On cold winter days, it can be hard sometimes to find indoor family activities. On a cold and rainy Saturday, we made the trek out to the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum in Sterling, VA.
While the draw of tractors was what first appealed to my transportation-loving four-year-old, the museum itself was what has already got her asking when we can go again.
About the Farm
The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum is located on the grounds of Claude Moore Park. It’s not a large museum but perfectly sized for small children.
The museum’s exhibits are designed to take visitors through 10 generations of farmers in Loudoun County.
The displays were interesting (even to my four-year-old), but what really captured her attention were the various “please touch” exhibits throughout the open space.
Each was reminiscent of what you would find at a children’s museum – learning through hands-on play.
Exhibits at Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum
Waxpool General Store Exhibit
We started in the Waxpool General Store & Post Office. The exhibit is a re-creation of the actual Waxpool General Store which was in operation from 1890 to the early 1940s.
My daughter quickly grabbed a basket and started “shopping” for fruits & vegetables. After she was done shopping, she carefully rang up each of her items on the antique cash register.
There was also a post office section where several kids were sorting and delivering the mail.
Many of the families at the museum commented that this was their child’s favorite room, and my daughter enthusiastically agreed.
Next up was the Claude Moore Children’s Farm.
This exhibit encourages children to be a farmer for a day. Costumes are available so you can dress the part, and my daughter happily collected eggs from the chicken coop and took a turn milking a cow.
She also really liked the section with horses – there are two horses that you can ride and groom. Also in this area were pedal tractors to drive, picture books about farms, and a puppet stage to act out your own farm story.
The final “please touch” exhibit that we visited was the Grandma’s kitchen, a re-creation of a kitchen from the decade before WWI.
We poked around the kitchen for a few minutes, noticing the similarities and differences between it and our modern kitchen at home. Then my daughter put on an apron and set to “cooking” us all a nice lunch.
Love Museums? Also, check out the best children’s museums in DC
For kids that love a good play kitchen, you could spend all day in this one.
We did also take some time to look at the rest of the exhibits. While they are geared more toward older children and adults, it was interesting to look at them and talk about them.
While my daughter was playing, my husband and I each took some time to walk through by ourselves and learned a lot about the farming history of our area.
The museum has several events throughout the year.
There were also two additional hands-on activities set up – a station with giant nuts and bolts that you had to match and put together, and a large floor map of the area with small tractors to “drive” along the mat.
My daughter happily made a tractor hat and completed the scavenger hunt before she decided that she would rather go back to taking care of the chickens and horses.
Apparently, a farmer’s work is never done. The event usually also features antique tractors outside to look at and climb on – these are weather dependent and were not on display this year due to the rain.
My daughter loved the museum. It was small enough to keep a 4-year-old from being overwhelmed but enough to do that we stayed for nearly 2 hours.
My daughter was much more interested in the actual exhibits than the activities.
Even with the special events that happen here from time to time, the museum was not at all crowded – on a regular weekend you can have an exhibit all to yourself!
Tickets and Prices
- Admission to the museum is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and military, and $3 for children 2-12.
- Kids below the age of 2 have free entry.
- You can purchase the tickets directly at the counter.
Hours & When to Go
- It is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
- The timings on Sunday are from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm
- The museum is closed on Mondays.
- Visit their website to know about upcoming events.
Good to Know Before You Go
- There are clean bathrooms with changing tables available as well as water fountains and places to hang coats and park strollers.
- No food or drink is allowed in the museum.
- There is also a small store with farm-themed toys and local products.
- Some snacks are available for purchase but plan on leaving the museum for lunch.
- A shopping center with restaurants was about a mile away, and the museum is close to the Dulles 28 Centre which has Wegmans and lots of kid-friendly restaurants.