\r\nSnapping Turtles, Herons, and a Little Muskrat Chomping Weeds\r\nBy Erica Barker\r\nALEXANDRIA,VA- If you\u2019re looking for a lovely local hiking spot that\u2019s for nature lovers and kids alike, check out Huntley Meadows Park. Huntley Meadows\u2019 greatest feature is the 50-acre wetland area where you can see lots of wildlife. On our last visit, we saw a fawn, snapping turtle, heron, and a little muskrat chomping on some weeds. Depending on the season, you can catch a glimpse of wildlife at various stages. Early in the spring we were able to see all of the little tadpoles in the wetland area and on our last visit, in July, we could hear all of the frogs singing.\r\nHuntley\u2019s Norma Hoffman Visitor Center has natural resource exhibits and fun nature souvenirs for sale. (My son has a collection of realistic-looking turtles that always manage to scare me when I find one lying on the floor.) The boardwalk through the wetland area is about a half-mile hike from the visitor center; both the pathway and boardwalk areas are stroller-friendly. If you\u2019re looking for a spot for an outdoor hike on even the hottest days, the main hike to the boardwalk is surrounded by forest and shaded.\r\n\r\nHuntley Meadows Park is located at 3701 Lockheed Boulevard in Alexandria and can be visited seven days a week, from dawn to dusk. Bathrooms are available in the visitor center and there is a port-a-pottie in the parking lot area. As I mentioned above, the park is stroller-friendly, but I would leave the four-legged family members at home because dogs are not allowed on the boardwalk (which, in my opinion, is the best part!).\r\n\r\nHere are my top picks for your upcoming weekends:\r\nAugust 10: Head across the Potomac to National Harbor to enjoy family-friendly entertainment, including a carousel (with $7 unlimited rides), play area, swan boats, and the Capital Wheel. After dinner at one of the many great restaurants or casual eateries, enjoy the Salute the Sunset Concert Series on the plaza, featuring the Air Force Max Impact Band starting at 7:00 p.m.\r\nAugust 17: Great for young kids, the Durant Arts Centers hosts two puppet shows at 10:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. This show tells the story of some crafty goats who have plans for the greedy troll who tries to take over their bridge. Tickets are $6 per person.\r\nAugust 24: The Maryland Renaissance Festival starts this weekend and I highly recommend taking the drive to experience it with the kids. As a bonus, this is Children\u2019s Weekend, where kids aged 7-15 get in free with an adult ticket (kids under six are always free). Last year my son loved the jousting, the puppet shows, and the kids\u2019 pirate ship play area. Located at 1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, Maryland; open 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., rain or shine, and strollers are allowed.\r\nAugust 31: This Labor Day weekend, it\u2019s your last chance to visit one of Alexandria\u2019s free local splashparks. Check out the splashpark at Lee District Park and at Potomac Yard Park for some end-of-summer fun. Don\u2019t forget watershoes for the little ones!\r\nErica Barker is the founder of littleoldtown.com, where she shares fun activities in the Alexandria area for parents and kids and she enjoys exploring the local area while keeping her toddler entertained.