We love the Arlington County Nature Centers and Long Branch Nature Center is pretty awesome inside. They have a large classroom, live animal exhibits, indoor Koi Pond with turtles and Children’s Discovery Room. Outside they have nature and paved trails along the stream plus a viewing pond. Here is a map to that shows you the Nature Center compared to the parks around the area.
The kids had a fun time walking around the Nature Center. They have a lot of live animal exhibits including an indoor Koi Pond and Discovery Room. The best part is that the indoor space is a nice getaway from the weather outside with clean restrooms. They are closed on Mondays but open from 10-5 Tue-Saturday and 1-5 on Sundays.
After spending a good amount of time at the Nature Center we headed out on the trails. Before we hit the paved trail we came across a small kids area with a sandbox and stumps to climb on. Inside the sand box were plenty of sand toys to play with. Small nature trails surround the Nature Center or you can head out on the Paved Trail that leads to Glencarlyn Park and access to the W&OD Trail. The Glencarlyn Dog Park can also be accessed from the trail system too.
A neat feature at the beginning of the trail was the Trail Tales. A children’s book is broken up into different signs and by the end of the trail the kids and you have read a full book. My youngest was running up to every post begging me to read the Beetle book.
As you can tell by the pictures the area is just beautiful and my pics don’t do it justice. Here is a map to show you where the parks connect and also where the streams meet up. If you’re looking for a nice nature hike, bike ride or just a leisurely stroller walk check out the area around Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington,VA!
Last month we checked out Gulf Branch Park and Nature Center. We hadn’t even planned on stopping by but the kids saw the sign and wanted to check it out. The Nature Center was having an event so we had to park along Military Road and walk up the driveway. The Gulf Branch Park is 37-acres of untouched land in the heart of an Arlington Neighborhood.
The boys had a great time walking around the Nature Center. The observation bee hive was fascinating to them and then we headed into the live animal exhibit to check out the local VA wildlife and a few extra reptiles. Next we headed downstairs to the cultural exhibit where the boys could actually sit in a carved out canoe and touch different items. When we headed outside the first order of business was to check out the owl exhibit. Since it had rained the day before we didn’t make it over to the pond or the restored log cabin. Next time we’re out in Arlington we’re going to stop by and hike a little more and check out the sites we missed. Right off the parking lot is a small bridge that crosses over the Gulf Branch Stream and we headed out on the short trail towards Military Road. There are many different trails throughout the park and all are nature trails. Also an indoor restroom is located inside the Nature Center.
We are definitely headed back here when it hasn’t rained in a few days. The boys enjoyed walking on some of the trails and we definitely want to check out the pond and the restored log cabin. If you live in the Arlington area check out the Gulf Branch Nature Center!
Today we checked out Potomac Overlook Regional Park in Arlington, VA! Located in Arlington County this 70-acre park has a lot too offer everyone. The park is located in the suburbs of North Arlington amongst marvelous single family homes.
Once you pull into the park you’ll see a small playground and picnic shelter with clean restrooms. The kids had a great time playing on the equipment that look liked a wooden fort. The equipment was completely in the shade and had a small fence to guard them from the parking lot. Picnic tables were located under the picnic shelter and right next to the playground also completely in the shade.
Once the kids got tired of the playground we headed towards the Nature Center which is located down a small access road through the trees. The Nature Center is closed on Mondays but open Tuesday through Sunday except for holidays.
The Nature Center has many different animals including a hive of bees, snakes, turtles and more snakes! In the upper level you’ll find their new program “Energerium” educational information on energy basics and conservation efforts. On the lower level you’ll find the “Kids Cave” with educational information on bats and other animals you can find in the park.
Once the kids saw all they could in the Nature Center we headed out towards the parks vegetable garden. Here you cross over a Koi pond to enter the garden. They had many plants growing including herbs, pumpkins, squash and strawberries. Several park employees were tending the garden and showed the kids several herbs to smell and taste. My son got a kick out of the pumpkin patch and spotting the newly grown pumpkins getting ready for harvest in a few weeks.
After the garden we headed out towards the trails to walk around some. The kids got sidetracked by a shaded bench in front a bush that had many butterflies coming to the flowers. Here we ended up eating lunch and just hanging out watching the bees and butterflies go after the nectar.
By this time the kids got tired so we headed back to the parking lot. Next time we come to the park we are gonna have to check out all the trails that are located through out the park. We saw many people jogging and walking dogs through the trails.
This is a great park with lots of shade and fun things for the kids to get into in Arlington, VA!