NOVA Parks has always had a knack for providing the people of the region interesting, unique and fun activities throughout the regional park system. A big part of what defines NOVA PARKS is inclusion, the idea that the spaces and endeavors we provide can be experienced by all abilities and enjoyed by persons of all ages. Along with offering outdoor spaces for hiking, biking, swimming, fishing and boating, NOVA Parks’ recreational areas also have a history of providing traditional fun for visitors. Today, we throwback to the opening of two places that offered traditional fun for NOVA Parks visitors. These places, in turn, allowed for more of their kind.
In the 1970s, the first mini-golf course was opened at Bull Run Regional Park (the area has since been repurposed for Frisbee Golf). Since then, NOVA Parks added five mini-golf locations at Cameron Run Regional Park, Fountainhead Regional Park, Upton Hill Regional Park, Pohick Bay Regional Park and Algonkian Regional Park, in response to the popularity of the activity. The Upton Hill Regional Park course has been used for major putt-putt tournaments. (below, Board member David Pritzker at Cameron Run mini-golf opening, 1992)
The mini-golf courses have also worked in their own unique way to spawn the love of the game of golf. When people are ready to graduate to the full game of golf, NOVA Parks has 3 golf courses at Algonkian, Brambleton and Pohick Bay.
In the 1980s, the first batting cage was opened at Cameron Run Regional Park. NOVA Parks now has two additional batting cages at Upton Hill and Occoquan Regional Parks, also due to popularity. The batting cages operated by NOVA Parks are not only a place to have a fun afternoon, they have become practice areas for the myriad of children and young adults who play organized baseball and softball at all levels throughout the Northern Virginia region. (below, opening day at the Cameron Run batting cages with City Council members as well as NOVA Parks directors)
Part of a good regional park system is to have active uses like mini-golf and batting cages for fun family entertainment and skill development, in addition to open space conservation. Although accounting for just a few of the multitude of unique and inclusive activities the NOVA Park system provides, they still play a big part of who and what NOVA Parks is, and how we help to define the best of Northern Virginia.