Butler Holmes Park101 South Barton St.
Arlington, VA 22204
Website ~ Map Link
Bottom Line: Really unique, fun play area for older kids; should be great for younger kids when the renovations are complete. I give it 4/5 stars for the wow factor of the climber.
Note: there is not much for little kids right now. Phase 2 of this park's renovations will include a tot lot for younger kids, but the design portion of this phase is not slated to begin until early 2012.
I had never heard of Butler Holmes park, until I one day stumbled on a news item about it. This two-acre park in the Penrose neighborhood recently underwent a renovation, creating a really cool play space (Phase 1 was completed Summer 2011).
The highlight (pun intended) of the park is the huge, 32 feet high climbing net — the highest in the nation, according to the press release.
Of course, my kiddos made a beeline for it.
The first time we visited the park, my 3.5 year old couldn’t master the nets and had to stay on the ground. I was thankful, as the structure is intended for the 5-12 crowd and I feared his adventuresome nature might exceed his stature. Unfortunately (for me), he figured it out on our second trip to the park and had fun climbing like the rest of my monkeys.
The climbing net gets decent shade in the morning — we arrived around 11am and it wasn’t too hot. On a return trip, we arrived mid-day and found everything in full sun.
Other Play Features
The other play items in the park include a pair of swings and a spinning pole.
Swings are always popular, so it would have been nice if there was more than just two, especially since there are only three play objects in the park right now. The Spinning Pole looks really unassuming, but is really fun. There is also one at Penrose Park.
Other Park Amenities
There is a nice covered pavilion in the play area, and a paved path that leads down to the basketball court.
The path has a gentle slope which makes it good for beginning/young riders. There are more picnic tables and some charcoal grills in the shade under the trees along 1st St. There is a water fountain down by the basketball court, but none near the play area.
Between the basketball courts and play area, the landscape dips and there is a vegetated swale to help convey stormwater run-off.
This park was a really fun discovery for my crew. They had a great time climbing and riding bikes. Once the tot lot is developed, it should be a great place for kids of all ages. My only complaint, if any, is that there is no bathroom facility on site, despite what the county page indicates.
If you have older kids and are looking for a new park to visit, I recommend checking out Butler Holmes! If you have younger kids, you may want to skip this one until the renovations are complete.
Have you been to this park? What are your thoughts?
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.