The Weekend Round-Up: May 27-30

A memorial tour is a great way to observe this weekend's holiday and enjoy a day in DC

A memorial tour is a great way to observe this weekend’s holiday and enjoy a day in DC



Gymboree Sale On Now!


Whether you seek events that observe the holiday, are ready to get the summer fun started, or just want to enjoy some quality time with the kids over the long weekend, this round-up of recreation has you covered. Happy Weekend!

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

It may not be official on the calendar, but summer fun is underway Outdoor concerts, water fun, movies under the stars, and more ongoing seasonal treats have begun or are about to begin in DC. Start the weekend with free music this evening at Jazz in the Garden or Rockin’ on the Riverfront, cool off at a public pool or a sprayground during the warm days, see a family flick outdoors at National Harbor on Sunday night… and so much more. The KFDC 2016 Guide to Summer in DC has the scoop on where and when you can experience the joys of summer.

Strawberry Jubilee
Where: Great Country Farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $10/child, $12/adult

The largest U-pick strawberry festival takes place this weekend and next, rain or shine. Get ready for lots of fun activities for all ages, including the popular diaper derby, pie-eating contests, tart toss, strawberry princess, great food, and live music. As if that’s not enough to keep the family entertained for the day, there’s also the five-acre play area, complete with the jumping pillow, slides, rope swings, mazes, a tractor tire mountain, and animal encounters. Whew!

Soak City
Where: Kings Dominion
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Starts at $45

Soak up the fun this holiday weekend at King’s Dominion! Soak City is the park’s 20-acre splash-tacular paradise with water activities for guests of all ages, opens this weekend. Zip down water slides, play in the wave pools, ride a raft with the whole fam, take a thrilling inner tube ride or keep it chill as you meander along the Lazy Rider. There’s even a whole area just for little ones (under 54”). And you can simply relax in the comfort of a private cabana. (Tip: You can often find ticket discounts by doing a simple Google search.)

Memorials on the Mall
Where: National Mall
When: All Weekend
Admission: Free

Tributes to those who have served our country will take place at the many memorials and monuments on the National Mall throughout the weekend. Times vary, but you can look for schedules on the National Park Service website. The Mall will likely be crowded, so plan accordingly.

Art to Save the Sea
Where: National Zoo
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Get a close-up view of a 12-foot shark, 16-foot parrot fish, an 8-foot octopus, and a 20-foot-lcoral reef — all made completely of plastic debris collected from beaches. “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” a collection of colorful and dramatic sculptures of marine animals, represents more than 315 billion pounds of plastic in oceans today, underscoring the need for wildlife conservation. It opens today, May 27, and will be on view at the Zoo through September 5.

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

The Nats are playing at home for the holiday weekend, and you can catch games against the Cardinals on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon. Be sure to check out KFDC tips on how to do a Nats game without breaking the bank. And if you go on Sunday, plan to stay after for Kids Run the Bases when children can loop the infield after the last out.

Root for the Baysox
Where: Prince George’s Stadium
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

If you want to see baseball on a smaller scale, check out a Minor League game. The Bowie Baysox are hosting the Altoona Curve all weekend, and there’s extra fun and special promos to enjoy, too — giveaways, post-game fireworks, a helicopter candy drop(!), and more. Read more about Baysox games in this recent KFDC post.

Take the Wheel with Superheroes
Where: National Harbor
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $15/adult, $11.25/child

If you haven’t taken a spin on the Capital Wheel, the Ferris wheel at National Harbor, this weekend is a good time to go while some special guests are there. Captain America and Spider Man will be at the attraction for superhero greetings along with a whirl on the ride. And there’s plenty more to do at National Harbor while you’re there – this KFDC post has details about one of our experiences there.

Beast Coast
Where: Gateway Park
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Starts at $10 for spectators

See some of the world’s best parkour athletes execute their amazing tricks and skills and get in on the action, too! There will be contests, demos, and courses for all levels, plus seminars for those serious about their parkour training. A DJ, giveaways, and other activities will add to the festival fun.

Homefront Street Cars
Where: National Capital Trolley Museum
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: $5/child, $7/adult

Recall the role of the transit industry during wartime in observance of Memorial Day. Enjoy Tilley the Trolley and Billy the Bus, a wartime production of the Capital Transit Company, and Ten Seconds to Go, a wartime production of Kansas City Public Service. The special exhibit, Homefront Street Cars, will also be on view.

The Emperor’s Nightingale
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the weekend
Tickets: $19.50

The sweet song of a Nightingale saves an Empire. Adventure Theatre’s adaptation set in eighteenth century China, brings to light the younger days of Emperor Qianlong, who would become one of the greatest rulers of the Middle Kingdom. It takes a magical bird to help the headstrong and aimless Prince to become a King. Recommended for all ages.

Shows on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $10 & $6

It’s the last chance to see Sleeping Beauty at the puppet theatre in Glen Echo. Told with rod puppets and wonderful special effects, the show is a real treat for princesses and princes, big and small. And little ones will love Sing-a-Long, this weekend’s featured Tiny Tots show — the lights stay on, doors remain open, and performances are short for newbie theatre-goers.

Open Studio: Symbolism in Stories
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Learn how photographs can tell stories about a place during this afternoon of free family-friendly activities. Discover Saudi Arabia through tours of the special exhibition Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater. Experiment with art materials, solve creative challenges, and collaborate with friends and family. All ages are welcome with adult companions.

Take Your Pick
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Strawberries are ripe and ready for harvest, and many area farms welcome guests to come PYO. It’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.

Go with the Flow
Where: Potomac, Anacostia, & Patuxent Rivers
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by boathouse

Enjoy the weekend on the water, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and pontoons. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, and you can also row from the Ballpark Boathouse next to Yards Park. Bladensburg Waterfront Park also has vessels for rent along with free pontoon boat tours on weekends from 5-5:45. And if you’re up for a bigger excursion, you can rent your own pontoon at Solomons Island.

Jump In with Next Reflex Dance Collective
Where: Workhouse Arts Center
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission: $18/adult, $10/child

Take in an evening of fun, family friendly and diverse dance work at Jump In presented by Next Reflex Dance Collective. The one-night dance event at the W-3 Theatre on the campus of the Work House Arts Center in Lorton, VA, features an exciting program of dance works geared towards audience members of all ages.

IRELAND 100
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free (some performances require paid tickets)

The Kennedy Center is celebrating Irish culture and arts through June 5. View exhibits in the Hall of Nations and Hall of States, catch performances by some of Ireland’s best contemporary musicians, dancers, and theater companies, enjoy concerts and concessions on the special outdoor green space, and more. See the website for the schedule of festivities.

National Memorial Day Concert
Where: West lawn of the Capitol
When: Sunday, 8-9:30pm, gates open at 5pm
(or Saturday for the dress rehearsal)
Admission: Free

Why watch on TV when you can be there in person? The 2016 National Memorial Day Concert will take place on the west lawn of the Capitol on Sunday from 8 – 9:30pm. Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna are hosting the event once again, and an all-star line-up of artists will join the National Symphony Orchestra in honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country. If you’re planning to go, the FAQ page on the concert website is worth a read. KFDC Tip: If you can’t make Sunday’s show or don’t want to deal with the crowds, Saturday’s dress rehearsal is also always open to the public — gates open at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm.

Memorial Day Observance
Where: Arlington National Cemetery
When: Monday, 10:30am
Admission: Free

Observe the holiday at one of the most iconic spots to honor those who have served. A prelude concert by the United States Navy Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30am, and a wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 11am followed by an observance program in the amphitheater. Space is limited to standing room only for the wreath-laying ceremony, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the amphitheater. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to ensure access to these events and should plan to be seated no later than 9:30am. Read more about Arlington National Cemetery here.

National Memorial Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th to 17th Streets
When: Monday, 2pm
Admission: Free

The annual National Memorial Day Parade celebrates and honors American veterans with a grand procession through the city. Get a curbside view of military units and vehicles, marching bands, flag teams, and hundreds of veterans as they travel up Constitution Avenue.

The Ins & Outs of DC
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

For even more ideas for things to do, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Great Indoors
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids


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The 2016 KFDC Guide to Summer in DC

Summer in the city

Summer in the city



The timing couldn’t be better to bring back this annual guide. The sun is shining brightly, blue has returned to the skies, and the mercury is rising — and we’ve got a nice stretch of this ahead. Quash any doubts that were starting to creep in… DC is going to have a summer!

Ah, summer. The time of year to shift gears — from close-toed shoes to sandals, jeans to shorts, red wine to margaritas. It’s when play dates extend well into the evening, a dip in the pool counts as a bath, and the folks at the neighborhood water ice shop know the kids by name.

It’s also when we can enjoy some of DC’s best activities. Music and movies in the open air, special fests and feasts, water-inspired recreation, and bonus attractions at everyday places are just some of the joys of the season.

And while summer may not officially begin for a few more weeks, Memorial Day weekend is when it kicks off in my mind, and it also marks the start of many seasonal favorites. So, unpack the swimsuits and flip flops, get out the blender for margaritas (smoothies for the kids), and get ready to have some summer fun!

Outdoor Pool Season
Play in the Sprays
Water Parks
Summer Concerts
Festivals
Big Screen Under the Stars
Museum Programs & Seasonal Exhibits
Movies, Storytimes, & More
Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel
Children’s Theatre
Summer Sports
Crab Feasts
Seasonal Experiences


Outdoor Pool Season
Nothing says summer like swimming under the sun, and there are plenty of public pools in the area where you can jump in for free or a small admission fee.

  • DC outdoor public pools will open on Saturday, May 28, from 12 – 6pm and will be open weekends only through June 12, as well as Memorial Day, Monday, May 29. Starting June 18, they will open daily, though all pools are closed one day a week for maintenance, so be sure to check the schedule before you go. And note that they will open earlier on weekdays this year, at 11am! (And some open even earlier than that for lap swim.)
  • For outdoor swimming outside of the city, Montgomery County outdoor public pools will open on May 27 through Labor Day — the Department of Recreation website has locations and hours.
  • In Northern Virginia, Arlington’s Upton Hill has a whole water park for guests to enjoy, and Alexandria has several places where the public is welcome to swim. Be sure to check the website for hours, as they vary from pool to pool.


A refreshing run through the sprays at Georgetown Waterfront Park

A refreshing run through the sprays at Georgetown Waterfront Park


Play in the Sprays
Kids can run through fountains and splash around at many area spraygrounds. Several are within the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, but some of the best are built right into the urban landscape, making the concrete jungle a cool place to hang out during the hottest months.

  • Georgetown Waterfront Park, right next to the Washington Harbour, has a fountain with arcing sprays that makes for a fun, refreshing way to cool off on a hot, summer day. The rest of its pretty green space along the Potomac is a great place to hang out, too.
  • The Yards Park is a favorite for many in the city with two levels of super fun sprays, a wading pool and wall of water (essentially a water fall between the levels), plus a great scenic location on the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard
  • Canal Park in the Navy Yard is great for all ages with both a gentle, shallow fountain that is perfect for really little ones to enjoy, plus a bigger fountain with lots of sprays for more enthusiastic play where the ice rink is in the winter.
  • Starting May 28, DPR Spray Parks will be open for the season, but hours vary by location, so be sure to check the website for hours.
  • Some of the area’s most popular spray parks — Lyon Village Park, Hayes Park, and Drew Park — can be found in Arlington.
  • The interactive fountain in Downtown Silver Spring plaza is open daily from 10am – 8pm. While my kids have never played there, I recall seeing very happy youngsters playing in the sprays on the colorful mosaic design during my lunch breaks when I worked at Discovery. It always looked like a blast.
  • The fountain in the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza located at 14th and Park Road, NW is a great place to cool down on a hot day, with many sprays that surge up from a pretty, circular tiled surface. Do a little shopping while you’re there — Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and many other big retail stores are right there — and plan to grab a bite at one of many kid-friendly eateries around. And don’t miss a chance to stop in the Museum of Unnatural History at 826DC.
  • The Fountain on the Square at Rockville Town Square welcomes kids to splish splash from May to September. It’s open Monday – Saturday 11am to 9pm and Sunday 12-8pm, but it’s turned off for maintenance at certain times during the week, so be sure to check the schedule before you go.
  • One of the newest to the sprayground scene, the fountains in the Mosaic District welcome all to play in the sprays that jet up from concrete. Surrounded by retails and restaurants, you can make a day of it there with some shopping and eating, too. Plan to go on a Tuesday with little ones when you can also enjoy Stories from Strawberry Park at 10-11am.


Water Parks
Giant water slides, wave pools, waterfalls, sprays and splash pads…this is the stuff kids’ summer dreams are made of. There are actually several water parks around the area offering many of these attractions, just about all of them opening Memorial Day weekend for limited hours, until they open daily in a few weeks. Here’s a quick list — visit the websites for more details.


Rockin' on the Riverfront is a great start to a summer weekend

Rockin’ on the Riverfront is a great start to a summer weekend


Summer Concerts
Free music in the fresh air has become a staple of the season, and there are opportunities to enjoy just about every genre regularly at outdoor venues all around the DC-Metro.

  • The Capitol Riverfront Friday Concert Series at Yards Park begins May 20 with the Tour de Fat Festival and will run through September 2, presenting a new band each week on the boardwalk stage overlooking the Anacostia River. Along with the free music, food and beverages are available for purchase. (This year there is, unfortunately, a new NO BYOB policy). I recommend getting there early, so the kids can play in the fountains before the concert starts at 6:30pm. And on a hot summer day, it’s nice to continue the water fun even while the tunes are playing — you can still hear them from across the park!
  • Experience live music amid art at Jazz in the Garden, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s free concert series, every Friday from 5:30–8:30pm. The first performance of the season is May 27, rain or shine, and there will be weekly shows through September 2. Spread out a blanket, pack a picnic dinner or purchase food and drinks there, and enjoy the sounds of a variety of jazz artists. Note: Adult drinks are available from the pavilion; BYO alcohol is not permitted.
  • The U.S. Air Force Band 2016 Summer Concert Series kicks off May 12 with a Chamber Players performance at The Lyceum. After that, you can catch free concerts all summer long at locales around the DC-Metro area, including iconic spots like the Air Force Memorial, Capitol steps, and Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument grounds. Show times vary so be sure to check the U.S. Air Force Band website for the complete summer schedule.
  • All summer long, families can enjoy a variety of free fun at Rockville Town Square. Concerts for all ages on Friday evenings began May 6 and will run through September 30 — enjoy live music, good food, and beverages from 6:30-9:30pm.
  • In Silver Spring, Downtown Live! brings free music every Friday evening to the Fountain Plaza 6:30-8:30pm. Enjoy everything from pop to jazz to R&B to classic rock weekly May 20 through August 26.
  • Rock at the Row returns to Pentagon Row Thursdays through August 25. From 7-9pm, all are invited to the lounge on the new plaza for food samples and craft beer in the VIP section or to gather at one of the outdoor cafés while enjoying live music, giveaways, and merchant specials.
  • The U.S. Botanic Garden is bringing back the American Roots Music Concert Series every Thursday 5-7pm, June 2 – October 20. Celebrate American roots with Americana and folk, country, blues, jazz, and even zydeco outside on the Conservatory Terrace.
  • You can kick-start your weekends at Tysons Corner Center’s Fresh Artists Concert Series, co-hosted by 94.7 Fresh FM and powered by Intelsat. Featuring “Fresh Artists,” the series has a little something for everyone. Grab a blanket and enjoy performances ranging from ballet to blues, folk to funk, poetry to pop. This will run from June 3 – July 26.
  • Get a nice dose of nature as you listen to live tunes at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington on select Saturday evenings June 4 through August 27. The free, family-friendly performances take place on a stage in the woods surrounded by trails to explore. And the nature center — with snakes, turtles, owls, hawks — is open, too.
  • Enjoy music in Northern Virginia parks! The Fairfax County Park Authority presents their Summer Entertainment Series, a summer-long calendar of shows, concerts and movies appropriate families held in local parks. Bring a picnic dinner, blankets, and lawn chairs to enjoy the best local and regional entertainers.
  • Strathmore, the North Bethesda performing arts center, will host free outdoor concerts every Wednesday from July 6 – August 24.
  • Carter Barron Amphitheater’s annual concert series takes place amid the woods of Rock Creek Park. While most shows are free, a few require admission. The 2016 lineup has not yet been announced, but check the website for an update soon!


Ren Fest and all its pageantry begins in late summer

Ren Fest and all its pageantry begins in late summer


Festivals
Several stand-out events are anticipated around the area this time of year, celebrating everything from music to art & culture to neighborhoods to food.

  • Get folksy at Glen Echo Park June 4-5, when the 36th Annual Washington Folk Festival showcases the diversity of traditional music in Washington. All of the artists hail from the DC area, but cultures from around the nation, as well as the world, will be represented through music, dance, crafts, and stories. The public is invited to enjoy the free festival that is renown in the folk community.
  • It sounds like a grown-ups-only event, but the Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival offers plenty of family fun, too. Taking place June 4-5 at Bull Run Park, festivities include wine tasting (of course), chef demos, food truck fare, live music, and a whole family-friendly area with activities especially for kids.
  • Imagination Bethesda, an annual festival occurring in the heart of its namesake city, is all about children. On June 4 from 10am – 3pm, Woodmont & Elm downtown will be lined with activity tents offering tons of fun for kids — arts & crafts, face painting, games, etc. There will also be live entertainment, food from local restaurants, and more. Admission is free.
  • The DC Jazz Festival presents a variety of performers at venues all around the city from June 10-19, but the most family-friendly of them actually precede the main event. Jazz n’ Family Fun Days will take place June 4-5 with free shows for all ages at The Phillips Collection.
  • Attend one of the biggest summer barbeques around June 25-26 as the National Capital Barbeque Battle returns to pit some of the nation’s best barbequers against each other as they compete for big prizes. The reward for attendees: Samples from all the entrants (plus, more food), live music, cooking demos, kids’ fun, and more.
  • Every summer, the National Mall becomes stomping grounds of folks from around the globe to celebrate living cultural heritage and community traditions at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year’s event will run from June 29 – July 4 and July 7-9, celebrating Basque culture and heritage and the Sounds of California.
  • The lotus and water lilies in full bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are such a ravishing sight it calls for a celebration. Along with the spectacular display of flowers, the annual Lotus & Water Lily Festival will feature traditional Asian and African dancing and drumming, gardening workshops, park tours, arts & crafts, face painting, and other family-friendly pursuits on July 16.
  • The annual Del Ray Music Festival is always a popular event. On July 23, count on a celebration of the Alexandria community with a day of food, games, and lots of kids’ activities along with a varied line-up of live entertainment.
  • On July 16, a 1,000-foot slip ‘n’ slide will be the centerpiece of Slide the City, an all-day party in Tyson’s Corner that also offers live music, entertainment, and vendors. Sliders must be 5 years old and 46″ tall. Tickets prices go up as the event gets closer, so reserve yours soon.
  • It might run into fall, but it starts in August, so I’m counting the Maryland Renaissance Festival among the summer fun. Plus, it’s one of my very, very favorite annual events (more confirmation on that here). The merriment begins August 27 and will continue every weekend through October 23. Go. Just go.


Big Screen Under the Stars
Outdoor movies have become a DC summer tradition in the last few years with films al fresco in several neighborhoods. Even better, all of them are FREE! (*Before you make plans to enjoy any of the series, be sure to check schedules, as some movies may not be appropriate for children.)

  • “Choose your Own Adventure” is the theme of this year’s NoMa Summer Screen, so mark your calendars for Raider of the Lost Ark, Princess Bride, Jumanji, E.T., and a bunch of other family-friendly flicks. The series begins June 1 and will run weekly on Wednesdays until August 17. There will also be Family Film Night with movies for littler ones on June 21, July 19, and August 16. Sponsored by REI (coming to the NoMA soon!), the series will take place at NoMa Junction at Storey Park (1005 First Street NE). Get there to picnic at 7pm, and the movie begins at dark. See the list of films on the website.
  • See Your favorite stars beneath the stars at the Capitol Riverfront’s Canal Park Outdoor Movie Series. Catch films every Thursday evening at sundown from June 2 through August 11.
  • National Harbor’s Movies on the Potomac started their Sunday night film series for families on May 1and will runt through September 25. Movies are shown on the plaza screen beginning at sunset, usually around 8:30pm.
  • Bethesda Outdoor Movies will bring five days of flicks al fresco to downtown at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues from July 26-30.
  • Catch Films in the Park at the Mosaic District every Friday from June 3 – August 26 with a lineup of family-friendly films.


Spy fairy houses and more artful delights at Annmarie Sculpture Gardens

Spy fairy houses and more artful delights at Annmarie Sculpture Gardens


Museum Programs & Seasonal Exhibits

  • First there was indoor mini-golf, then it was a giant maze, last year it was the awesome BEACH. This summer, the National Building Museum is riding the seasonal wave and bringing ICEBERGS to the Great Hall. The immersive installation will emphasize current themes of landscape representation, geometry, and construction, as visitors ascend a viewing area inside the tallest berg, traverse an undersea bridge, relax among caves and grottos. Admission is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member. Open July 2 through September 5.
  • The National Gallery of Art’s Stories in Art Drop-In Series returns this summer after a hiatus during museum renovations. Geared toward ages 4-7, this fantastic program introduces kids to art and encourages them to use their imaginations as they discover different works. This season will explore the Netherlands as they “meet” Dutch artists and investigate their paintings and sculptures. Read a KFDC review of the program from a few years back (we’ve been since, and it was just as good!).
  • Annmarie Sculpture Garden is enchanting any time of year, but it’s especially so in the summer when the fairy and gnome houses are on display. The adorable collection of little whimsical abodes for sprite-like creatures have all been selected from many submissions in an annual fairy house building contest. And they are just fantastic. Created by all ages, individuals and groups, each one has a different theme, but together they are a brilliant showcase of imagination and craftiness.
  • During the warm months, little ones can flex their green thumbs in the outdoor Children’s Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden — they can dig in dirt, water plants, and explore a cute little Bamboo Forest. The rest of the USBG’s outdoor gardens are great to explore, too!
  • You can walk amid a garden of butterflies at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit. It’s back after being closed last summer during renovations. The seasonal display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world opened in April and will welcome visitors through September 25, 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2 (admission to the rest of Brookside is free). Read about a KFDC experience at the exhibit.
  • At Smithsonian’s National Zoo, you can get up close and view a 12-foot-long shark, 16-foot-long parrot fish, an 8-foot-wide octopus, and a 20-foot-long coral reef — all made completely of plastic debris collected from beaches. “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” a collection of colorful and dramatic sculptures of marine animals, represents more than 315 billion pounds of plastic in oceans today and underscore the need for wildlife conservation. It will be on view May 27 through September 5. Admission to the exhibit and the Zoo are free.
  • Every year, the Newseum offers the Summer Fun Deal. From July 1 – September 5, there is no admission fee for kids ages 18 and under. The promotion waives the $12.95 regular entrance charge for youth with one paid adult admission, senior admission, or Newseum membership (a benefit to ages 7 and up, as kids 6 and under are always free). Up to six kids can enter free with the offer. Read a KFDC take on the Newseum and look for a deal on adult admission here.


Movies, Storytimes, & More
Families movies at local theaters are a great way to stay cool and keep kids entertained when the weather heats up. And several seasonal programs keep little ones engaged with storytimes and more interactive fun. Even better, they’re all free or super cheap!

  • The Regal Summer Movie Express presents flicks for kids on many Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am. Admission is just $1. Be sure to check the website for the film schedule and theater locations, as it doesn’t run at all theaters every week.
  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Ashburn welcomes families to Kids Camp, a movie series that is inexpensive ($1-3) and benefits local charities, to boot.
  • National Harbor hosts free family activities every Wednesday through September 28. From 10-10:30am enjoy Family Fitness classes. At 10:30am, there will be cartoons on the jumbo screen and a rotation of weekly activities provided by the Prince George’s County Fire & Police Departments and story time by the Urban Pirates.
  • Join Cathedral Commons for Mornings with Mommy & Daddies, Too!, a free interactive program for children of all ages on the second Wednesday of each month from May through September. Meets at Newark Street at Wisconsin Avenue.
  • Mommy and Me (and Daddy, Too!) programs take place each third Tuesday of the month 10am -12pm at Rockville Town Square. Active learning and creative play includes story time, arts and crafts, sing-a-longs, prizes and more.
  • From June 1 – September 28, Kids Corner on The Plaza at CityCenter welcomes little ones for outdoor story time, singing, and fun with DC Public Library.


Go for a spin on the carousel at Watkins Regional Park

Go for a spin on the Antique Carousel at Watkins Regional Park

Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel!
These extra delights bring even more fun to several parks around the area that are already great outdoor places to hang with the kids.

  • Watkins Regional Park opened its attractions on a limited schedule in early May, but come Memorial Day weekend, they can be enjoyed for extended hours almost every day of the week. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am – 7pm; Sundays 12–7 pm, closed Mondays except May 30 (Memorial Day), July 4 (July Fourth Holiday; closes at 4pm) & August 30 (Labor Day).
  • Cabin John Regional Park opened its Miniature Train on weekends only back in April, but as of June 1, it’ll be operating daily 10am – 7pm through August. After that, hours will be limited, so check the schedule.
  • The Miniature Train and Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel at Wheaton Regional Park started taking guests for spins in early April on weekends and will be open daily June 1 through August 28 (limited times after that). Hours are 10am – 6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am – 7pm Saturday & Sunday.
  • The Clemyjontri carousel has been running on weekends since April, but will be offering rides daily starting May 31 on weekdays 9:30am – 1:00pm and weekends 9:30am – 6:30pm.
  • The RIO Express Train and Carousel at RIO Washingtonian are open 3pm – dusk on weekdays, 11am – dusk on weekends through June 19. After that, they’ll open daily 11am – 9pm. Rides are $3.
  • Kind of like a London Eye of the U.S., The Capital Wheel at National Harbor is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of DC. The 42-gondola ride (all closed and climate-controlled with room for 8) soars 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront, offering vistas of the White House and Capitol, the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, and more amazing sites. Ticket prices start at $15. Read more about it here.
  • Burke Lake Park’s Mini Train and Carousel are open April to October, daily from Memorial Day – Labor Day 11:30am – 5:30pm. The park is free to access for Fairfax county residents. For non-county residents, the park is free on weekdays and has a $10 entrance fee on weekends/holidays for a car or large capacity van. Carousel rides are $2-3, and train rides are $3-4.


A setting as great as the entertainment at Children's Theatre in the Woods

A setting as great as the entertainment at Children’s Theatre in the Woods


Children’s Theatre
All the world’s an outdoor stage at these venues that present entertainment especially for children throughout the summer.

  • From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10am Tuesdays through Saturdays. Amidst 117 rolling wooded acres and nestled in a shady grove, the stage is set for lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. All of the productions are recommended for children between Kindergarten and 6th grade, though I think kids even younger can enjoy them, too (mine have). Read a KFDC review of the series from a couple of summers ago.
  • Backyard Theater for Children, Strathmore’s summer theater series brings live music and fun to kids – all outdoors under a big tent. Weekly performances take place every Thursday at 9:30am and 11:30 from July 7-28. Admission is $8, free for ages 2 and under.
  • See a Shakespeare play in the park! The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company presents Shakespeare in thr Ruins at the Picturesque Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City this summer. Romeo and Juliet, running June 10-19., is a unique production that has the audience travel with the actors and the action as the story unfolds outdoors on multiple sets in the ruins at the park — comfy shoes recommended for traveling around with the play. From June 24 – July 24, The Three Mustketeers is a one-stage show, perfect for a picnic performance with the whole fam. Even better, kids are free (two for every adult). Advance reservations are recommended as tickets are limited.


Boys of summer

Boys of summer


Summer Sports
Some of the season’s best action takes place in ballparks, stadiums, and arenas thanks to our local sports teams. Here’s where you can join the fan clubs.

  • A day at Nationals Park is all it takes to understand why baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Catching a Washington Nationals game is one of our family’s preferred ways to enjoy a nice summer (or spring) day (or evening), anyway. The excitement extends well beyond the diamond with games and activities in the park, a playground for kids, the Racing Presidents, fun in the stands, and more. Before you go, check out these tips on doing a Nats game without breaking the bank. And I highly recommend the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for children 12 and under. Just $20 gets them membership, which includes Nats swag, plus a coupon book with offers for free meals, BOGO tickets, a ballpark tour, and all kinds of discounts. Even a few months into the season, it’s still worth it!
  • Tennis, anyone? The Washington Kastles, the DC franchise of World TeamTennis, will bring some on-court thrills to the Smith Center, where Kastles Stadium is located, August 1-13. For some background, see this post and this one from a few years back.
  • Whether you’ve got a little soccer fan in your fam or not, DC United matches are fun experiences for all ages. And since games only last 90 minutes, it’s not too long for antsy young spectators. Be sure to check for any pre- or post-game activities for kids.
  • Can’t stand the heat? Head to the Verizon Center to see the Washington Mystics (w)hoop it up on the basketball court. Tickets start at $19.
  • Swing up to Charm City to see the Baltimore Orioles play. Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark, and you can head to the Inner Harbor before or after to make a day of it up north.
  • If the Nats or O’s aren’t in town, or you want to see baseball on a smaller scale, you’ve got several great options around the area. Take ‘em out to the minors at a http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t418” target=”_blank”>Bowie Baysox, Potomac Nationals, or Aberdeen Ironbirds game. Summer collegiate team Bethesda Big Train is also very popular for non-majors baseball action.
  • Women’s pro soccer team, Washington Spirit, plays in Germantown. Per a KFDC reader, “you get affordable tickets and concessions, picnic seating behind the goal, a really intimate, family-friendly environment and top-level soccer.”


Blue crabs, one of the best treats of the season

Blue crabs, one of the best treats of the season

Crab Feasts
Easily one of the best activities during summer in Maryland and neighboring areas (this is where I get non-DC-centric because I have to give credit where it’s due). Here are some suggestions for places to get ‘em, though the “best” is always a subject for debate.


Explore the river with the Anacostia Watershed Society on a Paddle Night

Explore the river with the Anacostia Watershed Society on a Paddle Night


Seasonal Experiences

  • On Thursday evenings during late spring and summer, the Anacostia Watershed Society hosts free Paddle Nights. Launching from Anacostia Boathouse and Bladensburg Waterfront Park from 5:30-7:30pm, paddlers explore the river on their own, but kayaks and canoes are provided.
  • Pick your own produce at local farms. While it starts in the spring with strawberries, it carries on through summer with even more delicious fruits — blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, plus veggies and more produce you can gather yourself. Find out where you can PYO around the DC area.
  • Friday Night Fishing runs from June 17 through August 26. Join Anacostia Riverkeeper on Fridays from 5-8pm for catch and release fishing at the dock at Diamond Teague Park (located next to Yards Park). Rods, reels, bait, and instruction are free. No sign up is required.
  • Aaaaaar, mateys! As the weather warms up and cruising conditions become more comfortable, pirate voyages are offered on local waters. In DC, take a Family Treasure Hunt Cruise on the Boomerang Pirate Ship. Head out to Annapolis for Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake. Go for a jaunt with Urban Pirates in Baltimore or stay closer to home where they’re invading National Harbor.


    Have I left out anything really good? If you think so, let me know in the comments below!

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Zillow’s Picks: Best DC Neighborhoods for Outoor Activities

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[Note: This is a guest post written by Jennifer Riner of Zillow, a leading online real estate and rental marketplace that I believe offers a great service and frequently use to stay updated on the local housing market. All opinions expressed here are that of Zillow.]


It’s that time of year again — the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and Mondays are undoubtedly the most hated day of the week. Spring is in full swing, and spending time outside is the best way to sneak in exercise before the hot weather arrives.

If you’ve recently relocated to DC or are shopping DC neighborhoods to move, check out these three communities which have top-rated parks and recreational facilities to jump start a healthy, active summer season.

Glover Park
Known as the “Leave it to Beaver” community in DC, Glover Park is filled with outdoor activities for children and adults alike. Situated just north of Georgetown and west of Wisconsin Avenue, Glover Park is surrounded by the parklands of Glover-Archbold Park and Whitehaven Park – making it an outdoor adventurist’s dream. The area has softball fields for the very active and gardens for the more laid-back type who prefer to relax in the sunshine. Buying a home in Glover Park is fairly expensive (unsurprising to DC natives), with median values at $704,300, up 2.2 percent from last year and projected to rise another 1.5 percent within the next year. Renting in Glover Park costs $3,153 per month, about $600 per month more than the DC median ($2,549) and $1,750 more expensive than the U.S. median ($1,388).

Capitol Hill
Home to the Capitol Building, extensive U.S. history and rowhouses galore, Capitol Hill is the largest residential historic neighborhood in all of DC. The area includes six major parks and is close to both Yards Park and Canal Park, which host year-round events such as ice skating in the winter and festivals or concerts during the summer. If water is your favorite attraction, the Anacostia River runs just beyond the neighborhood’s boarder. Plus, the U.S. National Arboretum is a short bike ride away and the community is cyclist-friendly with numerous dedicated bike lanes. Homes in Capitol Hill are about $20,000 more expensive than in Glover Park, with a Zillow Home Value Index of $726,900. Prices are up 3.3 percent and projected to rise another 2.5 percent in the next year. Surprisingly though, rentals here are less expensive ($2,901) than in Glover Park by roughly $250 per month.

Palisades
Located in Northwest DC just west of Glover Park, the Palisades is home to Battery Kemble Park, a former Union Army defense site during the Civil War era. The National Park Service preserves the gun and parapet positions for viewing purposes. Today, the park is used for sledding and snowball fights in the winter, and running, nature walks and sunbathing in the summer. Battery Kemble features huge pine trees and a grassy meadow, perfect for walking the dogs any time of year. Buying real estate in the Palisades near Battery Kemble Park costs a median of $883,700 – a 3 percent increase in price since last year and nearly $180,000 more expensive than Glover Park. Zillow forecasts values to rise another 2.2 percent in the next 12 months. Renting an apartment in the Palisades costs a median of $3,854 per month, or about $700 more than rentals in Glover Park.

No matter your neighborhood of choice, DC is filled with parks and gardens to satisfy your warm weather desires. Just don’t forget to bring a water bottle along, especially in July!

Which DC neighborhoods would you pick for the best outdoor activities? Let us know in the comments below!


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Where to Play on the Weekdays: May 23-27

Hike and take in the beautiful scenery at Great Falls

Hike and take in the beautiful scenery at Great Falls





Monday - See the special installations and an evening show at the Kennedy Center, where IRELAND 100 celebrates Irish culture and arts through June 5. View exhibits in the Hall of Nations and Hall of States starting at 10am, or for Millennium Stage at 6pm as The Gothard Sisters infuse Irish rhythms into their dance, music, and storytelling performance.

Tuesday - Hit the trail at Great Falls. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you can’t go wrong. Enjoy spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center — there’s one on each side — to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. The park is open 7am until dark, the Visitors Centers 10am – 4pm. Admission is $10/car, $5/person walking in.

Wednesday - Take advantage of free family activities at National Harbor. From 10-10:30am enjoy Family Fitness classes brought to you by certified instructors from No Excuses Workout. At 10:30am, there will be cartoons on the jumbo screen and a rotation of weekly activities provided by the Prince George’s County Fire & Police Departments and story time by the Urban Pirates. Enjoy this on the plaza every Wednesday through September 28th. Also, rounds two and three of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee will be taking place nearby at the Gaylord National Resort, and the public is invited to spectate!

Thursday - Let the kids splash in the sprays and wading pool at Yards Park! The lovely recreational space in the Navy Yard is a perfect place to spend the day as the temps rise. Hang out in the grassy areas, stroll the boardwalk, take in the views, and have a picnic by the water. Or grab some lunch at one of the many new nearby eateries. Admission to the park is free.

Friday - Go to the Glen Echo Aquarium to discover the Chesapeake Bay through hands-on exhibits and adventure areas designed with kids in mind. Touch aquatic animals, play on a pirate ship, and explore through all kinds of fun activities. Hours are 11am – 4pm. Admission is $6.


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The Weekend Round-Up: May 20-22

Enhance your weekend at Tour de Fat's Friday Night concert and Saturday Festival

Enhance your weekend at Tour de Fat’s Friday Night concert and Saturday Festival



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Just because it’s going to be a wet weekend, that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun. Get out the rain coats and waterproof footwear and head outdoors anyway, or take your pick of indoor pursuits from both special events listed below and ongoing activities here. I do recommend checking to make sure there aren’t cancellations due to rain, and I’ll update here as well. Wet or dry, indoors or out, have a… Happy Weekend!

BioBlitz
Where: Parks around the area
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free

To celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service, National Geographic is bringing together 300 scientists and thousands of members of the public to explore the parks around DC and document all the creatures that live in them. We’ll also have a Biodiversity Festival on the Mall with music, entertainment, and booths with hands-on activities. It’s all completely free!

Biodiversity Festival
Where: National Mall
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free

This two-day event is part of the cornerstone BioBlitz. Head to Constitution Gardens for hands-on science exhibits, food and art, as well as family-friendly entertainment and activities. Constitution Gardens will also serve as base camp for the National Capital Parks BioBlitz and as a connection to all the other BioBlitzes taking place at national parks that weekend.

Rockin’ on the Riverfront
Where: Yards Park
When: Friday, 6:30-8:30pm
Admission: Free

Kick off the weekend as the Yards Park kicks off its seasonal Friday Night concert series! Tour de Fat presents the Black Masala Band in the first installment of the summer staple, so there will be extra bemusements along with the show, as well as food and beverages will be available for purchase (note that BYO alcohol is no longer permitted, but you can still spread out for a picnic dinner).

Tour de Fat
Where: Yards Park
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The celebration of bike and bemusement is zany in the best way possible. There’s a bicycle parade, bicycle art, reconfigured bicycles to ride, a dance contest to win a bicycle, a car-for-bike swap, a bike-themed kids area, and bikes just…everywhere. There’s also beer! Registration for the parade starts at 10am, then the rest of the festivities kick off at 11am. Costumes encouraged.

Voices of Now
Where: Arena Stage
When: Friday & Saturday, 7:30pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy an evening of evening of original, autobiographical theater as artists ages 11 to 18 share their stories and raise important questions they have about their communities. This year’s plays examine topics including issues of race and ethnicity, self-identification, mental health and illness, heroes and role models, putting down roots in new places, risk-taking, the magnitude of our actions, and implications of language used surrounding grief and death.

MoCo Strawberry Fest & Fair
Where: Zimmerman-Ace Field in Burtonsville
When: Friday, 6-9pm & Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free to the marketplace, tents and rides extra

Celebrate spring in Montgomery County with carnival fun and seasonal treats! Enjoy local strawberries, a market of artisan goods, face painting, strawberry foods, shortcake, live entertainment, and more!

18th Century Spring Market Fair
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Sunday, 11am – 4:30pm
Admission: $8/adult, $3/child, free for 2 and under

Celebrate spring at the first Market Fair of the season! The living history museum’s annual event showcases aspects of life in 1771 in lots of fun, festive ways. Play games and watch a children’s puppet theatre, or make your own Corn Husk Doll. Order nails from the Blacksmith and watch all kinds of demos by artisans. Purchase herb and flowering plants and shop for other wares. Concession include fresh vegetables, roast chicken, sausages, and bread; lemonade and sugar cakes from the Sweets stand; and wine or ale from the Tavern. Due to weather, the Fair will only take place Sunday this season. Read more about Claude Moore in this recent post.

IRELAND 100: Redhead Family Day
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 4pm
Admission: Free

As the Kennedy Center showcasing Irish arts and culture over the next couple of weeks, this special family day welcomes redheads and redheads-at-heart to join this free celebration. Featuring music acts, dance performances, demonstrations, and activities for the whole family, the day wil culminate in a redhead kids’ parade and photo gathering.

Puppet Show
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: Saturday, 10:30am & 2pm
Admission: Free

Head to the NMAI’s imagiNATIONS activity center for an interactive puppet show based on the children’s book The Goat in the Rug by Charles L. Blood and Martin Link.Learn about the Diné (Navajo) people from the southwest United States and the six steps involved in creating a traditional Navajo rug. Recommended for children up to age six. Seating is limited and first come, first served. Extend your visit and enjoy the many hands-on activities for kids at the museum.

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

* The Pop-Ups are playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java
* Watch the World Children’s Choir perform The Magic Flute in Arlington on Saturday
* The Kennedy Center present The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly as part of its IRELAND 100 festival on Sunday
* See The Emperor’s Nightingale at Adventure Theatre
* Encore Stage & Studio’s current production by kids for kids is Shakespeare’s Tweflth Knight
* Looking for Roberto Clemente is on the Imagination Stage
* See a fairy tale on strings as Sleeping Beauty is performed at The Puppet Co.
* And Panda Monium is the featured Tiny Tots show

Dueling Pianos
Where: Bobby McKeys at National Harbor
When: Saturday, 1:30pm
Admission: $18

The whole crew can enjoy an afternoon of music and fun at one a dueling piano shows. The two hours of all-request live music paired with a lunch buffet is a great way to brighten a gray, rainy day. And this is a performance where kids are encouraged to wiggle in their seats, dance in the aisles, and sing along!

Armed Forces Day
Where: National Cryptologic Museum, Annapolis MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Honor and celebrate the men and women serving in our nation’s Armed Forces at the National Cryptologic Museum on Saturday. The event promises to be a day of fun and education for the whole family. Indoor and outdoor activities will include a chance to talk by ham radio, K-9 Unit demos, knot tying workshops with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, live jazz from the U.S. Army Field Band Ambassadors, special tours and photo ops, kids games, face painting, bouncy fun, and more. Service members will be serving hot grilled food and drinks, and ice cream will be available for a sweet treat. Rain or shine.

Book Shop Sing-a-Long
Where: Walls of Books
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Since it’s going to rain, make the day awesome by joining Walls of Books for some music and great stories. Bear Song will lead the tunes, and grown ups can grab some coffee provided by Heat Da Spot.

Family Book Making Arts
Where: African Art Museum
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Learn the art of traditional book making techniques and create your own book art. Workshops will focus on different aspects of book making, featuring local and international book art making artists. The African Art Museum is located at 950 Independence Avenue, enter from the Haupt Garden.

Astronaut Academy
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Experience the Air & Space Museum’s new Smithsonian TechQuest: Astronaut Academy. The free alternate reality game challenges you to become an astronaut-in-training for a future trip to Mars. Choose what role you will play on the mission; engage in fun interactive activities; and explore the science, technology, engineering, and math skills you will need as a member of the next generation of space travelers. Along the way, you’ll learn about some of the Museum’s fascinating artifacts. Read more about the adventure on the website. Best for upper elementary and middle school visitors and their families.

International Migratory Bird Day
Where: Rock Creek Park Nature Center
When: Saturday,10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Help Rock Creek celebrate the birds that call the park home, even for part of the year. For generations, migratory birds have connected communities across continents, providing unique opportunities for international collaboration and inspiring people to improve conditions for birds, all wildlife, and for ourselves. The day will include bird walks, hands-on activities and exhibits, food, art, and family-friendly entertainment – a special performance by Los Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble. See the schedule of activities on the website.

McLean Day
Where: Lewinsville Park, Mclean VA
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

McLean’s annual festival to celebrate the city has something for everyone in the fam. Enjoy canival rides, food trucks, live entertainment, a petting zoo, exhibitor booths, free field games, a tennis clinic, Bumpr Ball, laser tag, and a roaming Magician and balloon animals that will delight the littles!

Fiesta Asia Street Fair (UPDATE: Postponed to June 5)
Where: Pennsylvania Avenue, 3rd – 6th Streets, NW DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Asian Heritage Month at the annual street fair presented by the Asia Heritage Foundation and Passport DC. This showcase of Asian art and culture will include music and dance performances, martial arts demos, food, hands-on activities, and more. Kids can enjoy activities like origami, sidewalk chalk, dragon making, story telling, and more. While admission is free, be prepared to spend on food and in the marketplace.

Saturday Family Jazz Session
Where: Strathmore
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: $10

Jumpstart a love for jazz with classes that nurture talent and spark musicality! Junior jazz aficionados can spend Saturday mornings singing, playing, and preparing for a lifetime of jazz appreciation at this fun, creative, kid-friendly series featuring classes with multi-instrumentalist and local jazz legend Seth Kibel and renowned jazz singer Rochelle Rice. Children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult. All attendees, regardless of age, must have a ticket.

Parks & Yoga
Where: Constitution Gardens on the Mall
When: Saturday, 9am
Admission: Free

Pop-up yoga brand Grip The Mat will be teaching an open yoga session on Saturday morning at 9am as part of the Biodiveristy Festival and centennial celebration of the National Park Service. Join them as they explore one of the most notable National Parks, the National Mall, and the whole fam can connect with each other during a light-hearted yoga session followed by a brunch by Peet’s Coffee. Admission is free, but RSVP here. Be sure to bring a yoga mat!

Gaithersburg Book Festival
Where: Gaithersburg City Hall, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

The City of Gaithersburg welcomes you to their 7th annual literary event! Festivities will include the chance to see and meet some of the world’s best writers, from best-sellers to acclaimed up-and-comers; join in literary workshops; and a full day of fun at the Children’s Village. The Gaithersburg City Hall is located at 31 South Summit Avenue.

Outdoor Movie Night: Minions
Where: J.O. Wilson Elementary School
When: Friday, 8pm
Admission: Free

The JO Wilson PTA will be hosting a Outdoor Family Movie Night for kids, families, neighbors and friends on Friday, May 20 starting at 8pm. The movie will be Minions and admission is free. We will have pizza, juice, water, and concession sales. We will also have pre-activities with music and games for all between 6:30 and 8:00. The activities and movie will take place on the JO Wilson soccer field at 660 K St NE. Bring your blankets, chairs, and picnic baskets. Fun for everyone. Alcoholic beverages not permitted.

STEMosphere
Where: KIPP DC
When: Saturday,9:30am – 2:30pm
Admission: Free

Students and families from across the region are invited to this highly interactive expo of hands-on, brains-on adventures for learners of all ages who want to explore, invent, and experiment.

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
Where: Reston Town Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $5 suggestion donation

Experience the 25th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, an 11-block art walk filled with more than 200 artists from around the nation with their paintings, photography, mixed-media, sculpture, jewelry, and fine craft. Be inspired with art appreciation for all tastes and ages, interact with artists and learn about their processes, enjoy acclaimed family art-making activities in the Pavilion, and see innovative performances of dance inspired by public art installations.

Flocks and Farms Festival
Where: Black Hill Regional Park
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Join the Maryland Bluebird Society and Black Hill Nature Programs for a celebration of the conservation success stories of the Eastern Bluebird and Montgomery County’s very own Agricultural Reserve. Participants will learn how to help bluebirds and other cavity-nesters, while meeting farmers and organizations based in the Ag Reserve.

Full STEAM Ahead
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Families are invited to visit the Annmarie artLAB for hands-on investigations and challenges. This month’s “Wonderful Weather” themed session (and here I have to note the irony) will include a variety of fun and wildly creative games that will help kids explore, observe, ask questions, and make predictions about the world around them as they create and play.

Awesome Possum Book Reading!
Where: Upshur Street Books
When: Sunday, 1pm
Admission: Free

Book it to Upsher Street, where author Sara Pascoe is giving a reading of her new children’s book, Oswald the Almost Famous Possum. The story is about fame-seeking opossum who must decide whether the promise of fame is more important to him than sticking by his friends is a fantasy chapter book for 7-9 year olds with great educational details sprinkled in about language (Oswald is a poet) and fun facts about the different animal characters (did you know opossums have opposable thumbs on their back legs?).


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