Places to Go - Longbranch Nature Center (Arlington, VA)


Ugh, winter. On the upside, Virginia rarely receives heavy snowfall. On the downside, this means looking at lots of ugly brown landscape during the colder months. So on days when the temperature rises above 40 degrees, we often head to Longbranch nature center. The trail next to the nature center follows a creek, with lots of rocks to climb on. Even in the dead of winter, the creek maintains a peaceful and relaxing type of beauty. Some days my kids just spend the afternoon playing by the creek, but when we're feeling up to it we'll walk about half a mile down the trail to a little playground and a big field, both of which are perfect for younger and older kids (T loves the red airplane pictured above) with lots of open sun to keep us warm on colder days. After the playground, we'll head back to the nature center and warm up in the playroom for awhile, which includes plastic dinosaurs, real tadpoles, and a playhouse.

When we visited Longbranch a few weeks ago, I brought along my favorite cards from Lynn Gordon's 52 Activities in Nature (52 Series). One of the cards asked the question "if you could be anything in nature what would you be and why?" F announced she'd choose to spend her days as a leaf on the ground "so I could make a crunching sound when people walk on me." P wanted to be "a tree so I could move my branches up and down." When F told her (in the bossy voice F always uses when acting out her big-sister role) that trees can't move their own branches P replied "then I'd be a magic tree." Nice job, P. (For other books suggestions involving kids and nature, check out this post).

In addition to a great nature center and trail, Longbranch also provides wonderful children's classes (topics range from dinosaurs to rainforests to birds and frogs). Click here to download The Snag for Wee Ones, where upcoming classes are listed.

What about everyone else? Any good outdoor recommendations for winter? I'd love to hear them!


1 comment:

  1. Oh so lovely! I have driven by the sign for this place a zillion times and never knew what exactly was back there. Thanks!



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