The joys of corn mazes and pumpkin cannons

It’s that time of year when summer vacations are mostly memories, students are back in school, the Iowa State Fair served up its last corn dog more than a month ago and Halloween merchandise is beginning to creep onto store shelves (NOOOOOOOO!!!). Those are signs it’s time to embrace fall and all its autumn fun, including an option that’s fun and family-friendly, an entertaining way to exercise and delightfully agriculture-oriented: Visit a pumpkin patch. Pumpkins

There are seemingly dozens in central Iowa, from small operations that sell homegrown pumpkins and other fall produce to sprawling farms offering corn mazes, hay rides and pumpkin cannons. Geisler Farms near Bondurant, for example, has grown its most intricate maze design in its nine years, a 10-acre salute to the 100th class of Ankeny High School in nearby Ankeny. Pumpkinville near Mitchellville invites visitors to stroll through the corn at night, join friends around a campfire or frolic in its indoor straw jump. Patch’s Pumpkins and Honey Farm near Adel seems to have something for everyone, from a corn maze, duck races and a cow train to a petting zoo, rack rides and its locally famous pumpkin cannon.

A brief interruption for this public health message: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a growing number of Americans are getting Lyme disease, the tick-borne ailment that brings flu-like symptoms at the least and, at worst, neurologic, cardiac and joint problems. Protect yourself and your loved ones when you’re outdoors by liberally applying insect repellent, covering up with socks and pants, and checking yourselves for ticks when you get home.

Visiting pumpkin patches and corn mazes are super study breaks, great family/friend fun and the chance to purchase locally grown and produced pumpkins, gourds, apples, honey, eggs and much more. Trust this Iowa farm kid when I say being on a farm in the fall is simply sublime. Take advantage of the opportunity!

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