Park Authority

CONTACT INFORMATION: Open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
703-324-8700 TTY 711
12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia 22035
Jai Cole
Executive Director
Fairfax County Park Authority

What We Do

The Park Authority Mission is to enrich quality of life for all members of the community through an enduring park system that provides a healthy environment, preserves natural and cultural heritage, offers inspiring recreational experiences, and promotes healthy lifestyles.

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Visitors enjoy the parks

The Fairfax County Park Authority Board received staff's proposed 2024 Fee Schedule at its Oct. 25 meeting. The presentation was the first step in the board’s consideration process, which includes a 30-day community engagement period with opportunities for the public to submit feedback and comments online, as well as participate in a virtual public meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. The virtual public meeting will include a brief overview of the fee process followed by an opportunity for the public to provide comments to the Board. Those who wish to speak may sign up in advance by contacting the Public Information Office at or by calling 703-324-8700. Individual remarks are limited to three minutes. Organizations represented by a single speaker may have up to five minutes to provide remarks. The public may also submit comments to the Park Authority Board for their consideration online or via U.S. Mail. Comments will be accepted beginning Monday, Oct. 30, through Wednesday, Nov. 29. Comments may be submitted at the Engage Fairfax County website, or they can be mailed to: Park Authority Public Information Office ATTN: 2024 Fee Schedule Comments 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 925 Fairfax, VA 22035 All comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, to be included in the Park Authority Board’s deliberations. Every year, the Fairfax County Park Authority receives approximately 35% of the funding required to support its operation through the Fairfax County General Fund. The remaining 65% of the operating budget is funded from the Park Authority Revenue and Operating Fund, a fund required to operate with a minimum of 100% cost recovery. The operating budget of the Revenue and Operating Fund is derived from various fees for programs, classes, services and amenities. For more information about the Park Authority’s proposed 2024 Fee Schedule, the upcoming public meeting and instructions for submitting comments, visit the Engage Fairfax County website. To learn more the fee schedule, visit the Fairfax County Park Authority Fee Schedule website. 
Santa at Sully
Enjoy the spirit of the holidays with Santa at Fairfax County Parks beginning this weekend. For years, Santa has made the rounds in our parks, creating cherished moments for families of all ages. Don’t miss out on a fantastic experience at the park with a special appearance by our favorite “jolly old elf.” A Visit with Santa at Sully Historic Site On Saturday, Dec. 2, from noon to 4 p.m., Sully Historic Site welcomes families for a special encounter with Santa Claus. Capture the magic with a photo by an open-hearth fire, share your Christmas wishes, and craft a festive ornament. Register now for this joyful event for $9 per person! Register for A Visit with Santa Holiday on the Farm at Frying Pan Farm Park Fridays and Saturdays (Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16) from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Fridays, and 4:30-7:45 p.m. on Saturdays, Frying Pan Farm Park offers wagon rides, indoor activities, food, animal interactions, campfires and visits with Santa. Secure your $15 pass during presale or $20 at the gate for a festive experience! Register for Holiday on the Farm Winter Wonderland Event at Burke Lake Saturdays and Sundays (Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Burke Lake promise holiday fun with train rides, Gingerbread Man Golf, and s'mores by the fire. Get your $15 pass by Wednesday before the event, or purchase day-of for $20. All passes include a visit with Santa, hot chocolate and candy canes. Register for Winter Wonderland Join Fairfax County Parks for holiday magic! For more information or to register, visit the Seasonal Events in the Parks webpage. View the Holidays Events in the Parks flyer
Cross County Trail at Lake Accotink
In 2023, more than 300 hikers of all ages and abilities took to the trails with friends, families and pets to participate in a “First Hike” sensation that is sweeping the county! The Fairfax County Park Authority and the Fairfax County Park Foundation are gearing up for another fantastic First Hike Photo Contest set for New Year’s Day 2024. It’s easy to participate. Step 1: Take a stroll through any of the Park Authority’s 420 parks or along more than 334 miles of Park Authority trails on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024. Step 2: Take a fantastic photo. Step 3: Submit your best photo online by noon on Tuesday, Jan. 2, for the chance of winning amazing Park Authority prizes. The contest is open to amateur and professional photographers. Only one photo entry per person will be accepted (multiple family members may submit photos individually). Photo submissions are accepted in four categories – Scenery/Landscapes, People, Wildlife and Pets. Participants must adhere to all park rules and safety protocols; photos depicting violations of park rules will be disqualified. Complete contest rules, photo submission instructions and a variety of hike-planning resources are available on the First Hike Fairfax Photo Contest website. The Fairfax County Park Foundation has again sponsored the following prizes for selected winners: People’s Choice: $100 Park Authority Gift Card Judges’ Choice: $100 Park Authority Gift Card Director’s Choice: $100 Park Authority Gift Card Best in Show (Scenery/Landscapes): $75 Park Authority Gift Card Best in Show (People): $75 Park Authority Gift Card Best in Show (Wildlife): $75 Park Authority Gift Card Best in Show (Pets): $75 Park Authority Gift Card Watch last year's slideshow below: The contest joins countless First Day Hike programs throughout America’s state parks and is open to hikers and photographers of any age and skill level. It’s a wonderful way of getting outside and enjoying the new year with friends, neighbors and family. The Fairfax County Park Foundation Supports the Park Authority by raising private funds, obtaining grants and creating partnerships that supplement tax dollars to meet community needs for park land, facilities and services. For more information, visit the Fairfax County Park Foundation website.
Woodlands Stewardship Center
The Fairfax County Park Authority celebrated the completion of the new Woodlands Stewardship Education Center with a ribbon cutting on Saturday, Nov. 18. Designed to wow adults and children alike, this interpretive facility demonstrates principles of environmental stewardship that make a world of difference in the way we interact with and affect our natural environment. From the use of reclaimed construction materials and sustainable energy and water sources to experimentation with simple machines and natural observation spaces, this stewardship education center provides an incredible teaching platform for demonstrating technologies and processes that can reshape our individual relationship with the environment around us. See more photos of the ribbon-cutting on the Park Authority's Flickr page. County leaders, project benefactors and residents from the surrounding community participated in the inaugural event followed by tours of the amazing features of the site, which was designed to meet the rigorous standards of the Living Building Challenge (LBC) – an achievement attained by only a small number of projects worldwide. “When looking at the concept for this project, we knew we wanted to raise the bar to a whole new level,” said Park Authority Executive Director Jai Cole. “Every aspect of this facility is an exhibit that illustrates our connection to the natural world and creates an experience that will ignite the imaginations and creativity of young people through hands-on experiences and play.” The standards of the LBC require meticulous attention to the development of a project in seven performance categories including Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Every aspect of the project – including the building materials, energy and water usage and production, learning and recreational features and landscaping - involved intentional decision-making to preserve and protect the natural environment and provide a unique user experience for all who visit. The Park Authority will be eligible to apply for LBC certification after one full year of operation. General project features include an interpretive center with multipurpose spaces, kitchen and restroom; an educational kiosk and plumbing room; outdoor amphitheater and observation deck; a large STREAM (science, technology, recreation, engineering, arts and math) activity play space with connecting trails; native plantings; and related site improvements. Watch a video of the new stewardship center below: The total project cost was $8.8 million and included $7.2 million in park bond funding, $1.1 million in proffers, and $500,000 in financial contributions through the Fairfax County Park Foundation. The Woodlands Stewardship Education Center is located within Ellanor C. Lawrence Park at 5301 Walney Road in Chantilly. For more information, visit the Woodlands Stewardship Education Center webpage. This project was made possible thanks in part to numerous donations contributed through the Fairfax County Park Foundation. The Fairfax County Park Foundation, a 501(c)(3), supports the Fairfax County Park Authority by raising private funds, obtaining grants, and creating partnerships that supplement tax dollars to meet our community’s needs for park land, facilities and services. Visit the Park Foundation website or call 703-324-8582 for more information.
Kids playing basketball
Are you looking for opportunities to keep the kids active and engaged during the winter school holidays? Look no further! Children of all ages can find exciting ways to pass the time with the Fairfax County Park Authority’s winter camps. Choose from a variety of fun topics to help kids learn and grow, including cooking; crafting; performing arts; sports; dance; and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). On the Camps website, search for numerous camp options and register your child for an exciting opportunity to have fun, meet new friends and create lifelong memories. Winter Break camps will be held Dec. 18-22 and Dec. 26-29. Winter Teacher Workdays camps will be held on Monday, Jan. 15; Friday, Jan. 26; and Monday, Feb. 19. The Fairfax County Park Authority is home to award-winning programs and camps that help young people grow and develop. All camps are open on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information or assistance, please email


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