Rick Martell, the youngest of the three siblings who own The Garden Factory, was looking for something to boost the Rochester, New York, garden center’s Fall Family Fun days beyond the typical offerings. Carnival rides and pumpkin decorating were fun, but he wanted to kick it up a notch. “We decided last year, let’s go completely off path and try something new,” Martell says. “I’m going to build a dinosaur park and a little kids’ construction area.”
The additions have been a huge success. Foot traffic tripled. In the first three weekends of the event, 14,000 people visited the Prehistoric Park and the excavators (which are equipped with ride counters) had more than 5,000 turns.
General admission to Fall Family Fun is free, but activities require tickets, which are $1 each. The Prehistoric Park is six tickets (2 years and under are free), and the mini excavators are four tickets for three minutes. There are carnival rides as well like a bounce house, merry-go-round and train.
The event was held in the 77,000 square-foot retail area where annuals are sold during spring and summer and ran weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28 through Oct. 27.