As their 3-year-old daughter, Tatum, glued handfuls of colorful felt decorations on a pumpkin Saturday at Blackberry Farm in Aurora, Kim and Greg Jones of Lemont commented on how they thought this was the best pumpkin farm experience they've had.
"We heard from friends that this was the place to be," said Kim. "You can walk around and do a lot of things and you don't have to pay for every little thing."
Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Road in Aurora, kicked off the fall season Saturday with its popular Pumpkin Weekends. Each weekend -- and Columbus Day on Oct. 9 -- Blackberry Farm is decorated in the spirit of pumpkin season. A picnic area will have pumpkins for purchase, and an assortment of decorating materials will be provided.
Carousel rides, hay wagon rides, pony rides, paddle boats, Little Farmer's Junction (6Y & under) and tours on the "Pumpkin Train" are part of each weekend's festivities, along with the historic museums and interactive farm animal areas.
Among the unique attractions is the Victorian Halloween Party that traces back to the origins of Halloween with an event host leading crafts and games. Hosted in the Huntoon House, it's a balance of scary and fun.
Other popular features include the Corn Crib -- similar to a large sandbox, but filled with corn -- where children can roll and wriggle, farm style. Also, there's the famous Adventure Playground, a uniquely innovative play area that incorporates climbing decks, slides, ropes and catwalk-style bridges connecting an array of playhouses on multiple levels -- and a 70-foot zip line.
Park hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is $7 per person. Children under 2 are free.