This past Friday I had the opportunity to travel to Sloan’s Christmas Tree Village for a field trip with my daughter’s grade one class. I’ve heard many tales of the wonders that are the Christmas Tree Village, but have never had the opportunity to experience it myself. Upon arriving, these stories of magic and delight became immediately obvious with both the visual display and the amazing vibe of excitement generated by the staff.
We were greeted by a friendly and kind staff member who outlined the rules for the day. “Now kids I need your help,” he said. “Please keep an eye on your adult because we have never lost a child yet but have lost a few adults.” After the laughs died down, we were told about the many play areas to explore and the special tour that we would have later on in the day.
My group of four eager girls then proceeded to beeline it for our specially marked space in the forest where we were able to drop off backpacks and get ourselves settled. Interesting fact about the forest area, many of the trees were planted by Mr. Sloan back in the 1960’s and have been in the family for generations.
Now for those who have never been, let me tell you that mixed with the warm smell of cedar smoke from the camp fires and the brisk calm air, there are blasts of colours and sounds as kids take to the giant slides, roaring zip lines, and a chugging train ride. We also discovered a giant castle made from bales of hay, an obstacle course that goes on and on, and a shrubbery maze that is a perfect height for kids.
Needless to say, my crew was running, jumping, exploring, and generally just having the time of their life. As the hours quickly rolled past, we quickly discovered that it was time for the tour.
Meeting back at the live goat petting area, we began our next adventure to learn about the main reason many people come to Sloan’s, the trees. We walked into one of the fields that contains a variety of trees and were shown the difference in needles, smells, and density of the trees.
As part of the tour we learned that Sloan’s has over 100,000 trees planted at any one time, which produces enough oxygen for 1800 people a year. The trees also provide habitats for a wide selection of animals including birds, rabbits, and squirrels. In addition to the tree farm, there are also sections of the property that have been preserved and maintained as a natural forest.
Following the tour we proceeded to the huge country store and event venue space where they had sugar cookies available for sale. Of course, no trip would be complete without a cookie and so my crew chomped down on a favourite treat as we worked our way back to the bus.
While the outing was drawing to a close, the smiles, the joy, and the stories would last for days, including promises to go back again next year with the entire family.
Thank you to the wonderful people at Sloan’s. You have created an amazing gem in Bothwell and for people across Chatham-Kent and beyond. To learn more about Sloan’s Christmas Tree Village, visit them at 29876, 7 Zone Rd, Bothwell, Ontario or check out their website at www.sloansvillage.ca.
Our friendly tour guide explaining how trees are planted every year to replace any that are cut down during the holiday season. Sloan’s Christmas Tree Village says that they do their best to be positive stewards of the environment so that they will be here for many more generations.
The holiday train setting out on a run around the play area and part of the forest.
Marketing and Communications Officer, Economic Development Services
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Phone: 519-352-8401 x2039