Two years after it was closed due to needed repairs and lack of funds, Lubber Run Amphitheater is open and ready for the 2011 summer performances beginning July 29th. These performances include jazz and rock singers, an 11-piece band, a Russian folk ensemble, acoustic bluegrass, talent shows, feature movies and more.  Best of all, most shows are suitable for the entire family!  Bring a picnic and enjoy a night out under the stars.

There are benches for approximately 750 in front of the stage, and behind the benches are grassy areas perfect for picnickers.   No reservations or tickets are required for the performances.  While these events are free and open to the public, they do rely on the generous donations placed in the Lubber Run “Wishing Well” as you enter the Amphitheater.

The amphitheater is located at Lubber Run Park in the Arlington Forrest residential area in N. Arlington.


Fridays and Saturdays @ 8pm:  July 29th 1 September 3rd

Friday, July 29: Mary Ann Redmond
Winner of a staggering 14 WAMMIE Awards for best female jazz, rock-pop, roots rock/traditional R & B, the vocalist has toured with Mary Chapin Carpenter, and opened for The Pointer Sisters and The Neville Brothers.

Saturday, July 30: Justin Trawick
Indie-folk rocker Justin Trawick’s music fluently balances between sometimes rowdy, other times consoling, forms of folk, bluegrass and hip hop, bestowing listeners an organic form of poetry.

Friday, August 5: Origem
Performing a variety of Brazilian music styles such as samba, bossa nova, forro, afoxe and maracatu, Origigem’s musical versatility has been showcased everywhere from the Kennedy Center, to the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival.

Saturday, August 6: Teen Talent and Movie Night: FAST AND FURIOUS (2001)
Opening the evening will be a showcase of teen talent competition winners, followed by the feature movie.

Friday, August 12: Margot MacDonald
A textbook case of “classically trained soprano and pianist captivated by Led Zeppelin”, MacDonald started her singing career with the Washington National Opera at age 10, and by 15 she was releasing a second album and packing regional venues. She has appeared at 9:30 Club, Kennedy Center, Wolftrap, Birchmere, and the Bitter End in NYC.

Saturday, August 13: Russkie Musikanti
The Russkie Musikanti ensemble of the Washington Balalaika Society focuses on outreach programs, bringing its uniquemusic to venues throughout the community

Friday, August 19: Texas Chainsaw Horns
Built around the tight, five piece horn section led by trumpeter/arranger Tony Murtha, the 11-piece band draws on a wide variety of influences anywhere from Ray Charles and James Brown to ZZ Top and The Tower of Power.

Saturday, August 20: Andrew Acosta & the New Old-Time String Band
A night of acoustic Americana — an old-time hootnanny featuring The New Old Time String Band, which is made up of some of the area’s best bluegrass and folk musicians including Arlington’s own John Kaparakis and Speedy Tolliver.

Friday, August 26: Eric Scott
DC area pop/neo-soul singer Eric Scott has performed throughout Europe, Canada, the Caribbean and the U.S, sharing the stage with James Brown, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Little Feet, The Neville Brothers, Jimmy Buffet and Keb’ Mo’.

Saturday, August 27: Cartoon Johnny
Drawing on influences from classic soul to modern alternative, these two-time National Harmony Sweepstakes finalists won the Mid-Atlantic Regional title in 2005, and in New York (2005), they’re oft mistaken for instrumentalists.

Friday, September 2: The Grandsons
A fan aptly described The Grandson’s exuberant sound as “American music in a blender with the lid off”, the eclectic band has won a WAMMIE for Artist of the Year, and their latest CD, Live at the Barns roots rock album of the year.

Saturday, September 3: Teen Talent and Movie Night: INCEPTION (2010 Oscar nominee)
Opening the evening will be a showcase of teen talent competition winners, followed by the feature movie.

For more information call 703-228-1850 or visit


Nature Centers, nature trails, and gardens are a fantastic way to beat the heat of the summer.  Check out these local options….

In Arlington

Bon Air Park Memorial Rose Garden– Arlington

One of Arlington’s best kept secrets, the Bon Air Memorial Rose garden is one of the largest rose gardens on the East Coast. During World War II, the Arlington Rose Foundation wanted to create a living memorial dedicated to those who served their country.  Today the garden occupies about one acre, with several other gardens surrounding the area. Over 135 different rose varieties and 2,500 plants can be found within the boundaries Bon Air Park.  Bon Air Memorial Park also features an azalea garden, a shade garden, a sun garden, and an ornamental garden.  They also have a fun playground, and plenty of room for young legs to run!  The park is located at the corner of North Lexington and Wilson Boulevard, at 850 North Lexington Street in Arlington (between Upton Hill and George Mason).

Fort C.F. Smith Park

This site was was a fort during the civil war, and there are a 1/2 mile of trails on this 19-acre site.  Most of the trails are gravel and run through the woods, while the rest of the trail runs through gardens and by the Hendry House..  You can check out wildlife, and allow your kids to run wild though the open space.  During the spring and summer months, the meadows are filled with wildflowers and butterflies and birds.

Gulf Branch Nature Center– Arlington

The N. Arlington Nature Center is located in an old converted house.  Inside is a bee hive, snakes, turtles, an owl, puzzles and books, animal masks, coloring corners and activity stations, gardens, a viewing pond, a hollowed-out log/canoe, and pods and cones for touching, smelling and exploring.  Outside the nature center is 40 acres of nature, with a stream, a pond, wooded trails, and access to the Potomac River.

Long Branch Nature Center– Arlington

This S. Arlington Nature Center has various exhibits with an indoor pond filled with fish and turtles.  There are also aquariums with fish, frogs, and snakes.  Your kids will love the Children’s Discovery Room with books, puppets, and toys.  Outside there are 18 acres with a meadow, two ponds, interpretive gardens, and a forest!.  They also take in and rehabilitate injured reptiles.  The park is located on the Long Branch Stream, which flows into Four Mile Run.

Check out this entry for more info on Gulf Branch and Long Branch. 

Our Kids wrote a fantastic review of both centers.  

Potomac Overlook Nature Center- Arlington

In N. Arlington, Potomac Overlook has over 70 acres of woodland, trails, gardens, a small picnic area, and a Nature Center.  The Nature Center features live snakes, turtles and fish.  Next to the Nature Center is an exhibit featuring rehabilitated birds of prey, including 3 owls and a hawk!  In the picnic area next to the nature center is a table for the kids, as well as chairs and picnic tables for adults. There is also a butterfly garden and lots of room to run.  It is all shaded, so even on hot days, you will stay cool.  There is also a playground right next to the parking lot.  Follow Marcey Rd to the end, and you will see the parking lot.  Follow the paved trail and walk down to nature center. It is very stroller accessible and a bit of a walk for young legs, so a stroller may be a good idea for youngsters.

Powhatan Springs Children’s Rain Garden– Arlington

Powhatan Springs Children’s Rain Garden is unique play area that encourages kids to get wet!  It is a man-made wetland area that is designed to collect and cleanse rainwater, and it creates many hands-on activities for kids.  Kids can entertain themselves by making water flow from a bright red pump, splashing in the droplets that collect on concrete basins, and hopping from rock to rock. They can also create boats or other structures to send floating down the flume, and can build castles in the sand. In addition to the rain garden there is also a wooded play area.  Bring water, sand toys, or balls- and a picnic!

Theodore Roosevelt Island- Arlington

Head to Teddy Roosevelt Island for a hike and picnic. On this wooded island sanctuary, 2.5 miles of trails lead to the great statue of Roosevelt, There are trails that are flat and wide, so toddlers can walk or go in strollers, and kids of all ages will enjoy exploring. There are kid sized climbing rocks, as well as a sandy beach with rocks and shells. Kids will be able to see and hear the jets from Reagan overhead, in addition to many plants and animals: frogs, fish, turtles, ducks, geese, and deer. Bring bread to feed the ducks, and then picnic by the monument.  You can get there in a car only from the northbound lane of GW Parkway. Once you are parked, cross a foot bridge to the island.

In Alexandria

Green Spring Gardens– Alexandria

This is a 27-acre public park with over 20 thematic gardens (including a Children’s Garden, a Family Garden, Butterfly Crossing for kids), a greenhouse filled with tropicals, and a horticultural reference library (with a children’s library and children’s corner).  You can also walk through the a wooded stream valley to an area with 2 small ponds   The visitor center has backpacks you can take on your walk that are filled with guide books, magnifying glass, journal and crayons, etc.

Huntley Meadows Park- Alexandria

Huntley Meadows Park is an actual wetland that was carved out by an ancient Potomac stream.  A graveled path from the visitor’s center leads to a series of boardwalks over the wetlands.   You will walk through the forest, into meadows, and through freshwater wetlands.    It is really a beautiful place.  I have heard that going in the morning is the best time, as the animals are much more active.  We went  late morning, as were still able to see tons of turtles, frogs, ducks (with babies), and plenty of birds.  You can also try to spot geese, herons, dragonflies, snakes, butterflies, and beavers from the boardwalk.  The trails are very stroller friendly and wheelchair accessible. The Visitor Center also has great kids events and programs for all ages.  You can bring your own picnic lunch and use the picnic table at the visitor center or the various benches.  There is an entrance to Huntley Meadows off S. Kings Highway, but you can get to the visitors center only from the Lockheed Blvd entrance.  The visitor center is closed Tuesdays.

Check out this great post by Darcy of No Monsters in My Bed.

Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center- Alexandria

They have live animals like turtles, toads, snakes, and salamanders, as well as an aquarium with native fish species.  There is a mounted black bear, red fox, turkey and bobcat for you to check out.

River Farm Garden Park– Alexandria

River Farm belonged to George Washington, and is now the home to the American Horticultural Society.  It is a fantastic place to take kids!  It is one of our favorite places to go to play and enjoy being outside.  As a bonus cooler there because of the breeze off the Potomac.  There are 25 acres of lawns and gardens at River Farm, and it is open to the public from 9am- – 5pm Monday – Friday, and on Saturdays 9am – 1pm from April to September.  The entire grounds are fun to wander around with kids, but they will especially love the 13 small themed children’s gardens: The Fairy Tale Garden, Hummingbird Garden, Rest Stop, Beau Beau’s Garden, Alphabet Garden, Wobby The Worm, Scratch and Sniff Garden, Boat Garden, Hide-n-Seek Garden, Little House on the Prairie, Rock-n-Roll Garden, The Maze Garden, and Bat Cave.

Check out this post for more info.

Winkler Botanical Preserve– Alexandria

The Winkler Botanic Preserve is a private nature sanctuary in Alexandria on 44 acres.  It is a fun place to bring kids and take a short hike. has a great write up about this hidden gem.  The trailhead is at the edge of a meadow, surrounded by woods and a mountain climber’s training tower. The hikes route features include a small lake with several streams, waterfall, covered bridge mountain lodge, and even a Hobbit house.  The trail surface is mostly wood-chip mulch, some gravel, and grass.  It is located at 5400 Roanoke Avenue, Alexandria.  It only has 6 parking spots.  The park is open from 8:30am – 5pm.  Call 703-578-7888 for more information.  It can be difficult to find this preserve.  The sign is behind the branches on the left side of the entrance.  Drive past the entrance and park in the small lot to the left and follow the gravel laden path.

Outlying Virginia Areas

Frying Pan Farm Park– Herndon, VA

This is a fun place to visit to check out a real working farm.  There are cows, goats, chickens, bunnies, sheep, and pigs.  You are not able to feed these animals, but you can pet them through the fences.  Once you have had your fill of animal watching, you can head to the playground to run off some steam.  There is also a country store where you can purchase gifts, ice cream, and drinks.  New this year is an Allan Herschell carousel that was built during the depression era. Tickets are only $0.75.  We visit the farm at least once a year.  If you haven’t been before, definitely plan a trip.  Your kids (and you) will love it.

Hidden Oaks Nature Center- Annandale

The playroom of this nature center is quite large and perfect for kids. There are lots of interactive stations for the kids, like drawers in walls, indoor climbing structures,various animal exhibits, tents, and toys.  There is also a tower/play structure for them to climb on, places for dress up, and many books and stuffed animals in the book area.  There is even an indoor turtle pond!  It is a pretty contained area, so it also a great place to meet friends and hang out.  We love this nature center!

It is also home to Nature Playce, an 1/3-acre, free-play outdoor area outdoor play area designed to safely introduce youngsters to the wonders of nature.  In Nature Playce, there is a small pond/mini-waterfall, In addition, there is a wooden sandbox and plastic wading pool with plastic dinosaurs to play.

Reston Zoo- Vienna, VA

Reston Zoo is a thirty-acre, family-friendly zoo right in the heart of Vienna.  There are Zoofari wagon rides that take you to see antelope, camels, zebras, antelope, bison, crazy ostriches, watusis, and many more.  There are exhibits of monkeys, kangaroos, alligator, tortoises, servals, a wide variety of birds and many more interesting animals!  There is also a Petting Barn, where you can pet and feed sheep, lambs, goats, llamas, rabbits, and pot-belly pigs.  Animal feed cups and baby bottles are available for purchase in the gift shop.  Don’t miss the Zoofari ride when you go- it is always the highlight of our trip.

Washington DC

Rock Creek Nature Center– Washington, DC

The nature center has stuffed versions of all the birds and animals native to Rock Creek park – a bald eagle, woodpecker, even a coyote.  There are tanks filled with fish and frogs native to the park, and a bee station located on the back wall of the exhibit room.  You can watch the bees at work in the hive, visible through glass panes.  The hive is connected to the outdoors by a plastic tube.  There is a small Discovery play room to draw or do puppet shows, as well as books, puzzles, and dress-up clothes.  Kids will love the ‘Please Touch’ Center with animal furs, bones and antlers to explore.  Kids can also play with stone stamps that make footprints from different animals in the sand.  They host nature walks and ranger programs, too.

There is also a planetarium that seats 75 people.  It holds regular shows on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. for children five and older (5-7 year olds must be accompanied by an adult) and at 4 p.m. for children seven and older.

US Botanic Garden– Washington, DC

Located just across the street from the Museum of the American Indian at the foot of the Capitol, is the three-acre National Garden.  There are so many beautiful gardens (like the Jungle and Garden Court) within the building, but the favorite of most kids is the special hands-on garden just for children.  Kids can dig, water, plant, and touch and smell the plants. There are two wells filled with water, and many watering cans. One of the wells has a fish fountain, and the kids can use the pump to push water to the fish’s mouth. There is a little house to explore, and pathways through a bamboo forest.  There is also a big shady spot for parents where you can watch the kids play. Might want to bring a change of clothes for the kids- K is almost always happily soaked when we go.

US National Arboretum, Washington, DC

This is frequently called on of DC’s best kept secrets.  Start out by feeding the koi (buy food for 25 cents).  There are wide open spaces to run and play, and the bonsai garden is amazing.  Bring a picnic and blanket, and eat on the east terrace at the National Grove of State Trees.  You can also take a tram ride- it is a 35-minute taped tour that highlights the Arboretum.  The grounds are open every day of the year from 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.   I can’t believe that we haven’t been here yet.  I hear such great things about it- it is definitely on my list!  Check out these posts from No Monsters in My Bed. It is one of their favorite places to visit, and Darcy has many tips.
The National Arboretum (Koi Pond, Azalea Gardens, & Bonsai) and 

The National Arboretum’s Fern Valley, Capitol Columns, & Youth Garden (Washington D.C.)

It is warming up, so I have included some fun outdoor activities!  Hope that you have a great week.

Monday, April 11th    Visit Beverley Park (AKA the Pit)

Anytime @ Beverley Park, 620 North Overlook Dr, Alexandria

Monday is going to be beautiful, so head to the park!  A local favorite in Alexandria, “The Pit” is a great place to go with all ages of kids.  There is an updated playground equipment with swings, slides, a big sand pit, a picnic shelter, and leftover playground toys (bikes, scooters, ride-on toys, etc).  There is also a hard court play area, and a wooded nature area.  There is a lot of room to run and play!  It is a huge park.  According to Alexandria’s government site, Beverley Park was once used as a staging area and gravel pit when the homes in the Beverly Hills neighborhood were being built. After the new home construction was completed, the site was cleaned up and a playground was installed.


Monday, April 11th    Little Acorns

11am @ Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale

Come to an interactive class for preschoolers, where kids learn about a weekly topic through finger plays, stories, activities and, weather permitting, and outdoor exploration.

Click here for more info.



Tuesday, April 12th    Spectacular Snakes

10:30am @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington

Preschoolers can learn about snakes in a fun interactive program that will include stories, a craft, and a short hike.  For ages 3 – 5 years.  Registration is required.


Wednesday, April 13th    Rocknoceros

10:30am @ Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA

If you haven’t seen Rocknoceros yet, you should definitely get to one of their shows.  Rochnoceros is a three-man children’s show that features original children’s songs as well as other well known songs.  The show caters to children from ages 1 – 9, but will entertain all ages.  The cost is $5 for everyone a year and older.


Thursday, April 14th    Visit Kidwell Farm

9am – 5pm @ Frying Pan Farm Park , Herndon, VA

Come join us as we explore the farm!  There are cows, sheep, goats and pigs as well as a chickens, bunnies, peacocks, horses and many farm buildings to check out.  There is a lot of room for kids to run/walk around and check out the farm, and a fun playground to see as well.  There is also a country store and equestrian facilities.  This is a great time of year to go- there are so many baby animals to see!  Check out this Our Kids review for more info!


Friday, April 15th    See the Animals at Reston Zoo

9am – 5pm @ Reston Zoo, Vienna, VA

Reston Zoo, which has been closed for the winter, is open again!  This is a great hands on zoo for children of all ages.  The zoo is a thirty-acre park right in the middle of Vienna.  There are exhibits of monkeys, kangaroos, alligator, tortoises, servals, a wide variety of birds.  There is a free-Flight Aviary and a Reptile House.  There is also a Petting Barn, where you can pet and feed (baby bottles and food are available for purchase) sheep, lambs, goats, llamas, rabbits, and pot-belly pigs.  In addition to these animals, you can take a Zoofari wagon rides (included in admission fee) to see zebras, antelope, bison, crazy ostrich, and lots more.  Cost is $12 for adults, and $9 for kids ages 2–12.  Kids under 2 are free.

Great weekend to get out and pay tribute to those who died while in military service.  There are many activities to take part in this Memorial Day weekend.   Let me know if you know of any others.

Entire Weekend

Sunset Celebration at Mount Vernon– May 28 – May 30, 6pm – 9pm, Mount Vernon, VA – A new Memorial Day event, and the estate is open after normal business hours (very rare).  There will be tours of the mansion, 18th-century music, dancing, games, and wagon rides. The grounds will be lantern-lit and costumed workers will interact with visitors.  This is a family-friendly event.

Hometown Holidays– May 29 to May 31, Rockville, MD- A 3-day festival of food, a parade, kid activities, and music.  There will also be Memorial Day festivities honoring fallen services members.

Viva Vienna– May 29 to May 31, Vienna, VA- A 3-day festival to celebrate the community of Vienna, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Virginia.  There will be food, music, children’s activities, crafts, amusement rides, and a Memorial Day tribute.

Saturday, May 29

Tribute to a Generation” Celebration- @ 2pm, WWII Memorial, National Mall- The WWII memorial will be dedicated on Saturday afternoon, and gates will open 8am.  Tickets are required for seating, but there will also be non-ticketed viewing areas.  At 12pm, there will be 2 hours for pre-ceremony activities with video images and newsreel clips to evoke a wartime era feel.  There will also be musical groups from the armed forced entertaining the crowd.

Sunday, May 30

National Memorial Day Concert @ 8pm (gates open at 5pm), West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Held on the West Lawn of the US Capitol, the PBS concert consists of musical performances and dramatic readings to honor the service and sacrifice of men and women in the armed services.  The general public is usually allowed to enter the concert area starting 3 hours before the concert.  Gary Sinise, Joe Mantegna, Brad Paisley, Lionel Richie, and General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.),will join The National Symphony Orchestra to help honor service members.

Wolf Trap Farm Park– @ 8pm, Wolf Trap Farm, Vienna, VA- Summer Blast Off! “The President’s Own”. There will be a free performance by the US Marine Band, and then fireworks.  The gates open at 6:30pm, and the performance starts at 8pm.  Fireworks begin at 9:45pm.  Arrive early because the park closes once capacity is reached.

Monday, May 31

National Memorial Day Parade @ 2pm, Washington, DC- The parade starts at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW. It will proceed west down Constitution, past the White House, and end at 17th St.  There will be marching bands, active duty and retired military units, youth groups,  veterans and parade floats.

Arlington National Cemetery National Memorial Day Observance– @ 11am, Arlington National Cemetery- Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns.  A prelude by the U.S. Navy Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30am.  After the wreath-laying, there will be an observance program hosted by the DoD in the Memorial Amphitheater.  This is a free event and open to the public.  You are encouraged to be there by 9:30am.
On May 29 the Price of Freedom sculpture will be unveiled at 2pm in the Visitors Center, and the Fallen Heroes Portraits Display will be placed in Section 60.

If you are unable to attend the wreath-laying, please note that the Arlington National Cemetery is open to the public at 8am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday. “Flags In” was conducted on May 29, and it is a powerful powerful reminder of the sacrifices made for our freedom.  Flags are placed one foot in front of each headstone in the cemetery, and are also placed at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Navy Memorial Wreath-laying @ 1pm, Navy Memorial, Washington, DC- Naval District Washington’s Wreath-laying ceremony accompanied by the U.S. Navy Band,

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Annual Memorial Day Ceremony– @ 1pm Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, DC- Hosted by Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael G. “Mike” Mullen, there will be a presentation of the Colors, as well as a wreath-laying service.

Air Force Memorial Wreath-laying Ceremony- @ 9am, Air Force Memorial, Arlington, VA- The Air Force Association/Air Force Sergeants Association Wreath-laying ceremony is open to the public.
Fort Ward Park Jazz Festival- 1pm – 7pm, Alexandria, VA- A jazz festival with great music and food.  Held in Lee Center’s Kauffman Auditorium.

Falls Church Memorial Day Parade & Festival– 9am – 5pm, Falls Church- A festival with a parade rides, crafts, pony rides, food, and musical entertainment.

The weather is getting HOT out there, and just in time the area public pools and spraygrounds are opening this weekend.  Many are free or have low admission costs.  Here are some Arlington & Alexandria options.  Please leave me a comment if I missed any, or if you have any favorites!

Arlington Spraygrounds

Drew Park Sprayground– 3514 22nd St. S, Arlington, VA

There is an area for ages 2 – 5 and one for ages 5 – 12.  There are slides, ropes, crawling structures, swings, and climbing rocks.  Some of the water sprays up from the floor, a flower and hooped circles spray from above.  This park is not shaded.  Open daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day; 10am to 8pm  FREE

Hayes Park Sprayground– 1516 N. Lincoln St, Arlington, VA

This sprayground is shaded, has a fountain, a sun & the earth that spray, as well as planets to climb on.  Open daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day; 10am to 8pm  FREE

Lyon Village Park Sprayground– 1800 N. Highland St, Arlington, VA

Water shoots from several sprinklers in the ground, water drops from a bucket above, as well as a spraying water wheel. Open daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day; 10am to 8pm FREE

Arlington Public Pools

Wakefield Pool- 4901 S. Chesterfield Rd, Arlington, VA

Six 25 yard lanes, diving board, and a separate instructional tank.  703-578-3063

Washington-Lee Pool– 1301 N. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA

25 meter x 25 yard competition pool equipped with diving area.

Yorktown Pool– 5201 North 28th Street, Arlington, VA. 22207

Six 25 yard lanes, diving board, and a separate instructional tank. 703-536-9739.

Upton Hill Water Park– 6060 Wilson Boulevard Arlington, VA

There is a lap pool, a large pool for play, a beach entry baby pool with water features, a splash pad with fountains, water cannons and hoses, and a 2-story tower with slides and a huge bucket that fills and splashes everyone in the vicinity.  There are several shady areas, and a concession stand.  Open Memorial to Labor Day.  Under 2 Free, 48″ or More in Height $8.00, Less Than 48″ in Height $6.75

Alexandria Public Pools

The Memorial Pool- Charles Houston Rec Center, 901 Wythe St, Alexandria, VA

Monday – Friday –  12-6 pm:  6/28 through 9/20

Neighborhood Pools are for Alexandria residents 13 and under with parents. Admission is free.  703.838.4259

John Ewald Pool– 4500 Duke St, Alexandria, VA

Monday – Friday – 12-6 pm:  6/28 – 9/20

Neighborhood Pools are for Alexandria residents 13 years and under with parents. Admission is free. 703.838.4677

Old Town Pool- 1609 Cameron St, Alexandria, VA

Open weekends only May 29 – 6/27, Open daily 6/28 – 9/6, 12pm – 7 p.m.

25-yard pool with a diving well, children’s pool with a depth of 1-3 feet, a parking lot, picnic area and a tot playground adjacent to the pool.

Children 4 and under are free, children 5-7 $1, adults, $1. 703.838.4671

Warwick Pool- 3301 Landover St. Alexandria, VA – 703.519.3410

Weekends only 5/29 – 6/27, open daily 6/28 – 9/6

25-yard pool with diving well, separate wading pool for children, bathhouse, picnic areas, modern playground w/ tot playground.

Children 4 and under are free, children 5-7 $1, adults, $1.

Chinquapin Park Recreation Center- Rixse Pool– 3210 King Street, Alexandria, VA 703-519-2160

Monday – Thursday: 6am – 8:45pm, Friday 6am – 5:45pm, Saturday & Sunday: 8am – 5:45pm

George Washington RECenter 8426 Old Mt. Vernon Rd, Alexandria, VA

Heated indoor 25 meter pool with a poolside spa, beach and wading area, saunas, showers and fully equipped locker rooms.  703-780-8894

Grab your bikes, balls, and kids and head to Gravelly Point!  We visited Gravelly Point last week and had a really great time.  It is adjacent to Reagan National Airport, and the runways are just 400 yards away.

Wow, those planes are close!

The planes that are taking off and landing feel as though they are right on top of you.  Takeoffs are much louder than landings, but the landings are truly dramatic.  Because the planes are very loud, younger children may be a little scared.

A plane taking off from Reagan

Look Dad, a plane!

There is a walking and biking path, perfect for families on the go.  There is a lot of parking, but note that it can only be accessed from northbound George Washington Parkway.

Bike & walking path

Walking with iDad along the Potomac

K thoroughly enjoyed watching ducks, and chased them for a long time.  We had a great time walking along the bank of the Potomac, looking over the river at the  DC skyline.

K chasing ducks

DC skyline across the Potomac

We had a fantastic time, and will definitely go back later this spring and summer.  It is a great place to bring a picnic and a kite, and enjoy the summer weather.

HOT week ahead- here are some indoor and outdoor options for this week.  Go out and play!

Tuesday, May 25 Canal Boat Ride – 11am, 1:30pm, 3pm @ Georgetown & Great Falls — Ride along the historic C&O Canal in a boat pulled by mules, and experience rising 8 feet in a lock.  Park rangers in period clothing  will tell you about what life was like for the families that lived and worked on the canal.  Bring fruit or carrots to feed the mules after the ride.  $5.00 per person ages 4 and above (3 and under are free).  Seats are first come first served.  Wednesday through Sunday

Wednesday, May 26 Rocks and Minerals Class– 4pm – 5pm @ Long Branch Nature Center, Arlington, VA– For children ages 7-12, use Long Branch’s science kits to work with rocks and minerals.  Children will get to take home a rock specimen.  $6 fee, and registration is required. 703-228-6535

Thursday, May 27- Watch the Airplanes @ Gravelly Point Park, Arlington, VA- Bring balls, bikes, and a picnic and head to Gravelly Point to watch the planes take off and land from Reagan National.  The runway is just 400 yards away, and you can watch the ducks and enjoy the DC skyline along the Potomac.  Can only access it from Northbound George Washington Parkway.  .,1028013.html

Friday, May 28 Tidal Basin Paddle Boats & Einstein– 10am – 6pm, Washington, DC — Go ride the paddle boats and check out the monuments.  Cost is $10 per hr for a 2 passenger boat, and $18 per hr for a 4 passenger boat You can reserve online for times between 10am-4pm, and there is also walk-up business. Pre-registration guarantees boat rentals.   Life jackets fit kids over 25 pounds.  Walking paths surround the area and visitors are free to picnic along the shore.  Afterwards go climb on Einstein (across Constitution Avenue near 21st Street, NW).  The Albert Einstein Memorial is on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences.  The huge bronze statue is a fun place for kids to climb and play.

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