This week I’m sharing with you a day trip we took this past Labor Day weekend. I’m gonna be real honest here . . . I grew up around Amish Country so it became this place my parents would drag me to as a begrudging middle-schooler and a place I opted out of when I was old enough to stay at home by myself. I wanted to live in the “big city” and I had very little appreciation for the simple life. (Cut me some slack, I was 13.)
Well, fast forward so many odd years (no one needs to know exactly how many) . . . I spent my single years in a big city (Yo Philly!) and when I moved back to Ohio, I had a new found appreciation for a simpler life, green grass and WIDE open spaces!
Why am I telling you this? I’m setting the stage to tell you that my expectations for The Farm at Walnut Creek were pretty low. I’m not sure what I expected – a few animals behind a picket fence, I guess – but what we discovered far exceeded my expectations and I came away totally impressed and having had a really fun day with my family!
I would wholeheartedly make plans for a day trip to Amish country if I were you! First of all, the grounds of the farm are beautiful . . . and huge! I was a bad blogger and didn’t photograph every square inch of the place (scratch that, I wasn’t a blogger then, so my family thanks you for the fact that I didn’t push us to heat exhaustion to get every picture!) Seriously, though, there are a lot of places on the property we didn’t make it to because 1. It was really hot that day and 2. There is just so much! There is a produce stand, a playground, house tours, and a gift barn that we didn’t see!
What did we do? We did participate in the main attraction which is a one-hour horse-drawn wagon ride to view many of the 500+ animals that live on the property. You can also choose to drive your own car around the 2.3 mile loop to view the animals. There are animals with large horns, so you do so at your own risk!
When you first arrive, you will need to pay at the drive up window or the person standing at the gate. They do not take credit or debit cards. You will drive further back into the property to park and then follow signs to the wagon ride. Make note that the restrooms are in the basement of the main farmhouse, which is close to the parking lot.
When we used the restrooms, that was the most we saw of the house, but there was an amazing store room of canned goods! Wow! I was in awe! A woman was working in the basement kitchen workspace, kneading bread. This is a fully functioning house and farm and every day they are working to maintain the daily activities of the household and farm.
Before getting on the wagon ride, there were plenty of animals to see, pet and feed around the farm. Feed is for sale at dispensers around the grounds.
We went to the farm on Labor Day so it was pretty busy. There was a wait for the wagon ride, but considering how many people were there, it wasn’t too bad! There are a lot of horses and wagons in operation. I believe between 10-15. As I mentioned, the day we went was pretty hot and they did have bottles of water for sale as we waited.
On the wagon ride, they provide buckets of pellets to feed the animals as you go. Some of the animals will come right up to the wagon to eat from your hand and the rest you can toss the food to on the ground. Some of the animals you will see include kangaroos, zebras, giraffes, elk, deer, pot-bellied pigs, llamas, camels, and many more.
The day we went, I posted a picture on Facebook and my cousin commented with a tip that I didn’t see in time – but she was absolutely right. You’re lucky because I am graciously going to pass this tip on to you: as you enter the wagon and are facing the back of the horse, sit on the left side of the wagon. There were more animals on that side, including the giraffes. (Now don’t go pushing anyone out of the way or anything. We sat on the right side and still had a great time!)
My youngest son was 14 months old when we went on the wagon ride. He did get a little restless. Of course this depends on the kid, but I would imagine kids over age 2 might be better suited for the wagon ride. When you enter the grounds, you can choose whether or not you want to pay for the wagon ride. (It’s an additional $3-5 depending on your age, but kids under 2 are free.) There is a lot to see and do even if you don’t do the wagon ride.
After the wagon ride, we walked through the grounds and gardens, which were beautiful.
After our our day at the farm, we had lunch at Der Dutchman in Walnut Creek, where again, there was a decent line to wait in to be seated, but my kids were entertained by the rocking chairs on the porch!
The Farm at Walnut Creek has a web page dedicated to area attractions so you can choose from a variety of ways to spend the rest of your day. The farm is about and hour and 45 minute drive from downtown Columbus. It could be done in a day or made into a nice weekend trip. I hope you find time to give this trip a try and enjoy the wide open spaces and beautiful scenery of Amish Country!
Know Before You Go:
The Farm at Walnut Creek
4147 County Road 114, Sugarcreek, OH 44681
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 8:30 AM – 1 hour before sunset.
Last wagon ride starts at 5:00 PM