Big Walnut Park1915 N. Harrison St.
Arlington, VA 22205
Website ~ Map Link
Bottom Line: Newly renovated in fall 2011, shady, good for older kids. No bathrooms, no fences. 3/5 stars
Big Walnut Park used to be a disappointing excuse for a park. Small, very few features, hardly worth a visit. So when I noticed it was under construction over the summer, I looked forward to seeing what the County would do. The construction fencing finally came down this week and we headed right over to check out the new digs.
I’m pleased to say, it is much improved! It is still a small park, but the upgrades greatly enhance its appeal and make it a fun place for older kids.
The park only has four play elements, and sadly swings are not one of them. But what they do have is very nice.
Big Kid Play Structure
There is one large play structure that is the focal point of the park. Older children will enjoy the variety of ways for them to climb, slide and play. Moms of little ones should keep a sharp eye as their are openings at the top that tots could slip through. There is a sign noting this play area is designed for ages 5-12.
Merry Go Round
My kids were delighted to discover the merry-go-round. It seems this old-school play equipment is making a comeback, and this one sports a modern design. I was glad there is soft rubber surfacing underneath as my 3 year old proved it is still possible to get flung off :).
I’m not sure what you call this thing — it rocks and moves and can be enjoyed solo or with other friends. My kids had fun bouncing on it and jumping off like a diving board.
Gazebo / Sandbox
There is a gazebo with one picnic table, and a sandlot behind it.
The sandlot is terraced, full of clean white sand, and a digger shovel. There were also lots of sand toys the first day it was open — I’m not sure if the county donated them, or a generous neighbor already left them.
The lower part of the park is open green space, but it is scrubby grass and not maintained. I have hopes that the county will devote some of that space to more play equipment (like swings!), but have no idea if that is in the works.
Other things worth mentioning… the park is not fenced, and there is no bathroom. It appears to get pretty good shade in late afternoon, except for the sandbox which is in full sun. I should also note that this park sits adjacent to a giant cell tower.
Overall, Big Walnut is not as fully featured as many other Arlington parks, but the new play equipment makes it a nice neighborhood playground worth visiting.
Looking for more places to play? Check out my reviews of other Playgrounds, Parks, and Play Areas in Arlington and the greater Metro DC area.
Find more parks by visiting my main Arlington Parks & Playgrounds page.