The time has come to start looking towards fall and sweater weather. Which can only mean one thing. Center Grove Orchard is opening soon! So many wonderful family activities to enjoy throughout the property. And it includes things for all ages from the sand pit and jumping pillows to the corn pool and train ride.
Center Grove Orchard
32835 610th Avenue
Cambridge, IA 50046
Hours: 9 am to 7 pm
Admission: starting at $16.95
Purchase online prior to visit for reduced admission
Includes the Farmyard, plus pumpkin patch, sunflower meadow, and apple orchard. You must buy admission to visit any of the large patches. I learned that when I went to take my kids to pick out pumpkins last year. Center Grove allows photographers to come in and take professional photos with no additional fees. Everyone pays the admission fee and that covers all costs.
Center Grove opens for the Fall season on Saturday, September 2. 2023. It’s located 30 minutes north of Des Moines.
Special events take place each weekend in September, including Applefest, a Country Celebration and two special events that are awaiting a BIG reveal!
Our family gets season passes. The pass makes taking shorter visits more feasible because I don’t worry about getting everything done in one trip. I only get the season passes for the family members who I know will go more than two times in the season. So for us, that is myself and our two youngest children.
Pro Tip #1 : Buy the season passes when they do their flash sale at the beginning of August. Center Grove posts on social media and their website when this will be each year. This makes visiting with a large family much more economical. Each person 3 years of age on the day of visiting and above needs a pass. There is not a family pass option at Center Grove.
Pro Tip #2: The Pumpkin Patch is fantastic for photo-taking and older kids. But there are SO many pumpkins that are prepicked and in a great spot for picture taking by the Corn Pool and the Red Barn. This is perfect for the little hands and legs who may get tired going out to the patch. I was able to get great pictures of my kiddos picking out pumpkins without going out to the patch.
Length of Time: Two to Six hours
Your admission is for the entire day if you get your hand stamped when you leave. So, take a break and come back later in the day if needed. With such a large property a nap time is sometimes needed. Especially for the parents.
The main areas that take time are: the corn pool, jumping pillows, giant slides, CGO Express train ride, and corn maze. If you add in a stop at the pumpkin patch, apple orchard, or sunflower meadow then you are looking at multiple hours at the orchard.
Pro Tip #3: Leave time for the corn pool as you are planning to leave for the day. Younger kids especially seem to want to spend a long time jumping and falling into the pool. And you will be finding corn kernels in places you never thought when you get home. In your washer and dryer, even when you have checked multiple times all pockets and rolled pant legs.
Food Options: Onsite and Bring Your Own
There are so many delicious food options onsite especially during the weekends when all the food areas are open. Those include the Feed Bunk (Hamburgers and Grilled Foods), Shucks (Chicken Tenders), Sundays (yummy ice cream shake-ups & cookies), Apple Jacks (everything is apple themed, in particular apple nachos!), Pumpkin House (corn dogs), and the coffee shop next to the Hay Café in the barn.
If you don’t want to pay for food, you are welcome to bring your own and enjoy it at picnic tables on the property.
Pro Tip #4: On the weekdays, I pack a picnic lunch to give my kiddos as the food options can be limited unless you go back up to the barn by the front entrance. The Lemonade Stand by the CGO Express Train is always a stop for our family because it is a delicious treat on a warm day. Make sure to pack lots of water bottles and sunscreen as there is not a lot of shade on parts of the farm.