Low-key and manageable, the Fall Festival at the Silverbrook Nursery and Landscaping is a pleasant way to spend an hour or so outdoors with youngsters. Nestled behind a busy Lorton neighborhood is a quiet, wooded glen which houses both the nursery as well as the playground area which has been decorated for the season. There are slides, a dress up cottage, and games such ring toss and bean bag throws. There are a few photo op backdrops and a tunnel to crawl through.
The big attractions to justify the $5/person admission (children under 2 years old are free) are the moonbounces and the special events. There is a full size moonbounce for older kids and a smaller moonbounce for children age 3 and under. The “Corn Maize” was small and, at most, as tall as an adult’s hip, so posed no challenge for any of the review team (ages 5, 7, 11 and 14). Nevertheless the kids still enjoyed climbing on the 4 haybale-high pyramid.
There were no apparent staff members in the playground area other than one teenager at the full size moonbounce. Parents were in charge of supervising their children. At the time we were there, noon on a Sunday, the face painting station was not yet manned, so parents were painting their own children’s faces. Since this is the inaugural year for the Festival, we hope that next year there will be more staff involvement and perhaps some music so it feels more like a ‘festival’ feel and less of a ‘trip to a playground.’ One note to parents, some of the wooden chairs and equipment are old and worn, and there is the possibility of splinters.
A short walk from the playground area is the nursery which had a knowledgeable and friendly staff. This particular Sunday, the special event was a puppet show by Ms. Sandy Feulner of Puppets & More. The audience, whose average age was five, was in stitches over the four fifteen minute puppet vignettes. The parents felt comfortable walking in the vicinity to check out the unique lawn decorations and fall plant offerings of the nursery. There were plenty of pumpkins and gourds which seemed reasonably priced and were of good quality and size.
There is food available for a reasonable price ($2.00 for hotdogs, $3.00 for hamburgers; soda & water $1.00). The only disappointment was that the only apparent restroom was a grimy port-a-potty behind the nursery.
This is a ‘Fall Festival’ which is geared toward the five-and-under audience. It lacks the sensory overload and walking involved in larger festivals such as Cox Farms or Temple Hall Corn Maize. Given its size, parents can easily oversee their children in the play area. It makes for a relatively inexpensive and laid back outing to enjoy the Fall season.
Photo by Sarah Weingast