Recreation and Parks App

As the temperatures rise and the flowers start to bloom, many people start to spend more time outdoors. If you are looking for where to enjoy nature, go for a walk on your lunch break, or simply spend time as a family after work, we can help! The Division of Recreation & Parks offers a variety of facilities and services for the Henrico community.

 

The Division exhibits more than just parks! It also oversees museums and historic sites, a theatre for movies and live performances, recreation centers with classes and rentals, a nature center, athletic complexes, and community events.

 

To discover all that is available, we encourage you to download the Recreation & Parks App or visit the county website. The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play – download today!  

 

App Features: 

  • Discover parks and facilities across Henrico County 
  • View park amenities by map overlay or list 
  • Find playgrounds, shelters, trails, and more 
  • Filter and search by what’s important to you 
  • Learn about (and even register for) programs and classes
  • View upcoming events in the parks 
  • Earn badges as you take on exciting challenges 

 

iOS/App Store – https://apps.apple.com/us/app/henrico-county-rec-parks/id1576766571

Android/Google Play –  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.visitwidget.hcrp 

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Drive-In Movies with Recreation and Parks

Events in Henrico County have been limited due to the health and safety guidelines for COVID-19. The staff at the Department of Recreation and Parks have gotten creative and sought out small, community events that are both safe and fun for families! One of those event ideas is movie nights. Various Henrico County Parks will be hosting a movie in the park night and two drive-in movies this summer.

On July 31, Peanut Butter Falcon was shown drive-in movie style at Crump Park. If you missed out, there are two more opportunities to enjoy outdoor movie night! Toy Story 4 will be showing at Deep Run Park on August 7. This will be a regular walk up movie in the park. Rec and Parks will also be showing Aladdin (2019) at Dorey Park on August 21 as a drive-in movie. For both events, gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the movie will start at dusk (approx. 9 p.m.) Guests are encouraged to arrive early, as there is limited parking available.

The movie at Dorey park will be in partnership with the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation (VCTF). Dorey Park features a connector to the Virginia Capital Trail and is popular with cyclists. Movie attendees will have the opportunity to receive more information about the trail and future VCTF activities including their annual Cap 2 Cap bike ride.

The Division of Recreation and Parks is very excited to provide fun family events that allow people to get out and enjoy the parks while also following best safety practices and remaining socially distant.

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Education and Conservation: Animals of Henrico County

Henrico County is home to 40 parks and recreational facilities. They play an important role in community wellness and tourism. However, a lesser known feature of the parks is the role they play in animal conservation; specifically, at Three Lakes Park and Meadow Farm. The staff at these facilities includes two supervisors and four animal specialists that split their time between the two. They work all day, every day, even during closures, to make sure the animals are well tended; including regulating their environments, feeding, grooming, health checks, breeding and nursing care.

While the Three Lakes Park Nature Center is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 6,500 square foot facility features a variety of exhibits and is home to over 200 animals. The primary goal of the center is the educate visitors on the native wildlife they may see on the trails. There are exhibits showcasing local insects and birds. The 50,000-gallon aquarium gives an underwater view of the fish that can be found in the local lakes. The 29 display tanks showcase turtles and snakes from around Virginia-some of which are endangered or threatened species. Behind the scenes is a plethora of more reptiles and amphibians including venomous snakes, a variety of species of freshwater and brackish turtles, baby turtles and geriatric turtles that are too old to be used in displays. Many of these animals are trained to be held so that they can be used for hands-on teaching. While some of the animal’s personalities may earn them a nickname, none of the animals actually have names as they are all there for purely scientific and educational purposes.

In contrast, every animal at Meadow Farm has a name. It is a historical farm that began in the 1800’s and is still an active farm, now home to 43 animals- most of which are heritage animals. “Heritage is an umbrella term that embraces pure breeds of livestock and poultry with deep histories in the United States.” 1 On Meadow Farm there are two bronze turkeys, five guinea fowls, and five jungle fowls- all considered Heritage Breeds. The Farm is also home to some endangered species including: two Ossabaw Island pigs and twenty Gulf Coast Native sheep. Among the sheep are three new lambs that were born this Spring. They are hoping to add more Heritage Fowls and goats in the coming months.

Both sites participate in in-state breeding programs. They will breed some of their endangered animals and then trade or sell the offspring to other museums, parks, or nature centers, within Virginia, to help cultivate the species and educate the public. If you have not done so yet, I would encourage you to join the thousands of visitors that experience these two sites each year. Meadow Farm and Three Lakes Park are currently open to visitor and the Three Lakes Nature Center is hoping to open this month. Be on the lookout for special programing at both locations; especially Three Lakes’ Shark Week announcement!

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

1 https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage

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Community & Parks: A Breath of Fresh Air

A study by Penn State University showed significant correlations between reduced stress, lowered blood pressure, and perceived physical health to the length of visits at parks. They provide places for health and well-being that are accessible by persons of all ages and abilities, especially to those with disabilities. During this stressful health crisis, parks, trails, and open spaces have been vital. While it is common to see families picnicking, kicking the soccer ball, fishing, and flying kites throughout the park system when the weather allows, during the current “Stay at Home Order” more of the public seems to be taking advantage of outdoor amenities. Parks are essential places for communities to recreate, refresh, and reconnect with one another.

Parks can also provide a sense of public pride and cohesion to every community. Before the pandemic, parks were filled with a variety of planned community events and large gatherings.  Recreation and Parks has transitioned some of these happenings to virtual experiences since they cannot be held in the traditional sense. 

For example, Memorial Day was celebrated very differently this year, but we were committed to making sure it was no less impactful. We invited the community to join us, virtually, in honoring our fallen service members and their families’ sacrifice.  The Wear Blue: Run to Remember campaign allows for remembrance through active, purposeful steps of a run or walk anywhere you feel comfortable: a local park, trail, or neighborhood just outside your door.  For more information visit wear blue: run to remember.

Other events were more easily adapted and able to remain fresh air experiences to enjoy. One of these experiences is the Dorey Park Farmers Market. Founded in 2018, as a partnership between The Dorey Farmers Market, Inc. and Henrico County Recreation & Parks, it is located adjacent to the recreation center at Dorey Park. The market aims to provide Henrico citizens with easy access to fresh and nutritious local produce, and other high-quality products produced by local farms and small businesses.  The farmer’s market is typically open in-person every Saturday, June-October. However, recognizing the need to revamp the conventional open-air market style, the organizers of the market opened early and began offering online ordering and a drive through pick up for people to receive their fresh, local produce. 

During this time, Henrico Recreation and Parks has also coordinated and scheduled food truck stops at Henrico parks. Select time slots are offered over the weekend for Henrico-based trucks to serve visitors at Dorey Park and Deep Run Park. Patrons can take advantage of an accessible meal while also encouraging our local restaurant industry. 

These services and the infrastructure managed by recreation and parks are necessary for maintaining the health and well-being of the public, especially in such times as this.

As the weather warms, people grow antsy from being indoors, and more research supports a lower risk of transmission outdoors, parks and open spaces will continue to soar in popularity and use, perhaps more so than ever before.

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