Thursday, October 2, 2014

Weekend Happenings: Apples!

Apple picking is just something everyone does in the fall.  And what's not to like?!  Most orchards offer more of an "experience" than just pulling the round fruits from the trees.  There are wagon rides, petting zoos, stores with homemade goodies, and a ton of family friendly activities.  And the best part is you get to go home with a bag full of apples to enjoy!

This is the best apple season in the past 3 years, so layer on the clothes, take a drive and enjoy a fun fall day picking apples!

Minnetonka Orchards
6530 County Rd. 26
Minnetrista, MN 55364
Open Daily
10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Cost: Free on weekdays, $7/pp on weekends, 3 and under free

Hay rides, face painting, corn crib slide, the Barn with baked goods, fresh apple cider, food for purchase, and of course apples, apples, apples. This is a great place for your kids to burn off some energy having fun climbing on everything and playing in the fresh air. Currently Minnesota favorite Haralson apples are ready for picking.  Call for other varieties available.

Sponsel's Minnesota Harvest
8251 Old Highway 169 Blvd
Jordan, MN 55352
Open Daily
Mon-Fri 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sat-Sun 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Cost: Free on weekdays, $2 on weekends

Located in the Minnesota River valley, Sponsel's has a wide array of fun things for your family to enjoy. Live entertainment, petting zoo, face painting, bonfires, featured guest speakers, and food prepared onsite.  A large tractor-pulled wagon gets you to the far reaches of the orchard.  The views are amazing so swing on out at your first chance.

4875 37th Street SE
Delano, MN 55328
Open Daily
10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Cost:  Free admission, certain activities priced between $2 to $6 per person

This is one of those all-day destinations.  There's so much to see and do at this apple orchard so plan to spend plenty of time there.  Free admission gets you a kids play area, live music, and a petting farm.  Activities that charge a fee include: wagon rides to the orchard ($2 per person, ages 4 & under ride free), corn box play ($2), jumping pillow ($4), apple cannon & slingshot ($2), pony rides ($4), corn maze ($6) and an extensive menu of apple treats and lunch items available in the barn.  This weekend's special event is Harvestfest:  pumpkins, apples, squash and more!

8282 Parley Lake Road
Waconia, MN 55387
Open Tuesday - Sunday
10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Cost:  Free admission

Rolling hills and colorful trees abound in this picturesque family orchard.  Tractors take you out to the trees where you can pick Honeycrisp apples and other varieties.  There is also an on-site vineyard and winery with wine tastings.  For the kids there's a haystack to climb and farm animals to pet.  The fire engine will be fired up to cook your Streetza pizza and the Apple Barn will be open featuring hand-made crafts, colorful mums, kitchen ware, books, local honey, jams and jellies, apple cider, pumpkins and of course, fresh apples. Stroll the grounds and watch artists painting tranquil scenes on the farm.  Be sure to bring your camera as photo opportunities abound!

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