A Quick and Dirty Guide to Milwaukee Fall 2016


Let’s all be honest for a minute. Wisconsin is pretty freaking fantastic in the fall. There are about seventy-five different websites you could sort through to find a TON of fun things to do with your family in the Milwaukee area this fall. Everything from pumpkin patches to petting zoos, hiking paths to haunted houses, farmers markets to festivals. It is a LOT. I know this because I did it as I was working on preparing this post.

But, you know what else I realized?

Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

Sure, we are working on individual posts with pumpkin patches, apple orchards, haunted houses, trick or treat times and more! We’ve even got the Ultimate Fall Bucket List in the works! 

So, what we have for you here is the slightly abridged version of the typical “Fall Activity Roundup” post you will typically see. This is for the mama with the lukewarm cup of coffee at 10 o’clock on a Saturday morning who is scrambling to figure out something to do with these kids today so she doesn’t bury them in a leaf pile. It’s for the mom whose girlfriend just texted her and said she simply has to get out of the house and do something but she has no idea what.

It’s not the biggest list out there and it’s certainly not comprehensive. It’s a quick & dirty version of a Milwaukee Fall Activity Guide.

Bookmark it for when you can sneak a peek at your phone the next time you get to lock the bathroom door behind you for a few minutes. *wink*


The QUICK AND DIRTY Guide to Fall in Milwaukee

Pumpkin Patches, Farms and Apple Orchards

(Places Featuring Food-Related Photo-Ops & Activities)

Lindner’s Pumpkin Farm – New Berlin

Dates: Open September 17th – October 31st, Open 10 am – 6 pm

Cost: FREE Admission, FREE parking, Petting Zoo and Lindner’s Big Back Yard is $4.00 per person, Can save $1 per person with a non-perishable food donation for the New Berlin Food Pantry, Pumpkin Express Barrel Train is $1 per child, Pumpkin Bowling is $1 per person, Pumpkin prices vary

Description: Petting zoo with goats, pigs, llama, mini-horses, etc. Giant Slide, Olde Tyme Playground, Corn Maze, pedal tractor racetrack, Pumpkin Bowling, Pumpkin Express Barrel Train. Admission includes food to feed the goats!

Check out our contributor Megan’s review of Lindner’s Pumpkin Farm for more info!

Creekside Valley Farm and Pumpkin Sales12072781_878360535616748_163542136409035489_n – Mequon

Dates: Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm through October for pumpkin sales.

Cost: FREE admission, cost of pumpkins vary. One of our Facebook friends described it as “organized, affordable and fun,” while another said it was “EVERYTHING you would want in a good, wholesome, family pumpkin farm experience without all the extra commercialism.”

Description: Clean, affordable and low-key. Corn maze for the kids and they show Packer games in the barn. What’s not to love?

Nieman Orchards – Cedarburg

Dates: Open 9 am to 5 pm daily during the fall season.

Cost: Varies depending on the variety and amount of fruit picked. Note: Does not accept credit cards!

Description: Family owned for generations, Nieman Orchards features more than 40 varieties of apples, plus cider, pears, sweet corn, cherries and pumpkins. They welcome more and more families each year to visit them at “The Old Red Barn!”

Peck & Bushel Fruit Company – Colgate

Dates: Season opens in August and closes in mid-October, Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm

Cost: varies

Description: Peck & Bushels’s claim to fame is their wide selection of organic, pick-your-own apple varieties. Different times of the season yield different options, from crowd favorite Honey Crisp apples to SnowSweet and organic cider. Follow their Facebook page for the most up-to-date info on what is available and when they sell out, which happens often!

Basse’s Taste of Country Farm Market – Colgate

Dates: Pumpkin Fest starts September 24th! Weekdays 2:00 – 5:30 pm (Closed Thursdays), Weekends 10:00 am – 5:30 pm

Cost: Weekend Admission: $10.99 + tax (Additional cost for ponies and pumpkin blaster), Weekday Admission: $7.99 + tax (Limited activities and hours), Season Pass: $24.99 + tax (Unlimited weekend and weekday admissions. One pumpkin per season pass. Additional cost for ponies and pumpkin blasters) , Group Rate Admission (20+): $9.99 + tax (Groups of 20+ people) Additional cost for pumpkin blaster), FREE: Children Under 2,  Additional cost for ponies and pumpkin blaster

Description: Start your family traditions and come explore Happy Jacks Pumpkin Land at Basse’s, which is only 25 minutes north west of Milwaukee. One of the largest pumpkin farms in Wisconsin, with over 30+ fun fall activities for the whole family! Enjoy a hayride out to the pumpkin patch to pick-your-own perfect pumpkin, challenge yourself in the 8 acre corn maze and enjoy many new and fun filled family activities during the fall! 

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Elegant Farmer Autumn Harvest Festival – Mukwanago

Dates: September 10 – October 23rd, Open 10 am to 5 pm, Orchards open on weekends only

Cost: $5 Adults, $3 Kids (age 3 – 11), kids 2 and under are FREE. Admission includes a hayride. 

Description: This is the place made famous by the apple pie in a bag. Hard to go wrong here! Apples, pumpkins, cider donuts, Train Rides, Pony Rides, Hay Rides, Corn Maze, Farmer’s Market, etc.

Apple Holler – Sturtevant

Dates: Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm

Cost: Adult Apple-Picking Package Pricing ranges from $16.25 to $20 per person, depending on the number of people in the group. Kids 7 and under are $10, 2 and under are FREE.

Description: Pick your own apples, petting zoo, country store, corn maze, pony rides, ginormous wooden cutouts of apples with an opening for your kid’s face. Autumnal Heaven, right here. Be warned — it’s easy to spend a LOT of money here. Between parking, apples, activities and everything else….it adds up quick.

Basse’s Country Delight – Muskego

Dates: Open Wednesday – Sunday

Cost: Hayride plus pick your own pumpkin for $7 per person. Corn maze available for additional fee.

Description: Fresh-picked apples, cider donuts, corn maze, pumpkins and more. Everything you’re looking for in a pumpkin/apple destination without all the fuss.

Schuett Farm – Mukwanago

Dates: Fall festivities begin September 26th! Monday – Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm, but most of the featured kiddo activities happen on the weekends

Cost: General admission to the farm is FREE, Plenty of activities to do and stuff to buy!

Description: Pick-your-own Pumpkin, Corn Maze, Hayrides, Pumpkin Launching, plus Hay Bales painted to look like ginormous Jack-o-Lanterns

Swan’s Pumpkin Farm – Franksville

Dates: Pumpkin season opens September 24th, 9 am to 7 pm daily

Cost: FREE Admission & Parking, $9 Adventure Wristbands include all activities except pony rides

Description: A Watermelon Festival kicks off the season with a flourish! The “Not-so-Scary Stuff” includes a corn city, petting zoo, hayrides, barrel train rides, puppet theater and pony rides. There’s also “Scary Stuff” like Wanda’s Spook House, The Witch Hollow Maze and The Graveyard. And what would a pumpkin farm be without Eats & Treats? Check out The Cauldron Cafe for cider donuts, caramel apples and pumpkin pie or browse The Country Market for a variety of seasonal produce.

Barthel Fruit Farm – Mequon

Dates: Monday – Friday 9 am to 6 pm, Saturday 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday 10 am to 5 pm

Cost: FREE admission

Description: A local farm without all the pomp & circumstance featuring a variety of pick-your-own produce depending on the season. Plums, pears, apples, sugar snap peas, pumpkins and more. Open daily for apples and apple picking. Pears and plums will start mid-September. Pumpkins late September and October. New this year, Barthels Bakery. Apple cider donuts, fresh fruit muffins and other great homemade treats from the bakery.



Petting Zoos & Farms

(Because you’re not allowed to touch the animals at the other zoo.)

Green Meadows Petting Farm – East Troy

Dates: September 24 – October 30, Open Mon – Friday from 10 am to 2 pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm

Cost: General Admission $13.75 per person, Seniors $11.75 per person, (1 and under FREE), Yearly Passes are $38.00 per person.

Description:  Tons of animals to pet and your ticket includes a pony ride, a hay ride, and a pumpkin you can pick from the patch. Photo-ops galore.

Homestead Animal Farm – Hartland

Dates: Weekends only, October 1st – October 30th, 10 am to 6 pm

Cost: Maze – $6, Hayride – $2, Animals – $2, Package for all three activities – $9, Kids 2 and under are FREE

Description: Visit the animals and pet the miniature donkeys, walk the corn maze and browse the assortment of pumpkins, gourds, squash and other fall fare available, Don’t forget the famous Homestead Farm Fresh Eggs!

Bear Den Zoo and Petting Farm – Waterford

Dates: September – Open Saturdays from 11 am to 3 pm and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm, October – Open Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm

Cost: Children under 2 – FREE, Age 2 to 11 – $8, Ages 12 and up – $10

Description: Admission gets you into the zoo, a hayride through the woods (weather permitting), access to the children’s play area and baby animal petting. Bear Den has lemurs named King and Queen Julian. I mean, that’s just adorable.

Festivals, Events and Activities

(Just in case you didn’t hit your MKE festival quota in summer)

Harvest Fair – State Fair Park

Dates: September 23-25, Friday 5 pm to 11 pm, Saturday 9 am to 11 pm and Sunday 9 am to 5 pm

Cost: FREE Admission

Description: Think State Fair, but without the sunburn and add in Punkin’ Chunkin’. Live music, Food, Kiddie Tractor Maze, Punkin’ Chunkin, Free Entertainment, Punkin’ Derby, Make Your Own Scarecrow, etc.

Cider Sunday at Wehr Nature Center – Franklin

Date: Sunday, October 2nd, 11:30 am to 4:30 pm

Cost: $3 per person; FREE for Friends of Wehr members

Description: Cider press demos, cider tasting, crafts for kids, live music, guided nature walks, food & apples available for purchase.

Boo at the Zoo – Milwaukee County Zoo

Dates: October 14-15

Cost: Zoo admission

Description: Basically, it’s the zoo….only Halloween themed. The kids are gonna love it.

P.S. You can also go Trick-or-Treating at the Milwaukee County Zoo on October 21st and 22nd.

Ghosts Under Glass – Mitchell Park Domes

Date: October 28th, 6 pm to 9 pm

Cost: TBD – Friends of the Domes Fundraising event

Description: A safe Trick-or-Treating setting for kids to show off their costume in a not-so-spooky environment, surrounded by scenery that can’t be beat. What’s not to love about the Domes?

Other Stuff That Looks Cool but Didn’t Fit in a Cute Category

Halloween Pajama Jamboree – Bradley Pavilion of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Date: October 26, 2016 from 7 pm to 8 pm

Cost: FREE

Description: The Milwaukee’s Festival City Symphony will perform in costume for their kid-filled audience! Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes to enjoy a musical treat that is sure to be “Spooktacular!” Bring a blanket to sit on the floor to get up close and personal with the orchestra or conventional seating is also available. Most appropriate for kids K4 through 5th grade.

MKE Oktoberfest – Pere Marquette Park / Marcus Center

Dates: September 29 – October 2

Cost: Whatever you spend on Hacker-Pschorr and Schnitzel

Description: Downtown Milwaukee. Beer, Food, Music, German suffixes. This one is for you, Mom & Dad. #getasitter

Have fun getting out there, getting dirty and enjoying all the season has to offer in Milwaukee!


  1. Hi, Please update your info on Barthel Fruit Farm 2016!

    My 2016 apple crop looks great. We have no damage this year. The hail damage occurred in 2015. We are open daily for apples and apple picking. Pears and plums will start mid-September. Pumpkins late September and October. New this year, Barthels Bakery. Apple cider donuts, fresh fruit muffins and other great homemade treats from our bakery.

    Thanks for writing your blog. It’s always great to have the Mom’s and kids visit the orchard.
    Bob Barthel
    Barthel Fruit Farm

  2. Hi Sarah –
    Just wanted to see if you’d include The Family Farm in your “Pumpkin Patch/Farm section. Here’s the information. Edit as you see fit. Thanks in advance for considering this addition!
    The Family Farm

    Ozaukee County

    The Family Farm – Visit a century old, 35 acre farmstead! 6 historic buildings, a friendly farm zoo – feed and pet the animals, plus antique tools and implements on display – many of which were used 100 years ago!
    Start your visit in The Welcome Barn which offers harvest treats (pumpkin pie, pumpkin torte, delicious apple cider, caramel apple sundaes, fresh baked cookies, kettle and caramel corn) and lunch for all ages. You’ll find gifts, fall decor, mums and antiques for sale in the Barn too!
    We have pumpkins everywhere – take a hayride to the patch and pick your own, or collect some from the grounds or in the Welcome Barn.
    We offer birthday parties on the farm! Call ahead to plan yours!
    Our Event Loft is available for weddings, business events and celebrations. Call ahead for a tour!
    Website: familyfarmllc.net
    328 Port Washington Road, Grafton, WI 53024.
    Phone: 262-377-6161.
    Open:September 27 to October 30!
    Tuesday – Friday 9am to 4pm
    Saturday 9am to 5pm
    Sunday 11am to 5pm
    Closed Monday.
    Directions: I-43 to exit #89/Cedarburg. At top of exit ramp, go west to first intersection at W(Port Washington Road). Go north on W 1/2 mile to our sign: The Family Farm. Turn east into driveway and head for the Welcome Barn. Payment: Cash, Check, Debit cards, Visa/MasterCard, Discover. Visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/The-Family-Farm-10150122825845440/?fref=ts


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