Paved Trails, Playgrounds, Shaded Playgrounds, Splash Pads

Lee District Park

Lee District Park
6601 Telegraph Rd
Fairfax, VA
Alexandria, VA

We FINALLY got to visit Lee District park and it was such a cool place! There is no way I can fit it all on Instagram, so I’ll try to include as much information on here as I can. There are several different areas in this park including 3 playgrounds (two that are fully shaded), a carousel, a sensory trail, a “tree house” and a MASSIVE “Our Special Harbor” splash pad and spray park. We arrived on a weekday at 9:00 am and went to the splash pad as soon as it opened at 11:00 am. In total we spent about 3.5 hours here.

RECenter Playground (Full Shade)

We were meeting a friend here and arrived early, so we decided to start at the RECenter playground. To get here, enter the park and turn left (turning right will take you to the main playground and splash pad). This smaller playground is located right in front of the RECenter and is FULLY shaded. There is one big play structure here with 3 slides and some unique tunnels and climbers. There is also a seesaw, some spinny seats and a rock climber tunnel.

Chessie’s Trail

Chessie’s Trail is a 0.4 mile sensory trail. It is a paved, stroller friendly trail and fully shaded throughout. It features several musical and tactile elements as well as a fun scavenger hunt to find different animal statues along the way


The treehouse is adjacent to the main playground and has a boardwalk that takes you out to an overlook in the woods. We did not get to explore this because we ran out of time, but it was a nice shady spot that would be a great break from the sun if you visit in the summer months.

Chessie’s Big Backyard

The main playground here is called Chessie’s Big Backyard, and it is one of the more impressive playgrounds we’ve ever visited. There are 2 sections here – Nautical Cove (ages 2-5), Treetop Haven (ages 5-12). My toddlers loved playing on both, but I did have to watch them closely in the areas designed for 5+.

  • Nautical Cove Area (designed for ages 2-5)
    Includes a huge boat play structure, a lighthouse slide and Chessie the Sea Monster to climb on. This playground is partially shaded with awnings in the summer months. My kiddos are all 3 and under so we spent most of our time here!
  • Treetop Haven Area (designed for ages 5-12)
    HUGE play structure with tons of different climbing opportunities. I counted 7 slides, a chain bridge, spider web climber, monkey bars, etc. No swings here!

Our Special Harbor Spray Park

In the summer, this is the star of the show! Our Special Harbor is by far the coolest splash pad in our area. It honestly looks like it belongs in an amusement park and it is hard to believe this is totally FREE. The splash pad itself is HUGE – it is bigger than both playgrounds combined. It is right next to the 2 main playgrounds but is fenced off and only accessible during open hours. There is a smaller area more geared towards little ones with 2 interactive water tables, and several smaller, more gentle splash fountains. The biggest section is definitely more geared towards the bigger kids with tall dumping buckets inside a huge pirate ship, giant squirt guns, a tunnel of fountains to run through, and MUCH more!

The splash pad opens at 11 am during the week. We went to the playground first and a line started forming for the splash pad about 10:30. We got in line about 10:40 and there were probably 100 people ahead of us. By the time 11 rolled around the line had stretched all the way back to the parking lot and down the sidewalk. It was a little stressful because I knew they had capacity limits and we would’ve been so bummed to not get in.

Once inside we claimed a chair in the shade (chairs are limited!) and got right to playing! All 3 of girls loved the water table area so we mostly stuck to that. The splash pad quickly became extremely crowded and my toddlers were pretty overwhelmed. Know your kiddos – if yours don’t do well in big crowds, you may want to skip this one for now. If they aren’t phased by this – they will have a total blast! We had lots of fun still, but because my kids are uneasy in crowds I’ll probably wait to come up to this spray park until they are a bit older. One thing that would really help that I wish they had, would be a designated toddler time (like 10 minute every hour or something!) or a designated area for kids under 5. Even though there was an area geared towards them, anyone could use it and my little ones got their fair share of shoves from older kids wanting to play in the area as well. Again – still tons of fun, but want to be honest about that part of the experience so you can decide if this is the right fit for your kiddos!

**Important Note!** Water shoes with a manufactured back strap are required for all kids (no flip flops. The girls wore their keens. Flip-flops are OK for adults. They do check everyone as you walk in!

The hours for the splash pad are as follows:


After we dried off and changed from the splash pad, we headed over to the carousel which is just a few steps away. The carousel runs every 20 minutes and you buy tickets from the booth near the entrance to the splash pad. The cost is $3 on weekdays and $4 on weekends. Only people riding on the actual carousel seats have to pay – so I could stand next to the girls while wearing the baby and didn’t need a ticket for either of us. The carousel starts running at 11:00 am (the same time the splash pad opens).

The Breakdown!

🚽 Bathrooms 🚽: super clean bathrooms – including a separate family restroom!
πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦Solo w/ kids?πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦: I went with a friend and we had 5 kids between the 2 of us. It was manageable but definitely tough at times. We stuck to the smaller of the two playgrounds and had a harder time at the spray park just because it was so crowded and taking care of the baby while keeping eyes on both toddlers was pretty tough! But we made it!
πŸ›’ Stroller friendly?πŸ›’: yes!
🧺 Picnic tables: 3 shaded pavilions with picnic tables just outside of the splash pad fence.
⏰Timing⏰: 3+ hours

Hope you’ve found this post helpful! We definitely plan to come back to this park in cooler weather so we can fully enjoy the playground and sensory trail. It is a great spot with so much to offer!

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