Head up I-5 and then east to find a path full of family-friendly fall fun! Halloween may be one day a year, but these places celebrate for an entire month, giving you plenty to time to do and see everything. All you have to do is follow the Thurston Bountiful Byway to these family-friendly fall activities.
You can contact Experience Olympia & Beyond for a Thurston Bountiful Byway map and self-guided tour brochure.
Hunter Family Farm
“We look forward to sharing our farm with the public and contributing to wonderful memories and traditions for families,” says Tami Hunter. Hunter Family Farm has tons of family-friendly fall activities, from a European super slide and pillow jump to pumpkins and corn mazes. “Also, the baby goats,” she adds. “They are so cute and hilarious and people love them as much as we do.”
Check out the farm’s two corn mazes, a one-acre junior maze and a four-acre giant maze. In the giant maze look for clues to solve a mystery. We asked for a hint on this year’s theme, but Tami wasn’t giving anything away. “Our mystery theme in the corn maze is still a mystery!” she says mysteriously.
Be sure to try the ducky race! This unusual activity is only found at the Hunter Farm. Purchase a rubber ducky for a $1, put it in a trough and then push an old-fashioned water pump to create a flow of water to send your ducky across the finish line.
“Everything is family friendly for all ages, nothing too scary,” Tami shares. “The older kids and adults enjoy the giant corn maze, pillow jump, animals, European super slide, pumpkin sling shot, wagon ride to the patch and picking out a pumpkin.” All this fun at the Hunter Family Farm starts September 29. For more information, visit the Hunter Family Farm website.
Since 2012, the town of Bucoda has transformed itself from cute to scary for the fall season, becoming the BOO-CODA SPOOK-TACULAR! Starting October 1, the town has a whole month full of activities that are so fun, its scary!
Throughout the month, find fun with a scary, award-winning haunted house; hearse procession and viewing (October 13); pumpkin carving, ghost story telling, and coloring contests (October 20), pumpkin pancake breakfasts (every Saturday in October); and trick-or-treating (every night in October).
Are you a Michael Jackson fan? Then don’t miss Bucoda Thriller. Happening world-wide on October 27, people take to the streets to help break a world record for most people dancing to “Thriller.” See a firefighter with a boot? That’s no costume! Drop in some cash for their annual “Thrill the Boot” fundraiser for the Bucoda Firefighter Association. Monies raised helps local families in need throughout the year.
Visit the BOO-CODA SPOOK-TACULAR Facebook page for up to date events and news. You can get $2 off coupons for the haunted house at the following locations:
- Tenino: Market Fresh, Scatter Creek Winery, the Iron Works Boutique, City Hall, and Aunt Kate’s Chocolates.
- Bucoda: Joe’s Place.
- Tumwater and Centralia Timberland Bank locations.
Mayor Alan Carr explains the event is a way to raise awareness of the small town and draw visitors, but also as a fundraiser for community projects. The net proceeds raised by BOO-CODA SPOOK-TACULAR and Scary-nights Haunted House go to community projects, the community center and gymnasium.
Rutledge Corn Maze
The Rutledge Corn Maze is a don’t miss – it’s professionally and expertly designed each year with a different theme and charity attached to it. This year, the family partnered with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Thurston County, an American Cancer Society (ACS) event. “We lost my grandfather who started us in the corn growing business to cancer,” shares Robby Rutledge, when asked why they chose this charity. “We also lost my grandmother recently to cancer as well. We also are doing it because we think it is a worthy cause.” It was his grandfather who helped them start the maze in 1992.
“We can’t say thank you enough for the opportunity to be working with them this year and having such a unique way to share the mission with an amazing local family that is determined and passionate about finding a cure for cancer and supporting their community while Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Thurston County and beyond,” shares Autumn Cummings, event lead for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Thurston County.
Other activities at the farm include their famous corn maze, a corn and a cow train, story time, and arts and crafts (Saturdays and Sundays), pumpkin patch, haunted maze, zombie paintball apocalypse, corn hole, ladder ball, a swing set, corn cannons, and more to be announced. “The haunted maze can be very scary,” cautions Robby. “However, I find that it depends on each person. We do not recommend it for anyone under the age of 10.”
Haunting for Dollars will happen October 14 this year and will be the main fundraising event for ACS. Tickets go on sale at 6:00 p.m. that night and the haunt opens at 8:00 p.m. “We bring in several of our more experienced actors to ensure that the show is a great success,” says Robby. He adds that he wouldn’t recommend this event for children under 10-years-old either. Their goal is to raise $25,000 for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event, so come to the farm, go through the maze and donate to a cause that affects us all.
Rutledge Corn Maze opens September 29, but Robby says you won’t be turned away if you come early! For more information, visit the Rutledge Corn Maze website.
Schilter Family Farm
The Schilter Family Farm is a third-generation farm, having been in operation since 1930. The Harvest Festival and Pumpkin Patch started in 1997. Opening September 29, activities at Schilter Family Farm are all family-friendly, with nothing too scary so it’s perfect for families with small children. They have a Fort Nisqually to explore, pumpkin bowling, corn hole, pumpkin cannons, cow head roping, and more in the works. Fun fall photo ops are set-up around the farm, so be sure to bring you camera or phone.
This year’s maze was designed to be in the likeness of Lou Gehrig because the family wants to spread awareness for the disease and proceeds from activities are going to the ALS Association. “Our pastor from our parish, Fr. Jim Lee at St. Michael Parish in Olympia, was diagnosed with ALS back in November,” says Stephanie Schilter. “We are wanting to show our support and our love for him, as well as help the organization who is striving to find a cure.”
For more information, visit the Schilter Family Farm website.