There are definitely some perks to growing up in a big city. Shopping malls, an abundance of cultural activities, a clean genetic pool... all pluses.
However, having spent the first 18 years of my life in a small town, I'm always looking for ways to weave my good ole country values into the lives of my children.
So far the best way I've found is to take the family for a weekend visit to my sister and brother-in-law's cattle farm. About three hours outside of St. Louis, it's conveniently located at the intersection of I Think We're Lost and What's That God Awful Smell.
However, as I'm sure many of you can attest, a three hour road trip with three little kids is no picnic. If I had a nickel for every time I left someone behind at a gas station... well, I would have five cents. Which is why I've spent most afternoons in my basement secretly working on bringing my dream of a human transporter to life.
Until I'm finished with the transporter, though, Purina Farms is a good, not-so-far alternative.
While we have always been big fans, there are a few key differences in Purina Farms and a 'Farm' Farm which you should be aware of before you go.
These differences are not immediately obvious to the city eye, but easily spotted by a country girl.
1. Unusual domesticated animals:
Purina Farms: Sparkling clean, litter box trained pigs fluent in three languages:
Farm Farm: Anatomically incorrect brother goats aptly named Frank and Beans. Frank and Beans are romantically involved, which has sparked heated controversy on the Farm Farm because Frank wants Beans covered under his health insurance
Purina Farms: Cows that love getting into the Halloween spirit with some family fun for all.
Farm Farm: Cows that are plotting to kill you 24/7 via stamping on your face with all their might
Purina Farms: Exciting choreographed performances demonstrating beautifully trained dogs' remarkable agility and athletic skill
Farm Farm: The farm dog, Goldie, once did a flip while falling down a flight of stairs. She's also been hit by four cars and one tractor. She currently responds only to the name “Mrs. Doubtfire”
4. Haunted Houses:
Purina Farms: Family-friendly haunted hayloft, fun for all ages.
Farm Farm: To this day my sister swears she saw a UFO once land in the woods behind her house. She also has a friend who looks like a werewolf minus a few teeth. Her name is Alyssa.
5.Random Fluffy Animals:
Purina Farms: Sweet, silky soft bunnies tame enough to have as pets:
Farm Farm: Once a year a pack of minks migrate through my sister's farm, completely laying waste to everything in their path
Now, don't get me wrong. I love me some country livin'. Fresh air, trees for miles, sketchy cell phone coverage, the nearest ER over an hour away, deafening silence except for what sounds like a deer or a mountain lion or a serial killer stepping on a twig in the woods... never mind. Forget the country. Never go there. Just take your family to Purina Farms and call it a day.
By Hannah Mayer, Events and Family Life Blogger for SmartParenting
Photos: Hannah Mayer
The Purina Farms Haunted Hayloft continues this weekend. Kids can go trick-or-treating, enjoy magic shows, face painting, storytelling, canine performances, participate in a costume contest and meet adoptable dogs.
Admission is free. Parking is $5 per car or $28 per bus. Save $1 on parking by texting PFARMS to 313131. Please call for reservations: 314-982-3232.
Friday and Saturday hours are 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. (Property closes at 9 p.m.). Sunday hours are 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. At Purina Farms Visitors Center, 200 Checkerboard Drive, Gray Summit, MO 63039. Click for a map and directions.
For more information: www.purina.com