One of the most common questions I receive once “Back to School” ads start running is where to go in order to have the best apple picking experience. Well, after going apple picking in the Chicagoland area for years, I can tell you that there are lots of great orchards. But the thing is, each orchard specializes in one thing and you can get pigeonholed into picking one type of apple or engaging in only one or two Fall activities. If you are looking for a one stop shop that has EVERYTHING that your family could ever want, there is only one place to go—All Seasons Orchard in Woodstock, Illinois.
All Seasons Orchard might only be open for two months out of the year, but that doesn’t mean that the team isn’t toiling away all year long in order to ensure that everything at All Seasons, from the vast Honeycrisp orchard to the adorable cow train ride, is in perfect order for the busy Fall season. My family and I were hosted at All Seasons Orchard this year and were able to try many of its specialty items and activities at no cost. But let me be honest—we happily paid to experience All Seasons Orchard for years and are happy to say that the farm just keeps getting better year after year.
First off, let’s talk about the apples. All Seasons Orchard is one of the only farms in the area that can boast of having such an ample supply of Honeycrisp trees that the crop can be picked for at least two weekends in a row. Why are Honeycrisp apples so prized? I’m not sure, really. Maybe it’s the juicy crunch. Maybe it’s the sweet yet tangy flavor. All I know is that my kids devour them and their love of apples have kept them out of the doctor’s office even now that they are back in germ ridden school. Since everyone who enters the orchard is required to have a bag for picking, you will undoubtedly end up with a TON of apples. Thankfully they have a long shelf life if kept in a cool and dry place and there are tons of different ways to cook with apples, as noted on the All Seasons Orchard blog. We even paint with them once we’ve had our fill.
If you ask my boys, however, the apples are not the star of the show. What is? The expansive barnyard with over 30 different activities. There is quite literally something for EVERYONE. I’m not kidding. We have come to All Seasons Orchard before we had kids, and we had a blast cheering on our favorite swines in the pig races and taking photos with the animals in the petting zoo before selfies were even a thing.
When we were first time parents with a baby, we spent the majority of our time riding the cow themed train and taking photos just about everywhere…on tractors, on haystacks, you name it.
With toddlers we were constantly moving from one activity to the next because there was always something that peaked their interest, from the bounce houses to the slides and the corn box.
Now that my boys are a little bit older, they are absolutely OBSESSED with the bouncy pillow. So obsessed that they actually asked for one for Christmas. I kid you not. I’m pretty sure the bouncy pillow is the reason why we haven’t had the time to tackle the corn maze yet. Or maybe it’s the fact that our family has no sense of direction and we even get lost driving around in our own neighborhood.
And for the older kids? There are new zip lines to try out, as well as the popular apple canon that lets you have fun with some of the waste that tends to clog up the apple orchard.
I haven’t even scratched the surface talking about all of the different activities available for young kids and those young at heart, so I’ll just let my pictures speak for themselves.
All of that entertainment will be sure to wear you out, so take a break in the clean and air conditioned Country Kitchen and enjoy some homemade specialties that you simply can’t find at other orchards. Yes, you will find typical offerings like corn dogs and chicken fingers, but you will also find innovative pot roast and elote dishes alongside mouthwatering pulled pork and even meatballs with dipping sauce for the little ones. It might take a bit to get your food if you visit during the busy time (12 p.m. – 2 p.m.), but it is most definitely worth it. You can also grab a quick apple cider slushie or donut if you are looking for a lighter treat. Outside food is not allowed, but you can always tailgate at your car if that is more up your alley. Don’t skip out on the apple cider donut sundae, though. It’s life changing.
Don’t head back home without taking a look around the Farm Market. Not only is there a working bakery and apple cider mill, but there are also tons of yummy treats and adorable handmade gifts you can bring home to help celebrate the best season of the year.
Tips & Tricks for Visiting All Seasons Orchard
Now that I’ve given you a lay of the land, I want to share some of the tips and tricks I have learned over the years and some secrets shared by one of the owners, Esther Hong.
*Looking for a quiet visit? Weekdays are best, especially in the beginning of apple picking season.
*Visiting on the weekend? Arrive early when the farm opens or wait until 2 p.m. when many people leave due to crabby kids and checking just about everything off their Barnyard Bucket List.
*Want to avoid standing in line to enter? Buy your tickets online and zip to the front of the lines to pick up your bags.
*Take advantage of the online coupons! There are discounts for parents and kids on Mondays, buy one get one free offers, and more!
*Looking for changing tables and nursing stations? All bathrooms are equipped with changing stations and feel free to nurse anywhere you feel comfortable on the farm. Ask a staff member if you are interested in a more private space to nurse.
*The Barnyard is large and spread out so be sure to bring comfortable shoes that can get muddy and a sturdy stroller. Strollers aren’t allowed in the orchard so baby wearing is best when apple picking.
Looking for more Fall fun? Check out our favorite local spots for making family memories.