Blackberry Farm – a Mother’s Paradise

My mother came up for the Fourth of July week, and we went to Blackberry Farm in Aurora.  I had always heard of the park, but I had no idea what to expect.  We were shocked and amazed at all the activities available for families with young children.  Blackberry Farm is shaded and full of wide open areas – we never felt crowded or that we had to stand in line.  What amazed us most was that the activities described below all were part of admission to the park!

Petting Zoo

Our first stop was the Petting Zoo which may have given Blackberry Farm its name.  There were cows and goats and pigs outside to be viewed.  Bugaboo was very excited to see the goat, which she called a dog.  But she correctly “moo’d” when she saw the cow.  There were also baby chicks hatching in little hutches by the outskirts.  If it had been about four months later, I’m sure we would have spent a lot of time here with Bugaboo looking at the animals (and wanting to touch them).

Play Areas

There was a play area for little toddlers right next to the petting zoo.  Since Bugaboo wasn’t walking, we stayed just long enough to see what it was about.  They had several self propelled vehicles for the young ones to push around.  They also had interactive exhibits for children to play in.  It was a nice, isolated garden to keep the little ones safe from the older, rowdier kids.

I was most impressed with the play area for children 5 and up.  It had slides and a zip line, ropes to climb, the works.  It looked like something that would want to play in.  It’s just too bad that it will be five years before Bugaboo can play there.

Train Ride

We went into the train depot to look around and were surprised to find that riding the train was included in park admission.  The depot itself is set up to look like a historical train depot.  Dozens of strollers are parked safely outside the depot.  You wander through the waiting room to a storage room, where you can stamp a souvenir ticket.  Waiting for the train was one of the few times that day we found ourselves in the sun.  But once we were on the train, it was worth it!  We sat in the breeze and meandered around the park.  Bugaboo loved looking at the chains that kept us safely in the train car.  In our family we love trains, so this was the highlight of the day.  Further, I know many young toddlers are obsessed with trains for various reasons, and this alone makes the trip to Blackberry Farm worth it.

Other Attractions

Blackberry Farm also offers pony rides, paddle boats, a hay wagon ride, and a carousel!  We didn’t participate in any of these rides due to Bugaboo’s age, but they are all included in the cost of admission.  If we had gone on these rides, our morning at Blackberry Farm would easily have turned into a day at Blackberry Farm – especially if Bugaboo had been an energetic toddler wanting to ride each ride over and over again.

Historical Settings

I had thought Blackberry Farms was set up to be an old-timey town, like a smaller version of Greenfield Village in Detroit.  In fact, the historical nature of the park was secondary to the rides and attractions.  With that said, there were some nice historical buildings to see.  Right inside the park is a large historical building with some exhibits about life in the 1800’s.  Further on, you can take a hay wagon or walk out to an old time cabin.  I had just finished reading Little House in the Big Woods, so the cabin was interesting to look at.  There’s another, larger house of an abolitionist family who settled in the 1840’s.  On our way out we watched a potter at work making objects out of clay.  Of course, what historical town would be complete with out a blacksmith?  The shop was not operating the day we were there.

Affordable Snacks

We rounded the corner and passed a snack kiosk.  I was surprised at the affordability and relative healthfulness of the snacks offered.  Blackberry Farm knows its audience!  It offered a fruit cup for $1.40 and juice boxes for $1.50, PB&J for $1.50, as well as typical amusement park foods.  The food was very affordable as well – for instance a hot dog cost $2.75.  I compare that to a baseball stadium where a hot dog would be two or three times that.

In addition, you are allowed to bring food in the park, so it’s a great place to pack a picnic.

Children’s Activities

The Blackberry Farm has extra events throughout the summer for children and adults.  These include summer camps, arts, crafts, animal classes, and historical activities.

Cost

The entrance fee for Blackberry Farm is $6 for Aurora residents and $9 for non-residents.  Children 2 and under are free.  Special pricing applies for various events.  The park operates May through September and on weekends in October.

Season passes are available for $30 for residents and $40 for non residents.  Doing the math, it takes 5 visits, or one visit per month, to make your season pass worthwhile.

There are also six  free days each year; however, these days are understandably crowded, so arrive early to make the most of your time.

 

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1 Comment

  • Lisa August 15, 2018 at 9:07 pm Reply

    What a fun day! If I lived closer to Chicago, I’d definitely plan a visit. Thanks for all of the helpful information.

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