Posted Oct 02, 2018
We sent two of our MOM Squad ambassadors and their families to Winterbrook Farms Fall Festival and Corn Maze in Thurmont, MD. They received free admission in exchange for providing an honest review of their experiences.
Getting There and Getting In:
Allison: It took us approximately 35 minutes to reach Winterbrook Farm from Clarksburg, Maryland. There was plenty of free parking available. The farm was not crowded and parking near the entrance was easily accessed. We arrived 15 minutes after the farm opened. We waited 3-5 minutes to get our wrist bands and maps of the corn mazes.
Lindsay: We were coming from Springfield,VA, which was an estimated time of 1 hour, 20 minutes. Unfortunately, there was some road construction on I-270, so it actually took us about two hours. I will definitely remember to check traffic and construction alerts next time. They have a free parking lot right in front of the ticket booth entrance. When it starts to get busier you may need to park in a field next to the lot but there will be parking attendants to assist you. We had no line and no trouble getting in. This is the first year they have partnered with CertifiKID, so they hadn’t worked with the vouchers before, but I’m sure as the season continues the process will be very smooth.
Recommended Age Range:
Allison: My children are 4 and 6 years old. There are a wide variety of activities at the farm and any child, toddlers to teenagers, will enjoy their visit. We spent 3 hours at the farm.
Lindsay: My children are 18 months and 4-years old. They have activities for all ages so I think toddlers through tweens would enjoy the farm. They are open late and have late night corn maze activities and bonfires, which would probably interest teenagers.
Recommended Time to Enjoy Experience:
Allison: I would budget anywhere from 2-4 hours to enjoy all of the activities.
Lindsay: We explored the farm for about four hours, which included eating lunch. I think most families would stay at least 4 hours, but could probably spend most of the day there if they were trying to complete the entire corn maze and take a trip to the pumpkin patch, in addition to all the other activities.
Special Features for Families:
Allison: There is a special "Little Farmers" section in the barn for children under 4-feet tall. Portable restrooms and hand washing stations are available in the barn area.
Lindsay: I think the most unique amenity is that it is dog friendly. There were many families that brought their dogs along and I think that enables families to stay and play even longer.
Food and Drinks:
Allison: Food and drinks can be purchased on-site at very reasonable prices. The farm allows outside food and drink, so consider bringing snacks to save money (although our smoked turkey sandwiches, fries, and apples with caramel dip were delicious!).
Lindsay: The farm has a concession stand with a number of different sandwich options like pulled pork and smoked turkey, as well as some sides like french fries and kettle corn. You are also able to bring in food and they have a large covered area with picnic tables that are available on a first come, first served basis.
Features & Activities:
Allison: The farm includes several corn mazes, a pumpkin patch (we did not ride the train to the patch), apple cannons, farm animals, slides, a "moo-choo" train, tetherball, cornhole, tractor tires and hay bales for climbing, round bale rollers, a trike track, zip lines, and other games (pin the tail of the donkey, baseball pitch, basketball shooting, football throwing, lassos, etc.). My daughter enjoyed the "bee line" (zipline) most and my son enjoyed the activities (swings, bouncy balls, duck races, etc.) in the Little Farmers area. I enjoyed the variety of activities that kept the kids engaged for hours. I also enjoyed the concessions and there was lots of seating available to eat what you purchased or brought with you.
Lindsay: There are more than 20 activities at Winterbrook Farms, which means there is always something else to check out. Some of the highlights include the barn where you can pet and/or feed some of the animals likes the goats, sheep, horses and donkeys. There are also pot-bellied pigs, Scottish Highland Cows, chickens and bunnies.
They also have games like corn hole, tether ball, and tug of war, as well as a baseball, basketball and football throwing station.
There is a bee (zip) line, two types of slides, a bunch of different ride-on toys for kids and adults and a moo choo train ride.
They host Maryland’s largest corn maze and if you make it to all 18 checkpoints through 7.1 miles of trail you could win free tickets to next year’s Fall Festival. Thankfully, they also have a separate Kid’s Maze for families with littles that is only .3 miles.
In addition to some of the outdoor activities for little kids, they also have an area in the ‘barn’ between the picnic tables and the animals, which has other activities for little farmers like a small hay bail mountain, some tractor and horse tire swings, and a corn ‘sandbox’.
In addition to all of the activities included with admission, there are a couple of extras. They have a pumpkin patch, which can be reached by hayride and pumpkins are $0.50 per pound. Unfortunately, due to the extremely muddy conditions the pumpkin patch was closed on the day we visited. Luckily, they had a truck full of pumpkins so we were still able to bring a few home.
They also have apple cannon blasters, which is a must do in our family. They have a tank, an old car and some stacks of barrels for targets and the boys had tons of fun with the help of their grandparents.
I really enjoyed the number of activities available in close proximity to each other. Since my kids are smaller they still like to be held when there is a lot of walking involved, but with everything so close (but not cramped) it was easier for them to walk around without complaint. My youngest son loved all the animals, especially the goats. I think he is finally getting used to bigger animals and he could have fed them all day. My four year old loved the corn maze, the bee line and the ride-on toys.They really had something for everyone.
Winterbrook Farms also has opportunities to rent a space for a birthday party inside the barn or to have a campfire space in the field.
Allison: The farm is located in Thurmont, just outside Frederick, Maryland. I would recommend a stop for lunch and shopping in downtown Frederick on the way home. The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo is also located in Thurmont and is worth a visit.
Lindsay: The farm is only about 15 miles north of Frederick, so there are a lot of opportunities of things to do in the city. I didn’t really notice anything close by as it was mostly farms until you get to US 15.
Tips for Families:
Allison: The ground was wet from the recent rain and some spots were muddy, so don't forget rubber boots. There are hand washing stations in the barn, but if you have little ones, you may also want to carry hand sanitizer and/or wipes as the children will play in sand, hay, etc.
Lindsay: The farm does allow outside food and there are lots of tables available, so it is definitely worth packing a lunch, though their concession food is also yummy and not terribly expensive. The bathrooms are port-a-potties but they were very clean and they do have a hand washing station in addition to hand sanitizer. I didn’t ask, but I did not see a designated baby-changing area so families with infants should just be aware.
Would Your Family Visit Again?
Allison: We would consider visiting this location again as the admission price is very reasonable and it was not crowded so we did not have to wait in lines for the activities. The staff was very friendly as well.
Lindsay: We really enjoyed our day at Winterbrook Farms and I definitely think we will come back again. We arrived pretty close to when they opened and it was not very crowded, which was great.
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