Visit Central Oregon logo in the color black.

Pumpkin Patches + Petting Zoos = Fall Family Fun

As soon as the first hint of autumn rolls around, my three kids ask on a regular basis when we can go to the pumpkin patch. This is not simply because they’re eager to gather Halloween décor. To my kids (all under the age of 12), fall means visiting the farm and getting all the animal petting, ropes course playing and barbecue eating they can squeeze into one afternoon.

This is because Central Oregon is home to more than one terrific spot to celebrate fall.

The first place for some true family fun is Smith Rock Ranch. Known for its ever-changing, intricately designed corn maze (this year is Godzilla), this ranch offers heaps of harvest amusement for all ages. Another big draw for kids is the pumpkin cannon. Who doesn’t want to launch a pumpkin and see it fly? There are more activities here than you can shake a stick at, from wagon rides to archery and barnyard golf. Parents like to purchase seasonal produce from the Harvest Market too. Families can easily spend an entire day at this festive locale.

Philip Kuntz

All of this is conveniently down the road from Smith Rock State Park. My family likes to take advantage of our outing with a scenic hike on one of the many trails. Because the summer heat is gone by this time, it’s a great chance to walk along the river and view all of the climbers who scale the surrounding rock walls. This area never fails to astound me with its pristine beauty.

On the way home, you can stop for dinner at Terrebonne Depot. Located just minutes from Smith Rock, this American cuisine restaurant is housed in a 100-year-old former train station. Dining here is the perfect way to complete your visit to the area.

Another local favorite is DD Ranch (known to locals as the ‘D and D’). Located three miles east of Terrebonne, on NE Smith Rock Way, is a quintessential family ranch complete with petting zoo, pony rides, hay maze, playground and more.

Being at the DD Ranch feels like spending the day at an old-fashioned fair complete with cotton candy, kettle corn and face painting. The kids have their run of the place as they pick their own pumpkins from the patch (everyone gets the use of a red wagon to help with their load). You can jump on a tractor-guided hayride and tour the property. There’s also a place to snuggle baby bunnies and feed the lamas and chickens. The ropes course area also offers slides and lots of climbing.

What farm experience would be complete without a home cooked BBQ? The Cafe BBQ Grill will cook you a tasty hamburger or hot dog made from beef and pork raised right there on the ranch. They also cook up potato chips, made from potatoes grown right on the farm. You can even dig up your own potatoes to take home.

Our visit always includes a purchase of their 100% grass fed beef, natural pork, raw honey and farm-raised eggs. It’s the easiest way to stock our kitchen with some wholesome organic food.

Other stories

More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.

  • Your Guide to Biking in Redmond, Oregon
    Your Guide to Biking in Redmond, Oregon

    Redmond, Oregon is located in the high desert between Bend to the south and Terrebonne—home of Smith Rock State Park—to the north. The city is perfectly situated to explore Central Oregon’s biking trails. As a lesser known destination for outdoor recreation, Redmond can sometimes feel like a local’s secret playground, featuring tons of trails to explore. From a pump track in town to the nearly limitless access to the nearby mountain biking trails of Central Oregon, avid bikers should consider a stop in Redmond for some adventure.

  • Favorite Year-Round Mountain Bike Spots
    Favorite Year-Round Mountain Bike Spots

    When winter comes and the snow falls, some of Central Oregon’s popular mountain biking trails become a little too muddy to ride – which means some of the unheralded spots in the region get a little more love. Places like Smith Rock can get scorching hot (and quite crowded) in the summer making it a great spot to head come winter. Want some good locals tips on where to ride? Ask the folks at Hutch’s Bicycles, Pine Mountain Sports or The Hub Cyclery for the 4-1-1, or set up a tour with Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours and Shuttles.

  • 8 Pictures That Will Have You Rethinking Some Life Decisions (Central Oregon Food Edition)
    8 Pictures That Will Have You Rethinking Some Life Decisions (Central Oregon Food Edition)

    Is this plate from 5 Fusion and Sushi Bar art or food? (It’s food. Definitely food.)

  • Photographer Shares Insights on Iconic Smith Rock Eclipse Image
    Photographer Shares Insights on Iconic Smith Rock Eclipse Image

    Days of planning. Hours of climbing. One minute of perfection. How a small team of athletes and photographers pulled off the most iconic image of Eclipse 2017.

  • Get Your “Ah-Ha” Beer Moment at Sunriver Brewing Company
    Get Your “Ah-Ha” Beer Moment at Sunriver Brewing Company

    Central Oregon can claim more breweries than quite a few states. We’re not exaggerating. Our region has 30+ breweries. That shows how much we care about craft beer but, it can make it tough to choose where to taste local brews, we get it!

  • Central Oregon Hiking Trails
    Central Oregon Hiking Trails

    Head east on Highway 20 (Greenwood Avenue) to the Pilot Butte State Park. The parking area and trailhead are just east of the butte. Walk on either the nature trail or the paved road. The road is also for vehicle traffic, weather permitting. It is a wonderful viewpoint for the entire Bend area. This hiking trail is one of the most popular in Central Oregon.

  • Bend Concert Season Heats up at Hayden Homes Amphitheater
    Bend Concert Season Heats up at Hayden Homes Amphitheater

    Central Oregon’s iconic music venue, the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, is bigger and better than ever before after undergoing a major renovation.

  • Winter Ales: How Deschutes Popularized the Style-and How Breweries Have Followed Suit in Central Oregon
    Winter Ales: How Deschutes Popularized the Style-and How Breweries Have Followed Suit in Central Oregon

    In the summer of 1988, Deschutes Brewery opened in a converted law office in downtown Bend. In the decades since, the brewery has produced one memorable beer after another—from Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale in Deschutes’ earliest days to the hit Fresh Squeezed IPA, which became a staple on store shelves in 2013.