This past Saturday, my son and I spent a beautiful, bright and sunny afternoon at Rader Family Farm in Normal, Illinois. Typically, we visit family farms and pumpkin patches in Indiana, but this time, our travels took us to Central Illinois.
When we first arrived and I saw the extent of the parking lot, I knew we were in for more than just a short stay and a trip to a pumpkin patch. From gorgeous mums and pumpkins to apples, activities, and friendly staff, Rader Family Farm is so much more.
Rader Family Farm is a family-owned farm with an emphasis on allowing others the “opportunity to experience a little bit of country life” on their farm. Not only is everything a hands on experience, but there is fun learning and teachable moments throughout the agritourism site.
One of my personal favorites was learning a little bit about a lot of things through informational boards. For example, we were able to learn quick facts about pumpkins and sweet corn on the informational boards all while having real-life visuals right in front of us.
Activities for All Ages
Aside from learning opportunities, there is something fun for everyone to participate in. With my oldest son becoming a teenager, he is hesitant about going to pumpkin patches and family farms because so many times, activities are geared for the younger children. But this time, he was pleasantly surprised to find activities for his age group.
Rader’s Corn Maze
Together we hit Phase 1 of the Corn Maze, hoping to get out within the average 20 minute time frame. After a few wrong turns, we managed to exit successfully. I’m so glad we chose, Phase 1 because there was no way I was getting out of Phase 2.
I can see it now… me getting lost in the maze and having to call the Pumpkin Barn or Maze Booth for help. LOL.
The great thing though is that you are provided with an informational card upon entering which is helpful and also contains numbers to call if you are anything like me and get a little frustrated and need to call for help.
Apple Blasters and Slingshots
My son’s other favorite was the Apple Blasters and Slingshots. He really enjoyed this and so did I. We purchased a couple pails of apples and went at it. There are more than 600 psi of pressure that will shoot the apples at a variety of targets up to 600 feet away. My aim was the car, but let me tell you, I don’t think I ever made it. I think I need to work on my aim a little.
My son also enjoyed shooting a few baskets at Barnyard Ball Throw and drawing his name on the Chalk Truck.
So Many More Activities
Other activities include a Jumping Pillow that my nine year old is going to love when we return in a few weeks, as well as Duck Races, Rat Rollers, Tire Tower, School House, and a Double Barrel Chute – just to name a few.
Grab a Bite to Eat
Since he was too old for Face Painting and the Pedal-Powered Trikes, we headed to the Barnyard Grill and enjoyed some warm donuts and yummy, cold apple cider. I loved that there were so many places on the farm to enjoy a meal or a bite to eat such as the Harvest Brew Coffee Shop, Sidekick Grill, and the Popcorn Shack.
Keep in mind, outside food and drink are not allowed.
Once we finished up with our donuts and cider, we headed to see the new Animal Barn but spent most of our time checking out the horses.
The last thing we enjoyed was checking out the pumpkins. You know, no fall visit is complete without a pumpkin and visit to the Pumpkin Patch. Pumpkin picking at Rader Family Farms has become a long-standing tradition for many families and friends, therefore guests may “pick-your-own” pumpkin every day of the season.
Admission to the U-Pick Patch is free; simply present a form of identification at the Corn Maze booth to gain access to the U-Pick Patch and cutting tools. Most pumpkins are sold per pound and wagons are available.
We had such an awesome time! And, I have so many more photos to share, but perhaps I’ll share them in a second post in a few weeks. In the mean time, Rader Family Farm is open now through October 30th.