Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, VA!

Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, VA!

Huntley Meadows Park makes my Top 10 list! My boys have never seen so many turtles, frogs and dragonflies in one place. Huntley Meadows Park is 1500-acres with a freshwater wetland. The park includes a Visitor Center, 3 different trails, 1/2 mile of Boardwalk trail through the wetlands, Observation Tower, and a whole lot of different wildlife throughout the park.

Address: 3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria, VA 22306

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The visitor center in the park has several exhibits that are interactive. The different exhibits explain the history of the wetlands and the different birds, mammals, reptiles and insects that can be found in the wetlands. Educational programs and events are put on by the Fairfax County Park Authority at the Visitor Center classrooms and auditorium. The visitor center does have indoor restrooms and water fountains for public use.

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The boys loved the boardwalk trail through the wetlands. We saw a ton of wildlife including dragonflies, all different turtle species, frogs, fish, Great Blue Heron but we didn’t make it out to the observation tower to see the beavers. Sadly the youngest was having a melt down by the time we made it to the end of the boardwalk but we could still see the beaver lodges from the boardwalk trail. The park is doing some restorative work towards the backside of the beaver area until about December so you might not see the beavers out while they are working with the heavy machinery. In addition to the boardwalk trail that doesn’t allow jogging, biking or dogs there are additional trails that meet up with the boardwalk trail on both ends that allow all three of these activities. The Observation Tower looked really neat and we are going to go back to the park to get some great shots of the beaver lodges and the overlook of the park. **In one of the pictures below see if you can find the snapping turtle hiding amongst the water lilies.

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The parks trails beside the boardwalk trail is crushed gravel and pretty flat so bikes, strollers,  and wagons would do okay on the trails. We had a great time at the park and are definitely headed back when the temperatures cool a bit. Even if you don’t live in the area I would recommend checking out this great natural park!!

Dora Kelley Park & Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center in Alexandria, VA!

Dora Kelley Park & Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center in Alexandria, VA!

My family and I had a great time checking out Dora Kelley Park and Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center in Alexandria, VA last week. The natural 50-acre park has 1-mile of nature trail that works it way through the park. A paved bike trail starts at Van Dorn St. and reaches Sanger Avenue on the other side of the park. Dora Kelley Park is part of the City of Alexandria and is a stop on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail System. Also if you’re into geocaching there are several caches hidden in the park.

Address: 5750 Sanger Avenue, Alexandria, VA

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Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center is attached to the William Ramsey Elementary School and William Ramsey Recreation Center. When you pull  into the parking lot just drive all the way to the back and you’ll find the Nature Center.  The Nature Center had a few animal exhibits and cultural exhibits based around the history of Dora Kelley Park and the City of Alexandria. Programs through the Nature Center are available as well as facility rental for events. The Nature Center is not open on Monday and Tuesday even during the winter months. Sunday during the winter months the Nature Center is also closed. For more information click here.

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I would totally recommend doing both of these together on a nice day. Dora Kelley worked very hard to make sure open space was maintained in the City of  Alexandria and her work was acknowledged by naming the park after her. Dora Kelley Park has several trail entrances around the park so you don’t have to just enter at the Nature Center parking lot. When Spring finally arrives check out Dora Kelley Park and Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center.