Parkhurst Park5820 20th Rd. N.
Arlington, VA 22205
Website ~ Map Link
Bottom Line: Wonderful park! Has lovely new, modern equipment that offer fun for all ages. Great path for beginner riders. Only negatives are lack of shade and bathrooms. 4/5 stars.
Last night was a perfect evening, weather-wise. Low humidity, warm but not stifling temps — it was simply too nice to stay home and be inside. So we had an early dinner and then took our first family bike ride to Parkhurst Park.
I had heard from other moms that this is a wonderful, newly renovated park (Sept. 09 — see Conceptual Drawing of the Park (PDF)), hampered only by it’s lack of shade. I figured early evening on a beautiful day was the perfect time to check it out. It’s not too far from our house, and Praise-the-Lord, everyone got there in one piece. Mike towed Adam in the Burley bike trailer, with his glider strapped to the back. Sam & Wendy pedaled their own bikes and did a great job.
This park is another hidden gem. I had driven down Lexington Street many a time without a clue that this park was hiding behind the row of houses. It is accessible from 20th Rd, which is an odd shaped cul-de-sac, or from 19th St. Once we found the entrance and walked in, I felt a bit like I had just discovered the Emerald City, or had been let into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
Everything was so … nice! A paved circular path loops around the playground, which is broken out into different play areas. Immediately upon entering (from 20th Rd), you pass a water fountain and then find yourself in the little kids area. There is a sand area on the left – with water! Perfect for making sand castles that hold their shape. Just past the sand box are two bucket swings for little ones. On the right is a twirly bucket seat, a see-saw (the new kind that doesn’t send kids crashing to the ground), and a smaller play structure designed for the 2-5 crowd.
Continuing along the path, you find the play area for the 5-12 set. There is a large play structure with a slide, climbing wall, and all kinds of interesting features. There is also another hard to describe play structure, similar to one at Westover Park. These play areas seem intended to be climbed on and explored whichever way a child’s imagination leads.
Past this equipment, you’ll find 4 regular swings and another sand lot with a water pump. There’s also a nice gazebo with picnic tables.
This side of the park also features an eco-friendly rain garden. This area is designed to channel rain water run-off into a “vegetated swale”, which reduces pollution from storm water.
The last feature of the park is something I haven’t seen any other Arlington parks. It has 3 large man made boulders, strung together by ropes. Each rock face is different and undefined. Kids can climb on the ropes to travel between the boulders and play on them imaginatively. When we were there, 3 elementary aged kids were using them to travel between “Base 1, 2 and 3” and climbed on the ropes to avoid the “hot lava”. My older two kids (6, and 5) loved climbing on them too.
I loved just about everything about this park. I loved that while we were there, I saw people of all ages enjoying the park. Toddlers playing, preschoolers riding bikes, elementary kids climbing on the rocks, teenagers talking in the gazebo, adults strolling and walking dogs. I love that the park was so carefully designed down to the smallest detail – like making sure the pump has a notch to hold a water bucket. It would be nice if there was a bathroom and more shade, but of course no park is perfect. I don’t consider Parkhurst a “destination” park, i.e. I wouldn’t make a trip up from Woodbridge or anything. But if you live anywhere nearby, you should definitely stop by and check out this delightful park.
Find more parks by visiting my main Arlington Parks & Playgrounds page.