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Insiders: Parks

With More than 100 Parks, There°Øs Something for Everybody

<b>(1) POWHATAN SPRINGS PARK

</b>This park features two main attractions — a skate park and a rain garden. The 15,000-square-foot skate park was designed for skateboarding and in-line skating with a combination of street-style elements as well as the more traditional bowls and half-pipes. The rain garden is geared towards children and combines an interactive learning experience with a self sustaining garden.

<b>(2) POTOMAC OVERLOOK REGIONAL PARK

</b>Perched alongside the Potomac River in North Arlington, the 100 acre Potomac Overlook offers woodlands, nature trails that follow streams and pass waterfalls, educational vegetable, herb, butterfly and wildflower gardens, a picnic area and a nature center. In addition to exhibits promoting sustainable energy solutions, the nature center houses live animals and natural history exhibits.

<b>(3) BLUEMONT PARK

</b>Situated in a residential area, this 70-acre park is popular for its wide range of amenities. In addition to a basketball court, three baseball fields, nine tennis courts with lights, a volleyball court and a horseshoe pit, Bluemont Park offers a Frisbee golf course — the only one in the area. If that’s not enough, there are picnic tables, a paved trail, a stream and a bridge.

<b>(4) SHIRLINGTON PARK

</b>Although Shirlington Park offers a paved trail for humans, this park caters to dogs. It’s no wonder considering the park’s large size and close proximity to a stream that dogs love to frolic in. If that’s not enough, adjacent to the main park is a smaller fenced in area reserved for little dogs.

<b>(5) HAYES PARK

</b>The 2.86-acre Hayes Park isn’t the biggest, but this planet-themed park offers great amenities for children, most notably the spray park. Unlike the “spraygrounds” at Drew Park and Lyon Village Park, this spray park is almost entirely in the shade. Water sprays from the ground in seemingly random cycles, keeping children guessing. In addition to the spray park is a shady playground with swings, slides, a large sand area, a tunnel and a small rock climb area.

<b>(6) GRAVELLY POINT PARK

</b>Located just 400 feet from a Washington National Airport runway, Gravelly Point is one of the best places in the country to watch planes land and take off. Planes fly as low as 100 to 150 feet directly overhead and can be seen as often as 30 times an hour. The park also offers a great view of the Washington skyline.

<b>(7) BON AIR PARK

</b>In addition to playgrounds, sports courts, picnic areas, and a nature area for viewing wildlife, this 23.65-acre park features an azalea garden, shade garden, sun garden, ornamental tree garden, and a memorial rose garden. The rose garden showcases hybrid tea roses grown by local rosarians and is often the site for wedding photos.

<b>(8) NETHERLANDS CARILLON AND PARK

</b>In 1954, the Dutch gave the U.S. a 40-meter-tall 49-bell tower in gratitude for its aid during and after WWII. Patriotic concerts and recitals are performed on the Carillion throughout the summer. Winchester Chimes play daily on the hour between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. In front of the Carillon lie rolling greens with a spectacular view of the D.C. skyline.

<b>(9) UPTON HILL REGIONAL PARK

</b>This urban park offers a wide variety of recreational activities. For a fee, this park offers a water park complete with waterslides, pools and fun water features for children, batting cages and a mini-golf course. For those not looking to spend any money, the park also offers picnic areas and hiking trails.

<b>(10) GULF BRANCH NATURE CENTER AND PARK

</b>Nestled into a 37.74-acre park, the Gulf Branch Nature Center offers environmental education programs for all ages, exhibits, a live animal exhibit room, a pond, a restored log cabin and an observation bee hive. In addition to the nature center, the park has a stream, bridge, paved trail, nature trails, and a small garden with native shrubs and ferns.