Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 31 – September 4

The magnificent interior of the National Cathedral during the last Flower Mart

The magnificent interior of the National Cathedral during the last Flower Mart

Monday - 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, which should be open to the public since school isn’t back in session until Tuesday. The National Cathedral is open 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Tuesday - Enjoy free admission for kids to the Newseum while you can! The Summer Fun Deal, which ends after Labor Day, waives the entrance fee for youth with one paid adult admission. The deal benefits kids ages 7 and up most, since children 6 and under always get in free, and much of the Newseum’s collection will be better appreciated by older children. Adult tickets are $22.95, but you can get a $16 deal on entry here. For a museum outing with littler ones, head to National Geographic, where the Monster Fish exhibit will fascinate with big sculptures of river creatures and fun interactives. The Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology exhibit is also great, but suited for kids ages 8 and up. Hours there are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $15/adult, $10/child, and you can find a discount here.

Wednesday - Take advantage of a summer staple and jump in at an outdoor pool before they close for the season. Check out the Summer in DC guide for info and links to public pools around the area. Hours vary by location, so be sure to check schedule. Admission to most is free (or a small fee if you’re not a resident of the District or county where it’s located).

Thursday - 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.

Friday - Hang out at National Harbor. Treat kids finishing up summer break to a spin on the Capital Wheel ($15/adult, $11/25/child), let little ones ride the carousel ($7 for unlimited rides), paddle or pedal the Potomac (rates vary by boat), and more. A fun way to get there is by water taxi from Old Town Alexandria; the Potomac Riverboat Company operates daily between the two destinations at various times throughout the day — see the schedule and rates here.

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

The Weekend Round-Up: August 28-30

Huzzah, it's the weekend!

Huzzah, it’s the weekend!

Celebrate the completion of the first week of school or savor the last of summer break with these recs for fun with the kids. And for even more ideas, check out the long list of indoor activities and big compilation of places to enjoy a day outdoors. Happy Weekend!

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

Dost thou feel the merriment in the air? 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 25, and this weekend kids ages 15 and under get in for FREE. Huzzah!

Rooftop Bash
Where: Whole Foods Tenley – Upper Deck
When: Friday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Party into the weekend and celebrate with the “Top of the Town” community at their very first Rooftop. CityDance Pop!, Whole Foods Tenley, and NE Sport & Health are hosting a rooftop bash complete with family-friendly workouts, free dance classes, and complimentary food & beverages. More fun for families includes moonbounces, cornhole, photo ops with a DC firetruck, raffles, and prizes. And DJ Roberto from Silenzio Productions will be on the 1’s and 2’s.

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

Harvest potatoes, enjoy a sweet breakfast, and have a blast at Great Country Farm’s annual Big Dig. Take the scenic drive out to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains early for all-you-can-eat pancakes topped with homemade fruit syrups, then hop on a hayride that will take you out to u-pick fields where you can dig for gold — Yukon gold potatoes, that is. Breakfast is served from 9am – 12pm, and the hayrides run all day — and the fun doesn’t have to stop there. Along with breakfast and the Dig, admission includes access to the rest of the farm’s attractions, including a cow train, mazes, barnyard petting area, pick your own fields, and more. Visit the website for more information and directions. And purchase tickets online by noon today for a discount!

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.

Shows on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

Return to the thrilling days of prehistoric yesteryear, where the Old West meets the old, old, old West at the Dew Drop Inn as The Puppet Co. presents Dinosaur Desperados on the main stage. The 50-minute show is recommended for ages 3-7. Take really little ones to see Old McDonald’s Farm on Saturday or Baby Bear’s Birthday on Sunday, both the featured Tiny Tots shows this weekend.

Open Garden Day
Where: American History Museum – Victoria Garden
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Discover ways to keep summer on the shelf in the winter months. Learn about canning and pickling garden produce, see seed saving demonstrations, create your own seed packets and other crafts, and take home free wildflower seeds. Garden experts will also be on hand to answer gardening “how-to” questions and take you on an exploration of the summer bounty in the Victory Garden.

Groove with Nate
Where: Lubber Run Amphitheater
When: Saturday, 4pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy some musical fun at the amphitheater in Arlington as local fave Groovy Nate entertains the crowd with his unique blend of blends of music, puppetry, movement, and comedy. It’s a great experience for the younger set, encouraging participation with wonderfully wacky handout instruments.

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.

Movie Night in Rock Creek
Where: Carter Barron Amphitheatre
When: Saturday, approx. 8:15pm
Admission: Free

See a movie under the stars right in our city park. On Saturday, ease on down the road to catch a screening of The Wiz. Gates open at 7pm, and the film will begin at dusk, shortly after 8pm.

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

The 2nd 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 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.

Indoor Swim
Where: National Building Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $5-16 (see details below)

You only have a couple more weeks to jump in at The BEACH, the Building Museum’s big summer installation that is a blast for all ages. The architectural simulation of a beach, there is a beach chair lined seashore that slopes gently into the ocean, and the “water” consists of nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls. It’s pretty cool just to view — but even better to experience. Admission is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member.

Sing-along at Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Sunday, 6pm
Admission: Free

The Kennedy Center’s daily free entertainment series presents the Ship’s Company Chanteymen for an evening sing-along. Wearing their 19th century naval uniforms, the group will share old salts’ songs with the audience, who is not just welcome, but encouraged to join in!

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

It’s Time to Say “Huzzah!”

Put your hands in the air and say, "Huzzah!"

Put your hands in the air and say, “Huzzah!”

Hear ye, hear ye! Dost thou feel the merriment in the air? The return of the faire-est event in all the land is upon us… The Maryland Renaissance Festival begins its nine-weekend carouse at Revel Grove this Saturday, August 29, and will carry on the mirth through October 25.

Merriment starts here

Merriment starts here

I say this every year, and I will reiterate it again: If there is one event everyone should experience, the Maryland Renaissance Festival is it. I’ve actually posted and raved about it so many times that everything you need to know about why you should go can be found here, here, here, here, and here (wow, I’ve been at this blogging thing for awhile!).

A man stuffed in a giant pink balloon - of course!

A man stuffed in a giant pink balloon – of course!

With all the background about the faire in previous posts, now you just need this year’s logistics: The Maryland Renaissance takes place once again in Crownesville, MD, in the lovely hamlet of Revel Grove, August 29 – October 25. 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 29-30 is Children’s Weekend – FREE admission for ages 15 and under with accompanying adult
* September 5-6 is Romance Weekend – Singles mingle on Saturday, vow renewal ceremony on Sunday
* September 7 – free admission for seniors 62 and over on Labor Day
* September 12 & October 11 – ASL performance interpretation days
* September 12-13 – Celtic Celebration
* September 19-20 is Pirate Weekend – dress in your swashbucking best!
* September 26 – Outlanders fans take note: Diana Gabaldon will make an appearance
* October 24-25 – Joust Competition

And a glimpse at more of what you’ll find there…







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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Competition, Discount, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Weekend

A Giveaway & Discounts for Entertainment at Adventure Theatre


Adventure Theatre is bringing Caps for Sale, the classic folktale and book by Esphyr Slobodkina, to the stage on its 75th Anniversary with a three-week world premiere run September 11-27. The Glen Echo Park venue is the first stop on a national tour that will take Caps For Sale, the Musical to over 17 cities around the country. And you have a chance to win a 4-Pack of tickets to be among the first audiences to see it!

“Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!” The cap peddler, wears a huge stack of caps, balanced carefully on top of his head. Brown caps, blue caps, gray caps, and red caps. When no one buys a cap, he takes a nap under a shady tree. But, when he wakes up, the caps are gone! Was it bears, pirates, one thousand thieves or a band of merry mischievous monkeys?

Co-adapted by Ann Marie Mulhean Sayer and Michael J. Bobbitt with music and lyrics by William Yanesh, directed by Ovation Award-nominated Patrick Pearson and a part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, this folktale cleverly illustrates the saying, “Monkey see, monkey do.”

Catch a performance of Caps for Sale September 11 – 27. Tickets are $19.50 and can be purchased online or at the box office, 301-634-2270. And be sure to read below about a great way to get discounts on your Adventure Theatre entertainment!

Flexpass: Want to save on tickets and get some great theater benefits? Adventure Theatre now offers a Flexpass that saves you up to $4.50 on tickets and fees, plus gives you flexibility on what to see and when. For $170, you get 10 tickets to see any Adventure Theatre production during the 2015-16 season. More benefits include:
- Advance scheduling of tickets before they go on sale to the public
- No fees and free exchanges
- 20% savings on tickets and fees
- The biggest discounts to ATMTC’s most popular shows

Purchase your Flexpass for the 2015-16 season here!

Giveaway: Want a chance to win a 4-pack of tickets to see Caps For Sale at Adventure Theatre? Simply leave a comment telling me what activity you’re most looking forward to with your kids this fall. To be eligible, you must also follow KidFriendly DC on Facebook and subscribe to the blog (see sign-up on left sidebar). This giveaway will run through Tuesday, September 1, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Adventure Theatre, however, I only promote programs, events, and services that I truly believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.


Filed under All ages, Discount, Giveaway, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Sponsored Post, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend

Dig the Recreation at Purse State Park


You’ve got to love when a recommendation for a great adventure comes straight from an expert. I also appreciate when friends think of KFDC upon finding out about cool places to explore. Those two things combined are exactly what what brought us to Purse State Park in Charles County, MD, a couple of weeks ago.

On a recent visit to the Natural History Museum, my friend Jody got into a conversation with a paleontologist about searching for fossilized shark teeth (a random obsession she and I share), and learned that Purse is known for yielding excellent fossil finds. Once she shared that information with me, it wasn’t long before we made a trip out there with our kids for a day of digging, swimming, picnicking, and exploring.


Purse State Park is just over an hour’s drive away from DC along a part of the river called Wades Bay, where woods meet water. There’s a very small parking lot across the street from the trail head that leads to the pretty and peaceful beach area about a quarter of a mile away.


A narrow strip of sand stretches along the shoreline, tree branches from the woods overhanging in a few spots. But the “jewels” of the locale are hidden among the piles of shells and small rocks at the water’s edge, where you’ll easily find fossils from sharks, fish, shells, even crocodiles, many of them over 30 million and some up to 60 million years old.


It’s important to check the tide table (search Potomac River/Liverpool Point, MD) when you plan a visit, since the already narrow strip of sand thins out even more at high tide. Not only is it easier to sift through the piles of shells and rocks, but the kids have space to play in the sand and spread out a bit. The water is also nice and shallow for swimming (yes, in the Potomac!) at that time.



Having those extra activities for the kids was ideal, since they did their fossil hunting in short spurts, though Sasha found one of the larger shark teeth of our stash. Jody and I, however, were crouched by the river for long stretches of time, plucking all kinds of fossils from handfuls of sand and shells. A small area at the end of a little stream trickling from the woods to the river was a boon for shark teeth of all sizes, dental plate fragments, shellfish molds, fossilized shells, and possibly part of a turtle shell (this website is great for helping identify fossils). We met an Arlington woman there who does a lot of fossil hunting, and she said Purse is by far one of the higher yielding spots for shark and occasionally crocodile teeth.



We both left with nice stashes of fossils, and back home I added our new findings to a collection in a mason jar, save for a few teeth that Sasha included in birthday cards for friends. And I have to confess: I’m already jonesing for a fossil hunting fix — it’s that addicting! — and the nerd in me really, really hopes to score a Megalodon shark or crocodile tooth next time.

Jody's findings from the day all cleaned and sorted

Jody’s findings from the day all cleaned and sorted

Purse State Park is located in Charles County in Nanjemoy, MD, according to GPS. It’s open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. There are no concessions or facilities, so plan accordingly.

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Filed under All ages, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend