Clemyjontri Park in McLean, VA/Photo by Kelly O'Lone

10 Activities for Kids in Northern Virginia

This list is a compilation of places I’ve been to with my kids, so I’ll fill you in on everything you need to know before you go. In addition, I tried to blend indoor and outdoor activities, depending on what you are looking for, especially since it’s not easy to fill those inclement weather days.

Kelly O'Lone
Kelly O'Lone

Table of Contents

When I first moved to the Northern Virginia area, I quickly realized there was no shortage of activities for kids. As a mom of three, I constantly am looking for new and fun things for us to do together to help beat those “I’m bored” days.

This list is a compilation of places I’ve been to with my kids, so I’ll fill you in on everything you need to know before you go. In addition, I tried to blend indoor and outdoor activities, depending on what you are looking for, especially since it’s not easy to fill those inclement weather days.

Without future ado, here are my picks for the top 10 activities for kids in Northern Virginia.

1. Great Country Farms

Photo by Kelly O’Lone

When I first visited Great Country Farms, I was blown away by the number of activities for kids. The farm has various playgrounds for the kids and unique spots like a tire swing, corn maze, a cow train, a jumping pillow, and giant enclosed slides.

In the fall, you can ride the wagon to pick pumpkins and apples, which my kids thoroughly enjoy. Since you take the wagon to the pumpkin patch, I recommend not over-picking because you will have to carry them back without a wheelbarrow. We learned that the hard way.

Great Country Farms has various fruits you can pick, so check their calendar for the most up-to-date information. Before you leave, you must pick up some apple cider donuts, especially if you can get them when they are hot and fresh. The market also has fresh produce, bakery items, jams & jellies, honey, popcorn, and more.

You can buy tickets in advance on their website or at the door; military and veteran families get in for free with valid ID.

34345 Snickersville Turnpike, Bluemont, VA 20135

2. Clemyjontri Park

Photo by Fairfax County Parks

I recently discovered Clemyjontri Park in McLean, and I’m sorry I didn’t find it sooner – it's the top of our Best Playgrounds in Northern Virginia list! The 10-acre park and playground are named after the donor’s four children: Carolyn (CL), Emily (EMY), John (JON), and Petrina (TRI), and offer plenty to do for a variety of ages.

I appreciated the tent sails throughout the park as we went on a scorching summer day. Children will enjoy the various slides, play equipment, swings, monkey bars, and even a maze kids can wander through.

The playground also prides itself on its wheelchair accessibility, which I feel more playgrounds need to do. For example, their Liberty swing allows wheelchair users to ride without getting out of their wheelchair.

However, the Liberty swing is not always available, as you must get a key from the carousel ticket office. You must call the park directly if you wish to visit during non-operating hours.

Clemyjontri Park has a carousel that operates daily and a train that runs on weekends and holidays. In addition, there is a picnic pavilion that you can rent for a half or full day; otherwise, it is first-come-first-served.

6317 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22101

3. Manassas National Battlefield Park

Photo by Manassas National Battlefield via Instagram

Whether your children are into history, the Manassas National Battlefield Park makes for a great weekend activity. I first discovered the park when we did family photos there one year, and my kids begged to stay longer to explore.

However, kids will thoroughly enjoy the walking trails, admire the cannon and monuments, and more. The park offers walking tours, or you can venture on your own. Personally, my kids aren’t patient enough to listen to a tour guide just yet. However, you can check their website before your visit for a schedule of the tours.

In addition, the museum has displays of Civil War-era uniforms, field gear, weapons, and other memorabilia. You can also visit the gift shop and pick up a history book, music CD, movie DVD, prints, and other collectible merchandise.

I find the Manassas National Battlefield Park to be the perfect activity for a day that isn’t too hot because you’ll likely spend several hours there. Dogs are permitted throughout the park, as long as they are on a leash.

6511 Sudley Road, Manassas, VA 20109

4. Leesburg Animal Park

Photo by Leesburg Animal Park via Instagram

If your kids are looking for a zoo experience, but you don’t want to make the trip to the National Zoo, check out the Leesburg Animal Park. The park is conveniently located off highway 15 and offers pony rides, animal feeding, live animal shows, and indoor and outdoor playgrounds.

My kids enjoyed the petting and feeding area as they got close to various animals like llamas, alpacas, sheep, pigs, goats, and donkeys. My youngest especially loved the bunnies, but what 4-year-old doesn’t love a fluffy bunny?

In addition to your standard petting zoo animals, the animal park has zebras, camels, sloths, squirrel monkeys, white-handed gibbons, birds, reptiles, and African Serval cats.

In the fall, Leesburg Animal Park has a Pumpkin Village that features wagon rides, a hay maze, pedal carts, hill slides, moon bounces, and more. The Pumpkin Village can get packed, so you want to get there right when it opens if crowds aren’t your thing.

19246 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg, VA, 20175

5. Children’s Science Center Lab

Photo by Children’s Science Center Lab via Facebook

Located in Fair Oaks Mall, the Children’s Science Center Lab offers hands-on experiences for young scientists. The Science Center is open on weekends and provides STEM-focused educational activities for children, including robotics, large block building, a giant Lite Brite board, coding, and much more.

The 8-year-old son is a future engineer, so the Children’s Science Center Lab was right up his alley. I appreciate that the staff is amicable and engaging with the children, but allows for the kids to get their hands dirty, so to speak.

The lab also has several animals on exhibit, including snakes, hermit crabs, and tree frogs. Since it's indoors, the Children’s Science Center Lab makes a great winter activity or on a hot summer day. Since it’s at the mall, you can make a day of it and grab lunch at one of the many restaurants on-site.

Finally, buying tickets online ahead of time is highly recommended, which also saves you $2. Each reservation gives participants a two-hour time slot. Also, the lab offers various activities, including summer camps, birthday parties, field trips, and family science nights.

11948 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VA 22033

6. Cox Farms

Photo by Kelly O’Lone

I’m a massive fan of the local farms, so it’s no surprise more than one makes the list of the best activities for kids in Northern Virginia. You can’t beat the fall festival at Cox Farms with milking demos, tunnels, hayrides, live music, multiple slides, swings, a tractor museum, a corn maze, and so much more.

In addition, the Kiddie Zone is perfect for younger children as it is fully enclosed and offers a slide, bubbles, a wooden train, musical instruments, and a smaller-sized straw mountain. Cox Farms provides so much for kids that it’s hard to narrow down my favorite parts. However, my kids most enjoyed the array of slides and climbing up the giant straw mountain.

Older kids with a bit of bravery can check out the Fields of Fear with activities like Cornightmare and Dark Side Hayride. While you won’t catch me at that, I appreciate Cox Farms has something for everyone. Fields of Fear runs certain evenings in the fall.

Finally, the Corner Market is open throughout the spring and summer months and has live music, fresh produce, BBQ, and farm animals for the kiddos to pet. It can get hot at Cox Farms, as there isn’t much shade, so ensure you pack the sunscreen.

15621 Braddock Rd, Centreville, VA 20120

7. Great Falls Park

Photo by Kelly O’Lone

Next on the list of activities for kids in Northern Virginia is Great Falls Park, which you can find in McLean along the Potomac River. The National Park has a breathtaking view of the Falls and three overlooks, making great photo opportunities.

Kids can participate in the Junior Ranger program, which includes activities to help them learn more about the park. The program is now virtual, so you’ll want to print the booklet before you go.

If your kiddos are interested in birds, don’t forget your binoculars, as the park has fantastic bird-watching opportunities. Since you’ll likely do plenty of walking through the park, ensure your kids wear proper shoes and leave the sandals home.

As of August 2022, the visitor center is closed for construction, with an expected reopening in Spring 2023. In addition, it’s best to check the Great Falls Park website before you go so you can review any trail closures.

9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22102

8. Roer’s Zoofari

Photo by Roer’s Zoofari via Instagram

Roer’s Zoofari was a lifesaver during the pandemic because you didn’t have to get out of your car to enjoy the animals. However, now the Zoofari has been able to expand what you can get when you go.

The zoo and safari park offer several “experiences,” including a butterfly garden, zoofari safari, tortoise experience, barnyard feeding, and parakeet feeding. We enjoyed the safari the most, as it was fun to drive by the animals. However, depending on your interests, I appreciate that they have something for everyone.

Your admission gives you access to the park, but each experience costs $5 per person. While I’m not a fan of activities that continually go up in price, I feel Roer’s offers something you can't get everywhere and is worth the price at least once.

Before you go, know that the zoo isn’t huge, and you don’t need a full day to experience everything, especially since you likely won’t want to pay for every experience.

1228 Hunter Mill Rd, Vienna, VA 22182

9. Burke Lake Park

Photo by Fairfax County Parks via Instagram

Another spectacular place to check out is Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station. The park boasts disc golf courses, mini-golf, a carousel and train, a 4.7-mile lake trail, and plenty of places to picnic.

If you’re the camping type, you can even stay the weekend at the on-site campgrounds. The park also hosts various activities, including Birding for Beginners, Dye It Up, and Campfire Saturdays; you can find all events on their calendar.

In addition, you can go fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and boating at Burke Lake Park. Kids can also look for wildlife and plants, including blue jays, owls, snakes, bald eagles, Great Blue Herons, and more. We were hoping to spot a bald eagle on our trip, but luck was not on our side.

The park has plenty of picnic tables, so you can bring lunch and spend the whole day here. In addition, the views are beautiful at Burke Lake Park, and if you manage to go in the fall, you will appreciate the leaves changing color.

7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, VA 22039

10. Sky Zone Trampoline Park

Photo by Kelly O’Lone

Sky Zone is an excellent place for kids to jump off any pent-up energy, and I know my kids are always exhausted when we leave. If we are lucky, we make it 2 hours, but I find 90 minutes of jump time is plenty.

While there are a few locations, I’ve personally been to the Manassas location and love getting there when they first open because we have the place to ourselves. I’m not a fan of many people in small spaces, so I relish when my kids can bounce around and not run into anyone else.

The Manassas location recently installed a basketball court and several opportunities for kids (and adults!) to bounce around. The foam zone allows jumpers to leap into a pool of foam blocks and struggle to climb out, or maybe I’m the only one who struggles with that.

A few tips before you go: check Groupon for any coupons, as I’ve had luck with it. If you’ve been before, don’t forget to bring your orange socks, so you don’t have to buy new ones, and bring cash if your kids are going to ask to play the arcade games.

There are several Sky Zones in the area, including Manassas, Springfield, and Sterling, so check out their website for the one nearest to you.

Wrap Up

While there are plenty of activities for kids in Northern Virginia, these are my top choices to keep little (and big) ones entertained. One of the great things about Northern Virginia is there is so much to do with kids, regardless of their age. So, get out there and see what our beautiful area offers.

Things To DoManassasMcLeanLeesburgFairfaxCentrevilleViennaRainy Day

Kelly O'Lone

Kelly O'Lone is a mom of three who survives motherhood with some help from caffeine, a lot of humor, and her fantastic mom tribe.