Fall is a special time of the year for family-friendly activities and enjoying the outdoors. After a busy school and work week, stay close to home and make lasting family memories at any of the following area pumpkin farms or fall attractions.

Bomke's Patch
605 County Lake Road, Springfield

Bomke's is open for the fall season between Sept. 23 and Oct. 29 and has regular activities on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Highlights include 10 acres of pumpkins, a seven-acre corn maze, a one-acre bean maze, wagon rides through the Christmas tree farm, a petting zoo with food dispensers to feed the animals, a children's play area with swings and slides and a rock mine and pumpkin cannon.

On Friday evenings from 5-9:30 p.m., Bomke's hosts a Friday Night Farm event. Activities include exploring a corn maze under the stars (flashlight required), a movie on the front lawn, play areas, bubble fun, foam party, food trucks and music. Bring your own lawn chairs to enjoy the movie. Kids 2 and under are free.

Kristin's Pumpkin Patch
6300 Wind Tree Road, Springfield

Beginning Sept. 23, families may visit Kristin's Pumpkin Patch between 2-6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays.

Guests should park on the streets in the neighborhood, near the silo that has a top painted like a pumpkin. From there, it's a short walk to the patch, where you'll find yourself surrounded by acres of corn, pumpkins and flowers. Kristin's Pumpkin Patch really is a tiny fall paradise.

Kristin's main attraction is the U-pick pumpkin patch, which features over 35 varieties of gourds and pumpkins to explore and pick. Kristin's Patch also has a corn maze in the shape of Iowa, with fun facts about cities around the border of the state.

Indian Creek Farmstead
19468 Curtis Blacktop Road, Petersburg

Indian Creek's fall opening is Sept. 17, and the patch will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. through Oct. 30.

Indian Creek Farmstead's pumpkin patch contains 70 varieties of pumpkins and squash, although it is much more than a pumpkin patch. Other activities at the farm include a remote-control car/truck course, sandboxes, a child-friendly maze, plenty of farm animals, slides, games, play houses, a Lego train car and a two-mile interactive and educational wagon ride.

On Sundays, Indian Creek opens its Jeep Crawler Course and Timber Trail for off-roading, Jeep-loving groups.

Pumpkin Creek Farms
7392 Barclay Road, Sherman

Pumpkin Creek Farms opens for the season on Sept. 10 and is open daily through Halloween. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 12-6 p.m. on Sunday.

There is a ton of family-friendly fun happening at Pumpkin Creek, including a haystack mountain for kids (and grown-ups) to climb, a large corn maze, U-pick pumpkins, tractor rides, pony and tractor swings, a petting zoo where visitors can feed the animals, sensory tables made of grain and corn, a giant crazy corn bin for kids to immerse themselves in, duck boat races, playhouses and food trucks.

The weekday hours at Pumpkin Creek make it an excellent location for parents of toddlers and preschoolers who aren't in school, and the Pumpkin Creek season pass is good for multiple visits.

Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
15588 History Lane, Petersburg

Lincoln's New Salem is open year-round and is a wonderful place to enjoy the fall colors as leaves change. New Salem also has some exciting autumn programming coming up.

Lincoln's New Salem's Traditional Music and Bluegrass Festival will be held on Sept. 9-10. This annual festival features musicians showcasing traditional instruments such as mountain and hammer dulcimers, concertinas, bones, autoharps, fiddles, banjos and guitars throughout the historic village. Traditional, folk and bluegrass musicians are invited to participate in the weekend impromptu jam session.

Lincoln's New Salem's candlelight walks will be held on Oct. 7-8 These walks are the only opportunity to see the village at night, and period-clothed interpreters will be inside many of the log homes and shops in the village to talk about life in 19th century Illinois.

Lastly, Lincoln's New Salem will host its fall festival on Oct. 22. Period-clothed interpreters will demonstrate daily tasks throughout the historic village such as candle dipping, soap making, blacksmithing, spinning wool, gardening and natural dyeing. Visitors can step down into the cellar at the tavern to see how fruits and vegetables were preserved during the winter.

Lincoln Memorial Garden
2301 E. Lake Shore Dr, Springfield

Lincoln Memorial Garden is one of our family's favorite places to pass time in the fall. Starting in September, be on the lookout for guided leaf identification hikes, fall bird hikes and forest therapy events.

Additionally, Lincoln Memorial Garden's Fall Harvest Festival is set to return on Oct. 8-9 and will include crafts, face painting, puppet shows and pumpkin decorating. Families may also build a fairy house using natural materials such as acorns, twigs, bark, leaves and grasses, as well as visit LMG's troll trail. Adults can enjoy shopping for handmade items such as pottery and handmade wooden items. The festival runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. both days.

Carve for the Carillon and The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular
Washington Park, Springfield

In my opinion, it just wouldn't be October in Springfield without the Carve for the Carillon and Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular events in Washington Park. The Carve will take place on Saturday, Oct. 8, and Sunday, Oct. 9. Scooped pumpkins will be ready for your creative carving. Bring your carving tools, families and friends.

All carved pumpkins will be on display at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular the following weekend, Oct. 14-15.

Pamela Savage is a freelance writer in Springfield. She looks forward to enjoying the many activities and events that Springfield has to offer this autumn.

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