By Guest Blogger Sandy Harper

Do you and your children like feeding farm animals, learning how food grows, riding in a tractor drawn wagon and playing at unique playgrounds? Then Patterson Farm Market and Tours is your next destination! Patterson Farm is less than an hour from the Triad, making it a fun and educational (don’t tell the kids) day trip.

If you want to experience a tour of the farm with all the activities that entails, check out their many seasonal options on their website. If you are not up for a tour, you can schedule a day to see the animals at the barn and play at Paw Paw Carl’s Playground. This playground was a huge hit with our kids making it a great option if you live close. Prices vary depending on what you want to experience. The Market is open for shopping without making an appointment.

When you sign up for a tour, you meet at the Welcome Group Check In window that is to the right of the market entrance. The sweet staff will take a picture of you and your group before starting. I love that detail! In my opinion, those are the little details that will set a place apart from others.

patterson farm

Your tour starts at the theater in the big barn. If your tour is on a Monday or Tuesday you will be entertained with an adorable puppet show. The show we saw was about how strawberries grow and protecting them until they are bright red and ready for picking. On Wednesday through Friday, the Strawberry Patch Theater shows “How Strawberries Grow” DVD on a large screen.

My personal favorite part of the tour was next, feeding the animals! When you walk out of the theater you are handed a little cup of animal feed and instructed to feed the animals by placing the food in the white tubes. Some kids gave their whole lump of food to one animal, while others carefully spread it out to all the animals. Spring is a magical time to go to the farm because there are so many babies! All the baby goats (some just days old) were adorable. One momma goat was still very much pregnant. I think all of us moms could relate to how she felt as she waddled around, with possible twins. As you walk around the barn area, you will come across many animals from bunnies to peacocks. We actually got to witness the male peacock showing off for the female.

Once we had given out all of our food, we headed to the craft station. First, we were instructed to wash our hands well. You will find throughout the farm many handwashing stations and hand sanitizer. Craft time was a hit with the kids; they got to make a large strawberry. Before they started, they learned about strawberry seeds and how they grow. Plus, reminders to only pick the red strawberries. The staff was kind and helpful with the kids as they made their craft.

The tractor pulled wagon ride was next! Our driver was fun and knowledgeable. We saw all aspects of this working farm, even getting to see them planting the corn that will grow for the corn maze attraction this fall. If you have never been on a ride like this, please keep in mind it is bumpy. It was tough to take good pictures during the ride.

The tour ended at the strawberry patch that was ready for picking. Everyone was given a pint size container to put their strawberries. You can pick more for an extra cost. Watching the kids search for the juicy red fruit was sweet. They did a great job leaving the unripe ones alone. Once, we had picked all we could, we were free to roam the farm on our own.

There is a large covered picnic area with tons of tables in the middle of all the attractions. You are allowed to bring your own picnic lunch or you can buy food and drinks from their Snack Silo. The kids barely got any food down before they were off to Paw Paw Carl’s Playground. You can’t blame them because there is so much to play with and on. It was nice that it is right beside the picnic shelter. Parents can still sit and eat while watching the kids play.

The playground had potato sack slide rides, make believe horses to sit on, sand pit, games, large tube swing, saddle swings, a pirate ship and so much more. You will find the hardest part of the day is pulling the kids away from the fun to leave. If it helps with motivation, they do sell ice cream!

I must mention that for a farm, it was extremely clean! Like I mentioned before there are plenty of opportunities to clean your hands. There is a nice bathroom building by the playground. Beside it was a baby station building. I thought it was a lovely touch that they considered nursing moms and diaper changing moments. You will also find Port-a-johns by the Market. Again, they were clean and there was a hand washing station next to them.

Patterson Farm offers different types of tours throughout the year. In the fall, it is a pumpkin and corn maze tours. In the summer, there are tours about the animals. Plus, you can gem mine, geocache and bee tour. This farm is all about educating our youth and us!

Just a helpful tip and reminder that the farm is in a rural area so don’t roll in there with an empty tank like I did. Make sure to fill up before making the trek.

I honestly could go on about how amazing Patterson Farms is in all aspects but you have to experience it to truly understand. Just the fact that the staff was friendly, knowledgeable, kind to the kids was a huge win for me. Book a tour today by either calling or filling out your request on their website. Happy farm tours!

*Photo Credit: Karina Kaper

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