Houston Kids Activities: DEWBERRY FARM

2014 FAMILY FAVORITES, BEHIND THE SCENES & LEGACY 

by Bernadette Verzosa

Editor's Note: New for Fall 2014 - an Ice Cream Parlour offering hand-dipped Blue Bell ice cream. To mark the opening, this year's 8-acre corn maze features the Blue Bell Logo. Other popular attractions on Dewberry Farm include a vintage train, a carousel with antique horses, play areas with zip lines and rope swings, and the Dewberry Barnyard with its farm animals. Nursing moms have access to a comfortable room and diaper changing station, the Nursing Lounge, near all the farm fun. 

 
 
      The bees and butterflies have plenty of flowers to feast on at the cutting garden. The autumn field - a sea of orange, plum and fuschia blossoms - is one of the more tranquil spots on Dewberry Farm. Most other areas of the 100-acre Brookshire farm are abuzz with the sounds of children at play.

        Dewberry Farm, named for the wild dewberries that grow along its fence, opens to the public each fall offering good old-fashioned fun through more than 30 outdoor activities. Many families head straight for a hayride to the pumpkin patch or a joyride on the pedal carts. Others zigzag through the corn maze or visit the barnyard animals.

     "Part of our mission is to give city people and urbanites the chance to reach back to their roots and experience just a little of what their ancestors' daily lives were like," says Larry Emerson, also known as Farmer Dewberry. "Walk through a corn field, feed the goats, listen to the chickens and geese. These are things most of our children and grandchildren may never have the chance to do."

    Dewberry Farm is open to the public on weekends through November 9. On weekdays, the farm only opens for field trips and large groups.     

BEHIND THE SCENES

       Farmer Dewberry and his wife Mary Emerson own and run Dewberry Farm. They have been married for 44 years and they have two grown daughters and two grandsons. Both grew up in West Texas but moved to the Houston area in 1978 (they met at Texas Tech in invertebrate zoology class).

       The duo opened the agricultural wonderland eleven years ago, gradually expanding each season. "We've really grown to love adding and making changes to the farm year after year. We are just not ready to retire and the farm gives us the best of both worlds," explains Farmer Dewberry. "It's hard work through the summer and fall, but we get a little break in the winter months and spring. That break gives us the energy and excitement to keep it going. We love seeing the families come back and visit year after year."

       The Dewville Express is a family favorite. Eighty passengers can board the 6,000-pound replica of the Southern Pacific Railroad's C.P. Huntington locomotive. The vintage train will run on a mile-long track around Dewberry Farm and through its Christmas Tree Forest.

      "I enjoy the creative side, building new attractions, trying to make things run smoother, making the farm more attractive with the landscaping," says Farmer Dewberry. "The new additions help us stay up with the increasing attendance, to spread out the crowd, reduce line waiting time and to make the farm a more enjoyable experience."

   
POPULAR ATTRACTIONS

       A timeless treat is spending time at the Dewberry Barnyard. Kids can feed the goats and watch them walk up and cross their own 20-foot high suspension bridges. Children can marvel at how fast pigs can go at the pig races. They can visit the ponies, rabbits, ducks, chickens and their chicks.  

       Another family favorite around Halloween is "Pumpkin Hollarland," nicknamed "Punkin Hollar," which houses more than 500 lighted artificial pumpkins, carved with a range of scenes and personalities from Cinderella to George Washington. Parents and kids stroll through the shed in darkness to see the intricate and skillful designs (some younger kids may find the dim setting a little scary).

     There are plenty of opportunities to climb, swing and jump with the Zip Lines, Rope Swings and Inflated Hoppers. There are popular play areas like Little Farmersville with rocking horses, rope webs and tricycles, and Fort DewHickey, a play fort made of hewn logs.   

     The happy hum around these play zones is what Mary Emerson enjoys most. "When I hear the sound of the children laughing and having a good time, it does my heart good! The best compliment I can hear is We'll be back," she says.

   
CHRISTMAS & THE FUTURE

        As families enjoy the fresh farm air, Farmer Dewberry hopes the experience leaves a lasting impression on the next generation. "Maybe Dewberry Farm can help them make the connection between a farm and the food they eat and realize just how important agriculture is to their daily lives," he says. "These children will someday be making decisions about preserving land for agriculture and making sure farmers in America can continue to produce the best food supply in the world."

       After pumpkin patch season comes the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The Dewberry Christmas Tree Farm opens on November 28. Families can take a hayride to the Christmas Tree forest, and stroll around to find "The One" for their home. They can choose between four types of trees: Virginia Pine, Arizona Blue Ice, Fraser Fir and Leyland Cypress. For anyone with tree allergies, a Leyland Cypress Christmas tree is a great option because it does not pollinate. It's a sterile hybrid cross between the Monterey Cypress and the Alaskan Cedar.

      For more information on Dewberry Farm, call 281-934-3276 or visit their website www.dewberryfarm.com.
  

 





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