Best of NoVA 2019: Family & Kids

With plenty of kid-approved attractions, beautiful parks and endless places to run, jump and play, it’s fair to say Northern Virginia is a great place for family-friendly fun.

Burke Lake Park in Fairfax Station. (Photo by Don Sweeney)

Best Picnic Location and Best Public Park

Double Winner: Burke Lake Park
The 888-acre park takes home top honors for both Best Picnic Location and Best Public Park. Families love it for the miniature train and carousel, mini-golf and myriad of outdoor recreation options, including boating, fishing, biking and hiking around the easy 4.7-mile lake trail. Bonus: You can make it a weekend with campgrounds. // 7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station

Picnic Location Runner-Up: Great Falls Park
The stunning waterfall views are what sell this as a prime picnic location. Only a 10-minute hike from the visitor center, it’s doable for most ages. // George Washington Memorial Parkway, McLean

Public Park

Editor’s Pick: Waterfront Park
As Old Town Alexandria reimagines its waterfront, an interim park offers a Instagram-worthy public art installation and more. // 1A Prince St., Alexandria

Laser Tag

Winner: Lasertag2you
Laser tag inside is fun. Laser tag in your own backyard is even better. The mobile laser tag company brings everything you need to set up an exciting showdown. Popular for birthday parties, it’s best set up outside. Meaning, parents can host a super fun birthday party—with minimal party prep. // 9202 Cascade Falls Drive, Bristow

Runner-Up: Shadowland
This isn’t the laser tag you remember from the ’80s. Put your physical and analytical skills to the test as you work to best your opponents and carry the day in this immersive game. // 4300 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly

Petting Zoo

Winner: Leesburg Petting Zoo
Zebras, monkey, pot-bellied pigs and other friendly animals make this a popular spot for NoVA families. A petting zoo, pony rides and hay rides are also on offer—and the parking is so much easier than at the National Zoo. // 19270 James Monroe Highway, Leesburg

Editor’S Pick: Temple Hall Farm
In the fall, the region’s largest corn maze makes this a must-do. In the summer, farm tours, a picnic shelter and playground make it worth a family-friendly afternoon. // 15855 Limestone School Road, Leesburg

Mom Blogger

Not sure what to do this weekend? This family-focused blog has you covered. The comprehensive online publication, which covers Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, features event listings, must-do attractions, advice for parents and more.

Prince William County native Kristina Schnack Kotlus makes the case you never have to leave Prince William County to have fun with your family in this popular blog.

Kid’s Party Venue

Winner: Tiny Dancers
Thanks to its treasure trove of themed ballet costumes, Tiny Dancers is not only a dance school, but also a popular birthday party venue. The school—with locations in Alexandria and Fairfax City—hosts fairy tale parties for ages 3 to 6, featuring 90 minutes of dress up, dancing, story time and crafting (think decorate your own tutu and tiara or swashbuckling sword and shield). Your tiny princess or pirate is sure to love it. // Multiple locations

Runner-Up: Sportrock Climbing Centers
Aspiring mountain climbers, ages 5 and up, will love a birthday party at this popular indoor rock wall. Birthday party packages feature 90 minutes of basic instruction and belaying, followed by a celebration in the private party room. // Multiple locations

Pottery Studio

Winner: Paint Your Own Pottery
Little artists love this pottery studio, where you get to select a piece of pottery, paint and decorate it for up to three hours. The Fairfax City studio also offers a series of themed pottery painting events and pottery painting supplies are available for purchase if you want to keep the fun going at home. // 10417 Main St., Fairfax

Runner-Up: Big Dog Pots Pottery
The studio offers walk-in pottery painting all the time, plus a Friday After School series that lets children explore other artistic mediums. // 8287 E. Main St., Marshall

Indoor Entertainment

Winner: Luv 2 Play
A successful naptime is guaranteed after taking your kids to this indoor play space to get the wiggles out. From a classic playground to an arcade to a pretend play area (little imaginations can try their hand in the pretend beauty parlor, doctor’s office and more), parents will find hours of entertainment here. Separate toddler (1-4) and baby (0-2) areas mean that even the littlest ones have a safe place to play. // 1600 Village Market Blvd. SE, Leesburg

Editor’s Pick: Rebounderz
A Ninja Warrior course, a massive trampoline, virtual reality and basketball courts that help you slam dunk. What more could a kid ask for? // 22400 Davis Drive, Sterling

Bounce Space
Winner: Skyzone
Bounce off the walls—literally—at this trampoline park in Sterling. Kids flip, flop and have fun on the giant trampolines. But jumping is just the beginning. A Ninja Warrior course, ropes course, virtual reality zone and a zip line are also on tap at this massive indoor park. // Multiple locations

Runner-Up: Flight Trampoline
Jump, plus play dodgeball, make your way through a laser course or attempt the ladder challenge at this popular park. It also offers special jump times exclusively for sensory and special needs families. // 7200 Fullerton Road, Springfield

Water Park

Winner: SplashDown Waterpark
Summer fun awaits at this water park, located inside Ben Lomond Regional Park in Prince William County. Water slides, a lazy river and multiple pools make this impressive water park feel like something you’d find in Florida—not in our own backyard. // 7500 Ben Lomond Park Drive, Manassas

Editor’s Pick: The St. James
This brand new sports complex features plenty of fun off the indoor fields. The Super, Awesome & Amazing play space (complete with Ninja course, trampoline and indoor water park) is exactly as cool as it sounds. // 6805 Industrial Road, Springfield

Our Best of NoVA 2019 issue is on stands now. Pick up a copy to find all of this year’s winners, across multiple categories, including Arts & Entertainment, Shopping and Food.

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