30+ Best Places to See and Experience Animals

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We are grateful for LambMowers.com for sponsoring this guide which allows us to continue to bring free resources like this to families!

Animals are magical, wild, and super cute. If your kids are anything like ours, we love to see animals all over the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area. We are so fortunate to have so many options. Spring is an especially great time to visit animals because there are always new goats, chicks, rabbits, and other fun creatures. Take your kids to some or all of these places! Be sure to check out our guide to aquatic animals too. Also, check out your local animal shelter to see about visiting animals there too!

Some farms are by appointment, some are free, some do not have bathrooms, and hours vary. Be sure to check with the location’s website before heading over. Of course, please wear shoes and clothing that is suitable for animal experiences, bring water and snacks, and do not feed or pet the animals unless it is explicitly allowed.

Please take a look at our MAP at the bottom of the page.

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Animals to See & Experience

We have this guide in four sections:

  • Washington, DC 
  • Northern Virginia
  • Southern Maryland
  • Animals that travel to you! 

Washington, DC

1. National Zoo

3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

The iconic Smithsonian National Zoo is FREE, but passes are required. Walk the grounds to see an array of animals and attend their events. The zoo always has something going on and we love their Kidwell Farm for little ones located at the base of the Zoo.

2. Crumbs & Whiskers

3109 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Visit the adorable cat cafe in Georgetown to snuggle cats (and perhaps adopt one!). Children must be age seven or older and children 12 and under must be with an adult. Get tickets here!

3. Rock Creek Horse Center and Rock Creek Nature Center

5100 Glover Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015

See horses, ride ponies, and get horseback riding lessons at Rock Creek Park. Take a walk around Rock Creek Park and stop by Rock Creek Nature Center to see some wildlife too!

4. Petco

Several locations throughout the DMV

Take your animal loving child to see gerbils, fish, birds, and more at your local Petco. Kids love to see the animals in a calm, close-up environment. Plus, it is FREE!

Virginia

5. NOVA Wild

1228 Hunter Mill Rd, Vienna, VA 22182

Experience animals up close at this humane certified zoo by driving through or walking around over 30 acres of wildlife! You can even feed and pet some animals. Adults are $20 and children, military, and seniors are $15.

6. Frying Pan Park

2739 West Ox Rd, Herndon, VA 20171

This FREE farm and park is open daily and has lots of animals to see. Find the nursing babies, ride the carousel, and play on the playground! Read about our visit here! 

7. Leesburg Animal Park

19246 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg, VA 20175

Leesburg Animal Park is a must with kids. The family-owned zoo sits on over 200 acres and has fun year round with pony rides, animal shows, indoor and outdoor play grounds, animal petting and feeding area, and more! Several ticket options available.

8. Great Country Farms

34345 Snickersville Turnpike, Bluemont, VA 20135

Find lots of farm animals and lots of pick-your-own food, jumping pillow, play areas, ninja course, maze, and more! They offer several activities and events and pricing depends on what you plan to do there! It is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm.

9. Ever After Alpaca Farm

6155 Georgetown Rd, Broad Run, VA 20137

Make an appointment to encounter these adorable alpacas at the farm. Or send an alpacagram to a loved one. This farm would be great for a unique date night too with a winery across the street!

10. Chincoteague Island (with wild horses)

3335 Main Street, Chincoteague Island, VA 23336

See real live wild horses at Chincoteague Island. Or see their famous pony swim during summer break–a tradition that is older than our nation!

11. Hope & Serenity Farm and Sanctuary

10445 Manley Road, Nokesville, VA 20181

Find peace (and cute animals!) at the non-profit sanctuary for animals. Visit by appointment or sign your child up for preschool here!

12. Georges Mill Farm

11873 Georges Mill Rd, Lovettsville, VA 20180

This is an 8th generation family farm in Loudon County that has amazing products to sell direct from their farm. Make an appointment to see goats galore or dance at one of their monthly community barn dances. A great date night idea!

13. Serenity Farm Animal Sanctuary 

2626 Shepherds Mill Road, Berryville, Virginia 22611

Open March to December by appointment only, enjoy this peaceful sanctuary and get close to lots of animals. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for child. Enjoy a Children’s Nature Area too! There are no public bathrooms.

14. Charming Hill Farm

10623 Gravel Rd, Brandy Station, VA 22714

Cuddle goats, ride a unicorn(!!), and see other farm animals like chickens, bunnies, ducks, peacocks, pigs, horses, and a donkey! 

Maryland

15. Baugher’s Orchard

1015 Baugher Rd. Westminster, MD 21158

There is a lot to see and do at Baugher’s, but we LOVE the petting zoo! It’s FREE, adorable, and serene with lots of animals to see including goats, peacocks, emus, birds, and more. Head out there and plan to spend the day enjoying nature!

16. Assateague Island (with wild horses)

Visitor’s Center, 11800 Marsh View Lane, Berlin, MD 21811

Seeing a wild horse in their habitat is amazing and magical for kids and adults. During the summer, enjoy the Pony Swim event for fun!

17. South Mountain Creamery

8305 Bolivar Road, Middleton, MD 21769

Visit the 3,300 acre farm to see cows and chickens (16,000 of them!). Be sure to watch them milk a cow daily at 1:30 pm. Or take part in feeding calves. They also offer tours self-guided tours of the farm and group tours on Saturday for $8.

18. Watkins Regional Park 

301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

This is known as the Wizard of Oz Park, but did you know there is an adorable FREE farm too? Find rabbits, chickens, a pig, peacocks, a horse, a pony, a cow, and more! Plus, visit the Nature Center by the playground with snakes, fish, birds, turtles, and more!

19. Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary

15200 Mount Nebo Rd M, Poolesville, MD

This sanctuary is open by appointment only with a suggested donation of $5. Over 200 rescued animals live here and each animal has a name and story.

20. Maryland Zoo

1 Safari Place, Baltimore, MD 21217

Enjoy a day at the zoo in Baltimore from 10 am to 4 pm. Catch daily events, groom goats in the farmyard (free experience with admission), and see gobs of zoo animals.

21. Oxon Hill Farm National Park

6411 Oxon Hill Rd, Oxon Hill, MD 20745

Visit this National Park Farm and become an Oxon Hill Farm Junior Ranger. Hike, bike, or do a self-guided tour of the farm. Oxon Hill Farm is open daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm and it’s FREE!

22. Green Meadows Petting Farm

10102 Fingerboard Rd Ijamsville, MD 21754

Spend a day at Green Meadows visiting the petting farm and enjoying the array of farm activities. Admission is $16 and includes a pig race, hay ride, animal feed, and opportunity to pet animals. Children under age two are free. They have several events throughout the year too! The farm is typically open from 10 am to 4:30 pm.

23. Catoctin Wildlife Preserve

13019 Catoctin Furnace Road, Thurmont, MD 21788

This 50-acre preserve is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $18.50 for children ages 3-12 and adults ages 13-64 is $27.50. Ages 0-2 are free! Get close to and even feed exotic animals from all over the world. If you plan to go more than once, we highly recommend a family membership!

24. Agricultural History Farm Park

18400 Muncaster Road, Derwood, MD 20855

Learn about farming practices at this 455 acres farm. Find farm animals, barns, buildings, an apple orchard, and lots of outdoor beauty at this Montgomery County Park.

25. Butler’s Orchard

22222 Davis Mill Road, Germantown, MD 20876

This vast farm is gorgeous and has a Farm Park to enjoy with kids. At just $4 per person, see farm animals, play, and relax in a farm setting. Plus, find pick-your-own produce.

26. Medieval Times

7000 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover, MD 21076

Cheer for your knight at this epic event with jousting on the back of horses and see falcons do tricks. You see all animals at a distance, but it is really neat to watch and they have a fun Mother’s Day lunch too. We’ve been and loved it! Check out the Renaissance Festival each fall to see jousting too!

Animals that Come to You

In addition to these fun locations, don’t forget that animals can come to you too! We love these small, local businesses and know you will too. We are grateful they share their animals with area families. Hire them for special occasions, fun experiences, birthdays, and more!

27. My Pet Alpaca

Have you ever pet a super fluffy, mini-alpaca? Now’s your chance. Since they are small, they are easily transportable and very social animals.

28. My Petting Zoo

Host animals at your home indoors or outdoors for up to 20 children. Along with the adorable animals, they bring everything needed to experience these animals up close.

29. Squeals on Wheels

This local family-owned business brings farm animals to you. They have different packages available with a variety of animals. We have personally used them and it was an amazing experience!

30. My Reptiles Guys

Serving schools, parties, libraries, and more throughout the DMV, this is your go-to resource if you have a kiddo that loves reptiles!

31. Lamb Mowers

This literally couldn’t be any cuter of an idea! Bring adorable lambs to your home to take care of your yard? YES! This would also be an ideal Father’s Day Gift too.

Have fun and please tag us in your photos. We love to see all the fun you are having with local animals! Let us know if you have a favorite experience!

Recap of 30+ Places to See and Experience Animals

Washington, DC

1. National Zoo
2. Crumbs & Whiskers
3. Rock Creek Horse Center & Nature Center
4. Petco

Northern Virginia

5. NOVA Wild
6. Frying Pan Park
7. Leesburg Animal Farm
8. Great Country Farm
9. Ever Alpaca Farm
10. Chincoteague Island (with wild horses)
11. Hope & Serenity Farm and Sanctuary
12. Georges Mill Farm
13. Serenity Farm Animal Sanctuary
14. Charming Hill Farm

Maryland

15. Baugher’s Orchard
16. Assateague Island (with wild horses)
17. South Mountain Creamery
18. Watkins Regional Park
19. Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary
20. Maryland Zoo
21. Oxon Hill Farm National Park
22. Green Meadows Petting Farm
23. Catoctin Wildlife Preserve
24. Agricultural History Farm Park
25. Butler’s Orchard
26. Medieval Times

Traveling Animals

27. My Pet Alpaca
28. My Petting Zoo
29. Squeals on Wheels
30. My Reptiles Guys
31. Lamb Mowers

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