Dadding at Snead's Asparagus FarmOct 20, 2021 06:00AM ● By Matthew Jones
It’s official, people: fall is here. And fall means pumpkin patches and PSLs, at least if you want to believe my wife’s pajama shirts. I can’t speak for PSLs, but for pumpkin patches, you can’t go wrong with my favorite fall family fun spot, Snead’s Asparagus Farm.
My family took our first trip of the season a couple of Saturdays ago. It was a beautiful fall day, sunny and mid-70s. We loaded up the car and headed out to Sneads, about 15 minutes east of downtown Fredericksburg. I pulled up and paid our 36 bucks—$12 per person on a weekend during their fall festival, with kids 2 and under free. It’s a bit pricey, but you really get a good bang for your buck if you plan to spend at least a couple of hours there. It’s $9 per person on weekdays, but I work full time so can’t make it then.
Into the woods
There’s lots of great stuff for children around my kids’ ages (Benny 4, and Lily a rambunctious 18 months). Any kid who likes running, jumping, climbing, sliding, swinging, exploring, and getting really dirty will find lots to do at Snead’s. We struck out for the closest area and my personal favorite. It's a little pine grove with winding paths, swings, benches, and a big wooden teepee for the kids to hide in. It's packed with more whimsy than you can shake a sculpture of repurposed farm equipment at.
Benny and Lily had a blast wandering around the paths and crawling through the huge plastic tunnel running out the back of the teepee. It’s a lovely spot, as a parent; my wife Juliann and I could gently swing on some swings while keeping an eye on the kids no matter where they ran in the area. As a dad, one of my great joys is relaxing somewhere while I get to watch my kids explore and have fun.
Slide on down
Relaxing is great. No doubt. But my favorite part of being a dad is getting myself up, playing with my kids at their level, and getting a glimpse of the joy that they get from play. And Snead’s delivers tons of opportunities for that! And I always, ALWAYS join in for: The Big Slides. Yes, ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, these beauties are 50 feet of speed, fun, and a whole laundry load’s worth of dirt.
Again and again, Benny begged me, “Daddy, slide with me!” and I was happy to oblige. I went down with him, him and Lily (who was not a fan), then him and his cousin Venus. I even went by myself a couple of times because YES, I’m going to go by myself. All the kids went down over and over and climbed back up the dirt hills. They sometimes slid down those dirt hills too—I don’t understand kids sometimes.
... And so much more
There were plenty of other spots we hit up that captured the kids' attention. There’s the little courtyard in front of the main farmhouse filled with pedal cars—Lily LOVED that. Lots of nice shady benches there too for the adult types. Beyond that is a big wood playhouse that Benny and Venus disappeared into for 10 minutes. They reappeared later on the big pile of sand next to it, digging with toys and shovels. There's plenty of food for sale, and we availed ourselves of an absurdly large bag of kettle corn, which we all happily snacked on the whole time. We all went on the hayride around the pumpkin patch—unlimited free rides during their fall festival!
There was still a ton to do that we didn’t get to this time. There’s a big decommissioned army helicopter that the kids can get in and play in—always a big hit. There are horses, sheep, and chickens to pet. There’s a creek they can play in, and a bunch of swings and slides next to it, including a rope swing across the creek. There’s a full kitchen with hot dogs and burgers and the like, which is good if you’re there during lunch. (FYI they don’t allow outside food during the weekend.) And you can’t forget the hay barn with big rope swings.
All in all, Snead’s is a delightful place to go and take your kids, either during the week or on a weekend. I highly recommend it!
Snead’s Asparagus Farm 18294 Tidewater Trail Fredericksburg, Virginia 22408 sneadsfarm.com