The Weekend Round-Up: April 19-20


Whether you’re looking for ways to celebrate the holiday or simply seeking fun things to do with the kids, there’s plenty to pick from, both special events and tried & true DC pursuits, to ensure a good time. Happy Weekend!

Festival of Spring
Where: Burnside Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: Starts at $3

Experience Holland in Haymarket, Va! Burnside Farm’s annual spring festival showcasing the season’s flowers just opened this week, and word has it the blooms – daffodils, tulips, and Dutch iris – are beautiful, and they’re just getting started. Stroll through the giant fields that contain over 50 different varieties of flowers in a rainbow of colors so and pick your own. This sounds like a sight to behold. Don’t forget the camera.

Eggcellent Celebrations
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Many places around the area are hosting egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and more spring fun to celebrate Easter and the season. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs that will have the whole family hopping with joy. See this post for a list of them.

Vacation at the Drive-In
Where: Union Market
When: Friday, 8pm (gates open at 6pm)
Admission: $10/car or free in the picnic area

Union Market, home to the highly acclaimed food market is bringing back their wildly popular Drive-In outdoor movie series this spring.  Films will screen outdoors on Union Market’s 3-story wall on Fridays starting tonight with National Lampoon’s Vacation. Folks watch the movies from their parked cars and listen through their car radios or from the picnic area in front of the market. A variety of Union Market vendors and Suburbia will also participate serving themed food, drinks, and snacks. The Union Market Drive-In is $10 per car (tickets are available online), but seating in the picnic area will be first come first serve, free of charge.

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

Take the kids out to the ballgame! The Nats are hosting the St. Louis Cardinals all weekend with an evening game tonight, an afternoon match-up on Saturday, and another game on Sunday. Take advantage of the Harris Teeter Family Pack. And don’t forget you can stay post0game on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases when children ages 4-12 can loop the in field after the final out.

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

* Catch a performance of The Jungle Book at Adventure Theatre
* Cinderella: The Remix just opened at Imagination Stage
* See Once on this Island at Olney Theatre
* Fly away to Neverland with The Washington Ballet’s Peter Pan at the Kennedy Center
* Groovy Nate is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java.
* The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is at Ford’s Theatre through May 17.

Awesome Con
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 7pm & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $30/1-day pass, $50/2-day pass, free for kids 10 and under

This celebration of popular culture is DC’s comic-con, embracing all aspects of geekdom and pop culture. Expect a wide assortment of comic books, collectibles, toys, games, original art, cosplay, and much more. Special events will include fun with comic book artists, cool science and hands-on activities, trivia contests, and gaming tournaments. Especially for kids will be all-day art stations, children’s book readings, art projects, The Geek Balloonist, and more (view the full kids’ schedule.)

Revolutionary War Living History Day
Where: Congressional Cemetery
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Step back in time and learn about the Revolutionary War veterans and patriots interred at Historic Congressional Cemetery. Take a Revolutionary War tour of the grounds. Watch and learn about the musket through firing demonstrations, and listen to a concert featuring the music of the time as performed by the baroque trumpets from the Monumental City Ancient Fife and Drum Corps.

Tots to Teens Expo
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Get direct access to a wealth of different businesses and services that help make life easier for DC-area families. There is no other regional event that focuses exclusively on products or services that cater to children and teens. The O.S.S.E. Tots to Teens Expo fills that void — and so much more. Some exciting fun things for kids include, but aren’t limited to: Bumper cars, Toddler & Tiara pageant, Roller skating, Tennis, Fencing, Kids cooking classes, Fitness stage, 3,000 sq feet of inflatables and much more.

Salting Fish
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $3/adults, $2/children & seniors

Visit the Farm family and learn about the important contributions the Potomac River makes in their lives, as they clean and salt down their yearly catch of herring. The public is invited to help scale, clean, and pack the fish into jars – and educational and fun activity!

Kids’ Farm Month
Where: National Zoo
When: April 1 – 30
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Zoo’s Kids’ Farm, sponsored by State Farm®, throughout the month of April with a variety of activities and events. Every day, the Zoo will have special animal encounters, keeper talks, and demonstrations. And you can stop by the lion/tiger information booth to pick up a special coloring sheet and seed packet.

The Ins and Outs of DC
Where: All over the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by adventure

If you’re simply looking for things to do 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


Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Farm, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: April 14-18

Hands on at the Maryland Science Center

Hands on at the Maryland Science Center

Monday - Make your way up to Baltimore to visit the Maryland Science Center, where your crew can explore a variety of exhibits, play in the Kids Room, see an IMAX movie, and much more. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $16.95/adults, $13.95/ages 3+, free for 2 and under. Read more about the children’s museum here.

Tuesday - Take the money tour at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It’s a perfect outing for kids on break from school, since tours are only offered on weekdays. This post has all the background and details you need to plan for it.

Wednesday - See a FREE performance of Imagination Stage’s production of Inside Out at THEARC. The storyline follows two children who, instead of preparing for bedtime, use their imaginations to transform their room into fantastical world of play. Recommended for ages 1-5. Showtimes are 10:30am and 11:45am, and even though it’s free, tickets are required. This will also take place on Thursday and Friday.

Thursday - Head to the National Portrait Gallery where they’re hosting special Spring Break activities for kids from 1-4pm. Drop by the Education Center to do a collage project or check out a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum. Read more about the program and NPG in this post. Admission is free. Museum hours are 11:30am – 7pm.

Friday - Hike along the Potomac, see nature indoors and out, have a picnic, and hang out and relax at Riverbend Park. The Fairfax County locale makes for an ideal outing with little ones — easy trails, great nature viewing, and never a big crowd. Free admission, and the Visitor Center is open 9am – 5pm on weekdays.


Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: April 12-13



It’s a peak time to be in DC! The city is beautiful this time of year, and there are loads of ways to enjoy it — Cherry Blossom events, museum programs, live entertainment, spring celebrations, and more. And be sure to check the outdoor and indoor lists for activities beyond this round-up. Happy Weekend!

A Peek at the Peak
Where: Tidal Basin & National Mall
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

You may be able to catch the final days of the cherry blossom peak. The blooms have been spectacular this week and will, hopefully, still wow this weekend. Expect crowds and be prepared — this post has tips for families viewing the blossoms.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: Saturday, April 13, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is, hands-down, the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel through the city. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day like we’re expected to get on Saturday.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: 12th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up

Immediately following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head right over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. Stretching down six city blocks from 9th to 14th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, there will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Be prepared for a crowd.

Explore the Universe
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Understand how different cultures see the sky at this annual event at the Museum on the Mall. Learn about telescopes and do some daytime observations (weather permitting). Other hands-on activities around the museum include a chance to make a solar clock and build an astrolab. Go here for the complete schedule of activities.

Lantern Making Family Day
Where: Yards Park
When: Sunday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Capitol Riverfront BID is hosting its 4th Annual Lantern Making Family Day as part of National Cherry Blossom festivities.  Guests are invited to create paper lanterns, and all supplies will be included. There will also be martial arts performances by Hapmudo, a moonbounce, and games for children. Grab a bite to eat at nearby – there’s a Nando’s and everal other restaurants for a family-friendly meal.

Eggcellent Celebrations
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Many places around the area are hosting egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and more spring fun to celebrate Easter and the season. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs that will have the whole family hopping with joy. See this post for a list of them.

Cherry Blossom Family Day
Where: American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Spring has arrived! Celebrate D.C.’s famous cherry blossom season at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Craft activities include: tissue paper blossoms, drawing your own cherry blossom tree, coloring sheets, folded Japanese screen painting, and origami! Learn how to “invite” birds into a garden with SI Gardens and make an origami passenger pigeon. Get your face painted and then watch a kimono dressing demonstration on stage. Enjoy performances of traditional Japanese music, dance and taiko drumming, and explore how Japanese art and culture have influenced American artists for decades with a scavenger hunt in the galleries.

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

* Catch a performance of The Jungle Book at Adventure Theatre
* Cinderella: The Remix just opened at Imagination Stage
* Enjoy theatre on strings at The Puppet Co., where Hansel & Gretel is on the main stage and Baby Bear’s Birthday is the featured Tiny Tots show.
* See Once on this Island at Olney Theatre
* TreeHouse Shakers-Hatched, BlackRock Center for the Arts first-ever show for very young children, will be presented at 10am and 1pm on Saturday
* One Mic: Fresh Noise: A Mashup of Youth Voices–Game On! is at the Kennedy Center this weekend only
* Gustafer Yellowgold is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java.
* The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is at Ford’s Theatre through May 17.

World Health Day Family Program
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

If your babe is a budding doctor or scientist, then this Family Program will surely fascinate. In honor of World Health Day, the Museum is hosting a special event to showcase how the Department of Defense is working to combat vector-borne diseases around the world. How do conditions such as malaria, dengue, and yellow fever affect your health? Hands-on activities will demonstrate just that.

Marmalade at House of Sweden
Where: House of Sweden
When: Sunday, 12pm & 2pm
Admission: Free

Marmalade is delicious & sensory performance about meeting, mixing and moving for ages 2 and up. Mira and Viktor taste and feel in poetic movements and circus actions in an exquisite and visual experience together with the audience. Marmelade looks at the world through body, eye, feeling and taste. Upside down, behind and in front of you. Register to attend here.

Enchanted Cherrybration Weekend
Where: Clark’s Elioak Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10a, – 5pm
Admission: $5 (rides cost extra)

Let your little princesses dress up for this visit to the storybook-themed farm (you can read more about it in this list about outdoor outings). Clark’s Elioak will be celebrating Howard County’s “Cherrybration” Days with treats fit for young royalty and plenty of pink pizzazz. Children in a family will get a free hay ride if at least one person in the family is dressed as a pink princess. Kids can also dress up in gowns on hand at the farm for a photo opportunity with “Princess Cherrybella.” A Truly Pink Treasure Hunt in the Enchanted Forest Maze will round out the weekend activities.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Parade, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend An Online Resource for Quality Child Care


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Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms (2014)

Great photo ops abound during the cherry blossom peak

Great photo ops abound during the cherry blossom peak

[Note: This was originally posted in 2011 (hence, the now outdated Lost reference) and updated each year. And since the tips always apply, I'm re-posting yet again with a couple more minor updates.]

Taking the family to the National Mall to see some pretty flowers sounds easy enough. If only it actually was. The cherry blossom peak is one of the best times to visit DC – the city is at its most beautiful, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival provides loads of fun activities — but viewing the famous blooms can also be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things. Here are seven recommendations to consider if seeing the cherry blossoms is on your family’s spring agenda.

1. Don’t drive if you value your sanity. Take the Metro, ride the bus, bike, walk, jet pack. Get here however you can, just leave the car at home. Traffic is beyond frustrating during the cherry blossom peak, and your chances of finding decent parking are about as good as hitting the Powerball with Hurley’s numbers (okay, slight exaggeration, but it is hard). The masses descend on Washington, DC, this time of year, and way too many do so in their vehicles. Besides, kids love riding the Metro—it’s like an urban version of Hogwarts Express. The Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange Line is mere minutes from all of the blossom action, but it’s also guaranteed to be crowded. Consider riding to L’Enfant on Yellow/Green, Federal Center on Blue/Orange, or even a stop downtown or in Penn Quarter and taking a nice stroll to the blossoms. *If you absolutely must drive and need parking you might find a spot in Hains Point, where there is free and metered parking, then walk or take a shuttle ($1/person) to the Tidal Basin. Your best bet, though, might be to find a garage in the downtown or Penn Quarter area, then walk or Metro to the National Mall.

2. Visit on a weekday if you have the flexibility. Crowds are significantly smaller from Monday to Friday, so you can stroll around the Tidal Basin at a nice pace, and public transportation won’t be nearly as packed (though it still will be more crowded than usual). If the kids are in school or daycare during the week, think about going later in the day. The National Mall and monuments look beautiful at sunset, and the blossoms make it even more sublime. In the same vein, if you can go super early, the morning light on the Mall makes for quite a picturesque setting, too.

3. Consider using a child carrier instead of a stroller for little ones. This is especially applicable if you take the Metro, since elevator lines can be very long and slow-going. I learned my lesson a few years ago on a weekday and ended up taking my daughter out of the stroller and carrying both on the escalator, which was probably as unsafe as it was difficult. Even if you don’t take Metro, a carrier is still a wise option. Navigating crowded walkways while pushing a pram takes focus, and you could end up spending more time concentrating on not rolling over others’ heels than enjoying the sights you came to see. It’s a bonus for wee ones, too — perched on your back, your babe will get a better view of the blossoms.


4. Check the National Cherry Blossom Festival schedule, so you can plan your visit accordingly. Some of the city’s most anticipated events are part of the annual celebration. And while the Blossom Kite Festival was rained out this year and the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks took place before the peak, we’ve still got the National Cherry Blossom Parade, Sakura Matsuri – The Japanese Street Festival, and other fun programs for families to look forward to. All events take place close by the blossoms or an easy Metro ride away. See the National Cherry Blossom Festival website for dates and details on the best events for families.

5. Get a new view of the blossoms and enjoy a fun activity from the comfort of a pedicab or cruise on the Potomac. Uber is currently offering pedicab rides around the Tidal Basin and surrounding areas. And several companies offer boat rides along the river, many of them specifically for the season when the cherry trees are in bloom. Capitol River Cruises, Potomac Riverboat Company, and Odyssey Cruises are a few to check out. Though before you go straight to the websites, look for a deal on Groupon, Goldstar, LivingSocial, or Certifikid. We’ve gotten great offers that way.

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

6. Seek out other spots to see the cherry blossoms if you don’t want to deal with crowds and chaos around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Several places around the DC-metro area are well known for their annual cherry blossom displays. When I worked in Bethesda many years ago, it was an annual tradition for my colleagues and I to take a drive through Kenwood, a lovely neighborhood between Little Falls Parkway and River Road with cherry tree-lined streets. The National Arboretum also has a nice collection of the trees and offers a beautiful, peaceful environment in which to view them in bloom. For even more suggestions for cherry blossoms minus the crowds, check out this Washingtonian article from a few years ago.

7. Don’t forget your camera to take advantage of some of the best photo ops DC offers. The peak colors plus the monuments are about as iconic as you can get when photographing Washington. Get your kids to sit still – or even let them run and play for a fun candid – and you’ve got this year’s holiday card.


Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Festival, Free, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend