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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Search for the Great Northern Kentucky Pumpkin Patch

Neltner's Farm

Halloween is rapidly approaching, and you're days away from finding that perfect pumpkin in time for All Hallows Eve. Luckily for us, the Greater Cincinnati Area boasts some pumpkin patches even the Sanderson Sisters would approve of for the occasion. 

Let's start with Shaw Farms. This Milford, OH farm is open year round, but is especially popular during their Fall Festival. Fort Thomas resident Erika Peter is a Shaw Farms veteran, and enjoys visiting each year with her family. "It's very nostalgic to me to visit Shaw Farms. I have been visiting the farm since college. Now I take my own children there and it has been fun to watch how much it has grown over the years," said Peter. 

Shaw Farms is bursting with activity during their Fall Festival weekends. It's a big hit with kids since they have plenty of family friendly activities available. A visit to the farm includes access to an interactive playground, hayrides, a corn maze, pedal cart races, and of course, plenty of pumpkins.

The farm is also scattered with unique features for the visitors to enjoy, and create lasting memories. "Shaw Farm has numerous wooden Halloween-themed cutouts that make for great photo-ops," said Peter. "There are a couple, like a scarecrow holding a growth chart, in particular, that we get the kids' pictures with every year. It's been really cute to see how much they've grown from year to year. It's one of our favorite Halloween traditions."

I visited Neltner's Farm on the recommendation of a few friends, and it certainly didn't disappoint. The farm is open everyday, but if you want to fully experience their Fall Festival, it's best to attend during the weekend. Weekend attendees pay $5 for music, horse drawn wagon rides to the pumpkin patch, corn maze, and a petting zoo. During the week, admission is free for the farm shop, pumpkin patch, corn maze, and petting zoo. 

Corn Maze at Neltner's Farm

When I ventured to Neltner's Farm's Camp Springs location on a Tuesday afternoon, the farm was rather calm and relaxing. There were only a handful of other people roaming the farm, and enjoying the limited fall activities available during the week. If you're looking for the quintessential pumpkin patch experience, but want to avoid the crowds, then Neltner's Farm on a weekday is just the place for you. 

Also, I made some new friends at the petting zoo. They were rather noisy and messy, but who am I to judge? Yes, I am indeed talking about the goats at the petting zoo. For just fifty cents visitors can feed a cup of corn to the animals in the petting zoo, and get to know the goats, sheep, and horses housed at the farm. 
Petting zoo at Neltner's Farm

The farm shop is quaint, and contains a selection of fruits and vegetables from the farm. There are also items made from their produce, such as jams, apples butter, and apple bread. I left with a lovely collection of various sized pumpkins and gourds, which have been a great addition to our Halloween decorations. 

Neltner's Farm also offers opportunities for school and group tours, and birthday parties. When I was at the farm, a group of local sorority and fraternity members were gathered together to carve pumpkins on the farm's wooden picnic tables. 

Next up is another fall favorite, Kinman Farms in Burlington, KY. Like Neltner's Farm, Kinman is open during the week, but most of their Fall Festival activities are scheduled for the weekend. This farm has a little something for everyone. They have all the traditional pumpkin patch experiences - hayrides, corn maze, and plenty of pumpkins ripe for the picking. But on the weekends, Kinman Farms takes the prize for offering the most activities for visitors to enjoy. The farm has live music, a corn maze, barn animals, hayrides, bonfires, a picnic shelter, pony rides, Kinman's Grill, face painting, baked hoods, cornhole, playhouse, volleyball, tetherball, and lazer tag. 

Loveland, Ohio's Blooms & Berries Farm Market is another local favorite. Their Fall on the Farm event is open everyday, but the hayrides and cow train only run on the weekends. Blooms & Berries is another popular spot for families. There are plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained, including Spookley the Square Pumpkin storyboard trail, fresh pressed cider, caramel apples, play area with straw maze, and farm animals. This farm has not one, but two corn mazes. Think your youngsters are too little to explore the farm's 7 acre corn maze? No worries. Head over to the smaller, kid-sized corn maze created just for the farm's younger visitors. 

There's still some time to find that perfect pumpkin to carve before Halloween, or to have on-hand for the next pumpkin-friendly holiday, Thanksgiving. As always, don't forget to write your letter to the Great Pumpkin. 

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