Ever since all of our company went home and Daniel returned to work, I have been making an effort to get out of the house with my boys. I have done this as a way to try to return to our normal daily routine for Jack, and so that I won't go completely stir crazy. While it isn't the easiest thing in the world to go places with two kids, it is much easier than I anticipated.
Earlier this week while checking Facebook, I saw that a friend was signed up to go to the Hidden Hills Farm Cow Milking Play Day and I thought it looked like fun. I asked her if it was open to the public and then I tentatively decided to take Jack and Isaac.
Friday morning we slept in until 9:40am (I am so glad I have good sleepers), but we needed to leave the house by 10am. Somehow I managed to get both boys up, dressed, fed and in the car by 10:10am. Miraculously, I even fed our dog and managed to make myself a cup of coffee to go.
And so we made our way to Ooltewah to the Hidden Hills Farm and Saddle Club to see what kind of fun we might have.
There was quite a crowd at this event and we got there about 15 minutes late and had to park in the furthest parking area. Jack was a trooper and walked all the way to the main area of the farm without complaining. I opted to carry Isaac in my Ergo carrier. I also decided to leave everything else in the car (even though it was a walk). I didn't want to be hauling a diaper bag with me and I knew that, worst case scenario, we would just walk back to the car. Overall this was a good decision.
When we first got to the farm I felt a bit overwhelmed. Thankfully it was a small enough area that we found our friends right away. There were lines everywhere and Jack didn't seem very interested in any of the animals. We did check out a calf, but skipped the line to milk the cow... Jack was more interested in digging in the sandbox and playing on the Little Tykes play equipment than participating in farm-related activities.
I let him play and tried not to be annoyed with the lines. After an hour, I sat down under a tree to nurse Isaac and my friend convinced Jack to go feed chickens. The chickens were his gateway to the rest of the farm animals – though I think he was the most interested in just pouring chicken feed from one container to another.
After the chickens, we went back to the sand box and then I noticed that the line to sit on a cow had dwindled to a few people, so I hurried Jack over to the stable to meet the cow. Easter weekend we had attempted to get him to sit on a cow and he refused so I wasn't sure how this would play out. This time he was stoked and got on the cow without batting an eye.
Once the cow sitting was over, Jack said he wanted to ride a horse (especially if he could wear a helmet). So I stood in line while he played. The line was much shorter, but still a good 20 minutes long. While I waited, I noticed that Jack had found some playmates and they were "playing farm." At one point Jack was running across a big grassy area and shouting that he was riding a horse.
The horse that he finally got to ride was named Grand (for Grand Old Lady). She was 30 years old! All of the horses seemed very gentle – they had 4 horses and 1 pony giving kids rides. Jack rode a pony last summer and was terrified. This time he sat on a grown horse and seemed very comfortable.
Overall, we had a great experience but in the future I would consider showing up an hour later to when the crowds have dwindled. The farm has monthly play days and I hope to take the boys back. Next month they are having a "Water" day at the farm and in two months they will have a "Blackberry Picking" day.
The cost is $10 for your first kid and $5 for subsequent children and babies are free. The Ergo carrier worked great for me, but at the end Isaac was getting hot and fussy. I would consider taking my BOB stroller next time, just so I could carry my diaper bag and snacks. However, at 2 hours long this event is doable without the stroller.
A lot of families brought picnic lunches. We left ours in the car, and opted to picnic in the shade next to where we parked. Overall I would give this experience a thumbs up.
This was Isaac's first trip to a farm. I'm sure he will enjoy future trips more, but I would count this trip as a success!