Yesterday, the kids and I visited Horsefest at Lake Farmpark.  We had never been to this event before, but from the looks of the schedule, they were expecting a big turnout.  The weather was perfect.  We were sure to pack our hats, sunscreen, and water.


Nick and Sally were excited to see the horses hitched up to the wagon.


The wagon ride is usually one of the highlights of a visit to Lake Farmpark, but usually it’s powered by a tractor instead of horses.  We rode over to the arena area.


We were greeted by this church group who were stamping names into horseshoes as souvenirs.  The kids liked watching them work.


We watched the horses inside the arena for a bit.  There was a color guard (on horses)  and the national anthem for Canada was played.  After that, a girl sung the US anthem.  Nick heard it on a commercial today and remember the Star Spangled Banner from yesterday.  Now he wants to learn it pronto.  I see some patriotic music in my future when we drive to Maryland next month.

After we walked around the arena, we headed back outside where Nick got to try his hand at leading a horse.  This is the type of set up that you’d see for plowing a field.  I can’t remember the breed of house, but he was a beauty.


Nick had help, they didn’t let him lead the horse on his own.  But, they showed him how to get Fred to move by making a kissing noise.  It was so cute.


Sally’s turn was up next.  I was surprised that she wasn’t afraid.  She just went right up to the horse.


By the time she circled around, her hat had fallen down and she couldn’t see a thing.  I was sure to readjust the hat as soon as she was done.


As we wondered around, we saw all kinds of horses and carts.


In addition to the arena activities, there were food trailers, vendors, and displays, including a children’s activity tent.


On our way out, Nick and Sally were happy to see that the courtyard train was running.


We left before music in the courtyard and some of the other activities started.  As we exited, there were quite a few people in the lobby coming in.  The admissions staff was well prepared and staffed for a busy day.


We barely touched the surface of things to see at the Horsefest.  But, the kids and I have a short attention span and our visit was just right.  We had arrived about 9:30am and left around 11am to head to our next stop.


Our friends are still visiting from Italy.  We’re so glad they were able to come for 5 weeks this year.  On Wednesday, they met us at Lake Farmpark.

Nick and Sally hung out at the solar tracker while we waited for everyone to gather.  The first stop was a wagon ride.


We rode down to see the animals.  There were still some babies.  But many of them are already growing up.


It was fun to see the girls getting along. Jeanne posed for a photo with the little one.  For the first time, I visited the stables.  I’m not sure why I didn’t realize they were there sooner.  We watched this horse get a bath.  He wasn’t thrilled.


Outside we stopped to look at more animals before heading up to the main building.  We were a few minutes early for the cow milking, so we stopped in the playroom.


The old kids climbed up the bleachers and waited for the milking.  Nick tried it, but the other two weren’t interested.


Little kids that walk together holding hands always makes me smile.  Regardless of exhibits, Nick and Sally are most happy with dirt.


The little one has the most beautiful eyes.


It was fun to spend the day with our friends.  We ended our outing with dinner at Red Robin.  All in all, it was a successful day.


Last night, we went to the Country Lights at Farmpark.  It was such a great experience!  This post is rather picture heavy.  I had a hard time choosing photos.  We are members of Farmpark, so our tickets were really reasonable.  I think the 4 of us got in for $14.00.  Tickets go on sale in October each year.  We actually bought our tickets several weeks ago.  I think every night sells out each year.  It runs for about 3 weeks.

We were greeted by a snowman family and a swan family.  We arrived just as it was getting dark.


We stopped for a visit with Santa.  We haven’t figured out exactly what to tell Nick and Sally about Santa.  So far, they know he’s a character and there are stories about him.  They don’t know to ask him for stuff and we are fine with that.


There was a train exhibit in the classroom.  Nick was particularly fond of it.  He even asked a couple of questions.


We had a 6PM time for the wagon ride.  It turns out that we could ride the wagon at anytime.  Next year, we’ll know to wait in the workshop line first, then move on to other activities.  I don’t have outside photos of the ride since it was dark and the wagon had plastic coverings for wind.  The horse drawn ride took us around the park and there were tons of light displays that were based on nursery rhymes.  It was very well done.  There was a show in the equine center.  We skipped it due to time.  Nick and Sally aren’t usually up past 7:30PM.

The elves spend all summer cutting wood for the toys.  There are 50 to choose from.  Each child gets to build one.


Nick picked out the helicopter.  Elf Leigh helped him build it.


Elf Jim helped Sally with her bus.


Then, we moved to the paint station.  Nick was concentrated hard.  Do you notice the nice new “photo ready” shirt.  We realized they had smock shirts right after he got paint on his shirt.  Stephen washed it out in the bathroom when we were done.


Sally picked blue for her bus.  She loved painting!


The glitter station was last.


After the glitter, we laid the projects out to dry.  Everything was so nicely decorated and organized.


Next up was snack time.  The classroom had pretzels, cookies, hot dogs and other light items.


We stopped for a few photos and then headed back to the workshop to collect the mostly dried toys.


I waited with Sally and Nick while Stephen waited in line to have the toys wrapped in newspaper.


Everyone was beat and we escaped without any too tired tantrums.  The car ride home was full of tired happy tears.  We can’t wait for next year!


After visiting the Lake Farmpark with our out of town relatives early last week, the kids and I decided to return on Thursday to spend more time at the Frozen Factory of Fun.  We called it the ice cream exhibit.  When we get close to the park, Nick always recognizes the silo.


Nick and Sally wanted their photo taken by this ice cream truck.  Sally enjoyed the dairy farm model.


There was a wall to measure your height in ice cream flavors.  Maybe we should call Sally “Cheesecake”.


She’s too young to drive, but she had fun pretending.  She must have taken the corner too fast as all of the ice cream scattered in the truck.


They enjoyed seeing the other stations of the factory.


I liked the sample freezer jacket.  Although my goal was just to see the ice cream exhibit, Nick talked me into a wagon ride to the tomato building (and back).  Conveniently, we got back just in time to make real ice cream before heading home.


Nick and Sally both too good naps that day, so I know they had a good time.


On Monday, we decided to go to Lake Farmpark.  We are members there courtesy of a gift membership that we received.  We sometimes forget about it.  Monday had perfect weather and we had a great time.

Once we arrived and checked in, we felt like we had the place to ourselves.  We arrived just after 9AM and there were just a couple of cars in the parking lot.  We quickly realized that there was an ice cream exhibit.  It was basically a play room with stations about the ice cream making process.  There was a mock freezer, a wooden ice cream truck (big enough for kids to sit in and load/unload), flavor station, mixing station etc.  There was even a model of a dairy farm.  It was great and the kids could have stayed there and played all day.  Lucky for us, the exhibit is there through September 5th so we can go back and see it again.


Nick got to take his first pony ride.  It was $4, but we were on “staycation” and thought it was worth the splurge.  Thanks, Uncle Nate!  Sally got on the pony and wasn’t so sure about it. She didn’t take a ride.


We took a trip up to the plant science building on the wagon.  Any time a tractor is involved, everyone has a great time.  Nick was fascinated by a garden train.  It was the first time we noticed it.  It was outside the café and dairy building in the courtyard area.


I think the highlight for our niece and her mom Jen was milking the cow.  Sally and Nick tried it too.  The milk from the cows goes to a local creamery for cheese.


We had also never been to The Grain Place.  Since I am thinking about getting a grinder, I was especially interested in the process.  Since our group of 7 was the whole audience, we had a choice between the grain talk or The Big Red Hen story.  We chose the story since we had three kids with us.


It was lots of fun and everyone got to take turns adding parts to the story board.  Bethany did a great job with the story and the kids.  Here’s our niece trying her hand at grinding wheat.  We also stopped a the cheese making demo.  Here’s Sally pressing the cheese with Nick watching patiently.


Nick enjoyed time with his cousin, aunt and uncle.  We really like the Tomato Works building.  I enjoyed this giant garden tool.


Everyone enjoyed the animals and the weather.  We finished up our morning with a packed lunch at the pavilion near where we parked.  Except for a hole in my shorts from a nail in the picnic table, we enjoyed a great lunch before heading home.