Little Alexandria: Animal Parks and Adventures

Greeting the giraffe at Roer’s Zoofari. (Photo by Erica Barker)

Zoo-Topia

By Erica Barker

ALEXANDRIA, VA-Take a mini-road trip this month, outside of Alexandria, to enjoy a spring safari with your little ones. Three of our favorite animal parks, all in Virginia, are a 45-minute drive away and worth the trip.

First up is the Leesburg Animal Park in Leesburg. The Leesburg Animal Park This park offers plenty of interactions with animals, including a petting area, live educational animal shows, and both indoor and outdoor play areas. The park is big, and has animals ranging from alpacas, bunnies, and pigs to zebras, camels, and monkeys. After enjoying the park, you can head to Leesburg for some exploring and great food options.

Baby goats at Roer’s Zoofari. (Photo by Erica Barker)

The next animal adventure awaits at Roer’s Zoofari in Vienna. The Zoo is the perfect size for little legs to walk around and experience all the different animals, including baby goats, giraffes, bunnies, and kangaroos. We especially enjoyed the aviary, where we could feed the birds as they landed on seeds sticks we were holding. When tired of walking, you can hop on the safari bus tour for an open-air adventure.

Both the Leesburg Animal Park and Roer’s Zoofari charge admission fees and are perfect for a special occasion.

For a great, low-cost animal adventure, head to Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon. The park features Kidwell Farm, which has horses, chickens, rabbits, sheep, pigs, and goats. Kidwell Farm is a working farm from the 1930s and you can tour barns and various buildings that contain antique farm equipment. After touring the farm and saying hello to the animals, stop by the playground or take a wagon ride. Admission to the farm is free, wagon rides are $3.50 per person ages two and up.

Jethro the Tortoise at Leesburg Animal Park. (Photo by Erica Barker)

Here are my top picks for your upcoming weekends:

May 11: Arts on the Horizon presents their new children’s show, “Sailing on String” at the Lab at Convergence, 1819 N. Quaker Lane, Alexandria. The show is recommended for children ages 0-2 and features an immersive performance with live music. We have attended all their shows this past year and my son is always captivated. Shows run from May 1 to May 18 and tend to sell out, so grab tickets early. It’s also Mother’s Day weekend, so be sure to take advantage of the local brunch specials offered by Old Town restaurants.

May 18: Head to DC to check out ARTECHOUSE’s cherry blossom feature, “In Peak Bloom.” This unique and colorful digital art installation is sure to mesmerize. After touring the exhibit, walk along the Southwest Waterfront.

May 27: For Memorial Day weekend, stay in town and enjoy the 42nd Annual Memorial Day Jazz Festival at Waterfront Park in Old Town from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Dance along the waterfront and check out the new “Mirror, Mirror” art exhibit.

June 1: Take a mini-road trip to Herndon for the 38th Annual Herndon Festival. This event features a carnival, arts and crafts show, live entertainment, and kids’ activities. There will also be fireworks on Saturday night.

Erica Barker is the founder of littleoldtown.com, where she shares fun activities in the Alexandria area for parents and kids and she enjoys exploring the local area while keeping her toddler entertained.