If the lyrics in your tot’s favorite song include E-I-E-I-O, it’s time to take your little farmer to a real working farm. Lucky for us, you don’t have to drive out to the country to see a moo-moo here and a moo-moo there. Located in the heart of Bellevue, Kelsey Creek Farm has been entertaining kiddos and their parents for generations (really, since the 1930s) and it’s where you’ll find tons of free farm fun along with plenty of spring chicks, baby bun-buns and other animals.
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On any given day, you can visit with the horses, bunnies, chickens, sheep, goats, rabbits, waterfowl and pigs in their pastures from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. If babies are your thing, you’ll find the farm’s newest arrivals including baby chicks, goat calfs, and piglets during the springtime. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to see the horses being sized for new shoes or the sheep being sheared. Psst! Be sure to look for the fun animal facts as you make your way around the farm.
Get in some playtime
The playground is the perfect size for toddlers with swings, a seesaw, and climbing toys. There’s also two miles of walking trails that wind through the park, over the creek, and by the pastures and enough green space to host a polo tournament. Insider Tip: Restrooms are located next to the playground so you don’t have to hoof it all the way back to the barn.
What to bring
You won’t need to dress the kiddos in their old boots and clothes for a trip to this farm. Kelsey Creek Farm is owned by the City of Bellevue and operated by the Parks and Community Services Department which means the farm is well maintained 365 days a year. Most of the paths around the property are paved which means there’s no big mud puddles to tromp through…. unless you’re planning on going on a super rainy day. Dress the kiddos in their play clothes and be sure to bring along a light jacket for the spring and fall months. The wind can pick up when you’re on the hill by the barn.
If you’re planning on spending a good part of your day at the farm, pack along some snacks and a picnic lunch. There’s plenty of grass to throw down a blanket as well as picnic tables and a picnic shelter. Also, be sure to bring along your camera for those fun photo opps with the farm animals. The paths around the farm are stroller-friendly, but if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, bring along the baby carrier and go on a hike in the woods behind the farm.
Classes and camps and tours. Oh my!
The farm offers Little Farmers and Farm Explorers classes for kiddos ages 2-8 and day camps for kiddos ages 5-7. During farm classes, kids will get the opportunity to experience farm life through fun hands-on activities including animal care and feeding, barn chores, pony rides, and baking and gardening. Curriculum is also integrated into the classes with seasonal themes, craft projects, stories and games. Little Farmers and Farm Explorer classes meet three to four times per month and are offered in September, December, January, February and March. Psst! Mark your calendars. Registration for fall will take place in August at myparksandrecreation.com.
If you’re looking for a fun summer camp experience for your little one, Little Farmers Camp is the summertime version of the farm’s popular Farm Explorers class. During camp, kids will participate in animal care and feeding, barn chores, cooking, gardening and arts and crafts. For kiddos who want a taste of pioneer life, Log Cabin camp takes place in the farm’s 1888 authentic cabin. During a weekly session, campers will learn how to churn butter, grind wheat, wash clothes (by hand), create craft projects, and play old-fashioned games just like Laura did in Little House on the Prairie. Registration is currently available at myparksandrecreation.com.
In addition to camps, the farm offers fun tours with Farmer Jayne for kiddos ages two and older. During the springtime, kiddos can meet the farm’s newest baby animals, learn about their special care and feeding, tour the farm’s historic barn and finish up in the garden planting pumpkin seeds. During the summer months, tours include lots of farm exploration as well as meeting the goats, ponies, sheep and rabbits, touring the barn, learning interesting animal facts and experiencing the old-fashioned skill of wool carding. Kids will also get to create fuzzy sheep from real wool. Tours cost $85 for the first 15 participants; $5.50 for each extra child and $2.50 for each extra adult. For groups will less than 15 participants, the minimum fee per tour is $85.
Celebrate like it’s your birthday!
For the birthday boy or girl who wants to celebrate their big day on the farm, Kelsey Creek offers a fun hands-on birthday party experience. Parties include 45 minutes with the animals (including petting and interacting), a visit to the barn, a craft project made from sheep’s wool, and cake and present time in the Farm Room. Birthday parties for up to 15 children cost $150 for Bellevue residents; $165 for non-residents. Additional children over the age of two are $5 per child; maximum party size is 30 children and adults.
Mark your calendars
The farm holds two yearly festivals which are a ton of fun—one in the spring and one in the fall at pumpkin time.
Sheep Shearing takes place on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. At this popular event, you can watch the sheep being shorn of their winter coats and enjoy a variety of farm activities including spinning demonstrations, 4-H exhibits, kids’ crafts, tractor-pulled hay rides, and pony rides as well as inflatables, food, and more. Admission is free, but costs vary for some activities ($1-3).
The Kelsey Creek Farm Fair takes place on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. This annual fall celebration includes fun crafts for the kids, inflatables, pony rides, entertainment, tractor rides and vintage tractor displays as well as pumpkin decorating. Admission is free, but there is a small fee for most activities.
Good to know: Parking for both of these events can be tricky so use the free shuttle service available from the Wilburton Park and Ride and Bannerwood Sports Park. Also, remember to bring cash. The farm does not accept cards.
The playground, picnic tables, and picnic shelter are open daily from dawn to dusk; farm animals are in their pastures daily from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. No reservations are needed to visit the farm and there are no entrance fees.
Have you taken your kiddos to Kelsey Creek Farm? What is your favorite part of the farm? Let us know in the comments section below.
–Kristina Moy, words and photos