Many a trip to Mount Rainier has put us through the small towns off Hwy 7 on the south side of the national park. There never seemed to be enough time (or be the right time of day) to stop at the Pioneer Farm Museum in the Ohop Valley, but we always wanted to see it. It’s open to the public on weekends in the spring and fall, and daily in the summer. No reservation are required, and tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for kids.
One of our homeschool groups arranged a tour of the farm just before summer’s end, so we hopped on the list to check it out before we'd have to wait another year to try again.
The group tour started off with a short horse-drawn wagon ride. The kids loved to kick things off with a bang, and our guide, Kim, was really great and funny. We moved to a large replica cabin and got a quick tour of all the options for the kids’ open play: churning butter; grinding corn, wheat, or coffee; using wash boards to do laundry or dulled straight razors for shaven; and playing dress-up with pioneer-style clothes. A large basket of wool was available to practice working it into yarn, and several balls of dough were laid out for kneading practice.
After our time at the cabin was over, we moved across the field to the barn, blacksmith shop, and woodshop. The kids (and adults) were able to milk the cow, fetch eggs, play with Bacon Bits the pig, and jump into a hay pile. Isabella was the last in line to milk the cow, which actually gave her an extra long turn. In the blacksmith shop (with adult supervision), kids could take turns working a horseshoe in the forge, and outside in the woodshop area several saws were laid out for wood chopping and whittling.
Two authentic pioneer cabins and a schoolhouse were also available to tour, but we had to leave early to catch our next activity (see our next review).