Since I’m sure you haven’t seen enough pictures of kids with pumpkins lately, I figured it was about time to share a few of ours. It’s not my fault Fall + Pumpkins + Kids + Apple Cider = Cuteness Overload, I just enjoy partaking in the whole thing. Maybe it’s cliche, but whatever, it’s one of my all-time favorite ways to spend a day. Having kids is just my perfect excuse.
Every year we’ve tried a new pumpkin patch (see here, here, here, here, and here), in the past three years it’s been one within 30-ish minutes of our St. Louis home. This time around Finn’s pretty solid about the large orange vegetables being super tons of fun, so he was totally jazzed to see piles of them all over the place at Braeutigam Orchards. It was gorgeous gourds and squash as far as the eye could see.
We made the trip to Belleville, IL to meet up with our favorite pumpkin patch crew, wanting to see if all the reviews were right…was this the perfect patch? Small, family owned, not overrun with visitors—what’s not to like? We arrived to chickens running wild (as my kids tried to catch them), straw bale piles to climb, and cute animals to pet.
And of course, a hay ride.
This one was extra fun because we detoured through the orchard, it’s trees bursting with apples. We had the option to stop and pick them—tempting—but we opted to continue on with pumpkins in our sights. The driver continued on but stopped again to grab each of us a perfect golden delicious apple for the ride, something we thought was ridiculously cute.
Next year we’re picking apples too, they were SO good.
The big kids dove from the wagon with a goal to find “weird” pumpkins. Bumpy, pink, yellow, long, flat…anything outside the norm. These two are the cutest little buddies and (almost) always humor me with a pose.
Stu grabbed two perfect carvers and I needed a green princess pumpkin. We walked the field for quite a while pointing out the craziest specimens we could find. The big carving pumpkins are brought in from another field, but everything else grows right there, all different, all beautiful. I’ve never seen such amazing pumpkins.
A wagon ride back to home base and it was time for a couple Braeutigam specialties, Apple Cider slushies and Apple Cider donuts. It may come as quite a surprise, but they were both DELICIOUS.
A friendly member of the staff, clearly part of the farm family, walked around with bunnies and handed out feed for the kids to throw down to the chickens and giant turkey milling about the place. When he approached with a full grown black and white hen Ethan yelled, “Mom! A Barred Rock!” and we ran over for a pet, which turned into a snuggle.
This is what our little Rex will look like a couple months.
We left with a wagon full of gorgeous pumpkins and exhausted kids (and parents).
I think there was a consensus: Braeutigam is a hard name to say. And it topped our St. Louis pumpkin patch list. The admission is free, kids activities very inexpensive, and pumpkins a great price ($.59/pound). Pretty sure my kids based their vote on the abundance of chickens.
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This weekend was The Best of Missouri Market at the Missouri Botanical Garden! It’s one of our favorite events, one that marks the official beginning of Fall. Pumpkins, apple butter, fuzzy animals, kids crafts, a crisp breeze, all in the gorgeous surroundings of the impeccable gardens.
The main attraction is the enormous tents filled with local vendors, all offering samples and peddling their goods to the throngs of visitors strolling through. But we tend to head straight to the Kids Corner, back by the Children’s Garden. Year after year we milk the cows, get a face painting, pet alpacas, and build something at the Home Depot craft booth.
And it’s the place we pick out our first pumpkins of the season.
And every year I encourage my kids to crawl into the pile of pumpkins…not sure if it’s good for them to be stepped on, but sure makes for a cute picture. Both boys just dove into the pile and started looking for the perfect pumpkin. We probably could have just left Finn there all morning, he was so happy. Funny enough, on our way into the gardens I ran into a friend who pointed out that Finn and his buddy Mia were featured, from this same spot, in this year’s market program.
Since he’s practically a professional farmer now, Ethan couldn’t wait to get under the cow for a little milking and Finn marched right up to start petting, no fear. He even gave a few teat squeezes but couldn’t quite get the technique right for producing milk, which didn’t stop him from tugging (I could not stop laughing). He seemed pretty confused when I kept saying, “This is where milk comes from!”
As an added bonus this year, Ethan took an alpaca for a walk. It was the softest animal I’ve ever pet. The whole scene was hilarious.
We stopped for a little face painting, Ethan specifically requesting a butterfly—I love him so much for this. Finn gave it a whirl too, but his lasted exactly 4 seconds.
We spent the most time at the pumpkin decorating station. Ethan has really become crafty in the past few months so he was a gluing, feathering, and pom pom-ing fool. And of course Finn wants to do anything big brother is doing.
We love the botanical gardens SO much, it’s the most serene and amazing place to spend a morning, and their events are extremely family friendly. Our other favorites include the Garden Glow, Family Picnic, Easter Egg Hunt, Breakfast with Santa, and Ghouls in the Garden. That last one was the topic of a recent postcard campaign that just happened to feature yet another picture of Finn from last year.
We’re at all the garden events. Oh and every one of the activities we did this morning was free! I can’t imagine a better way to spend a Sunday morning.