CRYSTAL LAKE AND CARY, IL — Coronavirus has taken its toll on Illinois, canceling events and postponing sports, graduations and even weddings, but there’s one thing it hasn’t taken from us: Fall fun.
From pumpkin patches to apple orchards to corn mazes and fall events, there’s plenty to keep us busy as the weather turns cool and crisp.
Here’s a roundup of the places in and around Crystal Lake and Cary where you can pick a pumpkin, gather up fall apples, wind your way through a corn maze or attend a safe and socially distanced fall event.
Pumpkin patches, corn mazes near Crystal Lake and Cary.
Address: 3709 Miller Road, McHenry
Season opening date: Sept. 12 to Nov. 1.
Attractions: Pumpkin picking, apple picking, food and fun. Stade's also has a weekly worship service at 10 a.m. on Sunday where an inspiring message, worship music, apple cider donuts and coffee are provided. Stade's fall "farmtractions" theme park is closed for 2020.
Pumpkins and produce: U-Pick hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stade's market has in-season fruits and vegetables, freshly baked pies and Apple Cider Donuts, salsa, spices, gluten-free items, soup mixes, eggs, honey, gift items and much more.
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in September, as well as Columbus Day and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October.
Cost: Parking is free. General admission is $15 for ages 3 to 64 years old, 64 and older are $10. Free for kids age 2 and younger.
Address: 42W813 Reinking Road, Pingree Grove
Season: Aug. 28 to Oct. 31
Attractions: Haunted house, kiddie play land, straw maze, singing chickens, a pumpkin-eating dinosaur, pedal carts, animal land with a giraffe barn and pig family, pig family, pumpkin cannon and more.
Pumpkins and produce: Besides pumpkins, Goebbert's has farm fresh squash, potatoes, apples and gourds to name a few. Also, there are homemade caramel apples, freshly popped kettle corn, apple cider and so much more. In addition to the delicious foods, you can find a variety of crafts and gifts for your home or a special gift. Goebbert's doesn't offer apple picking as its own activity, but guests can choose to pay for apple bags and pick apples in addition to their Fall Festival admission.
Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Cost: There is free parking. General admission tickets cost $12.99 per person Monday through Friday; $16.99 per person Saturdays, Sundays, Labor Day and Columbus Day. $11.99 for seniors get in for $11.99, free for kids age 2 and younger.
Address: 40 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington
Season: Sept. 19 to Oct 31.
Animal Land and Little Farmers Play Land and More: Activities include a giraffe barn, pumpkin-eating dino, pig racing, pony rides, camel rides, wagon ride, little farmer's play yard, corn stalk maze, pumpkin eating dinosaur, the pumpkin tunnel, climbing trucks and cut outs, corn hole game, ring toss game and more. Goebbert's also has its Red Barn Cafe & Bakery for some tasty treats, including Apple Cider Donuts and Pumpkin cookies.
Pumpkins and produce: Goebbert's has a large display of pumpkins to choose from in the free area of its farm. Goebbert's grows over 200 acres of fresh vegetables.
Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (last entry for the day is 5 p.m.)
Cost: Entrance fee now charged for Saturdays, Sundays and Columbus Day. Prices vary for admission to the Animal Land and Little Farmer's Playland. Tickets include wagon rides and cost $16.99 on the weekends and Columbus Day and $12.99 Monday through Friday. There is an additional charge for some activities at Goebbert's.
Apple orchards near Crystal Lake and Cary
Address: 14510 IL Route 176, Woodstock
Season dates: The orchard opened on Aug. 29 and will remain open through Nov. 1.
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and Columbus Day
COVID-19 rules: Masks should be worn inside and on the wagon and when social distancing is difficult. All Seasons is also limiting the number of people in buildings and in the orchard, barnyard and u-pick fields, and the orchard is requiring visitors to make reservations on weekends and Columbus Day. Tickets can be purchased online. On weekdays, tickets can be purchased at the orchard. More information on other measures the orchard is taking this year can be found online.
Address: 4914 N. Union Road, Union
Hours of operation: Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For fewer people, visit Monday through Friday.
COVID-19 Rules: Masks are required in the farm store, practice safe social distancing, and no animals, except licensed service animals, or outside food will be allowed.
Address: 909 English Prairie Road in Spring Grove
Season dates: Sept. 12 through Nov. 8
Hours of operation: 3 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 12. On Friday, Oct. 2, and Saturday, Oct. 3, the Adventure Farm Grounds and corn maze are open until midnight.
Details: The 28-acre maze —which the farm touts as the world's largest — opened Sept. 7. This year's theme celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Along with the maze, there's a 700-foot zip line and 50-foot observation tour; ORBiting, which involves riding inside a giant 11-foot ball; live pig races; jumping pillows; giant slides, pedal carts and wagon rides; a petting zoo; and campfires. Pick-your-own pumpkins are also available, and will likely be harvested after Sept. 24.
COVID-19 Rules: Richardson’s Farm is asking all visitors to wear masks inside buildings and whenever they cannot keep a safe distance from people in your immediate group, to wash and sanitized your hands regularly, follow social distancing guidelines, and to not stop out if you have been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days or have any symptoms. They are also encouraging anyone who has an underlying medical condition or who are immune compromised not to visit.
Address: 15908 Hebron Road in Harvard
Season dates: Aug. 22 to Nov. 1
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 pm. Friday through Sunday.
Details: The orchard has a large variety of apples available. For crop updates and the cost for admission to the apple orchards, visit the Royal Oak crop website. Activities at the orchard include: playground, petting zoo, carousel, hay ride, orchard tour rides and apple tree maze. Some of the activities and rides cost more and have varying hours so check the website for additional information.
COVID-19 rules: Royal Oaks staff will be wearing masks at all times and guests must wear masks every day of the week when inside any building and anytime they are standing in line. On weekends and holidays, masks must be worn everywhere on the farm and for all outdoor activities. If a six-foot distance is not possible during the weekdays, visitors should wear masks while outdoors. The farm will not be offering its wagon rides out to the orchard this year and weekend orchard tours and group tours are also not available this season. For all the rules, visit the Royal Oaks website.
Fall events Near Crystal Lake and Cary
Drive Thru Truck Or Treat Coming To Crystal Lake: Sunday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon at Lippold Park
Hayrides And Campfire Season Begins At Hoffman Park: Hayrides are offered select Friday and Saturday nights from September 25 – October 24. Hayride reservations include a 45 minute ride and 30 minutes of campfire time to roast marshmallows and make s'mores.
Haunted Car Wash Brings COVID-Free Thrills: From Oct. 28 to 31, Brittain's Car Wash, 1572 Larkin Avenue in Elgin, will be transformed into Brittain's Tunnel of Terror.
More fall fun:
If we missed your favorite pumpkin patch or Halloween event, be sure to share it with readers in the comments section.