“Our mission is to help kids learn and discover and get curious,” said McKay Christensen, president and CEO of Thanksgiving Point Institute (TPI). “We’re rebuilding the farm to live up to that mission.”
Farm Country was the first venue to open at Thanksgiving Point,and after more than 25 years, it’s getting a significant update and a new name, Curiosity Farms.
“The farm is really the heart and soul of Thanksgiving Point,” said Erica Brown, vice president of marketing at TPI. “One of the things I love about this project is that it’s not just a coat of paint. It’s an entirely new experience.”
The new Curiosity Farms has been designed with more engaged learning elements in mind, similar to Thanksgiving Point’s Butterfly Biosphere and the Natural Curiosity Museum. “What better place to have hands-on learning than a farm?” asked Christensen. “There’s so much technology used today in food production, and why not bring that to life? That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Curiosity Farms will have seven or eight buildings with stations where children and adults can milk a cow and learn about milk production. There will be a hatchery for chickens and education about the science of raising poultry. “We’ll have a vet center where you can learn about being a veterinarian. You’ll see everything in action,” Christensen continued.
“I was inspired by the quality of the other venues at Thanksgiving Point, their interactive features,” said Jon Stefansson, world-renowned landscape architect. “Everything is constantly maintained and updated. We wanted to bring the farm up to that same standard.”
Stefansson made a schematic design using a wish list from Thanksgiving Point Institute. “They wanted things for adults to do too, so there will be space for evening activities and organic cooking classes,” Stefansson explained. “Everything will be much more interactive – children will be able to feed and clean the animals.”
Pony rides and wagon rides will still be part of the farm experience. “It will be a different experience; children will get to help take care of the ponies,” said Stefansson.
“Jon is very creative and thoughtful in designing unique spaces for animals. He’s an expert in designing human and animal movement and animal welfare designs,” said Brown. The goats at Curiosity Farms will roam at will around overhead walkways throughout the farm.
Construction on the Thanksgiving Point Curiosity Farms renovation begins this month and will be completed by Fall 2024. The farm will remain open during construction.
“It will be the largest attended working farm in Utah when we’re done. It will be a great example of how a farm works,” Christensen concluded.