Apple cider is the quintessential autumn drink both kids and their parents can enjoy! Thanks to an abundance of orchards and a collective love of everything the season has to offer, Kansas City has no shortage of charming places to pick up the fall staple. With October already in full force, a plan of attack to sample all our area’s apple goodness is necessary! Don’t worry, we here at Kansas City Mom Collective, continue to be here when you need us most. For God’s sake, there’s apple cider to be taste tested and pumpkins to be picked! You grab the flannels, we will handle the rest.
Arguably the most iconic cider mill of the area, Louisburg Cider Mill is peak fall, family fun. Patrons flock to its Kansas headquarters to enjoy the pumpkin patch and peruse the country store, but their delicious cider and accompanying apple products can be purchased in just about every grocery store around the area. For the true experience, pack up the kids and head to the real deal. To avoid crowds, pick a weekday, if possible. And if you really are looking for a sugar overload, don’t stop at the cider. Order fresh apple cider donuts and some of their famous sodas to take home (or gulp down as soon as they hand them over; no judgment here).
Two weekends, every fall, they host Cider Fest, and it is definitely worth braving the lines. There’s something for everyone: hard cider for the adults, pony rides for the kids, and pure, innocent fun for all!
A beautiful farm atop picturesque hills, the Historic Weston Orchard & Vineyard is a more quaint location without the pressure of abundant crowds. Take a stroll through the apple trees, enjoy the play structures for children to climb and run about and watch the apple cider being pressed right before you take your first sip. Homemade caramel apples are always a big hit when we visit, as well.
Offering apple picking from August to November, Cider Hill Family Orchard is a smaller operation that is big on charm. Offering fresh-pressed apple cider slushes, sundaes and take-and-bake pies, this is not a place to overlook. Take a hayride around the trees, pick your desired amount of produce, and finish off the afternoon around one of their fire pits, with a cider drink in your hand.
An experience that is hard to beat, Fun Farm Pumpkin Patch in Kearney, Missouri, is a one-of-a-kind place. The expansive farm is filled to the brim with activities for kids of all ages, as well as treats around almost every corner. It is our family’s most requested fall destination, and it may or may not be due to the extra powerful apple cannons! Their cider can be purchased from their charming store, and apple slushes out of an adorable caboose. Go for the cider and stay for the fun!
A wonderful byproduct of fresh apple cider is the apple slush, and our whole family is here for it! Unpredictably warm fall weekends make this particular treat a must try at Johnson Farms. With one in your hand you can still bust out those flannel shirts and floppy felt hats without completely melting in the Midwest heat of October. Fall photoshoot anyone?
After successfully coordinating all the possible fun fall has to offer for our children, it should be mom and dad’s turn for a treat! Hit up KC Wine Co for unique cider beer, spiked cider or a hard cider slush. Perfect for a daytime date or ladies night out, relax on the patio, enjoy the views and don’t worry about having to wrangle kids out of a corn pit for the time being. They also host a Cider Fest, but this is for the 21+ crowd.
For those who can’t make it to one of these amazing destinations in person, pick up some locally made cider from your nearest grocery store, and take a cue from KC Pitmaster and Co-Owner of Burnt Finger BBQ, Megan Day, for some simple and delicious jazzed up cider, must try recipes. She knows her stuff!
Apple Cider Simmer
- 1/2 gallon apple cider
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 – 4 cinnamon sticks
Place all ingredients in a stock pot and simmer on low to medium heat for at least one hour. Ladle into mugs. Pro tip: Keep it to a faint simmer, and let reduce for two hours. Remove cinnamon sticks if keeping hot for more than those two hours. Yields 12 servings.
Megan’s Brown Cider
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 3 oz bourbon
- 1 oz maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
Fill cocktail shaker with all listed ingredients. Shake and strain into ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or a whole star anise pod.
Enjoy, and happy sipping!