Nearly every St. Louisan cherishes his or her childhood memories of apple-picking at Eckert's. The wagon rides, the crisp autumn air, the juicy fall fruit — those were happy, happy days. Of course, harvest time at Eckert's is just as memorable and fun as it always was, but nowadays, the orchard offers even more. At the farm in Millstadt, Illinois (2719 Eckert Orchard Lane; 800-745-0513 or, you'll find an underground slide (!), a pumpkin cannon (shows are on the hour through the weekends) and Haunted Hayrides that spice up the nights. Grab some cider and hop aboard a wagon ride to the unknown, to the acres and acres of fruit trees full of shadows that can play tricks on your eyes — and your mind. Hey, what was that over there? The wind whistling through the trees, a nocturnal creature nibbling on the apples or something else more sinister? Perhaps some kind of ghost or ghoul out lurking in the darkness, waiting, just waiting to! The hair-raising hayrides — which are offered on Friday and Saturday evenings through October 30 — are included in your farm admission ($8 per person), and no reservations are required.
Fridays, Saturdays. Starts: Sept. 24. Continues through Oct. 30, 2010

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