Taking a young toddler to a new place for a larger event–even a ‘kids’ event–is always a bit of a crap shoot. You never know how an almost two-year-old is going to react. Will there be age-appropriate activities? Will she be in a good mood? Will I be able to let her out of the stroller to roam around without worrying that she’s going to run into a street? Does the time of the event work relatively well with her nap schedule?
It’s a pain in the butt to a degree, and yet, as Emme is now a legit toddler, and not just toddling around like last year this time, I’ve done a lot of research about fun summer activities. It gets us out of the house and into the Illinois, and seeing her in new environments actually getting something out of an activity is really exciting.
So this weekend, Emme and I, along with my sister, brother-in-law and their 20-month-old son, ventured to Garden Patch Farms in Homer Glen, Illinois, a you-pick orchard and berry farm, for their annual Butterfly Festival.
The event kicked off with the release of hundreds of butterflies. While I was expecting swarms of butterflies, it didn’t quite happen that way. The butterflies are slow to start, and many don’t take flight or go too far initially. While I had a moment of disappointment (it was difficult to tell that anything was happening), Emme couldn’t have been more excited to get up close and personal with a Monarch that landed near our feet.
When most of the butterflies finally took off, we explored the rest of the farm. What I liked best about this event was that it was very contained. There was enough to see and do without feeling overwhelmed, and the crowd was manageable enough and the space big enough that we felt comfortable letting Emme and her cousin roam around.
Emme’s favorite part of the day was the hens. She’s not a kid that regularly gets into something for long periods of time, but eventually I had convince her to move on from the coup.
We ended our Garden Patch Farms day in the strawberry fields. While the crop wasn’t quite ripe enough, it was still fun to watch Emme and her her cousin pick strawberries and throw straw at each other.
The event was free and totally worth the 35 minute drive–close enough to be no big deal, but far enough to feel like we were in a setting totally new and different. We loved the farm and are already planning a trip back in the fall for apple picking.