For spring break, our family decided on a staycation. Being animal lovers and wanting my child to experience spring on a farm, we headed to Frying Pan Park in Herndon, VA.
While my daughter didn’t remember her last visit to Frying Pan Park or Kidwell Farm because she was a toddler, we decided to start there. While we love coming during the spring since there is a good chance at getting to see baby animals, we love coming during other times of the year too.
The Farm & Animals at Frying Pan Park
The best way to understand the history of the park is by starting at the visitor center. A helpful employee will give you the skinny on upcoming events while the adjacent room gives an introduction into farm life.
Children can learn what roles they played on the farm along with quizzing yourself about cows. You can walk to the farm from the visitor center, which would take about 15 minutes, but on warmer days you can drive to the adjacent lot.
Frying Pan Park New Arrivals
For us, the best part of visiting Frying Pan Park in the spring, is all the baby animals! You can track all the new arrivals and upcoming births here.
Frying Pan Park is all about the animals and there are many to adore here including:
- Belgian draft horses
You can milk a virtual cow in the barn or see real ones in the fields.
Other Buildings & Farm Equipment
Onto the Kidwell Farm House where the home is set in the style of the 1930s. Be prepared to hear a lengthy and detailed narration from a volunteer if you wish.
The farmhouse exhibits include a country kitchen, living room and dining room. The kitchen has neat items such as an egg weighing scale, flour sifter, washboard and other items that were unique to farm life.
My daughter loved hearing the old-fashioned music in the sitting room along with the childhood toys from the olden days.
Other buildings to explore on this 20th century working farm are the privy, dairy, smokehouse and barn filled with antique farm equipment. The Floris Schoolhouse is used today as a preschool while the Blacksmith shop is open during special events.
Besides the animals and the farm, there are other fun things to do at Frying Pan Park.
Little ones can ride on bright red, toy tractors or take a wagon ride to explore the grounds.
Frying Pan Park Carousel
During the spring, summer and fall seasons the carousel is in operation. The 1920s Herschell carousel was actually renovated and 2018 to keep it enjoyable for years to come.
It costs $3 to ride on weekdays and $4 to ride on weekends ( & holidays). You can purchase tickets online or on site at the country store.
Anytime is a good time to ramble around the playground or walk the grounds. There is a fun playground for the younger kids and you’ll find in near the carousel. There are also a few benches for the parents to sit.
While it’s a good idea to call ahead to confirm wagon rides are happening before you head out, typically they run Monday – Thursday from 10:15am – 1:15pm, Friday – Saturday 10:15am – 2:45pm and on Sundays from 12:15pm – 2:45pm.
It costs $4.50 to ride for everyone 2 years and older. The wagon rides is about a 30-minute ride that takes you through the farm and into the woods and crop fields.
You should buy tickets in advance online if you’d like to ride.
The Country Store
A visit isn’t complete without visiting the country store. Housed in the old Vocational Agriculture Shop circa 1920, the country store was a variety store that served many purposes.
From food to home goods and trinkets, you can even see an antique cash register. I was impressed that in addition to nostalgic candy like cow tales and candy buttons, they also stocked healthy snacks such as cheese sticks and applesauce.
Refresh with a bottled root beer, cider or juice box and take home some local honey, especially if you suffer from allergies. There are tempting toys, goat’s soap and ice cream treats here too.
Events & Programs at the Farm
Kidwell Farm and the greater Frying Pan Farm Park is one of those neat, old time attractions that is often overlooked in the area. There’s always something happening down on the farm.
- Little Hands on the Farm for preschoolers
- Junior Farm Fun for children with disabilities
- Spring Farm Day event
- The farmers market (in May)
Check their event calendar for their annual 4-H Fair (usually held in the beginning of August) and carnival and many other events throughout the year.
There is no admission fee to enter Frying Pan Park! Parking is also free (unless there is an event which may charge for admission and / or parking).
When to Go
Frying Pan Park is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
Spring is the best chance to see new baby animals on the farm. During our visit to Kidwell Barn, a goat had just given birth the same day to two babies.
My daughter was grossed out to see the placenta on the hay, but it was educational to understand how life begins. Recently they have also had several breeds of new piglets born, along with sheep and calves.
Good to Know
- Restrooms fitted with baby changing stations are located in the visitor center and next to the country store.
- A handwashing station is located between Kidwell Barn and the chicken coop.
- Be sure to wear comfy shoes and clothes that may get dirty from petting the animals.
- The park also has an equestrian facility that offers horseback riding lessons.
Frying Pan Farm Park is located at 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon, VA 20171.
Things to Do Nearby
- Go see the aircraft at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
- Make it farm day and head to Heritage Farm Museum
- Cool off at the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole
- Visit the ZavaZone trampoline park