Roast marshmallows, share ghost stories, hear tales, make s'mores, learn how animals fly at night, celebrate Girl Scouts, identify constellations, watch for meteors, listen to owls, and eat those s'mores. Sign up for a Park Authority campfire today.
Call ahead if there's bad weather. Many of these programs are cancelled if there's rain.
Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.
Here are some of the campfire program topics:
Hidden Oaks Nature Center
- Adapted Campfires: Children with disabilities and their families gather 'round the campfire for storytelling, traditional campfire songs and making s'mores. Meet a live animal highlighted in one of the stories.
- All About Bats: Several species of bats flit in the Virginia sky. Look for them and learn bat facts and lore. Toast marshmallows over the embers.
- American Indian Stories: Tales of Native Americans.
- Astronomy: An exploration of the skies.
- Girl Scouts: Wrap up National Girl Scout Week with a campfire, cooking hotdogs and making s'mores, singing songs and hearing American Indian tales of wildlife. This one's for all current and former Girl Scouts and their families.
- Fliers of the Night: Join a naturalist to learn how animals that fly at night (owls, bats and moths) avoid banging into trees. Learn how to see these elusive creatures. Make s'mores.
- Nature's April Foolers: Join a naturalist and learn how animals use trickery to get a meal or avoid becoming a meal. Toast marshmallows.
- Nocturnal Senses: Learn from a naturalist how animals of the night use their keen senses of smell, sight and hearing to get a meal or avoid becoming a meal. Make s'mores.
- Sounds of the Night: Fill your ears with delight. Learn to identify nocturnal animal calls, and enjoy stories of local denizens of the night. Make s'mores.
- Stories and Songs: Gather 'round for storytelling, traditional campfire songs and making s'mores. Meet a live animal highlighted in one of the stories.
Hidden Pond Nature Center
Hidden Pond hosts Campfire Fridays, a summer family series. There's a different topic at each evening program. Topics have included:
- Foxfire fungus
- The lure of the swamp
- Night sounds
S'mores are provided.
Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
- Amphibians: Learn about our native amphibians. See animals up close, and talk about their habits and habitats. Make s'mores.
- Barred Owls: Enjoy an evening hike and campfire to learn about owls. Meet our resident barred owl. Roast marshmallows.
- Bats: Walk the meadows and forest edges to see bats feeding on insects. Use a bat detector to hear echolocation. Learn about our native bats and their habits.
- Predators at Night: Learn about animals that seek their meals in the dark.
- Campfire with the Constellations: Meet at Cabell's Mill and talk stars around a warm campfire. Head out to the meadow with a naturalist to learn how to identify early summer constellations.
- Fathers' Day: Begin Father's Day weekend with a hike, campfire and s'mores. Learn about some of nature's best fathers, take a hike near a stream and eat s'mores. Moms are invited too.
- Moon and the Stars: Meet at Cabell's Mill, talk moon and stars around a warm campfire, then join a naturalist to learn how to identify early spring constellations. Make s'mores.
- Mothers' Day: Investigate the hard work that goes into raising young. Toast marshmallows around the campfire.
- Rocky Run Stream Valley: A journey to explore the many aspects of a simple stream of water.
- S'Mores Wagon Ride & Campfire: This is a brisk wagon ride through the Rocky Run stream valley. Discover who Ellanor C. Lawrence was, and learn about local and natural history. Return to a warm campfire and a sweet chocolate treat.
- Wear Green Campfire: Wear your best green to this Saint Patrick's Day ride, and help find all things wearing green in the meadow. Toast marshmallows at the campfire.
- Winter Survival: Lessons on living in cold.
Riverbend has a Riverside Campfire program. Themes include:
- Bats & Bugs: As day turns to night, bats and some insects awaken. Through games and activities, you'll learn about the relationship between night flying bats and the insects they seek. Bring a toasting stick; s'mores provided. Come early and picnic, or bring hot dogs to toast.
- Fishing: Fish from the Potomac River bank and learn about the fish world. S'mores provided. Come early and picnic, or bring hot dogs to toast. Bring a toasting stick, blanket and flashlight, fishing rods and tackle. Bait provided. Fishing rods available for rent (limited availability).
- Riverside Camping: Enjoy a family night in the park with a campfire and night hike. Bring camping gear, toasting sticks, and a dinner to cook on toasting sticks over the campfire. Campfire, smores and light breakfast provided.
- Sounds of the Night: Fill your ears with delight. Learn to identify nocturnal animal calls and enjoy stories of local denizens of the night around a campfire. Make s'mores.
Riverbend has a Cub Scout Camping program that includes a campfire. Scouts pitch their tents and camp under the stars. Pack a dinner to cook over the campfire, enjoy a night hike, and eat s'mores. Bring tents, sleeping bags, dinner and flashlights. Optional Riverbend patch. Call the park for information. 703-759-9018