Hands-On Fun! 7 Petting Farms & Zoos Your Kids Will Love

The best learning experiences in life are hands on. Get a better understanding of the animal world at these farms and zoos where you can look AND touch. From snuggling up to a baby goat to hand-feeding exotic animals, we rounded up our favorite places for close encounters. Scroll down for the best petting zoos and petting farms near Washington, DC.

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Georges Mill Farm


This goat farm in Loudoun County offers a chance to snuggle with goats…. for FREE! For a limited time each spring, Georges Mill opens their (pen) gates to visitors for free 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 ($15/bottle). 

Cost: Free weekdays
Open: Daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

11873 Georges Mill Rd.
Lovettsville, VA
Online: georgesmillcheese.com


Roer’s Zoofari

Roer’s Zoofari

Roer’s currently offers two options to explore their 30 acre zoological park. You can take a walking tour where you can feed farm animals, like goats and sheep, and exotic animals, like camels (note: animal feed is sold separately and not included in admission). Feel safer keeping in your distance in your own vehicle? You can drive through this park, too. 

Inside tip: Be sure to reserve your tickets online before you go. 

Cost: $15-25
Open: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

1228 Hunter Mill Rd.
Vienna, VA
Online: roerszoofari.com

Leesburg Animal Park

Meghan Yudes Meyers

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!). 

Insider tip: Weekend tickets must be purchased in advance. Get yours here

Cost: $13-$17
Open: Weekdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (closed Tues.); Weekends, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

19270 Monroe-Madison Memorial Hwy.
Leesburg, VA
Online: leesburganimalpark.com

Frying Pan Farm

Frying Pan Park via Yelp

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.

Insider tip: You must pre-purchase your carousel tickets online. Tickets are $2/rider Wed.-Fri.; $3/rider Sat. & Sun. Wagon rides are also avail for $40/up to 9 people. 

Cost: Free
Open: Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 

2709 West Ox Rd.
Herndon, VA
Online: fairfaxcounty.gov/fryingpanpark


Catoctin Wildlife Preserve & Zoo

Gerhard Crous via Unsplash

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. 

Cost: $16.50-$22.50
Open: Opens daily at 9 am; closing times vary by day.

13019 Catoctin Furnace Rd.
Thurmont, MD
Online: cwpzoo.com

Green Meadows Farm

Green Meadows Farm via Yelp

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. 

Cost: $16; Free/23 months & under
Open: Wed.-Sun., 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

10102 Fingerboard Rd.
Ijamsville, MD
Online: greenmeadowsevents.com

Worth the Drive

Luray Zoo

Joshua Lee via Unsplash

Visit this zoo where rescued animals get 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. 

Insider tip: Get ready to escape the jaws of a ‘gator; the entrance to this zoo is through the head of an alligator! It’s a great place to start (especially if you’re practicing your ABCs). 

Cost: $6-12; Free/ 2 & under
Open: Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

1087 US Hwy. 211 West 
Luray, VA
Online: lurayzoo.com

—Meghan Yudes Meyers, Ayren Jackson-Cannady and Victoria Mason


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