The very best petting zoos for animal lovers in the DC-area

The best learning experiences in life are hands on. To get a better understanding of the animal world, you can make a trip to these family-friendly farm vacations, and visit the best zoos in the US where you can look and touch. But if your own pride wants to snuggle up to a baby goat or hand-feed some exotic animals right now, we rounded up our favorite places for close animal encounters near DC. Scroll down for the best petting zoos and petting farms near Washington, DC.

The Best Animal Encounters near DC

1. Georges Mill Farm

This goat farm in Loudoun County offers a chance to snuggle with goats. For a limited time each spring, Georges Mill opens their (pen) gates to visitors for goat snuggles Mon.-Fri. If you’d like to feed goats, stop by anytime during the week or reserve a bottle feeding ticket online for weekend appointments.

11873 Georges Mill Rd.
Lovettsville, VA

2. Nova Wild

Nova Wild, (formerly Roers Zoofari) recently reopened. You can drive your own vehicle through Nova Wild’s interactive safari, where you and your family can feed and interact with a wide array of wildlife, from Watusis to Asian water buffalo. Once you’ve finished your safari, you can park the car and stroll through exhibits to discover over 30 species of exotic butterflies, colorful birds, cheetahs, lemurs, wallabies, and more!

1228 Hunter Mill Rd.
Vienna, VA

3. Leesburg Animal Park

This 21-acre facility offers little ones the chance to take part in interactive animal shows, arts and crafts, as well as visit and pet the animals. Ride a pony on a nice day or head inside on colder, rainy ones to enjoy all the activities that this park offers. Visit everything from farm animals to monkeys, llamas and lemurs. The resident sloth is a fan favorite (can’t make it to the zoo? Cuddle up with this guy instead!).

19270 Monroe-Madison Memorial Hwy.
Leesburg, VA

4. Frying Pan Farm

Rabbits, sheep, chickens, cows and draft horses are in the mix at this Frying Pan based petting zoo located in Fairfax County. Add in the pigs and a peacock or two and you have yourself a fun, educational day spent outside. The traditional red barn farm is a working demonstration full of new baby animals joining the Kidwell Farm family.

2709 West Ox Rd.
Herndon, VA

5. Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo

Head into MD for a day of outdoor adventuring at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo where families can roam for hours and always see something new. Over 100-acres of wildlife fun little ones can touch and feel large herbivores while bouncing around the grounds on a safari ride. Take in an interactive show for more touchy-feely moments. Note: Camel rides and parakeet feedings are currently not available.

13019 Catoctin Furnace Rd.
Thurmont, MD

6. Green Meadows Farm

Get up close and personal at this petting zoo where you can feed sheep and goats for free and even take in a pig race or two. Green Meadows has over 200 animals to visit and touch from alpacas and llamas to pea fowl and draft horses with a kangaroo or two as well.

10102 Fingerboard Rd.
Ijamsville, MD

7. Luray Zoo

A little further away, this zoo hosts rescued animals to give them a second chance. Want to meet these special creatures? Take a Discovery Tour (call for pricing) at this rescue zoo with one of the owners. You can explore the zoo after hours for more chances to get up-close and personal with the animals. You’ll get hands-on interactions and feed the animals.

1087 US Hwy. 211 West
Luray, VA

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