Tucked away in a residential area of Springfield lies Hidden Pond Nature Center. Scenic views of undisturbed nature, bubbling brooks and sprawling wooded trails are just some reasons to pay a visit to the family friendly nature park.
Surrounded by tall trees and lush green foliage, Hidden Pond can double as the local nature lovers second home.
“I love working and being around nature,” said staffer Alison Van Gilst, who has been volunteering and working at Hidden Pond since she was 12. “It’s a great family environment.”
Since 1978, Hidden Pond has served as a popular destination for children’s birthday parties, elementary school field trips, and nature lovers. Its trademark pond still remains a beautiful site, despite the overgrowth of duckweed. Community members are able to rent party rooms and picnic shelters for celebrations.
“We really try to let people know the importance of science,” said manager James Pomeroy who has worked at Hidden Pond for 30 years. Pomeroy loves it when he sees children participating in activities around the Pond’s 25 acres.
Nature-oriented classes at Hidden Pond that focus on topics such as geology, stream study and archaeology are available through Fairfax County Parks programs. Course offerings are listed in the Fairfax County Park Takes catalogue.
“The fact that in my years here, I’ve watched kids in our programs become volunteers and go into science as a profession in their careers is very gratifying,” said Pomeroy.
During the days, the Nature Center at Hidden Pond is filled with school-aged children running around and looking at all the different animals in awe. From bullfrogs, to snakes, to baby tadpoles, Hidden Pond has a variety of animals for the guests’ viewing pleasure.
“The kids love to come and see the animals,” said visitor Jayme Specht of Fairfax Station, who often takes her children to the Hidden Pond.
“We really try to involve our youth, and because this is a community park, we want to give people a reason to come back,” said Pomeroy. “We have a really active volunteer core. It sends the message to the community that this is a worthwhile place.”
With no admission fee, Hidden Pond Nature Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 12-5 p.m. on weekends. It’s closed on Tuesdays.