Whether a pumpkin spice latte or a cozy cup of apple cider is your thing, fill up your thermos, put your kid in their cutest overalls and head to one of the many KC activities sure to make your fall months memorable. In this fall guide, we’ve compiled our team’s favorite Kansas City festivals, apple orchards and pumpkin patches along with our mom tips for ensuring great memories and photo opportunities for the whole family.
Fall Festivals & Fairs
Celebrate westward expansion at this Independence festival, Sept. 2-5. More than 500 booths, three entertainment stages, a carnival and bingo. Parking is along Kansas & Lynn and Truman roads.
Mom Tip: The car show includes antique fire trucks, sure to be a winner with the preschool crowd.
Kansas City Renaissance Festival
Seven themed weekends are featured during its run Sept. 3 through Oct. 16 in Bonner Springs, Kan., many of which include special activities for kids. Tickets can be purchased online for a discount from gate prices. Children four and under are free.
Mom Tip: Check out the Children’s Realm which features dragon tales, dance lessons, fairy tale character meet and greets, wand making and a Knight School.
Lenexa Spinach Festival
Johnson County houses Lenexa – the spinach capital of the world (who knew?!). Come out to the Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park (95th and Lackman, free parking shuttles) on Saturday, Sept. 10 for music, arts and crafts and of course, the world’s largest spinach salad (think: 150 pounds of the leafy greens.)
Mom Tip: Great activities for kids are on the schedule, even a crawling contest for the littlest spinach-lovers.
Zona Rosa Arts Festival
National and regional artists, musicians and dancers are featured in the Zona Rosa Town Square during this free three-day festival, Sept. 16-18.
Mom Tip: Check on the free children’s art tent!
Plaza Art Fair
The 85th annual Plaza Art Fair, Sept. 23-25, is expected to draw crowds of more than 250,000 people, 240 artists and covers nine city blocks. The kids will enjoy an interactive area across from the Apple Store on Broadway as well as offerings from Plaza restaurants. Visit the event website for a full schedule of live entertainment and parking maps.
Mom Tip: This event is totally doable with kids, but easier with some advanced planning. Check out our tips for making this a family-friendly event, including stops for kids art and food. If you get itchy in crowds, get a babysitter and enjoy a glass of wine while looking at art sans stroller.
Live music, a look into the apple press, great photo ops, arts and crafts booths, pony rides and most importantly, cider donuts! This two-weekend festival runs Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Mom Tip: The festival itself is free (and free parking) but there is an $8 admission fee (3 and under free) for the corn maze and pumpkin patch area.
Overland Park Fall Festival
Downtown Overland Park celebrates the season on Saturday, Sept. 24 with music, an arts and crafts fair, food trucks, extended Farmer’s Market hours, a classic car show and children’s entertainment. The headline performance for 2016 is The Smithereens.
Mom Tip: Don’t miss the 10 a.m. parade down Santa Fe Drive.
Sprint Family Fun Days Fall Festival
Test out your Halloween costumes for some early trick or treating at the Power and Light District’s shops and restaurants on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Pony rides, games, inflatables and face painting make for a full day at P&L.
Mom Tip: Parking is available for $2 in the KC Live! and Main Street parking garages or free along the surrounding streets. For additional details on Sprint Family Fun Days, click here.
Weston Apple Fest
A great day trip from Kansas City, the Weston Apple Fest, Oct. 1-2, is known as one of Missouri’s best fall festivals. Main Street is lined with vendor booths and the local churches have apple dumplings, pies and cookies on hand. Children’s activities both days are planned in the park with pony rides, carnival style games, face painting and pumpkin painting.
Mom Tip: Entertainer Mr. Stinky Feet kicks off the live music schedule at 12:30 on Saturday.
WaterFire Kansas City
Check out a display of floating fire, live music and food at this annual Plaza event, 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Mom Tip: This event will get rescheduled for rain, so check the website if it looks cloudy.
Free Weekend at the Overland Park Arboretum
Enjoy free admission Oct. 1-2.
Mom Tip: The train park and garden. Don’t miss it.
Pony Express PumpkinFest
This outdoor arts festival, Oct. 7-9, kicks off with the lighting of “Great Pumpkin Mountain.” Don’t miss the costume parade, rides, games, storytelling and fall food.
Mom Tip: Visit the Pony Express National historic Site and learn about Pony Express riders while you’re there.
Shawnee Indian Mission – Fall Festival
Shawnee Indian Mission’s Fall Festival, Oct. 8-9, features living history re-enactors, mountain men, American Indian dancers, spinners, weavers, arrowsmith/archery, storytellers, musicians, traditional craftsmen, pony rides, and food. Admission is free.
Mom Tip: Don’t miss the campfire, music, and storytelling at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Lenexa Chili Challenge
The festivities start Friday, Oct. 14 with live music and fireworks. The contest begins Saturday morning, Oct. 15, with free samples for the public (while they last).
Mom Tip: Kids can show off their culinary skills in the Kids Kornbread Contest.
Night of the Living Farm
Old-fashioned lanterns and carved pumpkins will lead costumed trick-or-treaters through pathways of graves and ghouls at Night of the Living Farm at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, 6 – 9 p.m. Oct. 21-22 and Oct. 28-29. Activities include pirate ship races, a fairy princess party, a haunted barn, a flashlight scavenger hunt, hayrides (both scary and non-scary) and a marshmallow roast.
Mom Tip: Come hungry for bratwurst, hot dogs, apple cider and caramel apples.
Kansas City Kids Marathon
Sponsored by Children’s Mercy and Chick-fil-a, this 1.2 mile run is for kindergarten through eighth grade runners and coincides with the Kansas City Marathon on Oct. 15. Registration is available for teams and pre-race training programs are available.
Maple Leaf Festival
Baldwin City’s fall festival began in 1958 and was timed to coincide with the best time to view the changing colors of the maple leaves. This year’s fest, Oct. 15-16, includes a parade, arts and crafts booths, a carnival and the kids zone.
Mom Tip: The Black Jack Cabin is open for tours, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Roadside Park and train rides start at the Santa Fe Depot.
Apple Picking, Pumpkin Patches and Cider Donuts
Weston Red Barn
Beginning Labor Day Weekend, the farm is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through the first weekend in November. In addition to picking the perfect pumpkin, make a day of it with tractor or horse-drawn hay rides, pony rides, farm animals and a corn maze.
Mom Tip: Picnic tables are usually reserved for school groups or private events. You can, however, bring in food and a picnic blanket – just pick up after yourself!
Johnson Farms (Belton, Mo.)
With 40 acres of pumpkin patch and 20 acres of corn maze, Johnson Farms is the perfect place for a fall outing. A playground, corn crib maze, pumpkin cannon, pig races, barrel train, a jumping pillow (you have to see it to believe it), and of course, the pumpkin-chomping dinosaur make this one of our favorite farms. Daily admission prices range from $9-$13. Open weekdays and weekends beginning Sept. 24.
Mom Tip: Check times for events before you go. And don’t miss the pumpkin spice donuts and apple cider slushes!
Dunn’s Cider Mill (Belton, Mo.)
Bonus! On your way back from Johnson Farms, stop by Dunn’s for fresh cider donuts and (the real) apple cider.
Mom Tip: Only open 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, mid-September to mid-November.
Faulkner’s Ranch Pumpkin Farm (Kansas City, Mo.)
Highlights include a pumpkin patch, Wild West playground, hayride, petting farm barn, field maze, duck races, games, train ride, corn cannon and face painting (some attractions weekend only). Open Oct. 1 – Oct. 31.
Mom Tip: Mondays are designated playdate specials. Arrive between 10 – 11:30 a.m. to receive $8 admission, which includes a pie pumpkin.
Cider Hill Family Orchard (Kansas City, Kan.)
An apple wagon will take you to pick from the orchard’s more than 1,300 apple trees. Once you fill your bags, you can pick out a pumpkin or fish at one of the orchard’s five ponds. Cider Hill apples are already available and pumpkin season begins Oct. 1.
Mom Tip: Apples are sold by the bag size not the weight so fill that bag up to the top!
Carolyn’s Country Cousins (Liberty, Mo.)
A mining camp, petting zoo and pig races highlight this pumpkin patch that also offers a variety of food options. The farm opens Sept. 17, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily.
Mom Tip: Buy your tickets ahead of time online. For a $2/ticket weekend discount, by five or more tickets at once. Season passes available.
Alldredge Orchard (Platte City, Mo.)
Get your apples and pumpkins in one spot! Alldredge is open Saturdays and Sundays in September and October for apple picking and weekends in October for pumpkins. The orchard also has a playground, store, bakery and cafe and farm animals.
Mom Tip: Check Facebook before you go to ensure the variety of apples available is one you want.
KC Pumpkin Patch (Olathe, Kan.)
A close patch for those in Johnson County that offers a slide mountain, goat walk, zip lines, jumping pillow, outdoor farm games, gourd gun, mazes, train, schoolhouse and too many to name here. The Hog Wild Cafe has plenty of options for lunch or a snack. Opening Sept. 24, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon – 6 p.m. Sundays.
Mom Tip: Check out their web page for special events on weekends including entertainment and live music.
Opening Sept. 30, Deanna Rose is transformed into a pumpkin farm with horse-drawn wagons that take you to a pumpkin patch to pick out your favorite (included in admission). Other special activities include a corn maze, hay pyramid, corn box, hay slide and the Pumpkin Hollow Express barrel train. Open 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekends.
Mom Tip: Additional admission fee of $8 applies to participate in Pumpkin Hollow activities.
Powell Pumpkin Patch
This family-owned patch in Louisburg offers FREE admission! Opening Sept. 24, this 35-acre patch offers free hayrides and a corn maze for an additional fee. Small concession stand with packaged snacks and drinks available. Open daily, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Mom Tip: A quarter-mile nature trail has a great view of Kansas wildlife and trees.
Schaake’s Pumpkin Patch
Another free admission patch! Schaake’s in Lawrence features pick-your-own-pumpkins, hayrides, a hay maze, the straw romp, farm animals, and a photo area. Opens Sept. 26 daily, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Mom Tip: Check out the driving directions here to avoid road construction
New this fall, Gieringers is expanding their orchard to include a corn maze, pumpkin patch, sunflower fields, hay rides and other fun activities beginning late September.
Mom Tip: Details still developing, so watch their Facebook page.
Fun Farm Pumpkin Patch
New to the fall scene, this Kearney farm has a pumpkin patch, barrel train, tricycle track, pumpkin cannon, rubber duck races and more. Opening mid-September.
Mom Tip: Rent a fire pit for $50 (20 people or less) for a private event for your family and friends.
Don’t miss the Spook House, horse swings, lasso practice areas along with a pumpkin patch, corn maze, farm animals and play areas. Opening October 1 in Bonner Springs, weekends only. $7 admission for ages 3 and up.
Mom Tip: Cash and check only!
Shuck’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch
Schuck’s in Pleasant Hill, Mo., has the usual barrel train, pumpkin patch, corn box and more, but the highlight is this year’s corn maze, dedicated to the 2015 World Champion Royals. Opens Sept. 26, weekends only. Coupons for discount admission are available online.
Mom Tip: For a great fall night, check out the Flash Lite Nites for a hayride and corn maze adventure in the dark.
Though we aim to ensure the accuracy of all our postings, we always advise you check online before heading out for the most up-to-date information.