Loudoun County is about more than outlet shopping. There are a few great fall festivals happening right now and our family wanted to check out a new one. What’s unique about Pumpkin Village is that it is a festival centered in Leesburg Animal Park. You get the best of both worlds by checking out farm and exotic animals plus the beauty of a fall themed park.
Pumpkin Village Fall Festival
Usually I attend events first thing in the morning, but knowing that crowds are at the peak at that time, I took my family mid-afternoon. Crowd-wise it was a good decision, but the unseasonable weather was so balmy it made it hard to complete all the activities we set out to do. They have a great lineup of entertainers including Mr. Skip, The Great Zucchini and Eric Energy. However, when we were there only country music played from a speaker. This could mean that live music occurs earlier in the day. You can view their full entertainment schedule online.
What’s in it for Kids?
I was worried that my 10-year old would have outgrown Pumpkin Village, but once she heard they had moon bounces, I knew we were good. She must have climbed the tree slide a handful of times before tiring herself out. There’s also a giant pumpkin and a coach moon bounce with slide evoking a Cinderella fairy tale.
She amazed me with her new-found love of pedal cart racing around a track. Upon seeing the row of tiny houses, she instantly asked if we could install one in our backyard! Let’s leave them to the scarecrow family that stands next to them, I told her.
If these things don’t tickle your kids fancy, have no fear. There are giant pumpkin slides, a zip line, spider web crawl, castle maze, wooden pirate ship, train and wagon rides that provide an overview of the park’s layout.
Main Attraction at the Pumpkin Village
Let’s not forgot the main attraction…the animals! Some of our favorites were the various types of donkeys, Aldabra giant tortoises, White-nosed Coatis, Zebu and an albino wallaby. There were schools of catfish, the attention-grabbing goats and a camel that would greet you if you had purchased food to feed her.
I am often leary of small zoo like establishments because of how the animals are treated. While the donkeys might need more space to roam, all the animals appeared to be well taken care at Leesburg Animal Park.
Props to the staff who were monitoring the park. At the snack station, they kept to the required one complimentary cup of cider and one apple per person. The heat was unbearable and I had to lay down in the theater where an employee checked to make sure I was okay.
Inside the air-conditioned building are live animal exhibits, indoor theater where live animal shows occur, party room, restrooms (with step stools for the littles), water fountains, gift shop, seating area, play area and discovery room.
I could have watched the two-toed sloth all day. That animal was just fascinating to watch along with the little toucan who wanted to take center stage. The pair of ring-tailed lemurs were fixated on my floral purse. They were adorable playing with the pumpkin in their habitat. Also on display are chinchillas, a tegu, giant skink, bearded dragon, poison dart frogs and a snake.
Other Attractions at the Festival
The gift shop is outfitted with souvenir t-shirts, crafts, children’s jewelry, adorable backpacks and stuffed animals including a sloth. While there’s a food truck outside, inside the seating area are various kid-friendly snacks like yogurt tubes, applesauce pouches, fresh fruit, chips, ice cream bars, candy and cold beverages. I love that they even have a microwave to heat up organic mac and cheese cups.
While the three-level indoor jungle play area is for ages 2 to 8, my petite child snuck in and jumped on a trampoline, crawled through tunnels and exited through a tunnel slide. There’s also a thoughtfully designed soft play area for toddlers.
The Discovery Room is a great place for down time. Featuring a play kitchen, train table, blocks, puppet show arena, dress up costumes and a craft station with stickers and animal coloring pages.
Outside the main entrance is a hand washing station. Port-a-potties, tables with umbrellas and benches are located throughout the park.
Pony and camel rides incur an extra fee and occur on select weekends. Mark your calendar for the Halloween costume contest on October 24 and 25. Before you leave, turn in your ticket for a free baby pumpkin from the farm market. While you’re there, pick up a tempting caramel apple, mini or regular sized pie or mums.
Hours of Operation
- Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday 9:30am – 5:00pm (closed Tuesdays)
- Friday 9:30am-6pm
- Saturday, & Sunday (and Columbus Day) 9:30AM-1:30PM OR 2PM-6PM
Leesburg Animal Park is open year round. We really enjoyed our time there and are considering returning for their Christmas Village opening in December.
Photos courtesy of Leesburg Animal Park website