What: Curtis Orchard
Where: 3902 S. Duncan Road, Champaign. Head west through Champaign on Springfield or Kirby avenues and turn south. Keep going, past Windsor Road, until you see the giant hay bales on the left. If you’re coming from I-57, take the aptly named Curtis Road exit (between University Avenue exit on the north and Monticello/Savoy exits to the south).
Hours: Curtis Orchard is open between July 20 and Dec. 20. July 20 – October 31 Monday – Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 11 am – 6 pm November 1 – December 20 Monday – Saturday: 9 am – 5:30 pm Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm
Cost: Entrance is free, but many activities are ticketed.
Description: Follow the yellow brick road down to a Wizard of Oz extravaganza! Apples – and all kinds of produce – are a big deal at Curtis Orchard. Catch a ride on a tractor through the orchard or walk down the rows, reach up and pick from more than 25 different varieties of apples.
APPLES: You-pick apples are typically available from late July through mid-November. Curtis Orchard posts an apple schedule to let you know what is available.
PUMPKINS: Starting in mid-September the pumpkin patch is where it’s at, and you can U-pick ‘til your heart’s content. You can also buy gourds and other fall decorations of all kinds.
BAKERY: The bakery and shops have all manner of goodies, made on site, including world-famous apple donuts, cobblers, and more.
CAFE: The Flying Monkey Café is a fun place to have lunch with your family (open from August 29 – November 1 in 2015).
FAMILY FUN: Activities abound outside the main building, including a petting zoo, corn maze, pony rides, face painting and more. Some activities are only available on the weekends, so plan accordingly. There is also a covered area for private parties, and special private tours of the grounds are available to groups.
Good For: Activities for the kids, food for the parents – it’s fun for all ages!
Aubrie’s Take: From pumpkin picking in the fall to the Christmas tree selection process in December, this place very easily becomes a family tradition — as it is for the Curtis and Graham families that run the business. Inside, the Flying Monkey Café gives you the chance to treat yourself to some treats, ranging from things you could probably bring from home (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) to their signature apple donuts, all washed down with an apple cider – out of an apple-shaped sippy, if you prefer. Outside, don’t miss the goat walk (with a chance to feed them, if you enjoy getting licked) and the barn slide, all big draws for the kiddos in our family. There’s also a separate, fenced playground with Little Tykes slides and houses, just right for the toddler set. In October, grab a Radio Flyer and get some gourds, either in the patch – which feels like it goes on for miles – or at the door.
Curtis Orchards is enough on-the-farm fun to make you forget all about the “big city” on the other side of the fence.
Tell us why you love Curtis Orchard!
Aubrie Williams is a University of Illinois graduate who is happy to have gotten “stuck” in Champaign-Urbana. She is the doting mother of three daughters, dutiful wife of one lucky husband, and loving caretaker to two cats and one insanely messy house. And, despite the fact that she is in her 30s, she is not afraid to admit that she has enjoyed a frosty apple sippy a time or two while visiting Curtis Orchard.