As you prep for back-to-school, don’t forget that it’s still summer vacation, a chance to spend quality time with family. Since you’re budgeting for that Paw Patrol backpack with the matching lunchbox right now, why not go somewhere free (with minuscule charges for activities, of course)? We recommend a day trip to Wheeler Farm, a family destination that doubles as a local history lesson.
Wheeler Historic Farm, as it’s now known, has been part of the community since the mid-1800s, though it has changed ownership more times than Kyle Korver has left the Jazz. Farmer Joseph Hammond bought the land in 1853, and sold it to Ole Hanson about a decade later. Hanson traded it for land near Bear Lake with Brigham’s nephew, William Goodall Young. Young later sold the land to Elizabeth Cooper Pixton, who then sold it to her daughter Sariah and son-in-law Henry Joseph Wheeler. The Wheelers ran the farm for 56 years until Henry died in 1943. Following his death, Sterling Furniture Co. and its president Richard Madson took ownership of the farm and started a cattle ranch.
In the late ‘60s, Salt Lake County purchased the land with plans to say “Forget history; let’s put up some tennis courts.” Luckily, the Junior League of Salt Lake stepped in and worked with the county to create a historic landmark. In 1976, the dream came true and the farm opened to the public. Now, the farm is available for your enjoyment, and every era of it’s history is represented in an extensive collection of artifacts.
Visit the farm to learn more about its history in the community. While you’re there, make sure you take part in the following activities with the family.
Visit the Animals
Wheeler Farm has chickens, turkeys, horses and more. Typically, they offer demonstrations for cow milking and allows guests to try it for $1. However, since the farm’s milk cow has been facing some health concerns lately, they’re currently milking goats.
“The kids actually really love the goats, because they’re a more-manageable, not-very-intimidating size compared to the kids,” says Sara Roach, farm director. “They get an explanation on how it’s done, and then they get to try their hand at it.”
Any kid in a scout uniform can milk a goat (or cow once she’s better) for 50 cents.
Earn Cub Scout Patches
Cub Scouts can earn a Wheeler Farm patch by cleaning litter at the farm, attending a milking session and answering a series of trivia questions about the farm.
(Hint: They can learn the answer on a tour.)
Take a Ride and Go on a Tour
Wagon rides go to the back acres of the farm, where guests can see animal pens and spaces reserved for nature. Rides are $2 for kids and $3 for adults. The farm also has a Cow Train with cars that have a cow motif. Rides are $2 per car.
Tours of the farm’s stunning Victorian farm home, including a collection of more than 6,000 artifacts, are $4 for adults and $2 for kids, and well worth it.
Take the Trails
It’s not uncommon for guests to just visit to stroll the grounds.
Along with a 5K course around its perimeter and boardwalk that takes guests off the beaten path, the farm offers nature trails through woods and wetlands near Little Cottonwood Creek. The trails feel like those you’d find in one of the Wasatch canyons (with the addition of families on wagon rides making their way through the area).
Buy Food at the Farmer’s Market
The Wheeler Farm Sunday Market features 80 to 90 booths offering fresh produce and products made from fresh produce (salsa, anyone?). In addition, food trucks park nearby, and markets usually include entertainment. “It’s a very festive atmosphere,” Roach says. “We have a lot of families, and a ton of dogs, that come and visit the market.”
The market is open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Oct. 27, 2019.
Wheeler Farm is located at 6351 S. 900 East, Murray.
Read more of our family content in our Kid-friendly blog roll.