Nostalgia Costs a Pretty Penny


Graphic by Shelby Neeley

Shelby Neeley, Opinions Editor

Almost everyone at Millard South has been to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. Vala’s is nostalgia bait at its finest, and its popularity is only increasing. So as inflation runs rampant and prices rapidly increase, is Vala’s worth its hefty admission fee?

When I went to Vala’s this year, it felt more expensive than last year.  Much more expensive. So I did some research. 

I used the Wayback machine to go to past archives of Vala’s website, dating all the way back to 21 years ago. And the way prices increased? Well, it didn’t look good for Valas. 

Still, I had some faith. So at the suggestion of a fellow newspaper staff member (thanks Ben), I compared it to inflation rates for every year. It didn’t make it look any better. 

Going on a Saturday would’ve cost a little under $19 a person five years ago. Now? It’s almost 40 bucks. Is that not laughable? You can’t blame that on inflation, because as far as I can tell, prices haven’t doubled in the last five years. It’s only Vala’s, desperately grasping for more and more profit. 

I do feel like prices have increased in an attempt to cover construction costs for new attractions and buildings. They opened an entire new section this year, with a far more advanced ride than usual, and a large vintage barn that was bought and transported from Sarpy County. And if that is the case for why the prices are suddenly so extreme, I partially understand. But I also understand that the prices probably won’t be going down, even once the building debt has been cleared. 

My main issue with Vala’s prices is that they feel like a betrayal. Vala’s is wholesome family fun; it’s a place every child in Omaha can remember visiting. And I worry that future generations are losing that chance as it gets more and more expensive. Vala’s isn’t a nostalgic fall destination anymore; it’s just another greedy money pit.  

Think about how much it would cost a family of four to spend a Saturday at Vala’s. 4 tickets, at least $20 in food per person, and 2 pumpkins. That’s at least $250- probably more. For one day. And if they want to go more than once? Season passes are $75 online, so at least $300, not including food for each visit.

My point here is that Vala’s is no longer the family staple it was. Nostalgia and mediocre food aren’t worth $250. We, as a community, deserve better. And let’s be honest here; it’s not like there aren’t any other pumpkin patches around us. 

Maybe try Skinny Bones or Bellevue Berry Farm this year instead of Vala’s. Who knows? You might find a new tradition. And at the very least, it probably won’t cost $250.