Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Pioneer Farms ~ Austin, TX

Last week, on an overcast, some-what cool day, I took my kids on a step back in time.....wayyyyyyy back in time......to the Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms.  I have heard about the Farm for several years now, and after finally visiting last week, I could kick myself for not coming sooner!

Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms is settled on 90 acres of land in northeast Austin.  Once the homestead of Frederick and Harriet Jourdan, the land was donated to the Heritage Society of Austin in 1956 for a park to honor early-day settlers.  And in 1975, it was opened to the public, growing in size and collection since.
One of the things that is so great about the Farm is fact that you can see several different time periods, represented in several different settlements, all in one place.  The 1841 Tonkawa Encampment, "A Village of First Texans, has the 450-year-old Pioneer Oak, with the lightening stripe down the front.  The 1873 Frederick Jourdan Farm with a fully-furnished dog-trot cabin, was home to several animals that we enjoyed getting close to. The 1887 James Hall Bell farm has an fully-furnished home from Round Rock.  We loved this elaborate home.
But the first farm we came to on our journey and the one we spent the most time at, was the Fritz Kruger Farm. We came upon a delightful docent, who told us all about the Kruger family, immigrants from Germany who homesteaded here and built the log cabin in 1867 for the family of 13 children!
We toured the one-room cabin and were shown lots of great things, like how the breeze-way was kept open to keep it cool and how the mattress was changed during the seasons to accommodate the weather.  We enjoyed learning about the "Devil's Gate" (you'll have to ask about that one!) and petting the sheep that roamed the yard. She was so very knowledgeable and told us so much, enhancing our experience.
The kids really enjoyed getting to see the farm animals up close and personal and spent a long time feeding these donkeys. The Farms are filled with livestock - chickens, roosters, a pig, bunnies, and a few longhorns.
And even my toddler was able to find a toy suitable for him to play with!
Another docent was found at the Blacksmith Shop.  He explained why they called it "blacksmithing" and showed us how he made the different tools. He really took his time with us, engaging the kids in conversation.  I found the docents all to be so personable - you can tell they all love teaching!
Pioneer Farms is a fantastic outing for kids of all ages.  Make sure to grab a guided walking tour brochure when you arrive, as it tells the history and gives a better perspective of each of the farms you come to. One trip was definitely not enough - I can see how each visit can be vastly different - there is so much to see and do!

Pioneer Farms has lots of great events occurring throughout the summer as well.  You can take classes ranging from Knifemaking to making dreamcatchers, to organic gardening - some of them are even college accredited.  Also, there is a great list of Scouting Activities including Boy Scout Merit Badge classes. 

Other Fun Things to Do in Austin:

Texas Travel Facts for the Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms:
Location: 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive, Austin, TX
Hours: Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays: 10 am - 5 pm
Admission: Adults: $8.00  Children (2-up): $6.00 Under 2: free
Recommended Time: 2 -3 hours 
Good to know: Wear tennis shoes- lots of walking on dusty trails; can bring a stroller; bring lots of water; grab a guided walking tour brochure at the General Store; sandwiches, drinks, and treats are available at the General Store, check out the calendar before you go -there are tons of great programs throughout the summer to see

My family and I were invited to visit the farm and were provided admission. I was not financially compensated for this post.  All opinions of the Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms are strictly my own based on my experience. 


Michele @ Malaysian Meanders said...

A few years ago, I had the chance to escort a bunch of Cub Scouts to the Pioneer Farms to complete their Texas Badge. I think we got the head docent who clearly had a love of Texas history. Plus, the Biscuit Brothers is filmed there!

In Malaysia, the inside of my home hovers around 87F all day. I often think back to those Texas pioneers and their breezeways whenever I open windows for a crossbreeze.

Emmy said...

Can you imagine having 13 kids in a place that size! Crazy. I love places like that though it is so fun to hear about all of the things they did to survive and live