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Sports and Recreation in Washington DC

One affordable way to spend some time playing in the fresh air is at D.C.'s Rock Creek Park, which is the largest park in Washington DC. The park offers a variety of activities ranging from horseback riding to hiking. At the Rock Creek Nature Center, individuals can sign up for educational recreational programs or take part in interactive demonstrations.

The Washington DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Athletics Office oversees sports leagues, games and teams for adults, seniors and youth. The main offerings are basketball, flag football, kickball and softball. Leagues are available as men's, women's and coed and they are held year-round. The aim of the DPR is to provide an atmosphere for fair play and sportsmanship that supports coaches, players and spectators.

One recreational option in Washington DC is to spend the day at the Washington D.C. Zoo. This 163-acre park serves as home to more than 2,000 animals from 400 different species. At the zoo, visitors can take in giraffes, giant pandas, lions, elephants and tigers. To add on a little something extra, make the walk from the zoo to the National Cathedral. This self-guided walk was designed by Frederic Law Olmstead and is continuously selected as a Top Ten Walk in the USA by the American Volkssport Association.

Across Washington DC, there are a number of quality aquatic facilities that allow for year-round swimming. These include indoor pools, outdoor pools, children pools and spray parks. Each pool offers open swim and lap swim times and swim lessons are available. In addition to lessons, several public swimming pools have masters swim teams and water polo teams.

Running along the Potomac River from Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland is the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. This 184.5-mile towpath is known as one of the best places for recreation in DC because of the biking, hiking, fishing and boating it offers. The entire trail can be run or biked and bike rentals are available at Fletcher's Boat House. Kayaking and canoeing on the canal is popular between Violettes Lock and Georgetown. Canoes can be rented at Fletchers Cove and Swain Lake. Lastly, nearly 160 miles of the trail can be covered by horseback.

There are 127 public tennis courts scattered throughout the District of Columbia, with at least one court in every ward. Several of the courts have lights to allow for nighttime play. At the East Potomac Tennis Center, there are five indoor hard courts, 10 Har-Tru clay courts and nine outdoor courts. Courts are available for rent year-round and the facility also offers lessons and leagues.