Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
By Julie Bulau, Staff writer
Getting up close and personal with a wallaby, bottle feeding a fawn or racing down the giant slide are just a few of the attractions found at A maze'n Farmyard west of Eden Valley.
In its ninth season of operation, the A maze'n Farmyard offers fun for all ages. Living up to its name, the farmyard features everything from a gigantic maze, to loads of farmyard animals to a newly-constructed bird house which is home to 250 parakeets.
Paul and Sheila Haag own and operate the business which is open seven days a week from Memorial Day through Labor Day and Saturdays and Sundays in September and October. It's a family affair with the couple's three grown children, Andrea, Kyle and Evan, as well as 11-year-old Noah helping in varies capacities.
Oldest daughter Andrea can be found in the gift shop/concession areas on most days. Her two little boys often accompany her to work and everyone pitches in to help keep an eye on them while Andrea fills in where needed.
"She could run the place," Paul said.
Next in line is Kyle who handles the puppy business, and Evan who oversees a lot of the maintenance. Noah, meanwhile, recently started working a shift.
Traffic varies from day to day. This spring they welcomed more than 1,800 school children. Summer months finds A maze'n Farmyard a popular destination for people staying on the many lakes in the area.
"The lake people really started showing up the last week or so," Paul said.
The Haags have greeted guests from all over the world.
A recent weekday afternoon found visitors from Florida, California and Washington. A map in the main building displays stick pins marking the hometowns of the thousands of visitors who have come through the doorway. All
50 states except Oregon as well as foreign countries from Japan to Italy are represented.
"I love it here," said
Hannah Topp from Florida. "We come every summer." Hannah and Halle, along with their cousin Abbey, were staying with their families at a resort on Lake Koronis.
Animals are the star attractions. In the barn, guests can hold, pet and even help feed a variety of farm animals. Venturing outside, they can then visit the Goat Bridge, Chicken Coop and Pigeon House. Pony rides are also available.
The newest addition this year is the life-size Bird House where visitors can enter with special feeding sticks. The parakeets will perch on the sticks much to the delight of young and old visitors alike.
And last, but not least, are the puppies which have been part of the business from the beginning. "We've been selling dogs for
23 years," Paul said. An area off the gift shop allows visits to see and pet some of the puppies available for sale.
In addition to the animals, there's also the gigantic maze which has been there from the beginning. "The record of making it through is about 15 minutes but it can take up to 45," Sheila said.
There's also mini golf, a giant slide, train rides, a corn pit and the popular Bounce Barn. "We needed something for rainy days," Paul said of the indoor area filled with a number of inflatables.
Tired or hungry guests can take a break at the picnic shelter or playground. Visitors are welcome to bring picnic lunches and there are also concessions for sale. The area is also available for birthday parties, family reunions and company picnics.
A maze'n Farmyard is located about three miles west of Eden Valley on Highway 55. It is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission 3 & older is $9.36 plus tax = $10; and ages 2 and younger are free.