Our family had the extreme pleasure of visiting Camp Fontanelle this weekend. It's a Pumpkin Patch, it's a Corn Maze, there is a Jumping Pillow. You can also do Laser Tag in the corn maze, you can ride a zip line or take pony rides (those three things are the only additional charges to your ticket). You can sit around a campfire and make smores. You can play what my kids called Tic-Tac-Toilet outside of the petting zoo. There was a bounce house and a sand area for the kids and a lot of good, family fun.
For those of you in Nebraska, Camp Fontanelle is about 40 minutes north of Omaha--just past Fremont and Nickerson. Most people say it's in Nickerson, but it's really just beyond Nickerson in Fontanelle, NE. It was a beautiful drive down the highway with almost no traffic. I realize there are two very popular pumpkin patches south of Omaha, but having been to both, I will never return. I will drive a little farther to Camp Fontanelle where the costs are AFFORDABLE, the fun is identical, the corn maze is incredible and the crowds are manageable. Make sure you grab this coupon good for $1 off per person! Let me tell you a bit about our trip. Rebekah had a birthday party (where she had to dress like a rock star--so we have wild rock star hair). We got to Camp Fontanelle with about 2.5 hours left in the day. We started with the attraction I have waited for YEARS to do--the Corn Maze. I've never been in one...in fact, I've never really been 'in' a corn field.
Before you out-of-staters start asking, it's not what you think. When you were taught history in school, it was already history--in the past. I live in a large metropolitan area with houses, lights, running water and indoor plumbing. Yes--believe it or not--we in the Cornhusker State do not ALL live on farms, in the wilderness and the Pony Express stopped running with the government shutdown--I just get it USPS now. (Sorry-couldn't resist answering one of the top questions asked of me from those out of state.)
Back to the corn maze. We headed into it feeling confidant. I figure I'm above average in map reading skills and I'm with a husband and two sons who are crackerjack map readers. We'll kick this maze's butt in no time flat. HA! We did conquer the maze. We were able to figure out where we were, but if you've never been in one, there's no shortcuts. You have to follow the winding paths that seem to lead nowhere to find your way around. We did the 'short maze' in about a half hour. We could have done it faster, but the kids loved running in circles on the meandering paths to nowhere. They were looking for the hole punching posts hidden in the maze. If you find all 7 of them, you get a free item at the concession stand. When we got to the end of the short maze, you can continue on for an estimated 30-45 minutes. We know we meander so we figured it would be at least an hour. And with daylight burning, we had too many other things to do to keep going. We decided if time allowed, we'd come back at the end of the day.
We were waiting for the hay rack ride so we decided to do the jumping pillow while we waited. I found a chair that makes you feel like a little kid again. We discovered that they break the kids down by age so little ones don't get trampled by big ones. Nice system. We arrived for the last 10 minutes of the teen/adult jump so Andrew went in. Then I went in--somehow, there are no photos of me jumping... If you've never gotten to do one of these, it's just awesome. It's a huge pillow of air and you bounce on it like a cross between a trampoline and a bounce house without sides. But since there are no baffles (like a bounce house), you don't get thrown off of it.
Andrew on the jumping pillow.
When it was time for Nathan & Rebekah's age bracket to jump, Rebekah was the first one out the gate. Nathan wasn't sure he wanted to try it out. We sort of forced him to give it a try. Once he told the kid pushing others to knock it off (great job on the interpersonal communication for the boy with autism), he started to have fun. Bouncing is his thing. He's loved it his whole life. The therapy term is proprioceptive input. And the kid has energy like you can't believe. Even Rebekah slowed down and pooped out...not Nathan. The energizer bunny kept on hopping.
Rebekah's in black with ponytail flying.
While all the jumping was going on, we missed the next hayrack ride. While we waited, we checked out the snack bar as it was now dinner time. Almost everything in the snack bar is $1. So for only $3 you can get a hot dog, chips and a pop or bottled water. Other $1 items include candy, nachos, popcorn, hot dogs, soft pretzel, drinks, chips. The only items that cost a bit more were Caramel Apples for $2 and a S'mores Kit for $4. We didn't know there were some campfires for everyone (not rented out like the others) or we would have bought and made s'mores. After our snack, we went on the last hayrack ride of the day. We debated skipping the petting zoo area, but we're glad we didn't.
We got in the barn and you can feed the alpacas, donkey (miniature), rabbits, goats, etc. You get a cup of feed for only $0.50. Rebekah was all in, but Nathan was a little uncertain at first. We decided (Nathan & I) that we don't like feeding goats. They slobber--ick! We loved feeding the Alpacas and little Donkey. They eat more with their lips so you can feel their hair and it's soft and almost tickles.
Andrew found some outdoor activities to try. There's a washer on fishing line you try to get hooked. There is a hook in the post and you have to swing the washer just right to hook it. Crazy patience required! Then he found the magnetic board with funnels and tubes and marbles and made mazes for the little ones to try.
Finally, we sat around the campfires for a few minutes while the little ones bounced in the bounce castle. Then as we were leaving, we discovered the game Tic Tac Toe. Done with toilet seats next to the portapotties. We renamed it Tic Tac Toilet. The kids played while Sean went and got the car...after all, they were now officially closed, except they couldn't get the crazies like us to leave. (They weren't complaining, they were just shutting down and told us to enjoy ourselves.) We left and realized we ran out of time to do the laser tag and we had talked about trying the zipline. The concensus was our family hasn't had that much fun in a long time. It was just relaxing and something we really needed. It was so inexpensive with $1 concessions and admission being $6 adults and $4 kids. We made up our minds to go back--earlier in the day-- and do the long maze and the laser tag. I'm eyeballing next weekend as a possibility.
If you're looking for family fun in a totally friendly environment that is affordable, head over to Camp Fontanelle. This is their fundraiser to help offset summer camp. They keep it reasonable so you can afford to go. The pumpkins in the pumpkin patch are available for a freewill donation. There are suggested prices and small pumpkins are suggested $2. I encourage everyone to go and tell them Coolestmommy sent you!