The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum is one of the best hidden gems for entertaining little ones in the Washington, D.C. area. It’s located on the grounds of the Claude Moore Park in Sterling, Virginia, about 25 miles outside of the city. It has traditional museum exhibits that highlight the 250 years of Loudoun county’s agricultural history and interactive exhibits for kids, which is why I was drawn to visit the museum with my girls. The exhibits encourage role playing and are geared towards children under age 7. Here is what we loved about the hands on exhibits:
Claude Moore Children’s Farm
In this exhibit children get to learn what it’s like to be a farmer. They can dress up in overalls and straw hats and get to work milking a life-like cow and collecting eggs from the play chickens. Kids love riding the equi-ponies in this area and learning how to care for them. There is a puppet stage where children can create and perform their own farm story. They can also go for a ride on the pedal tractors in the open space in front of the barn. This was definitely the favorite activity for my energetic girls!
The Waxpool General Store
Another fantastic exhibit for children who like to role-play. In the Waxpool General store, kids can play shopkeeper, shopper, or postmaster. There are shelves and baskets full of play food and a charming antique cash register. This definitely beats the typical pretend grocery store found in children’s museums. My girls also loved sorting and delivering the mail in the post office area.
In the back of the museum is the Grandma’s Kitchen exhibit, a replica of a century-old farm kitchen. My daughters loved using the old fashioned kitchen tools and wood burning stove to pretend to prepare and serve meals. Children who love play kitchens will definitely want to spend a good amount of time here.
There is more to explore outside on the beautiful grounds surrounding the museum. The American Workhorse exhibit is located in a large barn behind the museum but it’s only available to view on select special events. If you keep walking along the path you will come to a pond. It has a few docks where you can feed the ducks and geese.
In addition to the daily exhibits, the museum also holds popular annual events including Tractorpooloza, Bunny Bonanza, and the Princess for a Day Ice Cream Social. They also offer summer camps and Kids’ Night at the Museum drop off events the second Saturday of every month. Registration information can be found here.
We visited the museum on a regular Saturday morning and it wasn’t crowded at all. The museum is not a big place making it easy to manage multiple small children. It is the place to go if you are looking for a fun and low-key outing. There is enough to do here to keep your kids entertained for at least a couple of hours. After our visit I was asking myself why I didn’t hear about it sooner!
Good to Know:
• Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 – 4:30pm, Sunday 11:30 – 4:30pm, Closed Mondays.
• Admission: Adults $5, Seniors and Military $4, Children 2-12 $3, FREE/Children Under 2
• Food and drinks are not allowed inside the museum but there are picnic tables outside where you can have a snack on a nice day.
• There is ample parking available in front of the museum.
• There are bathrooms with changing tables available as well as designated stroller parking.
• The museum is located near Dulles Town Center and Dulles 28 Centre which both have kid friendly options for lunch.