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Water Fun for Everyone

There’s nothing like cool splash of water on a hot summer day, and the Park Authority offers plenty of water fun options for the whole family!

The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax Park. Experience more than an acre of slides, flumes, sprays, showers,
floatables and interactive play features with a Western theme. Most attractions are designed for elementary-age children, although there’s something here for everyone. Tenderfoot Pond, with its pint-sized slides and gentle bubblers, gives toddlers a perfect place for water play. Teenagers can join a game of water volleyball, and everyone has fun going with the flow in a tube on Rattlesnake River.

Our Special Harbor sprayground at Lee District Park. This fully accessible complex features Chesapeake Bay-themed attractions including a spraying osprey nest, Chessie the sea serpent, misting sunflowers and a lighthouse. The beach area is quieter with softer bubblers and interactive watertables. The computerized water maze and dumping crab basket

Plunge into a pool provide more lively activity. Aqua shoes must be worn by everyone who enters the spray pad. Limited shoes are available for purchase in a variety of sizes and can also be purchased at area department stores.

Plunge into a pool at all nine Park Authority RECenters! Pools are indoors, so there’s no risk of sunburn. From lap swimming in the main pool to casual water fun in the leisure pool, everyone gets to play in the water. The Cub Run RECenter leisure pool offers additional options with slides, bubblers, fountains, a “river” current and other fun features. RECenter admission includes pool privileges.

For Outdoor Thrills, Try Nature Explorers Camp

For Outdoor Thrills, Try Nature Explorers Camp

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one from Nature Explorers Camp tells it all. Declan Casey took one look at the photo and remembered how he (pictured crouching) felt last summer when he cheered on the little girl in pink. “I was excited that the girl caught a fish,” said the 8-year-old Oakton Elementary School student. “I was giving her instructions and cheering her on because I wanted her to do it again. She almost caught it again!”

Declan also reminisced about his own accomplishments in Nature Explorers Camp at Lake Fairfax, which includes nature walks, building a bird house, learning about life in the great outdoors and more. “It’s really fun. You get to do stuff that people don’t do that often, like boating and fishing, and you learn how animals survive in the cold places and hot places. I learned how to fish, and was the only one (camper) who put a worm on the hook,” he said proudly.

Other fond memories include a scavenger hunt and afternoon visits to the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole. “He seemed to like it,” said Declan’s mother, Gretchen Casey. “Each day there were planned activities with a naturalist, and I was very pleased with the professionalism of the staff.”

In addition to connecting with the camp counselors, Declan says there’s one other important benefit to camp – making new friends. “I had lot of friends,” he said. “Will was my best friend at camp.”

Drama Camp Gets Rave Reviews!

Young theater enthusiasts are wild about the Park Authority’s latest drama camp offering. Moonlit Wings Camp Drama provides showbiz fun with acting and improvisation, music and choreography, character creation, set design and more.

Each two-week session features a new play and theme, culminating with a performance for parents and friends on the last day of camp.

“My daughter loved the opportunity to get in small groups and write a skit then act it out,” said one parent who responded to a camp survey. Another parent wrote, “The play was age-appropriate, and the kids all got to be involved.”

Another big hit with the child actors: daily RECenter swimming breaks. For this year’s camp locations and dates, visit the Camps page.

A New View for Wildlife Watching

Some of the best seats in town for nature-watching, fishing and all-around fun are now at Riverbend Park! The new sit-on-top kayaks have similar hull shapes to traditional designs, but instead of sitting inside the kayak, you sit on an adjustable cushioned seat on top. “Sit-on-top kayaks are wider and more stable than their traditional counterparts, and in warm weather, they are cooler and offer more room to position your legs,” said assistant manager John Callow. “They also offer a really nice benefit for anglers because you sit up a little higher, which makes it easier to cast a line, and the open deck makes fishing tackle more accessible.”

Riverbend has both single and tandem sit-on-tops which allow for parents to paddle in the same boat with their child and are great for couples who want to paddle together. Some of the sights you may see along the Potomac River’s tranquil banks include bald eagles, osprey and wild turkeys as well as ducks, geese, lizards and other wildlife. So whether you’re an experienced kayaker or a beginner, you can rent a kayak or sign up for classes and tours at Riverbend. For more information, visit the Boating, Fishing and Camping section of Parktakes Online.

In addition to regularly scheduled kayak classes, instructors at Riverbend can accommodate special kayak tour requests for groups of six people age 14 and older. Call the site for more information.

Play Ball Under the Stars

Warm up for your team’s “summer of swat” with the Park Authority’s Moonlight Madness softball tournament! The all-night, co-ed adult softball extravaganza includes a three-game, 55-minute game guarantee. Prizes are awarded to the tournament champions, male and female MVPs and Homerun Derby and Speed Check contest winners. The games begin at 6 p.m. on May 31 and end the next day at 10 a.m. at Braddock Park. The per-team cost is $275 if registered before May 20 and $300 after May 20. There’s a 24-team limit, so register soon! For more information and to register, visit Tournaments for Turf online, or call 703-324- 8759. Proceeds from the Moonlight Madness softball tournament will benefit the Park Authority’s athletic turf replacement program.

Arrgh! Pirates at Lake Fairfax!

Ahoy, matey!
Grab yer pirate gear and set sail for Pirate Fest July 26 at Lake FairfaxPark!

Feast your eyes on the schooner, Lion, climb aboard for a pirate boat tour ride, see the cannon firing and learn about the swashbuckling life of pirates on the high seas. The event features hands-on children’s activities, live music by Ship’s Company Chanteymen, concessions, a pirate costume contest, a treasure hunt and more for wannabe buccaneers and landlubbers alike!

Trailblazing Leader to be Honored

Trailblazing Leader to be Honored

Join us as we officially mark the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail! The Park Authority Board voted in June 2013 to rename the 40-mile trail in honor of the congressman, whose leadership was instrumental in creating the network during his years as the Providence District Supervisor and then Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The celebration to unveil the new trail marker honoring Connolly begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, at Laurel Hill Park-Giles Run Meadow, 8400 Lorton Road in Lorton, Va.

“There are a lot of people who share this honor with me,” Connolly said when he learned the trail was being renamed in his honor. “This project is a true example of what can happen when the local community, volunteers and our elected officials work together. Thanks to that effort we are leaving behind a real gem for future generations to enjoy.”

The idea first came to the attention of the county’s elected and appointed leaders in 1999 when Fairfax Trails and Streams proposed linking trail networks owned by the Park Authority, the National Park Service, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, the City of Fairfax and the town of Reston to form a continuous route from Great Falls National Park to Occoquan Regional Park.

One of the last significant trail sections added was the Laurel Hill Greenway, a portion of the former Lorton Reformatory located on the rail bed used to transport goods within the prison property. The trail network was officially completed in December of 2005.

Discovery Trail Leads Kids to Summer Fun!

Pick up a Summer Discovery Map at one of nine Park Authority historic sites and nature centers and follow the trail to summer fun! The journey offers children age 12 and younger the chance to discover each site’s unique history and mark their progress with a map sticker. Each child who visits four sites receives his or her choice of a free wagon or carousel ride at Frying Pan Farm Park. Those who visit all nine sites get their choice of a pass to the Water Mine or any Fairfax County RECenter. Summer Discovery Maps are available online beginning June 1, or they may be picked up at Colvin Run Mill, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Hidden Pond Nature Center, Green Spring Gardens, Sully Historic Site, Ellanor C. Lawrence, Frying Pan Farm, Huntley Meadows and Riverbend parks.


For Discovery Trail redemption, please mail completed Maps to:
Fairfax County Park Authority Discovery Trail
12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 105
Fairfax, VA. 22035

Please include your Name, Address, Phone Number and preference of Water Mine or RECenter pass.

Savor the Flavor of Summer at Farmers Markets

Savor the Flavor of Summer at Farmers Markets

There’s nothing like the taste of a fresh tomato or a juicy peach to bring out the flavor of summer. Starting in May, Fairfax County’s 11 farmers markets come to life with a feast for the senses. The vibrant colors of freshly picked fruits and vegetables contrast with the fragrant perfume of cut flowers. The aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries floats across the market while patrons savor samples of creamy artisan cheese. You will also find fresh eggs, meats and other edible delights along with gardening plants of all sizes.

All products sold are produced by vendors within 125 miles of Fairfax County, and brokers or resellers are strictly prohibited. So you can be assured that the produce you purchase at Park Authority Farmers Markets is fresh, locally-grown and consistently great.

Twin Lakes - The Perfect Setting for your Special Occasion!

Whether you’re hosting a golf tournament or a family celebration, the newly-expanded Oaks Room at Twin Lakes Golf Course offers a private setting with comfortable accommodations for up to 200 guests. It’s the perfect setting for wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, baby and bridal showers, anniversary celebrations, birthday parties, graduation celebrations, holiday parties and corporate meetings and events. The covered deck area provides magnificent views of the golf course, and in-house or private catering options are available. To learn more about amenities or to book the Oaks Room for your golf outing or special event, call 703-631-9099.

Oak Marr Expansion Nears Completion

Oak Marr Expansion Nears Completion

Oak Marr RECenter’s multi-phase expansion project is almost complete, and when patrons get their first look at the new fitness center when it reopens later this year, they’re sure to agree it was worth the wait! The new, two-story fitness center features state-ofthe- art equipment and three new classrooms. The building entrance, mezzanine and offices have also been reworked to make room for a larger lobby and a new childcare room. The facility’s pool is open now and aquatic and fitness classes are being offered. The new fitness center is scheduled to open in late summer.

$AVE on Summer Fun!

$AVE on Summer Fun!

Just in time for summer, the Park Authority is offering two deals that are big on benefits and easy on your wallet! Now through May 11, golfers can save up to 25% on frequent player golf passes. The more you play, the less you pay! See our ad in the Golf section for more information, or stop by your favorite Park Authority golf course for details.

$AVE on Summer Fun!Starting May 1, swimming and fitness enthusiasts can save 15 percent on 4- and 12-month RECenter memberships. For details, visit Passes Online. The sale ends June 15, so buy now, save and shape up for summer!

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