I’ve always loved to travel. Whether it is a short day trip or a long backpack through Europe, I’m thrilled to explore new places. The opportunity to explore and discover new things is one of the advantages to having lived in three different states in three years.
Living here in St. Louis, I can make these discoveries almost daily without even leaving the city or county limits. I had been to St. Louis before we moved here but really only as an airport stop before driving on to Champaign where Tim’s family lives. Now that we have two beautiful girls our travels aren’t as exotic as they used to be, but witnessing the joy of discovery through their eyes is totally worth it.
A couple weeks ago, Olivia, Kate, and I ventured out to Purina Farms. Nestle Purina is headquartered here in St. Louis and they have a “farm” on the outskirts of town. Since we had been reading and studying about farms with a preschool learning kit from our local library, Purina Farms seemed like a good place to expose her to some farm animals even though this isn’t a real working farm. Add in the free factor and we were sold.
Purina Farms is about a 30 minute drive from our home, but it is just far away enough to feel like a “trip” and to lend it a more rural feel.
After we arrived, the first thing we saw was a display about how Purina produces its various types of feed. Olivia was actually pretty fascinated by the Rube Goldberg type machine they had to demonstrate this process.
Our next stop was the hayloft. There are areas for the kids to play with tractors that reminded me of sensory tables.
There were also rope swings that the kids can swing on in the haylofts. Olivia was brave and gave it a try. I’ll go ahead and let you guess how much she enjoyed it based on this picture.
Next we went downstairs to see the animals. We saw pigs, rabbits, cows, sheep, horses, and chickens. All the animals were very visible and many were accessible for petting and interacting.
One of the two featured events that day was a cow milking demonstration. I really wanted O to see this as I think it is incredibly important for her to know and understand where our food comes from. She could already tell me that milk comes from cows but I knew the demonstration would be a vivid real world connection for her. As we approached the milking area, I could hear the cow making noise. Olivia was a bit startled by the noise and I had to explain to her that it was just the cow “mooing.” Anyone who has ever heard the actual noise a cow makes knows that it is a stretch to call it a moo.
After the milkman gave his speech, the kids could have a chance to hand milk the cow. This was as close as Olivia was willing to get.
Our last stop of the day was outside for the dog show featuring dogs that were trained in Frisbee Freestyle and agility courses. I’m in awe of what these trainers can do with dogs they have rescued from shelters. This was our favorite part of the visit.
Purina Farms is now closed for the winter season, but we had a GREAT time. I look forward to making this at least an annual visit for us as a family.