There’s no better way to introduce kids to the importance of honeybees (FYI: those little buggers pollinate around 80 percent of food crops so that we can…well…eat!) than to take a day trip to a bee farm. Bug enthusiasts can check out active hives and get some one-on-one time with a real life beekeeper. Fly by one of these cool local farms that offer tours, talks, and educational programs that will keep your busy bee buzzing with excitement days after.
Rock Hill Honey Bee Farm
This 5-acre bee yard is located just 40 miles southeast of D.C., and offers everything the amateur and professional beekeeper needs to start a backyard apiary. If that’s a little too intense for you, they also offer super-interesting talks and family programs. But the best part? You can purchase yummy, pure raw honey from their 150+ hives, including clover and wildflower varieties. That might be just what the doctor ordered for your springtime allergies.
45 Pinto Ln. (Stafford, Va)
This expansive and full-service farm is located just outside of the District and features festivals and activities designed to give you a fun farm experience full of recreation and learning. They offer seasonal celebrations, garden picking, community garden spots, a farmers market with live bamboo, fig groves, and a gorgeous botanical garden scheduled to open in 2015. And, yes, they have bees. Call the farm to schedule an educational bee talk and demonstration for you and your kids. Sounds like the makings of a memorable birthday party (hint, hint).
26469 Ticonderoga Rd. (Chantilly, Va)
Virginia Beekeeping Supply and Andralyn Farm
Less than two hours from D.C. in Virginia’s Fauquier country, Andralyn Farm specializes in beekeeping and harvesting pure, local wildflower honey. They also love what they do and love to teach it. They offer a range of popular and inexpensive classes on everything beginner wannabe beekeepers need to know.
101 W. Marshall St. (Remington, Va)
Who says you have to live on a farm to be a beekeeper? The DC Beekeepers is an alliance of urban beekeepers that live and operate in the District. It is at the center of a lively community of beekeeping organizations—including clubs, businesses, government labs and university researchers—throughout the Mid-Atlantic region whose primary mission is to educate the public about the importance of bees. Their beekeepers offer educational courses and give talks to clubs, schools, community garden groups, churches and environmental organizations. Your scout troop needs to earn a nature badge? Check this group out!
The Little Bee Farm
This first generation beekeeping family started keeping bees as a hobby in 2006, but it quickly turned into a passion and then into a business. Their fascination with managing hives and studying bee behavior keeps them growing bigger every year. Currently, The Little Bee Farm has 20 bee colonies. They welcome visits from local schools and children. Contact them directly to schedule a day and time.
Boyle Bee Farm
David and Gwen Boyle know a thing or two about bees and lucky for us they are willing to share. Their bee farm currently has 100 working beehives. In addition to providing pollination for fruits and vegetables to area farmers and selling their raw honey at local markets and produce stands, this beekeeping couple enjoy doing educational shows for children at local fairs. Their show features a two-frame observation beehive so kids and adults can learn about the many different duties of a honeybee. It’s the closest you’ll get to a bee without getting stung. Whew!
471 Owens Rd. (Queen Anne, Md)
Have you ever hung out at a bee farm? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.
Photos courtesy of vastateparksstaff via Creative Commons, Mats Hagwall via Creative Commons, julochka via Creative Commons