Outing Review: Walden Farm

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From finger-lickin' baby bunnies to pickin' the perfect pumpkin, Walden Farm has a lot of family fun this fall!

A great way for your family to celebrate the season of fall fun is a trek to Smyrna for a festive outing at Walden Farm. Live music fills the air courtesy of a resident banjo picker as your brood makes its way across the property. Admission and parking are free, and you can swap cash for Walden Farm Bucks (they come in $10 increment punch cards).  Use the farm bucks to pay for activities, food, pumpkins and goodies in the Ole Country Store.

Why not start with getting decorated a bit for the day by way of face painting ($2)? Next to the face painting station, kids will want to dive into a colorful keepsake they can make at the sand art station ($3). Little ones can make their way through the free hay maze while Mom and Dad cheer them on, and kids are drawn to playing at the grain bins.

Animal lovers in your family will be drawn to the cute critters waiting to be loved on and fed. Bring quarters with you for the goat food machines. Happy goats are eager for a treat, and they quickly make their way to the fence to eat out of your hand. You might catch one up on a climbing structure. From the ground, you can fill a miniature pail with food that’s attached to an incline conveyor belt. Let your child turn the crank and watch as the pail makes its way up to the top where a seemingly smiling goat awaits!

Kids will also enjoy up-close encounters with piglets that love getting their backs scratched as well as a couple of cute calves. A nearby enclosure will have your little guys squealing with delight when they get to engage with baby ducks, chicks and adorable bunnies who are so friendly they’ll lick your fingers after you rub their little heads.

Head over to the main activity area ($4 children ages 3 and older, $1 for parents) where you can make your way through the corn maze — do it together as a family with small tikes, or if you have older kids, split up and have fun seeing who makes it through the exit first! There’s a giant hay mountain that’s fun for climbing, and youngsters can take a ride on the old-fashioned teeter-totter. Zip down a 40-foot slide and stroll through the “Creepy Corner,” a dark, winding experience inside a barn complete with glow-in-the-dark effects and a handful of haunted house-style props that aren’t too scary for little ones.

For $2 per person, you can embark on a pumpkin train ride with your tots around the corn maze area, and you’ll definitely want to hop aboard the full-size hay ride ($3 ages 3 and older). A farm tractor slowly pulls two large wagons on an approximate 15-minute jaunt around property’s fields. The excursion also doubles as a scavenger hunt of sorts for kids. Young children, in particular, have fun keeping their eyes peeled for items on the list, including a giant candy corn, a spider in its web, tractor-riding skeletons and even Bigfoot!

Hungry? Walden Farm serves up a delectable offering of yummy, down-home eats! We opted for the succulent pulled pork barbecue plate for $7 that comes with two sides (choose from beans and cornbread, potato salad or slaw). You’ll also find other food fare like burgers and hot dogs. For those of you with a sweet tooth, the chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick does not disappoint, and if the taste of pumpkin pleases your palate, a slab of the farm’s homemade pumpkin fudge is a must! A lot of other homemade goodies are available as well to enjoy while at the farm or to take home. The white chocolate/cranberry/blueberry cookies are amazing!

Venture into the Ole Country Store where you can pick up all sorts of goods like seasonal decor, including wreaths and friendly scarecrows on sticks for your yard. There’s also a wide assortment of homemade jams and jellies, fresh honey and other tasty items to take home and share around your family’s table.

Before you leave, make your way to the pumpkin patch outside of the store where you can pick the perfect option for your Halloween jack-o-lantern. You’ll find pumpkins in all shapes and sizes along with seasonal gourds, bales of straw and Indian corn.

Walden Farm is located at 8653 Rocky Fork Road, Smyrna. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 3 – 6:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Sunday 12 – 4 p.m. Call 220-2918 or visit waldenfarm.biz.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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