Location: The Berry Patch, 22509 S. State Line Road, Cleveland Mo. For directions see website!
Cost: Varies upon how much you pick. It's free to go and play but you pay for what you pick. I found the prices way, way cheaper than buying blue berries at the store though!
Age appropriate: All Ages
Hours of operation: Varies based on season. Visit website for more details but in general, harvest time are in the months of June, July and August.
Go and pick some blueberries! It's a fun and great thing to do and this is the place to do it at.
For starters, you should check the website provided here for more information on how to get to the Berry Patch and what can be picked at the moment. Crops size and availability will vary from year to year based on growing conditions. Also make sure you check the picking report that is also on the website to see what the harvest will be like.
Now, on to the picking. We went when the it apparently was a "low harvest" and the picking report did not make it sound all that great. I was pleasantly surprised though when we showed up and there appeared to be plenty left to choose from. There are big fields where the blueberry bushes are and there were still some to be had. You had to work for them a bit more than usual apparently, but the group and our kids were up for the task. What we learned was that a 3 foot tall kid is the perfect height to get right up under the bushes for those hard to get berries that most people would skip. After an hour of fun work, and it was fun, my kids and I were able to walk away with a good 2 pounds of blueberries and that doesn't count the ones that they ate directly from the bushes.
The fields themselves were well kept and easy to navigate. Be warned though that you do need to keep an eye on the kiddos for several reasons. 1. blueberries stain. 2. The bushes are high enough that it is easy to lose track of your shorter kiddos. It was also somewhat of a busy weekend when we went as well but I found the entire site well organized, the staff friendly, and the other visitors friendly as well. It made for a good time.
Now once your picking is done, there are other farm like things to be done here. For a small fee (2 bucks a kid) you can have your child ride on their "train" which is a bunch of little cars being pulled by a tractor. There are also plenty of hay bales to climb on which is always a great activity for the kids. Finally, there is a small playground that the kids can run around on. It's a bit run down but still fun. There was a large drainage tube there as well that the kids loved to get inside of while their friends pushed it down a hill. Don't worry, this is intentional and it's not a construction site leftover. It's really fun and there are plenty of places from some great pictures with the family.
Once you have picked your berries, it's now time to pay for them. If it's busy, you are going to have a bit of a wait. You have your berries weighed at the front and then get in line to pay for them. The line to pay for them though is through the actual gift shop, which I'm pretty sure is intentional as they are trying to get you to buy various nick nacks. It works and we walked out of there with some honey sticks and also the best glass of blue berry lemonade that I have ever had. Honestly, it was worth waiting in line just for that glass. I didn't even know there was such a thing. However, if your kids are waiting in line with you be prepared to grab a lot of darting hands here and there. There are a lot of interesting things in the gift shop and they love to grab them when you are not looking.
If you have planned well, and I'm assuming you did as you are reading this, you have brought a packed lunch. This is a great place to have lunch at on a good cloudless day. There are picnic tables but also bring a blanket and throw it between some trees. We did this and it worked out very well.
This is defiantly an activity that we will do again next year. I'm also hearing that Blackberries will be good to go in 2012. Expect to see the KCDADS in full force.