Who? Anyone visiting the DC area or local residents who are seeking a “nature themed” getaway for an hour, several hours or a day in what can be termed a “city forest”.
What? Rock Creek Park, a park located in the heart of the nation’s capital.
How? The Rock Creek Nature Center and Planetarium are located at
5200 Glover Road NW
Washington, DC 20015
You can drive there or take public transportation. More details on reaching the park can be found at http://www.nps.gov/rocr/planyourvisit/directions.htm.
The Nature Center is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Wednesday-Sunday except Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year days and the Fourth of July.
Why? For many years, my daily commute to work from Chevy Chase, Maryland to Arlington, Virginia involved one of the most picturesque rides one could be blessed with. After bumper to bumper traffic along Connecticut Ave, making the turn that would keep me on Rock Creek Parkway for a bit was like greeting a suffocating individual with a liberal infusion of oxygen. The mist in the air in the mornings, the ever-changing foliage, the scampering animals, the driven bikers and relaxed walkers unbeknownst to them, all of it provided me a beautiful slice of life each day. It was at least a few years into this commute before I finally made it a priority to not just view the park in passing, but to actually spend time there. I went to the visitor’s center to get an introduction and then did a guided nature walk. Once there, you forget that you are in one of the most powerful cities in the world. You forget the DC traffic. You forget the craziness of K Street bustling with commuters. Instead, all you can think of is how incredible it is to have this completely free oasis. You can play tennis here, ride bikes along its paths, have picnics, introduce your kids to astronomy at the planetarium and so much more.
While I am certainly guilty of not experiencing the park as frequently or as deeply as I possibly can, I am still very grateful for its daily contribution of “Zen” in my life for many years.