Walk in the Woods at Woodend Nature Sanctuary

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The second week of summer break was Sasha’s week. Owen had just left for his first sleep away camp adventure (a whole wonderful experience I’ll hopefully touch on more sometime), and I wanted to have a week of quality time with my girl before she started a session of Adventure Theatre’s acting camp (a whole other wonderful experience that I highly recommend).

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It was a nice week of both planned and spontaneous activities, as well as some low key hanging out. We caught a performance of Jumanji, got pedicures, went on bike rides, hit the pool, lunched at Shake Shack, visited the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, popped into the Postal Museum… mostly things we’d done and enjoyed before.

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But one new adventure we had was a trip to Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. I’d been there for a wedding years ago, but had never visited with the kids. Which is kind of a shame, because it’s a great place to get in touch with nature and do some outdoor exploring close in to the city.

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The 40-acre property is home to the Audubon Naturalist Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation and education. The grounds are open to the public and free to roam daily.

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It's perfect for hiking excursions with little ones, with easy trails that wind through the woods and through open meadow-y spaces. Wildlife sightings are plentiful -- we saw deer, frogs, chip munks, small fish, and, of course, lots of birds. There is a look-out to climb for better viewing and a small pond where you'll find some creatures, too. A few exhibits like a bird feeding area, bees nests, and a composting station are worth checking out. And when tired little legs need a break, there are plenty of benches and nice, peaceful seating areas around.

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Stop in the gift shop to pick up a map before you begin your hike, or just park in the lot and wander — it’s not so big that you won’t find your way. And if you want to get guided tour, you can join a Family Nature Walk with a Master Naturalist the first Saturday of the month from 9-10am.

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Woodend Nature Sanctuary is located at 8940 Jones Mill Road in Chevy Chase, MD. The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Weekdays, Weekend

More Cirque Italia Shows Coming to Woodbridge and Frederick!

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This post is sponsored by Cirque Italia, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under All ages, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Sponsored Post, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 25-29

Gonna eat me a lot of peaches: A PYO adventure from the early KFDC days

Gonna eat me a lot of peaches: A PYO adventure from the early KFDC days



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Monday - Stay cool and have fun at a pool, waterpark, or sprayground. The Summer 2016 Guide has links to many places around the DC-Metro area where it’s all about being in the water. And you can consider this for any day of what’s going to be a hot week! Hours and admission vary by locale. But if staying cool means avoiding the outdoors altogether, check out The Great Indoors list of more than 80 ideas for adventures inside.

Tuesday - Help kick off the DC leg of Good Humor’s annual Welcome to Joyhood Tour with FREE ice cream handed out by Washington Redskins Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan! This is happening at the Ronald Reagan Building from 12-3pm, and you’ll also have the chance to meet with Ryan, take pictures, win giveaways, and see the Good Humor Truck of the Future, featuring digital screens, music, and more. If you can’t make opening day, the Good Humor Joy Squad will be visiting neighborhoods throughout DC through August 21, surprising and delighting those who live work and play in the city with free frozen treats, giveaways, and more. You can follow Good Humor on Twitter for real-time updates on the Good Humor Truck’s location.

Wednesday - Pick some produce at a local farm! Peaches and blackberries are the main fruits available, but a few other crops are pick-able, too. Just about all the farms listed in this post have something ripe and ready for harvest now. However, it’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat strongly recommended.

Thursday - Catch a performance of Peter and the Wolf at The Puppet Co. Recommended for ages 4 and up, showtimes are 10am and 11:30am. Read a KFDC review of the production from a few years back — it’s a classic at the puppet theatre. After the show, stay to play at the Glen Echo Park playground and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Friday - Zoom over to the National Air & Space Museum for Mars Day! Celebrating the Red Planet with a day full of fun and educational activities and exhibits. Kids can check out a real meteorite, get news about Curiosity from a science team member, see incredible detailed images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and views of the surface of the planet in 3-D, meet planetary professionals, enjoy Mars-related hands-on activities, and much more. The free event takes place from 10am – 3pm.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

Enter to Win Tickets to See The Not-Its at Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods!

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Want to shake, rock, and roll with The Not-Its at Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods? I have FIVE pairs of tickets to giveaway for the July 26 show at Wolf Trap’s summer entertainment series for kids. The “kindie rock” quintet from Seattle will have the whole family on their feet screaming for more from the moment they hit the dance floor! Sing along to high-energy songs about family, individuality, and the joys of being a kid.

The show starts at 10:30am at the lovely amphitheater tucked away in the Wolf Trap woods. Tickets are $8. Of course, you can try to win yours by entering the giveaway below.

GIVEAWAY: For a chance to win one of the pairs of tickets to see the Not-Its on Tuesday, July 26, at Wolf Trap, simply leave a comment below telling me your child’s current favorite song. To be eligible, you should subscribe to the KFDC blog (see sign-up to the left) and follow KidFriendly DC on Facebook. This giveaway will run until 5pm on Sunday, July 24, then the winners will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


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Filed under All ages, DC, Giveaway, Live Entertainment, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: July 22-24

Yards Park fountains are a perfect place to cool off on a hot summer evening

Yards Park fountains are a perfect place to cool off on a hot summer evening



Gymboree Sale On Now!


This is going to be the hottest weekend of the summer so far, and this round-up was created accordingly, with ideas that will keep you as cool as the pursuits are fun. And for those who can stand the heat, there are plenty of suggestions that’ll have you covered, too. Happy Weekend!

The Great Indoors
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

This post with over 80 ideas for adventures around the area that take place indoors is a good one to keep handy this weekend. Many are well known attractions, but sometimes we need reminders about even the most obvious spots. You’ll likely find lots of nice surprises listed, too.

Capital Fringe Festival
Where: Various venues
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

The Capital Fringe Festival is in its final weekend and presenting several performances kids will enjoy. Barry Beaver’s Adventures in Happy Valley will keep tots engaged with activities and singing as they learn about giving, sharing, and accepting differences. See a fairytale come to live through opera and dance in Once Upon a Bedtime. A group of teenage girls created and will perform Act Like a GRRRL at MLK Library. And there will be free music from the Fringe Arts Bar Courtyard Jams at various times. Those are just a few shows with the all-ages tag; there are many more for ages 13 and up to entertain tweens and teens. More details and ticket sales are on the Capital Fringe Festival website. And, parents, consider catching a performance for a KidFree night out!

Stories in Art
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Sail the seas during this session of the National Gallery’s summer program for children. Designed for ages 4-7, the series explores Dutch art through stories and activities inspired by works in the museum, with a focus on seascapes this weekend. There are several time slots available — 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, and 1:30pm. Sign-in takes place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 10am and will continue until all spaces are filled. And they do often fill up, so plan to get there early to register.

Story Time with the Nats
Where: DC Public Libraries
When: Saturday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

Story time will be a big hit on Saturday as a few Nats players host readings at three DC Public Libraries. Starting pitcher Tanner Roark will be at Northeast Library on Capitol Hill, pitcher Shawn Kelley will be at Chevy Chase Library, and a player TBA will be at Anacostia Library. Each session will be followed by a Q&A session between the player and the audience.

Show Time
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Go on a wild journey to Jumanji at Adventure Theatre
* See Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap where the Pushcart Players are performing Peter and the Wolf
* Encore Stage & Studio presents the classic Mary Poppins by kids for kids
* Reserve free tickets to see Vladimir Goes for the Gold Saturday Morning at the National
* Marsha and the Positrons are also playing a free show at MLK Library on Saturday
* The UniverSoul Circus is wowing audiences at National Harbor (look for discount tickets)
* Imagination Stage and The Washington Ballet bring you The Little Mermaid
* Peter and the Wolf just opened at The Puppet Co.
* And Clowning Around is the featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theater
* See theatre by kids for kids at Encore’s production of Mary Poppins (look for discount tickets)
* Enjoy a picnic and a play as Chesapeake Shakespeare presents The Three Musketeers at PFI Park in Ellicott City, MD (bonus: kids are FREE)
* Take your teen or make it a date night to see The Bridges of Madison County at the Kennedy Center
* Everybody cut Footloose for the final weekend at Alden Theatre (look for discount tickets)
* Little Ones will enjoy Inside Out, a performance geared toward ages 1-5, at Imagination Stage
* Born for This: The Bebe Winans Story is playing at Arena Stage this summer
* Enjoy a KidFree evening out at a performance of Tweflth Knight at Synetic Theatre
* The Phantom of the Opera is on stage at the Kennedy Center, and its recommended for ages 6 and up (look for discount tickets)

Montgomery County Farm Tour
Where: Montgomery County farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Learn about agricultural heritage, promote local farms, and indulge in seasonally fresh food as Montgomery County celebrates the 27th Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale. Activities will vary from farm to farm, but several will have hayrides, pony rides, music, animals to visit, and other activities planned. All 21 participating farms will be open Saturday, and some will reopen on Sunday, so be sure to check the website for the schedule before you go.

Citi Open Tennis
Where: Rock Creek Park Tennis Center
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: Ticket start at $10

Enjoy the on-court excitement along with other fun activities as the Citi Open Tennis Tournament wraps up. With the quarterfinals on Friday, the semis on Saturday, and the championship matches on Sunday, the event is sure to serve up some excellent tennis.

Tennis on the Big Screen
Where: National Harbor
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1:30pm
Admission: Free

If you can’t make it to the tennis tourney, head to National Harbor where they’ll be showing the Citi Open on the waterfront Jumbotron. The 18’ x 32’ foot LED screen located on the plaza is great for viewing sports events. Bring lawn chairs to set up on the plaza green, or grab a meal and drinks and watch from a nearby outdoor patio. And if you want to make a day of it at National Harbor, this post details all there is to do there.

Summer Fun
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

Free concerts, outdoor swimming, movies under the stars, sprayground fun. Activities exclusive to the season can all be enjoyed this weekend. The Summer 2016 guide has the whole scoop on all of them.

Fancy This
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2

Walk amid a garden of butterflies at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit, on view through September 2. The seasonal display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight. Read about a KFDC experience at the exhibit. Plan to tour the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds while you’re there (if it’s not sweltering) and see if there are any other special kids’ programs to enjoy.

Chill with ICEBERGS
Where: National Building Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies, see below

Th Building Museum’s big summer exhibit brings a cool loating sculptures, an environmental narrative, interactive features, and shaved ice treats make ICEBERGS pretty cool to experience. While you probably won’t stay and play for hours like you did at The BEACH last year, it’s definitely worth checking out. Plus, the admission fee gets you into all of the other NMB exhibits, too — Small Stories, PLAY WORK BUILD, and the Building Zone are all great for kids. Cost is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member.

Indoor Swim
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by pool

If it’s too darn hot to even hang by the pool, but you want to get in some swim time, hit an indoor pool! There are plenty in the area that are open to the public. Wilson Aquatic Center in NW is popular, and Deanwood in NE even has a slide. In Maryland, Rollingcrest in PG County has a special preschool area, and there are several indoor aquatic facilities in Montgomery County. In Northern Virginia, Arlington County has a few indoor public pools, and there’s one in Alexandria, too. Be sure to check schedules for open swim times at all of them, and I recommend calling ahead to confirm there are no random closings.

Nats vs. Padres
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

It’s another weekend at home for the Nats as they host the Padres. There are games tonight, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon. Check for special promos here. And before you go, get some KFDC tips on doing Nats game without breaking the bank.

Baltimore, Hon!
Where: Inner Harbor Area
When: All Weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

You won’t escape the heat by heading north just 45 minutes, but you’ll find a few wonderful places to take shelter from it where the kids can have a blast. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art ever at the American Visionary Art Museum. Play the day away at Port Discovery. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Tour the historic ships at the Inner Harbor. Or view history in the works at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Pop-Up Dance Performance
Where: Rosedale Recreation Field
When: Sunday, 3-5pm
Admission: Free

Agora Dance, a new DC dance company, presents two free, 20-minute perfromances on Sunday. And the fun it goes beyond the entertainment! Each performance will be followed by a short Q & A with the dancers, plus cookies from Grassroots Gourmet to nibble while you watch. They’ll be dancing rain or shine – therain or extreme heat location is Rosedale Library – located next to the Rosedale Recreation Field (1701 Gales St. NE).

STEM for a Buck
Where: Children’s Science Center Lab
When: Sunday
Admission: $1

Experiment with science-y fun on the cheap! To celebrate their first birthday, the Children’s Science Center Lab is offering $1 admission on Sunday. Kids can explore a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging hands-on exhibits and activities. Read more about it in this KFDC post.

Indoor Playgrounds
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

You may have already seen this among The Great Indoors recs, but it’s a good one to spotlight this weekend. When it’s just too darn hot to play outside, but the kids still have a lot of energy to expend, this round-up of play spaces where, in some cases, they can literally bounce off the walls will come in handy.

Day Trip from DC
Where: Around the region
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Get out of dodge for a day for some cool fun in areas that require a bit of a drive, but not one that requires an overnight stay (though you could consider it). Explore the spectacular underground world of stalagmites and stalactites at Luray or Shenandoah Caverns (look for a deal here). Take an ice cream making tour at Turkey Hill in Lancaster, PA. Or venture out to the Calvert Marine Museum to experience fascinating exhibits that highlight the history of the Chesapeake Bay.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Date Night, DC, Destination from DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend