Just 20 miles west of Minneapolis in Minnetrista, Minnesota, is Minnetonka Orchard. An apple orchard with something for everyone—from U-pick apple picking to face painting to wine and cheese classes—it’s a family favorite for seasonal activities, private events, and more.
Keep reading to learn all about Minnetonka Orchard, its history, and how to enjoy its many exciting activities.
NOTE: Minnetonka Orchard located in Minnetrista, MN is in no way affiliated with this website, Minneopa Orchards.
About Minnetonka Orchard
Minnetonka Orchard is a family-operated apple orchard in Minnetrista, Minnesota best known for their u-pick apple activities, delicious donuts, petting zoo, and other fall-themed activities.
History of Minnetonka Orchard
The dream for Minnetonka Orchard started in 1972 when Lowell and Phyllis Schaper bought forty acres of land in Minnesota, built their home, and planted over 500 apple trees. Minnetonka Orchard was then officially founded when the first harvest from these apple trees was ripe for the picking, less than half a decade later. Over time, Minnetonka Orchard gained an established reputation for the creation of apple donuts, fall fun, weekday field trips for busloads of schoolchildren, and hosting joyous events like weddings under the steady leadership of the Schapers.
In 2021, almost half a century after the founding of Minnetonka Orchard, the orchard changed ownership. When Esther and Frank Weigel bought the property in 2021, the purchase was made to maintain the spirit of the orchard and revive the engagement of the business with the community. Today Minnetonka Orchard defines itself as a propper fall-themed “first class tourist destination for families in the Twin Cities and beyond.”
What to do at Minnetonka Orchard
Now that we’ve gone over the history of the beloved Minnetonka Orchard, let’s talk about all the fun things you can do here! Minnetonka Orchard has truly flowered into a down-to-earth (literally!) educational and entertainment business that has activities for every member of the family.
First and foremost, all apple orchards are bound to have fantastic seasonal activities, and Minnetonka Orchard has quite the reputation for fall and winter fun. Let’s take a look at all the things you can do to get you into the sweater weather mood, and more.
- U-Pick: we certainly love our traditional apple picking activities! This one is a classic. Come pick Honeycrisp, SweeTango, Zestar apples, plus other delicious varieties, as well as pumpkins from the pumpkin patch when it’s time for spooky season.
- Apple Launcher: in case you didn’t know, apple launchers are exactly what they sound like—devices that launch apples! Go try your best shot in this game that reminds us of medieval catapults.
- Pumpkin Picking: ready to fill your house with autumnal gourds? Instead of hitting the nearest grocery, make an outing out of it and go pumpkin picking at Minnetonka Orchard!
- Halloween Fun: Minnetonka Orchard has more than just pumpkin picking to get you into the Halloween mood. If your kids (or you!) don’t like getting your hands sticky with pumpkin carving, head on over to Minnetonka Orchard for pumpkin painting instead—the last two weekends in October, they can also go trick or treating in the orchard!
- Holidays Activities: another reason why Minnetonka Orchard is so loved is because of its Thanksgiving and Christmas activities. Take cheese and wine pairing classes, put together beautiful charcuterie boards, learn how to make wreaths, take your kids to see Santa (and snap some pictures!), decorate gingerbread cookie houses, get some holiday shopping done, and then take home a Christmas tree at the end of the day. It’s the most wonderful time of the year (once apple season is over, of course).
- Live Music: what’s better than some live music while you enjoy seasonal activities? Discover up and coming artists up close!
- Corn Hole: though not necessarily a seasonal activity, this quintessential outdoor American game is best enjoyed in warm or mild dry weather. Fun for both children and adults, it’s a great way to pass the time while you wait on your apple donuts.
- Hay Mountain: Minnetonka Orchard’s hay mountain is also exactly what it sounds like: a giant pile of hay for children to scale to their heart’s content! They’ll feel like kings and queens with a view of the entire orchard.
- Hayrides: hayrides are a traditional fall fun activity, and a great way to get a tour of the entire orchard, as well as an efficient way to get around to the various activities on site.
- Apple Express Train: do your kids dream of independence? Do they wish they could hop on a train and go wherever their hearts desire? Then the apple express train is a fair compromise: this stationary train-shaped playground will keep them busy for hours!
Family Friendly Activities
Though all the activities listed above are fun for adults and children alike, the family friendly activities at Minnetonka Orchard listed below are targeted especially for children.
- Face Painting: let your children live their wildest fantasy dreams by taking them to the face painting station where they can be transformed into anything from a butterfly to a tiger to their favorite superhero.
- Animal Barn: no pets? No problem! Your kids will have a blast cozying up to the goats and other farm animals at Minnetonka Orchard. Who doesn’t love these furry creatures?
- School Field Trips: there’s nothing better than learning hands-on, and outdoors. You should suggest a field trip to Minnetonka Orchard to the administration of your children’s school—the tours include orchard education, ample time in nature and with animals, a snack break, and more. Teachers should check out their page to book a field trip for their students.
- Kids Scavenger Hunt: need something to keep your kids busy? Nothing will tire out a child like a scavenger hunt, especially one that includes running around an apple orchard. They might even fall asleep during the car ride back home!
- Giant Sandbox: who needs the beach when you can build a sand castle in Minnetonka Orchard’s giant sandbox? Just remember to empty your shoes before getting into the car at the end of the day!
- Play Grounds: If by the end of the day your kids still have pent up energy, Minnetonka Orchard has playgrounds to help tire them out, while you can stand by and relax while keeping an eye on them.
Finally, let’s take a look at events for adults. We deserve to enjoy ourselves, too!
- Weddings: a raving review for Minnetonka Orchard cites a couple’s amazing experience hosting a wedding at the orchard, and then years later returning to enjoy the fall activities with their children. What better way to share memories with the entire family? Plus, Minnetonka Orchard is the perfect site for nature-inspired wedding photos, and rustic country themes. The venue can host up to 300 guests. Visit their website for more information on hosting your wedding at Minnetonka Orchard.
- Events with your own catering: already have a plan for the kind of food you want served at your event? Minnetonka Orchard is happy to facilitate the catering of your dreams by coordinating with external vendors. Like weddings, the orchard has enough seating for up to 300 guests. Visit their website for more information on hosting events at Minnetonka Orchard.
- Large Events: already stressing about all the details of a big event coming up? At Minnetonka Orchard, you can choose their large event package, which means their staff will take care of every last detail for you! What better way to enjoy a large event, and avoid all the stress? Start planning your large event at Minnetonka Orchard.
- Small Events: have a birthday or larger-than-normal dinner to plan? If your guest list is under 30, then Minnetonka Orchard’s small event package is perfect for you. Have fun in close contact with nature instead of worrying about the planning! Get more info about small events at Minnetonka Orchard on their website.
How to Visit Minnetonka Orchard
Excited about all the things you’ve just read about Minnetonka Orchard? Then keep reading to learn how to get in touch with them, and how to visit this great destination in Minnetrista.
You can visit Minnetonka Orchard at:
6530 County Road 26
Minnetrista, MN 55364
Take advantage of several different admission options:
- Season Passes: starting in 2022, avid Minnetonka Orchard fans will be able to buy season passes in order to go to the orchard as many times as they want! You can even buy these passes online to get a head start on the season! Seasonal passes include access to all the attractions at the orchard. Plus, season pass holders will have early access to special holiday events, and more. What are you waiting for?
- Regular Weekend Admission: not sure how often you’ll be going to Minnetonka Orchard? You can also buy a regular admission ticket for a one-time use. Regular tickets include unlimited hayrides, and access to all complementary attractions.
- Regular Weekday (M-F) Admission: if you come during a weekday, admission is free, but attractions are limited to U-pick apples and the retail barn, where you can get some shopping done.
Make sure to always check their website for the most up-to-date ticket information and visiting hours or get in touch with them in one of the following ways:
Before you know it, you’ll be on route to an amazing apple-themed time!
FAQ Minnetonka Orchard
Let’s see if I can answer some questions that might come up as you consider your family (or friend, or even solo!) trip to Minnetonka Orchard.
Can I bring my dog to Minnetonka Orchard?
Yes! Minnetonka Orchard is a dog friendly orchard. In fact, many reviewers are particularly excited to be able to bring along their four-legged friend, too!
Can I work at Minnetonka Orchard?
If you have the skills they’re looking for, then you might be the perfect candidate to work at Minnetonka Orchard. Check out their application page.
How do I get to Minnetonka Orchard?
Here are Google Map directions to Minnetonka Orchard.
Do I need to buy a ticket for my two year old child?
Nope! Admission for children three years old and younger is free!
What kinds of apples can I pick at Minnetonka Orchard?
As per their website, the apple U-pick at Minnetonka Orchard includes Honeycrisp, Zestar, SweeTango apples, as well as other delicious varieties. Let’s take a quick look at the varieties listed above:
- Honeycrisp apples: first developed at the University of Minnesota (it doesn’t get more local than that!), Honeycrisp apples are actually hard to grow because of their susceptibility to diseases and intolerance to heat. Despite these challenges, Honeycrisp are beloved for their perfect balance of sweetness and tartness combined with the perfect crisp crunch, and are now one of the most commonly grown apples in all of America!
- Zestar apples: also developed at the University of Minnesota (are you starting to see a trend in the kinds of apples grown at Minnetonka Orchard?) Zestar apples are enjoyed commercially because they have a very long shelf life, as well as a similar balance in taste, just like the Honeycrisp apples. They are also known for their brown-sugar taste, and are among the earliest apple varieties to ripen—as early as mid August!
- SweeTango apples: while developed much more recently than the varieties listed above, SweeTango apples (as you might imagine, also developed at the University of Minnesota) are actually the product of cross breeding between Honeycrisp and Zestar apples! SweeTango apples, however, are bred very exclusively, and the growing rights are only given to few orchardists, making it a special apple indeed.
Visit Minnetonka Orchard!
Now you know all about Minnetonka Orchard! So when spooky season and sweater weather roll around, remember this popular west metro fall destination, which is perfect for family outings.
Excited for more apple content? Visit my apple trees page to learn more about apple planting, growing, harvesting, cooking, and more!