A wonderful experience at The Leesburg Animal Park with my children left me extremely excited and wanting to get a season pass. The facilities are brand new, the layout is very manageable, and the staff was fun and passionate! I have never been so impressed with the cleanliness of a DC area kid’s landmark. Tip: Go on a weekday.
You enter the park through a large newly built building. Friendly workers behind the counter help you before you enter. You can purchase cups for animal feed ($1), tickets for pony rides ($4), season passes, etc. In the building, there is a massive indoor playground with a trampoline. This is larger than a fast food play place or mall play area. It is extremely clean and kept my kids occupied for over 30 minutes. Tip: bring socks.
Also inside, you can view chinchillas, iguanas and beautiful birds. They have “up close” animal encounters every half hour where you can view, touch and hold different animals. If it is a rainy or wintry day, you could easily stay busy. The owner told me that they are now open year round and they offer a discounted admission rate on these days. Tip: although strollers are fine outdoors, strollers need to be parked inside the building.
This building has a darling gift shop, a huge party area, and tons of indoor seating with tables. A café will be opening soon but meanwhile, they have a large assortment of affordable snacks ($.75), drinks, Lunchables ($3) and ice cream bars. Pizza can be ordered and delivered to eat inside. Buying animal feed is a MUST.
Getting the kids outside was hard but the park has other fun playground units outside as well. There is a large Ark, a train, a moon bounce and a few other structures. There is a TON of outdoor seating, benches, picnic tables and shade. Be sure to listen to the loudspeaker for announcements of the wagon rides, pony rides and animal encounters.
The animals are everywhere! There are beautiful white geese that wander and gently approach children to be fed. The gibbons (apes) are in a large viewing area and cannot be fed. There are also big cats in a huge outdoor cage. The three zebras are beautiful and the pond is stocked with huge fish that like to be fed. The Lemurs are on an “island” next to the pond and fun to watch. The birds in the apiary, peacocks, and camels were a sight to behold! FYI: One zebra is pregnant and due next year (2015).
Many animals roam and can easily be petted. There is also a designated fenced area where you can feed goats, pigs and many other farm animals. There is a long stable with a miniature deer, pigs, chickens and others. Beyond this is another large area where you can meet the large tortoises and other exotic animals.
When you take the wagon ride, you get a tour of the outdoor acreage and you can feed the llamas, horses, donkeys, calves, etc that approach the wagon. Be sure to choose a seat on the outside of the wagon and hold onto your cups!
Leesburg Animal Park is a much different experience than The National Zoo. I was pleased that it appealed to my toddlers and also my older children. Take advantage of the schedule online and on Facebook to plan what animal encounters you might see.
The Leesburg Animal Park is located very close to downtown Leesburg off of Route 15. Admission for the Park is $9.95 (ages 2-12) and $11.95 for adults. You could easily make this a 4 hour or more outing, but I did see many young families leave at lunch time. Consider buying a season pass because after buying 2 admissions, you will get your money’s worth!
Photos by Andrea Verwys.