Nothing says summer like a trip to the water park.
Reston’s own water park, The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole (1400 Lake Fairfax Drive), will open for the season Saturday. Splashing, tubing, sliding and more will be available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. all three days of Memorial Day Weekend.
Admission each day this weekend will be $15.95 for adults and kids over 4 feet tall; kids under 4 feet tall are admitted for $12.25; and children 2 and under get in free with a paying adult. Season passes are also available for purchase.
The park will be open only on Saturdays and Sundays until daily hours begin Monday, June 26. Weekend-only hours will return once school begins, and the last day of season will be Sunday, Sept. 10.
If you plan to go this weekend, the park recommends arriving before 10 a.m., as “the line begins filling as early as 30-45 minutes prior to opening. If you are arriving at other times, you may experience a wait of up to 45 minutes.”
The last weekend in April is expected to bring hot weather, pushing the high 80s or even the low 90s. Summer is still almost two months away but it looks like this weekend will be a good early taste of it.
There are plenty of fun activities on the agenda for this weekend, whether you want to play outside or you’d rather be inside where it’s cool.
Here is just a sample of the events going on around the area this weekend.
- Saturday marks the opening day of the Reston Farmers Market at Lake Anne Plaza. From 8 a.m. to noon, vendors will be offering their goods as the 20th season of the market kicks off. The Pink Armoire fashion bus will be a special guest this week.
- Tonight, from 5:30-8 p.m., will be the Empty Bowls fundraiser at Floris United Methodist Church (13600 Frying Pan Road, Herndon). Proceeds go to Food for Others. Tickets will be $30 at the door.
- The Mighty Mile kids’ race will be Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. at Reston Town Center. Kids ages 6-14 will run one mile; 4- and 5-year-olds will run a half-mile; and kids under 4 will participate in the Tot Dash.
- South Lakes High School Theatre is performing “Beauty and the Beast” this weekend and next. This weekend’s shows are tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m., and at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets at the door are $10-$12.
- Reston Children’s Center (11825 Olde Crafts Drive) will host its Spring Carnival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It will include food, bounce castles, raffles and prizes, face painting, and carnival games.
- The Mercury Fountain at Reston Town Center will be turned on for the season during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday. The event will include refreshments, family festivities and a dedication honoring Relay for Life.
- Other events at Reston Town Center this weekend include Independent Bookstore Day at Scrawl Books (11862 Market St.), a cooking class at Il Fornaio (11990 Market St.), and live entertainment at World of Beer (1888 Explorer St.) tonight and Saturday.
- “Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp” remains on display at Greater Reston Arts Center (12001 Market St.) through August.
- The Reston Friends Semi-Annual Book Sale is going on all weekend at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive).
- The Meeting House at Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 West Ox Road, Herndon) served as a field hospital, encampment and picket post during the Civil War. From 1-3 p.m. Sunday, re-enactors, exhibits and a special guest speaker will share information about the lives of those soldiers.
- Reston Association will host an open house at The Lake House on Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.
- “First Blooms” by artist Dorothy Donahey will be on exhibit at Reston Art Gallery and Studios (11400 Washington Plaza W.), one last weekend. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
- This will be the last weekend for “A Respite from Chaos” at Reston Community Center’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery (1609 Washington Plaza N.).
- NextStop Theatre Company (269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) is performing “Boeing, Boeing” through May 7. Performances this weekend are tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m., 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday, and a 7 p.m. showing Sunday. Tickets are $35-$55.
- Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will have its “Puppy Palooza” on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at Pet Valu (11160-E South Lakes Drive).
- Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music tonight, 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., from Holly Montgomery Band. DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits Saturday night.
- Vinafera Wine Bar and Bistro (11750 Sunrise Valley Drive) has live music from 7-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night in April.
Runners Marathon of Reston is Sunday — Some volunteers are still needed for the Runners Marathon of Reston, which will be held Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in South Reston. There are still a few slots available for runners as well. Drivers are reminded to be on the lookout for runners on roads including South Lakes Drive, Soapstone Drive, Lawyers Road and Sunrise Valley Drive. [Reston Now]
Brew House, Kiln & Co. Collaborating for Event — Kiln & Co. will officially open its pottery and custard shop at Lake Anne Plaza on Saturday during Founder’s Day. Tonight, however, it will be part of a special event at Lake Anne Brew House. Special beer and custard combinations will be served. [Lake Anne Brew House/Facebook]
Nats’ Opening Week Celebration at Reston Town Center — Fans are invited to get a picture with one of the Washington Nationals’ Racing Presidents today from 3-6 p.m., and special Happy Hour deals will be available at American Tap Room when the game starts at 3. [Reston Town Center/Facebook]
Open House Set for Preschool — Bright Horizons at Commerce Metro Center (11400 Commerce Park Drive) will host an open house event April 17-20 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day. Parents are invited to learn about what the school has to offer their children. [Bright Horizons]
Proposed Changes to South Lakes Fairfax Connector Schedule — The public is invited to give its feedback on a series of proposed changes to the Fairfax Connector schedule and routes in the county. One of the proposals is listed as “minor schedule adjustments to address crowding issues associated with ridership to and from South Lakes High School” on Route 551. [Fairfax County]
Children ages 6 to 14 are invited to participate in the annual Reston Kids Triathlon. Registration starts next week.
The triathlon is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 6 at Ridge Heights Pool (11400 Ridge Heights Road). Participants will be broken into three age groups to tackle the course:
- Ages 6-8: swim 50 meters, bike 1.1 miles, run 7/10th of a mile
- Ages 9-11: swim 100 meters, bike 2 miles, run 1 mile
- Ages 12-14: swim 150 meters, bike 4 miles, run 1.4 miles
At least one free training clinic will be offered to registrants in June or July to help them understand what to expect on the day of the event.
Volunteers are also sought for the event. In addition, individuals or businesses are invited to make donations to sponsor children in the race. The event itself is co-sponsored by Reston Association and the YMCA Fairfax County-Reston.
The 2016 race had more than 200 participants.
Registration for the seventh annual event begins Wednesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at the event’s website.
There is always a lot to do in Reston and the surrounding area, and this weekend is no exception. Kids and adults alike have plenty of options for fun as we welcome the calendar’s fourth month.
Here are just some ideas for what to do in the Reston area this weekend:
- Reston Community Center’s annual “Eggnormous” Easter egg hunt is Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m. at Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Way). The free event is sure to be a big hit for all the kids. For more information, visit the Reston Community Center website.
- Also at Lake Fairfax Park on Saturday, volunteers are sought to help clean up the watershed. The event, one of nine at parks around the county, is set for 9-11:30 a.m.
- Dogs will be the guests of honor Saturday during the “Wag Fest” celebration in Reston. The event, set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive).
- The last two performances of Reston Community Players’ “Rock of Ages” will be tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. at CenterStage (2310 Colts Neck Road). Tickets for each performance of the show are $25.
- Reston Town Center will be host to an MS Walk on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m., with registration starting at 8.
- The annual April Fool’s Day prank at Reston Town Center will be taking place all-day Saturday at Fountain Square.
- Other events at Reston Town Center this weekend include the Rings for Spring bridal event, Easter egg decorating at Williams-Sonoma, kids’ cooking class at Il Fornaio and more.
- The A Bridal Show will also be taking place in Reston this weekend, Sunday at the Bechtel Conference Center (1801 Alexander Bell Drive).
- The Tidewater Guitar Quartet will play Sunday at 4 p.m. at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center St.). Tickets are $20.
- The children’s book sale at Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) will be from 1-4 p.m. Sunday.
- The Friends of Reston’s Environmental Film Series will show “Hometown Habitat” tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive).
- Kalypso’s (1617 Washington Plaza N.) will have live music tonight, 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., from Innertwined. DJ Kram will play Top 40 hits Saturday night.
It’s all part of a day’s work for a farmer. Beginning in April at Frying Pan Farm Park (2709 W. Ox Road, Herndon), local families are invited to find out what it’s like.
The Junior Farmer Family Fun program will take place at the park every other Thursday beginning April 6. Open to ages 2 and up, the program will give participants the chance to get up close and personal with farm life by helping with a variety of the chores.
Topics and activities will vary throughout the six weeks of the program, which will go from 4 to 5 p.m. each day. Cost to participate is $7 per person, per week. All children must be accompanied by a registered adult.
Frying Pan Farm Park preserves and interprets a farm of the 1920s-1950s, including the agricultural process, rural community life and landscape. Its goal is to provide for the educational, cultural and recreational enrichment of citizens and visitors of Fairfax County.
For more information about Frying Pan Farm Park, the program or other activities that are available, call 703-437-9101 or visit its website.
Photo via Fairfax County Park Authority
Reston Community Center will put on the community’s annual egg hunt at Lake Fairfax Park on Saturday, April 1. (Due to a park scheduling conflict, this is a change from the originally announced date of April 8.)
Debbie Heron, RCC’s youth program director, says about 10,000 eggs will be dropped for the event, which is a hit for families and RCC staff alike.
“It’s one of the few free egg hunts that still exists,” she said. “We get a very nice showing of patrons and people in the community. … We love it. It’s great. It’s one of our favorite events.”
Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Way) is a new location for the event, which has been held in recent years at Brown’s Chapel Park. Heron said Lake Fairfax Park provides bigger grounds with more room for parking.
“We change every several years, but if this works out really well, we’ll probably stay for the long term,” she said.
Heron said several hundred children ages 8 and under are expected to participate in the hunt, and they will separated into four different age groups. The event will also include moon bounces, a strolling magician and more fun for kids.
The event is scheduled for 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 1. The egg hunt itself will start at 10:30 a.m. sharp.
For more information about the egg hunt or other upcoming youth-oriented events from Reston Community Center, contact Heron at 703-390-6163.
Photo courtesy Reston Community Center
The only YMCA in Fairfax County is accepting applications for its more than 50 summer camp options.
Joseph Crawford, YMCA Fairfax County Reston’s executive director, said some residents may be unaware that the cost of the organization’s camps — which can run $180 and up per week, per child — can be covered by scholarship funding.
“We raise all the money locally. Some comes from some companies around here, there’s lot of them in Reston, but the lion’s share of the money donated just comes from families that had positive experiences at YMCAs and they really get it,” Crawford said. “Reston and Fairfax County, specifically, it’s a very philanthropic community, and they have that give-back focus kind of built into their DNA.”
YMCA Fairfax County Reston has about 10,000 members, Crawford said. He said 300 to 400 children and teenagers can be involved in camps at the branch each day during the summer.
“The camps range from age 6 all the way up through teenagers — boys and girls of all ages, a very diverse group,” he said. “We really take a lot of pride in making sure there’s a continuum of care, all the way from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s also high-quality and cost-effective if you have more than one kid, and that’s why we have the scholarship system.”
According to information provided by YMCA Fairfax County Reston, more than $3 million in financial-assistance scholarships have been awarded since the facility opened in 2000.
“Contributions support our Caring for Community scholarship which provides financial assistance for individuals and families who are unable to afford quality childcare, summer camp, membership as well as other programs and services.”
More than $425,000 was awarded in 2016 among over 1,600 scholarships, with 20 percent of those going toward summer camp enrollment.
Crawford said anyone interested in applying for a Caring for Community scholarship should visit the YMCA branch (12196 Sunset Hills Road). Applicants will be asked to supply recent pay stubs (if applicable), tax documents and other financial budget statements.
The director said STEM-based camps such as Lego Robotics are particularly popular, but the YMCA continues to offer more traditional camps as well.
“We have traditional camps, where they can swim, bike and play basketball, that are all right here at the branch,” Crawford said. “A lot of the adventure camps are popular too, where the kids or the teenagers can take local trips around to different museums in the DMV area.”
YMCA is the fifth largest charitable organization in the United States, and Crawford said the scholarship program that helps make camp and memberships possible for many is a large part of what makes it great.
“The membership dues keep the doors open,” he said. “The scholarship money, the money we raise every year, makes sure we’re an inclusive organization so that everybody can come in and out of those doors.”
Photo via YMCA Fairfax County Reston/Facebook
Summer may seem far in the distance, but the time to think about it — especially for kids — has arrived.
Reston Community Center will host its fourth annual Reston Camp Expo on Saturday. The event is an opportunity for parents and children to learn about all the opportunities available to them in the area once school is out, said Eileen Boone, RCC learning and leisure director.
“It’s nonprofit organizations and government agenices, so there’s a strong emphasis on programs that provide scholarships, transportation options, and even congregrate lunches and snacks for children,” she said. “There is definitely an emphasis on making sure that every child this summer will have an opportunity to stay engaged and active, even if they may not necessarily have the funds.”
Boone said the expo was originally the idea of Reston founder Bob Simon.
“He wanted to get all of the different rec agencies and community organizations together and he wanted us to really talk to each other and figure out where there were gaps in programming, wait lists in some camps,” she said. “[He wanted us] to share that information and try to help these kids get into camps in the area.”
In addition to RCC, many other organizations will be present at the expo to share their summertime offerings. Exhibitors will include Reston Association, Fairfax County Public Schools, the county Parks Authority, the county Department of Neighborhood and Community Services, Reston Regional Library, YMCA Fairfax County Reston and more.
On top of that, Boone said, representatives from area nonprofit youth sports organizations including Reston Soccer, Great Falls Youth Rugby Club, Herndon-Reston Youth Field Hockey and others will be at Saturday’s event.
“We’ve expanded it a little bit to try to feature other programs and organizations,” she said. “It’s just to let the parents and kids know what else is out there.”
Boone said many regional summer camps and clubs will begin enrollment soon, and they often fill up quickly.
“[This expo] is really like a one-stop shop,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to see all of the different camp programs and learn all about the various scholarships and fee waivers that exist.”
Some organizations will be registering campers at the expo, Boone said. Attendees do not have to register on-site, however, as they will receive an updated Camp Resource Guide to help them research their decision for summertime fun.
The expo will be at RCC’s Hunters Woods location (2310 Colts Neck Road) beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday. For more information, call Boone at 703-390-6162.
Of the 23 branches in the Fairfax County Public Library system, only one has a dedicated children’s desk.
That area, at the Reston Regional Library, is a bustling center of activity. So said Dorota Rodgers, the library’s youth services manager.
“It’s everything, from storytime to movies to art class,” she said.
The schedule of children’s events for the coming month at the library is jam-packed, featuring something for kids of all ages — from babies all the way up through teens. Programming for teens, for example, includes coding workshops and a Teen Advisory Board.
But Rodgers said there is a “very high demand” for programs geared toward babies.
“When registration opens, it is full in 20 or 30 minutes,” she said. “I think people are more focused on how to prepare their children to be successful as a reader and then at school.”
With that in mind, the library is putting a major focus on the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, which launched Nov. 1. The program encourages parents to regularly read to their young children, getting the kids to make reading an important aspect of their lives.
Rodgers said nearly 150 families have registered for the program at the Reston library in its first two months, and some have already reached the 250-book plateau.
“Children learn about pre-reading skills. They can start learning from birth,” she said. “It’s a very precious program.”
Getting children familiar with the importance of reading is a key component to their future success, Rodgers said. She said the all-volunteer teachers who provide programming at the library are a big part of getting kids excited about visiting.
One program sees trained therapy dogs brought into the library. Children read to the pups and gain a valuable learning experience in doing so, Rodgers said.
“They lay down with the dog, show pictures to the dog, whisper to them,” Rodgers said. “Nobody judges them, and they just love spending time reading in a 15-minute session, one on one.”
More intricate programs that require bringing in outside presenters, such as Little Twisters Storytime Yoga and Gymboree Music, are co-sponsored by the Friends of the Reston Regional Library.
“Thanks to the very supportive Friends of the Reston Regional Library, I can book many paid performers from outside, additional to our programs done by our staff members,” Rodgers said.
The library also offers programming for adults, including stress-relieving coloring sessions and courses in English as a Second Language.
For more information on upcoming programming at the Reston Regional Library, check out the online calendar, call the library at 703-689-2700 or pick up a schedule at the front desk.
Common Ground Child Care Center (1700 Wainwright Drive) is scheduled to host the big man in red from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, according to the organization. Children can have some food, play games, work on crafts and take a photo with the jolly old elf.
Admission is $5. Parents also are asked to donate a new or gently used children’s book for Common Ground’s library.
Families are encouraged to RSVP at [email protected].
Founded in 1972, Common Ground provides programs for children between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 years old.
Photo via Wikimedia/Bailiwick Studios
“Reston A to Z,” a book by author Watt Hamlett and illustrator Jill Olinger Vinson, hits select stores today.
The book takes young readers on a tour of the community and teaches them the story of how it came to be, led by none other than its famous founder — who takes the form of an animal named Robert E. Squirrel.
“[Bob Squirrel] is a delightful character who perhaps bears more than a passing resemblance to Reston’s beloved founder, Robert E. Simon,” Hamlett and Vinson said.
The story is told in rhyming verse, and takes children through the alphabet from A to Z, with each stop featuring a different corner of the Reston community. The book includes colorful, illustrated drawings of the places, activities and nature that make Reston what it is.
Stops along the tour include Lake Anne Plaza, Reston Town Center, Reston Regional Library, the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station, Walker Nature Center, the Reston Farmers Market, the W&OD Trail and more.
“The book also highlights features of Reston such as its lakes, pedestrian paths, swimming pools, community garden plots and parks,” say Hamlett and Vinson.
They add, the book also features other creative touches like a hidden acorn on each page, a coloring page, and a travel log where kids can check off the places or things in the book they have experienced around Reston.
All in all, the book is an homage to the town Hamlett and Vinson have grown to love as residents for so many years.
Hamlett, the book’s author and photographer, has lived in Reston since 2000. He says he was inspired to write this book out of his love for Reston that grew from exploring it over many years with his wife and two sons.
“I hope the book serves as a tribute to Reston’s beauty, community spirit and the vision of Reston’s founder, Robert E. Simon,” Hamlett said.
Jill Olinger Vinson, the book’s illustrator, grew up in Reston and is a graduate of South Lakes High School. She returned as an adult to live in Reston with her husband, and her two sons were born in Reston. She now lives in neighboring Herndon.
“Reston A to Z is available for sale locally at several locations, including the Reston Museum at Lake Anne Plaza. For all copies purchased at the Museum, 100 percent of the profits will go directly to the Reston Historic Trust. The Museum is also selling stuffed Bob Squirrel plushes.
Hamlett and Vinson will be signing copies of the book at the Reston Museum on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to noon.
The book is also available for purchase online from Mascot Books, and at other Reston retailers including Scrawl Books and Dawn Price Baby, as well as online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. The book retails for $15.95.
Photos courtesy of Watt Hamlett and Jill Olinger Vinson
Learning how to swim shouldn’t stop when the weather gets too cold to swim outside.
Reston’s Goldfish Swim School appreciates that fact, and provides high-quality year-round swim classes for kids four months to 12 years old. The pools are kept at 90 degrees and air temperature at 92 so kids’ bodies stay shiver-free as they get in and out of the pool. The parents’ gallery for watching lessons is kept at a comfortable temperature.
Goldfish Swim School first started in Michigan in 2006, and was an instant success teaching kids to swim with Ellis and Red Cross Certified Instructors and Lifeguards. The Reston location opened in November 2014 and has had an amazing response.
Goldfish Swim School knows that children learn water safety and swim skills best when consistent practice occurs, which is why they offer perpetual lessons year round.
With a kid-friendly atmosphere complete with warm pools and fun, tropical décor, Goldfish Swim School has what you and you child need to be happy and successful in the water.
The preceding post was sponsored by Goldfish Swim School.
At Totally Trucks, RA lets kids climb on all the big construction equipment, as well as a fire truck, ambulance and other public safety vehicles.
Totally Trucks is 9:30 a.m. to noon on Aug. 7 at RA’s Central Services Facility (12250 Sunset Hills Rd). Admission is free and the event takes place rain or shine.