With temperatures rising for the past few weeks, Washington D.C. seems to have shaken the shackles of winter for good. And with the warmer weather, people are hankering to get into the great outdoors.
This city is full of areas to experience nature in all its glory, but for a truly unique adventure, one needs to escape the city limits and venture outside the Beltway.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go too far past 495 to visit the biggest and most diverse regional parks in the area.
Wheaton, Maryland, situated straight north of the city and just a couple miles outside the Beltway is home to Wheaton Regional Park, a massive outdoor center with nearly unlimited activities for people of all ages to partake in.
The park is just a bit north of the town, surrounded by suburban neighborhoods. It’s so large that it’s divided into three areas, each with its own unique character and activities.
For those interested in getting some exercise, head to the Orebaugh Area section of the park, where there are plenty of options. For starters, Orebaugh has two ice rinks, indoor and outdoor arenas. The later is closed for the summer, but the former is open year round for free skates, where you can grab admission and rentals for just $10.
Alongside the ice rink there are indoor and outdoor tennis courts, softball and baseball fields and an outdoor basketball court. For those traveling with man’s best friend, there’s a gravel dog park to let your puppy roam free.
If you’ve got kids in tow, then the best part of the park to visit is the Shorefield Area. And the highlight of that area is the brand new Adventure playground, which just opened. The two-acre park is a child’s paradise, with obstacles to scale all over the place, including climbing nets and walls. There are also playground staples like swings and slides, as well as a concrete zoo full of sculpted animals.
For kids who love real animals, there is the Wheaton Park Stables, where on Sundays and Tuesdays, from 12-1 p.m., kids can get pony rides for just $5. If your child wants to ride more inanimate objects, there is a 1860s miniature replica train that goes on a tour through the wooded areas of the park, as well as a carousel from the early 1900s.
The train and carousel are open seven days a week starting May 1st. In this upcoming month of April, it’s just open on weekends, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Now if its boisterous kids and noise you are looking to escape, Wheaton Regional Park also has the perfect place for you.
In the Glenallan Area of the park, you’ll find one of the prettiest and most serene spots in the area. Brookside Gardens is a 50-acre botanical garden with an amazing array of floral and fauna and ponds and streams. It’s just the place to wander around and forget city living for a couple of hours. There are quiet gazebos, an azalea plot with over 300 different versions of the plant, as well as rose garden with every type of the lovely flower imaginable.
So with warmth having finally arrived for good, head to Wheaton Regional Park for outdoor activities that cover the entire spectrum.
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