A-MAZing AGventure: Keenland Farms offers family fun in the country
What is usually a tranquil, quiet place in the country is now often filled with the joyful shouts and laughter of children as a Gallion farm has been turned into an agricultural experience for families.
The Keen family established Keenland Farms when they purchased the property in 2011 and turned it into a cattle and catfish farm. A trip to Grenada, Mississippi to help at Bull Bottom Farms got the Keen family to thinking about other ways of using their property.
“The Robinson family owns Bull Bottom Farms and we were invited to go there and help him out with their haunted maze. We had such a great time, that we said we should do something similar here in Gallion,” Peter Keen said.
Time went by, but in January the topic was brought up again. “The whole family agreed. We decided to give it a try and have gotten a great response,” he said.
The goal with Keenland Farms was to establish a fun-filled agricultural experience where families could enjoy the outdoors.
“We wanted a place where families could come, leave their troubles at the gate, and enjoy what we have to offer here. For us, we want this to be place where people can share family time and create great memories,” Keen said.
The facility features children’s activities such as two pumpkin patches, a large jumping pillow, a giant power slide, “tire mountain,” a corn box, a sunflower field, and even a corn cannon.
“It took a lot of work to get it opened, but it’s been worth it to see so many children and their families enjoy it,” Keen said.
The highlight of Keenland Farms may be the giant corn maze, which from above is cut into the shape of a catfish. Keen said the shape of the maze would change each year.
To form the maze, the Keens brought in a graphic designer who works in agritourism in Mississippi. Once the picture was established of how the maze would look, coordinates were entered into a GPS system providing directions for a zero-turn cutter to form the maze.
“It took about two and a half hours and it was hard to see how it would be a catfish. But, a friend of ours brought out a drone and, sure enough, it was a catfish,” Keen said.
In addition to the large maze, a smaller maze was created for younger children to enjoy.
About three weeks ago, Keenland Farms hosted its first school and will have more from across the area each week they are opened. The students enjoy an assortment of ag-related activities that include presentations on Keenland Farms’ catfish operation. The farm has been host to students from Demopolis, Tuscaloosa, Selma, the University Charter School, and more on the way. They hope to continue attracting schools from the Birmingham area and across the state.
“Whether visiting with their schools or families, people are thrilled and that has made all the effort worthwhile. Seeing families enjoy what we have to offer was always the goal,” Keen said.
Keenland Farms is truly a family operation itself as Peter’s wife, Carla, is involved as well as their children and spouses: Remington and Sierra Keen, and Rodney and Megan Bell. Their youngest daughter, Fallon Keen, is a chiropractor in Knoxville, Tennessee, but also is involved when she visits home.
Keenland Farms opened the last weekend of September and will be open to the public every Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m., through Sunday, Nov. 3. There is a $10 admission fee and $1 charge for shooting the corn cannon.
Keenland Farms is located at 9679 CR 54, south of Demopolis.
(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, October 16 issue of the Demopolis Times.)