Tag Archives: Old Maryland Farm

Over the Rainbow and Beyond at Watkins Regional Park

watkins_swing

Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, Md, was one of my early parent discoveries. And by parent discovery, I mean it took having a child to realize the place existed, even though I had lived in the area for years. We first start visiting when Owen began toddling around, not long after his first birthday, and it’s been a constant in our rotation of go-to outings since.

watkins_scarecrwosign

So, the park is far from new to KFDC (as you probably knew if you’ve been reading the blog awhile…I recommend it quite often), but with a new, recently opened Wizard of Oz themed playground, it seems like a perfect time to spotlight one of our favorites.

watkins_shoes

watkins_flower

When I first heard about the playground, which was replacing an older one, I thought it could either be terribly cheesy or super cute. Luckily, it turned out to be the latter, full of vibrantly colored apparatuses that embrace the story of Dorothy and friends: Children can slide down ruby red slippers, swing over the rainbow, play in and on a farm house, romp down the yellow brick road, and so much more.

watkins_carousel

watkins_train

That’s not all there is to do at Watkins — far from it, in fact. Just across the road from the playground are a the Chesapeake Carousel, Miniature Train, and Mini golf that open from mid-spring through summer. And just beyond that is Old Maryland Farm, where you can visit chickens, peacocks, turkeys, bunnies, llamas, cows, horses, and ducks.

omf_peacock

Watkins_omf

A bit further up the road, but still within walking distance is the Watkins Nature Center, one of the best in the area, in my opinion. Inside, rescued birds and reptilian creatures are on view in caged areas and terrariums, along with a small turtle pond. There are also sweet activity areas for puppet shows and bird watching. Outside, you can visit larger rescued birds like owls and hawks and stop by the frog pond and try to spot them hiding among the lily pads. A small amphitheater, where storytime sessions and other programs sometimes take place, is a fun place for performances when it’s not in use. And short trails nearby that loop through the surrounding woods make for nice easy hikes with the kids.

watkins_center

watkins_birdwatching

watkins_owl

Even more, the park is fantastic for birthday parties! Owen and Sasha had a joint bash at the Nature Center, and it was easily one of the best parties they’ve had. We’ve attended many others there and at Old Maryland Farm (which includes a hayride), and they’ve never disappointed. The Carousel area also offers parties during the season, though we’ve never been to one.

watkins_bday

The carousel, train, and golf, which all require a small fee, are only open during the week until early September and weekends through the end of month beyond that. The rest, though, is open year-round, and even better, it’s all free to explore and enjoy. And I highly recommend you do so.

watkins_trails

Watkins Regional Park is located at 301 Watkins Park Drive in Upper Marlboro, Md. Park hours are dawn to dusk, and admission is free, but some venues within the park have their own hours and fees:
Old Maryland Farm is open Tuesday – Friday 9am – 4pm, Saturday 9am – 4:30pm, Sunday 11:30am – 4:30pm
Watkins Nature Center is open Monday – Saturday 8:30am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm
– The Carousel, Train, and Golf are open seasonally – see the website for details. (And the Train, is unfortunately closed as this post goes live due to mechanical problems.)


4 Comments

Filed under All ages, Animals, Birthday Parties, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 7-11

See quirky works both indoor and out at the American Visionary Art Museum

See quirky works both indoor and out at the American Visionary Art Museum



Monday – Hike among the woods and wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Turtles, frogs, and birds are among the wildlife you could see. Stop by the nature center for even more exhibits and animal encounters. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. You can read more about it among the big list of outdoor recommendations.

Tuesday – Catch a performance of Lulu and the Brontosaurus at Imagination Stage. Showtime is 11am. Tickets range from $15 to $22. (If you can’t make it Tuesday, there’s a show on Wednesday at 10:30am, too.)

Wednesday – See some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. The colorful, quirky works — some of them interactive — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & children 7 and up, free for ages 6 and under

Thursday – Visit ponies, cows, peacocks, chickens, bunnies, and llamas at Old Maryland Farm in Watkins Regional Park. When you’re done, head over to the nearby playground to let the kids climb and swing. Admission is free to both. The farm is open 9am – 4pm Tuesday – Friday (9am – 4:30pm on Saturdays, 11:30am – 4:30pm on Sundays and holidays).

Friday – Head to an area farm to take advantage of smaller weekday crowds at one of several fall festivals that are already underway. See this guide to find out where you can celebrate the season.


Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: April 22-26

Feeding the peacocks during a birthday party at Old Maryland Farm

Feeding the peacocks during a birthday party at Old Maryland Farm



Monday – Enjoy a special Earth Day session of Story Time for Families at the National Museum of the American Indian. Join staff at 11:15am in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center on the 3rd floor to hear the story When the Shadbush Blooms, about the Lenni Lenape, a Native community from the Chesapeake region. These interactive Hok-noth-da (“Did you hear?” in the Shawnee language) readings usually take place Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, but they’ve added another one this week. Plan to spend time before or after exploring the many hands-on exhibits in the center geared toward children. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Visit ponies, donkeys, peacocks, chickens, bunnies, and llamas at Old Maryland Farm in Watkins Regional Park. When you’re done, head over to the nearby playground to let the kids climb and swing. Admission is free to both. The farm is open 9am – 4pm Tuesday – Friday (9am – 4:30pm on Saturdays, 11:30am – 4:30pm on Sundays and holidays). And if you live in DC, don’t forget to vote in the special election!

Wednesday – It’s Kids Day at Lebanese Taverna in Arlington. Enjoy free children’s entertainment every Wednesday from 10-11am. And stay after for a tasty bite to eat!

Thursday – See some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. The colorful, quirky works — some of them interactive — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & children 7 and up, free for ages 6 and under

Friday – Get a dose of nature in an unexpected place at Winkler Botanical Preserve. Located just off 395 and Seminary Road in Alexandria, the park is a nice outdoor surprise in an area full of office complexes and strip malls. Hours are 8:30am – 4pm, and admission is free.


3 Comments

Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Farm, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays