Saturday, April 6, 2013

Leesburg Animal Park -- When Mommy Gets to Ride a Camel Everybody is Happy

Curly Girl loves her animals.  So when I entered an online contest and won free passes to Leesburg Animal Park  I went to the website and began talking to her about the animals she would see.  Ponies, Llamas, Donkeys, Bunnies, Cows, Monkeys, plus a myriad of others...but she was all about the goats.  Don't know why, but she wanted to see the goats.

Leesburg Animal Park is about 30 miles west of DC.  It is easy to find, with the parking lot on a main road close to the Dulles Toll Road.

We got there shortly after it opened at 10 a.m.  A cup of animal feed is included in the admission fee for each person, in a cute little ice cream cone no less, but we ran out quickly and bought more for $5 that lasted us the rest of the visit.  We went through the petting zoo with the animals behind a fence.  Bulls, Goats, Alpacas, Sheep -- she was enthralled by it all!

But the Turkey who was hanging out in the middle really captured her attention, though he didn't seem to care about the ice cream cone she offered.

Upon leaving that area beware of the sandbox. A lot of toys and tools to dig and play with others, it is a great attraction.  But it seems to be a sand pit where toddlers are stuck for hours -- all of the parents said so, and we too, had to haul her off against her will after a while to see the other things. I would suggest hitting this on the way out, or when you just want to sit on a bench and take a break.

From there we hauled her to the Pony Ride.  Always a hit with the Curly Girl, she waited patiently for the staff to saddle the pony so she would be the first ride of the day.  Pony rides are $3.50.  The guide was very sweet with her.

A great spot is the Contact Zone where you can pet, feed and walk among animals.  Pigs, baby cows, sheep, goats, llamas and more welcome you and your cup of feed.  I could have stayed in there forever!  Watching the interaction between Curly Girl and the animals was priceless!
A 'wagon ride' is free with admission to see the larger animals.  Board the wagon and it will take you among antelope, Scottish Highland cattle, Zebra, and Donkeys.  The ride stops in the field and the animals approach the wagon for you to pet and feed them.

Next to the wagon ride is a beautiful pond.  You are encouraged to feed the ducks and fish.  I have NEVER seen fish this thick!  On special weekends you can fish there -- it is a fisherman's DREAM!

A concession stand sells hamburgers, hotdogs, BBQ sandwiches, and snacks.  Close to that are 3 different play areas to relax and picnic.  Curly Girl especially loved the Noah's Ark slide (though the slide is super fast --just look at the pic!  That was NOT a soft landing, bless her heart!) You can also find a stationary choo-choo train and a Happy Cow Bouncy House -- both of which she loved!

But the event of the day, at least in my mind, was the Camel Ride.  I have never been on a camel, though I always thought I would do it in Egypt one day (but that never happened).  So I was over the moon when I found out they had camel rides!  Normally Curly Girl's Daddy goes on rides with her, but I bumped him out immediately and took her myself!  I am so happy I have a memory of riding a camel with my little girl!!

Leesburg Animal Park is a great place to spend the day with kids of all ages.  It really isn't a 2 hour place, so you should come prepared with a picnic or prepare to buy lunch there.  There is really so much to do that takes a lot of time, as children really do get lost in time in sandboxes and play areas.  

We will definitely be back! 

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