The second week of summer break was Sasha’s week. Owen had just left for his first sleep away camp adventure (a whole wonderful experience I’ll hopefully touch on more sometime), and I wanted to have a week of quality time with my girl before she started a session of Adventure Theatre’s acting camp (a whole other wonderful experience that I highly recommend).
It was a nice week of both planned and spontaneous activities, as well as some low key hanging out. We caught a performance of Jumanji, got pedicures, went on bike rides, hit the pool, lunched at Shake Shack, visited the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, popped into the Postal Museum… mostly things we’d done and enjoyed before.
But one new adventure we had was a trip to Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. I’d been there for a wedding years ago, but had never visited with the kids. Which is kind of a shame, because it’s a great place to get in touch with nature and do some outdoor exploring close in to the city.
The 40-acre property is home to the Audubon Naturalist Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation and education. The grounds are open to the public and free to roam daily.
It’s perfect for hiking excursions with little ones, with easy trails that wind through the woods and through open meadow-y spaces. Wildlife sightings are plentiful — we saw deer, frogs, chip munks, small fish, and, of course, lots of birds. There is a look-out to climb for better viewing and a small pond where you’ll find some creatures, too. A few exhibits like a bird feeding area, bees nests, and a composting station are worth checking out. And when tired little legs need a break, there are plenty of benches and nice, peaceful seating areas around.
Stop in the gift shop to pick up a map before you begin your hike, or just park in the lot and wander — it’s not so big that you won’t find your way. And if you want to get guided tour, you can join a Family Nature Walk with a Master Naturalist the first Saturday of the month from 9-10am.
Woodend Nature Sanctuary is located at 8940 Jones Mill Road in Chevy Chase, MD. The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.