happyly approved

Friendship "Turtle" Park Playground

4500 Van Ness Street NW, Washington, DC 20016

Recreation Center: Monday through Friday 11:30am-8pm. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.Recreation Center: Monday through Friday 11:30am-8pm. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.


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Come Play with the Kids at Beloved Friendship "Turtle" Park & Friendship Recreation Center in Northwest Washington, D.C.

Located at the junction of 45th and Van Ness Streets amidst the American University Park and Spring Valley neighborhoods, this extensive space underwent an $8 million renovation between 2015 and 2017. The money was well spent.  It is home to a 5,000 square foot recreation center that includes a community room for fitness classes, a co-op nursery school, an arts and crafts room, and ping pong and foosball tables. 

 If you have the younger kids in tow, you'll be delighted to know there is an awesome playground as well. The nickname “Turtle Park” derives from the concrete turtles found at the playground, but it is also aptly named because this uplifting outdoor space draws even the shyest little ones out of their shell to play!  

Two features that shout “Tot Park” to us are playhouses and sandboxes. Turtle Park maintains a sandbox, one of only a few well-kept sandboxes we have discovered at DC area playgrounds, as well as playhouses. There is a climbing web, slides, AND swings, which for insurance and safety reasons many of the newly renovated parks leave out of design plans. 

Warmer months set the splash park in motion, and baseball fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts get a lot more action. There is equipment that keeps your older children happy such as a climbing globe, mini zip line, and a twirling device, but also features designed for very small children, which is not the case at every playground. 

The neighboring recreation center furnishes water fountains and bathrooms with changing tables for all park visitors. There are also several monthly events, programs, and classes that take place here.  Check here for the program schedule.

If your kids are interested in gardening, consider renting a plot at the community garden across Van Ness, or wandering the rows of others plots and teaching your children where our food comes from!

If you are hungry, go about half a mile up Massachusetts Avenue and you will arrive at Millie’s Spring Valley, a family-friendly hot-spot in the neighborhood. They have amazing food and an ice cream window as well.

Alternatively, head toward Tenleytown and include a visit to the Tenley-Friendship Library, just three minutes by car or less than fifteen on foot. It is one of our favorite kid-friendly libraries in DC. Swing by Surfside Tenleytown on the way to refuel. The library stands on Wisconsin Avenue by the Tenleytown Metro stop just .3 miles up Wisconsin from Surfside.



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