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October 8, 2012

Daniel family turns agriculture into educational experience (WITH VIDEO)

WELTI — Oink oink here. Baa baa there.

A corn maze, a pumpkin patch, and massive slides.

Old McDonald doesn't have anything on the Daniel family's 4D farm located on County Road 703 in Welti.

Owners Rusty and Beth Daniel launched their new adventure last weekend as not only an avenue for non-haunted family fun, but as an educational tool as well. Beth spent the past seven years working as an educator in Cullman County, before stepping aside at the end of the school year in May to spend more time with her three young boys who she homeschools. Between her background and her husband Rusty’s agricultural background, the two of them decided it was a good idea to merge the two together.

“It was difficult to step away from teaching because I love it,” Beth said. “But I wanted to spend more time with the kids. In doing that, I’m now getting to continue teaching, not only my own kids but those who come and visit as well.”

This week, classes from Cullman City Primary School and the First Baptist preschool program, were the first groups to enjoy the corn bin full of 50 bushels of corn kernels, a 2,000 square foot jumping pillow, tire mountain, hay rides, and small animals. But the visit wasn't complete without two rounds of pig races.

With colored bandana's around their necks, raring to break out of the gate, Beth said they were able to train the pigs to do such an event with treats.

"Once they're out, they know there's a treat on the other end," she said.

The Daniel's began planning their farm activities and theme last fall. Transformation work followed, began in December, and since then, it's not slowed down. WIth it being the first year, Beth said the family wanted to do something different, and decided to add a corn maze to the list of activities.

The five acres of corn are cut to feature a Dukes of Hazzard theme with the General Lee and a large barn.

"Through the correct pathways, it can be walked in about 30 minutes," Beth said. " For others and children, it will take about 45 minutes to an hour to travel through the twists and turns."

Interactive "passport" stops are available to all the groups and general public, and can be found at different points in the maze. The checkpoints contain questions that quiz the user on a chosen subject, such as Halloween, farming, and the Bible. Those who answer the questions correctly will receive the next clue that guides them along the correct path to the exit.

Beth said an agricultural company out of Utah designed and did the cutting of the maze.

"They sent three crop cutters down to cut the plants and to flag it in August," she said. "It was really neat watching them do it. I thought we may cut our own next year, but I was wrong."

While it’s been a continuous learning process for both, Beth said they’ve enjoyed every bit.

“Things have gotten easier as time has gone on,” Beth said. “It’s been a relief and enjoyment seeing all the families out. Our focus is on fall. We wanted this to be a place families would want to keep coming back to. We’ve had a lot of people support us so far, and we’re grateful for that."

The 4D farm is open from 2-6 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday through the end of the month. On Saturday, all attractions, excluding the corn maze, close at 6 p.m.

The cost of admission is $10 for ages three to 65, and $8 for 66 and older. Those under two are free.

For directions or more information, visit www.4dfarmfun.com

*Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com

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