The summer sun is shining, the chickadees are chirping, and the Northern Virginia sky is a dazzling azure blue—SplashDown Waterpark was made for days like today. The 13-acre water park, lauded as one of the best places to cool off in the area by Northern Virginia Magazine, abounds with aquatic attractions, including two four-story water slides.
Inflatable tubes meander down the park's 770-foot lazy river, and youngsters frolic through watery obstacle courses. Over in the 25-meter lap pool, American Red Cross–certified instructors conduct private swim lessons, teaching students how to tread water and convince dolphins to carry them when that gets tiring. The park also features an array of eateries and concessions stands full of hamburgers, pizzas, and sugary funnel cakes.
Many of the Northern Virginia Regional Parks feature sparkling springs, rolling countryside, and wooded trails. Others, however, feature 230-feet waterslides and giant plastic mermen. That’s because NOVA Parks includes a handful of recreational splash havens with towering slides, giant dumping buckets, and pristine pools.
Each waterpark is characterized by its own theme and unique whimsical décor, from the massive parrot that watches over Pirate's Cove to the lofty palm trees and grass huts that speckle Volcano Island. The latter location even boasts a landscaped mini golf course with 18 holes and challenging obstacles. All of the parks feature their own snack bars, where servers sling kid-friendly treats such as funnel cakes showered in sweet powdered sugar and popsicles with homework answers written on the sticks.
When Mike "Pev" Peverill’s teamed up with his brother Todd to build Pev's Paintball Park from the ground up, his driving force was to grant guests the chance to test their sense of strategy and adventure. This goal is achieved each day on his park's 48 acres of land boasting 12 different themed playing fields dappled with huts, log stacks, and other obstacles. The park is open to paintballers of all skill levels, and all customers receive an orderly safety briefing before they begin play, much like the gentlemanly crumpet and tea parties that prefaced each battle in the Revolutionary War.
Additionally, to ensure that grumbling stomachs don’t give hiding spots during paint-slinging battles, Pev’s offers a fully stocked and licensed onsite concession offers sustenance for battle-weary players.
Your kids might never have to sing "Rain, rain go away," now that Kid Junction's on the scene. No matter the weather, kids from infants to nine-year-olds can unleash their unlimited stores of rambunctiousness at the indoor, two-story playground. They clamber up several levels in the central play structure, tunnel through tubes and bound over bridges, before jettisoning themselves down multiple slides. All the while, parents can keep a watchful eye on the pint-sized goings on thanks to see-through panels and netting.
And when it comes to the arcade, parents can rest equally easy. Instead of games geared toward older kids, such as Mortal Kombat or Tax Return Hero, Kid Junction's games are designed to enhance motor skills and self-confidence. Younguns can shoot hoops, play air hockey, or roll skee-balls, for example. They can even dust off their imaginations at the kid-sized townscape, complete with post office and grocery store. Meanwhile parents relax with a cup of coffee and hop on the wireless internet access before they gather their kids for a meal of hot dogs or mac 'n' cheese at the cafe.
Since 1973, skaters have been sailing effortlessly across Fairfax Ice Arena’s spacious, icy surface during public skate sessions, figure skating–lessons, and hockey leagues for all ages. At the family-owned arena, a staff of dedicated skating coaches guides students while calling upon experience from the St. Petersburg State Ballet on Ice, Disney on Ice, and the lesser-known On Golden Pond on Ice. The arena is open throughout the year, hosting a full hockey and figure skating–pro shop in addition to its Arena Café.