I’m approaching 30, I’m a new mother and my version of fun has substantially changed over the past few years. Instead of night clubs and late nights out, I now look for places to take my daughter were we can both crack a smile. This past weekend I decided to take my daughter Lola to the Reston Zoo, so she could experience her first petting zoo!
The weather was wonderful here in DC this past Saturday and it was a pure breeze traveling the beltway to get to the farm. However, if your traveling from inside the DC beltway, prepare yourself to pay a toll of $1.50 in exact change, unless you have a E-Z Pass that will help you breeze through the toll.
The Reston zoo offers multiple petting stations, an awesome safari ride, boat rides and a beautiful bird sanctuary. Admission into the zoo is $12.00 for adults, $9.00 for children 2 and up and free for children 2 and under. If your planning on going be sure to visit their rates page on their site and view the additional charges you can incur to take part in all of the parks festivities.
I think we took Lola to the zoo a little early, being that she was absolutely horrified of the animals. She did enjoy viewing the animals that were behind the glass window. Her favorite was the reptile station and she had a strange attraction to the tarantula’s. Hey, maybe she will enjoy this experience more when she gets a bit older.
The safari ride was one of the family favorite activities. Since the zoo sits on 30 acres of land, it really felt like we were cruising on an African safari. The animals come right up to the tram looking for feed (you can purchase the food when you enter the zoo at a very reasonable prices).
Here are some of the beautiful animals that walked up to our tractor looking for something to chow down on:
Our second favorite activity was the bird sanctuary. The zoo offers feeding sticks for the birds and as long as you hold the stick out, the birds will flock to you. The experience was surreal. They remind me of DC squirrels that come right up to you to feed from your hand. I’ve never seen anything like it!
Good Tips:Dress down and DO NOT wear open toe shoes. This advice would seem pretty obvious, but I guess it wasn’t too obvious for me. I wore lime green pants with some cute flip flops but by the end of the day I was as filthy as a 10 year old boy.
Also, if you opt to go on the safari ride, be careful of the bulls that come up to the tractor. Their horns are HUGE and although the animals are very sweet by nature and would by no means intentionally hurt you, the bulls cannot control their own strength and their horns could end up hurting you when they are trying to get close to the tractor to get some food.
Good Girl Rating: As a loving mom who loves to make her daughter happy I would give it a 5 out of 5 stars, but generally… I would give it a 3 out of 5 because of how dirty I was after it was over! LOL, let me stop. I had a blast. We saw a plethora of animals and the whole family really enjoyed ourselves!
Some Good Alternatives:Don’t want to travel to Reston, VA to spend some time with your family? Ok, I get it… Here are a few more options to that may better suit your family’s needs.
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
3001 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
Main Phone: 202.633.4888 Phone
Hours: April – October 10am-6pm, November – March 10am – 4:30pm; Zoo grounds and some exhibits will remain open until 9pm on ZooLights nights.
**This is the only location in DC that you can take your family to view exotic animals. However, they do offer a kids farm and fish feeding on location.
The following are more petting farms/zoo locations outside of the DC city limits:
10500 Clarksville Pike
Ellicott City, Maryland 21042
Main Phone: 410-730-4049
Hours: March 31st – November 4th, 10am – 4pm
Petting farm, hayrides, cow train, pony rides, birthday parties, educational tours, and enchanted forest tree maze.
Watkins Regional Park
301 Watkins Park Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Hours: Call 301-218-6700 for park hours
Carousel, train, miniature golf, hayrides, and petting zoo
Admission: FREE admission but the amenities of the zoo are a small fee. Each amenity cost under $5.00 check the site for rates
Leesburg Animal Park
19270 James Monroe Highway
Leesburg, VA 20175
Main Phone: (703)433-0002
Hours: Hours vary. Please see company website.
Wagon rides, pony rides, and camel rides (all for an additional fee per ride)
Admission: Adults $10.50, Children (2-12) $8.50, Children 2 and under are FREE