A menagerie of feathered and furry guests greet visitors at Nichols-Boyd Pumpkin Patch, including Gretel the Swan, Tom the Turkey, and April the Zedonk (a cross between a zebra and a donkey). Guests nestle into the hay-lined beds of Big Red or Big Green for a tractor ride through the farm’s pumpkin-filled fields before stopping off for a sweet Dixie cup full of secret pumpkin juice. The pumpkin patch also offers face painting, a ride on Nick the Train, and a gift store with homemade pumpkin bread, peanut brittle, and Mississippi honey. Farm visitors can conclude their trip with an Odyssian amble through the corn maze, traveling in the daytime or moving at night armed with glow sticks and wood chips to feed to teething scarecrows.
Ever since it was founded a half century ago, Mitchell Farms has remained the beloved life's work of the Mitchell family. Situated on 1,500 acres of woods and fields, the farm produces crops such as peanuts, peaches, blueberries, and soybeans. It's also home to three century-old log cabins, each adorned with antiques, patchwork quilts, and other collectable pieces.
Throughout the year, visitors can tour the historic cabins, talk farming with the Mitchell family, or purchase homemade jams, jellies, and honey. The farm's peanuts have been a staple for more than 30 years and are now grown on a full 300 acres to accommodate demand. During the fall, guests can sample fresh-dug peanuts or take home dried nuts. The fall also brings with it the Mississippi Peanut Festival, as well as a slew of onsite autumnal activities. Families can tour the farm in a covered wagon or board the Pumpkin Express train. A play area keeps children active with rope swings, play equipment, and a scarecrow drill sergeant instructing kids to drop and give him candy corn.
At Gattitown, a vast buffet quells the hungers caused by romping through up to 10,000 square feet of violence-free arcade games, bumper cars, and mini bowling. Before meals, kids scurry between more than 150 exciting games, including virtual-reality racing and tax-filing simulations. In the bumper-car arena, wee ones determine driving dominance by crashing and cruising around a spacious floor. Players then hone their underhand tosses with mini bowling and skee-ball, shooting for tickets to spend on doodads, gadgets, and teddy-bear ransoms inside the Gatti goods store.
James Rothery served as a military policeman for 10 years, serving two tours of duty in Iraq and training other military personnel in hand-to-hand combat. It was telling, then, that after investigating many styles of martial arts, he chose to stick with wu zu quan kung fu. The name of his chosen art translates as "Five Ancestor Fist," describing its history as a combination of styles. James breaks those styles into digestible chunks for his students, arming them slowly with more advanced skills or simply focusing on fitness and self-defense for those interested in purely practical applications.