If you have kids, fall just wouldn't be the same with a visit to a pumpkin patch or a maze. Just a short drive from the lake area, off 1-70, families can venture to two family-owned attractions that are offering a unique experience.

It's the perfect time of year to head out for an afternoon, soaking in the fall sunshine and enjoying the outdoors. If you have kids, fall just wouldn't be the same with a visit to a pumpkin patch or a maze. Just a short drive from the lake area, off 1-70, families can venture to two family-owned attractions that are offering a unique experience.

A pumpkin patch, a corn maze and a petting zoo and educational park decked out for season at Pumpkins Galore and Big Joel's Safari in Wright City in Warren County have partnered up to offer a perfect fall getaway.

Once there, visitors can wander through the zoo and visit the pumpkin patch and maze with over 14,000 feet of winding paths. The maze is $5.00 per person. Children under 4 free.

Pumpkins Galore offers lots of fun activities and a huge selection of pumpkins. Run by the Mikus family, admission to the pumpkin patch is free.

Joel Clinger and his wife, Mimi, opened Big Joel's Safari Petting Zoo and Educational Park to the public in July, 2012.

Before opening their farm to the public, they had been working with and raising animals for many years. Joel played football for the University of Missouri and then a few years professionally, working with exotic animals in the off season. He earned a degree in animal science while at Mizzou while Mimi got a degree in occupational therapy.

Joel and Mimi, along with Joel’s parents, supervise the park.They take care of a wide array of zoo friends such as monkeys, ostriches, donkeys, deer, camels, goats, sea turtles, and kangaroos. For the more exotic lovers, the zoo is home to crocodiles, pythons, and geckos.

Along with a wooden climbing train, big slides, and tire enhanced play park, the zoo offers a petting zoo to visitors. 

Petting zoo guests can purchase feed cups to entice the already friendly zoo dwellers even closer.

Also good for a up close experience with animals is the Parakeet Encounter. The interactive parakeet encounter allows you to purchase a parakeet feed stick for only $1.00 or 6 sticks for $5.00 to feed many fine feathered friends in an open bird aviary but watch out, you might find some are super friendly and will actually land on your hand or head to be fed.