5 North Dakota Pumpkin Patches — With A Twist

It’s prime pumpkin patch time, people! So get yourself a pumpkin spice latte to get in the mood and head out for a little corn maze/pumpkin picking/hay ride magic.

Or you could zoom over the crowd on a zipline or load a pumpkin into a sinister looking weapon and launch it across a field. (Hey, it takes all kinds…)

Here are five of the best places in North Dakota to get your fall fix.

Papa’s Pumpkin Patch


The Travel Channel named this place one of the Top 10 Pumpkin Patches in the nation and everyone I know that’s been there says it’s worth a stop. The super photogenic grounds hold dozens of pretty little tableaus for family portraits and selfies and you can pick out white or orange pumpkins (as well as squash, gourds and decorative corn). But the activities are what really set the place apart.

Thrill seekers can climb tires and fly over the grounds on ziplines. Those who want to wreak havoc have an impressive arsenal at their disposal. Choose from cannons that shoot squash for a mile, corn cob sling shots or a positively medieval looking pumpkin trebuchet. (For a less intense experience, try a pedal cart, train ride or take a horse-drawn hayride.)

The fun ends on October 21, so make a point to check it out while you still can.

Rusty K Ranch’s Fall Festival


This place is animal lover’s dream. Head to the barn to pet the goats and sheep and bring the little ones to the petting zoo or into the riding arena for pony rides.

There’s also mini golf, giant games, barrel car rides, wagon rides, mazes and contests and entertainment. And you can pick out a pumpkin to take home as well.

Tickets are limited to 250 a day, so buy online if you want to be sure to get in. The Fall Festival runs through October 29.

Nelson’s Pumpkin Patch


The sprawling, 11-acre corn maze (that’s huge!) is the highlight of this rural attraction. This year’s theme features an elaborate design that highlights the plight of honeybees.

Once you find your way out of the maze, grab snacks from the pumpkin shack, take a hayride or shoot the corncob cannon in celebration. There are games and a pull behind train ride for the kiddos, while kids at heart can roll themselves through an obstacle course while inside a giant hamster ball. (No, I’m not kidding.)

So if you want a pumpkin patch with a side of adventure, head to Emerado. The farm closes on October 29.

Lil’ Bitz Pumpkin Patch  Fargo

My four-year-old insists that I tell you all that this place is “soooooooo awesome.” (He went there with his preschool and hasn’t stopped talking about it.) And I can see why. This place has tons of kid-friendly activities, including a petting zoo, storybook walk, barrel rides, games, hay bales to climb and horse-drawn wagon rides. And, as the name suggests, there’s also a pumpkin patch.

The out of school crowd digs the 8-acre corn maze, the beautiful, photo-ready grounds (smile for the Christmas card, everybody!) and relaxing around a crackling bonfire. This is a pretty spot to soak in a little autumn atmosphere.

Lil Bitz Pumpkin Patch is open Friday-Sunday through October 29.

Cottonwood Forest Pumpkin Patch


Come for the pumpkins and stay for the haunted house! This is one of the few spots in the state that combines the scary stuff with the family attractions, so that makes it a draw for older kids and fans of all things creepy.

There’s lots of non-scary stuff to do as well. Check out the zipline (where were these when I was a kid?) or bring the kiddos to climb on hay bales, wear themselves out in the tire gym or jump in the bounce house. There are pedal car and train rides too.

This is the last weekend for Cottonwood Forest Pumpkin Patch. The attraction closes October 22.

What about you? Which one of these spots is your favorite and why? Why ones do you want to check out this season? Which pumpkin patches do you recommend in your neighborhood? (Your recommendations don’t have have to be from North Dakota!) What fall events and festivals are on your bucket list?

Alicia Underlee Nelson

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