Friends of the Park
Please take this quick survey to let us know what programs and events
you would like to see in the Park!
The Mariners’ Museum Park is 550 acres of privately maintained, naturally wooded property that offers visitors a quiet and serene place to walk, run, or picnic. Within the Park is the 167-acre Lake Maury, named for the famed 19th-century oceanographer and native Virginian, Matthew Fontaine Maury.
Following the shoreline of Lake Maury is the five-mile Noland Trail. Dedicated as a gift from the Noland Family in 1991 and with significant ongoing financial support from the Noland Family, the trail has fourteen bridges, picnic areas, benches, handicap access, and mile markers. Each fall The Mariners’ Museum hosts a Park celebration that includes the Noland Trail Marathon and Relay and a family-friendly fall festival.
The Mariners’ Museum Park is open daily to the public. Benches at approximately every half-mile offer places of rest along the trail, and views of Lake Maury can be found around every corner.
The famous Lions Bridge, a dam that provides a breathtaking view of the James River, remains a highlight for visitors—a perfect family gathering place to enjoy the Museum Park. The beauty of the dam is enhanced by several fine pieces of statuary designed by Anna Hyatt Huntington, sculptor and wife of Museum founder Archer Milton Huntington. Four stone lions were mounted on the ends of the parapets of the dam in October 1932. Anna also created and dedicated a monument entitled Conquering the Wild that overlooks the Lions Bridge, the park, and Lake Maury.
The Park and Trail are FREE and open to the public
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
The longleaf pine is the rarest of nine native pine tree species found in Virginia. Timber from once-vast longleaf forests literally built colonial Virginia and the Peninsula’s shipbuilding industry. Today, longleaf pines only cover three percent of their historical range.
The Mariners’ Museum and Park partnered with Newport News Shipbuilding and The Nature Conservancy to plant a longleaf pine grove in The Mariners’ Museum Park this spring to help in the restoration of the tree species. Each tree also commemorates a ship commissioned at the shipyard and honors our shipbuilding heritage.
Video Produced by Newport News Shipbuilding
Museum Maintenance and Protection Services staff members are in the park at various times. Feel free to seek them out if you have questions or need assistance. The following rules were established to protect both the lake and park environments, and to help keep our pleasant, family atmosphere.
While the Museum improves the boating and fishing opportunities for Park guests, boating and fishing are currently restricted.
Each element of our Park – the forest, the wildlife, and the lake – are all connected to one another. At the end of January, we hosted a Town Hall meeting where we began to engage the people in our community who love the Park and the Lake in a discussion about the future of what we now call our “living collection.” We are thinking about the Park and Lake in three ways:
The health and sustainability of this important natural resource is our top priority.
At this time, we are concerned about the quality of our water. We’ve taken many steps to understand the health of the lake including having master naturalists test the water quality. You may have even seen them out on kayaks in recent months! Many factors play into the health of the lake including the current construction happening on Warwick Boulevard, which requires dropping the water level to a shallow depth that limits water activity. We are striving to be as environmentally responsible as possible and ask for your patience while we strategically craft our plan to have sustainable fishing and boating on Lake Maury. We want nothing more than to open our waters to the community. We will get there. It will just take some time and we appreciate your patience with us as we work through it.
You will see more frequent updates from us going forward. Those updates will include status updates on our progress towards reopening water activities on Lake Maury. You can also expect to see more opportunities from us to weigh in with your thoughts and opinions, and to volunteer with us in the forest and on the Noland Trail to restore and maintain sections of each. This Park is not just our Park, we view it as your Park, too. We take great pride in maintaining this shared resource.
While the Museum improves the boating and fishing opportunities for Park guests, fishing on Lake Maury is currently restricted.
The Mariners’ Museum Park is the largest privately maintained park open to the public for free in America. The Park boasts 550-acres of naturally wooded areas and the 167-acre Lake Maury bordered by the five-mile Noland Trail, as well as breathtaking views of the James River and the stunning Lions Bridge featuring the sculptures of Anna Hyatt Huntington. Selected areas of the Park are available for special event rentals. Each area has its own unique views, access to the Noland Trail, and event capacity.
Picture your wedding along the James River, with views of boats going by, Lake Maury over your shoulder, and a wooded area nearby. Our park offers a variety of spaces to accommodate groups.
Our park is festival friendly due to our great location in Newport News, our ability to work with a variety of groups, our available wide open field spaces, and our flexibility in scheduling.
Our park accommodates picnics of any size. You may choose one of our overlooks of Lake Maury for a more scenic, intimate feel or use our fields to accommodate a few hundred guests.
A variety of races in Newport News call the Museum their home for their 5K, 8K, & 10K races. Our convenient location and park layout provides many scenic routes and ample space.
Discover more information on all our park rentals.
What goes into keeping 550-acres of park and lake open for the public? A lot of hard work. Five miles of trail and bridges must be kept clear of debris and maintained for thousands of walkers and runners who use the Noland Trail each year, despite generous support of the Noland Foundation and family. The Museum grounds crew works year-round to cultivate the extensive native flora and to make sure benches, mile markers, and handicap access are available for park patrons. We need your help in preserving this community treasure.
A Fitting History
Created in 1930 by Museum founder Archer Huntington, The Mariners’ Museum Park is the largest privately maintained park open to the public for free in America. Highlights include Lake Maury, named for Virginia’s own Matthew Fontaine Maury, the famed 19th century oceanographer. In 1990, Lloyd U. Noland, Jr., approached the Museum with the offer to finance the creation of a walking trail in the Park.
Since the Trail’s dedication in 1991, the Noland Family has provided significant support for its maintenance and repair. The five-mile Trail, a popular walking and running destination, features fourteen wooden footbridges. The famed Lions Bridge is another stunning Park landmark, noted for its four lion statues created by the Museum founder’s wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington.
Your “Friend of the Park” Gift
With significant ongoing financial support from the Noland Family, the Noland Trail provides walkers and runners alike with a five-mile path through this urban oasis. Join our partners, the Noland Family, in supporting this natural gift to the community by becoming a Friend of the Park. Support your favorite Park today!Give to the Park