About two years ago, I was enjoying a beautiful Chicago Spring day, cruising with the windows down and the radio up, on my way to meet my hubby for a lunch date. My in-laws were watching my little guy, so I was excited to be able to take a shower, put on makeup and a cute outfit, and eat a meal that someone else prepared and someone else was going to clean up (pure bliss, right, mamas?) while enjoying some time with my main man. There was nothing that could kill my mood. Except for what happened at the next stoplight.
Somehow as I rolled to a stop at the red light, the radio station I was listening to also had a lull, so I could hear what was going on outside. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a car full of teenagers (and I swear, the teacher in me gripped the steering wheel a little tighter wondering if they were ditching class) and then started to hear a distinct “moo-ing” sound. Were they moo-ing at me? Me?!? Yes, I hadn’t lost all of my baby weight, but I thought my high waisted skinny jeans and loose tee were hiding my problem areas. For crying out loud, kids, don’t you know that you all did this to your own mothers?!? As my cheeks flushed I pondered what the scale was going to tell me when I got home, the kids drove off. Funny thing was, the “moos” did not.
Hey, wait a second…what is that foul smell?!? Yes, that’s right. The teenagers took no notice of his self-conscious mama. Neither did the group of cows grazing about 10 feet from my car. That’s when it hit me…I was driving next to a farm. In one of the most populated suburbs on the North Shore of Chicago, there was a farm. Literally a two minute drive from a shopping mall. Woah.
It wasn’t until my little guy came along that I actually remembered this little farm and went about planning a visit. I must admit that the type A Virgo in me was a little apprehensive about conquering a new and unique place with both of my mobile monsters alone, but I was so incredibly wrong to worry. Wagner Farm is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours face to face with livestock, learning about how farmer’s care for them, observing what it means to have a working farm, exploring gardens, playing in a farm themed museum, and most of all, devouring some ice cream made by the same cows we were admiring.
A few tips for you before you go to Wagner Farms:
- Wear shoes that can get covered in horse poop. Because it is everywhere your little boys want to go. Trust me.
- Pack a little picnic. There are a bunch of adult and kid sized picnic tables spread across the property and lots of beautiful trees to provide a shady spot for a snack. The only food you and purchase there is ice cream from the old fashioned soda fountain (primarily open on weekends)…and I highly recommend that you do.
- Skip the stroller. The terrain is a little bumpy, and it is nearly impossible to get inside the barns with your stroller with all of the hay strewn about. If your little one isn’t walking too well yet, I highly recommend putting him/her in a sling and exploring that way.
- Take a break from the smells of the farm and explore all of the different exhibits in the Heritage Center. It is quite a step back in time with the general store exhibit. Made a 30 year old girl long to play the Oregon Trail, if you know what I mean…
- If you can, check out the Glenview Farmers Market on Saturday mornings in the summer and fall. The abundance of farm to table goods is AMAZING and fun for the little ones to peruse.
Autumn is clearly the popular season for Wagner Farm and they have lots of special events that you can attend for a minimal fee, such as building your own scarecrow or attending a bonfire sing-along. We haven’t attended one of these yet but we are looking forward to some fun fall festivities. And from now on, I won’t be so self conscious when I hear random moo-ing. At least when I’m in Glenview. Now if it happened in Chicago, it would be a different story…