Even with Oklahoma’s rich agricultural history, the Oklahoma City metro sometimes feels far from the area’s farming roots. But many fall festivals and fairs in the midwestern and southern states have kept the harvest season celebrations intact and Oklahoma is no exception.
Fall is a perfect time to reach back into Oklahoma’s history and pull out some old-fashioned fall fun. Fall is about more than dressing up in a costume and going door-to-door for candy. From bobbing for apples to taking a hayride, there are endless ways to celebrate Oklahoma’s rich agricultural ties with your family this autumn. Here are seven hot spots where families of all ages can take in all this season has to offer together.
1. Wind Through a Corn Maze
P Bar Farms in Hydro, one hour west of Oklahoma City
Since 1907, the soil at P Bar Farms flourished as a conventional farm offering a variety of produce. In 2001, the owners decided to tackle a new adventure when they cut their first corn maze. Ever since, families have flocked to the 10-acre cornfield in Hydro to explore the intricate network of twists, turns and clues. While most take about an hour, a perfectly walked path only takes about 20 minutes. The maze is cut with the help of a GPS, a mower and a crew of several volunteers. Each year, the maze debuts a new design. This year’s “Jurassic Park”-themed design was created with help from Norman’s Sam Noble Museum.
But, the maze isn’t the only fun to be had at P Bar Farms. Load up on a hayride to pick a prize pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. Serve up a snack for some of the barn animals and play on the “countrified” playground complete with a jumping pillow called the Grasshopper. Guests can even take a spin on the train or tap in a few putts on a miniature golf course.
Their original red barn is now home to the Red Neck laser tag. Black lights, strobe lights and music all work together providing excitement for those looking for more action and adventure.
As the sun sets on October nights, visitors are in for a fright! The Corn Maze and Laser Tag get a haunted overhaul. Zombies, scary music and masked employees offer a healthy scare. The spooky features are a lot of fun but not recommended for younger kids.
P Bar Farms still operates and produces whole wheat flour and blue and yellow corn meal at Stone Stack Mill. Tours are available upon request and products, concessions and souvenirs are available for purchase at the Main Barn.
The fall festivities are open on Thursdays and Fridays, 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Nov. 8. Activities range from $3 to $10 with combination deals available.
2. Take a Hay Ride
Baker’s Acres in Tishomingo, two hours southeast of Oklahoma City
Behind the delicious pecan treats crafted at Baker Pecans is Baker’s Acres, the family-owned farm and autumnal hub of family-friendly fun. The whole gang can hop on a hay ride for a spin around the pasture, climb to the top of a hay mountain, weave through a corn or hay maze and pick a prize pumpkin from the patch.
Crank your way to a win during a rubber duck race where each racer pumps an old-fashioned water pump to send their rubber ducky speeding along the plastic water way. Bury your whole body in corn in a sandbox twist called the Corn Barrel. Little ones will enjoy a ride on the barrel train while older kids can peddle their way around a race track in a person-powered ATV. Photo opportunities abound at this picturesque farm. Pose with barnyard animals and cutouts where you can pretend you are a farm animal yourself.
Baker’s Acres is open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. throughout October. Looking for a special outing for fall break? They are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 15 and 16 to welcome families. Admission is $8 for anyone ages 3 to 59 and free for kids 2 and under and seniors 60 and older.
Tip: After your fun at Baker’s Acres, head over to the Tishomingo Wildlife Refuge. Fish for some crappie or catfish and enjoy some peace and quiet. There are also several museums and the popular Pink Pistol, Miranda Lambert’s original boutique.
3. Ride a Ferris Wheel
Linde Oktoberfest in Tulsa, an hour and 40 minutes northeast of Oklahoma City
Currently ranked as a Top 10 Oktoberfest Celebration by USA Today, Linde Oktoberfest celebrates an authentic Bavarian culture that closely mirrors Munchen Oktoberfest. Opening Oct. 22 and continuing to Oct. 25, the 36th annual celebration is sure to meet expectations as the festival marks the grand opening of the brand new 17-acre River West Festival Park, specifically designed for Oktoberfest. While the layout and look might feel a bit different, Oktoberfest will still feature the same lively entertainment and delicious cuisine.
At the heart of the festival and on the logo is the signature Linde Oktoberfest SkyWheel. A ride to the top offers a bird’s eye view of all the colorful happenings in the six tents below. Once back down on the ground, you can enjoy more carnival rides, three internationally-known bands direct from Germany, authentic drinks and food and games and activities for kids. There is even an entire tent dedicated to dart throwing with tournaments and prizes. The festival opens at 5 p.m. on Thursday, 11 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday. Most of the action ends at 11 p.m. each day except Sunday when the fun stops for good at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 before 5 p.m. and $10 after. Skip out on the paid parking by taking a free shuttle running between five locations: Fassler Hall, Hyatt Regency Downtown, Holiday Inn Tulsa City Center, Trade Winds Inn and Crowne Plaza.
4. Pick a Prime Pumpkin
Pumpkinville at Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City
In October, the Children’s Garden in the Myriad Botanical Gardens gets an autumnal face lift. From Oct. 9 through Oct. 25, thousands of pumpkins paint the gardens orange in celebration of the change of the seasons. This year, Pumpkinville takes on an old country town theme complete with a fire station, library and general store. These interactive displays are not only fun to explore but help kids connect to nature and the fall season. As families stroll through Pumpkinville, they should expect to find a few surprises in the form of a pumpkin swamp, pumpkin bowling, a jack-o-lantern toss and even a game of tic-tac-toe.
Daily crafts will be available with a selection of age-appropriate options. For an additional $5, you can paint a pumpkin to take home. Along with the daily activities, several special events are planned, including the Great Pumpkin Float, a Spooky Pooch Parade and a Halloween party featuring trick-or-treat stations and special entertainment.
On Saturdays, the Pumpkinville library will host a story time from 1 to 1:30 p.m. and every Friday, kids can learn how fresh cider is made during a cider press demonstration in the pavilion outside the Children’s Garden. For those interested in learning more about fall and its favorite produce, sign up for one of the educational programs, Why Leaves Change Colors or Truly Tasty Pumpkins. The programs are free but a $2 suggested donation is requested and registration is required.
Pumpkinville will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Oct. 24 when they close early to prepare for the Halloween Party later that evening.
Click here to learn more about a MetroFamily photo contest that will give you a chance to win a family vacation!
Admission is $6 for kids ages 4 to 12 years old and adults are $4. To purchase a membership, register for a class or for a complete calendar of events, visit www.myriadgardens.org.
5. Make S’mores over an Open Fire
Woodbine Farms in Ardmore, an hour and a half south of Oklahoma City
Woodbine Farms’ Pumpkin Patch is nestled on a real working farm near Ardmore, surrounded by beautiful trees and nature. This patch offers families simple classic fun like a tractor-pulled hay ride, petting zoo, two huge piles of sand and pumpkin picking. There are plenty of unique activities to keep the whole family entertained. Take a ride on a 20-foot culvert swing or claim the skies on the kids’ tight rope maze.
Challenge your kids to a Hotwheel or rubber duck race and on weekends shoot an air-powered corn cannon.
After all that fun, settle down around the fire pit for a round of roasting. Your admission includes a hot dog. S’mores fixings are available for purchase at the concession stand. No outside food is allowed but the stand prices are reasonable. A whole s’mores kit including a metal roasting stick costs $1.
The Pumpkin Patch at Woodbine Farms is open from Oct. 1 to 30, Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 12:30 to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 and includes all the fun activities. Pumpkins, however, are an additional charge.
6. Dance a Jig
Beavers Bend Folk Festival in Broken Bow, four hours southeast of Oklahoma City
For the last two decades, thousands of people celebrate the change of the season at the Beavers Bend Folk Festival & Craft Show in mid-November. Turn-of-the-century crafts and mountain music take center stage as nature paints a beautiful backdrop of rust and gold. Families can browse nearly 70 vendors offering vintage arts like quilting, candle-making, woodturning, paper making and blacksmithing to the tune of banjos, fiddles and dulcimer strings. Festival-goers are even treated to hands-on opportunities to learn some classic artisan skills themselves. Kids will be eager to stop by the courtyard to enjoy live storytelling, a petting zoo and a puppet show of their own making featuring their very own handmade paper puppets.
Be sure to make your way to the outdoor stage to learn how to properly dance a jig! The festival has a full line up of some the best folk musicians in the country, a few even offering free mountain dulcimer workshops each day.
Visitors are invited to bring their own dulcimers or try their hand on dulcimers provided by instructors at the event.
After all the exploring, your crew will likely be in need of refueling, and the hardest part will be choosing which delicious snack. Enjoy festival classics like turkey legs, Indian tacos, kettle corn, caramel apples and funnel cakes down with fresh apple cider or old-time root beer.
Since the fall foliage should be in peak season during the festival, wrap up your old-fashioned fall fun with a hayride or train ride in Beavers Bend State Park.
The three-day festival starts on Friday, Nov. 13 and continues through Sunday, Nov. 15. Festival hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission and parking are free.
7. Take a Scenic Drive
Talimena National Scenic Byway, three and a half hours southeast of Oklahoma City
What would fall be without the colorful display of the fall foliage? As trees ready themselves for winter, they paint the landscape with vibrant splashes of gold, orange and red. In Oklahoma, we are treated to a lengthy fall color season, stretching well into November. The Talimena National Scenic Byway offers visitors spectacular views as the 54-mile route twists and turns through the Ouachita National Forest and atop the Ouachita Mountains, the highest mountain range between the Appalachians and the Rockies. Along the scenic byway, pullouts and turnouts dot State Highway 1 showcasing the top spots to take in picturesque views and breathtaking vistas.
If you want to explore more, make a stop at Talimena State Park for a picnic or a hike. Dirt bikes and ATVs are permitted, offering an exciting way to explore nature’s beauty. Just be sure to pick up or download a map of the motorized routes. The park also offers camping and a playground. The extra beauty of this type of old-fashioned fun is yours to experience and your expense can be as little as the gas in your tank.
[Editor’s Note: MetroFamily has partnered with John Rex Elementary School to present a scarecrow at Pumpkinville. Visit Myriad Botanical Gardens this fall to see our scarecrow along with a handful of other scarecrows made by locals!]