By Erica Barker
Alexandria, VA – In case you haven’t been down The Avenue in Del Ray for a while, you may have missed that the Mount Vernon Playground has reopened. The playground is on the grounds of Mount Vernon Community School. (The address is 2601 Commonwealth Ave, which is near where Commonwealth and Mount Vernon Avenues meet, so there’s a different avenue on each side of the school.)
The playground, on the Mount Vernon Avenue side of the school, is next to some of the most kid-friendly restaurants in Alexandria. Make a day of it! Grab some brunch, hit the playground, and end your day at the Duncan Library, which is right behind the playground.
The playground is divided into three sections: a smaller area for younger kids that has wooden climbing structures, a traditional jungle gym with slides, and an open area for free play that includes a giant swing. There is also a space where kids can play music on various chimes and drums. My son loved exploring different parts of the playground as I chased him around and my infant slept in his carrier.
The playground is gated on all sides to protect against little escape artists. It has picnic tables and other seating that is elevated to give a great view of the whole area. It’s a great spot for a free and easy birthday party, just bring some snacks and grab one of the many picnic tables while the kids run around.
After burning energy at the playground, head over to the library to pick out books to take home for everyone in the family. The children’s section has a reading area with spots for kids to stretch out on the floor and look through a book or play with the educational toys. The James M. Duncan Branch Library is at 2501 Commonwealth Avenue.
Here are my local picks for your upcoming weekends:
March 7: The Ballyshaners St. Patrick’s Day Parade is another great Old Town tradition to enjoy with the kids. The parade starts at 12:30 p.m. and has Irish dancers, pipe bands, and other great performances. Before the parade, take the kids to the fun dog show that’s held on Market Square. Dogs start arriving at 10:30 a.m. Market Square is at 301 King Street.
March 14: Charles E. Beatley Jr. Central Library hosts a special Saturday Stories – Early Literacy Class for ages 0-5. The Beatley library hosts many fun events for kids. Their story times involve music, movement, and great stories for little ones. Charles E. Beatley Jr. Central Library is at 5005 Duke Street.
March 21: Arts on the Horizon present their latest show for kids, “By the Seashore.” If you haven’t yet taken your little one to see a show, don’t miss this one! There are two shows, 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $8 per person. Recommended for children ages 0-2 but my 3-year-old loves all their shows. Arts on the Horizon is at Convergence, 1801 N. Quaker Lane.
March 28: The Torpedo Factory hosts the Cherry Blossom Jubilee from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. This is a fun afternoon of events that are great for all ages to celebrate the cherry blossoms. There will be activities for kids, performances, and art. Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union Street.
Erica 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 and infant entertained.