Learn, Play, Discover! Discovery Trail Map 2015!


Discovery Trail MapWe love nothing better than exploring and learning about the great outdoors.

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.

Green Spring Gardens

Green Spring Gardens

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.”

Frying Pan Park

Frying Pan Park

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.

Discovery TrailDiscover Discovery Trail

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.

Lake Accotink Park

Lake Accotink 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.



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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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