Whether you like your recreation conventional or offbeat, these recs have you covered. From engineering and art at museums to entertainment and streetcar rides on H to giant glowing bunnies (!) in the park, the latest DC happenings span the spectrum of fun. Happy Weekend!
Discover Engineering Family Day
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free ($5 suggested donation)
The Building Museum always hosts great family events, and this annual festival is no exception. Celebrate National Engineers Week as you discover how professional engineers turn ideas into reality and do some engineering and problem solving of your own. Hands-on activities allow kids to explore forces behind roller coasters, build a structure that withstands a tsunami, discover what makes popcorn pop, launch a rocket, and more! We’ve gone several years and have always had a great time. It gets crowded, but there are so many activities available, kids can always be involved in the fun. Recommended for children ages 6-12 with adult supervision.
Intersect with the Performing Arts
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Admission: See the website
The Atlas is kicking off its annual festival that presents tons of fantastic performances in music, theatre, dance, film, and spoken word with several exhibitions especially for families. See Midsummer Madness, Shakespeare for the Young’s puppet tribute to the bard. Enjoy The Singing Cricket, a cross-cultural interactive show for all ages. And the whole line-up of shows is worth checking out by grown-ups. And watch the General Mischief Dance Theatre perform playful dances and incorporate mobiles created by the Mobilizing Our Community project. And the whole line-up of shows throughout the Festival is worth checking out by grown-ups.
Where: Yards Park
When: Saturday, 3-6pm
Light Yards, the unique art installation melding light, sculpture, and music, that opened at The Yards Park last weekend will be hopping again on Saturday as giant luminescent bunnies created by artist Amanda Parer join the creative mix. This DC gig kicks off their US tour, and there will be an event especially for families. Kids and adults can delight in the sight of the enormous glowing bunnies, while enjoying children’s activities, including a giant Lite-Brite, bunny crafts, balloon artists, face painters, glitter tattoos, and a DJ. There will also be an evening event (geared more toward adults) from 6-10pm, with a performance by electric violinist DJ Manifesto.
Meet Mr. Lemoncello
Where: Barston’s Child’s Play
When: Friday, 4:30pm
Start the weekend with a childen’s book reading! Exuberant and inventive children’s author Chris Grabenstein is bringing his hugely popular Mr. Lemoncello books to fans in DC. He’ll be reading from and signing the much-anticipated Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics at Child’s Play located at 5536 Connecticut Ave. NW.
All Aboard the DC Streetcar
Where: H Street NE
After years of anticipation, the DC Streetcar will finally start service along H Street NE. There will be an opening ceremony at 13th and H NE at 10am, and rides right now are free. However, no guarantees of getting aboard on Saturday, as it could be packed. But with other activities happening along the corridor (INTERSECTIONS and Nando’s Grand Opening), it’s worth checking out.
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
* Reserve free tickets to Pinot & Augustine, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance
* James and the Giant Peach is Adventure Theatre’s latest play for all ages
* Encore Stage & Studio brings theatre by kids for kids in their latest production, Treasure Island
* It’s opening weekend of Beauty and the Beast at The Puppet Co.
* And Doggy Doodle is the featured Tiny Tots show at the Glen Echo theater
* Spend Saturday morning with The Great Zucchini at Jammin’ Java
* JACK and Phil, Slayers of Giants-INC is on the Imagination Stage
* The Reston Community Players present Mary Poppins
* A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on stage at the Folger Shakespeare Library
* Let’s Remix the Classics at an NSO Family Theater performance at the Kennedy Center
* The Laurie Berkner Band is playing the Lincoln Theatre on Sunday afternoon
Nando’s: Chicken & Trolley Rides
Where: H Street NE
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free, but plan to purchase food!
Nando’s Peri-Peri is opening their newest location at 411 H Street NE with a Grand Opening celebration this weekend. And they’re bringing their own streetcar (well, trolley) with them and offering rides as part of the fun. A few DC United players will also be helping cook on Saturday from 1-5pm. Even more, from 5-10pm on Saturday and 11am – 10pm on Sunday, 100% of every bill will go to supporting community programs at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.
Date Night: Shakespeare Sans Words
Where: Synetic Theater
When: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Admission: Tickets start at $20
It’s probably hard to imagine a wordless Shakespeare production, but Synetic Theater’s version of Romeo and Juliet is just that — and it’s phenomenal. Innovative, fluid choreography set against dramatic scenery of gears in a clock, all to a unique soundtrack of ticks, tocks, and chimes makes for a gorgeous, mesmerizing production. Words aren’t necessary when a familiar story is told in such a beautifully expressive way. If you’re a fan of the bard or just appreciate superb theatre, I highly recommend this show. Teens and up could enjoy it, but it makes for a great grown-up night out.
Dance Your Socks Off
Where: River Park Nursery School
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Admission: $15 or $40/family
River Park Nursery School’s annual Sock Hop is always a fun-filled, family-friendly event. Featuring entertainment by local musical celebrity Mr. Skip, food, games, and a silent auction, enjoy activities for all ages and an opportunity to support preschool education on Capitol Hill.
Kids in the Kitchen
Where: YMCA Anthony Bowen
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
The Junior League of Washington is hosting its annual healthy eating and fitness activity fair for children. Designed for kids ages 3 to 13, the event showcases ways for kids to eat smart and make healthy lifestyle choices. Activities include exercise classes (like Zumba, CrossFit and yoga), cooking fun with professional chefs, demos from nutrition experts, and more. Kids can also craft, play games, enjoy goodie bags, and try for exciting raffle prizes – all to celebrate and promote nutritional literacy. The YMCA is located at 1325 W Street NW.
Portrait Stories & Discoveries
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 1-4pm & Sunday, 2-5pm
Drop in at the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Langston Hughes and complete a hands-on activity. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum. For more about the program, see this post about one of our experiences there.
The Great DC Outdoors
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission:Varies by Locale
It looks like we’re going to have another weekend with weather that beckons us outside. You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro to enjoy it. Take a hike, hit a playground, explore a garden, visit animals, or see what else there is to do al fresco in this post with tons of ideas for fun in the fresh air.
The Inside Scoop
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by locale
If you’d prefer to spend the day indoors, or just want to see what else there is to do around town, this post has 70+ ideas for activities.