7 WV family farms kids will love exploring

From rodeos to corn mazes, West Virginia’s sprawling green farms have much to offer families.

Whether you want to learn more about sheep shearing or hop aboard a hay ride, check out these 7 family farms your kids will love exploring:

1. Walk through sunflower fields at Pegasus Farms

Pegasus Farms is a tranquil campground that sits on rolling green pastures minutes from Elkins. Drop a fishing line in the pond or take a dip in the nearby stream. Explore giant sunflower fields, vegetable gardens, grass mazes and orchards. You may even run into their horse, Pegasus, a black cat named Weenie or a giant fluffy dog named Zenny. Mandolins and harmonicas can be heard coming from the Hospitality Barn any given night. There’s even a pre-Revolutionary War cemetery with a Native American mound on site that’s yours to explore.

If you want to take your time exploring, tent and RV sites are plentiful, along with 2 rentable renovated buses.

2. Ride a miniature horse or head to the rodeo at Daydream Farms

Has your kid ever begged you for a pony? A nice alternative might be a trip to Daydream Farm in Fort Ashby. This family-run business has a dream team of 4-legged friends, including quarter horses, a pony and even a miniature horse! Attend their annual rodeo for some of the most action-packed days on the farm. In addition to bull riding, there are pony rides, a greased pig event, rope games and a mechanical bull competition.

The family hosts affordable riding lessons and birthday parties on or off the farm. For those who want to spend a little more time daydreaming on Daydream Farm, there are also summer day camps. No experience is necessary to join in on the fun.

3. Get hands-on agriculture knowledge at Stompin’ Crick Farm

They’re not joking when they call Stompin’ Crick Farm in Pocahontas County a family farm. Farming has been in the Riley family for more than 150 years. The Stompin’ Crick Farm has been handed down through generations to the current owner, Joe. His mother and father, in their 70s now, are still tending to nearly 60 cows and 80 ewes, while his kids work as wranglers and farm hands.

Between producing beef, pork, lamb, eggs and an enormous amount of fruits and veggies, the Rileys love to open their 350-acre farm up to people. They’ve been known to share the secrets of sheep-shearing, egg collecting, and apple cider pressing with curious visitors. They also host scavenger hunts for the little ones. Between the family, they hold decades of experience in agriculture education, making the farm a great place for a high-quality learning adventure.

Fall play: pumpkins, mazes and more in WV

4. Take a ride down the hillside slide at Gritt’s Farm

Gritt’s Farm in Buffalo has been in the Gritt family since 1927. These days, they’re doing a little more than just farming: they’ve also been known to create some impressively intricate corn mazes.

Every September, they turn their plot of land into one giant playground. They pack their farm chock full of fall festivities: a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, a hay maze, a wagon train pulled by a John Deere tractor, pedal karts, hayrides, apple sling shots and cannons. They even transform a hillside into slides! That’s a lot to conquer in one day, so as the sun goes down, be sure to stop by one of their campfires to wind down.

5. Zip over a corn maze at Cooper Family Farms

Kim and Joyce Cooper have turned their Cooper family farm in Milton into a mecca for fall fun. Until 2001, the Cooper’s main focus was beef, hay, corn, tobacco and timber. Though they still focus on raising quality food, they’ve also shifted their efforts to much more adventurous endeavors, like giant corn mazes, pumpkin patches and ziplines.

During the day, correctly answer trivia questions to traverse your way through their intricate and winding corn maze. As it gets closer to Halloween, expect your trip through the maze to get a little more heart-pounding, as haunts lie in the corn stalks and around every corner.

Want to get your bearings first? There’s a zipline for that. Gain a bird’s eye view of the farm on a course made up of 3 towers (the highest exceeds 80 feet). There are 3 zip runs offering more than 1,500 feet of flying fun.

6. Let mini horses give you a tour of Byrnside Branch Farm

From September through November, Byrnside Branch Farm in Union has mazes to suit every age. Their largest corn maze has more than 2 ½ miles of trails sprawling 10 acres. For the kiddies, there is a smaller, less challenging 2-acre maze and a hay maze. You can also try any of them at night— using only glowsticks and flashlights to navigate your way out. Don’t worry, they’ll come get you if you’re gone too long!

Tour the farm on a wagon drawn by a team of mini horses, or let one of the owners pull you along on his tractor, while also learning about farming procedures and growing techniques. The owners allow guests to visit farm animals and even lend a hand during feeding time.

7. Celebrate every season at Ridgefield Farm & Orchard

Ridgefield Farm & Orchard in Harpers Ferry really takes advantage of the changing seasons in the state.

In the summer, they allow visitors to raid their fields of sunflowers, daisies and other beautiful seasonal flowers. They provide the scissors, you bring an eye for the perfect bouquet. The farm is also home to 14 varieties of apples, which the owners plan to open as a pick-your-own orchard in 2016.

In October, the farm boasts hayrides, a pumpkin patch and a corn maze. On certain nights near Halloween, the hayride and corn maze turn into a field of screams.

When winter rolls around, the farm is still in full swing. Instead of simply buying a Christmas tree, why not create a festive memory? The farm has rows and rows of choices, from giant trees (which they dub “Macy’s Trees”) to teeny tiny ones (which they call “Charlie Brown Trees”). They provide the wagon and the saw, and you do the picking and cutting.

Which family farms have you explored? What’s your family’s favorite farm activity?

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This post was last updated on October 18, 2017