing is also available.
Hozak Farms: 488 Anderson-Hozak Road, Clinton
The 37th annual fall festival is happening at Hozak Farms in Findlay Township on Saturdays and Sundays (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) throughout October, and also on Monday, Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pumpkin-picking and pony rides (weather permitting) are definitely happening this year. But the folks at Hozak are scaling back some activities for the sake of Covid safety: The scenic (slightly haunted) hayrides through the woods ($4 per person) are on, but Hozak’s website has this (funny but unfortunate) announcement: “Sorry, no gorillas this year due to Covid.” Also, Wanda the Witch, face painting and pumpkin painting are on hold until the pandemic subsides.
But the gift barn and Christmas shop will be open.