Gary’s Berries is a fun fall experience for all ages

Pumpkin patches are a must during fall, but the one at Gary’s Berries goes above and beyond expectations.

The corn maze and the pumpkin patch are Gary’s Berries principal attractions, but there is so much more to see and do when visiting. After a ticket price of $19.95 (or $16.95 when bought online), you have access to the apple cannons, the Kansas cyclone, pig races and more.

“Come see our employees,” said Gary Starr, owner of Gary’s Berries. “They got smiles on their faces, they’re eager to help people and that’s what makes a big difference.”

In the courtyard, an array of delicious foods await. In Grandma Julie’s Sweet Shop, donuts, kettle corn, fudge and caramel apples are made fresh every day. The Tator Shack has the “best burger on this side of the Missouri River,” according to Legs, Cakes & Ears grill turkey legs right in front of you. There are also a Starbucks and the Watering Hole, which has a multitude of drinks and snacks such as apple cider slushes, pumpkin lattes or a hot donut.

“95% of customers say our turkey legs are better than the Renaissance Festival,” said Starr. “Because we smoke them, there is no comparison.”

The Trail of Lights, created solely by the employees’ imagination, has hundreds of thousands of lights choreographed with different Halloween/Thanksgiving music.

“We’re in with the Maze group. They’re 300 farms throughout the United States, Italy and France,” said Starr. “We get together once a year to learn and get ideas for our farms, but the employees had the idea for the Trail of Lights. They set it up all on their own. We got a lot of talented people here.”

Scattered throughout the larger attractions are activities for groups. The Corn Pit, Chicken Coop/Bunneyville, tube swing and petting zoo are some of the smaller things to do at Gary’s Berries, but all these attractions make the experience more memorable. The games available to play (like pumpkin bowling, tug-a-war, and hillbilly tic-tac-toe) leave smiles on the faces of adults and children alike.

“There are a lot of things for younger kids, especially just to have fun and entertain,” said Laney Tenbrink, returning customer of Gary’s Berries. “I think it’s a little weaker for older kids, like teenagers, but personally the corn maze and the lights are my favorite activities here.”

When leaving Gary’s Berries, there is an exit shop with many homemade things to buy. Because Gary’s Berries is also a farm, it is filled with homemade jams, jellies, candles and honey. There are also stuffed animals, light-up swords and costume accessories like pig noses and fairy wings for sale.

“There are new things every year, so it’s always worth it to come here,” said Rylee Hoffer, a customer that has attended Gary’s Berries every year since she was a child. “Especially when there isn’t a whole lot to do in Topeka.”

Gary’s Berries stays open from Sept. 30 to Oct. 30 this year, but they also have separate activities open during the Christmas season.

Edited by LeSha’ Davis, Justin Shepard