Nostalgia Costs a Pretty Penny

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Graphic by Shelby Neeley
Graphic by Shelby Neeley

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. 

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  • M

    Michael HoltonNov 2, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    While I may agree with the opinion on Vala’s cost, I think the opinion piece is a little harsh. While that may be your opinion, others still cherish their experiences at Vala’s. Skinny Bones is wonderful but it is like comparing apples and oranges. I would like to see the prices go down but I also say that about everything right now.

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  • M

    MissyNov 1, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    I don’t go to Valas anymore either because of the ridiculous prices. Even with a discount, it is still way over the top. Plus the price of the food is more expensive than going to the grocery store. Very upsetting because I used to enjoy going there. And to charge by the weight of the pumpkin? Seriously?! Bellevue Berry Farm is more for younger kids. Very boring. The haunted hay rack ride wasn’t scary at all. I waited in line one night for 2 hours for a major let down. Not really sure where to go anymore for good entertainment. I guess just stay home and save my money.

    Reply
  • V

    VincentOct 30, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    It’s probably the cost of the workers

    Reply
  • L

    Linda WhitehillOct 30, 2022 at 11:08 am

    Very true! Vala’s should be a place every child should be able to visit once or twice in October. Please lower your prices so kids can experience the fun even if their parents aren’t made of money or so families don’t have to suffer financially until pay day because they went to Vala’s for a day!

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  • W

    WandaOct 29, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    I agree. Valas is a money pit and you’re stupid if you go there. My husband grew no less than 100 pound pumpkins, carved them, lined them up on a street with real candles in a small town west of omaha for many years, and never charged a dime. It’s appalling to charge that fee, but everyone takes thier youngsters there. Valas should be ashamed.

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  • T

    Tractor driver MikeOct 29, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Everybody’s entitled to their opinion, if you’re going to compare one to the other and have some valid points of items that would cause me to go to someplace else. Honestly I don’t feel this is an apples to apples or pumpkins to pumpkins as it were comparison as the other two venues are nowhere near the caliber of what is found in Gretna. Full disclosure, myself along with some of my family members and many friends work there for the season. FYI Disney was built almost 60 years ago and yet that price is up to over $125 a day and millions of people go there every year at multiple locations.

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  • R

    Renee FisherOct 29, 2022 at 1:59 pm

    I agree! Way too expensive! I’m not about it anymore!

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  • L

    Leslie MoserOct 29, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    This article about the ridiculous cost of going to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch is spot on! Their price increase is sadly too costly for anyone with a family of two or more kids even with a moderate income. It’s greed at it’s ugliest.

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  • R

    Rose kentOct 29, 2022 at 9:07 am

    We quit going to Vala’s pumpkin patch years ago. It is clearly overpriced and very overrated. The entrance fee is ridiculous. This is supposed to be about family fun. It’s about valas greed.

    Reply
  • J

    JillOct 29, 2022 at 8:08 am

    I remember first time going there it literally cost $2 a person. Prices for a pumpkin were roughly the same as they are in the store. Now, you get to ride a hayrack ride to the pumpkin patch where it isn’t even their pumpkins, they have been bought and dumped there and not only that but the prices have skyrocketed! Now it’s like going to Disney. Way too many people. People waiting an hour or more just to park. It’s a total disaster. And it is the same price of going to Adventureland or Worlds of Fun. My kids were able to go to poppy’s up by Norfolk and there are not busloads of people there. It’s much more affordable as well. I gave them each $20 which bought them a tshirt, a caramel apple, pop and a few other things. I’ve always thought Vala’s was out of their minds blowing up their prices. Yet, they are gonna keep raising those prices because they know people will pay it. Not me! I can take my kids to Bellevues berry farm and I could even get them a hotel room with an indoor water park for what it cost me to go to vala’s one afternoon. I’m glad someone actually had the guts to call them out! Good job!

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  • S

    Stacy ClarkOct 29, 2022 at 7:37 am

    Completely agree. Especially if you have you have younger children that really only can make it an hour or two! We took out adult children there every year, now with grandkids … Noway. We did enjoy skinnybones!

    Reply
  • J

    Joe MalfaitOct 29, 2022 at 4:36 am

    Great read I didn’t know it got so expensive

    Reply
  • M

    MargoOct 28, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    23 years ago my mom use to rent a camp site at Vala’s and my brother snd his 5 kids would come down from Kansas and stay at my mom and dads in Omaha and my husband and I from hooper my our two kids would all meet there on Saturday my mom would pay for us all to get in and it was less than $200 for 7 kids and 6 adults and we would all get pumpkins that cost less than $50 at the end of the night I use to SLWAYS buy candles in the gift shops ect. Now I won’t it is to pricey I won’t even go to Vala’s. There are pumpkin patches that have opened up here in Hooper snd north of Hooper I take my grand kids to now Vala’s has just become about the money and it just isn’t worth it any more.

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    • S

      Shirley ReyesNov 2, 2022 at 7:52 pm

      There is also Harvest Moon in Oakland, NE. My kids and grandkids have made it a tradition to go every year. They have added new things that the kids love. My grandkids range in age from 15 down to 1 and there is things for all of them to enjoy. The adults love it too. The owners are very nice people with really good hearts. They are very family oriented and were definitely thinking of all ages just having when they created this place.

      Reply