Bunnyland at Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, Maryland, is a powerful catalyst in helping to propel children into a mad Easter frenzy, the way a visit to Santa’s workshop would be a couple of weeks before Christmas.
This annual attraction, erected on the grounds of the popular area farm, features games and activities perfect for every preschooler (and some elementary schoolers as well).
The $9.50 admission price for children — $7.50 for adults and big kids — covers lots of activities, plus a goody basket. (Food, pony rides and face painting cost extra.)
Getting through the admission gate was painfully slow on the day we went. Small children amused themselves during the wait by trying to eat landscaping rocks and running away from their parents.
But once through the starting gate, it can be hard to decide where to go first. (It wasn’t hard for me. I made a beeline for the food barn and bought some still-warm donuts and a couple pieces of fruit pie. Mmmmm …)
Kids can opt to ride tricycles along a fenced-in “racetrack” or take a spin on one of several pedal tractors in a separate area.
More active play options include a castle and a boat to climb in, on and around, plus a massive jumping pillow that can accommodate at least a couple of dozen kids at a time. A popular attraction each year is the giant slides set up on the nearby hillside.
Lots of children enjoyed the rubber duck derby, a series of narrow metal troughs with hand-powered water pumps at either end. Put your duck in the trough and pump water wildly in an effort to hoosh him to the other side before the one in the next trough gets there.
Kids and parents lined up for a hayride through a nearby wooded area decorated with bunnies, eggs, chicks, flowers, ladybugs and more.
In a nearby barn, everyone gets a chance to look at some live animals and even pet a few. Boxes hold a passel of ducklings all crowded together under the warming light, and some chicks pecking away at a dish of crumbles.
A wide, hay-covered expanse holds a selection of rabbits, some huddled into small, brightly painted buildings, others hopping about contentedly. Right next to them were three baby goats, bleating a high-pitched meh-eh-eh-eh-eh.
Also in the barn were a pile of piglets and two sheep with two lambs. Costumed farm workers held bunnies and chicks and allowed children to pet them.
For those wanting to collect Easter eggs, Butler’s provides a basket to take to a roped-off area scattered with plastic eggs.
At the exit, we were given a small box containing an apple, an egg-shaped cookie, a rubber duck, a plastic bee and hive, some stickers and a lollipop.
Although Easter is this weekend, Bunnyland is open next weekend as well, and your kids will have eaten all of their Easter candy by then and could probably do with some exercise and a way to work that sugar out of their systems, so take them to Bunnyland.
Bunnyland, Butler’s Orchard, 22222 Davis Mill Road Germantown MD 20876, 301-428-0444; Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 31, Monday, April 2, Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8.