It Has to Be Spring!

We’ve been waiting, maybe not so patiently, and this weekend it feels and looks like spring. Papa had to stop and notice there is more than a hint of green in the lawns at the pumpkin patch.

green is peaking throughNow is the time of year when we have serious conversations about what varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds we will plant; where we should locate the corn maze; and we’ve even been talking about offering additional late-season vegetables for 2014.

A great deal depends on our growing season and whether spring is really here to stay. After all, it IS North Dakota and we’ve been known to have early springs and late blizzards! Papa is hopeful he can pull out the tractors and begin to work the fields in the next few weeks.

We’ve been holding monthly “dream sessions” throughout the winter, and the list of ideas for new activities, expanded services and a couple of really out-there possibilities make the whole family anxious to see what comes together.

Papa will be posting more often as he gets back outdoors. Just like you, the longer days and warmer temps are calling!

Take good care and enjoy Easter,


Have you got a set of jenga blocks?

jenga blocksFebruary certainly isn’t pumpkin season but that doesn’t stop Papa from planning for 2014. Recently he started visiting elementary classes to learn from the students and share some interesting ideas about Papa’s Pumpkin Patch.

What he could really use is about another 500 jenga blocks for his classroom visits. If you happen to have a set of jenga blocks (even if it’s incomplete), Papa would love to hear from you because what he’s looking for is mass quantities of building blocks. You see, jenga blocks are the same proportions as the large straw bales he uses to build bale structures for play at Papa’s.

This winter, Papa is visiting classrooms armed with jenga blocks and other unique ideas to inspire students to use their math, science and creative skills as they think about how they would like activities at Papa’s Pumpkin Patch to be structured.

“During one visit we had students building skyscraper bale towers,” Papa said. “They wanted to be able to see all around the pumpkin patch. That was a great idea they modified once they understood we can only have a two-bale high jump in any given structure so it is safe for everyone to enjoy.

“Their ideas also teach me about their values when they visit Papa’s. They want to be able to see; they want to be able to play in ways adults don’t think about because we don’t play nearly enough. Our children are great teachers.”

Papa will visit several classes this spring and incorporate interesting, real-life learning opportunities for the students, while he also gains a greater understanding of what’s important for outdoor play to be fun…through the eyes of children.

If you have jenga blocks you’d be willing to donate or sell to Papa, please contact him at .

Take good care,


Papa’s Polar Patch Is Closed for the Weekend

triple sled headerBoth the temperatures and the wind chills are in the negatives today so Papa’s Polar Patch will be closed Saturday, Jan. 4. The forecast looks the same (or colder) for Sunday as well.

We’ve had requests to be open additional weekends this winter. We certainly have the snow for it; the winter weather is our challenge. We will keep you posted on our plans.

We visited this morning like we do most every Saturday morning and shared some of our favorite memories from this year’s polar patch season. Always at the top of the list is when we have multi-generational families join us. Yesterday is a good example.

Grandpa was clearly the instigator in an all-out snowball battle over the Papa’sville play structures. There were multiple adults and children taking defensive positions and firing away at one another. Thirty minutes later, they were snow-covered and full of smiles!

boy sliding down hillThe zip line into a snow pile was another fav this season. The number of children who came skiing into the snow and rolled right up the snow hill was only exceeded by the number of giggles from parents and nearby adults who enjoyed the show.

Most everyone who visited Papa’s took time for a horse-drawn sleigh ride. The snow was perfect for the skis to glide along behind driver Chase’s big white and black team. The ride was an awesome way to enjoy the wintry outdoors.

And the old-fashioned sled rides. This year, we used single, double and triple sleds for some incredibly wild and crazy rides. Without a doubt, the craziest ride of the season was a test run with Papa behind the wheel and his sister and nephew on two of the three sleds we run as a triple sled ride. (Note: Papa had been waiting and planning this ride and he could hardly wait to give his sister a really big surprise!)

Papa came around some bales out in the field and headed back toward the big red barn. Unknown to his sister, there was a huge pile of leaves covered with snow that was coming up. Papa planned his route to send her right through them.

_MG_1020Unknown to Papa, his sister remembered Papa hauling several loads of manure from the barn out to the field. As she saw the pile of snow coming up and knew she was going over it, she was sure Papa was sending her into a great big pile of you-know-what from the barn! When she hit the pile, and since it was leaves, she went more through it than over it and there was an instant blanket of dark brown that covered her and her sled.

For just an instant, she was certain she was covered in you-know-what! Papa had to stop the run he was laughing so hard. The nephew was in the sled immediately behind his mom and he fell off laughing because he saw the whole thing from behind.

Once she realized it was only leaves, the name calling turned to laughter for all three!

Papa and the family are grateful to share memories and their winter wonderland with so many friends and families. Stay warm in the days to come!

Take good care,


WOOT! WOOT! Papa’s Polar Patch Is Open!!

It’s Friday, Jan. 3. It’s supposed to hit 40 degrees today. And Papa’s Polar Patch is (finally) open!

boy on blue sled headerThere is a blizzard warning starting at 6 pm tonight so if there’s any chance to have some fun at the polar patch, it’s this afternoon. The warming house will be toasty; the horse-drawn sleigh rides will be out and about; there’s a new pile of snow at the base of the zip line; and we have fresh snow for the old-fashioned sled rides. It should be awesome!

Papa’s Polar Patch is open 12-5 pm. Admission is $5/person and your admission includes two tickets to use for the sleigh rides (2 tickets/ride), sled rides (1 ticket/ride) or concessions.

We hope to see you this afternoon!


Closed Thursday; Gearing Up for Final Friday!

girls playig in snowPapa’s Polar Patch is closed Thursday, Jan. 2 due to frigid temperatures that will change drastically overnight. Only in North Dakota can we go from -20 below one morning (today) to 20 degrees above zero 24 hours later!

That’s right. The forecast is for 40 degrees above zero by Friday afternoon, and then it looks cold again over the weekend. That means Friday may be our final day of the Papa’s Polar Patch season.

If you haven’t had a chance to get outside and play with us yet, we hope you can adjust your schedule and make time for a visit on Friday!

We hope to see you Friday,