When we started looking for a place to buy our Christmas tree this year, we decided to go to an actual tree farm instead walking to the lot down the street from our house. Our son is old enough now to really start enjoying our mini adventures as well as picking out a specific tree, so it seemed like a great way to spend a day right after Christmas that didn’t involve any shopping.
Since we live in a reasonably dense area, the closest “real” tree farms are mostly an hour away. In looking for a good one, I came upon Lazy J Tree Farm in Port Angeles (really just a few miles past Sequim). They are a family owned farm that grows a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as Christmas trees, so they seemed like the perfect place for us to get our tree. Bonus points that we would get to hop one of our favorite ferries and head out to the Olympic Peninsula once again.
While the peninsula is plenty close for a day visit, we like to spend a lot of time there whenever we’ve hopped on the ferry, and finding a Christmas tree doesn’t take very long, so we decided to go back and visit the Olympic Game Farm while we were already in the area. The Olympic Game Farm is an 84 acre wildlife park that visitors can drive through and feed most of the animals including bears, Buffalo, and Roosevelt Elk. It’s not the cheapest place to visit ($14 per adult; children under 5 are free), the cost does come down in the off season and it is well worth the visit.
Since we had a full day of tree hunting and animal viewing planned, we headed out first thing in the morning. We packed breakfast and coffee and ate during the short wait before boarding the ferry so we could head straight to the farm once we docked. And it was still November, after all, so we had to be extra conscious of our spending to hit my “no spend” goal for the month. Ferry food has improved quite a bit over the years though, and they do have some tasty treats on board (and beer/wine if you want to spend sports stadium prices).
Lazy J Tree Farm
After crossing Puget Sound and arriving in Kingston, the Lazy J Tree Farm is only an hour and fifteen minutes away, which is not much farther than the closest farms to us. We wanted as much time as possible at the game farm before nap time, so we headed straight to the farm after the ferry docked. We pulled up to the tree farm and someone met us right away to direct us to the area to pick a tree and handed us a saw. We then let our son lead the way to pick the tree, which he was very excited about. We snapped a quick picture for our Christmas card photo this year and then cut the tree down to be measured.
Amazingly, they sell Christmas trees for just $7/foot, so we got the tree for about half of what we would have paid closer to home. Which means we pretty much got the gas and the ferry cost for free, plus the adventure of getting out to the farm.
Olympic Game Farm
After we loaded up the tree, we headed out to the Olympic Game Farm. Wheat bread is $4/loaf, and we bought three so we were able to feed all the animals as we drove through the park.
The very first part, you can get out to feed some of the animals, but the rest of the time you have to stay in your car, for very good reason. As a former park ranger, it is a strange feeling to feed the animals, since wild animals should never EVER be fed. Our son knows he’s not ever allowed to feed the ducks, geese, deer, or any other animals we come across while hiking, so the Olympic Game Farm is a really exciting place for that reason as well.
After feeding the deer and avoiding some wandering peacocks, we got back in the car to drive through the rest of the farm. A quick note: the driving speed is <5mph the whole time so kids can ride up front for a better view. Just make sure to keep fingers inside the vehicle 🙂
Pictures really do best to explain the experience, so here are a few of my favorites:
I can’t even imagine what it would have felt like to run across herds of buffalo for the first time without the protection of a sturdy vehicle. They are giant beasts and were able to actually shove the truck a bit with their bulk. Buffalo are definitely on the list of creatures that need to be seen in real life – outside of a zoo enclosure – to really experience seeing them.
We spent a good hour and a half at the Olympic Game Farm and then headed into downtown Sequim to walk around while our son napped in the stroller before hopping the ferry back home. We also included the obligatory trip to Sunny Farms, a small market store that stocks lots of local meat and produce, as well as the best smoked paprika that I’ve ever tasted (which goes great in homemade spice mixes). The Olympic peninsula has so much to do and see and during the off season when ferry traffic lessens, it’s a great spot for a day trip. While we might like to do big trips more often, the short day and weekend adventures keep us busy in between.
If you’re ever in the Seattle area, I would really encourage you to leave Pike Place Market and the Space Needle and take a ferry somewhere. It’s worth the trip.