Monthly Archives: September 2014

Summers Farm

Summers Farm
5620 Butterfly Ln
Frederick, MD 21703
http://summersfarm.com
 

Last Sunday we took a road trip up 270 to check out the fall festival at Summers Farm in Frederick. It was our first time visiting and I must say we were very impressed with everything they had to offer! It had a great fall atmosphere and was not overly crowded.

SFsign

As we were driving up to the entrance, the girls got excited when they saw the large area filled with all sorts of fun activities.

SFviewfromtop

Clara first spotted the animals and wanted to go visit them right away. We bought animal feed at the entrance, so she was ready to feed the goats.

SFgoats

In addition to goats, they also have ducks, geese, chickens, llamas, pigs, and miniature horses.

SFchickens                                 SFllamas

After checking out all the animals, we continued to make our way around to all the other activities including the spider web climb, giant jumping pillow, tube slides, and apple blaster.

SFspiderweb SFjumpingpillow SFslides SFappleblaster

The pumpkin train was a big hit with my girls, since it is something we haven’t seen at any other farms yet. A little bumpy for me but fun was had by all!

SFpumpkintrain

The list of attractions continues – there is a playground area with animal swings, right-hand only maze, football and baseball toss games, pumpkin hut, corn cribs, tether ball, hip-hop balls, and rubber duck races.

SFswings                           SFmaze SFtossgame SFpumpkin

There are two corn mazes – a short and a long. We opted for the short maze, since it is more suitable for the younger crowd. Clara was excited about finding each number along the way. The longer and more challenging maze spans 14 acres and includes 2.5 miles of pathways.

SFcornmaze

It was a hot day when we were at Summers Farm last weekend, so my girls were tired after just a couple hours of running around. Although, there were definitely enough activities to keep them busy for much longer. We didn’t end up going for a hayride to pick our own pumpkins but we did grab a pumpkin at the market before leaving. They also make amazing apple cider donuts that are for sale in the market. You must try them!

SFtrucksign

Additional Information:

•Admission is $6.95 on weekdays, $10.95 on weekends. Kids 2 and under are free.
•Lots of food options available at the Barnyard Grill, Sweet Shoppe, and Feed Sack.
•The farm is open at night in the fall and you can reserve a campfire ($65) for roasting hotdogs or s’mores.
•The farm is spread out, so I recommend bringing a stroller for little ones. There aren’t any paths but it is still easy enough to push a stroller throughout the property.
•Portable restrooms only.
•Summers Farm also offers field trips and birthday parities on site.



Great Country Farms

Great Country Farms
18780 Foggy Bottom Road
Bluemont, VA 20135
http://www.greatcountryfarms.com
 

Great Country Farms is a 200 acre working farm located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside the village of Bluemont, Virginia. It is about an hour drive from Washington, DC. The girls and I ventured out there last week to meet our friends at the farm for an afternoon of fun.

GCFentrance

After mentioning to Clara that they have a giant jumping pillow, she insisted that we go there first. We spent a good amount of time here bouncing, running, and giggling.

GCFpillow1          GCFpillow2

Next, Clara asked to see the animals. My girls both LOVE animals and will have a great time when we go anywhere that has animals. Great Country Farms has turkeys, pigs, goats, mini horses, rabbits, peacocks, ducks, chickens, and sheep. There is animal feed available to purchase for feeding the goats.

GCFrabbit GCFchickens GCFhorse GCFturkeys

Then we took the kids over to the playground area. There are a few different structures to play on including a ship, tractor, and a monster truck. There is also a corn bin, a giant chess board, and tube slides.

GCFplayground2                    GCFplayground1                    GCFcornbin

Then it was time to go apple picking. I purchased a Certifikid deal for admission and it also included 2 lbs of apples. The wagon for apple picking leaves at the top of every hour. It takes guests across the street and into the Bluemont Vineyard property, which is owned by the same family.

GCFwagon   GCFbluemont

The view is absolutely stunning with the orchards at the base of the hill and the vineyard towards the top.

GCForchard

There were a few different varieties of apples available to pick including Fuji, Ruby John, Honey Crisp, and Jonafree. We decided to pick the Fuji and they were delicious.

GCFapples

As usual, Clara did all the picking while Mae munched on an apple.

GCFapple1

The wagon waits until everyone has returned from picking and then takes all the guests back to the entrance of Great Country Farms.

GCFwagon2

On our way out, we stopped at the farm market to pay for our apples and get a few other goodies. The market offers seasonally fresh produce, local honey, jams, gifts, and snacks.

Of course we had to get the obligatory photo with the giant cow before leaving.

GCFcow

I definitely recommend a trip to Great Country Farms. It is well worth the drive from the city. There are enough activities to keep children busy for several hours. You could also make it a day trip and visit some of the family friendly vineyards in the area.

Additional information:

•Admission is $8/child (ages3-10) & $10/adult on weekdays. $10/child (ages 3-10) & $12/adult on festival weekends. Children under 2 years, active & retired military, CSA, and Fan of the Farm season pass holders, do not pay admission.
•The farm is spread out, so bring a stroller for little ones. There are paths throughout making it stroller friendly.
•CSA memberships available.
•Pick-your-own produce includes cherries, black raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, plums, peaches, blackberries, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, potatoes, concord grapes, pumpkins, kale, swiss chard, & mustard greens.
•Follow Great Country Farms on Facebook & Twitter for updated pick-your-own availability.
•Roosteraunt is open on weekends and serves up cider donuts, kettle corn, hotdogs, pies and other snacks.
•The farm also offers weddings, corporate meetings, birthday parities, and field trips.



Green Meadows Petting Farm – Barnyard Bash

Green Meadows Petting Farm
10102 Fingerboard Road
Ijamsville, MD 21754
http://www.greenmeadowsevents.com

Green Meadows Petting Farm is a fun interactive place to take the family. It is described as a farm animal learning center company. I had taken Clara once last summer before baby Mae was born but we had never been to the barnyard bash before. Last Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day to make a trip to the farm for the their third annual barnyard bash event.

Green Meadows was founded by Bob and Coni Keyes in Waterford, Wisconsin in 1964 as a petting farm. Members of the Keyes Family have opened eight additional Green Meadows Farms in New York, Wisconsin, Texas, Maryland, New Jersey Connecticut, Florida, and Illinois. Every year over 500,000 guests pass through the gates of Green Meadows Farms. The farm in Ijamsville currently operates as “home base” to the family’s many business ventures.

After parking in the field and buying tickets at the entrance, we first headed down the hill to check out the animal barn.

GManimalbarn

In this barn there were baby ducks and chicks who were just a few days old. The girls loved petting them and watching them move around in the bin. There were also rabbits, a llama, cow, pigs, and a 10 day old calf.

GMcow GMrabbit GMllama GMbabychick 
 

Next we walked outside to visit the horses and miniature donkeys.

GMdonkey GMhorse

Then a person from the Green Meadows staff announced that there would be a pig race starting soon so we sat down on the bleachers to watch. They assigned each section of the bleachers a different “color” pig to cheer for during the race. Clara was really excited to cheer for our pig but sadly he didn’t win this time :).

GMpigrace

Next we made our way over to the dairy barn. I love the rustic charm of this barn!

GMdairybarn

Inside we met Stormy, a 2 year old Holstein. Clara enjoyed milking her with help from the nice farmhand.

GMmilkcow

We made our way around the farm to visit many of the other animals including emus, pigs, sheep, turkeys, chickens, ducks, kangaroos and goats. The staff at Green Meadows were all very friendly and knowledgeable about the animals.

GMgoats GMturkeys GMpig GMchickens

At the event, there was also live music, an ice cream truck, and several other food vendors. They also had a pumpkin painting station, pony rides, face painting, rubber duck races, hay rides, combine play area, and a mobile gem mining station.

GMcombine GMmusic GMgemmining GMducks

This was a fun event and we will definitely make it a yearly tradition for our family.  There was enough to see and do to keep my girls entertained for a few hours.  I love that it is also an educational activity for children. Always a win-win if you can entertain your kids and teach them something at the same time.

GMsign

Other good information to know before you go:

•Tickets for the barnyard bash were $10 for anyone over 2 years old. Normal admission is $12.oo. There is a $2 off coupon available to print from their website.
•The farm is spread out, so you might want a stroller for little ones. It is fairly easy to get around pushing a stroller.
•The farm offers birthday parties and field trips for schools.
•Bathrooms and concessions available.
•Outside food and drink is allowed and there are picnic tables available.



Reston Zoo

Reston Zoo
1228 Hunter Mill Road
Vienna, VA 22182
http://www.restonzoo.com/
 

The Reston Zoo is a 30 acre zoo located in Fairfax county. It is a small, interactive zoo that is home to hundreds of animals, many of which you can get up close to pet and feed. The little ones especially love the interaction with the animals and it’s not something that many other zoos offer. It is a nice change from the National Zoo as it is easy to navigate and you can see everything here in a couple hours.

RestonZooentrance

The zoo includes a petting barn, budgie aviary, reptile house, kangaroo walk through and a safari wagon ride which is the highlight of the zoo for my girls.

Restonzoomap

At the gift shop I purchased animal feed, a lamb bottle, and budgie feeding sticks. We first went to the petting barn to feed the goats, lambs, and ducks. Also, in the petting barn are pigs, chickens, llamas, and rabbits.

Restonzoopetbarn1     RestonZoopetbarn2 RestonzooPetbarn3

RestonzooPetbarn4

Across from the petting barn are tortoises, brown-headed spider monkeys, indian peafowls, a scarlet macaw, and more pigs.

Restonzoospidermon       Restonzoomacaw

Next we went into the reptile house (my least favorite part) to look at the snakes, frogs, turtles, baby alligators, and spiders. This was a quick 2 minute stroll through as I am pretty terrified of snakes! Eeeeeeeek!

Restonzoosnake

As we continued through the zoo, we visited the Andean condors, mountain cotimundis, ring-tailed lemurs, and golden-headed lion tamarins.

Then we went into the free flight budgie aviary to feed the birds.

Restonzooaviary

Clara was timid at first but then grew more confident in holding the feeding stick while the birds landed to eat.

Restonzoobudgiebird

Next we went on the Zoofari Wagon ride. This is definitely my girls favorite part of the zoo. It is a 20 minute ride through the lower half of the zoo that is the free roaming preserve. On this ride we saw camels, antelopes, zebras, buffalo, ostrich, watusi, and llamas.

Restonzoozoofarisign

Restonzoowagon

The animals are all very friendly and will come right up to the wagon when it stops. Be sure to save some animal feed for the ride. The wagon stops a couple times and the guide shares interesting facts about the animals.

Restonzoocamel Restonzoobull1 Restonzoobull Restonzoozebra

After the wagon ride, we still had a few more areas of the zoo to explore. The girls enjoyed watching and petting the ponies. The zoo offers pony rides for $4.

Restonzoohorse

Next we went through the kangaroo walk.

Restonzooroos

We finished with a quick stop at the alligators and then walked back to the gift shop. I bought the girls an ice cream treat and it was time to head home. We definitely recommend a trip to the Reston zoo!

Good to Know:

•Ticket prices: Adult (13-64) $12.95, Senior (65+) $11.95, Child (2-12) $9.95, Child under 2 is free.
•The Zoofari Wagon Ride is included in the admission price. The wagon leaves at the top of every hour beginning at 10am. Be sure to save some animal feed for the wagon ride!
•Budgie bird feed sticks are $1 each, animal feed is $3.25/cup, lamb bottles are $1.50/bottle.
•The zoo is stroller friendly. But strollers are not allowed on the wagon ride. They must be parked in the designated area before loading the wagon.
•Outside food and beverages are allowed and there are several picnic areas available.
•The zoo now has a Zoo Tots program which includes story time with a zoo keeper followed by animal interaction.  10:30am & 1:30pm on select Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout September and October. $4.00 or $3.00 for season pass holders.
•The Reston Zoo sponsors an Easter Egg hunt in the spring, Boo at the Zoo in October, and Zoolights in December to celebrate the holidays.



Butler’s Orchard

Butler’s Orchard
222000 Davis Mill Road
Germantown, MD 20876
http://www.butlersorchard.com/
 

This family owned and operated farm originated in the 1950s and now includes 300 acres where they grow over 25 kinds of fruits, veggies, and flowers. I start