Yesterday I wrote about one of the metro National Park sites in Maryland. During our very busy last day in DC, Tom and I visited one more park: Rock Creek Park. The park is called “the natural heart of the nation’s capital.” This was the first urban national park, set aside in 1890.
Tom and I started our visit to Rock Creek Park by going to the Nature Center and Planetarium. Unfortunately the Planetarium was closed for renovations. But the small Nature Center was interesting and I was able to get the stamps associated with the park.
Rock Creek Park is 1,754 acres in the Rock Creek Valley, so it is a longer, narrow park. There are 32 miles of hiking trails in this oasis from urbanization, including two nature trails. You can ride bikes, rent a boat, go fishing, play golf or tennis, go horseback riding, and have a picnic. The Carter Barron Amphitheater is a venue for music, theater, and dance. You can also tour a couple of mansions and a colonial-era house that are part of the park. The National Zoological Park is next to the park.
The park was very busy the day that Tom and I visited. People were hiking, riding bikes, and enjoying being outdoors. The parking lots are generally small and fill up fast. The park is open from dawn until dusk. Glover-Archibold Park, Montrose Park and Georgetown Waterfront Park are parts of Rock Creek but not connected to it. Again, this pretty park feels more like a metro park than a National Park site, but it is a good space to have in the midst of the city.
If you visit Washington DC and want to get away from the monuments and memorials, Rock Creek Park is a good place to go. It is close to the mall, but feels far away in terms of atmosphere.