Places to Explore

Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park

Ever since Christmas, when our family first moved to Springfield and took a drive through the Rutledge-Wilson Farm Community Park’s light display, I’ve been intrigued and have wanted to come back in the warmer weather and explore. I finally packed up the girls, a picnic lunch and a camera, and we made our way to the farm.

The first thing the girls noticed when we drove in was the playground, which looks like a barn and silo with slides poking out from all sides. The signs on the equipment said that it was for ages 5-12, but my younger kids still did okay. There were a few parts that the two-year-old couldn’t do on her own (and a really fast slide that left her a little traumatized and with a mark on her cute little cheek), but otherwise it is possible for younger kids to play and still have fun, even though the equipment is larger than the average playground. There are things to climb up, slides to slide down, and tunnels to crawl through. Plus, it’s pretty clean and set on a non-dirt/grass surface, which makes it easier to get around, especially if you have a stroller. By the way, I think there is only one parking lot, and it’s in between the pond/playground and the animals/gift shop, so there’s really no bad place to park.

We took a short walk to the animals (across the parking lot from the playground). Before we got to them, there was a big cow statue (Irene the Dairy Queen) that I think was supposed to be able to be “milked” but didn’t really work when we saw her. There were also tractors that the kids can sit on, which provided some fun entertainment for a little while. There were fenced pens that held goats, sheep, miniature horses, cows, chickens and a rooster. You could pet them at your own risk. My kids are too scare to even remotely think about petting a live animal unless it’s my in-law’s cat, so we didn’t have to worry about getting nipped, but I suppose there is that possibility. Some of the animals were close to the sides of the pens, but most were just sitting or walking in the middle and didn’t seem too interested in coming close for us to touch them anyway. 

Off to the side of the animal area is a barn with stalls where I’m assuming the animals go at night. There were elementary-aged kids cleaning the stalls while we were there – I think they were part of a camp – and a classroom area that looked like it was ready for kids to sit and learn. FYI, there are several fun (and inexpensive!) weeklong summer camps for ages 4-12 at this farm, so I think I might try to sign my oldest up for one of them next year. Maybe it will help her get over her fear of larger-than-cat-sized animals…

We stopped in the little office/gift shop. When I say little, I mean little. I was actually surprised how tiny it was. But there is a lot of information about events at the farm, a friendly face if you have questions, and some cute farm-themed, reasonably-priced things to buy.

Finally, there was a beautiful little pond that we stopped at for a snack. There’s no sidewalk or trail to get to it, but you can walk across the grass and find a place to walk or sit. You can rent fishing poles for catch-and-release fishing (there were several people fishing when we visited).

Lastly, you can also rent several fun things if you want to have a party at the farm: the cow train (my daughter was a little obsessed with the cow train), bonfire time, the classroom, animal meet and greets, and a bounce house. 

All in all, this was an adorable place for a little adventure. We spent about two unguided hours there with toddlers, so you might do a little more or less, but it’s not a large place. Unless you’re spending time fishing or taking a class, you only need a short morning or afternoon. But even for someone like me, a suburban girl who doesn’t even have a pet, I really enjoyed the time we were there.

What You Need to Know:

  • Ages: All ages
  • FREE
  • Hours:  9:00 am – 5:00 pm (September – April: Closed on Mondays)
  • Address: 3825 W Farm Road 146, Springfield
  • Phone: 417-837-5949
  • Website for more information





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