Best Ways to Utilize D.C.’s Parks and Rec Department

March 5, 2016 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

All across the U.S., municipal parks and recreation programs provide opportunities for physical activity and social interaction. The American Public Health Association has conducted research on the potential health benefits of parks and recreations. Today, several national initiatives and priorities include parks and recreation as an essential strategy for reducing chronic diseases and related risk factors. In recent years, Washington, D.C., has invested millions of dollars to expand and enhance its parks and recreation program.
dpr Best Ways to Utilize D.C.s Parks and Rec Department

Fort Stevens Recreation Center, part of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (Photo: Troy Petenbrink)

D.C. Department Of Parks And Recreation
1250 U St., N.W., 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 673-7647

The D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation’s (DPR) mission is to enhance the quality of life and wellness for DC residents and visitors by providing equal access to affordable and quality recreational services by organizing programs, activities and events. It supervises many of D.C.’s recreation/community centers, parks, athletic fields, playgrounds, spray parks, tennis courts, community gardens, dog parks, aquatic facilities and features. DPR has recreation centers in every ward. And no matter where you live in DC you are within two miles of a DPR recreation center.

Pick Up A Sport

DPR offers a number of sports activities for adults and youth to inspire and maintain an active lifestyle while engaging with others in their community in recreational and fun competition. Sports programming for adults include basketball, flag football, kickball and softball. Programming for youth include cheer & pom, track and field, girls summer basketball, football, baseball, basketball, boxing, kickball, soccer, softball and tennis. The city’s sports programs are coordinated all year-round. In addition to organized sports program, the DPR offers a number of general fitness programs such as yoga, karate and Zumba.

Take A Splash

The Aquatics Division of DPR provides residents and visitors to D.C. with safe, well-maintained aquatic facilities and programs. DPR’s aquatic programming ranges from aqua aerobics and swim instruction to scuba and water polo. It also sponsors a nationally competitive public youth swim team, a summer youth swim league and competitive swim training for seniors. While some classes and programs require a nominal fee, recreational swimming is free for all D.C. residents. The city maintains four indoor aquatic facilities and multiple seasonal outdoor pools across the city.

Related: Best Budget Fitness Classes In Washington, D.C.

Plant A Garden

DPR’s Urban Garden Division is focused on increasing access, knowledge and ability around expanding urban agriculture in D.C. The urban garden programs consist of a series of free gardening classes, community compost networks, and a garden tool sharing initiative. In addition, DPR also maintains more than two dozen community gardens across the city. Plots in the community gardens are made available for residents to use and maintain.

Send Your Child To Camp

Every year, the DPR offers a variety of urban camping opportunities for youth ages 3 to 17. These opportunities include sports camps, aquatic camps, therapeutic camps and other day camps. Additionally, DPR partners with the D.C. Department of Employment Services to host a number of teen career camps. A fee is typically associated with DPR’s youth camps and a reduced fee program is available. Early registration for DPR’s youth camps is highly recommended.

Related: Best Places To Play Bingo In Washington, D.C.

Based in Washington, D.C., Troy Petenbrink is a freelance writer, blogger and social media influencer. A member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association, he has written for Fodor’s, Travel Channel, and Miami Herald, among other outlets.

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