Fort Belvoir, VA

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Fort Belvoir, VA Fort Belvoir, VA Housing
            OUTDOOR FUN          RELOCATION
Outdoor Fun

Though the base is close to the bustle of the nation's capital, outdoor retreats and adventures abound.

Huntley Meadows Park is one of the premier parks of its kind in the area, featuring over 1,400 acres of boardwalks, trails, and observation platforms for sighting 200 species of birds, 30 types of mammals, and 50 species of amphibians and reptiles. Much of the wetlands have been carved out and created by beavers and their dams, and the entire park tends to attract less common animals than many other local areas.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens feature over 20 varieties of cherry trees, aquatic plants, an herb garden, lilac garden, and collections of azaleas and fern and hosta. The gardens are also dedicated to preserving native flora and have a Potomac Valley Collection of native plants, a Virginia Native Tree Collection, and a Virginia Native Wetlands section. A recent unique addition, the Korean Bell Garden, shows off a one of a kind piece, the Bell of Peace and Harmony, cast in South Korea during the Shilla Dynasty (57 BC-935 AD).

Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts is the only performing arts center that is also a national park in the United States. The Filene Center is an indoor and outdoor venue for 7,000 people and regularly hosts concerts of all genres.

Ellanor C. Lawrence Park is a 650-acre green space area for the enjoyment of the public with hiking and walking trails, athletic fields, picnicking, and bird watching. The 1780 farmhouse on the grounds serves as an interpretive visitors center featuring a children's section, live animal exhibits, and educational programs.

Green Spring Gardens and Horticultural Center offer a year-round outdoor classroom, museum and restored 18th century home, 20 themed gardens and ponds, tropical greenhouse, and horticultural reference library for visitors to enjoy. The museum has a gift shop and offers a tour complete with tea time.

Cameron Run Regional Park features an 18-hole mini golf course, batting cages, and a water park with waterslides and a wave pool, in Alexandria.

Washington D.C.

The Constitution Gardens is a 52-acre park on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, dedicated by President Reagan in 1986 as a "living legacy tribute" to the Constitution. It features lots of green space and a pond with a small island in the middle with a memorial to the Declaration of Independence.

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is an outdoor garden featuring contemporary sculptures and a fountain which becomes an ice-skating rink during the winter.

The Smithsonian's National Zoo was founded in 1889, making it one of the oldest zoos in the U.S. The zoo features over 400 species of animals, many that rare and endangered, including giant pandas, lions, gorillas, elephants, and cheetahs. This was the first zoo in America to have a pair of pandas, the famous Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing.

The National Cherry Blossoms Festival celebrates the blooming of over 3,000 cherry blossom trees given to the U.S. by Japan in 1912. The trees bloom for a mere 2 weeks in March or April, but it is worth seeing, despite the lack of parking downtown, the explosion of pink and white along the Tidal Basin shores.

Rock Creek Park is over 1,700 acres in D.C. for the use of equestrian trails, jogging, sporting events, nature center, concert area, and picnicking. The park is land formerly quarried by Native Americans and the Peirce Mill, one of the only gristmills still standing along the creek, from the 1820s. The Old Stone House, though located in nearby Georgetown, is property of the park and is the oldest building in Washington D.C., built around 1765. Now it is a museum for the public to catch a glimpse of what life was life for colonists.

The Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens is the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post who dreamed her estate would one day inspire the public and become a museum. The 25 acres of gardens includes a Japanese-style garden, one of the country's finest orchid greenhouses, and a single-variety rose garden. The estate proudly boasts the largest collection of Imperial Russian art, including 18th-19th century Faberge Eggs, outside of Russia, and an impressive collection of French decorative art.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is one of the top modern art museums in the country and a part of the Smithsonian Institute. The focus is on post-World War II era art and sculpture and the building is a sight in and of itself, a giant concrete circular "spaceship" is located adjacent to the National Mall.

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens is the site of the last tidal marsh in Washington D.C. and preserves rare waterlilies and lotuses, as well as hundreds of species of native insects, plants, and animals like beavers, deer and foxes. It is the only national park devoted to aquatic plants.
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