On a late Sunday afternoon, earlier this month, my friend Adam and I stopped at Wilke’s Dairy Farm in Wausau, Wisconsin. We were not on a mission for milk, cheese or anything dairy related, despite the fact I am a cheesehead!
Our mission on that day was pumpkins, corn mazes and hay rides! Wilke Farms run 4 separate enterprises, including the seasonal Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch.
As we pulled into the designated parking lot at Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, we did not see any marked spots for disabled customers. The parking lot is a field and we had no issues parking and making our way into Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. However, we happened to go during a time it was not busy. If the parking lot was full, this really would have been an issue and would have posed a risk for me. Wheelchairs are hard to see, especially in a busy parking lot. Designated spots close to the business entrance reduces these risks and are much appreciated.
There is a cost associated with the haunted house, corn maze and hay ride. We decided to do the hay ride only. The employee at Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch did not charge for Adam because he was my caregiver. This was so appreciated. Some wheelchair users are unable to go without a caregiver, it was awesome that Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch recognizes that!
We embarked on our hay riding adventure! To accomplish this, the tractor operator at Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch laid down a large ramp, with Adam’s help, over the tractor steps. I rolled right up and WAHLA! I was on the hayride! VROOM! VROOM! Off we went! On the ride, we zoomed…ok, we rolled…past a spooky array of skeletons, reapers, scream faces and much more. The decorations that caught my eye waere a bloody teddy bear and a banjo playing skeleton with red eyes. Thankfully, there was a mixture normalcy in this wooded terror world, as we saw horses, donkeys, and cows as well.
This was just the tip of the iceberg, as I’ve heard the haunted version (from 7pm-10pm) is way scarier! That’s when the costumed impersonators of terror jump on board to ride with you! I much prefer this gentler version!
My scoliosis usually makes bumpy rides like this painful. However, going during the day at Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, when things are slower made it much more pleasurable. I am glad Adam talked me into it! After the “spooktacular” ride, we picked out a pumpkin. Both Adam and I picked out pumpkin pie pumpkins, which are larger, rounder pumpkins. We chose these because my mom promised a “Dinner in a Pumpkin”, a recipe she used to make when I was younger.
I noticed the popcorn and it smelled delicious! If I had not eaten before arriving at Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, I would have taken advantage of the reasonably priced snacks!
After the pumpkin patch, we visited the goats. Adam, who comes to Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch regularly has become fond of a goat named Oreo. Adam picked up Oreo, who was surprising relaxed and put him on my lap. As I started to pet him, he decided to jolt off my lap. This startled me and gave Adam a good laugh. If I have not shared this before, I have an over active startle reflex, common in people with cerebral palsy. At least it provides Adam with a bit of entertainment!
The bathrooms at Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch were port-a-potties and not very accessible due to their small size. Seasonal businesses like Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, face the dilemma of providing adequate bathrooms for customers who use wheelchairs. The nature and location of the business pretty much limits them to port-a-potties. I would recommend speaking to the port-a-pottie company to see what they have to offer to accommodate wheelchair users.
I give Wilke’s 3.5 Wheelchair Stars for accessibility. Overall, Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is quite accessible. My recommendations are to have designated accessible parking, making sure it is clearly marked and positioned to reduce the time in the parking area. My experience rating is 5 Wheelchair Stars. Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is a wonderful family tradition! The staff is friendly and accommodating. The activities are family friendly, fun and accessible. My overall rating for Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is 4.5 wheelchair stars! Make Wilke’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch your Family Halloween Tradition!!
Until next time, remember to keep Rollin’ and keep Smilin’!
hoto Credit: Adam Little
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