It’s become a tradition for us to go Apple Picking each Fall. My husband and I started this since before we had kids and truly enjoyed it. Now we take the kids at least one time (sometimes two) during the Fall to go pick apples. You can see some of what we like to do in the Fall by checking out the free printable fall activity list link below.
Royal Oaks Apple Orchard, IL
Our apple picking trip(s) usually requires us to drive more than an hour or so but they are usually fun. There is one particular farm named Royal Oaks in Illinois that we loved going to. We take a hay ride to pick apples, then we head to do some of the fun activities there. The hay ride is not necessary but it’s more for the experience than anything else. The other activities are things like:
- feed and pet animals
- go on a Merry-Go-Round ride
- play at the playground
- watch people sing and play guitar
And before heading back home we visit the shops for Fall-Flavored fudge, donuts, and cider for the drive back home. Last year, I brought along some books about Fall to read to the kids on the way there.
Apple Orchard, PA,
This year though, we’ve been trying to find an Apple Orchard to go picking. There was one we located back in the summer but by the time we wanted to go there in the Fall, their picking season had already ended. That farm didn’t have any type of “play” activities for the kids but was beautiful and had so many different types of fruit. We had picked cherries, blueberries and raspberries there during the summer.
Our New (not so fun) Experience
The Orchard we went to was QUITE a disappointment to us. Yes, there were apples which was our main intention but that in itself was something. We pulled up to the farm and immediately wanted to turn back around.
What We Didn’t Enjoy Much
- There were not many choices to choose from
- The land form was quite hilly
- Trees looked quite scrawny
- There were about 2 trees that were really full and ready to pick (others were not ready)
- We had to climb ladders to pick apples that were ready
- There was like NOBODY else at the farm to interact with
What We Enjoyed
- There were at least some apples
- Smaller land form with less tress meant less walking (it was an easy pick)
- We got to picked apples to take home (to eat and for recipes)
- Some of the kids enjoyed the ladder
- We took a family trip – It was an adventure
- We laughed at our disappointed selves and still had a little fun with it
The ladder was a bit wiggly, too. I was not sure my weight could sustain it so stayed low and reached to pick a few apples just for the “fun” of it. You can see hubby holding it here for the kids to go climb.
This little one decided it was more beneficial to go looking for animals. We didn’t find any but it was something fun for him to do instead of picking apples, I suppose.
You can see how these trees here barely have any apples on them. It’s just on top of the hill from where we were picking in the previous photos. On the other side seemed to have a few more loaded trees but we couldn’t pick much after we’d already picked an almost full box on one of the “ladder” trees.
I think we were expecting a similar experience like our previous yearly trips. Something with more apples, more fun, and at least another family or two. But you know, it’s different in PA than IL so I guess we have to adjust our expectations in many ways. And the orchard did have apples and we got to pick some so that is a plus. I’m thankful that we have the blessings of what God created to enjoy during this time of year. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Grab the free printable Fall Activity List here.
Have you and your family ever been to an Orchard to pick apples? What was your experience with it? What kid of apples did you pick?