Last week we checked out Poplar Tree Park in Chantilly, VA. This Fairfax County Park is located off Stringfellow Road between Route 50 and Route 29. The park is located amongst older single family homes and newer planned communites including townhomes, condos, and single family homes.
Poplar Tree Park is more of a sports park complex but it does have a set of equipment for the kids to play on. The park has 4 softball/baseball fields, two turf soccer/football fields, grass soccer field and walking/hiking trails. The park does have clean restrooms and not porta potties. The playground equipment is newer. But there was plenty of shade for the equipment during the morning hours.
I probably won’t return to the park but for a local community park this one has a lot to offer local sports clubs. The fields are in great shape with lots of bleachers for spectators.
A BIG Thank you to our Guest Reviewer, Allie Higgins, for reviewing Draper Drive Park in the City of Fairfax!
Allie Higgins is a mom of two young energetic boys who love to run and play. Together, they enjoy hiking, biking, swimming and going to the many parks in the area. Allie has been in the DC/NOVA area for over 10 years; she is writer/researcher and a graduate of Saint Mary’s College at Notre Dame and Vanderbilt University.
Draper Drive Park in the City of Fairfax was, until recently, only soccer fields and walking trails; however, the city has now added a playground that is a fun addition to the park.
The playground area is set up on part mulch and part rubber surfaces and includes swings and the main play structures even have shade canopies for the equipment. If your children like to get dizzy, there are several spinning pieces and if they prefer to climb, there are climbing walls as well. Slides and monkey bars make this playground complete. There are numerous park benches and two porta-potties adjacent to the playground.
The soccer field is synthetic turf with goals and bleachers along the fields. Additionally, there is a paved run/walk/bike trail that encircles the park. I especially liked that you can see the entire trail from the playground. While my younger son was swinging, I could still watch my older son ride his bike around the loop. Similarly, if you are at the park to watch a soccer match, you can see the all of the fields from the playground, so that makes it fun for all! This is a great park to check out if you are in the Fairfax area.
If you have ever headed to Great Country Farms in Bluemont, VA you most likely passed right by the Bluemont Community Center. Many times we have driven by and never stopped because the kids were pooped out from running all over the farm. This time my oldest insisted we stop in and see what it was all about. They both were hooked when they saw the caboose located right next to the basketball court.
The community center was a schoolhouse that opened in 1923 and ran until the 60’s. In 1988 community interest helped it become the community center it is today. The community center offers licensed preschool, childcare and after school programs. For more information you can find their phone number and info here.
The playground area has several newer looking pieces of equipment including swings, lots of slides and climbing apparatuses. It does have a small fence to keep the little ones inside. There is plenty of shade up against building and you can go inside to use the public restrooms during business hours. There is a preschool and daycare that works out of this facility so at times there may be extra kids playing out on the playground. A fun aspect of the park area is the old caboose that sits adjacent to the full basketball court. The kids can walk up and check it out. There are plenty of picnic tables if you want to pack a lunch or snack in the large grassy area.
Bluemont Community Center Park is a fun park located in beautiful Bluemont, VA!
Last week we ventured out to Fairfax County and came across this great park in the City of Fairfax. Stafford Drive Park has over 24 acres, which includes a multi purpose turf field, large playground, rest rooms and a nice walking trail.
From the parking lot, you can take part of the walking trail to the playground. The turf field was busy with school aged children practicing soccer.
This playground has so much to do and is great for all ages! There is a large set of playground equipment with three large slides, a small playground for the little ones and another set of equipment that is great for little ones to run around and climb the monkey bars. The entertainment doesn’t stop there; there is also a climbing wall, a red car, a ball maze, musical instrument section and a whole row of both infant and regular swings.
Upon entering the park there is a large parking lot with ample parking. Included at the park are restrooms, multi-purpose turf field, walking trails and a very large playground with swings. The restrooms are located at the entrance of the park.
We did head out to this park right after school let out, so it was starting to get pretty busy by the time made it to the playground area. However, if you live in the City of Fairfax or in Fairfax County, check this park out!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Last week we spent some time visiting parks in Woodbridge, VA. Howison Homestead Park is managed by Prince William County Park Authority. This park was a lot of fun and my boys especially loved the train themed playground equipment.
Address: 14716 Minnieville Road, Woodbridge, VA
Howison Homestead Park has three soccer fields, two picnic pavilions, concession stands with restrooms, a train themed playground, as well as another playground, a digger and a see-saw. The train themed playground is surrounded by a sand like floor and is built like a train, has a sliding board, steering wheel instead and a tunnel to crawl through. In the area of the train playground there is also a small digger that you can maneuver on your own to pick up and discard sand. My boys really enjoyed making “sand” piles, while the other crashed them. The other playground has mulch on the ground. This play area has a few climbing areas, a large slide and a regular slide. This area also has the see-saw. There are two benches and a nice little sitting area that overlooks both play grounds.
Just past the playground is one of the park pavilions with two picnic tables. The other pavilion is just behind the concession stands and bathrooms. There are also three different soccer fields that have different leagues throughout the year.
Thaiss Memorial Park is a 10-acre park in the City of Fairfax. The park includes Little League fields, picnic pavilion, and play equipment. The park is also a point where you can enter the Accotink Stream Valley Trail that is part of the larger Cross County Trail.
Thaiss Memorial Park is mostly a sports park but it does have one piece of play equipment in good shape for the older crowd. A Porta Potty (May-Oct) is available during non sporting times and indoor restrooms are available when Little League games are going on. There is a picnic pavilion to get out of the shade. Check out this City of Fairfax Park!
Our Orthopedist was funny and mentioned Barcroft Park is her kids favorite park because the high rope climbing apparatus. The rope equipment at this park is pretty high but my oldest had a fun time pretending he was on American Ninja Warrior..:) But luckily there is not just the climbing tree to play on. This playground is near the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center. The 65-acre park includes several sports fields including lit baseball/softball field, batting cage,tennis courts, handball court, drop-in rectangular field, volleball court, lighted basketball court, and horseshoe pit. You can even head down to the stream and try some fishing. Here is a map that kind of shows you where things are located in the park.
We only spent time at the one playground area by the parking garage but there are two other small playground areas next to the two different picnic pavilions. We’ll have to end up going back and checking them out on another day. The playground we did check out is located near all the sports fields and has indoor restrooms right next to the area. The area includes a large climbing apparatus that includes two different sizes for the kids to climb on. It was easy for me to get in there and help out when someone needed help coming down or going back up. So the little crowd doesn’t feel left out there is a preschool age slide and steps combo for them to climb on over a compressed rubber flooring. Besides the added bonus of bathrooms being so close by there is plenty of shade over and around the equipment. Lots of benches, concrete wall and tables for everyone to sit at as well.
We will definitely head back to this park at a later date to check out the picnic pavilions, other playground areas and fishing spot. My oldest is already begging to go back and climb on the rope trees…..:)
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!
Lacey Woods Park in Arlington, VA is a very nice park in Arlington County. The park includes a playground, indoor restrooms, full basketball court, multi-purpose field, brand two (2) picnic pavilion, charcoal grills, small nature trails and fire ring.
The fenced-in park has parking available along the street and is situated at the corner of George Mason Drive and Washington Blvd. The streets are pretty busy so be careful when pulling out into traffic. If you live in the neighborhood there are plenty of sidewalks and crosswalks for you to navigate. The playground area includes a small sandbox area for the little ones, a large piece of play equipment for the big kids, and toddler swings. There is also lots of shade over the playground so it was the perfect spot for a hot day. This would also be the perfect park for the kids to bring their ride on toys or bikes with the paved trails around the playground area. There a small fun hoop and concrete area for the littler crowd to play basketball on as well. The indoor bathrooms and water fountain are situated right next to the playground so you don’t have far to go for the potty training crowd.
***Sorry no pics of the toddler sand box, too many little ones…:)
The other part of the park that we explored was the more natural part of the park. We walked up the paved trail to the brand picnic pavilion and found the fire ring area. I have no idea who has the authority to use the fire ring but I do know that the picnic pavilions which there are two of them can be rented. One pavilion can accommodate 50 people and the other 200 people. Click the link at the bottom page for more information on rental picnic pavilions in Arlington County. With the large natural space there a few small trails for the kids to walk in and out of the trees. If want the little ones to learn to take small nature walks this would be a prime spot to take them out in.
We really enjoyed this park and we hope you enjoyed our review of Lacey Woods Park in Arlington, VA!