By Nancy Clark

It’s easy not to see what’s right in front of you when you’re surrounded by enviable landscape and wrapped in a near-perfect climate. Decades can pass before something triggers a call to return to a once-favorite haunt. While some travel great distances to get within touching distance of the Rocky Mountains, I’ll admit to taking it all for granted. I gripe about Millennials and their entitled attitudes and yet I treat the promise of tomorrow and the beauty of these surroundings with disregard. I tell myself that there’s an unspoken promise that all will be available to me when it’s convenient. 

Some thirty years prior, my children delighted in White Fence Farm—the comfort food to the petting zoo. The impetus for a re-visitation was my grandson albeit it was my son’s birthday. Next time friends come calling, whether or not they have kids in tow, it’ll be where I take them.

Located in Lakewood on Jewel Avenue between Sheridan and Wadsworth, the farm features eight dining rooms (including dining rooms set aside for adults only not traveling with kids) plus specialty shops including one dedicated to Christmas year-round and a candy shop selling homemade fudge. The timber Americana Barn has a two story slide called the Pig Chute for older kids. The O.K. Corral is home to veritable arc of barn animals and after a lick from the goats, there’s a convenient fresh water pump to clean up. The elaborate swing set with slides and a treehouse is at rest at closing time at 8:30 p.m. but is filled to overflowing earlier in the evening. Peacocks query passersby, “Who-who?” Pony rides and horse-drawn carriages are included in the fare…the fair being the famous White Fence Farm chicken—rated “Best Fried Chicken” by Westword in its annual awards. Hypnotically tasty, I am reduced to fishing into the go-bag with leftover chicken for a drumstick to munch on at a stoplight. Besides being that good, it’s affordable. Six adults and one child including drinks tallied less than $150.

It’s the real-life farm tractor that draws an audible gasp from my grandson. Earlier in the day he fought his afternoon nap until we flipped through the pages of Tractors and Farm Trucks as he tapped the utilitarian wheels on the cardboard book pages to lull himself to sleep. At White Fence Farm he takes a seat on his grandfather’s lap, spinning the tractor steering wheel and mimicking shifting like he’s rounding a corner on the auto bahn. 

I turn to my son and say, “It’s twice as fun having a kid to take along.” My 34-year-old nods in agreement, adding, “Yeah, it’s like everything’s exciting all over again.”

It flashes through my mind that this would be a great place for a kids’ birthday party—better than Chucky Cheese, better than McDonald’s PlayPlace, or the legendary Casa Bonita. For now, it’s a trip down memory lane and far and away better than any other trip back to the future.

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