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Home on the range

by MADISON HARDY
Staff Writer | August 10, 2020 1:08 AM

New farm-themed tourist attraction to open in Athol next month

North Idaho will gain another tourism attraction this summer as The Farm at Winter Station plans its grand opening on Labor Day weekend.

Across from Silverwood Theme Park and U.S. 95, The Farm at Winter Station intends to provide a fun and educational farm-themed park for families. Visitors will be immersed in the joys of farm life, including a petting farm with miniature goats and piglets, an orchard, family activity area, tug-of-war games, scavenger hunts, gerbil races, local craft smiths and a farmers market.

According to permit applicant representative Monty Winter, the resort will run seasonally after its initial opening in September. Dates for the 2021 operation are May from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays; June through August from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; and September through October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Winter said the The Farm will resemble a typical working farm so children and families can learn about animals, farming life and the origins of food as well as pet miniature animals.

“The idea is to bring people in who have never experienced petting a goat or seeing where chickens lay their eggs,” Winter said. “It’s something that most city folks don’t know about, but love to experience.”

The Farm is scheduled to undergo three phases of building in the coming months. The first phase will add the petting farm pen along with a supporting infrastructure such as sewage and water. In the second phase, The Farm will build a large 40-by-60-foot barn to house a gift shop, administrative functions and children’s parties. According to the application, the third phase will finish constructing a farmers market area for the public and the caretaker’s residence.

“I think it will be a pretty good draw from Silverwood, Lake Coeur d’Alene, Bayview, Lake Pend Oreille and the surrounding area,” Winter said. “We want to attract families interested in rural life experiences and show them how fun and important farm life is.”

Last week, the Kootenai County commissioners approved the permit for the commercial resort on a 10-acre lot north of Son Shine Way.

“The permit process through the county slowed down tremendously because of COVID-19,” Winter said. “Whenever you have something entering the pin like COVID, it delays the process, but that’s all a part of it and we’re dealing just fine.”

As an outside venue, The Farm will have plenty of available space and will be able to accommodate more visitors. Winter said hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations will be placed around The Farm. Masks will not be required, but visitors can wear them at their own discretion.

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Courtesy photo Monty and Laura Winter’s grandson, Ollie Winter, plays in the corn pit.

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Courtesy photo Monty and Laura Winter pose for a photo at The Farm.