Most people traveling on I-264 near exit 17 will notice a green volcano-like mountain rising around an urban sprawl that appears to stand alone and is buzzing with people.
It rises 60 feet high and over 800 feet long with a combined area of 165 acres. The perimeter trail at the base has a length of over 1.95 miles, while the Mountain Trail measures 1.3 miles. The name of this green volcano is "Mount Trashmore Park" or what we locals fondly call "Mount Trashmore".
Mount Trashmore has a very unique quality; it was the 1st landfill park in the world, opening in 1978. The reason it was named Mount Trashmore was during the late 60s and early 70s, municipal trash was dumped, compacted and layered with clean topsoil there. At the time, Virginia Beach wanted to give back to its citizens while enhancing the surrounding area so a park was built on top of the landfill. The added bonus was two man-made lakes where fishing is permitted, for those who keep a pole handy.
Traveling by the park on the highway, you may be lucky to get a glimpse of what activities are available. However, with a closer inspection, you will find there is an activity designed for every age group and social function. The park has 15 shelters, (4 large and 11 small) a full size basketball court, 4 volleyball courts as well as ample parking, a snack center and plenty of restrooms. There is also a specially designed playground called Kid Cove. What makes Kid Cove unique from other playgrounds is everything is built from volunteers based on input from kids. Also, it is handicapped accessible and coordinated by the Virginia Beach Jr. Woman's Club.
The newest edition that is really popular with the teens is the 24,000 square foot skateboard center. It features a competition sized vert ramp over 13 feet tall and 40 feet wide, and is made from treated wood and completely covered with composite material. This skate center also doubles for inline skaters and BMX bikers. The center is abuzz when the likes of Tony Hawk shows up to perform. The center is very safety conscience. For you concerned parents helmets are mandatory and (knee and elbow) pads are strongly recommended.
A few of us old enough remember April 1st 1992 as a tense day living here in Virginia Beach. That was the day Henry "The Bull" Del Toro of FM 99 fame said Mount Trashmore was on the verge of exploding because of gas (methane) buildup. Loyal listeners that day flooded the 911 system, parents kept their children home and people in the immediate area fled; but it was all a hoax. To ensure that an explosion would not materialize, Mount Trashmore has three hollow flagpoles used as vents that harmlessly release any trapped methane into the air.
Mount Trashmore is one of the most visited parks here in Virginia Beach with over a million visitors annually. Start planning your summer plans now and make sure you make Mount Trashmore a place to visit.
Directions: Mount Trashmore District Park. Take the I-264 exit 17. Go south on Independence Blvd/Hwy 410 for about 3/4 mile. Turn left onto Edwin Drive for a half-mile, then right onto South Blvd. The Park entrance will be on the right.