Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park in Leesburg, VA!

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park in Leesburg, VA!

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park is a great spot to hike with the family. There is plenty of history throughout the park and tons of signs that can be read for information. Strollers would not make it in this area but a backpack for the little ones would work well. Every Saturday and Sunday from April 4 through November 29 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. a guided tour around the battlefield. The program is free and no advance registration is required. The tour focuses on the tragic Battle of Ball’s Bluff in 1861.

Here is a trail map of the park……CLICK HERE The Potomac Heritage Trail passes right through the park and continues in both directions along the Potomac River.

Address: Ball’s Bluff Road, Leesburg, VA 20176

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The 170-acre park has no restrooms inside the park but during the tour season of April to November there are Porta Potties in the parking lot. The park is a trash in and trash out park with no trash receptacles. Also be careful as you are driving in and out as the road is narrow heading to and from the parking lot.

My family and I really enjoy hiking in this park. The boys like to head down the trail to the river and I like that there are several different trails to take that aren’t too difficult for the younger ones. The boys really enjoy reading all the informational and trail head signs.

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Ball’s Bluff is a hidden gem in Leesburg. If you’re looking for small trails to start the little ones on, this is a good place start. If you’re also looking for some local history this is a great place to hike.

Potomac Crossing Park in Leesburg, VA!

Potomac Crossing Park in Leesburg, VA!

Potomac Crossing Park is the latest edition to Loudoun County. The park includes playground, picnic pavilion, and plenty of hiking trails. Located in the Potomac Crossing neighborhood it offers a nice sidewalks to walk to the park and a large parking lot for visitors.

Address: End of Shanks Evan Rd NE, Leesburg, VA

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The playground offers a nice array of different equipment for the kids to play on. A school-aged and pre-school aged equipment with are set up inside the mulch based play area. Also there is a neat slide that is set up at the top of small grassy hill that slides the kids back into the playground area. A modern day merry-go-round has the option of sitting and standing and was a hit with my kiddos. There is a large picnic pavilion available for rental and a porta potty near the parking lot.

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The best part of the park in my opinion is the access to the hiking trials. You can get on any of the trails and hit the Potomac Heritage Trail that travels up and down the Potomac River and also you can hike over to Balls Bluff Regional Park. Signage is available to point you in the right direction. The trails are all natural trails and not stroller friendly. If you have new little hikers a backpack carrier would be perfect. Most of the trail to a point is flat and would be fun for the walkers. As you get deeper into the park beware that as you get closer to the Potomac there is a straight drop off. Currently right now the trail along the bluff is covered in leaves and slick. We chose to skip this trail only because I didn’t have a second set of hands to make sure everyone stayed safe. This is only the trail closest to the river and there are plenty of other trails for the kids to enjoy.

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We did end up hiking over to Balls Bluff Regional Park since it was such a nice day and the trees were gorgeous. If you haven’t ventured to the new Potomac Crossing Park I would highly recommend coming and checking it out!

Claude Moore Park in Sterling, VA!

Claude Moore Park in Sterling, VA!

Claude Moore Park in Sterling,VA has many things you can do at the 357-acre park. There are two entrances to the park including the northern natural hiking and picnicking entrance and the southern Sportsplex and Rec Center entrance. The Rec Center has a great indoor fun pool with a slide and play area. Adult fitness area, competition pool, basketball courts, rock climbing wall, indoor track, classes and camps. You can also find the Heritage Farm Museum when you drive past the Rec Center. The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum has great kids area where they can pretend to milk a cow, run a general store, and ride race horses.

******PAVILION RENTAL INFORMATION******

Address: 21544 Old Vestal’s Gap Rd. Sterling, VA 20164 

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We were more interested in the hiking and fishing portion of the park. We were also looking for new geocaches to find with the kids. There is a cute visitor center with different types of fish and amphibians for them to look at in the Discovery Room. Also there are clean indoor restrooms inside the visitor center. Outside you’ll find 11-miles of hiking trails, Lanesville Historic District buildings, 2-fishing ponds, picnic shelters and plenty of park benches and tables. We headed out onto the white trail loop then walked by the ponds, Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum then finished up on the green trail back to the car. You can pick up a trail map at the Visitor Center!

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The trails are definitely true nature trails so strollers and wagons are a no go but a good backpack carrier would work well for the little ones. The fishing ponds have nice platforms to sit at or you can fish along the shoreline of both ponds. Remember to have your VA fishing License handy because I watched the park authority check a few people while we were there. Have fun walking the trails and fishing at Claude Moore Park!!

 

Rust Nature Sanctuary & Manor House in Leesburg, VA!

Rust Nature Sanctuary & Manor House in Leesburg, VA!

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 802 Children’s Center Road, Leesburg, VA 20175

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On Tuesday we were invited to a preview of the Fresh Air Kids Program at the Rust Nature Sanctuary in Leesburg, VA. The Audubon Naturalist Society along with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority partnered last year to maintain the grounds and support more programs for the visitors of the Rust Nature Sanctuary. The house and grounds were preserved from development in 1995 and donated to the Audubon Naturalist Society in 2000. In 2011 Audubon Naturalist Society considered closing Rust but 2013 agreed to partner with the NVRPA to remain open to the public. The Rust Manor House on the grounds can also be used for weddings and social events.

Susanne from the Audubon Naturalist Society was nice enough to give myself and my boys a preview of what the Fresh Air Kids Program is all about. We started off upstairs in the Rust Manor and met Ziggy the resident corn snake. The large wall of exhibits is full of items found in nature and in the sanctuary. Most of the items can be handled by the children to learn a little more about the animals and insects.

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The boys were able to borrow binoculars when we headed out on the trail for our hike. But first we sat down outside on a blanket to read a book about how different animals move. We also met some earthworms and discussed their importance on the forest floor. Our hike took us to many different parts of the park including the meadow, the woods and the vernal pond. In the meadow we saw deer tracks, different bird species and several bird houses that were on the property. In the woods she talked about the different habitats of raccoon, rabbits and squirrels. Susanne also discussed with the kids how different animals camouflage themselves from predators. Down at the vernal pond Susanne was lucky enough to fish out a tadpole for the kids to see.

The Audubon Naturalist Society’s Fresh Air Kids spring program is a great way for the kids to get out in nature and learn a little bit more about what lives around us in Loudoun County. The kids will be outside almost the entire hour and half unless there is dangerous weather outside. Classes meet on Fridays from March 28th through May 9th. The kids are to bring a sack lunch to eat outside at the picnic benches too. To register you can call 703-669-0000 or email Susanne at susanne.ortmann@anshome.org.

The Audubon Naturalist Society also offers Summer Camp Programs at the Rust Sanctuary in Leesburg and Broadlands in Ashburn. For more information click here.

The ANS will  be offering a new revitalized program, Unplug and Play! Afterschool Programs. The program will combine science education and physical activity for students. In order for the program to succeed a minimum of 8 students is required. The class will be one day and run for eight weeks. Contact Christine Montagnese at 703-669-0000 and or email christine.montagnese@anshome.org.

Looking for a different options for children birthday parties, Rust Nature Sanctuary in Leesburg and the Broadlands Nature Center in Ashburn offers weekend parties year round. For more information on a nature theme party contact Christine Montagnese at 703-669-0000 and or email christine.montagnese@anshome.org.

The Rust Nature Sanctuary is a beautiful 68-acres to take your family hiking, nature programs, birthday parties, and summer camps. The Rust Manor House is a gorgeous venue for social events and weddings. If you live in the Leesburg area you should check out the Rust Nature Sanctuary and Manor Home.

Leesburg Animal Park in Leesburg, VA!

Leesburg Animal Park in Leesburg, VA!

This weekend I took my family to the Leesburg Animal Park  and they LOVED it! It is a family friendly petting zoo that opened in 2000 and is a family-owned and operated business.  This park has all the features!  Just a week ago they opened the doors to their BRAND NEW indoor facility. Between their indoor facility, the petting zoo, feeding area, wagon and pony rides and all the play equipment, you better plan to spend all day to enjoy all their features.

19270 James Monroe HighwayLeesburg, VA 20175

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Indoor Facility:

Leesburg Animal Park’s newest addition is their Indoor Facility.  Honestly I think you could spend several hours alone in this building.  There’s a large play area, timed animal shows, room for additional play and crafts, a separate room for birthday parties and a cafe that will be opening later on this year!

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The play area includes a huge playground with lots of climbing and a fun slide.  In addition to the area, there are ride on animals, such as a zebra and horse, push toys, and a little nook area to relax and read books.  As you enter the play area, there is an area to take off your shoes and park your stroller.  Throughout the parameter of this room are benches all around so the parents can relax and watch their children play and explore.

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At the Discovery Room is where they have crafts, classes and much more! When we were there this weekend the kids made tie-dyed book marks.  There is a really nice area where you can read stories or participate in activities that are held by the park itself.

During our visit there were two birthday parties going on as well that include everything to do at the park for each child.  There is also a theater room where they have animal shows at different times and days, so be sure to check the schedule when you get there or online before you arrive.

Outside around the park:

The park itself has lots and lots of activities.  There is a wagon ride that is included with each admission.  These is a perfect opportunity to take the kids on a little ride to see the zebras and learn more about the llamas and have them eat feed right out of your hands! At the end of the ride, they give you feed to walk down to the pond and feed all the fish.  It was really muddy when we went due to all the snow melting, but in the past we have done this and the kids love seeing all the fish come up for the food.  There is a section of the park blocked off where you can feed goats, llamas, sheep, camels and more.  At a small additional cost you can take a pony ride and take pictures as they go on a ride.  This was one of our favorite things to do!

There is a huge area of play equipment for the kids to explore and play on.  There’s a big wooden boat, train, playground and they even had a moon bounce set up.  The boat had a pole you slide down, and play area in the bottom, big slide and more.  The train was a big hit too.  The playground itself was a nice, sturdy wooden structure that had slides, climbing equipment and a tunnel.

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For a small price, this is a must visit park, even if it’s a short drive away! We are actually going to purchase the multi-day passes because we had so much fun and there will be even more to do as the weather gets nicer.

Broadlands Nature Center in Ashburn, VA!

The Broadlands in Ashburn, VA is a small community development between Dulles Airport and Leesburg, VA. The community is known as a “natural” community as it has designated wetland areas and plenty of natural space throughout the community including Stream Valley Park that runs through the entire  community. Last week we headed over to their small Nature Center and HOA Association complex.

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The small nature center available for the public and residents is free and includes animal exhibits, small reading room for the kids and historical information from the 1700’s and also current Broadlands development. Restrooms are located right outside the nature room.

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The kids had a great time at the Nature Center. They went through it really quickly but then we headed outside to check out the tot lot and swings next the Nature Center/HOA Complex. This tot lot is just one of many that residents can use. If you’re part of the community there is also tennis courts and a basketball court along with tons of paved trails near the facility. The tot lot is pretty much for the older crowd. The small piece of equipment is tall and only regular swings are available. A portable restroom sits just outside the tennis courts.

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The Broadland’s residents are pretty luck to have the nature center and all the other activities included as part of the Home Owners Association. If you’re ever in the area you should stop in and check out the Nature Center at Broadlands and Stream Valley Park.

Dulles 28 Centre Toddler Area in Ashburn, VA!

A few months ago a reader reached out and requested I post about the Dulles 28 Centre Toddler Area in Ashburn. The fenced-in rubber matted play area sits just outside Cold Stone Creamery and PotBelly in the Dulles 28 Centre Shopping Plaza. Also in the shopping center is Wegmans and Target. This cute little play area  is perfect for the little ones with its small slides, fence with a gate and pressed rubber ground.

Address: 22035 Dulles Retail Plaza  Dulles, VA 20166

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When my boys were younger we frequented this little play area a ton. The play area doesn’t have any shade over it but there is plenty of shade coming off of the buildings around the play area. Restrooms are located in Cold Stone and PotBelly. Just keep in mind restrooms are for patrons and they may frown on people coming in just to use the restroom.

This is the perfect starter park for new parents and also a great spot to hang with the kids while chatting with other parents. If you live in the Ashburn area or surroundings areas check out the Dulles 28 Centre Toddler Area.

Loudoun Valley Community Center in Purcellville, VA!

A couple weeks ago we were out in Purcellville visiting some friends and we decided to hit up Loudoun Valley Community Center & Park. The facility sits not too far from Main Street & Rt 7 Business in Purcellville on the site of the old Purcellville Elementary School. The recently renovated Community Center has a Licensed preschool program and fitness facility. Outside you’ll find a large playground area, fenced in playground area, picnic pavilion, basketball court and softball field.

Address: 320 W. School St. Purcellville, VA  20132

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The playground consists of a large piece of play equipment and both types of swings. The fenced in playground area wasn’t available to us since the preschool was in session. But it looked like it had some nice smaller equipment for the little ones. Restrooms are available inside the community center and also a portable restroom by the softball field.

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 This is a very nice park and facility. If you live in the Purcellville area this is great site to take the kids!

Lucketts Community Center & Park in Leesburg, VA!

Lucketts Community Center & Park in Leesburg, VA!

On our way to Maryland the other day we stopped by the Lucketts Community Center off of Route 15 and Lucketts Road in Leesburg, VA. The Community Center is currently being renovated but the large fenced in playground and rental pavilion is still accessible from the parking lot. The Lucketts Community Park is located off of Route 15 and includes lit soccer field, softball field, and walking/biking nature trails.

Community Center & Tot Lot Address: 42361 Lucketts Road, Leesburg, VA

Play Fields and Nature Trails Address: Off of Route 15, Look for the sign

 The fenced in playground consists of two large pieces of play equipment and both types of swings. In the morning hours there isn’t much shade but as the sun moves the large trees behind the equipment give it great shade. Currently a portion of the parking lot is closed off for renovations on the old school house but ther are some spots available to park. A porta potty is available by the entrance and was clean when we visited.

The kids had a great time at the park but we ran out of time and weren’t able to check out the nature trails by the sports fields. Guess we’ll just have to check it out again! Lucketts is a great little town with one traffic light and several antique stores. While you’re out there you should check out Temple Hall Farm off of Route 15 too!

Foxridge Park in Leesburg, VA!

Foxridge Park in Leesburg, VA!

Foxridge Park in Leesburg, VA is a nice park located off of Catoctin Circle SW in the Town of Leesburg. The park has a great picnic shelter, playground, baseball field, and walking paths with access to W & OD Trail.

Address: 525 Catoctin Circle Southwest, Leesburg, Virginia

The playground was nice including two pieces of play equipment and swings. Nice indoor restrooms are located by the baseball field not far from the playground. The picnic pavilion is under great shade and the perfect place for a picnic lunch. The walking trails are nice and wind throughout the park and neighborhood.

This is very cute park located in the Town of Leesburg!