Monday, November 17, 2008

Down on the Farm

Friday we went on/in an Odyssey to see Endeavor launch. Traffic was pretty bad, but we managed to tumble out of our car at our goal viewing location with 20 seconds to spare. The last night launch of the shuttle program lit up the sky and we watched in awe. Even the kids liked it. Then we went to a friends house and changed the kids into pajamas and drove 3 hours back home.

I give this preamble so you'll cut me some slack for sleeping until 9 the next morning.

Not sure whether is was my screaming fit the previous Saturday or the Berenstain Bears book, but the kids got up, dressed and then cleaned their rooms and the playroom before I dragged myself out of bed. It's not often I'm speechless. So I gave them five chore tickets each and took them to Conner's A-maizing Acres.

Unfortunately it was a bit chilly and rainy, but we had a good time. It's located near Callahan, FL (definitely get directions from the website), which has a decent selection of fast food- McD's, Wendy's, Burger King, Subway and couple others. You can't take outside food on the farm as it's a risk to the animals, but you can bring it and eat in the parking lot. They also sell burgers and stuff at their booths, and it's pretty reasonably priced. The website has a full menu. October is a very popular time for their "pumpkin patch," which just a bunch of pumpkins shipped in from New Mexico and sold on consignment. Apparently Florida's humidity is not condusive to growing squashes.

Admission was a bit steep- $13 per person aged 2-64, but because it was rainy and we are military with dad overseas, the lady at the ticket booth gave us one free. They take credit/debit, but charge a convenience fee, so bring enough cash. You also have to sign a basic liability waiver. This was the last weekend they were open to the public for the season. You can go on weekdays and extra weekends, but only with pre-arranged groups, and they do birthday parties, too. Every Sunday they are closed. They also play "Praise the Lord" music, but not at an annoying volume. Restrooms were half a dozen very clean port-a-potties with handwashing stations.

The kids ran around in the drizzle until it started raining in earnest. They have a couple big slides, but they are pretty strict about who's allowed to go down- only kids 4 and older, no pairs, 2 kids on the platform at a time, and there's a staff member supervising.

There was also a stockade playground for kids 4 and under. Don't count on it to contain them- Miriam barely had to duck to slip out. It had lots of little pedal tractors.

For the big kids, there is a track with big pedal carts. You can go around twice before you have to get back in line. Patrick and Sam were barely big enough to ride, and Natalie of course threw a fit that she couldn't, but when we moved on to the water-pump rubber duck race tracks, she forgot all about it.

The part I think they liked most was the cow train. They let Miriam ride in Patrick's lap. Sam was in the "Ca-moose."
Of course we were all set to go on the hayride when it started raining for real. A bunch of people with more rain gear than us opted to go anyway, but I decided to hide out in the shelter for a while in hopes it would let up. Miriam was thrilled to see and touch some real bunnies, and they all played in a giant bucket of corn.
Finally we had to accept that the rain was going to be permanent condition, so we dashed to the car and went home for some much needed baths. We missed the giant corn maze and the other barn full of animals (plus the hayride), and I would have liked to get some of their hydroponically grown veggies (did take notes on how they grow some of their stuff), but for a nearly whole-day trip (lot of driving), it was worth it for this mom. And they deserved a treat.

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