I love taking my kids to petting zoos and farms near me in the DC area! I didn’t realize there were so many of them until I researched ones in Virginia and Maryland, so I put them together in this post. Animal petting zoos are a great way for kids to learn about animals and have some fun. I've included traditional petting zoos, farms and animal sanctuaries for 2023.
Table of Contents
- DC (1)
- Virginia (10)
- Maryland (14)
- My Mom Tips
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Best (and only!) Petting Zoo in Washington, DC
The National Zoo's Kids' Farm
The National Zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington, DC. It's also home to a great petting zoo called Kidwell Farm. It is located at the bottom of the hill near Parking Lot D. There are also tons of hands-on activities/little games to play along the wooden pathway and also high fences to keep the running toddler along the path.
Cost: Free but timed entry passes are required.
Animals: cows, hogs, chickens, the goofiest alpacas, and the funniest goats.
Hours and more info: DC Zoo Tips
Best Petting Zoos and Farms in Virginia
Frying Pan Farm - Herndon, Virginia
Frying Pan Farm in Herndon Virginia is one of my favorite places to take babies and toddlers in Northern Virginia. It is run by Fairfax County and is a working educational farm. There are dozens of animals, a carousel, permanent restrooms and even a playground. They even list their new baby animals on their street sign!
Animals: Sheep, Goats, Horses, Rabbits, Cows, Chickens, Peacocks, Pigs
Hours and more info: Frying Pan Farm's DMV with Kids Database entry.
Leesburg Animal Park - Leesburg Virginia Petting Farm
Leesburg Animal Park is not just your average petting zoo! They also have a lot of unique animals from Africa and Asia. They also have Pony Rides and Live Animal Shows.
Animals: Lemurs, Zebras, Macaw, African Serval Cats, Gibbons, Goats Llamas and more!
Hours and more info:Leesburg Animal Park's DMV with Kids Database entry
Nova Wild – Reston, Virginia (formerly Reston Zoo & Roer's Zoofari)
Note: My family and I visited when it was under a different name but haven't been since the change to Nova Wild in early 2023.
Nova Wild is an immersive zoo and petting farm in Reston Virginia with tons of cute and lovely animals. They offer lots of programs for kids as well as a self drive safari.
Animals: Cheetah, Laughing Kookaburra, Sika Deer, Red River Hog, Lemurs, Emu and more!
Hours and more info:Nova Wild DMV with Kids Database entry
Serenity Farm Animal Sanctuary - Berryville, Virginia
Photo provided by Serenity Farm
This is a lovely animal sanctuary located 60 miles from DC. You can email them directly to schedule a private tour. Part of the farm is a dedicated wildlife habitat too! The suggested donation is $5 per person and they have a children's nature area.
Animals: Sheep, horses, pigs, cats, dogs, goats and more!
Hours and more info:Serenity Farm Animal Sanctuary DMV with Kids Database entry
Hope & Serenity Farm and Sanctuary - Nokesville, Virginia
This farm sanctuary has over 250 animals that have been rescued and brought to this special teaching farm. $30 donation for the first person and $10 for each additional person.
Note: Located very close to Burnside Farm which has Tulips fields in the spring and Sunflower fields in the summer.
Animals: Alpacas, Llamas, Cows, Donkeys, Goats, Sheep, Horses, Pigs, Cats, Dogs, Goats and more!
Hours and more info:Hope & Serenity Farm Sanctuary DMV with Kids Database entry
Great Country Farms Animal Petting Farm Area - Bluemont, Virginia
A wonderful family-run farm with SO many activities for kids! Beyond animals and pick your own fruit, they also have a ninja course, giant jumping pillow, gem mining, and tons more activities. Military discount as well!
Animals: Pigs, Goats, Chickens
Hours and more info:Great Country Farms DMV with Kids Database entry
Nearby: Bear's Den Overlook (easy kid-friendly hike on Appalachian Trail) and Bear's Den Brewery with amazing views!
Ever After Alpaca Farm - Broad Run, VA (near Gainesville)
One of my kids' favorite places in Northern Virginia! A wonderful owner and her family have many alpacas and you can sign up for a 1 hour Alpaca Encounter where you get to feed and pet these loving creatures. Did you know Alpacas don't bite?? They only have 1 upper tooth I believe! The season opens in April and check their website to schedule, $16 per person.
Animals: Alpacas and Horses
Hours and more info:Ever After Alpaca Farm DMV with Kids Database entry
Georges Mill Farm - Lovetsville, VA (Loudoun County)
A working goat farm with artisan cheese! In the spring they have baby goat season where you can cuddle and feed the cuties. Note, they do not have a public restroom available. Check out their website below for more info!
Honorable Mentions - Animal Petting Farms near me in Northern Virginia
Cox Farms - Centreville Virginia
Cox Farms is my personal favorite farm in Northern Virginia but it is an honorable mention because it is only open in the fall for their festival! They have the cutest pigs, goats, and chickens, tons of slides, mazes, wagon rides, and more! All the info here.
Nall's Produce - Alexandria Virginia
Honorable mention because it is not a true "farm" but they have cute animals and can be a great low-key spot to take kids. My kids love to go in all seasons to check on Penny the Pig and chase the chickens! In the Fall they have a cool "Pumpkin Hill" that's free for kids to play on. More info here.
Maryland Petting Zoo near me outside DC
Green Meadow's Petting Farm - Ijamsville, Maryland
Photo provided by Green Meadow
This is the locally famous petting zoo with over 250 animals! They have 1 entrance price and then kids can enjoy all the farm has to offer! Open throughout the year but check out the link for hours as they can change with the season.
Animals: Goats, Pigs, Chickens and tons more!
Hours and more info:Green Meadow's Petting Farm DMV with Kids Database entry
Clark's Elioak Farm - Ellicott City, Maryland
The farm has been in operation for over 200 years and is "insta-famous" for its Enchanted Forest, a play area that features sculptures of characters from classic children's stories such as Mother Goose and Alice in Wonderland.
One of the main attractions of Clark's Elioak Farm is the petting zoo, where visitors can interact with a variety of farm animals such as goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, and cows. There are also pony rides available for children.
Animals: Ponies, Cows, Goats, Pigs, Chickens and more!
Hours and more info:Clark's Elioak Farm DMV with Kids Database entry
Oxon Hill Farm National Park - Oxon Hill, Maryland
Beautiful spot right off the beltway which the National Park Service runs. It is a former 1800s plantation that now has animals and living history exhibits. I stopped by one day and enjoyed the cows and roaming chickens. Free!
Hours and more info:Oxon Hill Farm DMV with Kids Database entry
Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary - Poolesville Maryland
Photo provided by Poplar Springs
Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary is a non-profit organization located in Poolesville, Maryland. The sanctuary provides a lifelong home for farm animals rescued from abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
Visitors to Poplar Springs can take guided tours of the sanctuary to learn about the animals and their stories. There are also volunteer opportunities available for those who want to get involved and help care for the animals. Suggested donation is $5 per person.
Animals: cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and rabbits.
Hours and more info:Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary DMV with Kids Database entry
Old Maryland Farm - Upper Marlboro, MD
Old Maryland Farm is run by Prince George County Parks and is free! It's a great place to see farm animals and is right across the parking lot from the "famous" Wizard of Oz Playground!
Animals: Ponies, Cows, Goats, Pigs, Chickens and more!
Hours and more info:Old Maryland Farm DMV with Kids Database entry
Catoctin Wildlife Preserve - Animal Petting Farm near me in Thurmont, MD
The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo is a wildlife park and zoo located in Thurmont, Maryland, about an hour's drive northwest of Baltimore. The park is really large at over 100 acres with 600 animals. The park is known for its up-close animal encounters, which allow visitors to feed and interact with some of the animals. They also have safari rides.
Animals: Lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes, bears, and many more.
Hours and more info here.
Baltimore Zoo Animal Encounters - Baltimore, Maryland
While not exactly a petting zoo, the Baltimore Zoo does offer some very special and unique animal encounters that your kids might love! My friends tried the Penguin one and it was so cool to hear all about it!
- Penguin Encounter: visitors can meet and interact with the zoo's colony of African penguins. During the encounter, visitors can feed the penguins, learn about their behavior and conservation, and even get a photo with a penguin.
- Giraffe Feeding: visitors can get eye-to-eye with the zoo's giraffes and feed them a special diet of lettuce and carrots.
Animals: Thousands of animals and hundreds of species!
Hours and more info:Clark's Elioak Farm DMV with Kids Database entry
Agricultural History Farm Park - Derwood, Maryland
Very large farm operated by Montgomery County. Free to enter and restrooms are located in the Activity Center. Lots of great programs so check out their website!
Animals: Variety of farm animals
Hours and more info:Agricultural History Farm Park DMV with Kids Database entry
Homestead Farms - Poolesville, Maryland
One of my family's favorite farms to visit during harvest for apples. They also have PYO fruit throughout the year. Homestead Farms is a real working farm in the rolling hills around Poolesville, Maryland. The animals are kept around the farm and so cute!
Animals: Goats, Llamas, Chickens, Sheep
Hours and more info:Homestead Farm DMV with Kids Database entry
Fall Festivals in Maryland with Animal Petting Farms Near Me
Tons of great fall festivals in the DMV and below are the ones with petting farms!
- Butler’s Orchard – Germantown
- Montpelier Farms – Upper Marlboro
- Swann Farms – Lower Marlboro
- Magnolia Meadow Farms – Thurmont
- Summer’s Farm – Frederick
My Mom Tips for a Visit to a Petting Farm or Petting Zoo in the DC Area
Here are a few of my tips for making the most of your visit to a petting zoo with kids:
- Wear closed-toe shoes. This will protect your feet from the animals' hooves and claws. If your kids have rain boots, bring them!
- Always do a tick check after your visit. We have unfortunately had a tick bite after a visit to a northern Virginia farm. Always do a full tick check on yourself and your kids. I like to keep this $5 tick remover in my car.
- Bring a change of clothes. The animals may get their fur all over your clothes, so it's always a good idea to bring a change of clothes (or keep in the back of the car!)
- Wash your hands before and after petting the animals. I'm sure this is an obvious one but have to mention!
- Don't feed the animals anything unless the staff says it's okay. The animals may be allergic to certain foods, so it's important to ask before feeding them anything.
Map of Petting Farm or Petting Zoo in the DC Area
Full List of Petting Farms and Petting Zoo near me in the DC Area
- Kids’ Farm at the National Zoo, Washington, D.C.
- Frying Pan Farm – Herndon, Virginia
- Leesburg Animal Park – Leesburg, Virginia
- Nova Wild – Reston, Virginia (formerly Reston Zoo)
- Serenity Farm Animal Sanctuary – Berryville, Virginia
- Hope & Serenity Farm and Sanctuary Nokesville, Virginia
- Great Country Farms – Bluemont, Virginia
- Ever After Alpaca Farm – Broad Run, Virginia
- Georges Mill Farm - Loudoun County, Virginia
- Nall’s Produce – Alexandria, Virginia
- Cox Farms Fall Festival – Centreville, Virginia
- Green Meadow’s Petting Farm – Ijamsville, Maryland
- Clark’s Elioak Farm – Ellicott City, Maryland
- Oxon Hill Farm National Park - Oxon Hill, Maryland
- Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary – Poolesville, Maryland
- Old Maryland Farm - Upper Marlboro, Maryland
- Catoctin Wildlife Preserve – Thurmont, Maryland
- Baltimore Zoo - Baltimore, Maryland
- Agricultural History Farm Park – Derwood, Maryland
- Homestead Farm – Poolesville, Maryland
- Butler’s Orchard – Germantown, Maryland
- Montpelier Farms – Upper Marlboro, Maryland
- Swann Farms – Lower Marlboro, Maryland
- Magnolia Meadow Farms – Thurmont, Maryland
- Summer’s Farm – Frederick, Maryland