Family Trip to the Fun Farm Pumpkin Patch in Kearney, MO
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Family Trip to the Fun Farm Pumpkin Patch in Kearney, MO

Letting loose & having fun in Kearney, MO
My friends call it OCD. I call it MVP. This mom loves cleanliness and calm, almost to a fault. It wouldn’t be so bad if kids didn’t equal chaos. But they do. To help me tackle my fear of dirt and disorder, my husband suggested we visit a farm. Fortunately, Scott picked the Fun Farm Pumpkin Patch. It came very highly recommended. One of the online reviews was from a parent whose daughter said she wished she could skip summer, previously her favorite season, to go straight to fall because that meant a visit to the farm. So, on perhaps the most memorable October day in my history (and I’ve seen a lot of Halloweens), we left Kansas City for a pumpkin farm in Kearney.

Cannonballing into a corn pit


First, we got our tickets at the red welcome barn with white letters spelling out, “Your adventure starts here.” After looking at the map of the property—it was small enough that we didn’t feel overwhelmed but big enough to not feel crowded—the boys decided the corn pit was calling their names the loudest. I didn’t know what a corn pit was other than it was definitely the source of the shouts of joy coming from the green and white canopy tent in the distance.

“Cannonball!” seven-year-old Max announced before jumping off of a hay bale into a yellow kernel sea.

I squeezed my eyes shut—his jump was sure to send corn flying everywhere—but I still snuck a peek. Within seconds, four-year-old Skye was covering his brother with corn. I cringed.

Scott saw my reaction and asked, “How many kids can say they’ve been buried in corn?”

He had a point. Our sons would probably treasure this experience. And, honestly, anything is better than jumping into one of those never-been-cleaned ball pits at fast-food restaurant playgrounds. The corn, which was contained in a huge rectangle of hay bales and under a big tent, was refreshingly cool and dry. I only know this because somehow, the boys convinced me to jump in.

“How many adults can say they’ve been buried in corn?” I asked Scott with a smirk as he observed my uncharacteristically bold move in disbelief.

Encountering the critters


I made sure our first stop after the corn pit was the bathroom to wash our hands. What I didn’t expect, however, was that the bathrooms would be a destination in themselves. They were housed in grain silos, and the signs outside read “Guys” and “Gals.” Inside, the faucets were metal watering cans. Every detail looked like something straight off of a cute farm-themed bathrooms Pinterest board. Scott actually had to hurry the boys up because they were having so much fun washing their hands in the troughs that served as sinks.

Since visiting a farm without seeing the animals is sacrilegious, our next order of business was to get acquainted with what Skye calls the “ee-i-ee-i-oes”. Free-range chickens—some with feathered feet that made it look like they were wearing bellbottoms—strutted around the property at their leisure. The rest of the animals, including miniature ponies and pigs whose adorable offspring competed in the farm’s famous piglet races, lived in neat enclosures. My favorite was the vintage truck turned into a mobile chicken coop. The boys thought the goats’ elevated playground was the coolest.

“Can we play on it?” Max begged.

Scott shook his head and assured him that there were even better playgrounds for the kids at the farm. But what we could do, and what we did do—despite my fear of getting nipped—was feed the goats. Between watching them playfully battle for our attention (and food) to hearing them heckle each other with high-pitched bleats, it was the most entertaining few dollars we’ve ever spent.

But, hands down, my favorite critter was Ginger, the most precious miniature pony. If I were ever to step in a pile of horse poop, I’d want it to be hers.

Experiencing everything


The rest of the afternoon was a wonderful blur of checking out everything else the Fun Farm has to offer. The kids explored the bee observatory and tree house playground (complete with tube slides and two-story kid-sized birdhouses). They went around and around on the carousel and up and down on the giant jumping pillows. They danced to live music and laughed during story time. They also raced each other on John Deere tractor tricycles before working together to escape the intricate corn maze.

But that’s not to say they had all the fun. Scott and I competed in a neck-and-neck rubber duck race, which was powered by vintage water pumps. We also practiced our aim for blasting apples at targets—another activity at the Fun Farm—by tossing kettle corn into each other’s mouths. At home, I chastise the boys for eating with their hands. But, at the farm, I was eating with no hands!

Eventually, we found ourselves in line for the hayride out to the pumpkin patch. We couldn’t go home empty-handed. While there were hundreds, if not thousands, of pumpkins for sale by the farm’s main entrance, we wanted to get ours straight off the vine. It reminded me of when I was a kid and my family would go into the forest to hunt for a Christmas tree. Fortunately, we didn’t have to haul our “haul” out by sled. The farm provided plenty of wheelbarrows for transporting our pumpkins and—as expected—a pleasantly exhausted four-year-old out to the parking lot.

Life’s little reminders


Don’t get me wrong. Our trip to the Fun Farm Pumpkin Patch wasn’t perfect. We did experience a minor tantrum when it was time to leave the tree house playground. We also may or may not have come home with a couple of grass stains and more pumpkin than we could eat in a lifetime of Thanksgivings. But, as I’m learning, it’s life’s messes and madness that make it memorable. I just have to remind my inner neat freak of that every time I find another corn kernel in my otherwise immaculate SUV.

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