When you live in Iowa, lots of people from outside the state always think you live on the farm, but the truth is I’ve always been a city kid and so have my children. We live in small town Iowa, but within the city limits and while we like living in town it’s always fun to get out to the country from time to time for a day of fun.
One cool activity that’s been popping up in the Midwest is a concept called agritourism, where very business savvy farmers are taking their family farms to the next level and turning them into family fun hotspots for local area residents and tourists to enjoy. During a recent family road trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa we made a stop in the tiny town of Atkins Iowa to check out a fun eastern Iowa family adventure location we had never been to before, Bloomsbury Farm.
The family farm of Dave and Karen Petersen, Bloomsbury Farm began as Hagan Farm and was homesteaded in 1856, by Joseph Hagan, Dave’s great-grandfather. The farm began with a diverse array of livestock and crops and the 400-acre family farm has been passed down from generation to generation. Petersen Farm now farms over 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans, and in addition to operating the agritourism business known as Bloomsbury Farm which was named after a town in a Peter Pan book Karen Petersen used to read to her children.
The Petersens introduced agritourism to the farm when one of their children’s teachers asked if they could bring their class to the farm for a hayrack ride. From there, the idea and business blossomed with hayrack rides, animals to pet, a rustic barn and more. Today, Bloomsbury Farm is host to thousands of visitors each year from around the country and around the world. Their family friendly activities include a a 10-acre corn maze, the area’s largest pumpkin patch, a zipline, petting zoo, jumping pillow, and much more!
Bloomsbury Farm recently invited the Two Kids and a Coupon family out to visit and play for the day at the farm. Although we’ve been to the Cedar Rapids area more times than we can count, I had never heard of this attraction until now and we’re so glad we found it! While my step-daughter wasn’t able to join us on this trip my son, husband and I had a blast jumping on the giant pillow, playing in the tire maze, going down the big slide, feeding the animals in the petting zoo and more. We were way too chicken to try out the zipline but there was a group doing it while we were there and it looked like they were having a blast! We loved the farm’s western décor and they had so many fun details and things for families to do that this could easily be a full afternoon or even a full day outing. It would also be a great casual place for a private party and we were wishing we lived closer since we need big venue for kids birthday parties and other events coming up.
The petting zoo was great and we loved feeding the animals. My three year old thought it was hilarious that they ate right out of his hand and that he now has “goat cooties”. His favorite was probably the big jumping pillow which is big enough even for grown ups to jump on too. Mom and Dad joined him and we all had a blast.
We visited Bloomsbury Farm in April, so we weren’t able to check out some of the fun fall attractions yet, but we’re looking forward to making a road trip back in a few months to check out their fall festival and have some more fun!
When to Go and How Much Does it Cost:
Bloomsbury Farm is open to the public in September and October all day, every day for their Fall Festival. In March through August, they are open by appointment, and for Special Events only. The ZIP is open by appointment all year. Check their Calendar of Events for upcoming Special Events throughout the year.
The Sugar Shack & Gift Shop, The ZIP, and the Farm Playground will be open on the following days May 11 – August 31: Saturdays: 11:00am – 4:00pm and Sundays: 11:00am – 4:00pm. Admission is $4 per person age 3 and older. Under age 3 are free. September and October hours are Mon-Sat: 9am-6pm and Sun: 11am-5pm. Admission M-F is $8.50 per person and Sat & Sun is $11.50 per person. Combo ZIP + Farm Admission is $27.50 per person (No coupons may be used with this offer). There is a Senior “Old Goats” Discount (for those kids-at-heart over the age of 62): of $2 off regular admission and a Military Discount (Servicemen & women and their immediate family members) of $2 off regular admission.
Admission includes access to all Standard Features at Bloomsbury Farm. The Jumping Pillow is an additional $2 per person and Gemstone Mining is an additional $5 per bag of Mining Rough. The Dry Creek Shooting Gallery is an additional $2 for 10 shots. The ZIP is a separate attraction from Bloomsbury Fam. Visit www.FlyTheZip.com for more info about The ZIP.
What to Know When You Get There:
- Admission to Bloomsbury Farm includes all activities on the Farm except the Jumping Pillow and Dry Creek Mining, and of course pumpkins are sold by the pound. Farm activities include: Hayrack Rides, Barnyard Buddies Petting Zoo, Tire Maze, Corn Maze, Kid’s Corn Maze, Learning Barn, Western Town, Duck Races, Goat Walk, Corn Box, Barrel Train, Straw Jump, and many more family fun activities!
- The Jumping Pillow is $2 extra per person (kids or adults), for all day jumping fun! Also, Dry Creek Mining is an additional $5. For $5 per bag, kids receive a 2lb bag of Pay Dirt, which they dump in sieves and mine in the running water to find gems, fossils, or arrowheads.
- Bloomsbury Farm is handicapped accessible, but like most farms a majority of the attractions are not on paved ground. You can bring wheelchairs, wagons and strollers but you may have bumpy ground and depending on the weather it may be muddy was well. Handicapped restrooms are also available.
- This is a fun, outdoor environment and plan to dress accordingly. Wear old clothes that are OK to get dirty, close toed shoes and if you’re going in spring or fall you may want to be prepared for cool weather. You may also want to wear socks if you plan on jumping on the jumping pillow.
- Weekends can get really busy, especially weekend afternoons. If you’re looking for smaller crowds, consider going on Saturday mornings or weekday afternoons.
- Extreme weather (like we often have in Iowa!) can force Bloomsbury Farms to close at any time. Refunds are not given due to weather so if you’re planning on visiting on a rainy or overcast day you may want to call ahead to check and make sure they will be open.
- Pets are not allowed so please leave them at home,
- Bloomsbury Farm accepts cash, credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, and Discover) and checks
- During the summer, the Farm is open by appointment only and for Special Events. They offer Birthday Parties, Anniversary Parties, Weddings & Reception, etc. during the summer. Visit their Calendar of Events to see what Events they have coming up! Examples: Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, Music Fest. They also offer School Tours during the spring and summer for Daycares and Elementaries.
How to Save When You get There
- Visit the Bloomsbury Farm website at www.bloomsburyfarm.com for a $1 off coupon.
- You can also bring your own food as long as you keep it in the picnic area. Bloomsbury Farm does sell also sell lots yummy food onsite, you are welcome to bring your own as well. They have a large cement area near their concession stand, with picnic tables that are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. They also do have private barns that can be reserved for groups or parties. Visit their Group Events page for more details on this.
To learn more about Bloomsbury Farm visit them online at www.bloomsburyfarm.com. You can also follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/