Online Services

Our Government

News and Events

Maps, Facts & Stats

State & Federal

Sponsor an Animal at Riverbend Park!

Riverbend Park
[ 8700 Potomac Hills Street ] [ Great Falls, VA 22066 ] [ 703-759-9018 ]

Now, you can "adopt" one of the many exhibit animals at Riverbend. Most of our exhibit animals are non-releasable wildlife or unwanted pets. These animals play a critical role in the environmental education programs here at the park.

By becoming a sponsor, you can help us maintain a high level of care for all of our exhibit animals. All funds donated go toward the animal's food, supplies and medical care. Your donation may be fully tax deductible.

Meet the animals!


Eastern Box Turtle


Name: Pumpkin, Twinkle, Tojo
Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)
Native to Fairfax County

Pumpkin, Twinkle and Tojo help the naturalists teach families, scouts and school children about reptiles. Visitors enjoy meeting our turtles up close and many are impressed with how quickly the turtles can walk!

Pumpkin and Twinkle were given to an animal rehabilitator after they were found with injuries. The turtles recovered in good health, but Pumpkin is missing a front right foot and Twinkle is missing a back left foot. Legs are important to turtles because turtles need to dig deep into the soil to protect themselves from cold winters. Tojo, our third turtle, has been a long time resident of Riverbend Park.

Box turtles can live to be 100+ years old. In the wild, box turtles eat berries, earthworms and insects. Box turtles can even eat poisonous mushrooms and it doesn't bother them!

Just download our Sponsorship Form to adopt me or any of my friends!

Eastern Painted Turtle

Matisse Name: Matisse
Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta picta)
Native to Fairfax County

Matisse has visited with many school children and helped them learn more about reptiles. Many visitors are taken with Matisse because of the beautiful red patches on the edge of the turtle's shell. It almost looks like someone painted on the color. Matisse was born at a neighboring nature center and given to Riverbend Park shortly after birth.

In the wild, painted turtles can often be found in sunny spots basking on logs or rocks in ponds, lakes or rivers. After warming, they may be observed eating tadpoles, fish, aquatic plants or even carrion. At the end of their day, painted turtles return to the pond bottom for a night's sleep.

Just download our Sponsorship Form to adopt me or any of my friends!

Toads and Lizards

American Toad

Steve Name: Steve
American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)
Native to Fairfax County

Fall and spring are busy times for Steve at Riverbend Park. Steve helps school children learn about life cycles. He also helps adults, including teachers, understand why it is important not to release captive tadpoles and adult frogs and toads into the wild.

In the wild, the American toad will dig a burrow with its spurred hind feet. The toad hides inside and waits for an insect to pass by. Quick reflexes allow the toad to stick out its tongue and catch the insect. It is estimated that a toad can eat up to 10,000 insects in just three months!

Just download our Sponsorship Form to adopt me or any of my friends!

Gray Treefrog

Name: Castor
Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)
Native to Fairfax County

This treefrog is one of our residents that is often heard, but rarely seen. The low, melodious trill, lasting for 1-3 seconds and ending abruptly, is often mistaken for crickets or the call of a bird. While similar in shape to the more familiar American toad, their skin is very different in appearance. These treefrogs are covered with many minute warts. Gray treefrogs also have sticky pads on their toes, which make them excellent climbers.

Just download our Sponsorship Form to adopt me or any of my friends!


Bluebird House

Bluebird Box Name: Bluebird boxes
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Native to Fairfax County

Bluebirds nest in small holes in trees called cavities. In northern Virginia, the number of older trees has been reduced. To help bluebirds, we've set up bluebird boxes in Riverbend's meadows. The boxes require maintenance of the bluebird box, pole, and predator guards. Sometimes total replacement is needed.

Each season, volunteers monitor the bluebird boxes. The information recorded is part of a nationwide study on bluebirds. Thirty-one baby bluebirds fledged from the boxes in the 2010 season. For information on how you can become a volunteer bluebird box monitor contact us.

Before the boxes, bluebirds were not often seen. Introduced European starlings aggressively took the bluebirds' nesting spots. Also, available nesting places have been reduced. Bluebird boxes placed in open areas, like fields, have been successful time after time. Today bluebird boxes can be found across the country and the number of bluebirds is increasing!

Just download our Sponsorship Form to adopt me or any of my friends!


Eastern Ratsnake

Liz Name: Liz
Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis)
Native to Fairfax County

A long time resident of Riverbend Park, Liz has met countless school children, scout groups and families in an effort to ease people's worries about snakes. She helps teach the importance of snakes in our community too! Liz was donated to Riverbend Park by someone in the community.

In the wild, the non-venomous black rat snake spends much of its time on the ground and in trees searching for food. Young black rat snakes are often mistaken for copperheads and killed on the spot. Young black rat snakes look entirely different from adults not only in color but also in pattern.

Just download our Sponsorship Form to adopt me or any of my friends!

Northern Copperhead

Orion Name: Orion
Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen)
Native to Fairfax County

Orion was captured here at Riverbend Park by an experienced naturalist. Visitors get a chance to visit with and learn about Fairfax County's only venomous snake in a safe environment. Learning to identify a copperhead helps to stop the killing of the 15+ types of non-venomous snakes living in Fairfax County.

The key to recognizing a copperhead is the pattern on the body. The color on copperheads can be highly variable and is not reliable for identification. The copperhead has an hour-glass shape draped across its body. The thin middle of the hour-glass is on the middle of the snake's back. Please remember to always keep a safe distance from an unidentified snake!

In the wild, the copperhead is rarely seen due to its elusiveness and shyness. This non-aggressive snake usually strikes when stepped on or provoked. If you are bitten go to the hospital immediately; however, the bite is rarely, if ever, fatal to humans. In the state of Virginia, no recorded human deaths have occurred from a copperhead bite.

Just download our Sponsorship Form to adopt me or any of my friends!

Five-lined Skink

Name: Hermes
Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus)
Native to Fairfax County

Many visitors see these lizards basking in the sun around the Visitor Center and are startled by their quick retreat. Juvenile five-lined skinks have a bright blue tail, which serves to distract predators. If attacked, the skink's tail can break off. It continues to wriggle for some time to distract the predator. The skink can then hide under objects or in leaf litter to escape.

Just download our Sponsorship Form to adopt me or any of my friends!

Sponsorships make great gifts too!

What does it mean to sponsor an animal?

  • You (or the gift recipient) will receive an "adoption certificate" and photo of the animal you sponsor
  • You will be invited to special sponsors-only events at the park
  • You will receive an animal Ambassador Activity Booklet
  • Your donation may be fully tax deductible
  • Sponsorships begin at $15

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

ADA Accessibility | Website Accessibility
Awards | FOIA | Mobile | Using this Site | Web Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Get Adobe Reader
Official site of the County of Fairfax, Virginia, © Copyright 2015

Website Feedback Website Feedback    Globe with various flags representing Web site language translations   Language Translations

Alert Logo   New Website Coming Soon--Check Out a Preview!
Return to Graphic Version