Sunday, June 3, 2007
Yesterday was the US Dept. of Agriculture Field Day (it's one day only every year--the first Saturday of June). This is a great family event that gets put on our family calendar as soon as we hang it up in January. The USDA parks several humongous tractors on its front lawn and allows everyone to climb up in them and play. My children love this!
They also organize tours through some of their acreage. The hayride tour takes you through some of their planted fields, while the tour buses show you around some of their dairy farms.
Then there are the huge tents set up on the lawn as well. Inside these tents are countless stations on various aspects of agriculture. One station might have a game about serving sizes or matching which seeds go with which vegetables. If you win a game, or even get one correct match, you get a prize. There are little prizes everywhere!
If a station doesn't have a game, it might have another activity like "testing" plants for diseases or looking through a powerful microscope to observe the organisms inside a cow's stomach. Lots of stations offer snacks of fresh fruits and veggies and candy.
Our family's favorite station every year is the one on the cocoa plant! My kids love walking through the rain forest (complete with chocolate mulch), looking through the thick leaves in search of birds, frogs, and lizards. Of course, after the rain forest comes the chocolate samples; this year the sampling was a taste test between American- and European-style chocolates. Ahh--so smooth and creamy!
Other favorite activities of the day included watching a bee colony and spotting the Queen, getting face painting, petting baby cows, piglets, and lambs, and watching chicks hatch before our very eyes.
The whole experience is just great for all ages. Michael and I enjoy it every bit as much as the kids. We all learn something new every year; it's quite educational. I feel really lucky that we live so close to many wonderful family events, including Field Day.