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Posts Tagged ‘Maymont’

I know I already wrote about the Maymont Children’s Farm, but Maymont Easter is a Richmond tradition so I had to include it!  Maymont Easter is today, April 3, from 11-3pm.  I’ve been to this event regularly for several years, but it looks like they are changing things up this year so I’ll try to stick to info from the website. 

In the past, the event was held up on the carriage lawn, but this year, all festival activity will take place by the children’s farm.  Buy tickets for $1 each when you come in and then each activity will cost a # of tickets.  All proceeds go to Maymont so it’s a good cause.  Activities will include:

DJ – Free!
Roaming Easter Bunny – Free!
Jelly Bean Guess – 1 ticket per guess
Easter Tattoos – 1 ticket
Charm Station – 2 tickets
Craft Station – 2 tickets
Lollipop Tree – 1 ticket
Bonnet Making – 4 tickets
Games – 1 ticket per game
Petting Pasture – 2 tickets per person
Animal Feed – 1 ticket
Hay Wagon Rides – 3 tickets adults/2 tickets children under 12

Parts of the petting farm are usually opened up so the kids can actually go in and mingle with the animals.  There will also be live music, 2 Easter bonnet parades, and dances with the Easter bunny (2 tickets).  There will be tons of festival-style food.  That usually includes hot dogs, funnel cakes, ice cream, sno-cones, etc.  Up on the carriage lawn (where the festival used to be held), there will be carriage rides and mansion tours.

The Easter egg hunt looks to be the biggest change.  There are usually Easter egg “hunts” on the carriage lawn.  Each “hunt” is separated by age and held in a roped off area where they really just throw eggs on the lawn and kids go crazy.  I have to be honest, my kids love this.  There are so many eggs and it is really a race to see how many they can get.  This year, they have changed it to make it an actual hunt.  I’m all for this, but question the details.  This year eggs will be hidden throughout the 100-acre Maymont Park.  However, there will only be 100 eggs and each family is limited to 1 egg.  The eggs will have prizes in them and may include tickets to local sporting events or gift certificates to local retailers.  I love the idea of an actual egg hunt, but I’m skeptical about only 100 eggs.  My children are young and the egg hunt is usually their favorite part.  I don’t want to face their disappointment if we can’t find one today.  However, I’ll reserve judgment until we go this afternoon.

The weather should be beautiful and the flowers are in bloom so this event should be a fantastic way to spend the day.  I’ll post more pictures and updates after I check it out!

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Ok, for all of you that have been asking, here is Maymont.  This is one of my all-time favorite places in Richmond, even before I had kids.  I’m breaking it up into a 2-part series since no human could do the entire park in one day!  So, Part 1 will be the Petting Farm and Nature Center.

  

Maymont was the 100-acre Victorian country estate of James Henry and Sallie May Dooley.  The Dooley’s first purchased the land for Maymont in 1886.  Major Dooley died in 1922, and upon Mrs. Dooley’s death in 1925, Maymont was bequeathed to the City of Richmond.  Six months later Maymont opened as a museum and park and has remained intact.  In the 1940s, a group of Richmonders led by William B. Thalhimer proposed that the City establish live-animal exhibits on the grounds. The first series of outdoor animal exhibits was installed in 1958. The Children’s Farm was completed in 1982. Today, Maymont is home to hundreds of animals, representing more than 100 species.  In most cases the animals are healthy, but non-releasable, wild animals. Animals that are deemed unable to survive without assistance find a permanent refuge at Maymont. 

Maymont’s Children’s Farm features domestic animals raised on Virginia farms. The Farm is open year-round.  Children are welcome to feed and pet most animals on display. The Petting Farm is home to a variety of goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, donkeys, rabbits, cows, geese, and one very crazy peacock that is usually found up close to the ceiling inside the barn.  Animal food is available from vending machines at various places around the petting farm.  Make sure you bring hand wipes or sanitizer!  The Petting Farm is currently free, only a $4 donation is requested.  However, since the nature center started out this way and is now paid entry only, don’t forget to donate!  It would be a shame if the petting farm was no longer free.  There are tractor rides as well, but I believe they are reserved for kids having birthday parties at the farm.   The best time to visit the farm is in the Spring when all the baby animals are born!  This is usually March-April, although I didn’t see any babies there this past weekend.

Maymont’s Wildlife Exhibits are scattered throughout the 40-acre valley between the historical estate, Children’s Farm and Nature Center. All exhibits feature native Virginia wildlife in their natural habitats, including black bears, bison, white-tailed and sika deer, elk, gray and red fox, bobcats, and birds of prey.  The bears are especially fun to visit, except they are fairly far from the farm entrance.  Back in the day, the bears were almost never spotted, but today the bears are playful and love to be out in the spotlight.  It probably goes without saying, but just in case, the public can NOT feed the wild animals, only the animals located in the petting farm. 

The Robins Nature & Visitor Center at Maymont is dedicated to native Virginia wildlife. Rather than displaying a host of exotic creatures from distant seas, the Nature Center interprets the natural environment of the James River.  Thirteen giant, linked aquariums are home to playful river otters, turtles and fish of all shapes and sizes. Interactive galleries, including a replica of Richmond’s floodwall and a weather station, are fun for the kids as well.  On weekends the discovery center is usually open, make sure you don’t miss it.  There is usually a sign pointing down a hallway behind the nature center exhibit.  This room is FULL of stuff for kids to learn more about nature.  There are puzzles, games, puppets, fossils, books, and sometimes even reptiles.  The nature center used to be donation only, but this year has gone to $3 for ages 12 and up and $2 ages 4-12.  Under age 4 is free. 

Although the animal habitats only make up part of Maymont, its a large part so be sure to wear good walking shoes and bring strollers for the little ones.  It is also very hilly, especially the hill up to the Nature Center so you may want to consider the tram.  This is a great way to see the park (although incredibly slow) and costs $3 per person to ride for the day.  After a long day walking, not having to face the hill back up to the nature center is worth it!  There are water fountains and ice cream stations in several places throughout the wildlife area, but most people just pack a blanket and snacks and have a picnic.  Food and drinks are available in the Cafe up next to the Nature Center if you are looking for something more substantial.  This is a fantastic budget-friendly way to not only keep the kids occupied for a day, but completely wear them out!  Have a great time!

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