Your family has been cooped up for months at home, hiding away from the icy, cold weather. So, when you can finally turn off the Netflix and emerge into the sunshine, you deserve to celebrate with one of the biggest celebrations of spring in the St. Louis region!
On April 13, Purina Farms in Gray Summit reopens for the season, and from April 15-16, it plays host to the much-anticipated Springtime Village. This annual event is packed with activities, games, and live entertainment that will thrill your kids – both human and furry – with non-stop fun and tire them out for the rest of the day (You’re welcome, parents!).
Springtime Village, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days, features traditional kid-friendly favorites, such as a baby animal petting zoo, the Bubble Bus, inflatables, and visits with costumed characters. Be sure to catch the Purina Incredible Dog Team performances throughout the weekend to see local canines demonstrate their amazing agility skills, and dance the day away with performances from Babaloo on Friday and Rusty Pliers on Saturday.
And of course, no springtime event is complete without an egg hunt. Your little ones can hitch a wagon ride to scope out goodies left by Peter Rabbit as well as participate in a Golden Egg Grab to try and win a $50 gift card.
Because it’s Purina Farms, your dog can get in on the action, too! During the Doggie Sniff ‘N Search “Egg Hunt,” on Saturday, April 16, dogs will be let loose in their own version of heaven – a field of thousands of spring-colored tennis balls they can sniff through. If your dog’s nose lands on one of the cheese-scented balls, your pup will be entered into a raffle to win pet-themed prizes for a job well done.
There will be three sessions that day, and dogs will be divided by size. The Doggie Sniff ‘N Search also features additional games for pets and their human friends, a vendor fair, and goody bags.
Springtime Village admission is $15 per car, and advanced registration is encouraged. The Doggie Sniff ‘N Search is $25 per car – which includes entry into Springtime Village – and $10 for each additional dog. Two dollars of every registration fee will be donated to Longmeadow Rescue Ranch and Franklin County Humane Society. Registration is now open!
More excitement arriving in 2022
Springtime Village is just the kick-off to a year of fun at Purina Farms. On Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., families can bring their dogs to Responsible Pet Owners Day for low-cost vaccinations, microchipping, nail trims, and other services from local vet clinics, rescue agencies, and dog clubs. Customizable pet I.D. tags will also be available at a discounted price. You must pre-register to attend.
“A lot of pet owners take advantage of this event,” said Samantha Dvorak, senior manager for Purina Farms operations. “It’s a great opportunity to take care of your pet at a minimal cost. We see many of our families come year after year, which we love.”
Purina Farms also invites families to check out its updates in 2022, including a new ensemble of animals to visit with, a training video exhibit, and exciting new tricks featured during the Purina Incredible Dog Team performances. Over the past year, the Remember Me Forever Memorial Fence, Purina Farms’ version of a love locks bridge, has become a must-see for guests. The attraction allows you to honor your best friend or memorialize them if they’ve crossed over the Rainbow Bridge by purchasing a dog tag with their name at the Purina Farms gift shop or by bringing their old tag with you, either of which you can hang on this special fence.
As Purina Farms wraps up their 2022 season, they’re preparing for an even bigger, better 2023. Starting in October, the Visitors Center will undergo a complete renovation that will make families’ experiences even more engaging and educational.
“The whole goal of Purina Farms is to help visitors understand why pets and people really are better together,” Dvorak remarked. “Having a pet truly enriches your life as much as it does the pet’s. When you have a buddy by your side, it makes a difference in how you feel. They take your stress level down, they make you laugh – there are so many different ways that pets make our lives better, and we want people to see that.”
Purina Farms’ Visitor Center’s operating hours are Wednesdays through Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day, and admission is free. For all the latest information, visit the Purina Farms website.
Photo courtesy of Purina Farms
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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