If you have children in Northern Virginia, you’ve probably heard of the Cox Farms Fall Festival. It’s legendary. Each fall, a farm in Centreville transforms into a massive playground with more clever and hilarious details than I could list. It’s absolutely worth the half-hour drive from Reston.
Because my family loves the fall festival so much, I wondered what Cox Farms does to celebrate the winter holidays. I looked online, and sure enough, they have an annual Christmas Corner Market and Winter Wonderland. They sell Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands, and refreshments, and offer several free amusements for families. The Winter Wonderland festivities are much smaller in scope than the Fall Festival, but I figured that the team at Cox Farms would make it great. I packed up my kids to check it out.
The first thing I noticed when we arrived was that it was snowing. The snow was enchanting but alarming, since it was 70 degrees out. I soon figured out that two machines were periodically spraying puffs of soap foam overhead. The white foam stuck to the ground and trees, giving the Christmas tree lot a magical feel on this freakishly warm December day. My favorite part of our visit was having a foamy snowball fight with my kids while surrounded by Christmas trees.
Cox Farms sells four kind of trees, and gives guidance about each kind and its benefits:
- Traditional shape, pleasant scent, most popular tree
- Strong branches that are the best choice for heavy ornaments
- Needle retention: excellent
- Refreshing tangerine scent, longer needles, unusual look
- Sturdy branches that will hold large ornaments
- Needle retention: excellent
- Very soft, longer needles, fresh scent, great color, a popular tree
- Soft, feathery branches will support lightweight ornaments
- Needle retention: very good
- Classic shape, pleasant scent, elegant look
- Strong branches that are more spacious than other firs, offering more room for ornaments
- Needle retention: good
They also sell a gorgeous variety of Christmas wreaths and arrangements that they make in-house. People were filling wagons with piles of beautiful greenery to decorate their homes.
Several kinds of refreshments are available, including homemade apple cider donuts, hot chocolate, and local honey and jam. We chose to eat kettle corn and roast marshmallows. Marshmallows are free for roasting over their fire pit, and s’mores kits and hot dogs are available for purchase.
My kids’ favorite part was the snow-less snow tubing. A fuzzy white slide is the farm’s alternative to a snowy hill, and kids were sailing down it in spinning snow tubes. Yes, I admit, I did, too. Of course.
Another highlight was a real fire truck that kids could climb up and slide down. Other play structures include a real fire truck, a wooden train, an elf pirate ship, and real tractors.
Farm animals add to the fun. This goat was looking at me like that because he was trying to get my kettle corn. I didn’t even realize I was taunting the poor guy with it.
We stayed for a surprisingly long time, considering that the Winter Wonderland isn’t particularly large. For its size, it had a ton of fun things to keep my kids happily occupied. They were exhausted by the time we left. It’s definitely a tree lot, not a festival, but it’s a tree lot that is a ton of fun for little kids. My overall conclusion is that if you’re looking for a place to buy a Christmas tree or decorations while creating holiday adventures for your kids, it’s worth the trip. We’ll add it to our list of Christmas traditions. Cox Farms knows how to make my kids smile.
Cox Farms is located at 15621 Braddock Road, Centreville, VA 20120. They are open Monday-Friday from 11am-8pm, and Saturday-Sunday from 9am-7pm. Santa will visit this coming weekend, December 6-7, 2014, from 11am-1pm. For more information, consult their website at www.coxfarms.com.
For lots more information about holiday fun in Northern Virginia, don’t miss our guide to Holiday Events in the Reston Area.