Living History Farm in Urbandale, IA Part I
On the Fourth of July, we visited the Living History Farm in Urbandale, Iowa. This has been a location we have been talking about checking out for months now! I am so excited we finally went. This interactive museum's mission is to, "educate, entertain, and connect people of all ages to Midwestern rural life experiences." There are three farms on the location each from different time periods. There is a 1700 Ioway Native American farm, 1850 Pioneer Farm, and a 1900 Horse-Powered farm. There is also a 1875 replica town called Walnut Hill, complete with a small farm and several downtown buildings such as a bank, vet, school, and church. We were initially deterred from going because it's not necessarily filled with baby-friendly activities, but we had such a fun time. Fun is what you make it! This place was actually really great for kids because they can run around freely, explore hands-on, and there are plenty of interactive activities. I think we were most impressed by the free-running animals, who were not bothered by the tourists and just drifting around the different farms. This included cows, ducks, chickens, geese, and pigs!
Tad had lots of fun! We were able to take our own pace through each of the farm locations; there were no guided tours. We were also able to bring our own picnic lunch and watch an old-fashioned style baseball game (complete with 19th century uniforms!). It was a really lovely day. I am going to try my best to narrow down photos and go through our day chronologically!
Our first stop was the Ioway Native American farm. I really wished they had had more of a display here, but they did have some beautiful artifacts. There were two different style mat houses, one for summer and the other for winter. There was also a teepee, meat smoking site, and tanning rack, which Tad enjoyed touching quite a bit!
After following along the path, the farmland quickly melded into the 1850s Pioneer Farm. There was a jagged split-rail fence and high prairie grasses. This was our first encounter with the free walking animals, which were two cows simply roped to logs and grazing to their heart's content. Tad, of course, went bolting for them, so we were careful to hold his hand at all times while still approaching the cows so he could take a closer look. There was also a pen hosting two pigs and six little piglets. So cute! This site had two log cabins, one as a tool shed and the other set as a home. As soon as we entered the pioneer home, I instantly was thinking, "Instagram worthy." Seriously, this home's style was on point when it comes to Instagram trends! Simplistic lifestyle here we come. Just get me a log cabin, some handmade lye soap, flowers in a canning jar and I am good. to. go!
We then made our way to my favorite farm of them all, which I was surprised by! I definitely thought the 1700s farm would top them both, but the 1900s Horse-Powered farm was so fun! There were two barns, one to house the horses and cows (the middle was filled with a bed of hay, and I totally wanted to just jump and roll in it!) and the other housed the pigs. There was a small chicken coop and a big house. I was in love with the little vignettes inside the home. Yet another Instagram-worthy style home. I definitely could have just stayed and lived there, maybe swap out the lumpy mattress for a modern one, but other than that I am so good. There were chickens, geese, ducks, and piglets galore! They were all wandering around freely, but when we got to the pigs they had been played with by other little ones so they were hiding from us, which I don't blame them. Tad was in his own little heaven chasing the chickens around. It gave me a good idea of how much he will enjoy having his own in another year or two!
I will have to write a separate post on the 1875 town of Walnut Hill because I just captured too many great photos to share within this one! Keep a lookout, but for now, we had such a great time exploring and experiencing history right before our eyes! Have a great Monday.