New Events and Family Favorites Mark Purina Farms' 2023 Season

For three decades, families have flocked to Purina Farms every April for its annual springtime event where kids and pups could play the day away. But this year, with its new Bark ‘N Bloom celebration on April 7 and 8, Purina Farms is bringing a pet-centric spin to the family fun. Sure, there are still plenty of activities for your kiddos to enjoy and explore, but now their furry brothers and sisters can also have a ball!

“We have a dedicated following that loves our events at Purina Farms and come year after year,” said Bailie Kleekamp, programming assistant for Purina Farms. “What we’ve experienced through surveys we send out after every event is that people want more things to do with their dogs. It’s really from this feedback that we’re ‘dialing up the dogs’ this year. That means we’re introducing more pet-friendly events and putting a dog-focused twist on many of our activities, but still keeping the  springtime tradition alive.”

Bark ‘N Bloom captures the spirit of previous events by featuring family favorites, including pony rides, bounce houses, face painting, wagon rides, balloon artists, petal-inspired crafts, and up-close encounters with farm animals. Kids can also check out the hay play area in the animal barn, watch dogs show off their skills at the Incredible Dog Show, and get a photo with Peter Rabbit himself (pups, too!). Your family can even grow your pack by meeting adorable, adoptable dogs at the Pet Center.

Even though your kids may be busy all day, that doesn’t mean your dog will be left sitting and sniffing along the sidelines. Instead, they’ll dig the new and enhanced activities designed for them. Bark ‘N Bloom includes a sampling of dog sports, including agility activities and Run, Rabbit, Run lure coursing, as well as a pet talent show and a variety of special interest stations.

Bark ‘N Bloom runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8. (The event has sold out as of April 4.) A $20 per car parking fee includes free admission and giveaways while helping to support partner animal welfare organizations.

A must-visit for families

Bark ‘N Bloom is the kick-off to Purina Farm’s 2023 season and the introduction to its newly renovated Visitors Center, which is home to fun-filled exhibits and programs from April through October.

Also unveiling this season is Chickentopia, which Kleekamp describes as “a glorious playground for chickens,” and Chicken Chat when guests can learn more about raising their own flock at home. A brand-new kids’ play area will be available to explore and a variety of farm residents, including two adorable Valais Blacknose sheep, will be on hand to welcome guests. Finally, because Purina Farms is pet-focused, it has partnered with rescue organizations from the region to present the Partner Pet Showcase, spotlighting an adoptable dog, cat, or even barn animal each day.

Be sure to mark your calendar for special events at Purina Farms over the next few months. On June 17 and 18 and August 26 and 27, the Dog Day Out event will allow guests and pets to try out a variety of dog-centric sports, and if interested, connect with training organizations to master their skills on the course. In addition, Purina Farms is working to enhance the visitor experience at the 26th annual Incredible Dog Challenge National Championship and planning its two holiday events – Howl-o-ween Fest from October 27-29 and the Pet-acular Holiday Bazaar December 2 and 3.

“At Purina Farms, we want families and pets to have a fun time when they’re here,” Kleekamp remarked. “Our main goal is for them to have a great experience, learn something new, and be exposed to dog-centric sports and activities they can all do together. And ultimately, to have trust in our company to provide the same great experience for their pets through Purina nutrition.”

Purina Farms will be open to the public mid-April to October from 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. every Wednesday – Sunday. To stay in the know about upcoming events, visit www.purina.com/purina-farms, check the STL Parent Things To Do calendar, or follow Purina Farms on Facebook or Instagram.

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Metro East mom Nicole Plegge has written for STL Parent for more than 12 years. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL 

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