If you are looking for a new holiday tradition, put the Christmas Village at the Leesburg Animal Park on your list. It is a ticketed event held on the property of the animal park. We visited on a Saturday night early in December and it was not too crowded, which was a bonus!
After you purchase your tickets, be sure to consult the schedule for the evening. We went immediately to the Christmas craft room. This room is set up like a preschool with tables, puppets, stuffed animals, Christmas books, wrapped boxes to stack and every craft supply you can imagine. Children are set free to be creative and make Christmas cards, ornaments, and anything they want with the supplies. As the evening progresses, this room understandably gets more messy, so we recommend that you hit the craft room early.
There was a room with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Santa read a Christmas story and sat with children – almost no line. Santa spent about five minutes with our family. Also available in this room were some animals that came out periodically with Mrs. Claus (cockroaches, rabbits, etc). These animals could be touched and petted. Tip: Visit this room after 8 p.m., as crowds were thinner at this time.
The other indoor offerings included a massive playground, tables for parents, a party room (where a birthday party was going on), and a movie theater playing Frosty the Snowman.
Because of the laid-back nature of the Christmas Village, staff were willing to let children pet animals and answer questions. This was the absolute highlight of our evening. We even asked if we could see the python and they were happy to bring it out of the cage and let us touch it.
Outdoors there were tons of colorful lights lighting up all the wooden playground structures through the park. Children were free to run around. We visited the live nativity, fed all of the animals in the stalls, and even enjoyed an outdoor snack bar. The bonfire was set up for s’mores (which could be purchased separately.)
As I mentioned earlier, there is a schedule for the evening activities, which they conveniently announce over the intercom. We didn’t miss any animal encounters inside because of the announcements. Christmas spirit is displayed throughout the park not only with beautiful decorations, but by the passionate and energetic employees.
Before going be prepared for the additional expenses like cups of animal feed ($2) or any food items. Leesburg Animal Park seemed to also be a very safe park. We overheard that two children had gotten lost and it was handled very professionally and calmly by the staff – no tears!
We can’t wait to go back next year!
- Christmas Village at Leesburg Animal Park will be open December 11, 12, 18 and 19, 2015 from 6 to 9pm.
- Admission is $7.95 per person. Children under two are free. You can purchase your tickets online or at the park.
Photos by Andrea Verwys.