Annual Trip to Vala’s

The Johnson Family kicked off the month of October with a fun, day-long trip to everyone’s favorite autumnal amusement park, Vala’s! We would have written about it sooner, but Vivian and I almost immediately came down with a couple cases of COVID-19 shortly after our trip, so we’ve spent the last couple of weeks in quarantine/recovery. But more on that later.

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We’ve been to Vala’s enough times to have a fairly good “game plan” to make the most of our day. Our first stop this year was the tricycle track, where ended our trip last year, giving Hannah and Aaron got to start their day pedaling around the little track with each other. Then, we walked across the road to the Lost Pumpkin Mine, walking through and saying hello to the Miners we usually visit toward the end of our day.

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We walked on across the creek and let the kids spend some time bouncing around on the jumping pillows. One real advantage to visiting Vala’s on a weekday is that they can have as much time as they want to jump, where on the weekends it’s so busy they have to have a time limit (and lots of waiting in line).

We went by the duck races afterward, but found the corn bin sadly empty — likely due to Covid concerns. Then we got some whole-family exercise taking a trip around a track on a pedal cart. I think I wound up pedaling for all four of us, which was quite a workout.

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I got some buckets of fries for a snack as Vivian got some seats for the dog show around lunchtime. We got to see a few trained “rescue” dogs doing tricks for us, including one little guy named Chrome who liked to hop for a frisbee or two. We’d never seen the dog show before, but I found careful attention to the Vala’s schedule helped us be in the right place at the right time.

We bumped into a few friends of ours before heading on to the train for a trip around the park, seeing a few of the goofy scenes of the old west before heading back to the train playground for the kids to play before we moved along.

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We took a trip through a Haunted House or two after our train trip, which is always one of Hannah’s favorite spots. Then we walked down to the opposite end of the park for a little extra exercise with the kids on a spider web. Another favorite spot is the neighborhood of tiny houses and rope bridges called Prairie Hill Town. Next door is a zip line, where Hannah and Aaron got to ride back and forth on a rope a couple times, along with an obstacle course that they both took a few trips on.

Then we walked up the hill to the Big Slide for a couple rides down on a burlap sack. Aaron discovered a few carnival games along the way and got to try his hand at ringing a bell with a hammer.

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Of course, no trip to Vala’s would be complete without a visit to a few of their signature live shows. First was up was the pig races, with everyone’s favorite pig wrangler. Sadly, Hannah didn’t get to be a Pig Leader this time around, but we enjoyed calling the pigs (“sooweee”) and watching them scamper around for a crumbled up cookies.

We stopped to pet a few goats on our way up the hill to see Xander the Dragon afterward. He picked up a pumpkin to smash, but he didn’t greet the line of kids by his fence post by name this time around, which was disappointing.

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We finished up our visit walking around the fairy tale village for a bit, getting a photo on the hungry caterpillar and pumpkin carriage. Then we stopped by a pumpkin bun to pick out a couple pumpkins to take home with us. It was a long, fun day, and I found visiting this early in October gave us more daylight at the end of our visit, so we weren’t walking home in pitch black.

Two weeks of quarantine with Covid unfortunately put an end to some of our other fun, fall activities, but I’m very glad we didn’t miss our on our annual trip to Vala’s.

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