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“Nature and Birds!!! Blind/Visually Impaired Visitor.”

Huntley Meadows Park
Ranked #9 of 92 things to do in Alexandria
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Alexandria, Virginia
Level 5 Contributor
62 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Nature and Birds!!! Blind/Visually Impaired Visitor.”
Reviewed September 11, 2013

I used to bring my kids here all of the time in the past when I was sighted, and just recently stopped by here with my girlfriend for a nice romantic walk since being blinded. First, the main visitor center here is not open all of the time. It's open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the week I believe. Not sure about weekends. I couldn't read the sign. There are maps and wildlife guides provided in holders right outside the visitor center at all times though. The bathrooms are in the visitor center, so you might want to "go" before arriving here, just in case they're not open. Call head and see what's available/open for your children if this is to be a learning experience. Second, give yourself time! Eat first if you have kids, 'cause this might take a couple of hours. Once out on the boardwalk, seeing all of the nature that's here, you'll be sorry if you didn't give yourself at least three hours to make the complete circuit. Bring hats and water in the Summer, 'cause it gets hot. Bring repellent, 'cause there are bugs here. Bring a camera! You'll be sorry if you don't. Wear comfortable shoes, 'cause it's a good walk if you do the whole circuit. A walking stick would not be overkill here. And IF you have binoculars or a small telescope, bring them, 'cause there's TONS of wildlife to look at! The observation tower was made for binoculars and small telescopes, and you'll see lots of people using them there. For those who just want to walk or jog around the place, parking is plentiful, and the trails are open every day. Free, no admission. The boardwalks that go over the swamps are handicapped and wheelchair accessible. For the blind/visually impaired visitor there ARE steps leading up to the observation tower, but there are also very strong handrails there too, and the steps are all uniform in height. No problem, and it's a nice breeze at the top. And there are handrails all along the boardwalks as well to prevent your falling in. This just has to be one of the BEST MAINTAINED parks I've ever seen. My girlfriend said that the boardwalks look new, the safety bars look new, and the observation tower looks new. Yes, there's construction going on. No, the wildlife doesn't care. The birds and wildlife act as if they're not there. So do still come and enjoy it. The construction is necessary to restore the water flow and balance to the park! It's a hydraulic restoration. Once complete though, there will be almost DOUBLE the walkways, and another new observation tower, according to a knowledgeable docent there during our visit. I can't wait to experience this again when it's completed. Great place for a nice walk with your girlfriend (we had a GREAT time), or to take your kids to burn off some energy (and whip a little nature on them), or to just get out and commune with nature. The place IS amazingly pristine for being right in the middle of one of the most developed areas in the country. It is truly an oasis of peace and beauty in this area! It was so quiet here in the middle of the day, that I could easily listen to the bird calls and hear the wildlife sounds. Which was very important to me, and an advantage to any blind/visually impaired visitors to here. There are volunteer docents around if you can find one, and they will tell you "what that bird was" that you just saw. The one my girlfriend stopped spent over half an hour describing several birds to her. And IF you have an old nature/bird/wildlife field guide laying around the house collecting dust, BRING IT! People will probably stop YOU asking "what that bird was...!" A must see! Highly recommended!

Visited August 2013
2 Thank Glenn D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Fairfax County, VA
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“An Oasis in the Urban Sprawl of Fairfax County”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

We've lived in Fairfax County for 28 years and until last weekend, had never been to Huntley Meadows. But, one of my co-workers has spoken of it quite often so we decided to try it.

After a fairly short walk through the woods, you come to a fresh water wetland. (When I was growing up, these were swamps.) The County has done an excellent job of making the swamp accessible and educational while preserving the nature of the place. The best thing to do while in the swamp is just stand still for a few minutes. You'll be amazed at what you'll see.

Another remarkable thing is that this close to US Route 1 and the Capital Beltway, there can be dead quiet.

Highly recommended for families with children or couples who want to take a leisurely walk.

Visited September 2013
Thank UmpChap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Hard to believe”
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Huntley Meadows is only a few miles (less than 5) from Washington DC beltway just outside Alexandria VA, but it is difficult to believe that once you are in the park. Wild life, flowers and easy trails all abound. Worth several trips and more than a quick trip.

Visited April 2013
Thank Patito217
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Under construction”
Reviewed August 29, 2013

I had visited Huntley Meadows on two previous summer visits to Alexandria and had looked forward to introducing my husband to this enchanted place. It was disappointing to find that a huge construction project is underway which will create a dam to maintain the water level; however, I realize the dam is necessary. Already areas that were water last summer have filled in this summer. By the summer of 2014, I hope Huntley Meadows will be back to its normal refuge for all the numerous birds, reptiles,and mammals that I'd seen there before. It is still possible to enjoy a nice walk on the paved or cindered paths through the woods.

Visited August 2013
Thank Marge_675
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Hidden treasure in the DC-area”
Reviewed August 20, 2013

It's a fantastic park and the largest I think in Fairfax County. What I never realized was the local importance of the park in a historical context from the Revolutionary Days to the Civil War. The paths are great and the park is clean and accessible for all. Definitely a Fairfax treasure.

Visited August 2013
Thank TerpsFan05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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