22 park events to get you enjoying the outdoors

The 157th Anniversary of The Battle of Manassas, an astronomical seminar and a look at how flowers found their way into fashion.

American Indian Games and Crafts at Riverbend Park // Photo courtesy of Riverbend Park

Animal Beaks
July 10, 1-2 p.m. 
While birds may be the first creature to come to mind when you think of animals with beaks, they aren’t the only ones. Learn about the many varieties of bird beaks and then explore what other animals have similar ones. // Gulf Branch Nature Center & Park: 3608 North Military Road, Arlington 

Astronomical Seminar & Telescope Viewing
July 11, 8:30 p.m. 
Curious about what lies beyond our planet? Learn about comets, planets, stars, galaxies and more at Observatory Park before using a telescope to see them for yourself. // The Turner Farm: 925 Springvale Road, Great Falls 

Colonial Children’s Games 
July 12, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 
What does Jacob’s ladder do? How does a game of Cup and Ball test hand-eye coordination? Learn more about these games as well as other Revolutionary and Civil War children’s games and traditions. // Leesylvania State Park: 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive, Woodbridge

American Indian Games & Crafts 
July 12, 4:30 p.m. 
During the first period of European contact, Eastern Woodland American Indians would often play games involving skill and luck. Learn more about these unique ways to pass the time, listen to stories and even make your own take-home game. // Riverbend Park: 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls 

Virginia Farms: Summer 
July 12, 7 p.m.
Permaculture is an agricultural system that uses natural practices to increase sustainability. Cory from Suters Glen Permaculture Homestead will share more on the topic, plus discuss how you can incorporate permaculture elements into your own gardening practices. // Frying Pan Park: 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon 

Night Rainbow Campfire
July 13, 7-8 p.m. 
Enjoy a good ol’ fashioned night of summer family fun at the Long Branch Amphitheater with fireside stories, games, songs and, of course, gooey s’mores. // Long Branch Nature Center at Glencarlyn Park: 625 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington 

Night Catfishing at Motts Reservoir
July 13, 7 p.m.-1 a.m.
Grab some bait and sink a line into Motts Reservoir for the chance to catch some catfish. Private boats are allowed only if they meet VDGIF standards for night fishing. // Motts Reservoir: 6600 River Road, Fredericksburg 

Osprey Observation
July 14, 3-4 p.m.
Osprey take over the skies at Leesylvania as they begin to build nests and raise their young during the spring and summer months. From a ranger, find out what makes the birds so greatly equipped for life by the water. // Leesylvania State Park: 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive, Woodbridge 

Summer Sizzler 
July 14, 5-9 p.m. 
As part of the Marshall Community Center’s live concert series, catch The James River Cutups take the stage and perform upbeat bluegrass tunes. While enjoying live music, enjoy arts and crafts and a moon bounce. // Marshall Community Center: 4133-A Rectortown Road, Marshall

Campfire Saturdays: Stargazing
July 14, 8:30 p.m. 
Gather around a campfire, build some s’mores and make new friends after taking a walk beneath Burke Lake’s starlight skies. // Burke Lake Park: 7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station 

Pooh Bear’s Friends’ Tea Party
July 15, 2 p.m. 
Inspired by the famous bear himself, enjoy honey, tea and snacks all while learning more about Virginia’s black bear population. Later, engage in crafts and go on a short hike to find Pooh and friends. // Hidden Oaks Nature Center: 7701 Royce St., Annandale 

Cardboard Boat Regatta
July 15, 6:30-8 p.m. 
Think you have what it takes to make the best cardboard boat? Using only cardboard and tape, build your own and race against competitors in various competitions. The top three timed-race winners will be awarded, as will those in special categories like most spectacular sinking, best group costume and prettiest boat. // Lovettsville Community Center: 57 E. Broad Way, Lovettsville 

Lunch and Learn: Boy, Is It Hot Out There 
July 18Noon 
Ever wonder how people dealt with the gross summer humidity back in the day? Enjoy the now air-conditioned Sully House while learning about how colonial Americans survived summer weather without modern luxuries. // Sully Historic Site: 3650 Historic Sully Way, Chantilly 

Night Kayaking
July 187:30 p.m.  
Explore Lake Accotink at night in a kayak while trying to spot nocturnal critters in their natural habitats. Participants are encouraged to bring a flashlight for an optimal experience. // Lake Accotink: 7500 Accotink Park Road, Springfield 

Rec on Wheels ’90s Night in the Park 
July 20, 6-8 p.m. 
Miss the ’90s? Wear your overalls and neon windbreakers and travel back in time by playing classic ’90s games and listening to the time’s most popular tunes. // High View Park: 1945 N. Dinwiddie St., Arlington  

Friday Night Hikes: Moonlight Walk through Natural History 
July 207:30-9 p.m. 
Sans flashlight, join a ranger on a 2-mile hike and take in music made by the area’s wildlife. // Leesylvania State Park: 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive, Woodbridge 

Fireflies in the Meadow 
July 208-9 p.m.   
Nothing says summer like catching fireflies. Watch the meadow come alive with nature’s own little lights and try your best to catch and release fireflies in plastic jars. // Ellanor C. Lawrence Park: 5040 Walney Road, Chantilly 

Lichens Hike & Sketch 
July 21, 10 a.m. 
You know that green stuff on trees and rocks? That’s likely lichen, which you can learn more about and sketch on this two-hour hike. // Huntley Meadows: 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria 

157th Anniversary Commemoration of First Manassas 
July 21, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. 
Join a variety of park rangers and historians in walking tours and living history demonstrations of the Battle of Manassas to commemorate the battle’s 157th birthday. // Manassas National Battlefield Park: 6511 Sudley Road, Manassas 

Flowers in Fashion 
July 21, 1 p.m.  
Flowers exist in many aspects of our world. Explore the connections between botany, garden beauty and fashion design. Using floral motifs, learn more how the shape and color of flowers have inspired designers for years. // Green Spring Gardens: 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria 

There’s a Squirrel in My Kitchen!
July 22, 4-5 p.m. 
Videos of people finding squirrels in their house have gone viral. Whether it be snakes in the garage or bats in the attic, find out why animals are so interested in seeing the inside of your home. // Long Branch Nature Center at Glencarlyn Park: 625 S Carlin Springs Road, Arlington 

Stream Life
July 22, 5 p.m. 
While inherently pretty, streams do so much more than add visual appeal to an environment. Join a naturalist and venture down Big Rocky Run using nets to catch stoneflies, hellgrammites, water pennies and crayfish. Learn how to appropriately monitor streams and how human actions can impact these fragile ecosystems. // Ellanor C. Lawrence Park: 5040 Walney Road, Chantilly

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