Leesylvania State Park Happenings This Week

Permalink to Leesylvania%20State%20Park%20Happenings%20This%20Week%20
Published: 07/28/2013

07/31/2013What's a Watershed?
Location: Visitor Center
Where does all that water in the Potomac River come from? Where does it go when it flows past Leesylvania? Join us for an exploration of how water makes the world go around as we travel through the water cycle, learn about watersheds, and see the aquatic impacts of how we use the land we live on. Meet up with a ranger at the Visitor Center to begin your journey through the world of water.

3 Sessions:  11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., & 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Phone: (703) 583-6904    Web Site: Leesylvania    Email Address:leesylvania@dcr.virginia.gov 
08/01/2013Ecosystem Exploration
Location: Meet at Powells Creek Trailhead.
Take a walk with a ranger and learn just what it is you are looking at when you explore Leesylvania. Learn who produces what, what helps whom, and what it all means to the humans who live "outside" of nature. Please remember to wear close-toed shoes and bring water.
3 Sessions:  11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., & 4:00 p.m.

Phone: (703) 583-6904    Web Site: Leesylvania    Email Address:leesylvania@dcr.virginia.gov 
08/02/2013Dino Days
Location: Visitor Center    Extra Event Fee Charged.
Walk in the footsteps of the dinosaurs! Come to the Visitor Center to excavate fossils, try to out run a T-Rex, and design your own dinosaur. Fee is $2/person, $6/family

3 Sessions:  11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., & 4:00 p.m.
Phone: (703) 583-6904    Web Site: Leesylvania    Email Address:leesylvania@dcr.virginia.gov 
08/03/2013Invasive Species Hike
Location: Meet at the Lee's Woods Historic Trailhead.
Can you tell the difference between the heart-shaped leaves of a native redbud and invasive princess tree? Take a hike with a ranger and see the plants and animals that have been waging a silent war against our native species.  Please remember to wear close-toed shoes and bring water.

2 Sessions:  11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.

Phone: (703) 583-6904    Web Site: Leesylvania    Email Address:leesylvania@dcr.virginia.gov 
08/03/20139:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.Kids Fishing Tournament
Location: Marina in lot #1
Join our kids fishing tournament and see what you can catch. There is some fishing equipment that participants can borrow, but we encourage folks to bring their own. There are several volunteers on hand to give participants help. Sponsored by the Friends of Leesylvania State Park.
Phone: (703) 583-6904    Web Site: Leesylvania    Email Address:leesylvania@dcr.virginia.gov 
08/03/20136:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.Canoe Tour
Location: Register at the Visitor Center and then meet at Canoe Launch   Extra Event Fee Charged.
Join a ranger for a guided canoe tour on Powell's Creek. You'll get to see wildlife, marsh plants, and test your skills in a canoe. Please register with the Visitor Center 24 hours in advance for the tour. Fee is $9.00 per person, or $6.00 per person when reserving for groups of 4 or more.

Phone: (703) 583-6904    Web Site: Leesylvania    Email Address:leesylvania@dcr.virginia.gov 
08/04/20137:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.Canoe Tour
Location: Register at the Visitor Center and then meet at Canoe Launch   Extra Event Fee Charged.
Join a ranger for a guided canoe tour on Powell's Creek. You'll get to see wildlife, marsh plants, and test your skills in a canoe. Please register with the Visitor Center 24 hours in advance for the tour. Fee is $9.00 per person, or $6.00 per person when reserving for groups of 4 or more.

Phone: (703) 583-6904    Web Site: Leesylvania    Email Address:leesylvania@dcr.virginia.gov 
08/04/201311:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.Colonial Children's Games
Location: Visitor Center
See what games children used to play during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Play a few innings of Town Ball. Race hoops against each other and play a game of catch called Graces. Appropriate for children 4 years old and up.
Phone: (703) 583-6904    Web Site: Leesylvania    Email Address:leesylvania@dcr.virginia.gov

National Kids To Parks Day 2013

Permalink to National%20Kids%20To%20Parks%20Day%202013
Published: 05/17/2013

As part of the "Let's Move" initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids, the National Park Trust is hosting National "Kids to Parks Day" on Saturday, May 18, 2013.  You can sign up on their website to let them know you pledge to take your kids outside and to a park on May 18th, and over 120,000 people have pledged so far! We have some awesome park options right here in Prince William County, including some fun, local events! Here's a list of PWC, and surrounding area, parks that have special Kids to Parks Day events on Saturday:

Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge, VA - Let nature ignite your imagination! We'll read Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane and spend a day outside making fairy houses with natural materials from around the park. See if you can discover what fairies and wildlife have in common.  
Location: Visitor Center 
Address: 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22191.
Contact for more info: 703-583-6904.  

Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton, VA will host the Occoquan River Fest from 10am-4pm. There will also be events in the town of Occoquan from 12-5pm. 
Address: Occoquan Regional Park, 9751 Ox Road, Lorton, VA 22079.

Mason Neck Park in Lorton, VA has a variety of special programs and events.  
Birding 101 (10am): Meet with a ranger on the back porch of the Visitor Center. Sit and watch the birds at the bird feeders and learn basic identification skills. Please bring your own binoculars. 
GPS Adventures (11:30am-12:30pm): Come join us on this one mile hike with park GPS units. We'll experience nature while searching for hidden caches! This program is most appropriate for ages six and up. Maximum of 10 people. First come, first served. 
Mammals of Mason Neck (2pm): Meet a ranger in the picnic area to learn about some of the local residents here in the park. Test your identification skills and learn something new about these furry park residents. 
Rockets (3pm): Come watch as we demonstrate the power of air pressure. We will be launching rockets made from 2 liter soda bottles using air, and water. Help us pump up the pressure in the bottles and guess which one will fly the farthest. 
Awesome Eagles (4pm): Meet up at the Visitor Center for an informative talk about our national emblem, the Bald Eagle. Come learn about these amazing birds and look for them as they soar along the bay.  
Address: Mason Neck Park, 7301 High Point Road, Lorton, VA 22079.
Contact for more info: 703-339-2380

Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania County (our favorite camping/boating spot!) has some special programs. 
Fishing 101 (10-11am) $2/person $6/family. Learn the basics of fishing and put it to the test! *Limited Space; Register at the Park Office*  
Orienteering 101 (1-2pm) Join a ranger and discover how to orienteer with compass and map.  
Gold Panning (3-4pm) Join Matt for a fun filled program featuring the history and basics of "Panning for Gold just like the prospectors." 
Address: Lake Anna State Park, 6800 Lawyers Rd, Livingston, VA 22551.
Daily parking fee applies $5 per car. Contact for more info: 540-854-5503. 

The Town of Vienna - The Town of Vienna Parks and Recreation Department and Club Phoenix Teen Center proudly present “Teens on the Green” at the Vienna Town Green on May 18, 2013. The local talent will awe and amaze as we highlight three fantastically talented teen bands on two stages. The concert is free and open to the public. Please contact the Vienna Community Center for more information, 703-255-6360. 
Address: Vienna Town Green, 144 Maple Avenue E, Vienna, VA 22180  
Contact for more info: Town of Vienna Parks and Recreation 703-255-5721. 

Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, VA has some fun programs and events scheduled.
Tyke Hike (10am-12pm): Meet at the Lost Mountain Parking Area This discovery hike is an easy walk, for children ages 4-6 and caregivers. Bring water and snacks, and wear sturdy footwear. 
Town Ball (12-2pm): Meet at the Picnic Area Play an inning or more of this historic game that evolved into our National Pastime. 
Life on the Farm: Planting a Vegetable Garden (1-3pm): Meet near the Visitor Center Help us plant our vegetable garden. All farm hands will get to take home seeds. 
Nature Journaling (2-4pm): Meet at Turner Pond Learn the basics of recording your nature observations and receive your beginner's journal. Location: Meet at Blue Ridge Trailhead 
Address: Sky Meadows State Park, 11012 Edmonds Lane, Delaplane, VA 20144.
Contact for more info: 540-592-3556 

Also, the National Park Trust has some great children's activities on their Buddy the Bison website.  You can check those out here.

Upcoming at Leesylvania State Park

Permalink to Upcoming%20at%20Leesylvania%20State%20Park%20
Published: 10/24/2012

Haunted History Hike
Date:
10/27/2012
Time:
7:30 p.m.  To  9:00 p.m.
Location:
Shelter #1
Description:
The spirits of Leesylvania have begun wandering our woods at night reliving moments from their lives. Join us for a guided evening walk which will take you back through history. Don't forget to take a hay ride and visit our different crafts for the kids. This is a family friendly Halloween event. Please call for event price.

Mommy Meet-Ups: Basket Weaving
Date:
11/08/2012
Time:
11:00 a.m.  To  12:00 p.m.
Location:
Visitor Center
Description:
Calling all moms! Leesylvania State Park invites you to take a break from your busy schedule to enjoy refreshments and socializing at our Visitor Center. Our monthly meet-ups will also feature different activities for you to try while relaxing.

On November 8th we will be making baskets just in time for harvest decorating to begin.  Choose from a selection of basket styles, receive a 20% discount off of the kit price, and the fee of the class is included! To see a selection of our available baskets and pricing please emailleesylvaniavc@dcr.virginia.gov. Please RSVP by the 6th so that we can have your basket materials soaked and ready to go on the 8th.

Veteran's Day Wall of Honor
Date:
11/11/2012
Time:
11:00 a.m.  To  4:00 p.m.
Location:
Visitor Center
Description:
Leesylvania State Park would love for you to honor your family member by bringing a photograph, how they served, when they served, and would love to hear how they inspire you.  We will have a temporary Wall of Honor set up in the Visitor Center for all to see.  Don't forget on Veteran's Day the parking fee is waived.

Harvest Crafts Food Drive
Date:
11/17/2012
Time:
11:00 a.m.  To  3:00 p.m.
Location:
Visitor Center
Description:
Thanksgiving is near!!  Join us as we use our natural resources to make festive crafts.  Cost for the program will be one food item per person (i.e. canned protein, canned fruits, juices, grains, soups, multigrain cereal).  The proceeds will go to Capital Area Food Bank.

Bull Run Conservancy Halloween Safari

Permalink to Bull%20Run%20Conservancy%20Halloween%20Safari
Published: 09/06/2012
Bull Run Maountain Conservancy will host a non-scary Halloween Safari this year! Check out the flier below for details.  This event is also listed on our calendar. 

Fishing With Kids In Prince William County

Permalink to Fishing%20With%20Kids%20In%20Prince%20William%20County
Published: 06/27/2012
Making a few summertime memories can be as simple as baiting your fishing pole! There are several great local places to take your child fishing.  Don't like worms? No problem.  Fish will nibble at marshmallows, bread, cheese, or just about anything that will stay on your hook. Don't forget to check your child's scout guide if they participate in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, because many levels have fishing awards!


NOTE:
Ages 16+ a Freshwater Virginia State Fishing License is required year round and a Virginia State Trout 
License is required November 1 - April 30. The Fish and Game Warden can ticket you for not having a 
license, even if you're just "holding" your child's pole, so make sure you get one! The KMart in Dale City 
sells them along with numerous other retailers, or you can get them online, too! 

For a full list of Virginia Fishing regulations you can click here, but generally speaking, all you need to know is that you can't use dynamite (phew!) or net fish, scuba fish, or alter fish by cutting them, and that you need to follow posted regulations.  
Got your license and your rod? Let's get fishing! 
Locust Shade Park's 8 acre pond is stocked with trout and also has catfish, blue gill, bass and crappie. 


Lake Ridge Park reservoir provides good fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish. 


Leesylvania State Park offers pier fishing from March 1 to Nov. 1.  Catfish, perch, largemouth and striped bass are typical.  The park also offers children's fishing tournaments on the first Saturday of every month and adult's fishing tournaments on occasion, as well. 


Occoquan Regional Park also offers fishing.  The no-wake zones around the main dock areas make for peaceful water and lots of fish! 


Prince William Forest Park- Specific portions of the lakes and streams throughout the park are available for fishing.  Live bait is prohibited.  For specifics, be sure to ask a ranger in the Visitor's Center! 


Have a favorite fishing spot? Leave a comment on this post and let us know where! 

Leesylvania Junior Ranger Program

Permalink to Leesylvania%20Junior%20Ranger%20Program
Published: 06/22/2012
The Junior Ranger Program at Leesylvania State Park runs several weeks this summer for various ages.  Parents may use the program as a drop-off camp or may remain with their child, if they're more comfortable.  Children as young as 4 and as old as 12 may participate in various weeks.  Please see the flier for additional information.  This fantastic park is located here on the Woodbridge/Dumfries side of Prince William County and offers several programs for families and children throughout the year.


Prince William Forest Park

Permalink to Prince%20William%20Forest%20Park
Published: 06/20/2012
Prince William Forest Park is a fantastic location for camping, hiking, and even meeting friends at the playground!  There are several entrances to the Park, including a few from route 234 in Dumfries and off route 619 past Independent Hill going to Triangle. The main entrance to the park, which I recommend you use, is the one you reach by taking exit 150B off I-95.  When you enter the park, there is a ranger station, but it may or may not be manned.  If there's no ranger, head straight down the road and you'll arrive at an information area where you can pay your $5.  Admission is good for seven consecutive days, so it's a pretty awesome deal, when you think about it that way!

Visitors Center and Welcome Station
Looping back towards the entrance, on the right hand side there is parking and a large playground with an open field.  The play area is partially shaded, but the field gets some fairly direct sunlight.  With all the trees around, you'll definitely want to do a tick check when you get home.  
Playground area with slides, climbing wall, playhouse and more

Across the street from the playground, there is a hike entrance.  I want to say the blazes are green, but I am not positive, so please don't quote me on that.  The hike is paved with shredded plastic (similar or the same to a rubber track type of feel).  It would be very stroller friendly, if you're looking to hike with a baby! 
 The hike winds you past a creek, and there are lots of signs explaining the flora and fauna, which is helpful since my kids always want to know what each individual leaf is and Google is so sick of me asking about "4 tipped leaves on flat bark trees in Virginia" that they're considering cutting me off.  I don't have to search in an encyclopedia, but I can't stay here...you know how it goes ;)
Here's another view of the playground.  The kids had a great time running around, and as a bonus, there's a BATHROOM!! Flushing toilets, running water, the whole deal.  I consider proximity of the potty to be a huge deal, so chalk that up as a win!

Prince William Forest Park has a scenic drive, as well, and it's quite pleasant.  I would have especially loved it when my first was a baby.  He had horrendous colic and the only way he slept was in motion.  A nice drive through the park would have been a great way to spend the time driving the baby!

Finally, there's camping.  We were fortunate to spend part of a night with our boy scout troop, and had a great time! There are, again, restrooms, as well as nice sites with decent parking.  We were near an outdoor area with lots of bench seating where we enjoyed a bonfire, too.  We stayed in the tent camping, but they also offer 5 cabins.  For details on camping at Prince William Forest Park, just click here. 

Breakdown-

Prince William Forest Park
Pros- nice playground, bathrooms located nearby, camping and parking
Cons- small fee, multiple entrances can be confusing to first timers (like me my first time!) 
Cautions- only that you should be sure to check for ticks, but that's any outdoor location in Virginia! 

Father's Day Weekend At Leesylvania State Park

Permalink to Father%27s%20Day%20Weekend%20At%20Leesylvania%20State%20Park
Published: 06/15/2012

Leesylvania State Park is a fantastic location right here in Prince William County! Having a park so close is such a great perk! Here are their activities coming up this weekend! 

Below are this weekend programs and attached are upcoming programs!  Hope to see you here at Leesylvania State Park !

Terrific Tales for Toddlers
Date:
06/15/2012
Time:
10:30 a.m.  To  11:00 a.m.
Location:
Visitor Center
Description:
Join us for story time as we read tales about nature. Once the story is over we will get out the crayons and have fun coloring pictures.

Colonial Children's Games
Date:
06/16/2012
Time:
11:00 a.m.  To  4:30 p.m.
Location:
Visitor Center
Description:
See what games children used to play during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Play a few innings of Town Ball. Race hoops against each other and play a game of catch called Graces. Appropriate for children 4 years old and up.

A Revolutionary Father's Day Presentation
Date:
06/16/2012
Time:
1:00 p.m.  To  2:00 p.m.
Location:
Visitor Center
Description:
Leesylvania State Park is pleased to announce that on Saturday, June 16, 2012 -- local author, educator, and Historic Dumfries Virginia board president Michael Cecere will give a presentation on Prince William County 's most notable Revolutionary War soldier, Light Horse Harry Lee and his father Henry Lee II to mark Father's Day. Mr. Cecere's presentation will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Visitor Center . Signed copies of Mr. Cecere's new book entitled, Wedded to My Sword: will be available for sale after his presentation.

Powell's Creek Hike
Date:
06/17/2012
Time:
2 sessions - 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Location:
Powell's Creek Trailhead
Description:
Join a ranger for a walk through the woods. You'll get to see wetlands, learn how the forest is involved in the water cycle, and hike to a beautiful overlook of the creek. Meet at the Powell's Creek Trailhead.

Father's Day Canoe Tour
Date:
06/17/2012
Time:
8:00 a.m.  To  10:00 a.m.
Location:
Register at the Visitor Center and then meet at Canoe Launch
Description:
Join a ranger for a guided canoe tour on Powell's Creek. You'll get to see wildlife, marsh plants, and test your skills in a canoe. Please register with the Visitor Center 24 hours in advance for the tour. Fee is $9.00 per person, or $6.00 per person when reserving for groups of 4 or more.

Junior Rangers
Date:
06/18/2012  To  08/02/2012
Time:
9:00 a.m.  To  4:00 p.m.
Location:
Sign up at the Visitor Center
Description:
Our Junior Ranger program is back for another exciting year!! Each day we cover new topics, and introduce fun educational activities that help keep things fun and interesting. It is a great way for you and your child to learn about the rich history and nature that is in your own backyard. For more information on exact days and times of program please call. There is a $60.00 enrollment fee per session for each participant. This covers all supplies, graduation certificate, t-shirt, and patch.

Junior Ranger Dates
Morning Session (AM):    9 A.m. - 12 P.M.
Afternoon Session (PM): 1 P.M. - 4 P.M.

June 18-21      AM: 4-6 year olds
                      PM: 10-12 year olds
June 25-28      AM: 4-6 year olds
                      PM: 7-9 year olds
July 9-12          AM: 7-9 year olds
                      PM: 4-6 year olds
July 16-19       AM: 4-6 year olds
                      PM: 10-12 year olds
July 30-Aug. 2  AM: 4-6 year olds
                     PM: 7-9 year olds

Friends of Leesylvania State Park ’s monthly meeting
Date:
06/19/2012
Time:
7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Location:
Main Office
Description:
The Friends Leesylvania State Park help the park serve visitors and protect the park's natural resources. The group raises money and supports park programs such as the Junior Rangers, Free Kids Fishing Tournaments, and Haunted History Hikes. Friends also help guests and promote the park's unique nature and history, as well as fishing, boating and more. Members have many interests and various backgrounds. There are several membership options. Feel free to email Friends of Leesylvania (friendsofleesylvania@gmail.com) to learn more or come to one of its meetings. It meets the third Tuesday of each month.

Going Batty!
Date:
06/21/2012
Time:
3 Sessions - 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M., 2:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M., & 3:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Location:
Visitor Center
Description:
Although some mammals can glide, bats are the only ones that can fly. Join us to learn where they live, what they eat, and why they can fly around safely at night. Fee is $2/person, $6/family

Guest Post: Joseph D. Reading Park

Permalink to Guest%20Post%3A%20Joseph%20D.%20Reading%20Park
Published: 06/14/2012

In honor of National Kids to Parks Day (May 19, 2012), I decided to venture outside my comfort zone and take my girls (three years old and one year old) to a park we never had been to before.  We actually drive by it several times a week, but have never checked it out.


I was pleasantly surprised as we drove down the driveway leading to the park area.  Parking is close to the playground and is easily accessible.  There is a sidewalk leading right from the parking lot to the playgrounds which is great when bringing a stroller along.  We passed by several covered pavillions which were set up for parties.  Some people even set up their own!  They all looked very inviting to my party loving three year old!


Slide on "little kids" playground

There are two playgrounds right next to each other.  They look very well maintained and inviting.  One is the "little kid" playground and the other is the "big kid" playground.  There were very few differences between the two, namely the "Wiggly Bridge" (as my three year old called it) and some more spaces to climb up/down.  Both playgrounds have swings (bucket and regular) and slides.  The slides have a tendency to get hot as they old school metal ones, but weren't too bad the day we were there.  We checked out the "little kid" playground first.  My one year old is not walking yet, so I sat her in the mulch by the large number manipulative.  She had fun spinning the numbers and watching her big sister run around.  The "big kid" playground was just too inviting, so my three year old ended up spending most of her time over there, but would go back and forth between the two.  The playgrounds are close enough that you can watch your children on both at the same time.  My girls also really liked the swings.


"Big kids" playground


"Little kids" playground

We were there before lunch time and the sun was really strong over the playground.  The only shade to be found was that made by the equipment itself!  Make sure you bring a lot of water when you come if it is sunny.  There is a water fountain near the bathroom, but it was not working the day we went.  We decided to take a break for a snack under one of the many trees on the park grounds.  It was nice to get out of the sun for a while.  There is also a lot of room for children to run around.  As we ate snack, my three year old was eying a "mountain" by our spot.  She felt like such a big girl when she reached the top.  There was a flat field at the top which would be perfect for flying kites in the fall!


One thing I always look for when I am going out is a bathroom.  Thankfully, there is a bathroom on the park grounds as we had to use it on the way out.  Unfortunately, it had a strong smell of cleaner, but didn't feel very clean.  There was no soap, but the water did work.  Note to self, bring hand sanitizer!

All in all, we really enjoyed our first visit at Joseph D. Reading Park.  I definitely see us going there in the future to play and for picnic lunches.  Kline's Freeze (yum!) is not far from the park entrance so you could get ice-cream on the way in or on the way home!

The lowdown:

Pros
Easy parking.
Pavilions available.
Well maintained and clean equipment.
Two playgrounds for different ages.
Lots of shade for resting and picnics.
LOTS of room to run.

Cons
Playground is very sunny.
Metal slides get hot.
Bathroom is not the best.

Make sure you bring enough water for everyone and some hand sanitizer!  Maybe we'll see you there!


Angela Pounders is a transplant to Manassas Park from Arlington.  She is blessed to be a stay at home mama to two beautiful girls.  As a former teacher (as well as preschool director and Children and Family Director), she is always on the look out for fun, easy and educational things to do with her girls.  She also loves to share her ideas and is looking to start her own blog, Master's Daughter, by the fall.

Bull Run Mountain Nature Conservancy Camps 2012

Permalink to Bull%20Run%20Mountain%20Nature%20Conservancy%20Camps%202012
Published: 05/30/2012

Bull Run Mountain Conservancy in Broad Run, VA, will be hosting several camps this summer for children of all ages.  Preschool Camp, Elementary Aged Herpetology Camp, and Middle/High School Watershed Workshop Camp for Teens.

Supernovamommy- If you're reading this- this is a Skink.  Taken from BRMConservancy.org


Herpetology Camp
Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians. BRMC invites your child to spend TWO days hiking and handling, searching and observing salamanders, frogs, lizards, snakes and turtles on the Bull Run Mtn Natural Area Preserve. Marty Martin, the premier mid-Atlantic herpetologist will be joining both camps to discuss and find every snake possible
Ages 7-12
June 21/22, OR June 25/26, OR
9am-4pm
Pre-registration required.
Members: $100/ Non-members: $150

Summer Nature Camp


BRMC invites your child to spend a nature-filled week interacting with the natural world. Each day we will focus on different plants and animals in the Bull Run Mountains. Campers will add to their understanding of natural systems through hikes, stream walks, games, and eco-dramas.
Ages 7-12.
Week of July 23rd, OR Week of July 30th
9am-4pm
Pre-registration is required.
BRMC Members: $250/ Non-members: $300.




Chesapeake Watershed Workshop
BRMC will offer an educational workshop for youth ages 13-18 focused on the conservation of the rivers and streams that flow into the Chesapeake Bay. The four-day workshop will begin with an overview of stream ecology and natural history. We will then spend Day 2 exploring the headwater streams in the Bull Run Mountains. Day 3 will be spent downstream in the Little Bull Run, and Day 4 will be spent in Turkey Run National Park along the banks of the Potomac River. At each location students will perform stream monitoring, vegetation analyses, and stream habitat and riparian buffer evaluations.
AGES 13-18
4 Days Week August 6th
9am-4pm
Pre-registration is required.
BRMC Members: $200/ Non-members: $250.

Preschool Nature Camp

At this week-long camp, young children will be exposed to the outdoors and wildlife. They will explore the life on the Bull Run Mountains through a series of discovery hikes, nature crafts, and games. 
Ages 4—6.
August 13th
10am-11am
Pre-registration is required.
BRMC Members: $125/ Non-members: $175.




Bull Run Mountains Conservancy 17405 Beverley Mills Dr. Broad Run, VA 20137


To view our Full Summer Camp 2012 Guide, click here. 

June 1-2 2012 Leesylvania Activities

Permalink to June%201-2%202012%20Leesylvania%20Activities
Published: 05/30/2012
Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge, Virginia has some outstanding kid-friendly programs coming up this weekend!! Whether your child loves dinosaur activities or your teen needs some volunteer service hours, these additions to our calendar can help meet your family's boredom-buster needs! 

Dino Days

Date:
06/01/2012
Time:
11:00 a.m.  To  4:00 p.m.
Location:
Visitor Center
Description:
Walk in the footsteps of the dinosaurs! Come to the Visitor Center to excavate fossils, try to out run a T-Rex, and design your own dinosaur.

Fee is $2/person, $6/family

National Trails Day

Date:
06/02/2012
Time:
2 Sessions:  Noon and 3 p.m.
Location:
Pay at Visitor Center before and meet at Powells Creek Trail Head.
Description:
GPS: Tracking Trees

Join the hunt and discover the amazing variety of trees that make up "the woods" at Leesylvania.
 Use GPS technology to uncover caches hidden along Powell's Creek Trail (approximately 1.3 miles) and learn the signs that will lead you to find and identify the different species of trees that make up the back bone of our cosystem. Don't forget to bring water and wear close-toed shoes. 
Program cost is $3 per person, $8 per family, or $25 for a large group.

Kids Fishing Tournament

Date:
06/02/2012
Time:
9:00 a.m.  To  11:00 a.m.
Location:
Marina in lot #1
Description:
Join our kids fishing tournament and see what you can catch. There is some fishing equipment that participants can borrow, but we encourage folks to bring their own. There are several volunteers on hand to give participants help. Sponsored by the Friends of Leesylvania State Park .

Clean the Bay Day Shoreline Cleanup
Date:
06/02/2012
Time:
11:00 a.m.  To  2:00 p.m.
Location:
Visitor Center
Description:
We are going to be taking a day to remember how important keeping our environment is by cleaning up the shoreline. Show your love of nature and a clean environment by joining our clean 
up crew. 

Call the park to volunteer or for more information on this event.

Lee's Woods Historic Hike
Date:
06/03/2012
Time:
2 sessions - 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Location:
Lee's Woods Trailhead
Description:
Take a walk through the woods with a ranger and get to know the unique history of the land now known as Leesylvania State Park . You will see historic sites from the 1700's and the 1800's along this 2 mile trail.

Music At The Marina- Leesylvania State Park

Permalink to Music%20At%20The%20Marina-%20Leesylvania%20State%20Park
Published: 05/16/2012
Leesylvania State Park, right here in Woodbridge, offers some great programs, including fishing tournaments and ranger-led activities, but over the summer they also offer a family-friendly outdoor concert  series!

"Music at the Marina" is held from 5-7pm on select nights over the summer and will feature:
-J. Three, June 9, 2012
-Billy Caldwell, June 30, 2012
-Laurence McKenna, July 14, 2012
-Soul Gravity, August 11, 2012
-No Charge, September 8, 2012

There is an entry fee to the park.

May 19th 2012: National Kids to Parks Day

Permalink to May%2019th%202012%3A%20National%20Kids%20to%20Parks%20Day
Published: 05/14/2012
As part of the "Let's Move" initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids, the National Park Trust is hosting "National Kids to Parks Day" on May 19, 2012.  You can sign up on their website to let them know you pledge to take your kids outside and to a park on May 19th! We have some awesome park options right here in Prince William County, and they're hosting events, to boot! I've also included some surrounding parks in case you'd really like to make a day of it!

Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge, VA will be hosting a Kids to Parks GPS hunt at 12 and 3.  The hike will be 1.3 miles and GPS units will help in your search.  Bring water and closed-toed shoes.  $3pp or $8 per family or $25 per large group.  

Occoquan Regional Park will host a Healthy Paddles Event from 10am-3pm

Rock Creek Park in DC will host a Kids to Parks Event from 10am-2pm

Mason Neck in Lorton will be offering a variety of programs.  GPS rentals will be available.  Feathers and Furst, 10-10:30am, Picnic Area Pond Patrol 11-12pm, Makin Tracks 12:30-1:30pm, Whimmy Diddles 2-2:30pm, Hiking Helpers 3-4pm.  

Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania (it's our favorite camping/boating spot!) will have Jack Corrigan teaching Geocaching 101.  Preregister by calling 540-854-5503.  $2/pp or $6 per family.  No park entrance fee.  9am-12pm or 1-4pm. 

Wolf Trap in Vienna (yes, it's performing arts, but it's also a park!) will have kids day from 9am-12pm. 

Also, the NPT has some great children's activities on their Buddy the Bison website.  You can check those out here. 

Even if you think your child is too young for some of these planned activities, why not get them out to a park on the 19th anyway.  Lake Ridge Park is a fun one, even for little kids, or even your neighborhood playground could do in a pinch! There's hiking trails all over PWC (the one behind Waterworks is fun!) and you can enjoy some time being active and outside with your kids! 

Guest Post: Cloverdale Park

Permalink to Guest%20Post%3A%20Cloverdale%20Park
Published: 05/10/2012
Thanks to photographer Marla Anson for sharing her thoughts on Cloverdale Park with us! I would add that the last few times I've been to Cloverdale there's been some trash issues, but it is a a large, open park, great for group events, and there are also some baseball and football fields to the opposite side of the parking lot! 




The kids and I have started going to the playground in Cloverdale Park. I took these pictures on Tuesday during our second visit there. One of the homeschool groups I joined meets there every Friday afternoon and I learned a nifty little tip from them. There is a port-a-potty there that gets cleaned on Friday mornings. There are also several pavilions, one of which does have restrooms, but sometimes the port-a-potty is a cleaner option. To reserve the pavilions, just get in contact with the folks over at Veterans Park. In addition to the playground and pavilions, there are soccer fields and and baseball fields. 
One thing that I really like about this park is all of the trees. There’s always a shady spot to be in, which will be nice come Summer time. However, if you’re squeamish about kids playing in mud puddles, try to avoid this park on days after it has rained. My kids had a LOT of fun playing in the mud puddles on Tuesday, but it sort of nixed my plans to go grocery shopping afterwards.






Hi! I’m Marla Anson, The Reluctant Mommy Blogger. Why reluctant? Well, I never wanted to be a mommy blogger. In fact I was trying to avoid becoming one. I felt that by blogging about my children I would be exploiting them. My plan was to occasionally write about them here and there, and focus mostly on photography. Well, since I do stay home with them AND we will soon enter the world of homeschooling, I found that more and more of my writing here has been dedicated to them. In essence, I had become the very thing I didn’t want to become. A Mommy Blogger!In addition to being a mom, wife and good daughter, I am also a group leader for my local area mommies group. Check out this link to read and learn all about the Joy Troupe! Are you interested in becoming a member of the Woodbridge, VA sub-group of the Joy Troupe, click here. We are a great bunch of mommies who open our hearts and doors to each other and anyone (daddy, auntie, nanny, baby-sitter, etc.) who plays an important role in a child’s life.

Healthy Paddles at Occoquan Regional Park

Permalink to Healthy%20Paddles%20at%20Occoquan%20Regional%20Park
Published: 05/05/2012
Kick off a healthy summer on May 19th 2012 from 10am-3pm at Occoquan Regional Park.  There'll be a paddle, hike, and health fair! Kid-friendly, family-oriented, sounds like a winner!

Burke Lake Park

Permalink to Burke%20Lake%20Park
Published: 04/26/2012
Ah, Burke Lake Park.  This place is fully loaded with a miniature train, carousel, several playgrounds and picnic areas, mini golf, ice cream shop, water activities and more.  Burke Lake Park is located in Fairfax County, but I would call it a destination park due to its high number of activities.  The park is open from sunrise to sunset, which obviously varies during different times f the year.  The park closes to all traffic (foot/bike/car) at sunset, too, so if you're camping, you're in for the night :)

The park facilities are open weekends beginning early April through Memorial Day, except the campgrounds which open in late April.  The park itself, however, is open year round.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day the park facilities are open daily, weather permitting, and then they're open again on weekends through late October, which is also when camping ends.

The train runs on the 15 and 45, beginning at 11:15am.  The carousel runs on the hour and the half hour beginning at 11:30am.  The ice cream parlor is open 11am-4pm, and mini golf opens at 11am.  The park is free for Fairfax County Residents (so load up in your Fairfax friend's minivan).  For non-residents on weekends and holidays (it's free on weekdays) the fee is $10 for cars and vans and $40 for buses.  Picnic areas are available to rent for parties.

We've had the opportunity to enjoy Burke Lake Park on several occasions, both with friends for playtime and for camping and running.  We've even picnicked by the water, which was lovely, too.  The kids enjoyed the train and carousel (although older elementary children might find it "lame").

Says PwcDad: Camping at Burke Lake is great for younger kids because it features lots of activities and several fitness trails that are great for younger children.

Burke Lake Park
Pros: Close to Lake Ridge/Woodbridge, free on weekdays, lots to do, picnic areas have always been clean on our visits
Cons: Amenities are at a price (although low), not PWC :), if you are an iPhone addict, your reception is going to stink :)
Caution: Campers should note that you cannot leave or enter after dark, even if you have a child that decides they'd rather not camp tonight.

Birchdale Park

Permalink to Birchdale%20Park
Published: 04/12/2012
One of the smaller community centers owned by the Prince William County Park Authority (I'm not sure what to call them now that the PWC Government has assumed control, but until they send me a new logo, I'm sticking with the old name), Birchdale Recreation Center is located on the corner of Birchdale Ave and Dale Blvd, near the KMart. The physical address is 14730 Birchdale Ave.
We had the chance to head over there for a scouting activity day over spring break. Birchdale features a small community center with indoor restrooms and a few classrooms.  They are also associated with Turley Baseball Fields, which are across the street. There is an outdoor pool, playground, small half pipe, and 2 picnic pavilions which can be rented for $40 per day per pavilion.  If you rent the pavilion, you can also purchase pool passes for $1.50 per person, up to 20 per pavilion.  The pool is 25 meters. Sounds like it could be a very economical way to do a family reunion or smaller group function! The playground is wide and open, with good visibility.  Not pictured above are several swings.  The area is wood-mulched.  Behind the playground is some open space, which is perfect for a swordfight, and adjacent to the playground and the open space are the picnic pavilions.
While we're on the subject, my oldest son had a fantastic time at the scout class he attended.  They're drop-off, but only 2 hours, which makes it extra-nice that there's a playground right outside.  They easily completed two achievements, in this case codes and art, and he got a certificate at the end of the day to present our Scoutmaster with to prove he completed the requirements.

3 Lake Ridge Tot Lots

Permalink to 3%20Lake%20Ridge%20Tot%20Lots
Published: 03/21/2012
Lake Ridge has several tot lots which are fantastic for a few reasons.  First, they're less crowded.  Unlike Fantasy Playground, which is a "destination park", these are more like neighborhood play spots, which are still fun but have less than 1.3 million children. Second, they're shaded.  If you have a sun-sensitive child (or heat-sensitive), these can be great options.  Finally....I don't know, I always feel like there should be 3 things.  Maybe I'll come up with one if you read to the end, but I'm not making any promises.

So....we have:
Corner of Antietam and Seminole

Recently renovated, this playground has some really fun play spaces and has both baby swings and "big kid" swings.  It's mulch (as opposed to pea gravel, which is the bane of my feet's existence), but as a word of caution, there's a "creek" behind it that is really a drainage area, so you'll want to exercise your best judgement about whether your kids should be able to jump in it with reckless abandon.  Mine have been known to play by it and have not yet sprouted 3rd arms. Parking is street only, which is limited until 5pm. No public restrooms.


Intersection of Mohican and Stoneford
This particular play area is close enough to Fantasy Playground that you could hit it with a rock.  Not really, and you shouldn't throw rocks, but it is close, which is nice if it's too crowded and you need to switch.  It's up in the woods and hard to see from the street, but trust me, it's there.  Street parking.  If you walk just past the playground, there's a basketball court.  No public restrooms.


2/3rds of the way down Mohican between Edgemoor and Calloway (but on the left)

Are you noticing that all of the play structures look very similar? Me, too.  This particular one is nice because it's shaded, but right next to an open field so that you could have some younger kids playing or take some older ones with a soccer or football, and everyone could have a great time! Street parking, no public restrooms, mulch.


So, you get the idea.  There are a total of 18 tot lots in Lake Ridge, and they tend to follow a pattern.  Want to share your favorite location with us? Leave a comment with the GPS or intersection!

Potomac Mills Mall Kidgits and the Virginia Play Area

Permalink to Potomac%20Mills%20Mall%20Kidgits%20and%20the%20Virginia%20Play%20Area
Published: 02/16/2012
Before you read the following post, I have to apologize for my absolutely abominable iPhone pictures.  Here's the deal, folks, I am not a good enough mom to carry my camera.  I can admit that.  I have three kids and two hands, and one of them is not getting a Kodak, because that leaves me even MORE outnumbered than I was to start with.

I'm pretty sure the only nice pictures we have of our kids since my second child was born are from my awesome friends who do carry their cameras, and from professional photographers (love you guys!).  However! That being said, please always multiply the "cool factor" of anything I've photographed by about 5.  Thanks.  Also, thank you to the very nice people who let me take their pictures at these events and are not at all creeped out by the lady with a cell phone and a media pass.  I think it's the business cards.  They make me look legit :) If you'd like some professional pictures- check out Mary Davidson's from PotomacLocal.com


As I've mentioned several times, I am a native Prince Williamite.  That's a technical term, which you'd know if you were also born and raised in the P-W-C. Not everyone can be this complacent in one place for so long, so if you didn't know, now you do ;)

Another thing you'd know if you were a true local, is that we don't like being looked down on by people from Fairfax who think they're cooler than us just because they've got carousels at their fancy pants playgrounds, and Wegmans and Trader Joes and P.F. Changs and play areas in their malls. Also, they've got Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. Listen, outlet shopping is just smart. So, there.  Plus, we have a 24-hour Walmart.  What's up, Fairfax?

As such, I have immensely enjoyed watching our county change over the last decade.  I love that you can still find farms, but I also love checking things off the list of reasons people from Fairfax refuse to admit that PWC is a viable place to live or raise kids.  

Most recently, Potomac Mills has checked a few items off my list, adding a "Fashion District" with places like Banana Republic, Victoria's Secret, J.Crew, and Abercrombie and Fitch.  If I wasn't on a stay-at-home mommy budget....

They also added an indoor play area at the "Grand Court", which is at the beginning of the "Fashion District" section! Hahaha Fairfax! Plus, ours is educational! We were able to go join the Potomac Mills Kidgits for the grand opening celebration of the new play area, which featured a concert from Rocknoceros, cupcakes, and 300some of your closest friends! I love a great kid friendly event that's local Prince William County!!

 Oh, hello everyone cool! How nice that we can all hang out at the mall together!  Kidgits is a great way to get out of the house and enjoy free entertainment.  Join the Kidgits club for some great extra perks! It's only $5 and your child gets special treats at Kidgits meetings, a shirt, and spins on the prize wheel every time you shop!


When you're a big brother and home schooled, you sometimes have to hang out at little kid events.  Cupcakes and a hat help you to up your "cool" factor.




I love that there is a small tucked away section with games perfect for toddlers to play with.  It's nice when someone thinks of details like that!

The theme of the play area is Virgina- so there are several historical landmarks shown, as well as the "landscape" on the floor featuring labels of prominent water features.




Here's a view from outside the play area coming in.  To the right, there are benches that wrap around for parents, caregivers, or kids in time out. Under the benches are shoe cubbies.  You know, for shoes that are in time out.




The state bird, a cardinal, makes an appearance, as do natural resources like the blue crab. The tree slide, in the picture above, is George Washington's Cherry Tree.












For parking purposes, the TJ Maxx entrance is a good idea :)










Thanks to Potomac Mills Mall for making Prince William County even more kid friendly! 

Disclaimer: I was not provided with any material goods or services in return for writing this article, although the very nice Kidgits people did hook me up with some chairs so that I could run around and interview people and keep my kids where I could see them.  All opinions are my own.  No one from Fairfax was injured in the writing of this article.  If you're from Fairfax, I still like you.  Some of my best friends are Fairfax people, when they're not hating on Prince William :) 


Review: Bull Run Festival of Lights

Permalink to Review%3A%20Bull%20Run%20Festival%20of%20Lights
Published: 12/02/2011
We hit the Bull Run Festival of Lights for the second year this year, and I wanted to pass along a few notes and tips.
The Festival of Lights runs through January 8th from 5:30pm to 9:30pm on weeknights and until 10pm on Friday to Sunday and Holidays.

Prices are per vehicle ranging from $15 (cars weekday) to $30 (van weekend) with separate prices for group buses.  You can get a $3 off weeknight coupon by visiting the trash cans at your local Chick Fil A ;)  Sounds weird, but hey, $3 off is $3 off!!  The coupons are sitting next to the placemats at the Woodbridge location.

Before you get to the park, which is 10 minutes from the Manassas line, be sure you stop at 7-11 and pick up some treats for the car.  We vote hot cocoa and cookies, but you can pick whatever you like.  When you get to the festival, you start out going through a toll booth. It looks like the show is going to start just after with lights on either side, and you may be tempted to turn your headlights off at this point.

Wait.  They're just playing with you.  There's 2 light displays and then nothing for a few hundred yards.  When you get to the sign that says "please turn off your headlights", however, TURN THEM OFF!! There's more than sufficient light from the show and having cars (especially behind you) with their lights on totally ruins the experience for everyone!

Winding slowly through the next 2 miles, there are a bunch of cool light displays including reindeer and Santa, the characters from the Wizard of Oz, Toyland, and our family's favorite- a corner turn where the lights cascade down like snow.


The lights are beautiful, and it's a great activity for an evening where it's far too cold to enjoy something outside, or if your kids are too little to really enjoy outdoor activities.  True story, the first time we went to a light show like this (it was in another state), we had a 1 month old baby and hadn't been out in months, so hubby and I stopped at Starbucks and put our colicky baby in the carseat, and by the time we got to the lights the baby was knocked out from the wonderful repetitive motion of the car and it was snowing lightly- it was actually one of the most romantic dates we've ever been on!

So.  A word of caution.

At the end of the Festival of Lights there is this hot mess.  I think they call it "The Winter Village".  Your payment to the light show includes free admission to the Winter Village!! Squee! Free Admission.

Don't do it.  Just don't.  The Winter Village is actually a carnival designed to make sure you spend at least $75 on going to look at lights.  Rides require tickets (which are non-refundable) and range in price from $3-$5 a ride.  Some of them you can squeak by on without getting burned too badly (kids ride free with paying adult on rides they're too short to ride alone- i.e. the Ferris Wheel and the Egg Scrambler).  You can get a wristband for $18 per person (for our family of 5 there was NO way I was doing that).  There's also lots of junk food around to tempt your kids who, despite the fact that you just fed them dinner, now have a fever and the only prescription is chili cheese fries for $7.50.

If you'd like to be sneaky about the whole thing, the Village is only open on the following dates, so you could feasibly decide to go on a night that it's not open. (Or, perhaps you're not as big of a grinch as I am, and you like spending $5 on carnival rides, in which case, by all means, have a blast!)

The Village will be open from 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm in December per the following schedule.
Friday, December 2nd
Saturday, December 3rd
Sunday, December 4th
Friday, December 9th
Saturday, December 10th
Sunday, December 11th
Friday, December 16th
Saturday, December 17th
Sunday, December 18th
Monday, December 19th


All in all I would say that the Bull Run Festival of Lights can be a fun family outing.  For the best value, go with a friend who has a van on a weeknight :) Then you can split the $12 cost with your CFA coupon! To not go crazy and not spend too much money, avoid stopping at the carnival at the end, but if you have it in your December budget, the kids will definitely enjoy a ride or two.

Review: Locust Shade Park

Permalink to Review%3A%20Locust%20Shade%20Park
Published: 07/31/2011
Locust Shade Park is a great space in Triangle, down by Quantico just past Independent Hill if you're a 619 cruiser.  It's great because it's got several different amenities including mini golf, tennis, a batting cage, docks with rental paddle boats, gazebos, picnic areas, playgrounds, fitness trail, and an ampitheater. When you go in the main gate, the batting cage, mini golf, driving range and visitors center are directly to your left.  The ampitheater is further up on your right, and the playgrounds, hiking, and picnic areas are spread out along the road's loop.
 This is the boath house and gazebo just past the ampitheater parking.  We had a picnic in the gazebo, which isn't the cleanest gazebo I've ever seen, but the kids were quite happy with the shade!
Bonus: This dock is handicap accessible if you have people in wheelchairs.  This is also always good news for people with strollers. Boat rental is affordable at $4/half hour, and if you like to fish, they stock the water each year with trout and catfish. Note that you need a valid game license if you're over 16.

Locust Shade also has large-scale (and small) picnic facilities available for rental.  They're great for outdoor gatherings for birthdays, scouts, or church functions.  You can find a list of rates HERE. There are picnic areas that border playgrounds, which would be especially great for a child's party.
This picture of the ampitheater (credit: Prince William County Park Authority) does not picture the large overhead shade that is available.  They're triangles, make sure you get under them and don't end up in one of the gaps where there isn't shade or you'll cook (per our experience).  The ampitheater shows take cash or credit card, but they do handwritten receipt that includes your credit card number and charge you later.  If that makes you uncomfortable, be sure to take cash.  You can check out the ampitheater schedule on our calendar or HERE, but note that the season is obviously limited to times when outdoor weather will be conducive to a good time.

Locust Shade Park
Pros: Lots of different activites, no entrance fee
Cons: Wooded- beware of ticks and bring your bug spray
Caution: The boat ramp is VERY open and the sections that are "fenced" are spaced well enough that your small child could easily get in the water for a swim.  It's not that clean, I don't recommend it.

Playgrounds: Fantasy Playground in Lake Ridge

Permalink to Playgrounds%3A%20Fantasy%20Playground%20in%20Lake%20Ridge
Published: 05/29/2011

Nestled on the corner of Hedges Run and Cotton Mill Drives in Lake Ridge, just behind the community center and pool, is Fantasy Playground.  This giant wooden play area features balance components, slides, a sandbox, 4 baby and 4 regular swings, a tire swing, covered picnic area, tunnels, and rocks.  Lots of tiny pea-sized gravel rocks.

My children absolutely adore this playground.  They think that it is, quite possibly, the coolest place in our immediate area.  If I drive the wrong way to Starbucks on a nice day all I hear is a loud wail from the backseat about going to Fantasy Playground.

It's not that I don't love going to the playground, because I do.  I'll hit Lake Ridge Park, neighborhoods, heck, we sit at the school playground for about an hour a day on nice afternoons (and some not-so-warm ones where I just can't go back home yet) and sometimes longer.  Also, I know a lot of people think that Fantasy is Fantastic.

(Oh hi, readers.  Just a fair warning: If you're an adherent of Lenore Skenazy you should probably save us both the trouble and stop reading this post now.  Still reading? Because I warned you....)

I loathe Fantasy Playground.  Everything about it.  I don't like the tiny gravel that ALWAYS gets in my shoes.  I don't like the sandbox, because I'm convinced that 1/2 the western world's squirrels (and small children who are potty training) have ahem, well, utilized it as other than a sand box.  Most of all, though, (seriously stop here Skenazy disciples) I hate that this park has terrible visibility and ramps on the play area that dump into the parking lot.  I have 3 children that run on 3 different speeds.  "I'm on Speed", "Buddha meditating under a tree", and "PUSH THE SWING MOMMA!!!".  These three speeds are not conducive to being at this playground and being mindful of my kids.  That being said, if you're okay with not being able to see both of your children at once (which I would be if it was just "I'm on Speed" and one other one, since "I'm on Speed" is old enough that I am confident in his skillz without me, but I have 2 that I need to watch) then you'll probably love it here.

Fantasy Playground:

Pros: Large, elaborate space, well-maintained by the LRPRA and re-stained yearly.  This playground has lots to do and groups can enjoy the picnic area covered by shade.

Cons: Rocks are fun to throw, apparently.  Also, there's limited visibility across the playground so if you have one on the swing you can't see your other one on the slide.  Middle schoolers tend to congregate here for some reason when school is out in my experience, so if you're not comfortable reminding preteens that they can't curse on the playground (which I find to be rather fun, actually) be sure to tell your children to earmuff it if there's a group of them.

Caution: If the pool is not open, there is not a nearby bathroom or porta potty.  Even if the pool is open, the lifeguard on duty may or may not let you use it if you don't have your pool pass.  Even if they will, it's a close call for children who are still in the "when I say I need to go potty right now, I actually mean I needed to go 10 minutes ago and now I REALLY NEED TO GO RIGHT NOW!!" phase.  Also, if you have a daredevil, there is a portion of the playground that has a hole in it down to a tire seat below.  An easy jump for an elementary kid, I've seen a few toddlers not fare quite so well with it.

Recommended for: This is a toughie.  There's no label on this one like there is in Montclair ;)  I would say that despite the presence of baby swings and smaller slides/sandbox for younger children, the BEST time on this playground is had by the elementary set.

Field Trip- Clemyjontri Park, Great Falls

Permalink to Field%20Trip-%20Clemyjontri%20Park%2C%20Great%20Falls
Published: 02/26/2011
My youngest fell asleep in the car today on our way to the park for a picnic.  Rather than wake her up and lose the nap, we decided we'd drive out a little bit further and take the kids to Clemyjontri Park in Fairfax County.  If you've never been, do not go today, because our observations about the weather were WAY more optimistic than the actual temperature!! It was cold!!


However, do go sometime.

Clemyjontri was built to be an inclusive play area where children with special needs and physical disabilities could play alongside their able-bodied peers. What's nice about that design, even if you do not have children with physical restrictions, is that everything at the park is stroller-accessible, too.  That means that if you have a runner and an infant, you can still use your stroller and keep up.

The playground is massive featuring several play sections, including a swing area (both modified, tire, infant, regular, and bench swings), a maze, an imaginative play area that includes cars, planes, and a "road" for runners, strollers, and wheelchairs to drag race around the park, and a playground section with wide access ramps, multiple slides, various forms of monkey bars and teeter totters, balance beams, and the traditional "playground" equipment you'd expect to find.

In the center of the park is a giant carousel, which is closed during the winter, but great to enjoy in warmer months!  This park is a drive from PWC, and took us about 40 minutes to get to, but since we needed that nap, it was perfect, and we enjoyed the change of scenery!!

For more pictures (and the story behind that mouthful of a name), check out Playground Princess' Review HERE.

Happy Playing, and look for more local playground reviews coming up in the days to come!
daytime playtime - a fun place to Learn.... a great place to Grow A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years... Majest Martial Arts - Montclair