In planning for our trip to Virginia for Rusty’s five day Envision camp, I began searching out things Tyler and Ozzie could do during the day while Rusty was at camp. Since I was flying solo for the week I was looking for things that would be engaging to the two boys, things that were free or cheap, and preferably that could be accessed without having to jump back on the DC beltway.
Staying just outside Washington D.C. led me to consider sites within the city. There is certainly much to see and do (for free) within the heart of D.C, but concern about travel time and making it back to Rusty by 4:00 each day led me to shy away from the Metro for this visit and instead we explored sites around Fairfax county.
Our first day of fun led us to Frying Pan Farm, a Fairfax County Park. It was Tyler’s “Gotcha Day” and a day at the farm was a perfect way to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of his adoption. Tyler is my animal lover and Frying Pan Farm was just the sort of place that Tyler loves. Admission was free and it was only 20 minutes from George Mason University where Rusty was spending the day.
It was a win-win!
“Frying Pan Park preserves a reminder of Fairfax County’s rural heritage from 1920 to 1940 at Kidwell Farm. Visitors can see or pet draft horses, pigs, goats, cows, sheep, rabbits, chickens and peacocks.
The four-room schoolhouse built in 1911 is a hub of arts and crafts, fitness, children’s classes and summer camp programs. The Moffett Blacksmith Shop contains the smithy’s original equipment. The Country Store housed a shop and classroom for vocational agriculture from 1919 to about 1930. The Frying Pan Spring Meeting House was built in 1791 and is designated a “Virginia Landmark.”
Pigs, cows, horses, turkeys, peacocks—these aren’t the usual beltway suspects when you think of visiting D.C. but if you’re looking afternoon away from the hustle and bustle, pack up some sandwiches and hit the road for Frying Pan Park. My boys had a ball petting the sheep, checking out the pigs, and playing on the tractors. Since it’s a working farm, you’ll probably hear mooing, bleating, and baaing. We found it to be a nice respite from all the honking we heard on the beltway.
We began our visit at the visitor’s center where we grabbed some info on the farm before swinging by the barns. In the visitor’s center guests can get brochures, use the bathrooms, and grab a map that will guide you around the farm.
Within the Visitor’s Center is also a small museum that introduces guests to life on the farm with fun interactive exhibits and comparisons of farm life on a 1940’s dairy farm to a dairy farm today.
From there we headed down a beautiful fence lined path to the 1940’s farm. This park reminded me a lot of Round Hill Park in Elizabeth, Pa where my kids spent a lot of time as littles when they visited my parents.
The boys went udderly crazy for this part of Frying Pan Park.
Cows, draft horses, sows, goats, lambs, and more were on display for the kids to gawk at and even pet.
We had the place to ourselves with only a few other souls wandering among the stalls and pens.
My mini farm hands fell in love with all the critters.
A good scratch behind their ears, and these four legged babies were in hog heaven.
We got to see the male peacock in all his splendor and the turkey that the president pardoned at Thanksgiving that lives right next door to the peacocks.
The ducks were found hanging out in the tub around the corner.
A stop to see the large work horses and flock of sheep grazing in the field made us feel as though we had stepped into a pastural painting.
The barns,and pens at Frying Pan Farm not only house the animals, but they let kids see what life is like on a farm.
From milking pens, to hay lofts, and equipment used to move things around, the barns are more than just home to the livestock –
They’re a glimpse into a farmer’s life, and what it would have been like to work on a farm in Fairfax County in the early 20th century.
It was a precious way to celebrate Tyler’s special day. When he officially became a McCleery 5 years ago we had no idea the ride he would take us on. That adoption journey changed us all and molded us into better people as we learned some of the greatest lessons life has to offer…
Adoption is not always the easiest path to walk, but is a holy walk full of unexpected joys and blessings.