We’ve had an artificial tree since always, so this was our first time at an actual tree farm. Holiday Acres is one such farm in Manvel, Texas that opens its grounds to homeschooling families on a certain day of the year. Thankfully, despite my own aversion to tree-chopping, we found plenty to enjoy here this day!
Web Site Link: Holiday Acres Homeschool Day
Description: Via web site – “Come away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Breathe the clean air. Sit by a campfire. Go for a walk. Run and play. Ride on a hay wagon. Pet the animals. Cut down your own Christmas tree. This Christmas, come to Holiday Acres… Homeschool Day is exclusively for homeschooling families, so that the children have the opportunity to meet other homeschooled students, and the parents can also meet and learn from one another.”
Location: 9029 Mustang Bayou Rd., Manvel, TX 77578
Hours: Open Fri. Dec 11th from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for Homeschool Day. Check the calendar for available dates to schedule other field trips. Normal business hours for tree-buying customers are Thurs. – Sat. from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fee: $5 + tax (total $5.34) per child over the age of 3. Homeschooler adults are free.
Food: Feel free to bring your own picnic lunch and snacks (keep in mind that table space is limited). Soft drinks, candy, and water are available for purchase.
Bathrooms: Two porta-potties and a trailer fixed with extra toilets.
Contact Them: (281) 756-9120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other: The park isn’t normally open to the public without prearranged paid reservation, but no reservations are required on Homeschool Day. The web site encourages: “Come as a group or come as a family – Come when you like and leave when you like!”
Photos & Feelings
MaiTai wanted to bring these belts to the farm, which he wears like a Texas-style winter stole. It is December, after all.
We paid our admission at the desk where you can also purchase your souvenirs, wreaths, ornaments, mulling spices, candy, s’mores materials, and such.
Next to the main barn you can grab a cup of hot cider or hot cocoa. It was toasty enough outside today, but it’s the thought that counts…
A view from the top of this mound is a great vantage point for seeing all the farm has to offer, all the way from the parking lot on one side to the tree farm on the other.
MaiTai spent a lot of time on this hill. Climbing up, running down, dragging a plastic sled up and scooching himself off the ledge down into the hay below.
The farm has a petting zoo, of course: a few goats and two apparently starving Shetland ponies who couldn’t get enough of all the grass being fed to them by tiny human child fingers.
There were plenty of cool things to look at, question, and even manipulate in some cases. Rumbling tractors… a wood/hay dig that didn’t really work and we spent a few minutes postulating as to why (ah, bucket too tall)… big tires for all the jumping… fire pits for all the firing…
All activities were open throughout the day. Among the spontaneously organized events of interest: Dressing scarecrows, potato sack racing, exploring the natural playground (which featured log swings, tree climbing, giant hay bale romping, etc), and picnicking.
A tractor came around every so often to fill up with passengers for a hay ride through the tree farm.
The driver stopped a few times to talk to us about the different kinds of trees. I couldn’t hear him over the tractor engine, but he clipped off various branches to pass around so we could at least learn through the sense of feel.
At one point, MaiTai noticed a baby across from us nursing. He smiled and tapped on my shoulder, pointing at my belly.
“A baby!” he whispered excitedly.
Then he noticed the woman next to her was pregnant, too. Without hesitation he lifted up my shirt to expose my bare belly, pointed at the woman and my belly back and forth, hoping we’d make the shared connection too.
“Yes, she has a baby in her belly just like me!” I said.
Tips for visiting:
- Google Maps doesn’t give accurate directions so just follow the real-life signs as best as you can.
- Wear closed-toed shoes!
- There is hay and pine everywhere. Take whatever necessary precautions if considering to bring kids who have allergies.
- You can bring whatever you want to roast on the fire. Think outside the box of s’mores! I heard someone attempted to roast tamales today?