Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Top 3 Toddler-Friendly Destinations in Loudoun

*apologies for the wonky background color...

Loudoun County is a mothers dream.  On top of the fabulous schools and employment options, it is a gorgeous place to live, and full of educational, fun, and high-quality activities for children.  

1) Loudoun County Government Sponsored Activites. 

This isn't technically a destination, but there is no better resource for childrens  activities.  Loudoun County is rich.   This year, it is listed as the richest county, with the median income at $ 119,000.  What does that mean for us?  Fabulous government-sponsored activities! And I mean Top Notch.  The Community and Recreation Centers are state-of-the art and offer an amazing variety of classes, from Tai-Chi to Cooking.  For kiddos, there are a huge variety of high-quality CHEAP classes.  The prices are magnitudes lower than similar classes offered by the business community.   Toddlers can take art, sports, music, and everything in between.  In addition, they offer regular special activities like moon-bounce parties, balloon parties, carnivals, ect.  My favorite offering is called "Parents Night Out", which entails dropping your kids off for 3.5 hours to have fun with moonbounces, games, and pizza, while you date your spouse; for $15! 

2) Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum

I have lived in Loudoun County for 7 years.  For the first 5.5 years, I drove past a sign for the museum every day on my way home from work, and I was never tempted to go.  A farm museum?! No thanks; couldn't possibly be of interest to a suburban girl like me!  One day, my son and I were exploring Claude Moore Park.  We took a walk by the beautiful lake, and saw some historic buildings in the distance and went exploring.  Beyond the historic buildings, my son spotted some huge tractors, and we were off!  There, we stumbled upon the museum.  It was starting to rain, so I begrudgingly decided to go in.  It quickly became my absolute favorite activity in Loudoun! 

This is a diamond in the ruff of Northern Virginia; and easily one of the best childrens museums in the area.  
The museum is packed full of organized, educational, and imaginative exhibits that teach children about historical farm life while they play.   The best part is the full historic general store, which is an original store that was moved into the museum.  It is large, and full of historic products, pretend food,  a mail room, scales, and cash register.   My son had to be pulled from the store after playing for over an hour.  It is FABULOUS.   
There is an indoor barn where children can collect eggs, dress up like a farmer, milk a cow, and ride/care for pretend horses.  Additionally, there are several high quality child-size tractors with a large open space for playing.  
The main museum is also phenomenal.  It is full of interesting artifacts and information.  In the back of the main museum section, there is another surprise for kids; a replica of a turn-of-the-century kitchen.  It is a hands on exhibit where children can experience what kitchen life was like circa 1920.  
The price is a steal; $3 for kids and $5 for adults.  I have taken my family again and again.  It is perfect for rainy/cold days, as there is plenty of space for running around and playing.  The staff is attentive and considerate.   Outside the museum, you will find a historic town with several original buildings, which is also fabulous   There is also a very nice gift shop with educational toys and locally made products.  On Mondays, Mr "Knick Knack" is there as well!

This is the highest quality childrens museum in the area. I  honestly have no idea why they don't market it as a childrens museum (like on that sign!)  The national childrens museum at the National Harbor is abysmal  and other museums are over an hour away.  You will have a much better time here, and spend less money, while learning about local Loudoun history and farming.  Enjoy!

3) Great Country Farms

Imagine the biggest, coolest backyard in the whole world.  Playgrounds, tube slides, barns, animals, Corn "sand box", giant water tower for hot days... the list goes on!  In addition to the seemingly endless offering of activities, it is working farm that offers pick-your-own everything... Strawberries, asparagus, apples, potatoes... you name it!  I love this place.

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Tags: loudoun county, ashburn, reston, herndon, sterling, toddler friendly activities, indoor activities for kids, children

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Thanks you so much for the share. Keep up the Excellent work, we look forward to reading more from you in the future!
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