Category Archives: Animals

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 17-20

Enjoy warmer weather and avoid crowds downtown at the National Zoo this week

Enjoy warmer weather and avoid crowds downtown at the National Zoo this week



Tuesday – Put some color in what’s forecast to be a gray day on a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Housing some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around, the vibrant, quirky collections — including interactive pieces — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & ages 7 and up, free for 6 and under.

Later in the day, Whole Foods Market Fair Lakes is celebrating their 10th Anniversary with fun for the whole family from 4-7pm. There will be live music, face painting, raffles, delicious samples from local vendors, and a cake cutting. Plus, you can enjoy exclusive sale items all day and get a free pint glass with any food purchased from the store’s sports bar, seafood shack, or cheese grille.

Wednesday – Have a wild time at the National Zoo, while the weather warms up and the weekday crowds thin out. Check the Daily Events schedule before you go to help plan your outing or pick your animal visits as you go. Grounds are open 8am – 5pm, exhibit building hours are 9am – 4pm, and the Visitor Center 10am – 4pm. Admission is free, though parking in the Zoo lot for non-members is $22 (free for members). You can also try parking on Connecticut Avenue or a side street, or take Metro to Woodley Park or Cleveland Park stations.

Thursday – Enjoy the day at Watkins Regional Park! The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will keep little ones frolicking for hours. While you’re there, stop by Old Maryland Farm to visit the animals and the Watkins Nature Center to view some cool creatures and birds. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 8:30am – 5pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free.

Friday – As the 45th president is sworn in on Inauguration Day, head to Alexandria (and avoid the crowds of DC) to visit the home of the nation’s first POTUS, George Washington. Mount Vernon is hosting special activities, including scavenger hunts, exhibits, photo ops, and more, not to mention the ongoing programs and exhibits will be available, too! This program runs January 19-22. Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is $20/adult, $10/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under at the door, but $2 less if you purchase tickets online. And if you’re planning to take in the action at the U.S. Capitol, I recommend checking out this guide.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays

Take a Nature Break at Prince William Forest Park

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My kids are funny when it comes to hiking. Sometimes they are gung-ho, but every now and then when I suggest we hit the trail, there’s a little protest: “But it’s just walking!” is something I’ve heard more than once.

Then I explain that it’s much more than just walking. It’s observing the nature around us, enjoying some active recreation, getting out of the bustling city for peaceful surrounds, unplugging, spending quality time together. I relish a good hike and, at the risk of sounding eye rollingly cheesy, think it’s the perfect thing for a mini reboot. Taking even a little break from our busy, hurried city life to slow down and connect is good for all of us.

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The thing is, I can almost always guarantee that even when there is initial resistance to the hiking plan, they end up being happy trampers. (“Mom, you were right…” is not uncommon either 😉 ). Once we get to our destination, they’re excited to be there — racing each other down the path, looking out for wildlife, finding a perfect walking stick, and just exploring the environment around us.

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When we visited Prince Washington Forest Park in Northern Virginia this past fall, they were actually quite amenable to the idea. This mostly had to do with the fact that Owen had just been there for Nature Bridge , a three-day outdoor education program with school, and loved the location. I had been there myself a year before for a trail race and recalled it being a beautiful park with varied terrain and interesting trails. Collective enthusiasm to go someplace is never a bad thing!

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Prince William Forest Park stretches over 15,000 acres in Northern Virginia. The largest protected green space in the DC-Metro area, there are over 37 miles of trails to hike, plus miles of paved and gravel paths to cycle, rivers for fishing, and cabins and tent sites for camping.

There is a $7 entrance fee per vehicle (or $5 for walk- and bike-ins) that we paid at the Visitor Center upon our arrival. While we were there, we picked up a trail map, checked out the exhibits, and learned a little more about the park’s nature and history. A couple of tidbits: The area was significant strategic point in the Civil War, and during the Great Depression when the park was called the Chopawamsic Recreation Area, it housed children’s relief camps.

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There are a few trail heads near the Visitor Center, and trails within the park are as short as a half mile and as long as almost 10. Many connect, so you can extend your hike and explore different areas. Our jaunt along the Laurel Loop Trail took us through the woods, which were vibrant with fall colors at the time, and along the Quantico Creek. Owen pointed out some of the spots he visited on his school trip, like a beaver dam and small waterfall, and we had a picnic lunch by the water.

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Then we hopped onto another trail that took us deeper into the woods, and eventually to small cemetery. We learned that there over 40 family cemeteries in the park, mostly from the late 19th and early 20th century, but some even earlier. It’s important to respect these sites and also illegal to alter them in any way. You can read about a couple of them here.

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While we didn’t see much wildlife besides birds, squirrels, and fish, plenty do live there. Deer, beavers, and black bears (!) are some of the other mammals you might encounter. And sightings of snakes, turtles, and frogs are pretty common.

The variety in trails makes Prince William Forest Park a great place to hike with young children, since there are plenty of short, flat trails. And if you’re with older kids who want more of a challenge, there are longer and more difficult trails, too. You even can make it a weekend trip — cabins are available May – October, and tent sites May – November. Whether you overnight it or just go for a few hours, it makes for a great escape from the city.

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Prince William Forest Park is located in Triangle, VA, about a 45 minute drive from DC. It’s open daily from sunrise to sunset. The Visitor Center is open 8am – 4pm November – February, and 9am – 5pm March – October. Admission is $7/car or $5/walk- or bike-in.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Educational, Exhibit, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Explore the Local Environment at Buddie Ford Nature Center

Watching a skink eat a cricket

Watching a skink eat a cricket



I really enjoy hearing from you guys. And not just with feedback about my blog, positive or otherwise (luckily it’s been more of the former than the latter). I especially love when readers let me know about a place or activity in the area that we haven’t yet experienced.

That’s how I learned about Buddie Ford Nature Center. A few weeks ago when I shared The Great Indoors list on Facebook, as I do every now and then when it’s been updated, someone left a comment letting me know about the facility in Alexandria. She called it the “best nature center in the area” and also mentioned they might have to reduce hours due to lack of traffic.

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That was about all I needed to know. When something is recommended as the best, my interest is piqued. And when a great place isn’t getting the attention it deserves, I like to help out with that if I can. So, I made a point to visit with the kids over the winter break to check it out for ourselves.

As soon as we walked into Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center on an early Wednesday afternoon, I understood. The large space is filled with exhibits that catch the eye immediately, all of them showcasing the nature and wildlife of the local environment, yet we were the only visitors there. We took advantage and quickly got started exploring it all.

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While I was drawn to the many terrariums housing creatures found in the nearby woods, the kids went straight for a table topped with items to examine under a microscope and view on a large monitor. They were fascinated by close-ups of snake skin, shells, feathers, rocks and other objects collected from the outdoors nearby.

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In fact, there are interactive opportunities all around the huge room. There’s a cute area for little ones with a small activity table and plastic animals to play with. There’s a challenge to spot all the toads in a tank. A “Please Touch” table lets guests check out larger items from the outdoors up close. And there’s a nice sun room to stroll through to see all kind of plants and “chat” with Rio the sun conure.

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But one of the best things about Buddie Ford is the staff, who are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. They gave us a little meet and greet with some of the creatures, let the kids help feed the turtles, pointed out some neat things to see (like the skink mid-cricket meal), and shared interesting information about the collection on view, including neat facts about the wildlife and how they acquired some of them. They work with kids quite a bit, hosting an after school program and school field trips as well as offering birthday parties.

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The staff also let us know about Dora Kelley Nature Park adjacent to the Nature Center that is easily accessed right off the parking lot. So after our nature center visit, we headed over for a short hike. A paved mile-long trail winds through the woods and marshland of the 50-acre wildlife sanctuary. It’s a nice stroll, and you can keep an eye out for some of the animals and plants you just learned about. (Be sure to pick up a trail guide while you’re at the nature center to help.)

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So, I owe KFDC reader Lis a huge thank you for this one. I agree: Buddie Ford does rank among the area’s best nature centers and is absolutely worth a visit!

Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Sanctuary and Dora Kelley Nature Park are located at 5750 Sanger Avenue in Alexandria, VA. Hours are 10am – 5pm Wednesday – Saturday, and 1-5pm on Sunday. Admission is free.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Birthday Parties, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: December 16-18

A close look at the Capitol tree

A close look at the Capitol tree



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This round-up is heavy on holiday events, but you’ll find a few other activities and events sprinkled in, too. For even more, the Everyday Play page is loaded with all kinds of ideas for getting out and about around the DMV. Happy Weekend!

Season’s Greenings
Where: US Botanic Garden
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The Botanic Garden’s annual holiday attraction never disappoints. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials and one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs — this year’s National Parks and Historic Sites theme is especially great. A heads-up that it’ll probably be crowded, but the line usually moves quickly, and it really is a beautiful, fun, unique display to see! And if you go in the late afternoon, plan to stop and see the Capitol Christmas Tree after as it’s lit every evening at sundown.

Wreaths Across America
Where: Arlington National Cemetery
When: Saturday, 9:30am – 2pm
Admission: Free

A chance for the whole family to volunteer! Help place Veterans’ Remembrance Wreaths on the graves of American heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There is no sign-up or age requirement — families are encouraged to volunteer together. Be sure to visit the website for details, including schedule and meeting location. Read about more family-friendly volunteer opportunities around the DC area.

Cookies & Cocoa with Santa
Where: Topgolf Alexandria
When: Saturday, 9-11am
Admission: Free

Santa Claus is coming to town and this year he’s bringing Cookies & Cocoa! This free event for families with children 12 and under will feature cookies to snack on, a hot chocolate bar, a holiday-themed gift, and kids’ activities. Santa will be there for complimentary photos, and all pictures taken will be available for download on the Topgolf Alexandria Facebook page after the event.

More Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Get into the holiday spirit the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. Take the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

A Solstice Circus
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $25/adult, $15/ages 11 and under

In the darkest winter days, one young man discovers that he has the power to bring light and inspire joy in even the most surprising places. This holiday show is an uplifting, delightful spectacle that will amaze the whole family. Featuring acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, and other dazzling performances – the spirit is sure to be contagious! Start a new and unique holiday tradition by coming to the circus! Appropriate for all ages.

Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Woodrow Wilson High School
When: Saturday, 5pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $23-30/adults, $20-24 seniors/10+, $14-18/under 10

Check out a unique, high-energy twist to the typical Nutcracker featuring lots of local kids as Capitol Hill’s Momentum Dance Theatre presents its 18th annual Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker. We caught a show last week and loved watching students as young as 5 years perform along with the professional dancers! The show is set to music from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite plus hip hop, pop, funk, and more — you’ll be dancing in your seats along with the performers. (And look out for Owen’s best buddy showing off his sweet pop & lock moves!)

More Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Much of the live entertainment on local stages right now is holiday-inspired.
Stomp over to the Atlas for Step Afrika!’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show. See the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at the Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the National Theatre. Get details on these shows and others in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

GLOW With It
Where: Georgetown
When: Through January 1, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light — literally. Georgetown GLOW has the neighborhood sparkling with modern light art installations, some of them interactive, on display throughout the bustling community, which is extra lively and festive this time of year. The works are illuminated all around the neighborhood, and finding them is part of the adventure. Take the family to dinner or skating at Washington Harbour, then go for a stroll to check them all out.

Journey to Narnia
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission” $19.50

Adventure Theatre’s clever and creative production of the classic The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is a family must-see this season! The two-actor show is exciting and fun, getting the audience in on the adventure, too. All ages will enjoy the journey to Narnia with the Pevensie siblings!

Showtime Beyond the Holidays
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

Want to see a show without all the holiday trimmings? Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is on the Imagination Stage. The Sheakespeare Theatre Company presents The Secret Garden at Sidney Harman Hall. Carousel and Moby Dick are running at Arena Stage. The Kennedy Center has Into the Woods and Wicked among its theatre options. Mary Poppins is at Olney Theatre. And Adventures with Mr. Bear starts at the Atlas on Sunday. Descriptions, ticket info, and links to discounts for all of these are in this new round-up of
winter entertainment
.

Making Stem Magic: Innovation
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Join the Air & Space Museum for Making STEM Magic, a monthly program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. In the December challenge, learn about the Wright brothers and test your design skills as you design, create, and test your own paper copter.

Shakespeare Theatre, Family-Style
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Sunday (and through December 18)
Admission: Varies by activity

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Family Week offers free and low-cost programs for all ages celebrating the themes, story, and artists of their current production, The Secret Garden. Workshops, events and conversations run through this weekend. And families can also get a special discount on tickets during this time — see the website for details.

Night Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks, the National Zoo, or Mormon Temple in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, get ready to be dazzled.

Children’s Holiday Celebration
Where: MLK Library
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Join MLK Library staff in the Children’s Room for a festive holiday program. Celebrate the season with crafts, stories, games, and lots of fun — including a chance to meet Santa! Recommended for ages 12 and under.

Open Studio & Ceramics Sale
Where: Hollow Works Studio
When: Saturday, 11am –
Admission: Free

Shop for one-of-a-kind ceramics in the artist’s studio! Hollow Works Ceramics, a recent addition to the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide, sells beautiful, unique bowls, mugs, and vases that would make perfect presents. See for yourself here, but plan to shop on Saturday. The studio is located in the alley right off of 7th and H Streets NE.

Winter Solstice in MoCo
Where: Montgomery County Parks
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6

Montgomery Parks will host three winter solstice celebrations this year featuring crafts, campfires, treats and more. Roast marshmallows, hear winter tales, and make a lantern at Meadowside Nature Center. Enjoy shadow-puppet theatre, sip cider, and make cultural crafts at Brookside. And have treats by the campfire at Locust Grove. Look for details about all of these celebrations here.

Holiday Shop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

If you’re still working through your gift list, there are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents by local vendors and then some. Head to Penn Quarter, National Harbor, or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about all of them is available in the 2016 Holiday Guide. And if you need some gift ideas, be sure check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide!

The Great Indoors
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

So, we’ll be going from an arctic blast to temps in the 60’s by Sunday — but the warmer weather will come with rain. The big list of ideas for outings that take place inside will come in handy. (And secretly hoping that I’ll jinx it by writing this, and the weekend will be gorgeous.)

Here Comes Chanukah!
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Sunday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $25/family

Grab your socks and yarmulke, it’s time to bounce for Chanukah. Start celebrating early at this rockin’ Chanukah party, featuring a moon bounce, games, crafts, treats, and plenty of fun for the whole family!

Nutcracker Family Yoga
Where: Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church
When: Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $20/parent & child, $10/additional child

Calling all soldiers and sugar plum fairies! Breathing Space Yoga invites you to enjoy a classic tale in a new way! Families will bring the Nutcracker story to life through yoga, dance, music, and lots of heart. Bring your sense of wonder and magic and join in for a special journey that will get you into the holiday spirit!

Go Rogue
Where: Local movie theaters
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by theater

In case you hadn’t heard, the newest Star Wars film opens in theaters today. If you’re planning to take the kids to see Rogue One this weekend, the Air & Space Museum would be a suitable place to catch a screening. And if you want a little insight on it before, the Washington Post has several reviews.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: December 10-11

Skate under the stars at Washington Harbour

Skate under the stars at Washington Harbour



Up to 40% Off All Bikes at PUBLIC Bikes. Save on stylish commuter bikes at PUBLIC. A bike is the best holiday gift. No offer code necessary.


Holiday season is in full swing, and this round-up of recs is proof with a loads of ways to celebrate the season. And DC’s tried and true activities are always a good bet for family fun — you can refer to the big list of indoor activities, or enjoy some cool outdoor pursuits. Happy Weekend!

#StandWithComet
Where: Comet Ping Pong
When: Friday, 11:30a – 9:30pm
Admission: Your meal and a big tip!

Show some support for this local institution! A favorite of many for pizza and family-friendly dining has had an undeserved rough time as of late, and the community is showing we stand with them by patronizing the restaurant today. Eat some pizza, play some ping pong, and show them some love. Read more about Comet here.

DIY Holiday Cards
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Create one-of-a-kind handmade cards at the museum all about mail. The National Postal Museum provides beautiful holiday stamps from all over the world, along with a variety of crafts supplies to both inspire your creativity and decorate your cards. We’ve been to this event a few times over the years, and its always very well-organized and tons of fun. Plan to stay after to tour the exhibits, many of them interactive and interesting for all ages. Read more about the museum in here.

GLOW with It
Where: Georgetown
When: Nightly through January 1, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light — literally. Georgetown GLOW has the neighborhood sparkling with modern light art installations, some of them interactive, on display throughout the bustling community, which is extra lively and festive this time of year. The works are illuminated all around the neighborhood, and finding them is part of the adventure. Take the family to dinner or skating at Washington Harbour, then go for a stroll to check them all out.

Journey to Narnia
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission” $19.50

Holiday magic comes to the Adventure Theatre stage in this very clever and creative production of the classic The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The two-actor show is exciting and fun, getting the audience in on the adventure, too. All ages will enjoy the journey to Narnia with the Pevensie siblings!

Italian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am-3pm
Admission: Free

There’s no place like SAAM for the holidays. To celebrate the vibrant culture of Italy, Simona Rodano returns as The Italian Fairy to engage kids with the beauty of her native language. Along with Nutcracker ballet and winter-themed crafts, this festival will have all the music and Italian flair you’ll need to get in the spirit of this joyful season.

“Yes, Virginia” Family Day
Where: Newseum
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: FREE for kids (details below), $19.50/adult

Celebrate the season with the Newseum at its 18th annual “Yes, Virginia” Family Day. Join for a reading of the heart-warming editorial, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. Afterward, the One-and-Only Macy’s Santa Claus will make a special guest appearance to read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and pose for photos with good boys and girls as Figgy Puddings Holiday Carolers from the Washington National Opera provide entertainment. Kids 18 and younger will receive free admission that day if they bring a letter to put in Macy’s Believe Mailbox. (There will also be a table outside the Newseum where youth can fill out a letter on the spot). Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish® for every letter collected. For more about the museum, see this KFDC post.

Holiday Cheer
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Holiday-themed fun is happening all over the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. See model trains buzz around the National Parks and Historic Sites-themed display at the US Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greetings exhibit. Or take the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

“Shop” & Gift Hope
Where: Discovery Elementary School, Arlington
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Put a new spin on gift-giving and philanthropy. At this Gifts That Give Hope Fair, you can support the community and give a meaningful gift by making a donation to one of 17 locally-based nonprofits featured at the fair. Personalize the card to a loved one, then give that act of kindness in their name. Shoppers of all ages are making GTGH an annual tradition, and there are some special touches this year just for them, including a Spanish-language children’s choir, interactive science experiments with Rosie Riveters, face-painting, Dr. Bear from Children’s National, and refreshments.

EdFEST
Where: DC Armory
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Explore the city’s many public school PK3-12 options for your child. Representatives from DC public schools (DCPS) and DC public charter schools will showcase their programs, just in time to help you make informed school selections for the 2017-18 school year common lottery. The event will also feature many free services and fun activities for the whole family, including games and entertainment; sports activities; story time; and flu shots, immunizations, and dental services.

Nationals Winterfest
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am – 4pm
Admission: $33/adult, $23/child, under 2 are free

It’s the ultimate holiday season celebration for Nats fans! Join clinics with Nationals players and coaches, watch a Homerun Derby featuring the Nationals mascots, make a snow fort, take batting practice, hear a winter or baseball themed story read by a Nationals player, ride down The Slider – a giant slide reminiscent of a sledding hill, and more. Guests can also meet and greet their favorite Nats players and mascots, take a photo with Santa, strike a pose at the life-size snow globe photo station, and donate a toy to a child in need.

Hyattsville for the Holidays
Where: Hyattsville Arts District
When: Through December 17
Admission: Free (but plan to shop!)

Kick off a week of fun-filled neighborly holiday festivities for the whole family in Hyattsville. Participating businesses along the Arts District corridor are extending their shopping hours, offering engaging workshops for all ages, and hosting receptions for friends all over the DC Metro area to gather and celebrate all the innovative and artistic businesses that are blossoming in the Gateway Arts District. Franklin’s, Green Owl Design, and Tanglewood Works are a few of the places in the mix, plus there’s a chance to win prizes from them, too!

Family Opera: Goyesquitas
Where: GALA Hispanic Theatre
When: Saturday, 2:30pm
Admission: $25/adult, $23/senior, $15/student

Take the whole family on a musical journey to Spain with composer-pianist Enrique Granados as your tour guide! Goyesquitas, an original production from The In Series: Opera & More, celebrates Spanish culture through lovely music and lively dance. Audiences of all ages can explore cultural traditions as they hear, see, and dance along to the music around them.

Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Woodrow Wilson High School
When: Saturday, 5pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $23-30/adults, $20-24 seniors/10+, $14-18/under 10

Capitol Hill’s Momentum Dance Theatre presents its 18th annual Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker. The show is a unique, high-energy twist to the typical Nutcracker, set to music from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite plus hip hop, pop, funk, and more. Momentum’s professional performers are joined by students as young as age 5. Expecting a tree? Nope. A Nutcracker? Yes, but not the one you knew as a child. A prince and mice? Yep. Rats and ninjas? You bet! (The school is located at 3950 Chesapeake Ave. NW.)

Russian Winter Festival
Where: Hillwood Estate
When: Saturday
Admission: $18/adults, $12/members, $5/ages 6-18, free under 6

Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden are on hand at Sviatki, a Russian-style celebration of the holidays. Winsome characters will surprise and delight visitors across the estate, create and wear your own headpiece, listen to festive music, and enjoy a variety of live cultural entertainment.

Show Time
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

For shows without the seasonal trimmings, dance along with Rainbow Rock at Jammin Java. Enjoy Adventures with Mr. Bear at The Lab at Convergence. Or take little ones to Aquarium at Imagination Stage. Make it date night to see a fantastic production of Carousel at Arena Stage or take older kids to see Moby Dick there. Go Into the Woods at the Kennedy Center. See Sheakepeare Theatre Company’s enchanting and moving performance of The Secret Garden.

Holidays on Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment, there’s plenty of that now. Enjoy the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre, or see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Imagination Stage. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

Santa Brunch & The Nutcracker
Where: City Club of Washington
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $15/child, $30/member, $40/non-member, Nutcracker tickets sold separately

Jeté into the holiday spirit by joining City Club Members and their families for a delicious meal, pictures with Santa, and gingerbread house making. All of this will be followed by a matinee presentation of The Nutcracker at 2pm at The Warner Theatre!

Wizard School Scavenger Hunt for Harry Potter Fans
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $17.50/ages 10-17, $19.50/18 and up

Join Watson Adventures on a unique Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt for kids 10 & up! Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the National Gallery in search of art that echoes characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies. Wizards and muggles alike can play and enjoy this hunt. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead references to the books will provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art. It’s a great way to discover—or rediscover—the museum. This hunt is designed for kids and adults to do together, but all-adult teams will be allowed to compete separately. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Advance purchase is required.

Winter’s Eve
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Get into the holiday spirit at Glen Echo Park’s annual Winter’s Eve celebration. It’s free, open to the public, and visitors of all ages can enjoy performances, arts & crafts open studios, hot chocolate, and a holiday sing-along. Browse and buy fine artworks at the Holiday Art Show and artist studios. Kids and adults can create gifts to share in the holiday-themed craft rooms.

Songs for Unusual Creatures
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, 6pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy free entertainment on Saturday evening! It’s Target Family Night at Millennium Stage, the Kennedy Center’s free nightly performance. Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and writer Michael Hearst presents a special music program featuring some of Earth’s strangest animals and interesting, uncommon instruments.

Santa’s Elves Hunt
Where: Mansion on O Street
When: Sunday, many times slots available
Admission: $35

Join a festive holiday treasure hunt to help Santa find special goodies found only at O Museum in The Mansion! Easily one of the neatest places in the city, the Dupont Circle locale is filled literally floor to ceiling with all kinds of interesting items — and all of them for sale, so you can do some holiday shopping, too! Be ready to see some really funky decor, and keep an eye out for secret doors. Read more about this wonderful site here.

Magical Mirrors Children’s Book Fair
Where: Sankofa Video, Books & Café
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

Stock up on kids’ holiday gifts as DC’s largest collector of African-American children’s literature hosts its 5th Annual book fair! A special treat this year will be a chance to see author Sherrita Berry-Petus on Sunday, as she reads from her books, “Rock on With Your Afro Puffs” and “Smile Bright Chocolate Prince.”

Sunday at the Studio
Where: Gary Rosenthal Collection
When: Sunday, several time slots available
Admission: $22.50/family

Feeling a need for a joyful creative outlet? Want to take some broken pieces and make them whole? Join PJ Library for a unique craft opportunity. Nationally renown local artist Gary Rosenthal is welcoming guests to his studio to create fused-glass mosaic and metal art! These beautiful, heirloom-quality keepsakes also make great gifts. A wide range of project choices will be offered. All levels of artistic ability and ages welcome, but small children need supervision. Gary’s studio is located at 4218 Howard Avenue in Kensington, MD.

Christmas on the Big Screen
Where: Arlington Cinema Draft House
When: Sunday, 12:30-9pm
Admission: $8

Catch a merry flick — or eight — and get into the holiday spirit. This Christmas-themed movie marathon welcomes you to join for as many films as you’d like. You can even pop in for one early, leave, then return for evening entertainment. All for one very reasonable admission price!

Family-Style with Shakespeare Theatre
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Sunday (and through December 18)
Admission: Varies by activity

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Family Week is returning with free and low-cost programs, something for all ages. STC will celebrate the themes, story, and artists of their current production, The Secret Garden, through the workshops, events and conversations. Families can also get a special discount on tickets during this time — see the website for details.

Market (Holi)Days
Where: Eastern Market
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

A Capitol Hill weekend institution gets extra festive this weekend as Eastern Market celebrates the holidays. Along with the numerous vendors selling their art, accessories, treats, and more, there will be special activities for all ages, Make crafts, here stories, watch a juggler, and do some tree decorating, and more. See the website for the day’s schedule.

Ice It
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Warm up with a quintessential cold weather activity! Lace up the ice skates and get gliding at one of many outdoor rinks in the area. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at Canal Park; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Tyson’s Corner, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on both alfresco and indoor ice skating options in the area.

Colonial Wassail
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday
Admission: $3/adult, $2/child, free for 2 and under

“Stand fast, root! Bear well, top!
God send us a howling crop!” In the winter the apple trees need encouragement to bear fruit during the coming year, so Claude Moore Colonial Farm invites you to gather in the orchard to wassail the trees with singing, dancing and chants to ensure “a howling crop.” Enjoy hot spiced cider, sugar cakes, a roaring bonfire, and 18th century games, too – a fun and educational activity for all!

Light it Up
Where: Around the area
When: Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks or gardens (or the Zoo!) that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate. Either way, expect to be dazzled!

**If you’re doing some holiday shopping this weekend, check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide, full of ideas and inspiration for gifts for all ages at all price points (even free!), from kids’ products to theatre tickets to unique experiences to gifts that give back!**

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