What to do in Wichita this fall

Written by Amy Palser

Fall’s cooler days mean the time is right to get out and about, and the Wichita area does not disappoint in October. This month, take the family on a traditional autumnal outing at one of the area’s pumpkin patches, haunted houses or corn mazes. Enjoy food and drink at one of the many festivals and special events. But before the fun starts, grab the calendar and start planning — fall fun in Wichita is sure to keep you busy.

Haunted Houses

Field of Screams, Maize
This haunted attraction will take you on a 30-minute fright-fest through Clown Town, buildings and a large sorghum field with a group of six to eight people. Live actors and special effects have turned this working farm into a Halloween wonderland. Open on Halloween and on weekends through Nov. 4. Visit scaryprairiepines.com.

Forest of Fear, Udall
This freaky forest 40 minutes southeast of Wichita promises the scare of your life. Organizers claim miles of dark, scary forest without a city light in sight, a roaring bonfire and documentation of supernatural events will give you the heebie-jeebies, if not a full-on scream session. Open weekends through Halloween. Visit udallforestoffear.com.

The Haunted Cannery, El Dorado
This ultimate fun house located at Walter’s Pumpkin Patch is filled with horrifying music, clowns, chainsaws, zombies, spiders, vampires, werewolves and other horrific sights and sounds. Take the open-air hay wagon through the country darkness to the abandoned four-story grain elevator, where your worst nightmare awaits. Open weekends through Oct. 27. Visit hauntedcannery.com.

Wicked Island, Wichita
Presented by Plant Kingdom and the City of Wichita, this haunted forest promises scares at O.J. Watson Park. Try out the new horror-themed escape room. Open Halloween and weekends in October. Visit wickedwoodswichita.com.

Pumpkin Patches

Marietta Farm, Andover
While you’re hunting for the perfect pumpkin, spend some time in this outdoor playland’s corn pit, playground and grass maze. Don’t miss this year’s new additions: human foosball, pumpkin tic-tac-toe and the pumpkin ring toss. The wagon ride, animals and inflatable bouncer will keep the kids entertained. The last two weekends in October will feature a craft fair. Open daily through Oct. 31. Visit mariettafarm.com.

Applejack Pumpkin Patch, Augusta
Stock up on standard orange pumpkins for your fall decorating, as well as specialty pumpkin varieties, decorative gourds, corn stalks and straw bales. The kids will have a blast with 30 activities, including a balance course, zipline, corn crib, and pumpkin cannon. Grab a few fall food favorites like caramel apples, kettle corn and even apple cider slushies while you’re there. Open now through Oct. 31. Visit applejackpumpkinpatch.com.

Meadowlark Farm, Rose Hill
Pick your own apples and pumpkins at this farm in Rose Hill, or try some of the hard cider made by the Meadowlark team on site! Try one of their four varieties: Meadowlark Red, Meadowlark Gold, Meadow Hopper and Meadowlark Peach. Open Wednesdays through Sundays throughout the fall season. Visit themeadowlarkfarm.com.

Bergmann’s Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch, Haysville
The biggest corn maze in Kansas features 15 acres to navigate, with over 200 fun trivia questions and brain teasers along the way. And don’t miss the other activities here, like trailer rides, carnival games, giant slingshots, pony rides and a petting zoo. Reservations are required Monday through Friday but not on the weekends. Open through Nov. 3; no credit cards. Visit bergmanncornmaze.com.

Mr. Gourdman’s Pumpkin Patch, Derby
Located on a 15-acre lake at a working horse ranch, this year Mr. Gourdman’s will feature its first ever Pumpkin Patch Music Festival from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 20. With both pumpkin and gourd patches featuring varieties of all sizes, you’re sure to find just the right one to take home. There’s also a tunnel slide, corn maze, mulch mountain, giant sand box, campfire pit and canoes. Open weekends in October. Visit wichitaspumpkinpatch.com.

Klausmeyer Family Farm and Pumpkin Patch, Clearwater
Pick a pumpkin straight from the vine at this dairy farm southwest of Wichita. While you’re there, don’t miss glow-in-the-dark paintball, the corn maze, a dairy farm tour, pig races and more. Open weekends now through Nov. 4. Visit klausmeyerdairyfarms.com.

Festivals

Croctoberfest, Sedgwick County Zoo
Support crocodile conservation while enjoying live music, food, craft beer and a silent auction at the zoo. The event is 6 to 8:30 p.m., Oct. 4. Purchase tickets in advance at scz.org.

ICT Bloktoberfest, Wichita WaterWalk
When Oktoberfest and a Wichita Block Party meet, you get ICT Bloktoberfest, the city’s annual celebration of polka, food and brews. This two-day event will feature live music, a burger battle, Wiener Dog Olympics, yard games, food trucks and — of course — a biergarten. Make sure to leave room for the pretzels, sausages and brats. The event runs 5 to 10 p.m., Oct. 5 and noon to 10 p.m., Oct. 6. Purchase tickets in advance at ictbloktoberfest.com.

Tallgrass Film Festival, downtown Wichita
Catch short and feature films from around the world at this year’s 16th annual Tallgrass Film Festival. The five-day event also features roundtables, filmmaker labs, VIP receptions and gala parties. It runs Oct. 17–21. Visit tallgrassfilm.org.

Orie’s Garlic Fest, Eberly Farm
Garlic is the signature crop at Orie’s Farm Fresh, an 8-acre organic farm in northwest Wichita, so the aromatic bulb takes center stage at this two-day festival. This year’s event has moved to nearby Eberly Farm after outgrowing its original space. Get ready for garlicky eats, garlic-centered cooking demonstrations, and garlic-focused presentations, samples, tastings, and workshops. Garlic Fest also celebrates artisans, makers, farmers, musicians and many facets of Wichita’s flourishing food system. The event is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 20–21. Visit oriesfarmfresh.com.

Prairie Hill Vineyard Balloon Festival, Colwich
Bring out the family to watch hot air balloons take to the sky in this event that benefits Youth Horizons. Activities include art exhibits, food trucks, blacksmithing, woodworking, craft brewing and wine tasting. Kids can drink cider, pet farm animals and paint pumpkins. The event runs 2 to 7 p.m., Oct. 21, with balloon liftoff at 5 p.m. Visit prairiehillvineyard.com.

Museums

BOOtanica, Botanica
Botanica will transform the entire gardens into stations and activities for its biggest family-friendly event of the year. With a haunted woods scavenger hunt, presentations by the Bug Lady, storybook characters, pumpkin decorating, music and theater performances and more, families will learn while having fun. Don’t forget your costume! The event is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 13. Visit botanica.org.

Hay, Hooves and Halloween, Old Cowtown Museum
There’s no place spookier than Cowtown during Halloween as the Headless Horseman rides the streets and ghosts haunt the historic houses. Wear your costume to score some candy! The event is 2-8 p.m., Oct. 27–28. Visit oldcowtown.org.

Torchlight Tour of the Museum, Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum
Celebrate all things mysterious and spooky by touring the museum in the dark. Flashlights will be provided as guests are guided through four floors of Wichita history, including a torchlight visit to the interior of the rarely seen Clock Tower. The event is from 6 to 9 p.m. on Final Friday, Oct. 26. Visit wichitahistory.org.

 
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