So in my quest for adventure I overlooked a couple of important details…. I am horrible at remembering to take pictures (like thank goodness my mom and sister have been at important childhood milestones!) and the fact that sometimes it gets crazy hot and smokey here.

When we were all enduring the 100-plus degrees outside, the window of venturing outdoors shrank considerably! You know what I mean — it’s a race to get up, get out the door, get where you are going, play and scram by noon — if your lucky. Hot kids at my house =  CRANKY kids! And the dangerous air quality made it just plain unsafe to spend much time romping around outdoors, even swimming and bike riding became questionable activities. Soooooo… after a week of fort building (inside), a couple of playdates (inside), movies, baking (in August!), and endless reading of Harry Potter — we needed out, out, out!!!!

We packed up the equally cooped-up cousins, hit Hwy, 2 west and headed for Smallwood’s in Leavenworth. I drive by Smallwood’s several times a week on my way to work in Leavenworth, but of course never stop. It’s a landmark for folks that breaks up the drive from Leavenworth and Wenatchee. In my memory it is just a little family fruit stand, but of course, now it’s a full-fledged destination for folks visiting the area from the west side or beyond. They have a great map at the kiosk of the globe where folks place push pins and the kiddos love to check it out. It’s a big world!

Nowadays, in addition to a store filled with goodies like jams, wine, mustards, candy and produce (that we don’t peruse — hello! We have six boys with us!) they boast a pretty extensive outdoor area filled with activities. There is a little “race track” for riding bikes, tractors to sit on, LOTS of nice grassy area to run around in, fun little games, and… the animals! This was (and always is) a huge hit with the kids. Little bags of feed can be purchased six for $5, or a buck a piece, and then they delight in the nibbles and nudges of llamas, donkeys, goats, emu, chickens, pigs (that are fed through a tube) and more. It is very “zooish”, but it does offer some great observation into animal (and kid) behavior.

This was the first time that I had ever wandered up the semi-hidden path that leads up to a little duck pond, and it was our lucky day! We met a mama duck with a whole passel of little ducklings, which delighted all the little folks! The view is pretty nifty, too from up top looking out towards the Wenatchee River and on this day a train that was passing by. (what kid doesn’t like trains?) On the weekends they have a little tractor ride that is super fun and once fall hits they open up a harvest, Halloween style maze and shoot off pumpkin cannons. I really like the nursery that is there- gorgeous plants- and the latte stand was pretty hoppin’ while we were there.

Pluses: A good place for even the littlest punkins, lots of room to explore and romp around getting some energy out, and it’s about the right amount of time to make it worth the drive, yet not kill the whole day. You could even do this after school if the bigger kids want to go. Downside: It can get super busy with tourists! Weekday visits are highly recommended. I would also recommend bringing your own drinks and snacks as buying from the store there can get pricey.

Now as we roll into some awesome weather (starting to feel like fall!) I think the trail beckons once more….