Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why Fairfax County Rec Centers Rock...

This is a non-J. Crew/fashion post, so if you have a desire to see that sort of post, I promise my next post is for you. This is a post to let the moms/dad/kids of the DC area learn about the amazing facilities that are located right here and are very inexpensive, too.

I grew up in Arlington, and my dad pretty much kept us inside the Arlington borders, with occasional jaunts to DC and Alexandria. Whoo. We lived it up, baby.

I was nearly 20 years old before I realized what an amazing resource Fairfax County Recreation Centers are. I had been to one (formerly called Wakefield--now Audrey Moore) for a swim meet championship for all the local independent schools back in 1992, but had not understood that this rec center was a place for singles, couples and families alike to rock out and have a great time.

It wasn't until my (infamous) boyfriend who wanted me all skinny (re)-introduced me to these centers that I was hooked. He introduced me because he wanted me to swim off all my excess poundage, and I loved swimming, so I was game. We went to the Lee District Rec Center for this...and although he is LONG gone (and in Williamsburg to boot), I still go on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to the Lee Rec Center. I love it that much!!!

I tend to go to swim, take a class (yoga, pilates, you name it), walk on their indoor track, play in their soft-play room with the kids (you'll see this in a minute), heck, it is so good that Jim waited in the cold in the wee hours of the morning to get Rex into a preschool there next year. I even have coached on and off there for the past six years.

Well, imagine my surprise when the awesome Rec Centers got even more AWESOME. Opened a few years ago (before I had kids), Cub Run Rec Center is as Jim puts it, "the rec center by which all rec centers must be judged." Now we only get there twice a month as it is in far western Fairfax County (Chantilly) and quite a haul for us Alexandrians. BUT, AND I WILL WRITE THIS IN CAPS BECAUSE I AM SO SERIOUS, IT IS WORTH THE HAUL AND TROUBLE. This Rec Center not only has a full-fledged gym, a beautiful lap pool (which I swim in before we play), but it also has an amazing INDOOR WATER PARK. That's right, an indoor water park at County rates and supported through County taxes. Now I hate taxes, and often believe they are used poorly by the government, but Fairfax County made the right decision to support this. Every time we go to the Rec Centers (any of them), we as a family have such a nice time.

What follows is a photographic journey of two of our favorite family activities...1) A visit to Cub Run's Indoor Water Park; and 2) A Blast Off for Babies Class in Lee Rec Center's Soft Play Room (made for tots only).

Here is CW swimming (with daddy's help) in the indoor water park at Cub Run. I am huge believer in getting kids in the pool as early as possible, but only with certified instructors. Obviously I am certified (coaching and teaching swimming to kids for years), but if you aren't able to teach your kids yourself, the Rec Centers also have swim lessons for ages 6 months plus.
The water in the indoor water park is really nice and warm, so CW was able to swim around for about 30 minutes. Her cute little wrinkled feet made me swoon! :)

Rex is shown here playing with the spouts near the toddler play area. The water park also has two indoor slides, a whirlpool, a mini-lazy river, and some sort of vortex play circle.

Here are Rex and I just hamming it up for the camera. By the way, all of these water shots are taken with my Olympus 720SW...a camera especially made for using at the beach and underwater.

To find out more about Cub Run Rec Center, go here:

To find out more about the sw720 by Olympus, go here:

Now onto Lee Rec Center's Soft Play Room (these were taken while in Rex's Blast Off for Babies class--which being two, he has sadly outgrown--tis okay, they have the zoom around the room class for older tots).

Soft Play Room happily has a ball pit. Rex is shown jumping into the pit, while CW stares from the distance. There is a jaunty orange ball coming at the camera. Fun times all around!!!

For those of you who are germ-a-phobes, I am assured that the room is wiped clean with some heavy duty disinfectants once a night. I have never, ever seen it not be anything but spic and span clean.

CW playing with the balls. SHE loves this playroom. Technically she is too young for this room and class, but the organizers get that she is our daughter and that we take full responsibility if anything were to happen to here. Give me a break, is a SOFT play room. It is like us worrying about her teddy bear coming and eating her. We have better things to keep us up at night!

Rex, CW, and Jim hanging out on the soft-play slide. Even the floor is soft. It is like a multi-colored roll of Charmin bath tissue in there.

Rex playing with the soft rocking fish.

I love this room in the winter because it allows him/soon her to be active when it is truly grody outside...
For more on Lee Rec Center, visit here:

Families of the DC area, I hope to see you all soon!


AppGal said...

Wow, you are SO LUCKY to have all this nearby! Is it like a gym where you have to pay a membership? or is it free? I'm so jealous :) Although, right now as a student, I have access to the university's rec offerings, which is very nice! :)

dinagideon said...

Not free, but entry (one-time use) is like 7 dollars for in-county residents and 8 dollars for out of county residents. The kids up to 5 are free, which rocks.

The classes are pretty inexpensive, too. The Blast off for babies was around 65 dollars and was for 11 classes. My yoga classes rarely go above 100 dollars for 11 classes. I am taking a Pilates Reformer class starting in two weeks, but it includes use of the reformer system, so I understand why that class was a bit more at 200 dollars.

You can get a membership, and I have done that (gets you access for one whole year at all rec centers)...but since I am unable to visit as much as I used to, I now just purchase a 25 use pass for around 150 dollars. :)

I loved my university's offerings, but once you are out of the community, you no longer can really have access, huh?

shopaholicdiva1027 said...

Adorable pics of you boys. I agree, you are lucky to have all of that nearby

Mslay said...

You're kids are so sweet looking! Thats really great that they are getting involved with group play and swimming. When I was a kid I went to pre-school and my mom said I loved it. I think thats why I love being outside and moving around.

Anonymous said...

GREAT post!! Your kids are SOOOOOoooo cute! And thanks for letting us know about the Rec Centers. I will be sure to keep that in mind when I move to the DC area. What a cool thing!

HeidiG said...

What a fantastic resource! I am ashamed to admit that we have the indoor pool and water park 5 minutes away from our house and I have never been. Bad mommy! I have been to the outdoor splash park there - but not as often as I should. I guess that's something I need to work on, huh?

FabulousFloridaMommy said...

The pics of your littles are absolutely ADORABLE!!! Thanks for sharing! :)

3-Penny Princess said...

OMG - your kids are absolutely previous!! How cute to take your kids to do these fun activities!

We are pretty fortunate, aren't we? Some of my clients were recently asking about local pools and indoor tennis facilities, so I looked up a bunch of rec centers near Alexandria. I'm really glad to hear your reviews of these places. What do you think of the pool and facilities at Lee District Rec Center?

dinagideon said...

shopaholicdiva1027: Thank you! We are so lucky to have all this nearby, and yet so many families don't know about sad!

Mslay: Thank you. I hope to keep my kids active, too. I always feel bad if they have to stay in the house fot too long. If my kids turn out like you, I will be so happy! I want my kids to be sweet, active, loving and caring... :)

Bekah: Thanks! Are you moving here? That would be so could join us for all these dc jca mtgs.!

HeidiG: Go know your kids will just love it! What is the place close to you called? It sounds like fun...maybe you could do a post on it? :)

FFM: I always think, "who is gonna wanna look at my kids," but those posts are among my most popular! Thanks for your compliment!

3PP: First...thanks for following me! Yay!

I love lee rec center. I have been going there for 13 years. The pool is olympic-sized and the racquet courts and indoor gym are very nice! I definitely recommend it!