By the fourth weekend of our Tour of Pumpkin Patches we had lost our steam. We had plans to go to at least one patch on Saturday but the kids requested we stay home and run our errands. Sunday we check out Pumpkinville and The Pumpkin Ranch.
We began our day at Pumpkinville in Mitchellville, Iowa. I was a fan of this patch’s incredibly reasonable prices, simple activities, and how family run it is. We decided against the corn maze as we’ve spent a lot of time in mazes lately. Instead the kids played on the train-themed hay bales (also known as the train Pumpkinville Express), the play ground, and picked out pumpkins.
This wouldn’t be my first choice of patches, but it was decent for kids of all ages and I’m pretty sure no one can beat their prices.
They had face painting that day, so each mini got something Halloween-ish painted on their cheek (for only $1).
There were TONS of little cars, trucks, slides, and climbing equipment around.
From Pumpkinville, we made our way to Winterset to experience The Pumpkin Ranch for the first time. This patch is more for older kids (6+ years at the youngest, is my recommendation) and wasn’t as friendly for small kids. The Pumpkin Ranch was different from any of the patches we’ve visited as they take payment as you drive in. This made things a bit more simple so we didn’t have to stand in any lines at the entrance, but we did wait in a line of cars on the dirt road.
There were several issues I had at this patch, the biggest and most concerning is that there were very few staff members around and parents weren’t watching their kids. Nearly all of the kids on the playground and bounce house (for the younger kids) were completely unsupervised. Both Hubs and myself tried to look for a staff member but couldn’t find one. The only staff we saw the entire time was at the front gate, the people driving the tractors, the people taking payments for the pumpkins and in the gift shop, and a few teenagers running the zip line and big slide.
There was a big bouncing pillow to jump on, but even that was unsupervised while we were there. Any number of kids of all ages were free to jump on the pillow and go flying off. I nearly panicked when I caught a child the size of a one year old before he hit the ground. I realize being a daycare provider has made me uber aware of any safety issues about, but these were more than worrisome for me. A couple of other things I didn’t like: a lot of the activities had height restrictions, which means Elizabeth (age 3) couldn’t do a lot of what the patch offered. Yet we still paid full price for her. Also, the three main activities (zip line, big slide, and the obstacle course) were so close to one another that there was very little walking room for the crowds of people and it was difficult to find where the lines began (example: the line for the slide and the line for the zip line ran into each other and we heard people complaining that they didn’t know which line they were in).
We decided to head to the tractors for a ride to the pumpkin patch after seeing the zoo that was the activities. We did manage to find a couple of cool pumpkins, but most of the pumpkins in the patch had been eaten by animals or broken open. Slim pickin’s, as my grandpa would say. Oh, and there was a giant 5 foot deep hole in the patch that was only marked by a sun-worn red pole. A bit alarming considering my five year old was standing right next to it, reaching for a pumpkin.
We have no plans to return to this patch until all of the minis are older. Max (age 7) loved it and had a blast trying out the zip line, but unfortunately there wasn’t a lot for the younger two to do.
Good ol’ Iowa countryside.
Max loved the zip line.
Matt and Max successfully completed the obstacle course.
I was a bit disappointed in the pumpkin patch, but we managed to find a decent green pumpkin and a cool looking gourd.
Next weekend we’ll be heading to our favorite pumpkin patch of all: Frey’s in Madrid.
About the Author
Ashlen Sheaffer is a proud Des Moines resident who was born and raised here. Ashlen wears many hats: mom, wife, daycare provider at her in-home daycare, blogger and co-owner at The Kidsperts, children’s book author, and co-director and producer for the upcoming play Expressing Motherhood play. In her free time Ashlen enjoys exploring all Des Moines has to offer, road trips, and adventuring all with the kids in tow. Ashlen is super excited to be able to share some of her family’s adventuring with other Iowans and get other families out into the community.