Category Archives: Animals

The Weekend Round-Up: August 26-28

One of the most visited sites in the National Park Service system is right in our backyard

One of the most visited sites in the National Park Service system is right in our backyard






Whether you’re celebrating a great first week of school, enjoying the final weekend of your summer break, or still going with the flow of the season, there are options galore for making the most of it. Celebrate our national parks — or catch a game at Nationals Park. Enjoy whimsical art, watch dragon boats race, see a show, or play some new video games. Head on down to the DC State Fair, kick off a new season of theatre, or travel back to Medieval Times at one of the best fests around. No matter what you and the kids do, there’s a good chance you’ll feel like exclaiming, “Huzzah!” Happy Weekend!

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

Anyone up for merriment? (Me!) 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 23, and this weekend kids ages 15 and under get in for FREE. Get a glimpse of the area’s best annual event here. Huzzah!

America’s Front Yard Family Festival
Where: Constitution Gardens
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Kids’ music fave Milkshake highlights this day of live entertainment, storytelling, and exhibits that focus on today’s youth as the future stewards of our national parks. Enjoy more music by Ellis Woodward, Uncle Devon, the Great American Indian Dancers, Erica Wheeler, plus a lively children’s sing-alongs with Yosi & the Superdads. Other acts include the Wes Holly Balloon Magic Show and YAP, who delivers national park themes through hip-hop music and culture. Explore festival exhibits by more than 20 National Park Service partners, among them Lego models of national parks, virtual reality park tours, 3-D printing of National Mall monuments and memorials, natural flora and fauna found in urban parks, and much more!

Free Parking
Where: National Parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: FREE!

The National Park Service just turned 100, and to celebrate we can all enjoy fee free days at national parks, which means there’s no entrance fee where they usually charge to get in. Take advantage of complimentary admission visit some of our local parks that normally require you to pay. Hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, take a ride on Skyline Drive, or visit Harpers Ferry.

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.

Movies to Celebrate the NPS 100th
Where: Carter Barron Amphitheatre
When: Friday & Saturday, 8:10pm (gates open at 7pm)
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial anniversary, Carter Barron is hosting two movie nights as a part of their 66th Summer Series. Catch a screening of Rocky on Friday, and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax on Saturday. Concessions will be available for purchase onsite.

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

It’s a weekend at home for the Nats as they host the Colorado Rockies. There are games tonight at 7:05pm, Saturday at 1:05pm, and on Sunday at 1:35pm. Stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases, and check these KFDC tips for doing a Nats game without breaking the bank.

Grand Slam Sunday: Jewish Community Day at Nationals Park
Where: Nationals Park
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission:

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington proudly presents the second annual Grand Slam Sunday: Jewish Community Day at Nationals Park! Join them as the Nats take on the Colorado Rockies. Pre-game fun for all ages begins at 11:30 am, the game at 1:35pm. You also get a free t-shirt with every ticket purchased!

Dance Class Open House
Where: CityDance School and Conservatory at Rockville
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

CityDance invites Little Movers ages 3 to 7 to sample dance classes at an Open House this weekend. Children can try out Ballet, Hip Hop, Flamenco, and Sri Lankan – for free! To sign up, call 202-242-3646 or email: asanga@citydance.net.

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.

Celebrate 17th Street
Where: 17th Street NW, from Riggs Place to P Street
When: Saturday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

The event in the Dupont Circle neighborhood will feature all kinds of activities for the whole fam. Live entertainment; more than 100 vendors selling food, art, and other cool wares; a kids zone with bouncy fun, face painting, games, and more; exhibits by non-profit groups, and appearances by city officials will be part of the festivities that celebrate the community and businesses.

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

The 3rd 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 Presidential Book Rap for Kids
Where: National Press Club
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free for kids, $10/adult ($5 for NPC members)

Travel back in time to meet George Washington during a magical morning for the whole family as the National Press Club Book and Author Committee presents a family-friendly Book Rap with Deborah Kalb, author of The President and Me: George Washington and The Magic Hat. The event will also feature crafts, magic and refreshments. The book, targeted to youngsters ages 7 and up, tells the tale of a 5th grade boy struggling to find his place after his best friend abandons him. A visit to Mount Vernon lands him in the 18th century where George and Martha Washington help him learn about history, himself, and the nature of friendships and families.

Jumanji
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $19.50

Adventure Theatre’s latest production is as funny as it is wild. Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, the show takes its characters — and the audience — on an incredible journey to claim Jumanji.And you only have two more weekends to catch a performance. Read a KFDC review here.

Run of the Mill
Where: Peirce Mill, Rock Creek Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

See the 2,000-lb millstones convert corn to corneal using good old-fashioned renewable energy of water. Miller Jeanne and the Friends of Peirce Mill invite you to discover DC’s only surviving gristmill in action. Be sure to explore the exhibits at Peirce Barn next door and hit the nearby trails, too! Read more about the historic site in this KFDC post about our visit there last fall.

A Sprinkling of Fairy Dust
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission:

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. Read about one of our experiences at Annmarie.

Nintendo Play Day
Where: Tysons Corner Center
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: Free

Nintendo’s classic characters and games are coming to life as part of the one-of-a-kind Play Nintendo Tour and you’re invited to be a part of it! The unique experience offers parents and their kids the chance to play some of Nintendo’s best games on new systems, participate in exciting contests, win awesome prizes, and snap memorable photos. Hop into a Yoshi egg to play Yoshi’s New Island, recline on a giant banana while checking out Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, and relax in pink beanbag chairs to play one of the newest games, Kirby: Planet Robobot. Fun surprises await around every corner

Welcome to Monster High
Where: Select theaters
When: Saturday
Admission: Varies by theater

Fathom Events is bringing the premiere of Welcome to Monster High to select movie theaters for a spook-tacular one-day event on Saturday. Along with the movie screening, there will be a special behind-the-scenes look into the partnership between MonsterHigh™ and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and an exciting monsterfied dance tutorial by YouTube superstar choreographer Matt Steffanina. Find participating theaters here.

Arena Stage Season Kick Off Carnival
Where: Arena Stage
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Arena Stage is celebrating the 2016/17 season with a full day of free family-friendly activities inspired by two of this season’s most anticipated productions — Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel and Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Moby Dick. Guests of all ages can try their luck at classic fair games run by Arena Stage’s finest barkers, marvel as aerialists from Gwynne with Wings Aerial Entertainment perform death-defying feats overhead, and enjoy carnival-inspired food and drink as they stroll down the lobby promenade. Plus, kids will love the giant “Carousel” bounce house and petting zoo. Throughout the day there will be special season discounts, prizes and much more.

DC State Fair
Where: NoMa Junction at Storey Park
When: Sunday, 11am – 8pm
Admission: Free

Apparently, being an actual state isn’t a requirement to have a state fair! This agricultural and artistic showcase of the District will be a celebratory day, full of competitions and other fun and educational activities for all ages. Festivities include contests of all kinds – photography, knitting, kids art and poetry, pickling, pies, ice cream, jams, and more. Get a taste of it all, do some shopping among the vendors, and enjoy live entertainment, to boot.

Park it in MoCo
Where: Montgomery County Parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Montgomery Parks presents loads of special activities for visitors of all ages. Watch a raptor feeding at Meadowside Nature Center, join a Nature Challenge at Brookside, take a tour by kayak at Little Seneca Lake, and more. The online calendar has even more events happening this weekend.

The Ins and Outs of DC
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

If you’re looking for activities 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


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Shop, Sports, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: August 19-21

Head to the Zoo for panda birthdays and have a

Head to the Zoo for panda birthdays and have a “shark” encounter, too



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And just like that summer break is coming to an end — for most of us in DC, anyway. But what an outstanding summer it’s been (besides the ridiculous heat). Ours included some great new experiences, a first sleep away camp adventure and theatre debut among them. We also had a fantastic family vacation. And in good ol’ KFDC fashion, we enjoyed plenty of both the tried and true and the new and cool around DC. But just because summer break is winding down, that doesn’t mean the fun is ending. So, whether you’re looking for a last hurrah before school starts or want to make the most of the next few days, these ideas will have you covered. Happy Weekend!

A Giant Birthday Celebration
Where: National Zoo
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the birthdays of the Zoo’s giant pandas Bao Bao, Bei Bei, and Tian. It’s Bei Bei’s first birthday! Bao Bao will be turning 3, and Tian Tian will be 19. Watch as they devour frozen birthday “cakes,” see animal demonstrations, and enjoy a complimentary tasting of Dan Dan (dahn-dahn) noodles from the Chinese Embassy. While you’re at the Zoo, be sure to check out Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea a playful exhibit of sculptures with an environmental message made from completely of plastic debris collected from beaches.

National Park Service Centennial
Where: National Mall
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

The week-long celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary begins on Sunday with special activities on the National Mall. Take a bike ride with U.S. Park Police, explore the treasure of the museums, play mini golf at Hains Point, and more! Go here to see what other events will be taking place over the week ahead in honor of the centennial milestone.

Olympic Celebration Family Day
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

The Olympics may be in Rio de Janeiro, but you can get in the spirit as you join special festivities at the American Art Museum. Go for an afternoon of crafts, games, and music that celebrates the culture of Rio and the athletes competing in the 2016 Olympic Games. Whatever your sport, you can cheer on the red, white, and blue of Team USA!

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

Join Watson Adventures on a unique Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt for kids ages 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, which is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures; instead, references to the books provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art – a great way to discover (or rediscover) the museum. The 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.

Turk & Terrain Outdoor Art Tour
Where: Foggy Bottom Historic District
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Take a free tour of artwork outdoors! The 2016 Arts in Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Biennial has turned the tiny neighborhood into a free outdoor museum for all to enjoy with site-responsive sculptures, new media installations, and more neat works by 14 local, regional, and international artists. On Saturday, join curator Danielle O’Steen for a kid-friendly tour of the show as she explains the meaning of each piece and its connection to the neighborhood. Groups meet outside of the yellow house on 842 New Hampshire Ave (corner of New Hampshire Ave. and I St. NW)

Fair and Square
Where: Arlington, Montgomery, & Prince William Counties
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

County fair season continues as Arlington’s annual fest is underway, and Montgomery and Prince William counties host their final days. All are chock full of amusement for everyone, with carnival rides and games, farm animals, live entertainment, pony rides, the junk food gamut, pig races, and so much more. This post has the whole scoop on all of the county fun.

Colonial Tobacco Harvest
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $3/adult, $2/child, free for 2 and under

Harvest time is here! Tobacco was a precious crop for Colonial Virginians, used to purchase goods not produced on the Farm. On Saturday, your fam and can help the Claude Moore Colonial Farm family gather their ripened tobacco plants, clean the leaves, and hang them inside the barn to cure. It’s an event that’s educational and fun for all ages!

STEM Magic: Airlane Design
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 new program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. Learn by doing. Design, build, and test a prototype that solves a given challenge. Every month we’ll explore a new theme and introduce a new problem to be solved, so come back each month to accept the challenge and learn to think like an engineer.

Centennial Hike
Where: Rock Creek Park
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Explore the history and nature of Rock Creek Park with the folks who know it best! Join park rangers on a two mile hike that looks at the history of the National Park Service through the lens of Rock Creek as the NPS celebrates 100 years. Meet at the Nature Center and remember to wear proper shoes for hiking and bring along water.

Kids Corner
Where: The Park at City Center
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Join City Center for a special weekend edition of Kids Corner, their weekly series for children. Enjoy storytime, singing, and fun with a musical performance by Chris & Jenna! The Park at City Center is at the corner of 10th & I Streets NW.

Jumanji
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $19.50

Adventure Theatre’s latest production is as funny as it is wild. Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, the show takes its characters — and the audience — on an incredible journey to claim Jumanji.And you only have two more weekends to catch a performance. Read a KFDC review here.

Shows on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $6-10

Peter and the Wolf is the Main Stage performance, and the one-man, multi-marionette show is an engaging and entertaining theatre experience. Read a KFDC review of the production from a few years ago. Really little ones will love Panda Monium, this weekend’s featured Tiny Tots show, where the lights stay on and doors stay open for an atmosphere suited to small fries.

Summer Staples
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Free concerts in the fresh air, outdoor swimming, movies under the stars, sprayground fun… Activities exclusive to this time of year can be enjoyed all weekend long. Details on all of these seasonal staples and more can be found in the guide to Summer in DC.

Kids Day
Where: Palmercare Chiropractic
When: Saturday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Palmercare Chiropractic DC is hosting a Kids Day and will be giving away free treatments for kids under the age of 16. Call ahead to reserve a time slot, or stop by for face painting, balloon animals, and to learn more about their services. Call 202-828-8303 to book a time for your child to get free care on Saturday.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Several Fairfax parks
When: Throughout the weekend

Admission: Varies by activity
The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Explore dairy farm history, then make and eat your own ice cream at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Take a wagon ride or build a bat house at Riverbend. Observe the moon at Burke Lake Park. Details and resgitration for these and more activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Music on the Mill Kids Concert
Where: River Mill Park
When: Saturday, 5-7pm
Admission: Free

Rock out at this new music series in Occoquan at a special kids concert. Rocknoceros will be performing, and there will be lots of extra fun to accompany the show — face painting, balloon art, arts & crafts, and more. Bring a blanket or chair, pack a picnic, and bring the whole gang for an evening of family-friendly entertainment. River Mill Park is a new 1.1-acre park located on the west end of Mill Street in the quaint little town of Occoquan.

Movie On the Green: Zootopia
Where: Fort Dupont Amphitheater
When: Saturday, 6pm
Admission: Free

Fort Dupont is hosting its first outdoor movie night in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial anniversary as a part of the 44th Fort DuPont Summer Series. They are kicking off the series with a young movie-goer fave: Zootopia! Concessions will be available for purchase onsite. Gates open at 5:30pm. The amphitheater is located at 3600 F St. and Minnesota Ave. SE.

Comcast Outdoor Film Fest
Where: Strathmore
When: Saturday – Monday, 8:45pm (gates open 6:30pm)
Admission: Free

‭Enjoy three nights of summer fun under the stars during the Annual Comcast Outdoor Film Festival. The free event‬
celebrates the end of summer as it featurs both recent hits and classic movies on the only nine-story high, 52-foot wide inflatable movie screen within 1,000 miles. ‬During the Festival, the community will be able to enjoy an unrivaled outdoor movie experience with digital cinema ‬ projection. ‬See Jurassic World on Saturday, Minions on Sunday, and The Wizard of Oz on Monday.

Nature & Recreation in Annapolis
Where: Quiet Waters Park
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $6/car

Head east to explore a new park. A few months ago we discovered Quiet Waters, kind of by accident, and it made for a fantastic outdoorsy Mother’s Day. Hike in the woods under a leafy canopy, paddle the South River, take in scenic vistas, and even view some art. Afterwards, go get crabby. :)

Get Crabby
Where: Annapolis area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Depends on how much you order!

It’s not a true DC summer if you don’t take advantage of one of the area’s best offerings: blue crabs! Feasting on the steamed Old Bay-spiced creatures is a seasonal treat, and doing so at a waterfront crab house on the Chesapeake Bay is a bonus. Cantler’s in Annapolis is an institution, and Mike’s Crab House in Riva is a family fave with delicious crabs, gorgeous scenery, and a great outdoor waiting area if tables aren’t immediately available. After your feast, head into downtown Annapolis for ice cream at Kilwin’s and a stroll around town!

DC United vs. NY Red Bulls
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Sunday, 3pm
Admission: Tickets

Kick it at a soccer game on Sunday. The DC United are hosting the New York Red Bulls for an afternoon match. Be sure to stop by the Fan Zone in section 222 for extra activities that kids and adults.

The Ins and Outs of DC
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

If you’re just 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 Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
The Great Indoors

Plan Ahead for Fall Adventure!
Where: Solomons, MD
When: Future Weekends
Admission: Prices vary by package

Some outings take advanced planning, especially ones that are particularly cool. Ruddy Duck Adventures offers all-inclusive day trips around the Solomons, MD, area. They devise itineraries that include awesome activities and great dining, plus all the instruction and gear needed; all guests have to do is drive. Opt for a fossil and shark teeth hunt, a paddling excursion, or a wine and art adventure. And you can make it a family outing or a day date sans kids. Bonus: Use the code KFDC at check out to get a discount! And for some inside scoop, read about our experience on the fossil hunt.


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

Camping and Hiking and Bears (Oh, My!) in Shenandoah National Park

shenandoah_vista

There are plenty of great destinations for camping with kids within an easy drive from DC, and one of the best is Shenandoah National Park. At nearly 200,000 acres, you really feel immersed in its glorious nature. There are woods and streams, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, lofty waterfalls, breathtaking vistas, and lots of wildlife sightings. And it’s all easily accessible from the city — about a 75-minute drive to the park’s entrance, and not much farther to the nearest campground area.

shenandoah_map

Four campgrounds in the park welcome parties of all sizes, and there is one more for groups of seven or more. Earlier this summer, we pitched our tents at Matthew’s Arm, the closest one at mile 22. It’s all car camping, making it easy with kids, plus there are facilities within the area and a general store just a few miles away pretty well stocked with basic groceries, firewood, and souvenirs. We somehow lucked out and snagged a group spot, which accommodated our party of two families nicely, even though we booked it just days ahead. Usually you need to reserve much farther in advance, especially for summer weekends.

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Picnic tables and a fire pit at the campsite made mealtimes convenient. And while we’d bought a cord of firewood at the store, we easily found more in the surrounding woods to keep a fire going well past s’mores time until we were ready to hit the sleeping bags.

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shenandoah_trail

Like all of the campground areas, there is access to nice hiking trails, including one to Overall Run Falls. The hike there and back is about three miles through the lovely woods.

shenandoah_waterfall

But it’s what we saw along the way that made it most interesting: Bears!

Hi!

Hi!

We had indication that at least one was nearby before seeing them — scat on the trail that my friend Jody determine was fresh after examining it with a stick (bears do poop on the woods!). Not long after that we saw one on our hike to the waterfall. Then two more on the way back. (And a fourth as we were driving out of the park to head home.)

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shenandoah_bearsign

Black bear sightings are common in Shenandoah (though I’d never seen them on my many previous visits), and there are a lot of signs and warnings of them in park brochures with tips on encountering them safely. We made noise, kept our distance, and didn’t linger too long. And at the campsite, we made sure to clean food up well and lock it up in the bear-proof bin.

shenandoah_sash_hike

If you can’t swing an overnight at Shenandoah, it’s still close enough for a day trip. With over 500 miles of trails, there are walks in the woods to suit all ages and hiking levels. You can also just find a great area to hang out and have a picnic or take in the beautiful scenery from your car along Skyline Drive.

shenandoah_sash_anja

Campgrounds in Shenandoah open in the spring, operating on a first-come, first-served basis until early May, when you can start reserving some sites in advance. Along with campsites, there are also cabins and lodges available. Rates for campsites start at $15/night and can be reserved through recreation.gov.

shenandoah_girls

Shenandoah National Park is located in Virginia, 75 miles from Washington, DC. Hours vary at facilities, so see the website for details. Admission to the park is $20/vehicle and valid for a week. An annual Shenandoah Pass is $40.

There are several Fee Free days throughout the year, a few still to come in 2016:
August 25-28 – National Park Service Birthday Weekend
September 24 – National Public Lands Day
November 11 – Veterans Day


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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Fall, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 15-19

Zip through the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring Adventure Park

Zip through the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring Adventure Park



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Monday – Stay cool in the sprays and wading pool at Yards Park. The lovely recreational space in the Navy Yard is a perfect place to spend a summer day. Hang out in the grassy areas, stroll the boardwalk, take in the views, and have a picnic by the water or grab some lunch at one of the many new nearby eateries. Admission to the park is free.

Tuesday – Venture out to Solomons, MD, to the Calvert Marine Museum. Discover how the prehistoric past, natural environment, and maritime heritage come together to tell a unique story of the Chesapeake Bay. Fascinating exhibits, including display cases full of fossils and artifacts, live fish and other creatures, and a real lighthouse to tour are engaging for all ages. There are things to see both indoors and out, including beautiful scenic views. And you can bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy by the water. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $9/adult, $4/ages 5-12, free for 4 and under.

Wednesday – Get a close look at some fascinating creatures and hear funny animal stories and facts at a Reptiles Alive! show. Friendly and professional wildlife presenters will showcase a colorful variety of exotic species at MLK Library downtown. The show starts at 2pm, and admission is free.

Thursday – Get in on a DC “secret” in Upper Northwest. Amid a small wooded area at Palisades Park is The Glass Forest, a collection of sculptures made from natural and scrap materials that truly is a must-see! Be sure to make time to romp on the park’s playground while you’re there. Admission is free.

Friday – Hang out in the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring. Kids as young as 5-years-old can experience fun and adventure on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial forest, the largest in North America. Children ages 5-6 are free with a paid accompanying adult and have access to two of the easier courses. Older kids can do even more. Hours are 9am – dusk, and admission is $39/ages 7-9, $48/ages 10-11, $53/ages 12 and older. And if you’re looking for fun with little ones… experience adventure on a smaller scale at the Cabin John Regional Park Playground. Kids can climb, swing, jump, slide, and run amid the lovely wooded setting, and the miniature train that guests can ride ($1.75/passenger) is a fun bonus.

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

The Weekend Round-Up: August 12-14

Keeping cool by a waterfall in Shenandoah National Park

Keeping cool by a waterfall in Shenandoah National Park



zulily Back to School


The weather will likely be a major factor in your weekend planning, so keep The Great Indoors list handy along with these ideas. Happy Weekend!

All’s Fair
Where: Montgomery, Prince William, & Howard Counties
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

County fair season continues as Montgomery and Prince William kick off their annual fests that are chock full of amusement for everyone in the fam. Carnival rides and games, farm animals, live entertainment, pony rides, the junk food gamut, pig races, and so much more. You can also find it in Howard County, where the fair is on for its final couple of days. This post has the scoop on all of the county fun.

High Wheelin’
Where: Frederick, MD
When: Saturday, 1-7pm
Admission: Free

Get a curbside seat to America’s only high wheel race in historic downtown Frederick, MD. The National Clustered Spires High Wheel Race is a unique event that celebrates the history of bikes with an antique bike display and more festivities throughout the day at the Best Fest — live music, face painting, bouncy fun, beer garden, and more.

Anatomy of Sports
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Play a sport? Learn how your body works and stay off the sidelines! Bones and muscles need to work together for optimal performance. Athletes of all ages should know how their bodies work in order to compete and stay healthy. During the event, athletes will demonstrate their sport while medical illustrators and physical therapists reveal how muscles and bones work together. Anatomy of Sports is perfect for families with children playing sports, the recreational athlete, or the practiced sports enthusiast.

May the Force Be with the Nationals
Where: Nationals Park
When: Saturday, 7:05
Admission: Ticket prices vary

How about some Star Wars with your baseball? You might run into Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Storm Troopers, or Princess Leia before you even enter the ballpark, and more of their crew await inside. Along with roving characters, the game will feature lots of Star Wars themed fun. FYI: Fans are encouraged to dress in Star Wars garb! Get there early — the first 20,000 fans to enter Nationals Park will receive a special giveaway. And if you can’t make it to Star Wars Saturday, you can catch the Nats Friday (7:05pm) or Sunday (1:35pm).

Star Wars Marathon
Where: Warner Theatre
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: Tickets (get a deal here)

Dress up in your galactic best and join fellow fans at the theatre for an all-day viewing fest of the Star Wars films. Alamo Drafthouse is hosting this celebration of the movie trilogy, with a rare digital screening of the special edition versions of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi. Doors open at 1pm.

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

* Go on a wild journey to Jumanji at Adventure Theatre
* Imagination Stage and The Washington Ballet bring you The Little Mermaid for the final weekend
* Peter and the Wolf is entertaining at The Puppet Co.
* And Bedtime Buddies is the featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theater
* Born for This: The Bebe Winans Story is still running at Arena Stage
* The Phantom of the Opera is on stage at the Kennedy Center, and its recommended for ages 6 and up (look for discount tickets)
* Enjoy an evening of ukelele entertainment at Strathmore’s annual Uke Summit

Summer Fun
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The summer break from school may be starting to wind down, but summer fun around the area continues. Catch a concert outdoors to start the weekend on a musical note — Jazz in the Garden on the National Mall and Rockin’ on the Riverfront at Yards Park are local faves. Keep the seasonal pursuits going with a variety of options: Head to a farm for peach picking. Enjoy some water fun, either at an outdoor pool or a spray park. Take advantage of free admission for kids at the Newseum or see ICEBERGS at the Building Museum. Feast on crabs by the water. This post has all the details you need on all these summer joys.

Arts of Afghanistan
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday, 1-7pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Afghanistan’s Independence Day with a fun-filled afternoon making art, tasting Afghan food, hearing from artisans, watching musical performances, listening to traditional stories, and exploring the arts of the country. The day’s finale will be PechaKucha-style presentations by social entrepreneurs working with artisans in Asia and beyond, who will share how they got involved and the lives they’ve seen changed.

National Bowling Day
Where: Alleys around the area
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

It seems there is a “national day” for just about everything these days, and this Saturday it’s for bowling. But it also has a charity angle to it — help knock down a million pins in the Million Pin Challenge and half a million meals will be donated to Feeding America. So, hit a local lane and have fun knocking down some pins. Everyone can bowl free at participating centers – go here to find one near you.

Serve Up Some Tennis
Where: Kastles Stadium at the Smith Center
When: Saturday, 5pm (USTA Family Day starts at 1:30)
Admission: Tickets start at $12

The last home match of the Washington Kastles’ season is also USTA Family Day. Along with the exciting tennis action, there will be fun activities outside the court for all ages to enjoy. We know from experience these matches are a really good time — and the extra festivities make it even more fun for kids!

Irish Festival
Where: Waterfront Park in Alexandria
When: Saturday, 11am – 7pm
Admission: Free

Head to Old Town for a day of fun and music to celebrate Irish history and culture. Along with lots of live Celtic music and Irish dancing, shop the vendor booths featuring a variety of Irish items, arts & crafts, and traditional festival foods.

The Great Zucchini
Where: MLK Library
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

The Great Zucchini is back at the library. The popular children’s performer is bringing his wacky and zany antics to the Great Hall. It’s fun entertainment for kids ages 0-12 and an accompanying adults.

Pixar Shorts
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

Celebrate 30 years of animated shorts from Pixar Animation Studios. Beginning with the delightful Luxo Jr., the first computer-animated film nominated for an Academy Award, this collection of shorts showcases Pixar’s contributions to the art of filmmaking. The 45-minute series will include hilarious favorites For the Birds, Mike’s New Car, and One Man Band.

Day Trip from DC
Where: Around the region
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Get out of dodge for a day for some cool fun in areas that require a bit of a drive, but not one that requires an overnight stay (though you could consider it). Explore the spectacular underground world of stalagmites and stalactites at Luray or Shenandoah Caverns (look for a deal here). Take an ice cream making tour at Turkey Hill in Lancaster, PA. Or venture out to the Calvert Marine Museum to experience fascinating exhibits that highlight the history of the Chesapeake Bay.

Indoor Playgrounds
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

When it’s just too darn hot to play outside, but the kids still have a lot of energy to expend, this round-up of play spaces where, in some cases, they can literally bounce off the walls will come in handy.

Test the Waters
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Cool off and enjoy some water fun beyond the local pool. Make a day of it at a lakeside beach, hike to a hidden waterfall, or find a swim spot tucked away in the woods to chill out and spend quality time with the fam. This Washington Post article about lakes, swimming holes, and waterfalls within a fairly easy drive from DC has some great suggestions.

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