We were in the pumpkin patch mood, following some recent visits to other pumpkin patches and orchards, so we headed out to the Gretna area to visit the top pumpkin attraction in the Omaha area – Vala’s.
Vala’s is celebrating its 32nd year as a pumpkin patch. I recall writing feature stories on it during my young newspaper days. Vala’s has been named as one of the best pumpkin patches in the United States by Travel Channel.
Vala’s seems like it’s a mini amusement park that tosses in some pumpkins. But, they remain loyal to what started the empire. The hayrack ride to the pumpkin patch remains my favorite activity there.
Vala’s continues to improve its attractions annually. It’s been a couple of years since we last visited, and were we amazed at the changes. They’ve added an arcade area called “Barnyard Sports.” It was popular among young kids up to teenagers. The “Barnyard Challenge Course” is a mini obstacle course.
The most recent attraction opened this season. The “Egg Scramble” is an indoor foam ball battleground. A large yellow barn houses this play area. A giant egg sits in the middle of the fight. Kids of all ages (adults included) can start an egg fight, blasting foam balls from guns located around the barn. There were a lot of smiling faces and laughing during our visit.
The “Egg Scramble” is just one attraction in the poultry area. The Henway Piano was popular with young kids, who jumped on the piano keyboard, causing chicken puppets to squawk musical notes. Nearby, the “Pick-up Chicks Revue” provides musical entertainment.
We walked through the “Lost Pumpkin Mine.” It was an interesting journey. It was actually a longer walk through than it looked from outside. We enjoyed it.
While it was nice to check out attractions that were new (or new to us, anyway), it’s good to know they keep the old favorites. Visitors can always get a kick out of the Pigtucky Derby Races (pigs with interesting nicknames who race), Storybook Maze, animatronic concerts, as well as the corn maze.
The corn maze is one of a few around the country that are officially celebrating the 5oth anniversary of the peanuts classic, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” A map near the entrance depicts the design. Visitors are encouraged to take a picture of if with their phones to use as a guide as they trek through it. Unfortunately, we are among those taking the wrong turn in the maze. We eventually found out way out.
Vala’s has so many dining options, which is good as some people may spend most of the day at the pumpkin patch. Giant turkey legs are available. I was so tempted, but we had lunch plans involving football watching. So, we settled for a morning snack a slice of pie. Lisa enjoyed a nice apple pie slice, which she warmed at the Pie Barn’s microwave. Since I have developed an allergy to nutmeg, I now avoid all the deliciousness that comes with apple pie or pumpkin pie (in case there is nutmeg). I “settled” for a slice of triple berry pie. My love for non-nutmeg fruit pie is renewed (not that I eat a lot of pie to begin with).
We enjoy feeding the animals in Vala’s corral section. They have a camel, sheep, goats and llamas, among the animals. The sheep and goats are a blast to feed. They’ll stand on their hind legs or push out the others to get their share of the treats. The camel pushes its bowl back toward visitors when it’s empty.
As I previously mentioned, my favorite activity remains the hayrack ride to the pumpkin patch. We saved it for last during our visit. We joined about 20 other people on the wagon. I enjoy the ride through the farm, passing corn fields on the way to the orange patches alongside a hill.
The pumpkins range in size from small to huge. It’s fun watching little kids run past others as they seek their version of the perfect pumpkin. I miss the days when my daughters were little kids and we took them there. My kids loved picking out pumpkins.
As we finished our visit to Vala’s, I mentioned that we may need to make it an annual trip since the farm seems to change every year. Plus, we can get that fresh bag of kettle corn she loves (and left with). Check it out for yourself. Vala’s is open daily through Oct. 31.
For more information on Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, please visit www.valaspumpkinpatch.com.