Field Trips



Fall School Classroom Field Trips for 2017: A Day of Learning and Fun on the Farm

By reservation only: Reserve Online. Part of our mission at Vala's Pumpkin Patch & Fall Festival is to provide education through entertainment. We now live in a time when many children think milk comes from refrigerators and vegetables are grown in produce aisles. The land that is now Vala's Pumpkin Patch has been a working farm for over 100 years. When school children visit Vala's Pumpkin Patch, we want them to have fun running through the pumpkin fields and visiting our petting corral, but our greatest hope is that they will leave with a greater understanding of agriculture and an appreciation for Nebraska farms.

How It Works

  • A classroom field trip is for children ages 3 to 13 (preschool through 6th grade) enrolled in a public school, private school, preschool, or child day care. At least 10 children, ages 3 and up, and one teacher are required for the school group field trip rate. Teachers must accompany the class.
  • Rates for classroom field trips are available Monday through Friday from 9am to 3:30pm only, when schools are in session.
  • Every field trip option includes a small pumpkin for each child.
  • Only teachers and paid staff members are free. We recommend bringing and wearing your school ID badges while at Vala's Pumpkin Patch.
  • Parent/Adult chaperones or volunteers may pay separately for themselves and any siblings on the day of the field trip at the Admissions Barn. This adult admission price will include a train ride and a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin.  
  • Siblings of your student may attend the field trip if they have your permission. If they are age 3 and over they may pay separately with the parent at the Admissions Barn if you prefer not to include them in your count. Ages 2 and under are free. This admission price will include a train ride and a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin.
  • Same day re-admission policy: Any child, teacher or adult/parent attending during the day may turn in their "admission stickers" for a free same-day wristband to return in the evening (stickers must be exchanged, no exceptions). Note that the train ride must be taken during the day because your school group admission sticker is also your train ticket.
  • A child's season pass may not be used for a classroom field trip, Monday through Friday, 9am to 3:30pm. This is because the cost of the field trip is for lessons and takeaways like pumpkins and apples. A parent accompanying their child on a field trip may choose to use the season pass for their own General Admission by presenting the pass to an admissions cashier. If a parent wishes to ride the train with their child, a train ticket will need to be purchased separately at the admissions window or at the train depot.


  • Use our School Field Trips On-line Reservation Form


    Read about the 4 types of Field Trips below and decide which one fits your objectives. Select the date and time you wish to book. Some time slots may be sold out. If booking several classes at once for the Apple Lesson and Pollination Lesson, you may need to make several separate reservations. See options by selecting a specific date and viewing the availability. Before checking out you will be asked to estimate the number of children, staff, and parents/adults attending. We understand that this is just an estimate and that parents may pay separately from the school.

    You may wish to order school lunches on-line, also. The cost is $4.75 per lunch. You may also order these at a later date or call the reservation office to add this to your reservation. Please order at least 48 hours in advance.

    Make a Reservation Now

    There is a lot to learn at Vala's Pumpkin Patch (allow 1 to 3 hours)!


    Teachers may lead their students:

    • On a hayrack ride to the pumpkin field (30-40 minutes)
    • To the new Egg Scramble play area (big yellow barn south of The Pie Barn
    • To the Big Slide Ride
    • To see the Barnyard Animal Band Show
    • To see the Applewood Play Area near the Apple Barn
    • On the Pumpkin Creek Train Ride
    • On the Barnyard Adventure Ride
    • To see the Pigtucky Derby Pig Races (always a favorite)
    • To see the Pumpkin Eating Dragon Show
    • Through the Storybook Barn
    • Into the Petting Corral and Bunnyville
    • To play in the Corn Wagon Play area
    • To see the educational displays about Honey Bees, Farm Life, Cow Facts, Chickens and Railroads
    • To play on the Great Pumpkin Jump


    • FOUR Great Fall Field Trip Tours to choose from:



      Pumpkin Harvest (Fun for all, ages 3 to 13)


      Offered Friday, September 15th through Tuesday, October 31st, Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.
      This is a teacher-guided experience on the farm with no sit-down lesson. Children take a hayrack ride to the pumpkin fields, pick a pumpkin, and visit all the other activities on the farm. Watch for the “Apple Signs” that signal a teaching opportunity for an on-the-farm lesson. The Apple Education Barn is open for all school groups, with educational displays. Each child will take home a small pumpkin.
      $7.50 per child. Includes Admission, Train Ride, a small pumpkin, all attractions and live shows.
      $11.99 per parent or adult volunteer. Includes Admission, Train Ride, a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin, all attractions and live shows.
      $7.50 for each sibling. Includes Admission, Train Ride, a small pumpkin, all attractions and live shows (babies & 2-year-olds are free).
      FREE for Teachers and Paid School Staff. Includes Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows.


      Apple & Pumpkin Pickin' Combination Fun (Fun for all, ages 3 to 13)


      Offered Friday, September 15th through Friday, October 6th, Tuesday through Friday, 9 am to 3:30 pm.
      Your class will be taken into the Apple Education Barn and then into the apple orchard to learn from our Vala’s Staff Educators about how apples are grown. Children will learn how to pick an apple, the importance of honey bees, how apples grow in the orchard, and other agricultural information appropriate for the developmental level of the class. Only children and their teacher are allowed in the orchard during the apple picking lesson. Parents may tour the Apple Education Barn while they wait. Each child will pick and take home a small bag of apples and a small pumpkin. Allow 30 to 40 minutes for the lesson and orchard experience. You may reserve on-line by choosing a time for the apple education lesson.
      Lesson times available: 9:30am, 10am, 10:30am, 11am, 11:30am, 12pm, 12:30pm, and 1pm
      $8.50 per child. Includes Admission, Train Ride, a bag of apples, a small pumpkin, all attractions and live shows.
      $11.99 per parent or adult volunteer. Includes Admission, Train Ride, a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin, all attractions and live shows.
      $8.50 for each sibling. Includes Admission, Train Ride, a bag of apples, a small pumpkin, all attractions and live shows (babies & 2-year-olds are free).
      FREE for Teachers and Paid School Staff. Includes Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows.

      Calamity Jan's Gem Mining Sluicing Experience (for preschool through 6th Grade)


      Friday, September 15th through Tuesday, October 31st, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 3:30 pm.
      This is a chance for you to give a teacher-guided experience on the farm. You can give your students a hands-on experience "sluicing" for gold and gems like the miners in the old west. Each child will receive their own bag of "mining rough" containing gems and minerals. They will also receive a take-home bag for their gems and a card to identify the various gems and minerals. As the teacher, you may spend as much time as you need conducting the lesson. Your visit also includes seeing the rest of Vala's Pumpkin Patch. Take a free train ride, and pick a small pumpkin from the field. Allow about 1/2 hour for the sluicing experience.
      $9.50 per student. Includes Admission, Train Ride, a bag of gems and minerals (mining rough), a small pumpkin, all attractions and live shows.
      $11.99 per parent or adult volunteer. Includes Admission, Train Ride, a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin, all attractions and live shows.
      $9.50 for each preschool sibling of students. Includes Admission, Train Ride, a bag of gems and minerals (mining rough), a small pumpkin, all attractions and live shows. (Babies and 2-year-olds are free)
      FREE for Teachers and Paid School Staff. Includes Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows.

      It's All About Pollination! (For Preschoolers, age 3 and up, through 6th Grade)


      Offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays in October, this 30-minute educational lesson is taught by honeybee expert Wendy Fletcher, owner of It's All About Bees. Lessons are designed differently for each grade level. Learn about pollination, the importance of bees on the farm, hive behavior, how bees make honey, how honey is collected, and more. See the bees at work in the observational glass bee hive. Students will take home an 8 oz. Honey Bear and small pumpkin. This is science full of fun! Before and/or after the lesson, visit the rest of Vala's Pumpkin Patch, take a train ride, and pick a pumpkin from the field.

      Lesson times vary. Check for available time slots on Tuesdays and Thursdays in October.
      $9.75 per student. Includes Admission, Lesson, Train Ride, small pumpkin, Honey Bear, all attractions and live shows
      $11.99 per parent or adult volunteer. Includes Admission, Train Ride, a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin, all attractions and live shows.
      $9.75 for siblings of students, includes Lesson, Train Ride, Pumpkin, Honey Bear, all attractions and live shows (babies and 2-year-olds are free).
      FREE for Teachers and Paid Staff. Includes Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows.



      Classroom Check-In (If Paying Day of Event)


      Upon arrival one teacher should check in at the Admissions Barn window, pay, and receive the stickers for admission. Please have the other teachers and volunteers unload the children and have them wait near the entrance, but out of the parking lot. A Vala’s staff member will be helping to direct the children to a safe area to wait. After checking in have everyone put on the Vala's Pumpkin Patch sticker. Everyone must be wearing a sticker to pass through the admissions gate and to ride the train. Each child will receive a bag for their pumpkin.

      Quick & Easy Advance Check-In


      Bypass the event day check-in by picking up the admission stickers and pumpkin bags before you arrive for your scheduled field trip. Call or email at least 48 hours in advance to let us know you are coming to pick up your admission stickers and we will have everything ready for you. Bring your purchase order, cash, credit card, or school check. When you arrive on the day of your field trip, with your stickers on, unload, check in with greeter at front entrance, and proceed as a group through the admission gates. The stickers serve as your admission ticket and train ticket. If you have some last minute add-ons or late arrivals, such as parents with siblings, they can pay on their own at the Admissions Barn, at the school group rate, and join the group at a designated time or place. If you need a refund for any child or adult who was not able to attend, simply return the unused stickers to the reservation office (BEFORE you enter the farm) and our staff will change the purchase order or send a refund to the school. All refunds must be processed on the day of your field trip.

      Amount of Time


      School groups may stay until 3:30 pm if time permits. Some groups stay for lunch and other groups stay 2 to 3 hours. The Pigtucky Derby Pig races, with an educational lesson included, lasts 20 minutes and is scheduled every hour on the hour beginning at 11am. The hayride to the pumpkin field lasts about 30 minutes, and is a favorite activity of school children. The Pumpkin-Eating Dragon show begins on the half-hour, starting at 10:30 am. The train ride is about 8 minutes long.

      Lunch


      You may bring in your own lunches, reserve school group lunches when you make your reservation, or buy your lunches at any of the food locations at Vala’s. Our school group lunch is $4.75 per person for your choice of Valentino's Cheese Pizza, a Hot Dog, or a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich. Each meal includes a drink (juice box or milk).


      Homeschooler Days, by reservation only


      Thursday, September 21st; Tuesday, September 26th; Thursday, October 5th; and Tuesday, October 24th



      See the descriptions below to decide which experience fits your objectives. Make your reservation by emailing Lois at reservations@valaspumpkinpatch.com with “Homeschool Reservation” in the subject line. Include the following information:
      Name
      E-mail address
      Phone #
      Grade levels of students
      # of students, ages 3 to 15
      # of parents or adults, age 16 or over
      Date, time, and type of Field Trip you are reserving (see times and descriptions below)
      You may also call 402-332- 4200 to make a reservation and please let us know that you are a Homeschool family or group.

      Parents and their homeschooled children may take advantage of the school group student rates and stay all day and evening. Be prepared to show your HEN card or letter from the State Department of Education. Reservations are required and must be made at least 24 hours in advance. 

      Your reservation for one of the educational tours qualifies you for the discounted educational tour rates. Prices for each child vary according to the type of school tour. All tours include Admission, Train Ride, a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin, all attractions and live shows. By showing the pumpkin coupon, any pumpkin less than 6 pounds is free (about the size of the child’s head).

      Prices for adults and older students, ages 16 and over, are $7.50. Includes Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows. Ages 2 and under are free.

      Homeschool Day Pumpkin Harvest Fun ($7.50)

Thursday, September 21st; Tuesday, September 26th; Thursday, October 5th; and Tuesday, October 24th

      Approximate Arrival Times of 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm
      This event is for homeschooled children, ages 3 to 15. This is a self-guided experience on the farm with no sit-down lesson. Fun and educational, there are over 50 attractions and 3 live shows, all included. Take a hay rack ride to see how pumpkins grow, walk through the Apple Education Barn, and see the educational displays throughout the farm. Have fun on the Jumping Pillows and take a free train ride. Each child will take home a small pumpkin. The cost is $7.50 per child, ages 3 to 15. Parents and students ages 16 and older are also $7.50 per person. Price includes Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows, and a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin for each child ages 3 to 15. Ages 2 and under are free. Because these prices are only for Homeschool families, be prepared to show your HEN card or some other paperwork that identifies you as a Homeschool family.

      Homeschool Day Apple Lesson ($8.50)
      Thursday, Sept. 21st : 1:30pm
      Tuesday, Sept. 26th : 1pm, 1:30pm
      Thursday, Oct. 5th : 1:00pm, 1:30pm

      This event is for homeschooled children, ages 3 to 15. Our Vala's Staff Educators know all about apple growing, the importance of bees for pollination, how to pick apples, and other farm information. Lessons can be adjusted to the age level of the participants. The children will be taken into the Apple Education Barn for a 15-minute lesson. As they are led into the orchard they will be able to see a variety of apple picking and sorting equipment. In the orchard you and the children will see first-hand how apples grow and watch them pick their own apples. Each child will pick and take home a small bag of apples and a small pumpkin. Allow 30 minutes for the lesson and orchard experience. The cost is $8.50 per child, ages 3 to 15. Parents and students ages 16 and older are $7.50 per person. Prices include Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows, and a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin for each child ages 3 to 15. Ages 2 and under are free. Because these prices are only for Homeschool families, be prepared to show your HEN card or other paperwork that identifies you as a Homeschool family when you check in at the Admissions Barn.

      Homeschool Day Pollination Lesson ($9.75)
      Thursday, Oct. 5th 12:00pm

      This event is for homeschooled students, ages 3 to 15. This 30-minute Science lesson is taught by beekeeper Wendy Fletcher, owner of It's All About Bees. The children will learn about pollination, the importance of bees on the farm, hive behavior, how bees make honey, and how honey is collected. Students take home an 8 oz. Honey Bear and a small pumpkin. The cost is $9.75 per student, ages 3 to 15. Parents and students ages 16 and older are $7.50 per person. Prices include Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows, and a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin for each child, ages 3 to 15. Ages 2 and under are free. Because these prices are only for Homeschool families, be prepared to show your HEN card or other paperwork that identifies you as a Homeschool family when you check in at the Admissions Barn.

      Homeschool Day Gem Mine Sluicing

Thursday, September 21st; Tuesday, September 26th; Thursday, October 5th; and Tuesday, October 24th

      11:00am, 11:30am, 12:00pm

      This self-guided, hands-on experience is for homeschooled students, ages 3 to 15. Each student receives a bag of "mining rough" containing gems and minerals. As they use the water sluice, you can teach them about the variety of gems they discover and how the miners of the old west used a sluice to pan for gold. Students are provided with a picture card to identify each type of gem as they are discovered. You may spend as much time as needed to conduct the lesson. Allow 30 to 40 minutes. Your visit also includes over 50 attractions, 3 live shows, and a free train ride. Each student will take home their own bag of gems and a small pumpkin. The cost is $9.50 per child. Parents and students ages 16 and older are $7.50 per person. Prices include Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows, and a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin for each child, ages 3 to 15. Ages 2 and under are free. Because these prices are only for Homeschool families, be prepared to show your HEN card or other paperwork that identifies you as a Homeschool family when you check in at the Admissions Barn.

      Homeschool Day Apples, Pumpkins, and Pollination ($13.99) Thursday, Oct. 5th
      Openings:
      Pollination Lesson: 12 noon
      Apple Lesson: 1:30pm

      This event is for homeschooled students, ages 3 to 15. Combine several science objectives with a fun- filled day at Vala’s. First, at noon report to the Pavilion for a 30-minute Science lesson taught by beekeeper Wendy Fletcher, owner of It’s All About Bees. The children will learn about pollination, the importance of bees on the farm, hive behavior, how bees make honey, how honey is collected, and time to ask questions. Then, at your reserved time of 1:30pm the Vala’s Staff Educators will conduct a 15-minute lesson in the Apple Education Barn classroom. Next, the children will be taken into the orchard where they will learn how apples grow, how to pick an apple, the importance of honey bees, and other farm information appropriate for the developmental level of the class. Your visit also includes over 50 attractions, 3 live shows, and a free train ride. Students take home a small bag of apples, an 8 oz. Honey Bear, and a small pumpkin. The cost is $13.99 per child, ages 3 to 15. Parents and students ages 16 and older are $7.50 per person. Price includes Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows, and a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin for each child ages 3 to 15. Ages 2 and under are free. Because these prices are only for Homeschool families, be prepared to show your HEN card or some other paperwork that identifies you as a Homeschool family.


      Homeschool Check-In:


      Upon arrival follow the directional signs and proceed to the admissions window with your children, pay, and receive the tickets for admission. If you have another adult with you, unload the children and have them wait near the entrance but out of the parking lot. A Vala’s staff member will be helping to direct the children to a safe area to wait. After checking in you will receive a gate ticket and a train ride ticket for each person and a pumpkin coupon for each child.

      Lunches: You may bring in your own lunches or buy your lunches at any of the food locations at Vala’s. Our school lunch special, available only in the Country Bakery, is $4.75 per person for your choice of a slice of Valentino’s Cheese Pizza, a Hot Dog, or a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich, and a drink (juice box or milk). You do not need order in advance, just go through the line and order this school lunch option.

      Home Daycare Days (with less than 10 children), by reservation only


      A home daycare often does not have the minimum of 10 children required to participate in our educational field trips. We have set aside the following days for you to take advantage of our school group rates with less than 10 children. Caregivers and their children may take advantage of the school group student rates and stay all day. Reservations are required and must be made at least 24 hours in advance.

      Wednesdays: September 20th , September 27th , and October 4th

      Approximate Arrival Times of 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm


      Make your reservation by emailing Lois at reservations@valaspumpkinpatch.com with “Home Daycare Reservation” in the subject line. Include the following information:
      Name
      E-mail address
      Phone #
      # of students, ages 3 to 15
      # of parents or adults, age 16 or over
      Date and approximate time of arrival
      You may also call 402-332- 4200 to make a reservation and please let us know that you are a Home Daycare.

      Home Day Care Day Pumpkin Harvest Fun ($7.50)


      This event is for children enrolled in a home day care with less than 10 children, ages 3 to 15. This is a self-guided experience on the farm with no sit-down lesson. Fun and educational, there are over 50 attractions and 3 live shows, all included. Take a hay rack ride to see how pumpkins grow, walk through the Apple Education Barn, and see the educational displays throughout the farm. Have fun on the Jumping Pillows and take a free train ride. Each child will take home a small pumpkin. The cost is $7.50 per child, ages 3 to 15. One adult care-giver is also $7.50 per person. Any parents and students ages 16 and older are $11.99 per person. Prices include Admission, Train Ride, all attractions and live shows, and a coupon for $2.50 off a pumpkin for each child ages 3 to 15. Ages 2 and under are free.

      Home Daycare Check-In:

      Upon arrival the caregiver should go to the Admissions Barn main window with the children, pay, and receive the stickers for admission. If you have another adult with you, unload the children and have them wait near the entrance but out of the parking lot. A Vala’s staff member will be helping to direct the children to a safe area to wait. After checking in have everyone put on the Vala's Pumpkin Patch sticker. Everyone must be wearing a sticker to pass through the admissions gate and to ride the train. The Pumpkin Harvest includes bags for the pumpkins for each child.

      Lunch: You may bring in your own lunches, reserve school group lunches when you make your reservation or buy your lunches at any of the food locations at Vala’s. Our school group lunch is $4.75 per person for Valentino’s Cheese Pizza, a Hot Dog, or a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich, a drink (juice box or milk).

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Location

12102 S. 180th Street | Gretna, NE 68028

Dates & Hours

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