Where to Play on the Weekdays:
August 29 – September 2

Butterfly watching at Wings of Fancy

Butterfly watching at Wings of Fancy

Monday - Walk amid a garden of butterflies at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit. The seasonal display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight! Hours are 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.

Tuesday - Visit the Washington National Cathedral, one of DC’s most iconic attractions. Both guided and self-guided tours are available, and there are lots of features like stained glass, gargoyles, and wrought iron animals that children will find especially interesting. The observation gallery on the seventh floor also showcases interesting architectural designs and stunning birds-eye views of DC. Stroll the beautiful grounds outside, and head to the Beauvoir playground, open to the public since school isn’t yet back in session. The National Cathedral is open 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is $12/adult, $8/ages 5-17, free for 4 and under.

Wednesday - Explore the woods and wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Look for little creatures along the way and stop to take in some gorgeous vistas. Bring along food for a picnic, or plan to grab a bite before or after — though it doesn’t feel like it while you’re there, the park is located close to a busy area with plenty of dining options. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Thursday - Make it your mission to visit the International Spy Museum, where you and the kids can go undercover to explore the intriguing world of espionage. Hours are 9am – 7pm. Regular admission is $21.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-11, free for 6 and under, but you can find a discount on adult tickets here.

Friday - Take advantage of a special seasonal experience while you can — several exhibits and offerings around the area will end after Labor Day. Visit ICEBERGS at the Building Museum. Get free admission for kids to the Newseum thanks to the Summer Fun Deal (and get a deal on adult admission here). Look for fairy houses and enjoy more artistic delights at Annmarie Sculpture Garden. View Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea, an exhibit of colorful sculptures made from plastic debris collected from beaches, at the National Zoo. Get details about all of these special pursuits and more in the 2016 Summer Guide.

One more glimpse of the Wings of Fancy…

...the amazing glass butterfly!

…the amazing glass butterfly!

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Discount, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: August 26-28

One of the most visited sites in the National Park Service system is right in our backyard

One of the most visited sites in the National Park Service system is right in our backyard

Whether you’re celebrating a great first week of school, enjoying the final weekend of your summer break, or still going with the flow of the season, there are options galore for making the most of it. Celebrate our national parks — or catch a game at Nationals Park. Enjoy whimsical art, watch dragon boats race, see a show, or play some new video games. Head on down to the DC State Fair, kick off a new season of theatre, or travel back to Medieval Times at one of the best fests around. No matter what you and the kids do, there’s a good chance you’ll feel like exclaiming, “Huzzah!” Happy Weekend!

Ren Fest!
Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, Md
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $19/adults, $16/seniors, free for 15 and under

Anyone up for merriment? (Me!) The Maryland Renaissance Festival is a glorious day trip back to medieval times that appeals to all ages and sensibilities. Enjoy jousting matches, kids shows, cheeky comedy, tight rope walkers, jugglers, puppetry, Celtic music… and that’s just some of the live entertainment. There are also pony rides, a pirate playground, a giant slide, and all kinds of fun, fascinating things to see. Walk among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in puffy shirts in a 16th-century village as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of mead. It all begins tomorrow and will run every weekend through October 23, and this weekend kids ages 15 and under get in for FREE. Get a glimpse of the area’s best annual event here. Huzzah!

America’s Front Yard Family Festival
Where: Constitution Gardens
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Kids’ music fave Milkshake highlights this day of live entertainment, storytelling, and exhibits that focus on today’s youth as the future stewards of our national parks. Enjoy more music by Ellis Woodward, Uncle Devon, the Great American Indian Dancers, Erica Wheeler, plus a lively children’s sing-alongs with Yosi & the Superdads. Other acts include the Wes Holly Balloon Magic Show and YAP, who delivers national park themes through hip-hop music and culture. Explore festival exhibits by more than 20 National Park Service partners, among them Lego models of national parks, virtual reality park tours, 3-D printing of National Mall monuments and memorials, natural flora and fauna found in urban parks, and much more!

Free Parking
Where: National Parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: FREE!

The National Park Service just turned 100, and to celebrate we can all enjoy fee free days at national parks, which means there’s no entrance fee where they usually charge to get in. Take advantage of complimentary admission visit some of our local parks that normally require you to pay. Hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, take a ride on Skyline Drive, or visit Harpers Ferry.

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

There’s not much time left to enjoy some of the best activities of the season. Outdoor pools and spraygrounds, music and movies in the open air, mini golf and carousels rides at local parks and museums, or a good ol’ crab feast. The guide to Summer in DC has all the inspiration you need to eke out the most of the summer wind-down.

Movies to Celebrate the NPS 100th
Where: Carter Barron Amphitheatre
When: Friday & Saturday, 8:10pm (gates open at 7pm)
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial anniversary, Carter Barron is hosting two movie nights as a part of their 66th Summer Series. Catch a screening of Rocky on Friday, and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax on Saturday. Concessions will be available for purchase onsite.

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

It’s a weekend at home for the Nats as they host the Colorado Rockies. There are games tonight at 7:05pm, Saturday at 1:05pm, and on Sunday at 1:35pm. Stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases, and check these KFDC tips for doing a Nats game without breaking the bank.

Grand Slam Sunday: Jewish Community Day at Nationals Park
Where: Nationals Park
When: Sunday, 11:30am

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington proudly presents the second annual Grand Slam Sunday: Jewish Community Day at Nationals Park! Join them as the Nats take on the Colorado Rockies. Pre-game fun for all ages begins at 11:30 am, the game at 1:35pm. You also get a free t-shirt with every ticket purchased!

Dance Class Open House
Where: CityDance School and Conservatory at Rockville
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

CityDance invites Little Movers ages 3 to 7 to sample dance classes at an Open House this weekend. Children can try out Ballet, Hip Hop, Flamenco, and Sri Lankan – for free! To sign up, call 202-242-3646 or email: asanga@citydance.net.

How ‘Bout Them Apples?
Where: Area farms
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

The apple picking season has begun! Several farms in the area have opened their orchards for guests to start gathering. This list of area farms and orchards offering pick-your-own opportunities has details. And I always recommend calling ahead to be sure the pickings are good the day you plan to go.

Celebrate 17th Street
Where: 17th Street NW, from Riggs Place to P Street
When: Saturday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

The event in the Dupont Circle neighborhood will feature all kinds of activities for the whole fam. Live entertainment; more than 100 vendors selling food, art, and other cool wares; a kids zone with bouncy fun, face painting, games, and more; exhibits by non-profit groups, and appearances by city officials will be part of the festivities that celebrate the community and businesses.

Dragon Boat Regatta
Where: Southwest Waterfront
When: Saturday, 8am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The 3rd annual Capital Harbor Dragon Boat Regatta will be an experience for atheletes and spectators alike. The family-friendly event features the best premier and local dragon boat teams from along the east coast racing in multiple distances over the course of the day. The public is welcome to watch this unique event for free.

A Presidential Book Rap for Kids
Where: National Press Club
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free for kids, $10/adult ($5 for NPC members)

Travel back in time to meet George Washington during a magical morning for the whole family as the National Press Club Book and Author Committee presents a family-friendly Book Rap with Deborah Kalb, author of The President and Me: George Washington and The Magic Hat. The event will also feature crafts, magic and refreshments. The book, targeted to youngsters ages 7 and up, tells the tale of a 5th grade boy struggling to find his place after his best friend abandons him. A visit to Mount Vernon lands him in the 18th century where George and Martha Washington help him learn about history, himself, and the nature of friendships and families.

Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $19.50

Adventure Theatre’s latest production is as funny as it is wild. Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, the show takes its characters — and the audience — on an incredible journey to claim Jumanji.And you only have two more weekends to catch a performance. Read a KFDC review here.

Run of the Mill
Where: Peirce Mill, Rock Creek Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

See the 2,000-lb millstones convert corn to corneal using good old-fashioned renewable energy of water. Miller Jeanne and the Friends of Peirce Mill invite you to discover DC’s only surviving gristmill in action. Be sure to explore the exhibits at Peirce Barn next door and hit the nearby trails, too! Read more about the historic site in this KFDC post about our visit there last fall.

A Sprinkling of Fairy Dust
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Throughout the weekend

Take a day trip out to Solomons, MD, for an enchanting array of artistic delights. View eye-popping works, both indoors and out, hunt for fairy houses (which are only there for another week!), play in the Fairy Lolly, and create some of your own art with inspiration from all you see there. Trust me, it’s worth the hour-plus drive. Read about one of our experiences at Annmarie.

Nintendo Play Day
Where: Tysons Corner Center
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: Free

Nintendo’s classic characters and games are coming to life as part of the one-of-a-kind Play Nintendo Tour and you’re invited to be a part of it! The unique experience offers parents and their kids the chance to play some of Nintendo’s best games on new systems, participate in exciting contests, win awesome prizes, and snap memorable photos. Hop into a Yoshi egg to play Yoshi’s New Island, recline on a giant banana while checking out Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, and relax in pink beanbag chairs to play one of the newest games, Kirby: Planet Robobot. Fun surprises await around every corner

Welcome to Monster High
Where: Select theaters
When: Saturday
Admission: Varies by theater

Fathom Events is bringing the premiere of Welcome to Monster High to select movie theaters for a spook-tacular one-day event on Saturday. Along with the movie screening, there will be a special behind-the-scenes look into the partnership between MonsterHigh™ and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and an exciting monsterfied dance tutorial by YouTube superstar choreographer Matt Steffanina. Find participating theaters here.

Arena Stage Season Kick Off Carnival
Where: Arena Stage
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Arena Stage is celebrating the 2016/17 season with a full day of free family-friendly activities inspired by two of this season’s most anticipated productions — Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel and Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Moby Dick. Guests of all ages can try their luck at classic fair games run by Arena Stage’s finest barkers, marvel as aerialists from Gwynne with Wings Aerial Entertainment perform death-defying feats overhead, and enjoy carnival-inspired food and drink as they stroll down the lobby promenade. Plus, kids will love the giant “Carousel” bounce house and petting zoo. Throughout the day there will be special season discounts, prizes and much more.

DC State Fair
Where: NoMa Junction at Storey Park
When: Sunday, 11am – 8pm
Admission: Free

Apparently, being an actual state isn’t a requirement to have a state fair! This agricultural and artistic showcase of the District will be a celebratory day, full of competitions and other fun and educational activities for all ages. Festivities include contests of all kinds – photography, knitting, kids art and poetry, pickling, pies, ice cream, jams, and more. Get a taste of it all, do some shopping among the vendors, and enjoy live entertainment, to boot.

Park it in MoCo
Where: Montgomery County Parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Montgomery Parks presents loads of special activities for visitors of all ages. Watch a raptor feeding at Meadowside Nature Center, join a Nature Challenge at Brookside, take a tour by kayak at Little Seneca Lake, and more. The online calendar has even more events happening this weekend.

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

If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, 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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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Shop, Sports, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Autumn is for Families at Washington Revels

[Note: This is a sponsored guest post written by Jo Rasi of Washington Revels]

A group of four- and five-year olds are marching down the hallway, waving ribbon sticks and singing an old traditional tune about apples. A dragon is resting on a nearby table while a volunteer sews one of its ears. Six teens are heading upstairs to rehearse with bells tied around their ankles, adding whimsy and celebration to the already joyful scene. And in the parking lot, a group of volunteers are leafing through a songbook choosing songs to share at the evening’s Community Sing.

This is just an ordinary autumn day at Washington Revels, a 35-year old cultural institution dedicated to celebrating cultural traditions through music, dance, storytelling, drama and more.


There’s something for everyone — after-school workshops for PreK-8th grade, opportunities for children and teens to perform on stage, and family activities ranging from Community Sings, Pub Sings, concerts and parades, plus workshops (in music, dance and traditional crafts) – over 120 events each year. It’s a place where intergenerational interactions are a part of daily activities, a place where a family is invited to share in the joys of singing and community, and a place where traditions are honored, shared and created.


And it’s the place where ages-old winter holiday traditions are recreated and reshaped every winter, and then performed at Lisner Auditorium in DC to over 10,000 people over two weekends in December. The Christmas Revels is the organization’s biggest annual event, and one that draws all ages and cultures from well beyond the DC area, and then encourages them to dance in the aisles (literally!) during the show. It’s easy to see why families make this event part of their annual holiday celebration.


All three floors of the Revels’ Silver Spring building are ready for family activities. There’s a bright studio space for workshops and rehearsals, there are shelves and nooks filled with costumes, props, books and CDs, and tucked around the edges you’ll find colorful banners, a couple of dragons, a hobby horse, some jester hats and a Maypole. It’s a place where holidays and special days are celebrated and handed down to future generations, and a place always ready to create the shared joy of community.


Kids and families refer to themselves as “Revelers” and might be heard saying “I’m reveling.” It’s what Washington Revels offers — a chance to revel in music, dance, drama, cultures, traditions and community. The Washington Post calls the DC-area Revelers “…one hundred of Washington’s most literate merrymakers, from kindergartners to senior citizens…” and notes that Washington Revels can create “…a celebration to make even the most incorrigible Grinch grin.”

Join in a Revels program to share in some singing, dancing, celebrating and grinning, and experience the spirit of Reveling! Try the September family-friendly free Community Sing, or enroll your children to be Little Dragons, Hobby Horses or Jesters after school, or consider having your 3rd-5th grader at the Children & Teen Christmas Revels Auditions.

Learn more about it all on the Washington Revels website!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Washington Revels, 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, Christmas, Class, DC, Fall, Live Entertainment, Music, Seasonal, Theatre, Winter

Ren Fest is Returning with Merriment for All!


Ren Fest is the best! I could go on about how the Maryland Renaissance Festival is my very favorite annual event in the area, but I’ve done that so many times before (see here, here, here, here, here, and here) that I’ll save my time for more merriment planning.


What you won’t find in past posts, however, are this year’s logistics: The 2016 Maryland Renaissance takes place once again in Crownesville, MD, in the lovely hamlet of Revel Grove on weekends starting this Saturday, August 27, through October 23. Hours are 10am – 7pm. Admission is $19/adults, $16/seniors, $8/ages 7-15, free for 6 and under through September 13. After that, tickets go up to $24/adults, $20/seniors, $10/ages 7-15, still free for 6 and under. Multi-day passes that offer a discount are also available.


Some special events to be aware of:
* August 27-28: Children’s Weekend – FREE admission for ages 15 and under with accompanying adult
* September 3: Singles Day
* September 4: Vows Renewal Ceremony
* September 5: Seniors Day – free admission for seniors 62+
* September 10-11: Celtic Celebration
* September 17-18: 40th Anniversary Celebration
* September 24-25 – Pirates Weekend
* October 1-2: Shakespeare Celebration
* October 8: Fun for the Whole Family (though, really, this is every day!)
* October 9: American Sign Language Interpretation Day
* October 14: Shopping Extravaganza
* October 15: Gourmet Feasting
* October 22-23: Jousting Competition

And some more scenes from last year to get a glimpse of what to expect…











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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Discount, Eats, Fall, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 22-26

Exploring the Asian Collections at the National Arboretum

Exploring the Asian Collections at the National Arboretum

Monday - Savor the nice day at the National Arboretum. Explore the plant collections, go for nature walks through the woods, visit the Washington Youth Garden, and see the old Capitol columns. So many ways to enjoy one of the loveliest places in the city. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.

Tuesday - Head up to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to tour the historic ships. There are four vessels that welcome visitors to explore — the USS Constellation, USS Torsk, USCGC Taney, and LV116 Chesapeake. Admission to tour one ship is $11/adult, $5/ages 6-14, free for ages 5 and under, and you can add on for just a few dollars more per ship.

Wednesday - Get a glimpse of the past on the Potomac at Fort Washington Park. Kids (and adults!) will like seeing the cannons and other historic sights within the grounds. Hours are 8am – sunset. Admission is $5/vehicle.

In the evening, see a free Step Afrika! show at THEARC. The performance is part of Step Xplosion, a exciting and energetic tour of all 8 Wards in DC. Showtime is 6:30pm. Register for complimentary tickets here.

Thursday - Celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday with a day of recreation at a nearby national park: Great Falls! Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you can’t go wrong. Take in 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. Even better, admission to the park is free August 25-28 for the centennial anniversary. The park is open 7am until dark, the Visitors Centers 10am – 4pm.

Friday - Soak up the last bit of summer break and stay cool at an outdoor pool, waterpark, or sprayground. Kids can jump in and swim, run through fountains, and ride waves and slides at a bunch of places around there area where it’s all about being in the water. Hit a public pool or sprayground, visit a full-fledged waterpark, or head to a fountain that welcomes people to play. The KFDC 2016 Summer Guide has the scoop on where to go to enjoy it all.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays