Easter comes early this year, and it seems all of Northern Virginia is gearing up for the festivities in the next few weeks. So I love that Ticonderoga Farms, located in Chantilly, VA west of DC, offered their Easter Festivities a week earlier than others. We visited Ticonderoga last summer, and absolutely loved it. A picture of Curly Girl and her Daddy from last summer on Virginia's longest swinging bridge is forever on his laptop background. So this month when the weather was warm and Mommy needed a day trip out, I was THRILLED to see they were opening for their Spring Easter Festival.
Admission varies by season. For the Spring Easter Festival admission is $11.95 for anyone over 2. Admission can be paid by credit card, but be sure to bring cash to buy bamboo for the petting zoo and for anything you might want in the concession stand.
Ticonderoga can be a whole lot of A LOT, so if you have a toddler who can only handle so much, you need to plan. Upon entering, you can't miss the slides. And by slides, I don't mean anything you relate to in a playground -- you have to CLIMB THAT MOUNTAIN. We had been there before, so I didn't want to do that first, because I knew there would be the "One Mo Time? " ad infinitum. But, it's there -- we couldn't escape it -- and Daddy and Curly Girl hit the slides first. And second...and third... you get the picture....
Anyway, Ticonderoga did a great job with explaining the process of the Easter Egg Hunt, separating the kids into like age groups (3 and under and 4 and above). Daddy coached Curly Girl about how she should attack the hunt, and she was successful because they provided PLENTY of eggs. Even with the crowd, we did not want for eggs. The prizes in the eggs included candy, bracelets and plastic animals. The plastic cricket was the big winner of the day for Curly Girl! Ticonderoga Farms graciously invites you to take the eggs home, or leave them to recycle on your way out.
After the egg hunt, we found ourselves at the Spring Animal Petting Zoo. Chickens, Roosters, Goats and Peacocks abound. Curly Girl was afraid of the goats last year, but this year she couldn't leave them alone! Be sure to bring cash to buy bamboo -- as the best way to interact with the goats is to give them a snack.
Down the path, we find ourselves at a crossroads -- Bouncy Pillow or Bouncy Cow Train? Who can choose?? We went to the Bouncy Pillow. I was so proud of my Curly Girl! A huge inflated pillow (my estimation of 1/8 of a football field?) with kids way bigger than her bouncing on the top -- she climbed on just to be bounced off -- having no footing. I thought there would be tears but no!-- after each faceplant she bounced up laughing and just kept climbing. When she got bounced off she sized it up and she attacked that bouncy pillow from every angle until she got it! She was relentless, and she got up there and bounced on the top with the big kids. I will always remember watching her first perseverance at Ticonderoga Farms.
But would we ever leave the Bouncy Pillow? I doubted it, not without tears. Until.... Bouncy Cow Train passed by. Oh yes! Off the Bouncy Pillow lickety split!
Bouncy Cow Train -- A tractor, with a cute as can be driver who assured me he had never lost a kid, linked to varied sizes of carts -- some that are big enough to hold adults holding children, some only big enough for a toddler/small child, all powered with some sort of axle that makes each Smiley Cow Face cart bounce. Don't attempt this if you have neck issues. I rode it last year and thought I probably needed a neck brace.
Curly Girl was focused, climbed in her Cow, showed no fear, and didn't give a rip that while she was on the Bouncy Cow Ride, Mommy and Daddy were standing wringing our hands wondering if she was OK. Of course, cute as can be tractor driver was right, he didn't lose my kid, and she had the bouncy ride of her life.
Ticonderoga Farms offers a great Hayride right next to Bouncy Cow Ride. I heard the amazing guy that runs it and wanted to do it too, but Curly Girl was winding down. We will next time!
We ambled back, going through the playgrounds. There is Noah's Ark, with everything a kid could want in a playground! A great place to climb and slide and swing!
We went to the concession area, with great colorful concrete tubes to play in and bought lunch. We brought our own drinks, but wanted to check out the food. We got two hot dogs (one for Curly Girl, one for Mommy) at $2.50 each, and Daddy wanted the Turkey Leg at $7. We had a beautiful picnic and played in the tubes, and then we were ready to go home and take a nap.
Pros: For a toddler, everything is kid friendly -- moving from one area to another is easy! So much to do!
Cons: Bring cash. We weren't told upon arriving, even though we asked, that we needed cash inside. You need cash for the Bamboo to feed the petting zoo animals, and for concessions.
We will definitely be back for other festivals at Halloween and Christmas! Check out Ticonderoga Farms at www.ticonderoga.com.