Did you know that DC has its very own waterfall? And that kids are welcome to jump right through it? Overlooking the Anacostia River, DC has created a unique way for families to relax and beat the heat.
The park contains gardens and walking paths, but the real attraction is the park’s water features. It’s possible to spend hours in the 11″ wading pool, complete with a waterfall that kids can walk under or jump through. Since the pool is so shallow it’s a great place to go with very young children, multiple children, and children of varying ages.
Many kids bring their own water toys. Most kids wear swimsuits, but swimsuits are not required so it’s common to see parents heading into the pool in shorts. A fountain kids can go in is located just up the stairs from the wading pool. It’s nice, but most kids would rather spend their time in the pool.
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The pool itself is not shaded, but there is a large overhang overlooking the Anacostia River that provides shade where kids and parents who need a break can hang out. There are several tables and chairs set-up under the overhang where you can eat lunch or a snack.
Be aware that there is no private changing area and no lockers. There is also no lifeguard on duty so even though the pool is shallow children should still be supervised closely. The only restrooms available are port-a-potties.
About a block from Yards Park is the Department of Transportation’s outdoor exhibit “Walking Museum of Transportation.” The outdoor exhibit features life-sized elements of transportation from tires, to propellers, to train supports. While we do not believe the Walking Museum is worth a trip on its own, it is worth checking out while visiting the Yards Park. There are also several kid-friendly restaurants and food trucks around the Department of Transportation.
The Yards Park and the Walking Museum of Transportation are both located within blocks of the Nationals Stadium. On a recent visit we saw families visiting both before a game. Both attractions are located near the Naval Yards metro station. There is metered parking available for two hours, but parking can be scares on game days.
There are also several public parking lots near the attractions, with prices getting lower the farther you move away from the stadium. The Yards Park also holds special events, including a Friday night concert series and community yoga.. There is no admission fee for access to the pool for anyone, including non-residents of D.C.
Update on 6/11/14 with a Tip for readers: if Yards Park happens to be closed for maintenance, there is a fountain at 2nd and M Streets, a new wading pool (not quite ankle deep) at 2nd & L Streets and a playground at 2nd & New Jersey that might be a good alternative.
Photo courtesy of Jamie Davis Smith.