DMV kids have plenty of encounters with neighborhood pooches and park squirrels. But to get up close and personal with even cooler critters, gallop to one of these nearby petting zoos.
photo: National Zoo
Meet and greet cows, alpacas, hogs, donkeys, goats, chickens and fish at the National Zoo’s Kids’ Farm. Zoo keepers are on-hand to answer questions about the animals’ personalities and the skills, dedication and knowledge it takes to care for them. Adjacent to the farm, kids can learn about a farmer’s best friend, the honeybee at the Me and the Bee playground.
3001 Connecticut Ave.
Open: 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
photo: Tomasina R. via Yelp
Get ready to hitch up the wagon and go for a zoofari ride at this small petting zoo that is just perfect for the mini set. Upon arrival kiddos can grab a bucket of feed and a bottle of milk for a baby goat and start meeting and greeting the animals while giving them a tasty treat. Explore a reptile house and the Budgieary Adventure Aviary, too.
1228 Hunter Mill Rd.
Open: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Leesburg Animal Park
This 21-acre facility offers little ones the chance to take part in interactive animal shows, arts and crafts, as well as visit and pet the animals. Ride a pony on a nice day or head inside on colder, rainy ones to enjoy all the activities that this park offers. Visit everything from farm animals to monkeys, llamas and lemurs. A toddler playground space is just perfect for restless younger siblings or to get out the wiggles before heading home.
19270 Monroe-Madison Memorial Hwy.
Open: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Photo: Martha Heinemann Bixby via flickr
This working farm in Chantilly boasts a playground, carousel and wagon rides for tiny tykes. Laid back with enough activities and open outdoor space to please all types of small ones the Ticonderoga farm creates a friendly atmosphere to pet baby and adult animals like goats and seeing proud peacocks on full display.
26469 Ticonderoga Rd.
Open: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $12.95-$14 .95
Rabbits, sheep, chickens, cows and draft horses are in the mix at this Frying Pan based petting zoo located in Fairfax County. Add in the pigs and a peacock or two and you have yourself a fun, educational day spent outside. The traditional red barn farm is a working demonstration full of new baby animals joining the Kidwell Farm family.
2709 West Ox Rd.
Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Photo: Jason and Tina Coleman via flickr
Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo
Head into Maryland for a day of outdoor adventuring at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve an d Zoo where families can roam for hours and always see something new. Over 100-acres of wildlife fun little ones can touch and feel large herbivores like while bouncing around the grounds on a safari ride. Take in an interactive show for more touchy-feely moments.
13019 Catoctin Furnace Rd.
Open: Various times; see website
Green Meadows Farm
Get up close and personal at this petting zoo where you can milk cows, feed sheep and goats for free and even take in a pig race or two. Green Meadows has over 200 animals to visit and touch from alpacas and llamas to pea fowl and draft horses with a kangaroo or two as well. Check opening dates as they do vary with seasons.
Green Meadows Farm Urbana Petting Zoo
10102 Fingerboard Rd.
Open: Wed-Fri, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat-Sun, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $14.50; 23 months and under/FREE.
—Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Victoria Mason