When outdoor temps peak, energy levels drop and some kids want nothing more than to veg out in the AC watching cartoons. To keep your little one from turning into a couch potato, check out these just-right spots—each has enough going on that you can mosey around and stay put (instead of bouncing from place to place and turning into a sweaty mess).
Photo: Robbie B. via Yelp
Water Mine Swimmin’ Hole
The Water Mine Swimmin’ Hole is a convenient and fantastic destination to spend a beautiful summer day. This one-acre water park offers slides (for tots and big kids), a lazy river, sprays, climbing structures, and flumes. While the kiddos are splashing around, parents can sunbathe on a lounge chair. Pack a picnic and enjoy your lunch under one of their many umbrellas. If you’re feeling waterlogged, take a pedal boat ride or ride the carousel next door at Lake Fairfax Park.
Lake Fairfax Park
1400 Lake Fairfax Dr. (Reston, Va)
Photo: Mosaic District via Facebook
Mosaic District is Merrifield’s gem—local restaurants, organic market, national chains, and boutiques. Every Tuesday morning your family can participate in Stories From Strawberry Park, a free, kid-friendly series of interactive storytellers. Afterwards, the kids can jump around in the spray fountains while the adults sip an iced coffee from Dolcezza. Once everyone is dry, grab a bite at one of their 15 restaurants. Once your food coma has set in, catch a movie at Angelika Film Center where they offer more than popcorn and hot dogs—grab a craft beverage, sandwich, pizza, salad, cheese plate, or other bites at one of their three concession stands and lounges.
2910 District Ave. (Fairfax, Va)
Natural History Museum
Enjoy the benefits of an educational activity at a low-cost. The world-renowned Natural History Museum not only offers free admission, but it also provides activities alongside its thousands of exhibits. Watch live tarantulas feedings at the Orkin Insect Zoo, create a necklace made up of your own DNA, visit Q?rius (the interactive learning lab), watch a 3-D show at the Johnson IMAX Theater, or walk among the butterflies in the Butterfly Pavilion. If all that learning works up an appetite, there is dining at the museum’s Atrium Café where local, organic, and sustainable ingredients are used.
10th St & Constitutional Ave., NW (Federal Triangle)
Gunpowder Falls State Park- Hammerman Beach Area
Do you want a beach that’s less than two hours from D.C.? Yes, please! Spend the day at Hammerman Area and feel like you’re hours away. This small, 1,500-ft beach sits on the banks of Gunpowder River. It’s part of the beautiful Gunpowder Falls State Park and surrounds itself with picnic pavilions, playgrounds, water rentals, and hiking trails. It’s open year-round and charges a small service fee. The added perk? Children in car seats are free.
7200 Graces Quarters (Chase, Md)
Photo: The Yards Park via Facebook
The Yards Park
In the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood lies a relatively new outdoor haven of fun. The Yards Park manages to balance energy and relaxation. Kids can chillax on the lawns, walk the boardwalk and bridge, take a dip in the 11-inch deep canal, and spray around in the fountains. After all this playing, watch the boats sail by while indulging in a yummy scoop of ice cream from Ice Cream Jubilee.
355 Water St., SE (Navy Yards)
Where do you take your kids to while the day away? Tell us in the comments section below.