Voted "Best Pumpkin Fest" by viewers of Fox News Chicago, Bengtson's Pumpkin Farm captivates visitors with the autumn-themed fun of four new attractions, pig races, a 3-acre corn maze fit for all ages, and the Kids Village complete with a jail and a fire station. Swine speed toward the finish line 10 times daily, spurred on by the cheers of bleacher-seated audiences, and human competitors race playmates or sentient scarecrows through the giant Crazy Corn Maizey's swaying stalks. The Pumpkin Chucker launches gourds skyward, and pint-size patrons mirror mid-air trajectories on kiddy rides such as the new 90-foot Mega Fun Slide and Flying Frogs (free through October 30, excluding pony rides). Ghoulish chefs and mad scientists cook up screams in the Haunted Barn before sending the spooked off to enjoy the soothing effects and bleated lullabies of goats, zebras, kangaroos, and other critters at the petting zoo.
Straightline Landscaping & Lawn Maintenance, Ltd. designs and maintains lawns for both homes and businesses. The company’s uniformed technicians clip lawns in weekly sessions, perform spring and fall cleanups, and stave off weeds, crabgrass, fungi, and people who gargle with soil. The company is a member of both the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association and PLANET, an international network of environmentally responsible landscapers.
A heated indoor riding arena and lighted outdoor arena form twin centerpieces for the 10 acres of sprawling farmland named Nova Quarter Horses. The contemporary digs host a spectrum of beginning to advanced riders for one-on-one instruction with the stable’s experienced on-staff riders. Each instructor welcomes riders into an encouraging, supportive environment for English or Western riding lessons, with the goal of instilling the confidence to continue on with training and the self-esteem to not casually accept a horse’s silent treatment. As such, each rider is encouraged to participate in the grooming, feeding, and saddling aspects of the sport—necessary skills for any serious rider. The outfit also leads recreational trail rides each Sunday across its expansive terrain, as well as a moonlight ride once every month.
Lawn Doctor's roots lead back to the mid 1960s, when friends Bob Magda and Tony Giordano took on the endeavor of reviving uncared-for lawns in their hometown of Matawan, New Jersey. Their local business has since blossomed into a national franchise with more than 400 locations across the United States, each adhering to the mission of enhancing lawns' allure with time-tested techniques, dedicated customer service, and dabs of foundation makeup.
Before Lawn Doctor's assiduous staffers unleash expertise on swards, they arrive at the client's home for a complimentary consultation to gauge each lawn's specific needs. Grass gurus can thicken turf with their patented Turf Tamer power seeder and foster healthy growth for grass, trees, and shrubs with fertilizer. Uninvited lawn assailants—such as grubs, ants, and grazing neighbors—shudder at the sight of Lawn Doctor's pest-control experts. With Lawn Doctor’s Yard Armour, annoying flying pests like mosquitoes can be contained to return enjoyment to outdoor spaces. The company also helps to preserve Mother Nature's receding hairline with organic lawn treatments and natural, eco-friendly products.
The Center has welcomed kids onto its farm since 1936. It probably wasn't as much of a novelty back then, when Illinois was home to more than 220,000 farms and the U.S. government issued everyone a farmer's hat at birth. But that number has decreased steadily with each decade, dropping to just 76,000 by 2010, per the USDA. Which means that today, The Children's Farm at The Center gives kids and their families something increasingly special: the chance to experience life on an independent rural farm. Here, chickens lay eggs, goats give milk, and horses eat hay harvested right on the farm. The staff also leads tours of these grounds and explains how each animal fits into farm life. They even let kids pet some of the livestock before finishing up tours with a hayride.
For a completely immersive experience, The Children's Farm hosts summer camps for ages 3–17. During each camp session, campers live on the farm for days or weeks at a time, spending their days riding horses and caring for the animals.
Green Garden Center, now in business for more than 45 years, helps patrons beautify their home landscapes with flowers, trees, shrubs, and outdoor accessories under the guidance of second-generation owners Dick and Pat Ooykaas. Alongside a team of experienced green-thumbed staffers, they tend to greenhouses brimming with verdant plant life that is all locally grown. Green Glen also delivers and installs plant materials, performs home consultations, and creates custom planters for accenting porches or for sending home with extraterrestrial visitors.