PARK RAPIDS, Minn. — As the fall season rolls around, a trip to the local pumpkin patch is a classic 'must-do.' But at Carter’s Red Wagon Farm, the hunt for that perfect orange squash for your porch is served with a day’s worth of family autumn fun.

A celebration of the season’s harvest, Carter’s Fall Festival and Pumpkin Party is an ode to “everything you love about fall,” and features family friendly corn mazes, tractor-drawn wagon rides, games and, of course, pumpkins.

Pumpkins were abundant at Carter's Red Wagon Farm during its Fall Festival and Pumpkin Party. (Bria Barton | Bemidji Pioneer)
Pumpkins were abundant at Carter's Red Wagon Farm during its Fall Festival and Pumpkin Party. (Bria Barton | Bemidji Pioneer)

And with a historical theme selected each year, a bit of learning is mixed in with the amusement.

This year, visitors can challenge their orientation skills in the new 6.5-acre Lewis and Clark Expedition maze, where they can read stories about the two westward explorers and find answers -- hidden throughout the 7-foot corn stalks -- to a treasure hunt-style questionnaire.

An overlook bridge was included in the corn maze at Carter's Red Wagon Farm so maze-goers could get a better idea of their surroundings.  (Bria Barton | Bemidji Pioneer)
An overlook bridge was included in the corn maze at Carter's Red Wagon Farm so maze-goers could get a better idea of their surroundings. (Bria Barton | Bemidji Pioneer)

After finding their way out of the maze’s “more than a mile of twisting, winding paths, turns, dead ends, and hidden surprises,” visitors can grab some kettle corn to snack on for the interactive wagon ride around the farm.

The ride features reenactments of Lewis and Clark’s journey, and onlookers are introduced to the two voyagers along with Sacagawea and members of the Shoshone tribe.

And once the ride’s finished, a quick walk over to a field laden with a variety of unique games and activities offers countless opportunities for fun.

Children can take a cruise in giant pumpkin boats -- over-sized pumpkins that have been cut in half and gutted -- around a small makeshift pond, play on a castle made of hay bales or glide down a giant slide.

A barrel train -- pulled by a lively man on a lawn mower -- carts guests around and provides an animated tour of the farm.

Rat Trap, a game similar to Cornhole, was popular among children and adults at Carter's Red Wagon Farm.  (Bria Barton | Bemidji Pioneer)
Rat Trap, a game similar to Cornhole, was popular among children and adults at Carter's Red Wagon Farm. (Bria Barton | Bemidji Pioneer)

While many activities are geared toward children, there's plenty for adults to do to ensure a grand time. Rat Trap -- a comical version of Cornhole with fake stuffed rats -- and mini golf encourage parents and children to play together.

Most weeks there is live bluegrass by Figuring It Out and pumpkin carving demos by master pumpkin carver Terry Morris. There is also a family friendly illusionist who rolls around the farm on a hoverboard doing magic tricks.

Miniature golf at Carter's Red Wagon Farm gave parents and children the opportunity to play together.  (Bria Barton | Bemidji Pioneer)
Miniature golf at Carter's Red Wagon Farm gave parents and children the opportunity to play together. (Bria Barton | Bemidji Pioneer)

And with pumpkins scattered around the farm, visitors should be sure to keep an eye out for a front porch winner throughout the day.

Interested in other pumpkin patches? Here’s a few in Northern Minnesota to explore in autumn:

  • Chandler Farm in Northome

  • Rasmussen's Cowhorn Crossing Farm in Grand Rapids

  • Garden Hills Farm in Fertile

  • Maple Hills Orchard in Frazee

  • Country Corn Maze in Warroad

  • Buffalo River Pumpkin Patch in Glyndon

  • Thea's Pumpkin Patch in Pelican Rapids

If you go:

What: Carter’s Red Wagon Farm

Where: 14766 119th Ave in Park Rapids

When: Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Admission: $12.50 per person

  • Ages 2 and younger are free

  • Military/first responder admission is $9 per person

  • Rates for groups of 20 or more are available

  • Face painting, concessions, general store and pumpkins are additional