So, it’s not yet officially winter (and the photo is actually from last year), but I just couldn’t pass up the alliteration opportunity. Besides, the weather we’ve put up with lately isn’t exactly the picture of autumn. But many of this weekend’s events embrace the winter spirit – holiday exhibits, Christmas performances, and seasonal celebrations. Here’s where you can find them, plus a few more non-winter pursuits. Happy Weekend!
Trains, Planes, & Holiday Cheer – The College Park Aviation Museum’s annual holiday exhibit opens tomorrow, December 18, showcasing mini locomotives, villages, tunnels, and depots that spark the imagination and bring history to life. And the museum’s collection of historic aircraft and other flight-related displays will fascinate even more. Admission is $4/adults, $3/seniors, $2/ages 2-18, free/children under 2. The Aviation Museum is located at 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive in College Park. For other train and light exhibits in the area, check out this post.
National Christmas Tree – Bundle up and head to the Ellipse to see The National Christmas Tree close up and check out other holiday treats. Visit Santa’s Workshop, watch model trains zip around the tree, and see the Nativity scene and Yule Log. Choir performances take place on weekends from 4 – 8:30pm. The Pathway of Peace around the tree is lit daily until 11pm, but Santa’s workshop has limited hours.
Holiday Classics on the Big Screen – The AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring is running The Muppet Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Story starting today through Thursday, December 23. Visit the website for showtimes and tickets.
Childrens Tea Party & Storytelling – The Textile Museum is hosting its monthly Arts for Families program on Saturday. Guests can enjoy tea and tasty treats as they listen to readings from Tales Told in Tents: Stories from Central Asia by Sally Pomme Clayton. Parents are encouraged to bring a camera to snap photos of their kids trying on Turkmen clothing as they learn about life in the lands of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. The progam is free and recommended for kids ages 4 to 12. There are two seatings, at 2pm and 3pm. The Textile Museum is located at 2320 S Street NW.
Family Christmas Concert – The Kennedy Center isn’t a bad place to spend a Saturday afternoon. The Choral Arts Society of Washington presents a Family Christmas Concert: The Night Before Christmas, a theatrical concert for audiences of all ages. For more information, see this post. (Note: the Goldstar deal has expired, but regular-priced tickets are still available through the Kennedy Center.)
Mount Vernon by Candlelight – Sunday evening is your last chance for an evening Christmas tour at George Washington’s estate (the Saturday evening tour is sold out). Join “Mrs. Washington” for candlelit tours, fireside caroling, and hot cider and ginger cookies. Characters from the 18th-century will lead tours through the old house, and music and holiday shopping will take place in the more modern buildings. Admission is $10/adults, $14/kids 11 and under. Hours are 5pm – 8:30pm.
Christmas Stories at the American Art Museum – On Saturday, celebrate “the most wonderful time of year” with dramatic readings from a selection of holiday favorites, including Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicolas, and Francis P. Church’s Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. The free activity is related to the exhibit “Telling Stories: Normal Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg,” so be sure to take a tour of it while you’re there. The free program starts at 2pm. The American Art Museum is located at 8th and F Streets NW.
Winter Solstice Festival – The Winter Solstice is nearly upon us. Celebrate the days getting longer at Cabin John Regional Park on Sunday, December 19, from 2:30 – 4:30. Guests can make their own luminaries, walk celestial spirals, learn to spin fire, and discover ancient customs and superstitions surrounding this magical time of the solar year. Festivities will include hot cider and traditional treats around a blazing bonfire under the Great Sycamore and end with families preparing a sky lantern to bring back the light. All ages are invited, and cost is $5.
National Geographic Exhibits – Take shelter from the cold and check out a couple of great exhibits. Geckos: Tails to Toepads and Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life are fascinating for all ages. Read a review of both here. Admission to Geckos is $7/adults, $4/children under 12, and the Wild Music exhibit is free. The National Geographic Museum is located at 1145 17th Street NW.
Smithsonian Exhibits – Not that you need a reminder about all of the wonderful free museums on the Mall and in few other parts of the city, but if you want a daily schedule to help plan for storytime at Air & Space, tarantula feedings at Natural History, or animal encounters at the Zoo, then check out this calendar listing children’s activities this weekend.