My sister and her family visited Ottawa this week from the Toronto area. Before she came, we discussed various agritourism attractions we could visit. One option was Saunders Farm, so I showed the kids the web site last weekend, and the advertising was a huge hit. So much so that when we arrived at the farm yesterday, my nephew said, “There are three things I want to do here. The pirate ship, the mazes, and THE ICE CREAM!!!!!” That picture of a big ice cream cone on the Saunders web site was probably the biggest lure for the kids. As someone in the marketing industry, I admire the Saunders family’s marketing savvy!
Saunders Farm is a full-day experience, and well worth the $13 entry fee ($50 for families of 2 adults and 2 children). There is so much to do: 11 mazes, a water spray zone, a pirate ship, a tree house play area, puppet shows, wagon rides, old log buildings, a gift shop, and more. The farm is laid out perfectly – parents can sit down on Adirondack chairs in the centre of all the fun, and watch their kids burn off all their excess energy! Or they can join in on the fun, especially in the mazes, which could entertain adults or older kids for hours.
The mazes are a real wonder, and are obviously a labour of love. They range from simple labyrinths with short walls and only one path in and out, to elaborate (and difficult) mazes made out of evergreen trees and other plants. There is also a beautiful Canadian-themed maze set amongst water, rocks, trees, and native plants. Many visitors did not seem to realize this maze was there, or they were just too tired out from all the other mazes to bother, so it’s a quieter experience than the others.
Saunders allows visitors to bring in their own food, which is an unusual but nice-to-see feature in this type of attraction. Many families brought a cooler full of food, and made use of the picnic tables under the trees. We didn’t bring any food, so we bought our lunch from “The Farmer’s Table”, a canteen-type place that sells local farm-fresh food. The kids got burgers and fries, but my sister and I got the Ploughman’s Lunch, which consisted of local cheese, meat, bread, vegetables, and a hard-boiled egg. It was delicious and very filling, even though it didn’t look like much food at first – gotta love protein for filling you up.
Saunders Farm is a nice place to visit even if some of your party is unable to participate in the physical activities. There are many places to sit and watch the action, and the layout does not require a huge amount of walking unless you want to go into the mazes. It’s perfect for grandparents or anyone who doesn’t want to spend the day running around, but still wants to come with their family and friends.
Saunders Farm is open daily from 10-5 from June 25-Labour Day, and then weekends in September. They also have extended Halloween hours in October; check their website for details.