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Pumpkins, apples and hayrides: Your guide for fall fun in the Des Moines metro

With pumpkin patches, apple orchards and changing leaves incoming, there's something for everyone to do this fall.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As nights grow longer and colder, it's only natural that central Iowans are looking for places to celebrate autumn and all the frightening family fun that comes with it.

Here are a list of events happening throughout the season in and around Des Moines for everyone to enjoy.

Don't see an event on the list? Let us know by sending us a message on Facebook, visiting our "Contact Us" page or texting us at 515-457-1026. 

Adventureland Phantom Fall Fest

The inaugural Phantom Fall Fest at Adventureland begins this September, with brand new Halloween events for all ages during the day. Looking for something a little scarier? Thrill seekers age 13 and older can experience frights at night.

  • When: Weekends, Sept. 30th-Oct. 30th
    • Fridays 6-11 p.m.
    • Saturdays 1-11 p.m.
    • Sundays 1-8 p.m.
  • Where: Adventureland Park, 3200 Adventureland Dr, Altoona, IA 50009 
  • Cost: Tickets start at $69.99. Visit the Adventureland website for information on special sales. 

Black's Heritage Farms Pumpkin Patch

Whether it's picking up a pumpkin, checking out local produce or just stopping by to meet local farmers, families can visit the farm for fall fun starting in late September.

  • When: Sept. 24th-Oct 31st, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily 
  • Where: Black's Heritage Farms, 26156 530th Ave, Ames, IA 50010 

Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad 

Check out fall foliage as you cross the 156 foot-tall Bass Point Creek High Bridge and the Des Moines River Bridge via this historic train. For an extra seasonal experience, don your costumes and take a trip on the "Pumpkin Express".

  • When: Various trains run throughout the season, but there are special Pumpkin Express trips on Oct. 1, 8 and 15
  • Where: Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad, 225 10th St, Boone, IA 50036
  • Cost: Prices vary. Check out their website for more details.

RELATED: Rail Explorers opens new ecotourism experience in Boone County

Center Grove Orchard

Whether you're looking for a photo op at the orchard's sunflower field or are looking to pick fresh apples for your fall dessert, Center Grove provides fun for the whole family.

  • When: Daily, Sept. 1 through Nov. 6, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. 
  • Where: Center Grove Orchard, 32835 610th Ave, Cambridge, IA 50046
  • Cost: $16.95 for weekend admission, $13.95 for weekday admission and $59.95 for a season pass

Deal's Orchard

Pumpkins, hayrides and flower fields, oh my! If you're looking for the perfect fall day, look no further than Deal's Orchard. 

  • When: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. until Nov. 6 
  • Where: Deal's Orchard, 1102 244th St, Jefferson, IA 50129
  • Cost: $9 for adults, $11 for children ages 3-17 and free for those 2 or under and 65+

Howell's Pumpkin Patch

Just a short drive from Des Moines, find this beacon of fall glory amid pumpkins, seasonal flowers, fall decor and more. Hitch a ride on a tractor-pulled wagon to pick your very own pumpkin. 

  • When: Daily throughout September and October, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 
  • Where: Howell's Pumpkin Patch, 3145 Howell Ct, Cumming, IA 50061 
  • Cost: $15 for guests aged 2-65, $10 for 65+ and $35 for a season pass.
    • For more information on pet prices and military discounts, check out their admission page

Iowa Orchard

There's plenty to do at the Iowa Orchard. Visit the pumpkin patch, get active at the Family Fun Zone and grab some seasonal goodies at the Farm Market.

  • When: Late September through Oct. 31, Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
    • Family Fun Zone: Weekends, late September through Oct. 31
  • Where: Iowa Orchard, 9875 Meredith Drive, Urbandale, IA
  • Cost: Entering the patch is free; $5 for the Family Fun Zone

Winterset Cidery

Who said kids should have all the fun this fall? Enjoy one of 13 hard cider options while viewing beautiful scenery at the adjacent orchard. Of course, if the kids are tagging along, there's also 30 different varieties of apples available to pick. 

  • When:All autumn; Thursdays 4-9 p.m.; Fridays/Saturdays 1-10 p.m. and Sundays 1-6 p.m.
    • Apple picking schedule varies; visit the website for more info
  • Where: Winterset Cidery, 1638 Hwy 169, Winterset, IA 50273
  • Cost: Prices vary

Pumpkin Ranch

Jump into autumn with zip lines, giant slides, corn mazes and more at the Winterset ranch's fun zone and pumpkin patch.

  • When: Sept. 16 through Oct. 30; Fridays 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays 12-5 p.m.
  • Where: Pumpkin Ranch, 2425 Hiatt Apple Trail, Winterset, IA 
  • Cost: Saturday/Sunday admission is $13, or $11 if you buy your ticket online
    • Friday is discounted at $9 for in-person purchases only

Uncle Bill's Farm

Along with pumpkin picking, families can go through mum fields and eat at Uncle Bill's Feed Bag at the smoke- and alcohol-free farm.

  • When: Open throughout October; Fridays/Saturdays 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Where: Uncle Bill's Farm, 244 400th Ave., Grinnell, Iowa 
  • Cost: $13 for those 3-years-old and up

Will's Family Orchard

Explore the 60-acre orchard just west of Des Moines by picking apples and pumpkins, checking out the fall farm activities and more.

  • When: Sept. 17 through Oct. 23; Saturdays 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays noon-6 p.m. Sunday 
  • Where: Will's Family Orchard, 33130 Panther Creek Rd, Adel, IA 50003  
  • Cost: Activity passes are $6 for adults, $8 for children and free for kids 2 and under. Admission to the farm store, barnyard and pumpkin patch is free. 

Upstream Gardens

Satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh-picked berries and produce, as well as a full-service honey store. 

  • When: Weekdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Weekends, 1-6 p.m. 
  • Where: Upstream Gardens, 5987 NE 88th St., Altoona, IA 
  • Cost: Free admission

RELATED: Meteorological fall begins Thursday | Here's what it means for Iowa

See fall foliage

If seeing the season firsthand and spending time out in nature is more your speed, check out the Des Moines trails, which are always free and open throughout autumn. 

  • When: All autumn 
  • Where: Local parks; check out the fall color tracker to see the best Iowa autumn has to offer 
  • Cost: Free

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