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Chessie’s Big Backyard

6601 Telegraph Road, Alexandria, VA 22310

Monday through Thursday 5:00 AM - 9:30 PM, Friday 5:00 AM - 9:00 PM, Saturday 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Sunday 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM.


playground, hike

Playground, carousel, nature walk, and more, Chessie's is a truly well-designed outdoor space.

This DC neighborhood gem with two distinct playgrounds can be found on the grounds of Lee District Park. The playspace is large and the age-designated playgrounds are creative and thoughtfully designed. There are also numerous on-site attractions for a long day of adventurous fun. This whole space is impressive and it's perfect for kids of all ages.

There is a wonderful nature walk equipped with various play structures along the way and a fun scavenger hunt of animal sightings, which is highlighted at the beginning of the trail. The trail is less than half a mile, flat and paved, so it is completely accessible. There is a slight elevation shift, but except at the end when it slopes up a bit, it happens relatively gradually. 

The beautiful carousel is another great addition to Chessie's Big Backyard and it is operated on the weekends starting at the end of March and throughout the week beginning in the late spring. There are covered picnic areas available for rent (several small covered spaces and one large pavilion) that are open for the general public's use when not reserved.

Additionally, an amphitheater is also available to rent, which offers a summer concert series on Wednesday evenings. We always make a stop at the amphitheater at the end of a nature walk for an impromptu performance. Any kids in the area generally make their way over and they all play together; it's a lot of fun to see how quickly they become friends in that kind of performance setting. 

An impressive treehouse overlooks the nature trail, providing great entertainment as children love to loop around and around its path through the trees. The entrance and exit are close to each other and there are benches between them and the playground, so they are safe to run around and around the path at their own pace without you running much risk of losing track of someone.

There is a vendor selling ice cream and treats, as well as tickets to the carousel, during the warmer months directly across from the playground. There are convenient and typically quite clean restrooms as well in the building separating Chessie's from Our Special Harbor Sprayground.

The majority of the parking is a short walk away, but it allows for a place for pick up and drop off, and also because the activities are spread out it makes it much safer with fewer cars pulling through.

With Our Special Harbor Sprayground (a wonderful free, fully accessible sprayground) just steps away, the indoor Soft Play Room at Lee Rec Center available for a small fee on rainy days, and the endless amenities available throughout the rec center grounds, neither you nor your happy active children will ever want to leave!

One of our all-time favorite NY-style pizza places in the area, Johnny's, is less than ten minutes away toward Kingstowne Plaza, and Moby Dick House of Kabob is even closer in the same direction.

If the weather begins to turn, My Gym Alexandria is just five minutes away and Scramble Indoor Play Place is ten. The John Marshall Library is less than a mile from the park.


Parking Restrooms Good for young kids Changing Table Picnic Scenic Walk
Thoughtfully captured by:
Randi Banks
Randi (Betts) Banks grew up in New York and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She moved to Washington, D.C. more than thirteen years ago with her husband, Eaghmon, and they love to explore the area and seek out adventure, now with their two young children along for the ride. Growing up right near the beach, they are happiest when on or near the water, so exploring the rivers, lakes, and streams in the greater DC area is a favorite pastime for their family. In addition to serving as one of the Washington, DC area ambassadors, Randi is also the Editor in Chief and Co-founder of happyly.
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