Oct 15, 2023

Fall farm fun for kids, from animal trains to face painting

Jason Bourboulis, 3, from Laurel sits on the stationary tractor at Garden of Eve in Riverhead. Credit: Randee Daddona

Fall means the return of roasted corn, perfect pumpkins and encounters with friendly ghosts. Here are some Long Island farms and nurseries offering all-ages fun.

Every Saturday in October from 6 to 9:30 p.m., families can enjoy moonlight pumpkin picking geared toward children ages 12 and younger at Organics Today Farm in East Islip. "We’re one of the few places you can come to at night and not be scared," says owner Mike Massina. "The whole place is decorated and lit up, but the pumpkin patch is dark." Families use their own flashlights in the pumpkin field.

Hayrides will be available. A la carte refreshments include roasted corn, apple cider doughnuts and pumpkin muffins. Admission is $3 per person; hayrides are an additional $3 per person. Small pumpkins will be about $3.50, larger ones about 75 cents per pound. The venue also is open for pumpkin picking from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; there is no admission fee during the day. The farm is at 169 Washington St., East Islip; 631-480-6497,

Albert H. Schmitt Family Farms in Dix Hills offers fall activities seven days a week, says co-owner Jean Schmitt. "We're a small farm. If you're looking for an experience without the huge crowds, it's a more manageable farm. It's nice for kids and grandparents," Schmitt says.

The farm will offer its tractor-pulled "animal train" ride, with seats decorated like animals, including a pig, goose and elephant. Kids can race rubber duckies, controlled by pumping water in a gutter, take a hayride and, of course, pick pumpkins. Food offerings include roasted corn, cider doughnuts and candy apples.

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Visitors pay $5 to enter the pumpkin patch, which includes rubber duck racing and the pumpkin house, a huge house made out of pumpkins. The $7 train rides and $4 hay rides are a la carte. The farm is at 6 Bagatelle Rd., Dix Hills; 631-549-3276,

The Dadis, from New Hyde Park, ride around the pedal kart track at Garden of Eve in Riverhead on Sept. 19. From left, Isabella, 4, Christine, Giovannina, 6, and Jozsef. Credit: Randee Daddona

A pick-your-own sunflower field joins the pumpkin patch at Garden of Eve Organic Farm and Market in Riverhead.

Hayrides run between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekends; the Fun Field offers a bounce pad for the kids, hayrides, and a chance to see animals including sheep, goats, pig, turkeys, chickens and ducks. The Fun Field is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. There's live music from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends.

Admission is $8.95 per person older than 2 on weekdays and $10.95 on weekends; sunflowers are $1 per stalk. The on-site craft brewery is open for adults from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., says co-owner Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht. The farm is at 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead; 631-722-8777,

Claudine Clarke of Floral park takes a picture of her daughter Mackenzie Clarke, 13, with Otto the Ghost at the Hicks Nurseries in Westbury on Sept. 19. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

Otto the Ghost returns to Hicks Nurseries in Westbury with a new, animated story called "Otto's House Party." The walk-through unfolds indoors, says Karen Musgrave, marketing coordinator. Families can experience Otto's animated story walk-through daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Oct. 30. To take a picture with a friendly Otto, come on weekends between 10 a.m. to noon or from 1 to 4 p.m. through Oct. 30.

It's all free, but Hicks asks visitors to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to Long Island Cares. Refreshments can be purchased daily, including apple cider, kettle corn, pies, fudge-dipped doughnuts, fudge, character cookies and more. On weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Hicks Food Truck will offer fall festival food including chicken tenders, hot dogs, roasted corn, French fries and beverages.

A $20 pay-one-price bracelet includes a sand-art activity, a mum plant for pot decorating, a pumpkin to decorate and an unlimited hay maze. The hay maze alone is $5 per person. The nursery is at 100 Jericho Tpke., Westbury; 516-334-0066,

Face painting and arm painting will be offered at Stakey's Pumpkin Farm during this year's weekend events in October, says co-owner Jim Stakey. Pumpkin picking, hayrides, a corn maze and cut-out-face photo placards round out the activities, Stakey says. Pets will not be allowed this year.

Activities are pay as you go. Weekends and school holiday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekdays are noon to 5 p.m. with all activities available except face and arm painting. The farm is at 270 West Lane, Aquebogue; 631-722-3467,

Beth Whitehouse writes about families, parenting and great things to do with the kids on Long Island. She's been a Newsday editor and shared a 1997 Newsday staff Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800.

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