Friends, I’m back today with an impromptu (but lovely!) post about our recent trip to Bowden SunMaze & Eagle Creek Farms! Whether you’ve followed along for just a couple of weeks or a couple of years, you’ll know how much I adore sunflowers. From bringing them into our home, to incorporating them into my FLOWER content, to road-tripping to see fields of these sunny blooms, sunflowers have graced the pages of JustineCelina many times! We actually made our first trip to Bowden SunMaze a couple of years ago, but it ended up being a stormy night and we didn’t have as much time there as we’d hoped for. We knew we wanted to visit again to properly take in their beauty and explore the farm — and were thrilled to have the opportunity to do so last Friday evening! My Mom, little sister and I headed north to visit Eagle Creek Farms for an unconventional girls night, to catch a glimpse of their renowned sunflower fields at sunset — and it was an absolutely beautiful evening. I was also delighted to find their U-Pick Flower Fields were in full bloom, where I handpicked an autumn-inspired bouquet, which I used to create upcoming DIGITAL BLOOMS (which are now live!).
If you’ve always wanted to visit a Sunflower Field but aren’t sure what to expect, this post is for you! As we explore the boundaries of travel within our own province this year, I’m thrilled to bring you along on our trip to Bowden Sunmaze & Eagle Creek Farms as I detail everything you’ve ever wanted to know about visiting a sunflower field and flower u-pick — from location, to cost, to safety restrictions, to activities, to the best times to visit, to my best sunflower field photography tips! Craving a little adventure as we transition into autumn and want to see these stunning Alberta Sunflower Fields for yourself? There’s no time like the present — they’re currently in full bloom and Bowden SunMaze is offering the final tickets of the season until September 30th, 2020. If you’re looking for a family-friendly outdoor activity, or are simply yearning for a cheerful digital escape, join us as we visit Alberta’s Bowden SunMaze on a gorgeous mid-September evening!
A GUIDE TO BOWDEN SUNMAZE & EAGLE CREEK FARMS
If there’s one positive thing that’s come out of 2020, it’s the renewed perspective it’s provided. As a born and raised Alberta girl, I’ve always enjoyed our stunning natural landscapes and outdoor adventures — but I can’t recall a summer in recent memory that I’ve spent so much time outside! This summer I’ve really embraced the simple things in life and am incredible grateful to live in such a beautiful province. Call it a pandemic silver lining!
Supporting local has always been important to me, but this year, it’s something I’ve focused on more than ever. There’s so much beauty (and fantastic local businesses) to discover right here in Alberta — and I’ve had the best time exploring and capturing it all through fresh eyes this summer and fall. I hope you’ve also enjoyed this shift in my content!
That said, I hope you find my Guide to Bowden SunMaze & Eagle Creek Farms helpful and informative. I’m kicking things off with the Bowden SunMaze Sunflower Fields — detailing the ticket purchasing process, cost, location, safety restrictions and farm activities, before moving on to our Eagle Creek Farms Flower U-Pick experience. You’ll also find a Pinterest friendly graphic at the footer for easy reference if you’d like to bookmark this post for later!
BOWDEN SUNMAZE SUNFLOWER FIELDS
Have you seen photos of this elusive sunflower field popping up all over Instagram lately and wondered if it’s worth the trip? A couple of years ago before I’d seen them it in person, I had the same question!
After having visited Bowden SunMaze & Eagle Creek Farms a few times now, I can assure you it is! Personally I’ve always loved Sunflowers (it must be a Leo thing!), but Bowden SunMaze is a magical experience for the entire family. Given everything that’s happened in 2020, I wasn’t sure how our visit would be this year compared to years past — but I’m happy to report the farm has made several improvements to ensure it’s safe and the blooms are abundant. I’m excited to share our 2020 Sunflower Field experience with you!
HOW TO PURCHASE TICKETS
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Eagle Creek Farms has implemented a mandatory online ticket purchasing policy to help them safely manage the flow of traffic.
I purchased our tickets online and the process couldn’t have been smoother! After your purchase, you’ll receive an emailed PDF containing your tickets, which are embedded with a QR code. Once we arrived and were directed to their outdoor kiosk, I simply pulled my tickets up on my smartphone so the attendant could scan them. The entire process was simple, seamless and contactless!
As I mentioned previously, September 30th, 2020 is the last day you’ll be able to visit Bowden Sunmaze & Eagle Creek Farms, this year (be sure to check their Facebook page for updates before you plan your trip). So, if you’d like to see the sunflowers in full bloom in 2020, there’s no time like the present! Currently, Bowden SunMaze is only selling tickets 1-2 days in advance due to Alberta’s unpredictable weather, but at the time of publication, their Sunflower fields are in full bloom and the weather is lovely!
The cost of a trip to Bowden SunMaze is very reasonable. As of 2020, adult tickets are $11+fees , children’s tickets (4 and up) are $7+fees, with free admittance for children 4 and under. If you’d like to pick some flowers while you’re there, head down to the Eagle Creek Farms Flower U-Pick section for additional information about cost per stem.
We felt completely safe during our evening at Bowden SunMaze & Eagle Creek Farms. Since I live in Calgary where face masks are mandatory in public spaces, I’m used to wearing a mask everywhere. As a safety precaution we packed our masks (even though they aren’t mandatory in the town of Bowden), since we weren’t sure what kinds of crowds to expect. This is something I would recommend to anyone travelling within their own province this year.
I was pleased to discover the flow of people was very reasonable, despite it being such a popular destination. Eagle Creek Farms often reaches capacity on weekends, but the number of people on the farm at any given time is well managed by their online ordering system and policies (this photo was taken during a sunset ticket time slot, where they had reached capacity). Additionally, there are COVID safety guidelines posted around the farm, multiple sanitizing stations available and an abundance of space available for everyone!
I wore my mask for check in and check out (although we were outside the entire time, there were lineups in both instances), but everyone was good about practicing social distancing. If you’re at all concerned about crowd activities during the pandemic, let me put your mind at ease — Bowden SunMaze & Eagle Creek Farms completely have it under control! If you like, you can reference their safety protocols here.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT
Bowden SunMaze currently offers tickets beginning at 11am, in 1 hour increments. After admission, you’re permitted to stay on the farm as long as you like to fully enjoy your experience.
Generally, Bowden SunMaze and Eagle Creek Farms is open all September long, with an increasing amount of sunflowers blooming towards the end of the month. Since we’re having un unseasonably beautiful early autumn this year, they may remain open into October!
This year, Bowden SunMaze planted 2 different successions of Sunflowers — and they’re all currently in full bloom! If you’re planning to make the trip in 2020 after this post has published (but before September 30th!), you’ll be treated to an abundance of sunflowers. The staff will also provide you with bloom updates upon arrival, as the fields change day to day. Currently, Bowden SunMaze boasts over 100,000 Sunflowers, including a giant Sunflower patch! There are Sunflowers as far as the eye can see.
LOCATION & GETTING THERE
Bowden SunMaze is located approximately an hour and a half north from inner city Calgary, just northwest of the town of Bowden on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway (grab the map here). It’s a lovely, scenic drive — especially at this time of year, when the leaves are changing!
Bowden SunMaze & Eagle Creek Farms offers a variety of family friendly activities. While the main attraction are their Sunflower Fields, visitors can also enjoy the Flower and Vegetable U-Pick (although their vegetable U-Pick is now closed for the season due to overwhelming demand), a small Petting Zoo and a collection of farm-fresh vegetables and local preserves available for purchase.
SUNFLOWER FIELD PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
Did you know Sunflowers follow the sun’s movement? As they grow, their leaves turn toward the sun to maximize their ability to photosynthesize — but mature sunflowers eventually stop tracking the sun’s movement and permanently face east. This is why in the photos you see, the is sun is setting in the west, with the sunflowers facing east (towards the camera) — which makes for the perfect sunset photoshoot!
I personally love to see Bowden SunMaze at sunset, which is when these photos were taken. Golden Hour (just before the set sets) is my favourite time to see the Sunflower Fields and snap photos. We typically we shoot backlit (with the sun setting behind the subject) for an ultra dreamy golden glow, like you see here! I find this technique especially flattering for portraits.
The farm remains open half an hour after sunset, so you can also experiment with snapping photos during Blue Hour (just after the sun dips below the horizon), which is when a few of these photos were taken. The light is soft and tranquil during Blue Hour — you may even find a bee sleeping on a Sunflower!
EAGLE CREEK FARMS FLOWER U-PICK
Since I often incorporate FLOWERS into my content here at JustineCelina and am passionate about supporting both local growers and florists, I’ve scoured the Alberta prairies (and the internet!) for information about a flower u-pick farms near Calgary with no luck — that is, until 2020!
After spotting a brief mention about Flower U-Picking on the Eagle Creek Farms website (with no photos!) I went without expectations, but was excited to see what they had to offer. We actually visited the Flower U-Pick Fields first (since they closed first) and I spent half an hour or so strolling up and down the rows of blooms, creating this lovely autumnal bouquet! It was bit picked over so late in the season (again, check their Facebook page for current updates before your visit), but the blooms were still abundant and the pricing is very reasonable. I’ll get into specifics below!
TICKET PURCHASING & COST
Admission to the Eagle Creek Farms Flower U-Pick is included in your ticket purchase. That said, the cost of the flowers you pick isn’t.
Are you surprised to discover that pulled together this bouquet for just $18? Surely I thought it would have been more expensive, but I was pleased to discover very reasonable per stem pricing — Sunflowers at $1.50 per stem, other flowers at $1.00 per stem and Ornamental Grasses were just $0.75 per stem!
I opted for small Sunflowers and blooms, as I knew I would be cutting them up to create my free, floral tech wallpapers — but there were larger Sunflowers and other larger flowers (like Gladiolas) in bloom as well. I was so surprised to find a few harder to source varieties of flowers growing in the Eagle Creek Farm’s Flower U-Pick as well! My bouquet contains a couple of different varieties of Sunflowers, Zinnas and Surfur Cosmos, Red Amaranth and Witch Grass — and I received several compliments as I picked away!
FLOWER U-PICK PROCESS
Eagle Creek Farms U-Pick Fields are located on a different part of the farm than the SunMaze (where flower picking isn’t permitted). When you check in at the outdoor kiosk, the staff will direct you to the part of the farm you’d like to visit. Everything located is within a 10 minute walk and there are traffic controls set up around the farm to help manage crowds.
From there, you’ll find sanitized clippers and plastic bags ready for use upon entering the Flower U-Pick fields. I actually brought my own clippers and a bucket (which they filled with water for me at checkout) to ensure the flowers could survive the trip home, since I picked some more delicate varieties. However, if you’re not as prepared as I was, not to worry — you can use the tools provided and a member of their team will wrap your flowers at checkout (complete with a soaked paper towel base) to ensure they travel well!
If you’re a fellow flower lover, I highly recommend taking a stroll through the Eagle Creek Farms Flower U-Pick fields if you’re making the trip to Bowden SunMaze — even if it’s just to take in their beauty! My first flower U-Picking experience was a memorable one and an activity I hope the farm will continue to offer to years to come.
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MORE CHEERFUL SUNFLOWER CONTENT
Digital Blooms October 2020 | Free Desktop Wallpaper (featuring the flowers from this U-Pick!)
Thanks for joining us for A Guide to Bowden Sunmaze & Eagle Creek Farms, sunflower lovers! I hope you found this post informative and uplifting, whether you’re a local planning to make the trip, or have simply stopped by for a relaxing digital escape. If you’re not an Albertan, I encourage you to do some research about Sunflower Fields in your area and how you can support local farmers during this challenging time. Every little bit helps and I’m looking for fresh ways to support my local economy — especially when in involves gorgeous seasonal flowers!
As always, if you have any questions about something I haven’t addressed, feel free to leave me a comment! And if this post inspired you to visit Bowden Sunmaze & Eagle Creek Farms, please let me know — I absolutely love hearing about your adventures. You can leave me a comment or tag me in your photos on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Happy sunflowering, beautiful people!
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