Some of my favourite books that were read to me when I was a little kid were all about Christmas time in the country. I loved reading Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, to this day its one of my favourite children’s books and I plan to read it to my girls this holiday season. As we drove out to Timberline Ranch I know that we were going to get to experience a bit of what it might be like to have a country Christmas.
We pulled into the parking lot and saw what appeared to be an old west style town recreated on the grounds, and several people wearing western outfits complete with cowboy hats. Evie loved everything right away, quickly asking if there were horses. Little did she know, but she would be getting to ride a pony for the first time ever that day.
We proceeded to where we needed to go to check in. Everything is very organized when you go here. You have to register in advance, and everyone is organized into time slots so that the ranch is never too crowded. We went first thing in the morning, and as I suspected not many others wanted to be up early on a Saturday there were just a handful of other families there at the same time. It got a little busier later on in the day, but it was never overwhelming.
Everything is divided up into stations, and you rotate through them. There was no better way to start things off then by decorating a home made cookie. I was impressed with how simple and creative the cookie was. Evie loved that she got to make the snowman face however she wanted. After, it was off to the barn by way of wagon ride, and to the petting zoo area, and where you can go for a pony ride. Now, if you are bringing a baby with you, you will definitely want to bring a baby carrier as you cannot take a stroller on the wagon and they do not allow foot traffic on the wagon road. I also highly recommend wearing layers, and boots of some sort. The day we went was rainy, but we were going back and forth from outside to inside. Cold to hot. Solid ground to mud. You get the picture.
The highlight of our time there was definitely going for a pony ride. I even made sure that Evie would get to go twice, I knew she would ask right after the first time going if she could go again. I was prepared. This girl has no fear, and an immense love of animals. The pony was very gentle, and the staff were great about making sure Evie was safe. Jason and I both got to walk around with her as she rode. The animals in the petting zoo area were also very sweet. There is also a hay maze in this area that is perfect for kids to run through and get their energy out.
Another wagon ride will bring you back to the lodge where there are more stations to go through, this area includes a craft, photo booth, snowball toss, story time, and more. There is also a cafe upstairs. Evie had a great time experiencing all of the different stations. As a parent, I appreciated how simplified Timberline Country Christmas is. There’s no videos, or in your face light displays. It’s all taken back to basics with a focus on what Christmas is about. You will not find Santa here. We really appreciated that.
Timberline Country Christmas is on now til December 20th, 2015. You can find exact times, and register to go here. Do so soon as it is booking up. The staff were absolutely wonderful. We loved seeing all the animals. Evie’s little craft she did is now on her tiny Christmas tree. It took us just under 2 hours to go through the whole circuit of activities. Pricing to go depends on day, and age. For adults you are looking at $7/$9, and kids are $9/$11. Infants under 1 are free per paying adult. Pony rides are an additional $5 per ride. I would love to see the cost of the pony rides come down a bit, as often parents will have some change in their pockets , some loonies or toonies, which is easier to produce enough to pay say $2 for a pony ride. $5 I do find to be a lot, especially if you have multiple kids in your family who want to ride.
We really appreciated how this was a relaxing, child oriented, classic Christmas out in the country. It was a really fun family experience, and I am adding it to our to do list for next year!