Eplegaarden is all about Norwegian quirky, old fashioned fun. We love going there for apple picking and pumpkins and always got a good chuckle when we saw their Harold Potterson play area up around Halloween but had yet to actually explore it. This weekend we finally planned the time and brought the cash and made it happen.
First up – Some Ground Rules:
- There is a good bit of standing around and waiting at Eplegaarden – they don’t move quickly and they have their own mysterious time table about things, so if you are planning to visit – bring your patience with you.
- Bring cash or a check book with you – they don’t take credit cards here at all.
- I don’t recommend getting there right when they open unless you feel like waiting around for them to REALLY open which could be anytime they want. Did I mention not moving quickly and old fashioned ideals and patience? When in doubt, be more patient.
- After you get your tickets for HP in the barn, you wait by the entrance of the exhibit for as long as necessary until a tour guide shows up to walk you through. Having never been inside before, we had no idea how long this would be and may have complained a bit while we waited, but she DID show up. So you know, patience.
Eventually our “tour guide” arrived at the entrance to walk us through their little Platform 9 and 3/4 setup and then led us to the sorting hat where our wizards were sorted into houses by way of throwing a ping pong ball down a hole in a wooden wall and seeing where it ended up. MM got Slytherin, BB got Gryffindor – Am I mean mother for saying I kind of expected the opposite results? But considering there is no personality test involved, I guess I shouldn’t read much into it!
The exhibit on the whole was largely spooky Halloween stuff mixed with typical playground equipment, then add in loose HP references and some blow up bounce house type things for good measure. Oh and a corn maze. A really bizarre corn maze that didn’t seem to lead to anything, but was still fun and enjoyable on a crisp Autumn afternoon.
The kids really liked their wooden play area which is up year round, but decked out a bit Halloween style for the exhibit. They got to play quidditch, throw a rock at Dudley’s lollipop, eat an apple in the “dining Hall”, dig for dinosaurs (not sure how that’s related but they loved it), look for the Goblet of Fire in the corn maze and take home a free pumpkin. Not bad!
So, did it meet my nerdy grown up Harry Potter aficionado expectations? Not really – but the kids had a really great time and we got free pumpkins and a little exercise so I’m inclined to say I don’t care.