Yesterday my family (minus Handsome Hippie Hubby, who got called in to work. Thanks for working for us, Good Looking!) got to spend the day at Farmer Charley’s Corn Maze Adventures in Monroe, MI.
I’m not exaggerating when I say it was as near-perfect a “fun fall day” as a family can hope for!
Farmer Charley’s doesn’t open until 5pm on Thursdays so we headed out with the plan to get there around 5:15, chose to take the back roads to avoid traffic and soon got lost on the construction filled streets of Monroe. Well… win some, lose some. Next time we go we will follow the easy, simple, clear directions from the expressway that they provide on their website.
Around 6:00 we came around the curve on a tiny dirt road and saw what appeared to be a small version of the county fair. There were colorful tents with lights and little concession stands and a barrel train. The little Hippies couldn’t get out of the car fast enough!
Admission to the farm is $10.95 for people ages 4 and up. This may seem like a lot to “visit a farm” but I assure you it is worth every penny! Still, you can get some big discounts by visiting the Farmer Charley’s website or thru US Family Guide.
Sweet Hippie Daughter had been looking forward to “the rolling tubes” ever since she’d seen a picture of them so that’s what we did first. She had a blast being a goof-ball, rolling around inside them. Toddler-saurus Rex liked them, too: though he was more interested in pushing them around than being inside. Poor Bunny got steam-rolled.
Once everyone had been through the spin cycle they needed to be bounced up and down so they kicked off their shoes and headed to the Corn Popper.
I have never seen anything like it! It was a giant bouncey bubble, long enough for kids to hold races on top of (and they were), growing out of a massive rectangle of soft sand.
It looked so fun! I was a little jealous I didn’t get to jump. I wonder if Farmer Charley ever sneaks out there at night to play on the corn popper? I would if I were him.
The kids wanted to ride the barrel train, of course.
Usually these are fairly lame… just a little lawn tractor pulling a few wagons… which is what this one was, too except he drove fast enough, and turned sharply enough that the little ones were laughing and shrieking with joy and I heard more than one child ask, “can we go again?!” Since the train is included in the price of admission, most parents seemed content to relax at a nearby picnic table while the kids rode 2 or 3 times.
Sweet Hippie Daughter wanted a 2nd turn so while she did that Toddler-saurus Rex and I went over to explore the Little Farmer’s Playland for toddlers.
There were so many choices between the ride-on toys, bikes, sand scoopers, toddler-size slide and giant sand box that he could hardly decide which way to turn.
When big sister was done and it was time to move on he had to be coerced with the promise of popcorn.
There was a little food stand with hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and all the other delightfully unhealthy treats that make outings like this one extra fun. Everything was between $2-5 including the giant bag of fabulous fresh-made Kettle corn that we ate for the whole rest of the night and half of today and still haven’t finished!
While we waited for our food we watched the pig races. Yes, pig races. Who knew?
Toddler-saurus Rex was VERY enthusiastic about cheering for the pigs!
By then it was twilight so we grabbed a couple of flashlights (they rent them there for $2 each plus a refundable deposit or you can bring your own) and headed into the corn maze.
Actually, there are three corn mazes ranging from a fairly short, simple one that is perfect for younger kids to quite complex.
We did the easiest one first. It was so cute! As you walked you looked for signs. Each sign was one page of a sweet story about a little square pumpkin.
The paths were nice and wide and clear enough that you could easily take a wagon, stroller or wheelchair through the maze.
Once we navigated our way through, with Sweet Hippie Daughter reading to us as we went and Toddler-saurus Rex mostly focused on the kettle corn, we spent a little time playing tether ball, learning how to rope a steer and warming up by the fire.
It was about then that T-Rex found the baby cow.
This kid’s bizarre connection to farm animals is well documented so it came as no surprise when he squatted down in front of the fence and got licked, chin to forehead, by a baby cow. He jumped up and shrieked in his very happiest baby-boy voice, “HE KISSES ME!”
You haven’t lived until you’ve kissed a cow on the lips.
He bent down for a second giant, sloppy cow kiss and the cow happily obliged. (I’m sure the food all over his face had nothingto do with it.)
I tried to snap a pic but they were just too fast for me. This is the best I could get. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him to do it a third time. I’m all for building up the immune system, but even I have limits.
SHD took a turn shooting the pumpkin cannons.
When I heard about these, I was expecting glorified potato guns but… no… they are actual cannons.
I learned that you can’t blow up pumpkins without laughing. As queen, I declare, from this day forth, all ammunition, everywhere in the world should be made of fruits and vegetables! Preferably ones that make a satisfying splat when they hit their intended target.
Feeling brave after all the combat training, we headed back to the corn to try the mid-level maze.
A few turns in, I realized there was someone in a tower, watching over everyone and this was a great comfort to me as it was now full dark and I really didn’t want to be lost in a corn field with a crying toddler at midnight.
About halfway through – right around the time the kiddos started to lose steam – a Farmer Charley’s employee materialized out of nowhere and started “hanging out” with us. He was very friendly and kind to the kids. He let Sweet Hippie Daughter continue to lead but gave her a few helpful pointers that I’m quite certain cut our time in the maze substantially which was, at that point, a good thing.
Full of cider and popcorn and fresh air, we said our goodbyes to the farm and loaded up the car and there was a definite sound of snoring from the back seat within minutes.
That’s when I was certain the day had been a great success!