Family time is fun time in Prince William County, which offers a wide array of family friendly activities for all ages and budgets. Kids can do a Junior Ranger program and earn a badge at Manassas National Battlefield Park and Prince William Forest Park or go ice skating at the Harris Pavilion Ice Rink. The region hosts festivals and parades all year long, from the Manassas St. Patrick's Day parade to the Dumfries Multicultural Festival, and from Haymarket Day to Merry Historic Downtown in Manassas. Rent paddle boats at Lake Ridge Park or Locust Shade Park, swim and slide at SplashDown Waterpark, or play miniature golf at Broad Run Miniature Golf in Bristow or the Magic Putting Place in Manassas. Whatever you do, you'll have many options for spending quality time with your loved ones without breaking the bank.
Kim Fredrich is used to hearing one word when she takes her young son and daughter (and usually a little friend or two) to SplashDown Waterpark: "Again!" They'll take a tube ride on the park's Lazy River, and then the kids will immediately want to float down...again. They'll glide down a water slide...again. They'll jump into the pool...again. They'll hit the concession stand...again.
Fredrich is thankful that SplashDown offers season passes, which makes visiting the park affordable and easy for her family. "SplashDown has a nice mix of water activities for different ages and abilities," Fredrich says. "It's very convenient to be able to watch younger children in the kiddie area while relaxing on lounge chairs. It makes for a great day out and feels like a special adventure."
The 13-acre waterpark has many different options for swimmers and splashers--including the Pipeline Tower with its four-story waterslides, an activity pool and leisure pool, spray fountains and bubblers at the Sandcastle Kids Kove, and a sandy "beach" area. Kids can test their balancing and navigation skills on the Lilly Pad and the Log Walk, and everyone can ease away their cares with a float on the Lazy River. Enjoy lunch, dinner, or a treat at one of the park's five concession areas. Just like Kim Fredrich's family, you'll want to come back again!
Ben Lomond Historic Site
Used as a field hospital during the Civil War, Ben Lomond Historic Site is known for the soldier graffiti that can still be seen on its walls. The site is now part of the Northern Virginia Civil War Graffiti Trail, which links historic sites with visible graffiti in Fairfax, Aldie, Winchester, and Brandy Station.
Play ball! The entire family can root for the home team when they watch the Potomac Nationals, also known as the P-Nats, play at their 6,000-seat stadium in Woodbridge. This minor league baseball team affiliated with the Washington Nationals and has produced such Major League stars as Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa.
Fresh farmer's markets can be found throughout Prince William & Manassas, and some of them run all year long. Find fresh produce, meats, flowers, and treats at farmer's markets in Bristow, Dale City, Dumfries, Haymarket, Manassas, and Occoquan.
Day One: Head to Manassas for a day of action-packed fun. Start at the Manassas National Battlefield Park, where kids can hike the battlefield and channel their inner general, while completing activities to earn their Junior Ranger badges. If there's time, climb the walls at the Vertical Rock Climbing Center don't worry, you'll be harnessed -- or try for a hole-in-one at the Broad Run Golf and Practice Facility, which has an 18-hole mini-golf course. Pack your swimsuit for a refreshing afternoon at SplashDown Waterpark, where you can grab ice cream cones or a fast, easy dinner.
Day Two: Play detective at Prince William Forest Park through the hobby of letterboxing. Letterboxing combines elements of orienteering and puzzle solving. Using booklets that can be picked up at the park visitor center, kids and families follow clues to find a small, weatherproof box containing a logbook and a rubber stamp. Prince William Forest has two trails with letterboxing clues--the Piedmont Forest Trail and the Laurel Loop Trail. After a lunch at nearby Dumfries, head to the Weems-Botts Museum, a historic home that shows what life in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries was like. The second Saturday of every month is "Children's Day" at the museum.