When the sun shines warm rays in October in Edmonton, you go outside. Immediately. Because it could be the last time you get to enjoy a glorious weather day outside for months. This Thanksgiving Monday my family and I did just that and headed to Prairie Gardens Adventure Farm for a day of fall bliss at their Haunted Pumpkin Festival which runs every weekend in October. Below is my personal review, to help you and your family in the rest of your fall activity planning. Enjoy!
Prairie Gardens is a short 20 minute drive down highway 28 for those of us who live on the north end of the city or in St Albert.
Take the first left after the town of Bon Accord and follow the signs. On a busy day you will need to park in a field and take a yellow school bus shuttle to the farm’s entrance. This seems like a hassle at first but the kids love it as for many it is one of their first experiences on a big bus and it seems to heighten the excitement of getting to a great destination. There is also a truck with horse trailer that will follow behind the bus with your stroller. The busses run every 10 minutes or so and there is a corn maze and pumpkin patch to entertain you while you wait. Tip- we arrived just before 11am and that was a perfect way to avoid the mid afternoon mayhem.
Once you are inside the farm, the fun really begins! Make sure to check the information that you were given when you paid for your tickets (we just shoved it in the backpack, big mistake) because there is a detailed map and some coupons. You might want to get some tokens as well as most of the food concessions and some of the activities can only be purchased with them.
I can’t go through everything that there is to enjoy at Prairie Gardens or we would be here until it starts snowing because they have 50 activities!
Here were some of our favourite activities to do with a 2 and 3 year old:
- The Petting Zoo- friendly goats, sheep & bunnies!
- Musical Instruments in the Scarecrow Pavilion- a great selection of drums, tambourines & other noisy things
- Paint a Pumpkin craft- you did have to pay extra for this one but you get to select the small pumpkin and take it home with you
- Kids Playground & Tykes Slides- basically just a hill with white plastic on it to make gentle sloping slides, they loved it. Beware of the blue and silver metal slide that is just to the left of this though. It is seriously fast! We called it the slide of tears after watching 6 kids in a row, my son included, fly down.
- Watching the Pumpkin Cannon- not for kids who get upset by loud noises, otherwise it is a blast to countdown and watch those pumpkins fly and smash into a barn like pirate ship in the field.
- Live Music- we danced in the sun with a witch and clapped along to a wonderful folk band
They have pulled out all the stops in this area. Everywhere you look there is something to catch your eye in an array of yellow, red and orange- scarecrows & other straw characters, pumpkin displays, areas for photos, benches, tented areas with hanging lights and dried ears of corn and so much more.
You can bring your own food and there are multiple eating areas both in open air or under tents.
We decided to take our chances and buy lunch at the farm. This did not disappoint either! We had a fresh barbequed hot dog & these amazing mini garden potatoes tossed in garlic and dill. Friends of ours enjoyed the chilli and there were also hamburgers, smokies, Octoberwursts on a bun, pumpkin pie & ice cream.
The bathrooms are all port-a-potties but they have adequate hand washing stations. I didn’t notice a diaper changing area anywhere, but I suppose a hay bale would do in a pinch!
All in all it was a fabulous day that will become one of our family traditions for many years to come.
You have 2 more weekends to enjoy the Haunted Pumpkin Festival which includes all of the activities I have listed and much much more. Please visit http://www.prairiegardens.org/haunted-pumpkin-festival/ for all the details!