A recently discovered alternative to the indoors, going "outside" offers adventurous explorers exposure to things such as wind, sunshine, and the naturally occurring mazes found in corn fields. Leave the indoors with today's Groupon to The Pumpkin Ranch in Winterset, open on Saturdays and Sundays in October. Choose between the following options:
- For $9, you get an autumn outing for two (up to an $18 total value). The package includes:
- Two general admissions (up to a $3 value each)
- Two corn-maze admissions (up to a $6 value each)
- For $19, you get an autumn outing for four (up to a $41 total value). This includes:
- Four general admissions (up to a $3 value each)
- Four corn-maze admissions (up to a $6 value each)
- A medium pumpkin (a $5 value)
Run by the Handsaker family, The Pumpkin Ranch brings nine acres of labyrinthine twists and turns to corn fields, surrounded by other family-friendly autumnal activities. Incorporated into the maze, more than five miles of meandering pathways lead trailblazers to 12 punch stations in a quest to find answers in the all-ages game, Farm Scene Investigation, inspired by numerous television shows about farm life. Once they’ve navigated the twists and turns to their hearts’ content, pintsize adventurers and grown-ups alike can climb aboard a hayride to journey to the 10-acre pumpkin patch, where squashes and gourds of all shapes and sizes sit and dream of acquiring an eternally screaming jack-o'-lantern face. A straw-bale castle, complete with speed-seeking ziplines, awaits young lords and ladies in the unlimited fun zone ($5/person), which also hosts two jump houses. Sate fun-seeking bellies with homemade popcorn, baked goodies, specialty cider, hot chocolate, and a lunch menu at the concession stand, the wares of which navigate digestive mazes for $1–$4.
The Pumpkin Ranch
Open for just six weeks per year, The Pumpkin Ranch in Winterset, Iowa seems more like a scene from a child’s dream than a family-run business. But that’s the way the Handsaker family planned it, hoping to create a family-friendly hub that celebrated their love of all things autumn. They began by cultivating their 9-acre cornfield into a complex maze, incorporating 12 checkpoints that make sure guests are on the right path and offer clues to the ranch’s Farm Scene Investigation mystery. Alongside the maze, the Handsakers have built up a 10-acre patch of pumpkins and gourds, where squashy specimens wait to be carved into jack-o’-lanterns or stomped into wine.
Now celebrating five years, the Handsakers have added even more activities to the The Pumpkin Ranch, including a 30’x70’ jump pad and zip lines for children. The hayrack ride transports guests to and fro on the ranch, speeding up walks so guests can spend more time reveling in the play zone’s bounce houses and climbable straw bales. There's even a special area for toddlers. For more exhilarating pastimes, the ranch offers exhilarating zipline courses and fire pits to warm up chilly fall afternoons. Inside the concession stand, staffers sell steamy cups of specialty ciders and hot chocolate alongside homemade baked goods, giving guests a taste of fall, and outside, a concession stand serves up larger bites such as grilled and smoked meat to fuel the outdoor fun.
The Pumpkin Ranch is open Fridays–Sundays from September 22–October 29, 2017 and keeps an up-to-date list of the times they'll be offering activities, including horse rides, live music, and kids arts and crafts.