Corn Maze in the Plains, VA!

Corn Maze in the Plains, VA!

Yesterday was a perfect Fall day and we had so much fun visiting the Corn Maze in the Plains! Voted as the TOP corn maze attraction in the DC area; but that’s not all that can be enjoyed at this fun FALL attraction.  It’s great for all ages!

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Address: 4501 Old Tavern Road, The Plains, VA 20198

Located just 6 miles outside of Haymarket, VA, the Corn Maze in the Plains was a nice, smaller Fall activity that we stopped by at this weekend.  This is a great park for all ages, whether you have kids or no kids- entertainment for all! Their biggest attraction is hands down their Corn Maze, which is themed yearly.  This year the theme of the maze is “Maze Attack”. which means the maze is in the shape of a shark.  Our boys thought this was really cool, but were equally impressed by all the other activities.

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In addition to the popular Corn Maze, there is also an Obstacle Course, little kids hay maze, tunnel slides, barrels for the kids to roll around in, pumpkin sling shot, a spider web for the kids to climb on a rope maze, hay ride and much more!

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In addition to all the day time features, they also have an evening night maze, click here for times and dates.  This truly is a great place because, although there is so much to do, you can always see where the kiddos are playing and exploring.  There are picnic tables spread out throughout the whole area.  I highly recommend putting this on your Fall schedule to visit!

Rust Nature Sanctuary & Manor House in Leesburg, VA!

Rust Nature Sanctuary & Manor House in Leesburg, VA!

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 802 Children’s Center Road, Leesburg, VA 20175

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On Tuesday we were invited to a preview of the Fresh Air Kids Program at the Rust Nature Sanctuary in Leesburg, VA. The Audubon Naturalist Society along with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority partnered last year to maintain the grounds and support more programs for the visitors of the Rust Nature Sanctuary. The house and grounds were preserved from development in 1995 and donated to the Audubon Naturalist Society in 2000. In 2011 Audubon Naturalist Society considered closing Rust but 2013 agreed to partner with the NVRPA to remain open to the public. The Rust Manor House on the grounds can also be used for weddings and social events.

Susanne from the Audubon Naturalist Society was nice enough to give myself and my boys a preview of what the Fresh Air Kids Program is all about. We started off upstairs in the Rust Manor and met Ziggy the resident corn snake. The large wall of exhibits is full of items found in nature and in the sanctuary. Most of the items can be handled by the children to learn a little more about the animals and insects.

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The boys were able to borrow binoculars when we headed out on the trail for our hike. But first we sat down outside on a blanket to read a book about how different animals move. We also met some earthworms and discussed their importance on the forest floor. Our hike took us to many different parts of the park including the meadow, the woods and the vernal pond. In the meadow we saw deer tracks, different bird species and several bird houses that were on the property. In the woods she talked about the different habitats of raccoon, rabbits and squirrels. Susanne also discussed with the kids how different animals camouflage themselves from predators. Down at the vernal pond Susanne was lucky enough to fish out a tadpole for the kids to see.

The Audubon Naturalist Society’s Fresh Air Kids spring program is a great way for the kids to get out in nature and learn a little bit more about what lives around us in Loudoun County. The kids will be outside almost the entire hour and half unless there is dangerous weather outside. Classes meet on Fridays from March 28th through May 9th. The kids are to bring a sack lunch to eat outside at the picnic benches too. To register you can call 703-669-0000 or email Susanne at susanne.ortmann@anshome.org.

The Audubon Naturalist Society also offers Summer Camp Programs at the Rust Sanctuary in Leesburg and Broadlands in Ashburn. For more information click here.

The ANS will  be offering a new revitalized program, Unplug and Play! Afterschool Programs. The program will combine science education and physical activity for students. In order for the program to succeed a minimum of 8 students is required. The class will be one day and run for eight weeks. Contact Christine Montagnese at 703-669-0000 and or email christine.montagnese@anshome.org.

Looking for a different options for children birthday parties, Rust Nature Sanctuary in Leesburg and the Broadlands Nature Center in Ashburn offers weekend parties year round. For more information on a nature theme party contact Christine Montagnese at 703-669-0000 and or email christine.montagnese@anshome.org.

The Rust Nature Sanctuary is a beautiful 68-acres to take your family hiking, nature programs, birthday parties, and summer camps. The Rust Manor House is a gorgeous venue for social events and weddings. If you live in the Leesburg area you should check out the Rust Nature Sanctuary and Manor Home.

Leesburg Animal Park in Leesburg, VA!

Leesburg Animal Park in Leesburg, VA!

This weekend I took my family to the Leesburg Animal Park  and they LOVED it! It is a family friendly petting zoo that opened in 2000 and is a family-owned and operated business.  This park has all the features!  Just a week ago they opened the doors to their BRAND NEW indoor facility. Between their indoor facility, the petting zoo, feeding area, wagon and pony rides and all the play equipment, you better plan to spend all day to enjoy all their features.

19270 James Monroe HighwayLeesburg, VA 20175

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Indoor Facility:

Leesburg Animal Park’s newest addition is their Indoor Facility.  Honestly I think you could spend several hours alone in this building.  There’s a large play area, timed animal shows, room for additional play and crafts, a separate room for birthday parties and a cafe that will be opening later on this year!

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The play area includes a huge playground with lots of climbing and a fun slide.  In addition to the area, there are ride on animals, such as a zebra and horse, push toys, and a little nook area to relax and read books.  As you enter the play area, there is an area to take off your shoes and park your stroller.  Throughout the parameter of this room are benches all around so the parents can relax and watch their children play and explore.

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At the Discovery Room is where they have crafts, classes and much more! When we were there this weekend the kids made tie-dyed book marks.  There is a really nice area where you can read stories or participate in activities that are held by the park itself.

During our visit there were two birthday parties going on as well that include everything to do at the park for each child.  There is also a theater room where they have animal shows at different times and days, so be sure to check the schedule when you get there or online before you arrive.

Outside around the park:

The park itself has lots and lots of activities.  There is a wagon ride that is included with each admission.  These is a perfect opportunity to take the kids on a little ride to see the zebras and learn more about the llamas and have them eat feed right out of your hands! At the end of the ride, they give you feed to walk down to the pond and feed all the fish.  It was really muddy when we went due to all the snow melting, but in the past we have done this and the kids love seeing all the fish come up for the food.  There is a section of the park blocked off where you can feed goats, llamas, sheep, camels and more.  At a small additional cost you can take a pony ride and take pictures as they go on a ride.  This was one of our favorite things to do!

There is a huge area of play equipment for the kids to explore and play on.  There’s a big wooden boat, train, playground and they even had a moon bounce set up.  The boat had a pole you slide down, and play area in the bottom, big slide and more.  The train was a big hit too.  The playground itself was a nice, sturdy wooden structure that had slides, climbing equipment and a tunnel.

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For a small price, this is a must visit park, even if it’s a short drive away! We are actually going to purchase the multi-day passes because we had so much fun and there will be even more to do as the weather gets nicer.

A New Giveaway!

In order to celebrate hitting 400+ Likes on Facebook, NoVA Outdoors is giving away 2-tickets to the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum. The museum is located in the Claude Moore Park just past the Rec Center. The Heritage Farm museum  has several exhibits on the history of Loudoun County in agricultural. For the children the museum offers a hands on experience where everything can be touched. My children’s favorite part is the General Store where you can buy or sell goods in the store.

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 To enter just click on this LINK! The giveaway will begin 2/6 at midnight and run till 2/11. The winner will be announced on 2/12! Make sure you go over to Facebook and Like the Heritage Farm Museum. You can also find them on Twitter @hfarmmuseum.

 

A Fun Activity That Incorporates Both The Indoors And The Outdoors!

Since it’s been really cold outside I decided to share a fun activity that the boys and I tried out. We made our very own colored icicle decorations to hang up outside. If we lived in a colder region we might be able to freeze the decorations outside without the help of a freezer like we used. This is also a great science experiment to learn about the process of a liquid turning to a solid then back to a liquid when the temperature changes.

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Items that you will need:

balloon

string (preferably cloth or non plastic twine)

food coloring

water

 

Instructions:

  1.  Add a few drops of food coloring inside the balloon.
  2. Next feed the string till the bottom of the balloon is reached. Leave extra outside of the balloon.
  3. Fill up the balloon with water.
  4. Tie off the balloon.
  5. Either place the balloon hanging outside or place in the freezer.
  6. When fully frozen cut away the outside of the balloon.

Our first try at the experiment ended up with colored balls rather than hanging decorations. I deduced that the plastic coated string was the problem. The next time we try we’re going to try a cloth string or twine.

The kids had a great time with this activity. The color decorations are still sitting on our front porch and we’ve hung up a few more with surprise colors on the inside.

 

Fall Festival Time!

Fall brings change of color in the foliage, crisper temperatures and football! But more importantly it brings Fall Festivals to the area. This is my families favorite time of year. Weekends tend to be crazy at the Fall Festivals but during the week you’ll get a smaller crowd. Our favorite Fall Festivals include:

Cox Farms Fall Festival-This is by far our favorite festival with the big slides, barn animals, food and plenty of fun for the whole family. Don’t forget the goat village where you can feed and pet the goats!

Ticonderoga Farms-This Chantilly Farm is great if you want a smaller venue than Cox Farm. They still have great slides, hayride, food and barn animals to feed just on a smaller scale.

Great Country Farms-Is a good distance away depending on where you live but the drive to Bluemont, VA is beautiful. The farm has large play area for the kids, tractor ride, petting zoo, and country store. At different times of the year they open the farm for U-Pick.

This year we hope to get out to other local festivals. If you  have any other favorites please contact me to share…:)

NoVA Outdoors Presents Our 1st Giveaway!

I’m happy to annouce that NoVA Outdoors has reached 200 Likes on our Facebook page! To celebrate I’m giving away 2 Tickets to Cox Farms Opening Weekend! Opening Weekend is September 29th and 30th. Click on my giveaway page to find out how to ENTER!

Cox Farms Fall Festival is filled with great slides, hay ride, good food and lots of barn animals. If you’re new to the area or have never been to Cox Farms Fall Festival you should check it out. With every admission you get one free pumpkin on your way out. Also on the way out you head out through the Farmers Market where you can buy fresh vegetables and KETTLE KORN!

There is a ton for all ages and strollers/wagons are welcome!

 

 

Geo-caching?

What’s Geo-caching? I’m sure you have seen a couple of my posts where I have talked about geo-caching and hidden caches. Here is a little info about what I am talking about. About a two years ago we were introduced to Geo-caching through my sister and a friend. I had heard others talk about it but I never inquired as to what it was. Once we got started we were hooked and the kids had a blast.

Geo-caching is a high tech treasure hunt using a GPS unit. Just like searching for hidden treasure, you use GPS coordinates to find hidden containers called geo-caches. These containers can be any shape and size located outdoors. Once you find the hidden container you can inspect the contents and leave a little something behind to mark your find. Most containers also contain a log book that you can sign and comment. When you’re finished you replace the container where it was found. If you’re not into the hunt you could also be an owner of your very own geo-cache and place it in your favorite hiking spot or even in your neighborhood common areas.

To get started go to the official geo-caching website, Geocaching. Here it shows you how to get started and once you find a geo-cache you can return to the website and log in your find. The website also gives out helpful hints provided by the owners of each geo-cache just in case you get stumped. Geo-caching is for all ages and sizes and these hidden treasures can be found all over the world. If you love to hike or just being outside to get some exercise, geo-caching is a fun activity.

The local regional park, Algonkian is filled with great hiking trails and many places for geo-caches to be hidden. It is located at the end of Cascades Parkway in Sterling, VA. Part of the Potomac Heritage Trail is also easily accessed through Algonkian park and filled with hidden geo-caches.

Last Fall we drove out to Chantilly, VA to check out Ellanor C. Lawrence Regional Park. It is a great park filled with lots of trails and chances to see wildlife.

In our Countryside neighborhood in Potomac Falls, VA, we have found many geo-caches and we aren’t even close to finding them all. My kids love to help Mommy and Daddy find the hidden containers. This is a great activity to share with the family and get out into the fresh air.