We turned our furnace on for the first time last night and pulled out the jackets.  It’s hard to say good-bye to summer, but it’s nice to say “hello” fall.

Our first autumn-esque activity this year was a trip to Koetsier’s Greenhouse.  Every year they transform much of their greenhouse space into an INDOORS fall festival that goes on each weekend through the end of October.

Geared toward kids 10 and under, Koetsiers entertained my 3 kids (ages 1, 4 & 7) simultaneously.  The event set-up allowed me to feel comfortable having one kid painting while another played in the corn “sandbox.”  My 14 month-old was content to push pedal tractors, climb hay bales and play with the water and rubber duckies.

Fall family fun at Koetsiers Greenhouse in Grand Rapids Michigan

Fall Fun at Koetsiers

 

We spent just over 2 hours at Koetsiers on a Saturday morning.  We did the play area first, followed by a hayride and topped it off with a visit to the concessions area.  If I had more time, I would have bought some honey crisp apples and cornstalks for my door.  I will be back!

Here’s a run-down of what you’ll find in the play area:

  • Farm School Maze: Not spooky at all!  Wind your way through hay bales and answer questions on the flip-boards about apples and more.  Then go into the dark area with lit characters to guide your way.
  • Pumpkin Wind Tunnel: Balloons whiz about and kids get to be in the middle of the action.  Catch them, toss them, it’s really cool.
  • Train Obstacle Course: Kids climb over, around and through this long inflatable as many times as they want.
  • Tractor Pedal Course:  A great new take on the tricycle or big wheel, kids get to pedal around the hay bale course on tractors!
  • Paint-a-Pumpkin:  Kids don a paint shirt, pick a pumpkin and paint away.  Glitter is available for embellishment as well.  Great staff help ensures this station runs smoothly.
  • Ball Toss and Pumpkin Bowling: these are like carnival games.  Your kids will get a kick out of tossing a pumpkin at milk cans.
  • Corn “sandbox:”  There’s no sand here.  A wooden box has been filled with dried corn and lots of sand toys, diggers, and more.  Perfect for all ages.
  • Water Pump Duckie Races:  Take your rubber duck, put it in a trough and add water with a hand-pump and race!
  • Concessions: Popcorn and coffee are free.  There is a small fee for donuts and cider.  There is a small eating area.

The hayride is separate from the indoor play area.  If you go, plan on about 30 minutes.  A blue tractor pulls you around the Koetsier property and you’ll be greeted by pumpkin people, silly scarecrows, get to toss your apple core at the apple target, see their working beehives, goats, and chickens, and get to visit the pumpkin patch.  Kids will pick out a little pumpkin to take home.

Tips if you go:

  • Getting there earlier in the day is nice if you want less people to contend with.
  • Paint your pumpkin first.  This way it will be mostly dry by the time you leave.
  • Popcorn is free and apples are included with the hayride.  We ate these before visiting the snack area, so when we bought 2 apple cider sippy cups (so cute!) and a package of donuts for a total of $5.50 it was enough to satisfy my 3 kids.
  • Dress for the indoors.  The only things outside are the hayride and bumblebee express.
  • There is plenty of room for strollers.
  • You can buy apples, apple cider and honey (from their own hives!) right on the premises, as well as hay bales and cornstalks for decorating.

Admission to the play area is $6 per child ages 2 and older.  It’s $3.50 for kids 13-23 months and free for those 12 months and under.  Admission includes unlimited play time, pumpkin painting, popcorn, a Halloween tattoo and a prize.  Extras include a hayride ($3 per person, 25 minutes, includes an apple and pumpkin for the children) and the Bumblebee Express ride, $2 per child.

The play area and hayride is open to the public Fridays (9-6) and Saturdays (9-5).  Groups are scheduled by appointment on other days of the week.  Call (616) 949-7299.

In October, those with a PERKS card will receive 50% off of admission prices for their immediate family members!

 

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