Our family visited Afton Apple Orchard in Hastings, MN with some friends a couple of weeks ago and we had so much fun! It was our first time here so everything was new for us.
Where is Afton Apple Orchard?
Afton Apple Orchard is about 30 minutes southeast of the Twin Cities. It’s on 190+ acres with 13 varieties of apples, plus strawberries, raspberries and pumpkins. At the entrance there are sampling stations where you can try the various apples available that day, plus apple cider and other treats. We tried a few and loved the cider so much we bought some to take home.
I highly recommend tasting the apple varieties when you arrive so you know which kinds you want to pick later.
What are the costs and activities?
Admission is $4.00 per person for ages 5 and up, and $3.00 for ages 4 and under. While many other orchards don’t charge admission, when you consider how much time you’ll probably spend here like we did (we spent almost the whole day here and didn’t see everything!), the price is fair if you take advantage of most of the activities.
Activities include hay rides, a corn maze (which opened after our visit so we didn’t see it), a petting farm, a bakery and gift shop, food including hot dogs, nachos and ice cream, and a very unique playground.
The large wooden playground is full of unique swings and slides. There is a huge mountain of tires kids can climb to the top. The kids in our group enjoyed this for at least an hour but wanted to play for much more, but we had to pull them away because there was so much more to do!
What We Did…
After spending time at the playground and then sitting down for lunch (we had hot dogs, bratwurst and ice cream), it was apple picking time!
This was really neat. Tractors continuously go around the orchard (at least on weekends when it’s busy), stopping at the various drop-off/pick-up locations where they call out the varieties at each stop. After sampling the apples at the entrance when we arrived, I decided we liked the Zestar variety which was crisp and sweet. When we got to the Zestar “stop” we got out and picked a bagful within 10 minutes. There were so many apples! And many were low enough for kids to pick so my kids were able to do most of the picking.
Then we headed back on the next tractor (we didn’t have to wait at all), and walked over to the raspberries which were a few steps away. There were beautiful red and yellow raspberries and the kids and I filled up a pint of red ones fast. Raspberry season lasts until about mid-October.
More Activities than Time
Then we enjoyed some of the other activities including the petting farm. Thor enjoyed feeding a goat!
Then the kids went on a ride on the “Moo Moo Choo Choo” train. This colorful “train” of cars gets pulled by a tractor and the driver had lots of fun swerving around with the kids along the path. It cost $2.00 per kid per ride but was worth it to see them laughing as they curved along together.
The bakery and gift shop were full of goodies galore. We bought and ate some apple fritters and doughnuts (so yummy!), and paid for our apples, raspberries and apple cider.
It was hard to leave Afton Apple Orchard but we had fresh-picked fruit to enjoy at home, and I know we’ll be back again!
Afton Apple Orchard is located at 14421 So. 90th St., Hastings, MN 55033. Their phone number is 651-436-8385.