The warmer weather is calling for outdoor activities to absorb all of the sun's good juju. Spring into hiking, stroll through spectacular gardens, marvel at nature's wonders in local parks or what about connecting with furry locals? While these furry companions do not have much to say back, they love posing for the camera and petting sessions as their reward for being irresistibly cute. Fairfax is home to a diverse array of wildlife, making it an ideal locale for birdwatching. Moreover, there's even more to explore, including a drive-thru safari and various farms where visitors can greet and mingle with the animals that also call Fairfax County home.

There's a wealth of opportunities to connect with the wildlife here. Whether you're capturing snapshots of their playful tricks or simply indulging in some affectionate petting, Fairfax's furry friends are sure to steal your heart. So, take the opportunity to say hello and create unforgettable memories with these charming locals during your visit. 



girl at a petting zoo looking at a miniature horse behind a fence

Photo Courtesy of @welcomingsavannah

NOVA Wild stands as the sole zoological park in Northern Virginia committed to promoting animal welfare, education, and conservation efforts. Although encountering all 200 animals may seem daunting, NOVA Wild simplifies your journey to guarantee you connect with every zoo animal. Embark on your NOVA Wild Safari with the drive - through safari experience, allowing you to navigate your way through an interactive safari all in your vehicle where you and your family can see a variety of wildlife, from Watusis to Asian Water Buffalo. Afterward, park your car and explore as you wander through exhibits showcasing over 40 species including capybaras, vibrant birds, cheetahs, lemurs, and wallabies. Finally, dive into up-close and personal experience with NOVA Wild Encounters. These intimate encounters, accompanied by a knowledgeable zookeeper, offer opportunities to bond with specific animals. From kangaroo joeys to sloths, absorb everything there is to know about these animals.


George Washington's Mount Vernon's Farm 

Mount Vernon - Meet the Animals -Photo Courtesy of George Washington's Mount Vernon

Guests exploring George Washington's Mount Vernon can encounter numerous animals that were once kept by George Washington himself during the 18th century. Eager to come face to face with a Hog Island Sheep? Mount Vernon is home to not only the Island Sheep but Ossabaw Island Hogs, Dominique Chickens, Red Devon Cattle and various horses and oxen breeds. Delve into the importance of each animal in Washington's life through Mount Vernon's livestock program. Visitors have the chance to witness an educational representation of 18th-century farm life while meeting new friends. Still interested in learning more about sheep, oxen, and horses and their role on the farm? If so, make sure to come to Mount Vernon's annual Animal Family Day. With its family-friendly atmosphere, this event promises to create lasting memories.

Added Bonus: Throughout the Christmas season, you'll have the opportunity to greet Aladdin the Camel, who makes a special appearance from late November to December, carrying on George Washington's holiday tradition. 


Frying Pan Farm Park

Frying Pan Farm Park - 4-H Fair and Carnival- Summer

Ever wondered what life was like on a farm from the 1920s to the 1950s? Frying Pan Farm recreates this exact moment for all ages to enjoy. On the farm, you will be surprised to find tractors for wagon rides, a dairy farming exhibit, and even a 1920s-era carousel. The farm features chickens, peacocks, rabbits, sheep, pigs, cows and other furry friends. Children can interact with the animals, participate in classes, take horseback riding lessons and gain insight into historical farming practices. It gets better because Frying Pan Farm Park hosts signature events to enhance the experience. Horse enthusiasts can look forward to the annual Horse Expo on April 13th, offering a glimpse into the world of equestrianism. Additionally, Spring Farm Day on May 4th will have hands-on farm activities, such as cow and goat milking demonstrations. Be the first one to greet the baby farm animals into the world! Introducing the newborn piglets: Lucy and Anna, along with the trio of lambs: Bristol, Olive, and Veronica. Spring events call for a big summer extravaganza! The 4-H Fair and Carnival is a beloved family tradition showcasing exhibits, rides and farm demonstrations. While these events are packed with fun, you can visit the farm any day for extra company.


Farm Animals Hard at Work 


Reston Farm Garden Market 

Reston Farm Garden Center

Photo Courtesy of Reston Farm Garden Market's Facebook

At Reston Farm Garden Market, you'll discover not just locally sourced delights and an extensive array of plants, but this family-owned market also houses members of a different sort. Tinker Bell and Spice, their beloved goats, eagerly welcome visitors. Cannot miss the joyous sight of Fatty and Freckles, with their adorable piglets. Colonel, the reigning rooster of Reston, certainly commands attention, so be sure to wave hello!


Nalls Produce 

In 1961, Cary Nalls started selling veggies from a small wagon, and his farm has flourished over three generations since. During the fall, explore their magnificent pumpkin patch. In winter, choose the perfect Christmas tree. Come spring, select the loveliest flowers for your gardens. But there's more! Make sure to visit their chickens and Penny the pig, rumored to be the cutest pig in the world. 


Local Parks

Fairfax has some remarkable Nature Centers where children can freely explore the great outdoors and encounter the wildlife inhabitants. Hidden Oak Nature Center hosts Zoology events, encouraging kids to venture into the woods, creeks and ponds in search of various critters. Questions about the life sciences of frogs, toads or turtles are answered, alongside similar events or classes. Explore the exhibits and live animal displays at Hidden Pond Nature Center Visitor Center, surrounded by wildlife. Walker Nature Center offers an ideal setting for birdwatching and outdoor exploration to observe animals in their natural habitat.


Explore Fairfax County's hidden gems for unforgettable animal encounters. Whether you're with family, on a date, or seeking social connections (after all, furry friends often make the best companions), these spots offer the ideal opportunity for some quality time with adorable animals. Don't forget to take plenty of photos and share them with us at @VisitFairfax and #FXVA.