Fresh Air

Fresh Air

Ford Nature Center Spring Programs

The City of Alexandria is offering new programs for the entire family this spring at the Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center, 5750 Sanger Ave. Registration and advance reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, call the Ford Nature Center’s naturalist staff at 703-838-4829, or visit The new schedule of programs includes:

Saturday/April 15

Colors of Spring. Parents are invited to participate with their children in a program featuring natural egg dying, “eggsciting” games, and a search for Mr. Cottontail’s candy basket. There will be a materials fee charge of $5. Families, 2-3:30 p.m.

Wednesday/April 19

Guest Speaker Programs. The Ford Nature Center will host guest speakers each third Wednesday of the month from 7-9 pm. On April 19, Kent Knowles from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia will visit with live hawks and owls in a special presentation on the rehabilitation and conservation of birds of prey. The $6 admission includes refreshments. Reservations are required.

Friday/April 21

Children’s Discovery Hour. This bi-weekly after-school program for children, ages 6-11, features outdoor hikes, games, crafts, live animals, science experiments, and more. The fee for materials is $2. Children, 4-5 p.m.

Saturday/April 22

Nature Center Open House. A day of family events that includes live bluegrass music, ongoing nature-oriented activities for children, hourly Heritage Walks on the history of Dora Kelley Nature Park, and a special presentation by EcoVoce. Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children. Families, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Saturday/April 29

“The Lorax” (Video). “I speak for the trees!” Watch this animated tale from Dr. Seuss while enjoying fresh popcorn and lemonade. An outdoor conservation project will follow. There will be a supply fee of $2. Children, 2-3:30 p.m.

Mason Neck State Park Events

Mason Neck State Parks holds several outdoor events each weekend. Events are free, but $4 parking fees apply. The park is located at 7301 High Point Road in Lorton. Contact Chief Ranger Elizabeth L. Fischer at or 703-339-2385 with questions.

Saturday/April 15, 29

Birding by the Bay: Join the interpreter on Bay View Trail to see birds like Bald Eagles and Osprey, and a number of different Songbirds as well. 9-11 a.m.

Colonial Games: Meet in the Picnic Area to play games that children used to play in colonial times. 1-2 p.m.

Wildflower Walk: What’s Blooming at Mason Neck State Park? Find out weekly on this wildflower walk. 3-4 p.m.

Sunday/April 16, 23, 30

Pond Dip: Meet at our frog pond to join the interpreter in dip netting to see what’s waking up in the water. 1-2 p.m.

Craft Corner: People of all ages are welcome to join us at the Visitor Center to make a craft to take home. 3-4 p.m.

Saturday/April 22

Eagle Festival. Join us for live animal shows, pony rides, hay rides, canoe tours, nature walks, music, refreshments, magic shows and more. There’s something for all ages, and parking is free on this day as well. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Mount Vernon’s Spring Garden Party

Wagon rides through the fruit garden and nursery, early-American musicians, and demonstrations on how to incorporate 18th-century techniques into modern gardens are some of the special events 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16 at George Washington’s Estate & Gardens. Heirloom plants and gifts also available through May 7. Included in admission of $13, $12 for seniors, $6 for students, with ages 5 and under free. Visit or call 703-780-2000.

Washington Blooms at River Farm

As cherry blossoms, daffodils, tulips and other colorful flowers herald the coming of spring in the National Capital area, the American Horticultural Society’s headquarters at River Farm bursts into bloom with thousands of bulbs. We will be offering special tours of the grounds, and be sure to attend our popular plant sale.

* April 15: Spring Garden & Bulb Tour, 10 a.m.

* April 20: Members-Only Preview Night

Friends of River Farm Plant Sale, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

* April 21 and 22: Friends of River Farm Plant Sale, Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* April 29: Spring Garden & Bulb Tour, 10 a.m.; Family Day at River Farm, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturday/April 15

Planning, Planting and Harvesting a Herb Garden. Margaret Ritchie, author of “Planning, Planting and Harvesting Your Herb Garden,” shows how to include herbs in the landscape, maintain them and embrace them in the daily routine. Books available for purchase. Fee: $11. 10-11.30 a.m. at Green Spring, 4603 Green Spring Road. Call 703-642-5173.

Del Ray Farmers Market opens for the season. Runs 8 a.m.-noon at the corner of Mount Vernon and Oxford Avenues. The Irish Breakfast Band will play for the opening.

Saturday/April 22

Historic Garden Tour of Alexandria. This 73rd annual tour features five privately-owned Old Town homes and gardens, two historic churches and four historic properties. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 703-329-6935 or visit

Garden Day and Herb Sale. Admire the garden at its prettiest and shop for herbs grown at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St. Admission $4, $2 for children, and included in the Historic Gardens Tour ticket. Visit or call 703-549-2997.

Sunday/April 23

Garden Days Tea and Tour. Learn about the tea customs of the 19th century while enjoying a special blend of tea and period confections. Seatings at noon and 2 p.m. at Woodlawn, the home of George Washington’s adopted granddaughter, at 9000 Richmond Hwy. $25 includes tea and tour of Woodlawn, $5 additional for tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House. Reservations required; Call 703-780-4000, Ext. 33. Repeats April 30.

Gardening Days at Mount Vernon. George Washington’s Estate and Gardens are their most beautiful April 17-May 7. Herbalist Betsey-Ann Golon demonstrates 18th-century gardening techniques; guided landscape tours offered at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. daily. Famous garden and gift sale, featuring heirloom plants, some from Mount Vernon, open daily. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Included in admission of $13, $12 for seniors, $6 for students, with ages 5 and under free. Visit or call 703-780-2000.