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Clemyjontri Park, located on the Georgetown Pike in McLean (near Langley, Virginia), is one of the first large-scale parks (with playgrounds) in the United States that was specifically designed and constructed with children in mind. Furthermore, it was inspired by a vision of children playing with disabled children, side-by-side.
The park houses a two-acre playground with a carousel where children who use wheelchairs, walkers or braces, or who have sensory or developmental challenges can enjoy a joyful, all-embracing and unhindered playground experience.
The unique name of Clemyjontri Park is derived from the main donor’s children’s names. Carolyn (CL), Emily (EMY), John (Jon), and Petrina (Tri).
Clemyjontri Park sees more than 80,000 parents, guardians and children come through each year and they love the fully accessible playground, carousel, and swing sets designed to enable children of all abilities to play together.
The park goes to great lengths to ensure it lives up to its motto of “Where every child can play”.
The area that the park is located on and its benefactor, Mrs. Adele Lebowitz, makes its inspired vision possible. The Lebowitz Family’s generosity was even recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia General Assembly in House Joint Resolution 766, which was passed in 2013.
Mrs. Lebowitz’s inspirational vision became a reality when Clemyjontri Park became the Fairfax County Park Foundation’s first official fundraising project. Collaboration between the Parks Department and the (former) Friends of Clemyjontri Park raised significant funds and created public awareness about the park, which added it’s unique features to be enjoyed by all children.
A highlight of the park is the Picnic Celebration Pavilion. It was made possible in 2018, thanks to substantial contributions from McLean Community Foundation, Rotary Club of McLean, the Friends of Clemyjontri Park, Amy and Jeff Sonderman, and the friends and family of Sue Rowell, a longtime donor to the park. The Friends of Clemyjontri Park also sponsored the installation of a trackless train and a station. Reservations must be made to use it.
The Liberty Swing is another highlight at Clemyjontri Park. It is a swing that is specially designed to be fully accessible to children in wheelchairs. A child does not need to be removed from their wheelchair to enjoy the swing. This feature of the park has been praised for its visual-spatial, muscle tone, head control and self-regulatory benefits. Seeing children’s faces light up on the swing will melt anyone’s heart!
All children love the brightly colored paths and play equipment, and given the amount of facilities available, it is sure to fill up many hours. Park benches are located throughout the park for ample parent/guardian supervision.
Bathroom facilities, fountains and soda machines are also located within the park for visitors. Dogs are however not permitted.
Clemyjontri Park is open everyday of the year (unless there is extreme weather), from 7 am to dusk. Tickets must be purchased for the carousel and train ride and there are set hours of operation for each. Both also only operate when weather is permitting.
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