Wonderland Tree Farm
A local tree farm, featuring fresh-cut Christmas trees, offers a complete holiday experience
By Kara Isham
Photos by Amanda Boswell
Hot chocolate, gingerbread, a roaring fire and cinnamon – just a few of the special scents that holiday memories are made of. But, for many, the most delightful smell of all is that of a fresh-cut Christmas tree. And, for those in Northwest Arkansas who crave that special woodsy scent to make their holiday complete, a visit to Wonderland Tree Farm in Pea Ridge is a great place to start.
The quintessential vision of Christmas, the farm is beautiful, with its rows and rows of manicured and well-cared-for trees. Wonderland is so picturesque that professional photographers often use the property for seasonal family photos.
Along with seeing the beautiful trees, and finding the perfect one to bring home, families can enjoy holiday music, sample treats such as hot chocolate, kettle corn and sugar cookies from on-site food trucks, drop a letter to Santa in the North Pole mailbox and warm up around a fire pit.
Wonderland owners Jill and Martin Babb enjoy seeing many of the same families return year after year to experience the holiday magic of the farm. “It’s not as much about selling a fresh-cut tree as about providing a memory,” Jill says. “I have seen people walk around with happy tears in their eyes because this place reminds them of their childhood.”
At the 38-plus acre farm, families have a chance to choose from thousands of mature trees, a task that is a bit daunting for the tree-selecting novice. But the Babbs, who have operated Wonderland for five years and previously owned another tree farm in a different part of the state, have perfected the process of selecting and cutting down the perfect Christmas tree.
Tree varieties available at Wonderland Tree Farm include mainly Virginia pine, Scotch pine and Leyland cypress, but there are also other varieties such as white pine, southwest pine, Turkish fir and spruce. One of the more popular kinds of tree offered at the farm is the classic Fraser fir, which is shipped in due to its inability to be grown in Arkansas. Jill says they sell out their stock of Fraser firs very quickly every year.
To select the perfect tree, Jill has these suggestions:
• Consider your own personal preference; it’s a big factor in choosing the right variety of tree for your family.
• The different varieties of trees have different scents. To find your favorite, test the scent by rubbing the needles of the tree between your fingers. This will release more of the tree’s aroma.
• Determine where the tree will be placed in your home. Families need to know the tree height that will fit in the space chosen, recognizing that fresh-cut trees prefer cooler spots away from fireplaces and heating vents.
• Another factor to consider is the feel of the needles (some are softer than others) and the strength of the tree’s branches, which may dictate what kind of decorations can be used.
To help simplify the choosing process, the farm offers a hayride-style wagon for those who don’t want to walk the acres of trees, plus specialized carts designed and made by Martin that easily transport the chosen tree to the tree corral. At the corral, the tree is mechanically shaken free of debris and is then netted. The farm staff will help hoist and secure the tree on top of the family’s vehicle.
Along with finding the perfect tree, families can visit the gift shop that offers everything needed to care for the new Christmas tree as well as a variety of gifts, ornaments and decorations. The farm also offers handmade wreaths, and this year the farm has added local craft vendors. “We want to be the one-stop shop for all things Christmas tree and décor,” Jill says.
Open every day except Monday, through Dec. 22, the farm’s regular hours are 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. On Dec. 6 and 7, the farm is open extended hours until 8 p.m. Santa will be making a special stop at the farm Dec. 7 and 8, and the farm will also host other special events like homeschool day, Feliz Navi Dog, Foster Family Day and Sensory Awareness Day. For information on tree pricing and special events, visit wonderlandtreefarm.com or follow the farm on social media.