Gwendy Cheek agrees, and her children were the first Fairfax County residents to discover parks on The Discovery Trail this summer.
What’s Discovery Trail? Family adventures in 12 distinct parks. A garden. A farm. An historic mill. A wetlands. Three lakes. A river. Historic houses. Wooded paths. Nature centers.
We’ve picked a dozen distinct parks out of the more than 400 sites overseen by the Fairfax County Park Authority, and youth under age 18 who visit eight of them before September will walk away with a pocketful of freebies.
Gwendy is an adventure-loving mom who took her two sons to eight parks in just two weekends. She knows her parks and all they offer, and said among the favorite activities are “the great trails, the nature centers, and the playgrounds for my boys to play on. There were activities for both my sons and I.” She took note of Burke Lake’s many activities, listing the playgrounds, train, carousel, picnic area, boat area and more. Her family enjoys going to parks several times a week because her sons enjoy playing outside, and she gets her exercise. She said Frying Pan is close to their home and has “lots of activities for my young sons. They love the playground, carousel, and animals, and I enjoy the Farmers Market.”
Gwendy learned about Discovery Trail at the Chantilly Library and saw that further exploration of Fairfax County parks would be a great way to get her boys interested in the great outdoors. They headed to Sully Historic Site, Ellanor C. Lawrence Park, Burke Lake, Huntley Meadows, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Green Spring Gardens, Frying Pan Farm Park and Hidden Pond Nature Center. She timed her Frying Pan visit to the site’s Farmers Market schedule. That means not only did her sons hit the playground, ride the carousel, and pet the animals, but she enjoyed eating fresh produce from the market.
Just for visiting eight parks this summer, we’ll give youngsters 17 and under a prize package that includes a free round of mini-golf, a carousel ride, a wagon ride, a train ride, a tour boat ride, a boat rental, a pedal boat use, a camping site, and a RECenter visit. All free. In addition, you’ll be entered into a drawing in which we’re giving away three bicycles and helmets courtesy of Spokes, etc. and the Fairfax County Park Foundation.
Here’s how it works.
Drop by a county library, community center, or a staffed Fairfax County Park Authority park and pick up a 2015 Discovery Trail Map. You also can download the map online. Then visit the parks. While you’re there, get a stamp or a stamp code that you will enter on your map. When you visit your eighth park, hand in your map at the park or submit it, with the codes, online. You’ll receive your amusement prize package via U.S mail.
The 12 parks that are part of the Discovery Trail are Green Spring Gardens, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Hidden Pond Nature Center, Huntley Meadows, Lake Accotink, Lake Fairfax, Burke Lake, Riverbend, Sully Historic Site, Colvin Run Mill, Frying Pan Farm Park, and Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.
Twelve parks that will have you saying, “I didn’t know Fairfax County had that!” Yeah, Fairfax County does have that. There’s a reason the Fairfax County Park Authority has been named the nation’s best park agency three times. Great parks.
Make this the summer you discover your parks.