Last week, I got to tour around the farm with the family-travel experts from Travel with Bender – this happy family has travelled to over 60 countries and writes the #1 family travel blog on the web.
We made pizza in the farm’s outdoor cobb oven, stuffed scarecrows, met the goats, took an especially bumpy train ride, got a balloon sword and hat from Graves the Balloon Master, painted pumpkins, found precious gems in the gem mine and shot pumpkins out of the cannon with Gritch the Witch (that’s her in the picture making kid stew!). Phew – we had a very full, very fun day.
It reminded me of all the family Sundays that my family’s had here over the past three years – every summer Sunday we come to the farm to get our CSA veggies and run and play. We’ve been here in the sun and rain and even in the snow. We almost always eat ice cream, talk to Basil the parrot, climb, slide and run through puddles, whenever we can.
Here are seven things to know for your Halloween visit to the farm this weekend. Bonus: kids in costume get in free on Oct 31!
Where to park
When you come to the gates, you’ll be directed down the road a bit to the big corn maze where there’s a whole wide-open field for parking. From here, you’ll catch a bus to the farm – they run every few minutes back and forth. To save room for people (and their pumpkins) your strollers and wagons will ride in a truck and trailer right behind the bus.
Once you’ve paid admission at the maze or at the farm entrance, you can run free and enjoy all the activities and rides. Paint a pumpkin, meet the goats and bunnies, swing, climb slide and run some more.
A few activities do take tokens – farm dollars that you can buy at the general store (they have Interac here). For example, you can buy a bucket of paydirt – small, medium or treasure-trove large – at the Lost Lemon Gem Mine and pan for precious gems, shark teeth, shells and fossils in the wet sluice. You’ll also need tokens for food and drinks and the pumpkin cannon – see below.
What’s to eat?
The concessions sell chili, burgers, hot dogs, dilly garlic potatoes, caramel apples and pumpkin pie. Get ice cream from ice cream stoop, fudge from the fudge shop and visit the world’s tiniest candy store for fun old-fashioned candy. Use your tokens at any of these shops.
Some of my favourite times at the farm have been around campfires. You can book a campfire picnic site for a few hours to have lunch and a quick rest – it’s especially good to have a home base if you’re coming in a large group. You can bring your own hotdogs to roast over the fire – or let the farm provide those too. Reserve your spot here.
Whee! Eek! Splat!
The farm keeps changing all the year – new activities pop up all the time (like, check out the new musical garden behind the greenhouses). But every year, we wait for the pumpkin cannon to come out in the fall. It’s loud and makes things go splat. I mean, fun, right?
With the help of a friendly pirate, you’ll fire a wonky-shaped pumpkin from the cannon at the pirate ship out yonder in the field. The pumpkin cannon takes tokens too – with all the money going to support Edmonton’s youth through YESS.
Where to play
Past the general store and duck pond is the little persons playground for climbing and playing in the tiny playhouse. From here you can keep track of Daddy and the bigger kids on the tractors, petting zoo and pedal bikes. The kids corn maze is here and the train stop – but keep exploring and down the road you’ll find the alligator slide and the sheep pen, even a hidden playground and nature walk if you keep going. Here are all 50 things to keep you busy all day.
Puddles are irresistible when you’re three – don’t fight it
When I asked my husband what he thought the best part of the farm is, he said – the puddles. The kids think so too. Kids love getting messy, so from one mom to another, if it’s been raining, bring extra pants and socks for the ride home. Then you can just hang back and watch the crazy muddy fun. I like to think of these as yes days – when I try to just go with it. Even if it is wet and muddy and up to their ears.