Rutherford Park in Fairfax, VA!

Rutherford Park in Fairfax, VA!

Rutherford Park located in Fairfax has so much to offer and is fun for all ages.  In addition to the large piece of playground equipment, there are also plenty of athletic fields including tennis and basketball courts.  There is a nice picnic and grilling area and nice walking trail, which is part of the Long Branch Stream Valley Trail.

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Address: Rutherford Park, Fairfax, VA 

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Rutherford Park

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Rutherford Park 38.825390, -77.264773 Rutherford Park, Fairfax, VA 22032, United States (Directions)
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When you first enter the park there is a port-a-potty.  The playground, itself, is a large piece of equipment, including three slides, a climbing wall and monkey bars.  Rutherford Park has a tire swing, including two infant swings and two regular swings, as well as a few riding animals.  Woodchips are underneath all the equipment.  There are plenty of athletic fields, including basketball and tennis courts and there is a nice picnic and grilling area.

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collage2If you are located in Fairfax County or are just looking for a fun, free day out, check out this park!

The Plaza at Tysons Corner in McLean, VA!

The Plaza at Tysons Corner in McLean, VA!

Have you tried out the metro Silver Line yet?  You can get directly on the metro from The Plaza! We visited The Plaza over the summer, but I wanted to take the boys again and take some more photos because the day we went it was over crowded and hard to get good quality photographs.

Address: 1961 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, VA 

( located on the 2nd Floor near the escalators leading up to AMC Theatre and Food Court)

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The Plaza connects directly to the NEW Silver Line Metro Station and is elevated 32 feet in the air.  There is a fun playground area, game programming center, Kids Club and lots of events.  Some of the events held are concerts, movies on the green and other seasonal activities!

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The playground area is called COX Discovery Cove. This is a gated in playground.  The playground is built like a ship and the ground is a rubber surface.  The playground itself is made up of a few different running inclines and declines with steering wheels and telescopes.  There is also a separate toddler play zone. There are several benches and tables near the play area where the parents can keep an eye on their little ones. There is a game programming center as well.  These are great outdoor fun games, such as tabletop tennis, corn hole and chess.  When we were there, there were a few friendly competitions going on and the boys loved seeing all the cheering and excitement going on.  The Plaza also offers a Tysons Corner Center National Geographic Kids Club that is an excellent way to get your children to have fun, all while learning.  These activities alternate the first Tuesday and Saturday of each month.  The current BIG event going on at The Plaza is their ice skating rink (list what event is). There are several FREE events held weekly and seasonally.  Also, just something to look forward to, every Friday over the spring-summer they hold a FREE summer concert and Saturdays there are also Movie Night on the Green, free of charge; so be sure to check their website.

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Relaxation? Why not! With Spring (hopefully rapidly approaching), enjoy the ambiance at The Plaza’s comfortable seating and fire pits.  There is lots of seating all around The Plaza.  During the warm months, there is a little water stream through the stone bench seating area with a few fountains as well.

Dawson Terrace and Community Center in Arlington, VA!

Dawson Terrace and Community Center in Arlington, VA!

Last week we spent some time visiting some parks in Arlington, VA! Arlington parks do such a great job with their parks.

Address: 2133 N. Taft Street, Arlington, VA

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Dawson Terrace Community Center is located off of Taft Road.  This park has street parking as well as a parking lot.  Included in this park is a large open field, basketball court, volleyball court, playground with two tot lots and swings, walking/hiking trail as well as the community center.  There is a historic landmark, The Dawson-Bailey House here as well, which is where the name Dawson came from.

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Our boys had a lot of fun at this park, it was also nice because although it was not fully fenced in, there was a fence facing the woods and parking lot to help the kids safe.  There are two different playgrounds, one is a larger piece of equipment with two wrap around slides and the other one is geared more for the younger ones and is much smaller.  This piece of equipment has a slide and climbing equipment, but is surrounded by sand.  So we took out some sand toys and the boys had a blast! There is also a piece of climbing equipment for the older kids.  Swings, there are six total; 4 regular swings and 2 infant swings.   Directly behind the “play area” is where you can enter the Palisades Trail.  Beautiful trail, especially in the Fall.

collage2The Dawson-Baily House, a beautiful stone house, is expected to be the oldest building in Arlington, patented in 1696.  From the back of the house, is a large open field that is used for soccer.  During our time at the park there were five different dogs playing and running around.  There is also a basketball court at the community center.  Right next to the house is the community center where they host events daily.

If you are in Arlington and haven’t had a chance to visit Dawson Terrace Community Center, check it out!

Chinquapin Aquatic and Recreation Park in Alexandria, VA!

Chinquapin Aquatic and Recreation Park in Alexandria, VA!

Chinquapin Park is nice park in Alexandria!  The park includes a playground, swings, walking trails, a community garden plot, a small dog area, picnic pavilion and a variety of different playing fields.

Address:  3210 King Street, Alexandria, VA 

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**Picnic Pavilion Rental Information**

This park is located across the parking lot from T.C. Williams High School and is especially known for their aquatic center and recreation park.  Outside of the recreation facility is a nice community garden plot center and a shaded dog park.  The community garden plot was fenced in and was well marked.  The shaded dog park is located right below the playground and pavilion area.  While we were there, there were about 12 dogs playing around in the shade.  Although it is narrow, it is a long patch of flat, grassy area for the dogs to play and relax.  Please note the dog park is not fenced in.

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The playground equipment includes two slides, monkey bars and a climbing rope.  There are four swings total (two infant and two regular).  As for different playing fields, there is a volleyball court, tennis courts, basketball courts and baseball and soccer fields.   The pavilion is in between the playground and basketball court.  There are also two grills right near the pavilion. Directly behind the pavilion is the part of the park that is for dogs to play and relax.  It is very shaded.  There are walking trails all around the park up to the Aquatic center.

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 If you are in the Alexandria area, or are members of the Chinquapin Aquatic center, be sure to take a walk around the building to this park!

Laurel Hill Park in Lorton, VA!

Laurel Hill Park in Lorton, VA!

Laurel Hill Park, which was once the property of the Lorton Prison and is quite historical as the prison was established around 1910.  Whether you are visiting the playground area, ball fields or their disc golf, the trails take you all around this historical landmark and you can browse around some of the original structures.  Other than being well known for previously being the Lorton Prison in the early 1900’s, this park is also well known for their 10 mile walking/hiking trail as well as their Laurel Hill Golf Club.

8400 Lorton Road, Lorton, VA  

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collage2Laurel Hill Park was a really cool and different park to visit.  We had fun looking at the old structures, exploring on their Walking/hiking trails and playing on their playground.  Their playground was right near the entrance to the walking trails.  There was a great view of the golf course below the playground as well.  Near the playground are picnic tables and a grill.   As you walk around the park, you will see there is also disc golf.  I, personally have never heard of disc golf, but it sounds like so much fun and would love to come back and play another day.  Disc Golf is like traditional ball golf, however there are no clubs and you have discs, such as frisbees, and you throw the discs for ‘par’ at an above ground target.   There are also baseball fields at this park.

collage1If you are in Lorton and are near Laurel Hill Park, check this park out!

Arrowbrook Centre Park in Herndon, VA!

Arrowbrook Centre Park in Herndon, VA!

Located in Herndon, VA off of Sunrise Valley Drive, Arrowbrook Centre Park is a Fairfax County Park mainly known as for their soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts.  Most recently, they added a fun, gated in jungle gym for the kids to play on and my boys loved it!

Address: 2351 Field Point Road, Herndon, VA

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Although this park is known for all their sport fields, they recently added a gated in jungle gym for all the kids to play on and it was a big hit! It’s a unique piece of equipment and has lots of climbing features, a few little discs you can sit on and bounce.  Since it’s gated, we also noticed people that came and brought bikes and ride on toys for the kids to play with as well.  There is also a tennis court, basketball court and a large soccer field.  Arrowhead Centre Park also had “practice golf green”, where you could practice your putt.  There Picnic Shelter is available to rent as well.  Once you enter there is a huge parking lot and a walkway to all the fields and playground.

If you live near Arrowbrook Centre Park, this is a great park for you to check out!

North Hills Park in Reston, VA!

North Hills Park in Reston, VA!

Located within the North Hills district of the Reston Association, North Hills park is a great, shaded park we came across last week.  

Address: N. Village Road, Reston, VA 

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collageThere are different parts of North Hills Park.  The pictures above are of the tot lot, playground, trail and pavilion.  Just a short drive down the road are some tennis, basketball courts and swimming pool. Although there is not much parking, this park has plenty of shade.  The playground is a short path away from the road and has a bench for the parents to watch the kiddos play and explore.  There is a nice piece of playground equipment, as well as a tunnel to climb through.  There is an open courtyard to play and the pavilion is completely covered with several picnic tables.  There is also a nicely sized grill, trash cans and restrooms.  The pavilion is available to rent as well.  The Reston Association trails connect through this park as well.

If you live in the North Hills neighborhood or are nearby, stop on by to this family friendly park and plan to have a picnic and go on a nature walk.

Mid County Park in Williamsburg, VA

Mid County Park in Williamsburg, VA

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Address: 3793 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg, VA

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We recently just took a trip to Williamsburg, VA and came across this amazing park.  If you are looking for something fun to do, plan a day or over night trip to Williamsburg.  There is so much to do, but for FREE you can head over to this park.

From the huge play ship, variety of swings (including tire swings), vast amount of play equipment,  a climbing wall with a slide, a gated smaller play ground for the smaller kids and a children’s zip line, this park is definitely worth going to!

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In addition to all the play equipment, there are picnic tables, benches throughout the whole park, baseball field, basketball and tennis courts and a trail that goes around the whole park.

This park would be great location to have a party at and they have rooms you can rent out as well.  This was a fun park to go visit and a definitely look forward to headed back with my family!

The Turner Farm in Great Falls, VA!

The Turner Farm in Great Falls, VA!

The Turner Farm is located in Great Falls, VA in Fairfax County. The 52-acre park was formerly a dairy farm and the land was saved from development in 1994. The park is very unique with the old Dairy Barn on the property and an Observatory that is run by The Analemma Society. This non-profit organization has an agreement with the Park Authority to offer recreational astronomy programs. During clear Friday nights the Observatory Park is open during the evening to view the stars, check this website for hours and details. The other activity at the park that most people use Turner Farm for is the equestrian facilities. The park offers 40-acres of open fields for riding, a cross country course, a round pen, stadium jumps and dressage markers in the outdoor arena. The nature trails are also used by avid hikers including my family when we’re just looking for a nice walk.

Address: 925 Springvale Rd. Great Falls, VA 22066 

In addition to the equestrian facilities and Observatory, there is a small playground area with a small piece of play equipment. The equipment is located near the trailhead at the back of the parking lot. There is no shade near or over the equipment but there is a brand new gazebo picnic shelter to get out of the sun. There are porta potties in the parking lot for everyone to use.

Turner Farm

Turner Farm

What’s nice about the park is that it was saved by people who love being in nature just as much as I do. Further plans for the park are jogging/walking trails and observation areas. The boys and I have yet to check out the Observatory on Friday nights but I’m hoping we get some free time next year to check it out. If you’ve ever wondered about the park and live in the Great Falls area you should check out The Turner Farm.

NOTE:  Just a little friendly advice about the park, if you see horses  in the parking lot please try to drive slow around them and if you can avoid driving by them it would help keep the horses from being spooked and hurting themselves. A lot of times they are tied to trailers getting ready to go riding or just cooling down after a ride.

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McLean Central Park in McLean, VA!

McLean Central Park in McLean, VA!

The weather has been fabulous lately and we couldn’t resist hitting up a new park while my mom was visiting from California. McLean Central Park was our first stop. The Fairfax County Public Library, Dolley Madison Branch is located on the property and the best way to reach the playground is to park near the library.

Address: 1468 Dolley Madison Blvd., McLean, VA 22101 

This 25-acre park has a basketball court, lit tennis courts, disc golf course, walking/hiking trails, and playground. There is also a Gazebo available for rent near the tot lot. The tot lot is filled with very brightly colored play equipment and both types of swings. The play equipment is more for the younger crowd with the small slides and crawl on toys. The play area is completely in the shade and restrooms are available down the trail in the library.

We had a great time at the park especially my oldest because of the train play equipment. If you have little ones this is the park to go in the McLean Area!