If you’re near central Iowa in the fall you’ll want to make sure to get off the Interstate (I-35, exit 102; north of Ankeny, south of Ames) and enjoy a day of family fun at Center Grove Orchard. This is one of those “a picture is worth a thousand words” posts. Enjoy!
Center Grove Orchard is more than an orchard…
They also have a pumpkin patch (pick your own or choose one that has been picked)…
Two mazes: one kid sized hay maze (also good for climbing on top of) and a 4-acre corn maze…
Try your hand at roping a “steer”- or yourself…
Test your aim with the Apple Sling Shot…
Or try one of the other fun things like the bouncing pillow, the corn pool, pedal tractor racing, the Three Little Pigs houses, the super slide, the goat walk and more!
This is an orchard- and a working farm- so be sure to catch a hay ride and head out to pick your own apples (purchase bags before setting out). The hayride is also the quickest way to the pumpkin patch and the corn maze.
After you’ve had your fill of fun head into the Country Store to fill your belly. Here you’ll find apples, gooey caramel apples, flaky apple turnovers, tasty apple cider donuts, apple pie (along with cherry and pumpkin), apple cider (warm and cold), apple slush… And, beyond the apples, you’ll find shelves of Iowa goodness: fresh salsas, amazing BBQ sauces (I recommend the raspberry chipotle), syrups, salad dressings, jams, jellies and more. Oh, and I bet you won’t leave without some homemade fudge.
You’ll want to designate at least 3 hours for fun at Center Grove Orchard- though I recommend more to not be rushed. It’s a wonderful family tradition for us.
During the regular season (fall) the orchard is open 7 days a week.
- Monday – Saturday 9am- 7pm
- Sunday 11am- 6pm
Center Grove Orchard is just off I-35; north of Ankeny, south of Ames at exit 102. Google Map
Admission cost (current as of October 2009. Visit their website for updates)
- Farmyard Pass $7.95 ages 3 and up
- No pass is needed to shop in the Country Store or pick your own apples during the week.
Rest rooms are available in the Country Store and port-a-potties are scattered about the farm.