Category Archives: Annual

Valentine’s Day-Inspired Activities Around the DMV

Graffiti art with heart created by Mr. Brainwash at Union Market's Dock5

Graffiti art with heart created by Mr. Brainwash at Union Market’s Dock5



Do you *heart* celebrating Valentine’s Day with your little (and big) sweeties? Here are some activities happening around the area over the next week that you’re all bound to love. Happy V-Day!

Library Love
Where: DC Public Libraries
When: Various dates
Admission: Free

Join story times, craft sessions, and sing-alongs at some of the city’s libraries; Valentine’s Day-themed activities are taking places on several dates over the next week. Find one that your child will love here.

Skate Date in the Village: Pop-Up Roller Rink
Where: Village at Leesburg
When: February 10-14, 1-9pm (Sunday, 1-5pm)
Admission: Free

Grab your Valentine for a Skate Date in the Village! Go for a spin in a pop-up roller skating rink in the heart of Village at Leesburg all Valentine’s Day weekend. Enjoy merchant specials, surprise treats and a maybe even a fun date night. BONUS: There will be Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 4-9pm! (Rides pick up at Altar’d State.)

Sip, Sew & Art Pre-Valentine’s Day Pop-up (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: West Elm Pop-up/Lab 1270 @ Union Market
When: February 10, 6:30-9pm
Admission: $40

Sip Some, Sew Some and Create Some! Participants will use a sewing machine to make a pillow (no sewing experience needed). Once your pillow is completed, you can tap into your inner artist skills by creating a Valentine’s Day greeting card. All materials including sewing machines are provided. Light refreshments will be served.

DIY Valentines
Where: National Postal Museum
When: February 11, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Love is in the details at the Postal Museum’s annual Valentine’s Day Card Workshop. We’ve attended this event several times, so I can tell you firsthand it’s one to love. They’ll have pretty papers and neat valentine-themed stamps, all you need to bring is your creativity to decorate your card. Visit the museum’s stamp store and send the cards to your loved ones with a special Postal Museum postmark. And for more about the museum, see this KFDC post.

Unshrink My Heart
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange
When: February 11, 2pm
Admission: Free

The arts and crafts icon, Shrinky Dinks, from the 80’s is back! And nothing says “love” like a hand-made pre-shrunk Valentine. Families are invited to create beautiful jewelry, key chains, and other Valentine’s Day gifts for their loved ones. Children will receive their first 2 sheets of blank Shrinky Dinks free, additional sheets will be available to purchase for 50 cents each.

Valentine’s Day Treats for the Birds
Where: Meadowside Nature Center
When: February 11
Admission: $6

This is the time of year when birds could use a little help finding food. Join staff to identify some common winter birds and make them a few treats from household items. Adults must accompany children.

Valentine’ Day Crafts & Cookies
Where: Michael’s
When: February 11
Admission: Varies by session

Head to a Michael’s location for some creative Valentine’s fun. The arts & crafts supply store is hosting drop-in workshops over the next week for cookies, crafts, & more — all with a love theme. Search the website to find a store near you.

Love in Every Language
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: February 11 & 12, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

All ages are welcome to enjoy a digital slideshow of images of love in Asian art. Use that as inspiration to create Valentine’s Day cards with woodblock prints that say “love” in more than a dozen Asian languages and fold heart-shaped origami.

The Power of Chocolate
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: February 11-12
Admission: Free

So, it’s not a Valentine’s Day activity, per se, but the timing of this festival focusing on chocolate likely isn’t a coincidence. The story of chocolate begins with a small tree that has its roots deep in the world of Mesoamerican culture, and you can join the NMAI to celebrate one of the world’s most beloved foods. Explore the rich history and ongoing story of chocolate by grinding chocolate, creating a vase with Maya glyphs, and learning more about the science, art and culture of chocolate.

Animal Valentines
Where: Hidden Oaks Nature Center
When: February 12, 1:30-2:15pm
Admission: $7

Play musical valentines and critter sweetheart games as you learn how animals find a mate. Meet live animals at the Nature Center and make an animal valentine craft. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Valentines Tea and Chocolate
Where:Brookside Gardens
When: February 12, 2-4pm
Admission: $12

Parents and children can celebrate with love, tea, and chocolates. Enjoy a variety of tea, treats, learn about chocolate, taste chocolate treats, plus make a valentine and a tea cup floral arrangement for yourself or a loved one!

Valentine Tea and Poetry
Where: Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
When: February 12, 3-4pm
Admission: $8

Enjoy poetry and tea at the Machen Farm at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park with your little sweetheart. A costumed interpreter shares a Walney mystery love poem and invites you to write your own while dining on mint tea and sugar cookies. Frame your poem in the style of a childhood Valentine. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. For ages 2 and up.

Love on Ice (with Kids or KidFree)
Where: Canal Park Ice Rink
When: February 14
Admission: Details below

Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday, which conveniently is two-for-one skating at the ice rink — two can skate for the price of one from 4-6pm. Canal Park is also hosting Valentine’s Couple Skate. The rink will be romantically decorated, a capella groups from neighboring universities will perform lovely tunes, and couples can take the memories with them by snapping photos at a photo booth. For a $60 packaged deal, couples can enjoy a pre-fixe dinner for two at il Parco including a bottle of sparkling wine plus skate admission.

Brunch and Skate (with Kids or KidFree)
Where: Washington Harbour
When: February 11 & 12
Admission: $35/person

Enjoy a champagne brunch and some skating at the Washington Harbour. Bring the kids to dine with you (minus the bubbly, of course) at Nick’s Riverside Grill, then glide the day away at the ice rink. The package includes a two-course brunch menu, a bottle of champagne for every two guests, a carafe of OJ, and ice skating. If you go on Sunday, look for a deal on skating admission for the kids from CertifiKid.

All You Need Is Love 5: A Tribute to The Beatles & Love Songs (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Jammin Java
When: February 12
Admission: $16

Are you in love, looking for love, or scorning love? Either way, this is how love songs are meant to be heard — intimate and stripped down. Jammin Java’s official Valentine’s tradition is back by popular demand. Anthony Fiacco, Todd Wright and Luke Brindley pay homage to the group that influenced every musician out there with covers of your favorite Beatles love songs as well as originals of their own. Three singer/songwriters sharing the stage, telling stories, and playing songs, it’s like seeing the best local musicians singing your favorite songs in your living room.

Wild Love
Where: City Wildlife
When: February 12
Admission: Free

Take advantage of this rare occasion to visit City Wildlife, the animal rescue and rehabilitation center, as it’s the only time they open their doors to the public. join the Valentine’s Day celebration and tour the facility, enjoy some goodies and get a gift for your Valentine. You can also show your love for DC’s wildlife and help fulfill the organization’s wish list.

Spread Your Wings
Where: iFly Loudoun
When: Discount on purchase through February 14
Admission: Rates vary

Take flight and get your heart racing with sheer exhilaration this Valentine’s Day. iFly, the indoor sky diving experience, is offering a special promotion to celebrate. Use the promo code VDAY17 at checkout and get $20 OFF on the Spread Your Wings for Two and Spread Your Wings Return packages.

Seeing Deeper: Love to the World
Where: Washington National Cathedral
When: February 14, 6:30-8:30pm
Admission: Free

On Valentine’s Day, bring your family, friends or that Special Someone to weave messages of love to the world in this interactive art exhibit. Sized for the grandeur of the Cathedral and the intimacy of human connection, we’ll provide art supplies (or bust that yarn stash!) to help you build a collective expression of love. Or, find your own way to fill the space—explore the depth and breadth of the Cathedral’s space, find a nook for quiet contemplation.



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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Date Night, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: February 3-5

Any visit to Annmarie Sculpture Garden should include play time in the Fairy Lolly

Any visit to Annmarie Sculpture Garden should include play time in the Fairy Lolly



Keep the Chinese New Year celebrations going or get the Valentine-inspired fun started. Catch some live entertainment in the cozy comfort of a theatre or get outdoors for nature explorations. Scope out sweet rides or go for a spin on ice. Enjoy story time and crafts or (w)hoop it up at a basketball game. Whatever your family’s interests, there’s bound to be activities and events to indulge them. Happy Weekend!

Chinese New Year Family Day
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Bring your entire family to a fun-filled day of activities and entertainment for all ages. Learn the arts of paper cutting, Beijing-style appliqué, calligraphy, sugar and bottle painting, “bristle dolls,” and Chinese makeup. Play dress up and snap pictures at the Chinese costume trunk. Enjoy performances by Beijing acrobats and Chinese musicians. And much more!

Chocolate Lovers Festival
Where: City of Fairfax
When: Saturday & Sunday,
Admission: Depends on activities

The City of Fairfax presents its annual festival centered around one of the most wonderful things in the world: Chocolate! There will be all kinds of activities for all ages throughout the weekend, both chocolate and non-chocolate themed — tastings, story time, puppet shows, face painting, chocolate challenges, a chocolate caper mock trial, and much more. The schedule of events has details.

Celebrate La Chandeleur!
Where: Hillwood Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $18/adult, $12/member, $5/child, free under 3

La Chandeleur, also known as Crêpe Day, marks the halfway point between winter and spring. In France, families celebrate by eating crêpes, which are round and golden, like the springtime sun. Hillwood and Alliance Française de Washington invite families to celebrate this holiday in festive French fashion amidst Hillwood’s spectacular gardens, magnificent mansion, and exquisite French treasures.

Washington Auto Show
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Friday, 12-10pm; Saturday, 10am -10pm; Sunday 10am – 7pm
Admission: $12/adults, $5/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under

The annual Washington Auto Show is parked at the Washington Convention Center for one more weekend. And if there’s any “grown-up” event that is equally fun for all ages, this is it. The Auto Show is like a Truck Touch, but with automobiles — more than 700 of them! — on display for guests to check out. Other activities, like Ride ‘n Drives and celeb appearances, give guests even more to do and see. There will also be fun especially for kids and pop-ins by some of their favorite characters along with the autos. This post about one of our experiences at a past show has more about what to expect.

Archi-Builder Studio Series
Where: District Architecture Center
When: Saturday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: $75/5-week series

Kids ages 9-14 who love drawing houses, building structures, designing a pillow fort might consider signing up for this. This multi-series architectural program engages students in the design process used by architects to build scale models of habitable spaces of their own imagining. At each session, young architects will work in teams to learn processes and techniques to progress their ideas into a final design.

hiSTORYtime
Where: National Museum of American History
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Early learners ages 0-6 and their caregivers will have the chance to hear a story and participate in hands-on activities and crafts inspired by objects from the museum’s collection at this weekly program. Saturdays in February are all about things that go! Join for stories about transportation, and enjoy games, crafts, and activities inspired by objects in the museum that help us travel.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Ella Enchanted opens at Adventure Theatre this weekend!
* Reserve free tickets to see Magician Brian Curry, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performer
* Experience Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions at Strathmore on Saturday
* Hamlette puts a twist on the Shakespearean classic as it open at The Keegan Theatre
* Goldilocks is the latest Main Stage show at The Puppet Co.
* And Dragon Babies is the featured Tiny Tots performance on Sunday
* Mr. Jon and Friends are playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin Java
* Watch Blue Sky Puppet Theatre perform at the Avalon Theatre in Alexandria, the first show in this season’s Family Matinee series
* Little ones will be delighted by Blue at Imagination Stage
* The Folger Theatre presents As You Like It
* Make it a KidFree night out at Arena Stage where ROE recently opened

Crush-Worthy Classroom Valentine Workshop
Where: The Paper Source
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $25

Kids ages 8 and up can grab their BFF and some glitter for a workshop that will give them heart eyes! Make 5 – 6 Valentines for your classmates, friends, and family using your favorite stickers, stamps, washi tape, and more! A 10% off coupon will be provided with the class. Buy two seats at the same time and save 10% off each seat.

Valentine Crafts
Where: Michael’s
When: Saturday, times vary
Admission: $2

Head to a Michael’s location for some creative Valentine’s fun. The arts & crafts supply store is hosting drop-in workshops this weekend (and next) for children to make cards and decor — all with a love theme. Search the website to find a store near you.

YA Book Launch Party
Where: Hooray for Books
When: Friday, 7pm
Admission: Free

Calling all YA Bookworms! New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley will be launching her newest YA novel Our Own Private Universe, a thoughtful look at the search for self that comes with adolescence, complicated by the intersection of race, religion, and orientation. They will also have brownies, books, and general merriment.

Hawks and Owls                           
Where: Buddie Ford Nature Center
When: Saturday, 2 – 3pm
Admission: $5/resident, $10/non-resident

Discover the important work of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia from a raptor expert through a live hawk and owl presentation. Recommended for ages 5 & up, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Read a KFC review of Buddie Ford here.

Weekend Walk in the Woods
Where: Woodend Nature Sanctuary
When: Saturday, 9-10am
Admission: Free

Take a hike — and advantage of the Audubon Naturalist Society’s free monthly family program. On the first Saturday of each month from 9-10am, join Master Naturalists for a nature hike around Woodend Sanctuary. Each outing has a unique and exciting natural history theme that’s appropriate for family members of all ages. Be prepared to hike in sneakers. Meet in the gazebo by the main house. Read a KFDC review of Woodend Nature Sanctuary.

Valentine Photo Box
Where: The Home Depot
When: Saturday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Join the home improvement store’s weekly hands-on workshop and build a Valentine-themed photo box, perfect for keeping photos of loved ones front and center. Once the box is built, kids can decorate it with paint and stickers. Along with their craft, all participants receive a certificate of achievement, a workshop apron, and a commemorative pin (while supplies last). Register here.

Chinese New Year Celebration
Where: Port Discovery
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $14.95/ages two and up

Celebrate the Chinese New Year and commemorate the year of the Rooster at Port Discovery. Learn, experience, and participate in traditions surrounding the Chinese New Year celebration, including the Lion Dance (complete with a paper mache lion, drums, and cymbals), performances from the Gina Ling Dancers, festive rooster and dragon-themed art projects, Happy Fortunes, and Chinese New Year Lucky Charms. Also learn about Calligraphy and Chopstick training and enjoy a live petting zoo from Wildlife Adventures.

Marine MRE Cook-Off
Where: National Museum of the Marine Corps
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Watch a couple of marine chefs vie for the coveted Golden Canteen Cup as they pull two MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat) from a box and combine them to create one meal. MRE’s are intended to be consumed by the military when traditional food is not readily available, each packing about 1200 calories and containing a main course, side dish, dessert or snack, bread, spread, beverage mix, utensils, a heater, beverage mixing bag and more. It’s like Top Chef, military-style!

Maple Sugaring Days
Where: Brookside Nature Center in Wheaton
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6

Be a part of the maple sugaring process and help collect the sap from trees, watch as its boiled down into sweet maple syrup, and enjoy a taste! This program takes place every Thursday Saturday, and Sunday in February at select times. Sessions fill up, so register now! This event is also offered in Spanish.

World Wetlands Day
Where: Huntley Meadows Park
When: Saturday, 12-2pm
Admission: $8 Free

Get a little nature fix at this hidden spot in Alexandria. The park will be showcasing the importance and beauty of wetlands with presentation and education stations, a guided wetland walk, and crafts for participants ages four and older. Learn why these unique ecosystems are significant to people, plants, and animals and how the Huntley Meadows wetland was formed. Head home with ideas about what you can do to help protect these fading treasures. Read a KFDC review of Huntley Meadows.

Lunar New Year Celebration
Where: Potomac Mills
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with an afternoon of festivities for shoppers at Potomac Mills. Stop by the Grand Court to experience the celebratory events, including Chinese Dance, the iconic Lion Dance, a Fashion Show, traditional Chinese music, the Guzheng, food samples, and much more.

Love Rocks! Family Dance Party
Where: Port Discovery
When: Saturday, 6-9pm
Admission: $18/members, $20/non-members

Bring the whole family to the Love Rocks! Family Dance Party on Saturday! The special night out will be filled with Valentine’s-themed fun. Dance along to tunes from DJ Holly, become your most-loved character with face painting fun, create Valentine’s crafts and art projects, and explore three floors of fun exhibits that are sure to get hearts pumping. Food and beverages included.

Chinese New Year Celebration
Where: Sackler Gallery and Ripley Center
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Ring in the Year of the Rooster with art! The Sackler’s third annual Chinese New Year celebration features free attractions for all ages highlighting contemporary performers and artists from Beijing. See Chinese opera and acrobatics, create Year of the Rooster-themed crafts, see demos of traditional Chinese art, and try your hand at projects, too. Chinese food will also be available for purchase. 

Recreation on Ice
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 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. And I recommend checking Certifikid for admission deals.

Watch the Wizards
Where: Verizon Center
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Wizards will be hosting at home this weekend with a game Saturday night. Catch them at the Verizon Center against New Orleans. And be sure to look for a ticket deal through Certifikid — along with the discount seats, you’ll also get a Wizards T-shirt!

Full STEAM Ahead: Creative Compost
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center
When Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Bring the preschool set the artLAB for hands-on investigations and challenges! This free program is designed to help children explore, observe, ask questions, and make predictions as they create and play. Plan to stay beyond the session to explore the beautiful grounds, play in the Fairy Lolly, and check out the art. Read a KFDC review about Annmarie Sculpture Garden.

DC, Inside & Out
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Looking for ways to stay active and entertained without a chill in the air? Then The Great Indoors post, a list of over 80 ideas for places to go inside, should have you covered. And if you prefer the outdoors no matter the weather, The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids, has a bunch of recommendations, too.

Find Reviews on Outdoor Gear at GearWeAre.com!

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Competition, Date Night, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Museums, Music, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: January 27-29

The Chinese New Year Parade is one of several ways to celebrate the Year of the Rooster

The Chinese New Year Parade is one of several ways to celebrate the Year of the Rooster



Chinese New Year celebrations to usher in the Year of the Rooster, a chance to check out some sweet rides, a couple of new indoor play options, an improv gig for kids, loads of live entertainment, and quintessential winter recreation are among the options for family fun. That’s a lot to cock-a-doodle-doo about (aagh, couldn’t help myself!). Happy Weekend!

Washington Auto Show
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Friday, 12-10pm; Saturday, 10am -10pm; Sunday 10am – 7pm
Admission: $12/adults, $5/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under

The annual Washington Auto Show has zoomed back into town. And if there’s any “grown-up” event that is equally fun for all ages, this is it. The Auto Show is like a Truck Touch, but with automobiles — more than 700 of them! — on display for guests to check out. Other activities, like Ride ‘n Drives and celeb appearances, give guests even more to do and see. There will also be fun especially for kids and pop-ins by some of their favorite characters along with the autos. The show will be in town through February 5.This post about one of our experiences at a past show has more about what to expect.

Chinese New Year Parade
Where: Chinatown
When: Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Welcome, Year of the Rooster! On Sunday, the annual Chinese New Year Parade brings vibrant tradition to downtown DC. Festivities kick off at 6th & I Streets NW at 2pm and will wind through the streets of Chinatown celebrating Chinese culture in a brilliant procession that includes traditional dance, music, and, of course, the iconic dragons. Kids always love seeing the show and having trinkets and treats given to them by parade participants passing by (mine especially dig this!). The parade lasts about two hours, and spectating is free. Get there a little early to stake out your curbside spot — folks come out for this one, especially if it’s a nice day.

Family Day: Okinawa Lunar New Year
Where: The George Washington University and Textile Museum
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Lunar New Year, island style! Join the Textile Museum on the closing weekend of the exhibition “Bingata! Only in Okinawa” for an all-ages festival that celebrates the traditions of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Enjoy traditional dance and karate demonstrations; create your own bingata pattern; and go fishing in the islands’ tropical reefs. This is a great time to visit a fantastic museum that normally might be a little sophisticated for young kids.

Chinese New Year Festival
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3:30pm
Admission: Free

Join the gallery in the heart of DC’s Chinatown neighborhood as they open their doors to the the community for the 2017 Lunar New Year and celebrate the Year of the Rooster! Help “awaken the lion” and ring in the New Year. Enjoy a variety of activities and demonstrations throughout the day, including crafts, traditional performances, and a scavenger hunt. (If you go, stop by the new Explore! with the Portrait Gallery while you’re there.)

Celebrate Saturdays!
Where: Library of Congress
When: Saturday, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Join the Library of Congress to celebrate new ways of engaging with the Young Readers Center as they launch new Saturday hours! Watch a ribbon cutting with Dr. Carla Hayden and Teen Board representatives; enjoy story time with award-winning authors Meg Medina and Erica S. Perl; and stay for crafts, book accessibility demos, and a very special guest parade. Kids are encouraged to wear their best book character costumes and have fun! Space is limited, so plan to arrive early.

Explore! with the Portrait Gallery
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am – 6pm
Admission: Free

A new indoor play space for little ones, ages 18 months to 8 years old, opens this weekend. The exhibition in partnership with the Explore! Children’s Museum of Washington, DC, offers several hands-on activities aimed to expand the experience of portraiture. I got a sneak peek of it earlier this week — you can read more about in this KFDC post. (If you go on Saturday, plan to check out the Chinese New Year Festival in the Kogod, too!)

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Hamlette puts a twist on the Shakespearean classic as it open at The Keegan Theatre
* Catch The Big Meow from Theatre on the Run
* Goldilocks is the latest Main Stage show at The Puppet Co.
* And Panda-Monium is the featured Tiny Tots performance this weekend
* Enjoy NSO Music for Young Audiences as they perform Catch the Vibe at Kennedy Center
* Catch Titanic at Signature Theatre while it’s still cruising this final weekend
* Little ones will be delighted by Blue at Imagination Stage
* The Folger Theatre presents As You Like It
* Make it a KidFree night out at Arena Stage where ROE recently opened

Monster Jam
Where: Verizon Center
When: Saturday
Tickets: $15-95

The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC. Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, Pirate’s Curse, Shark, Alien Invasion, Zombie, Monster Mutt Rottweiler, and Blue Thunder are among the vehicular beasts you’ll see tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Polar Bear Plunge
Where: Sandy Point State Park
When: Saturday, 8am – 2pm
Admission: $75 to plunge, free to spectate

If you want to take a quick dip in the cold, cold Chesapeake Bay for a good cause or want to watch others endure a frigid swim, head toward the Bay Bridge on Saturday for the 21st Annual Polar Bear Plunge. All ages can participate in this event that raises funds for Special Olympics Maryland. And you can still donate if you don’t want to plunge in.

Lunar New Year Celebration
Where: Leesburg Corner Outlets
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Leesburg’s shopping destination is hosting a Lunar New Year celebration with an afternoon of cultural festivities. Activities will include calligraphy writing, origami folding, and a variety of local performances, including colorful Dragon Dances and a Han Conture Fashion Show. Trendsetters can also enjoy in-store specials from participating retailers.

ComedySportz for Kids
Where: DC Improv
When: Saturday, 2:30pm (doors open at 2pm)
Admission: $10

Kids as young as first grade can enjoy this afternoon improv show with ComedySportz, a comedy troupe that specializes in short-form improv games. This show features child-sized versions of those games, hosted by a Kids Coach. Guests will love being able to shout out during a show and some of the older kids will enjoy a chance to go crazy onstage.

Lunar New Year Celebration, Hon
Where: Walters Art Museum
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission:

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with art activities and traditional Lunar New Year performances by the Baltimore Chinese School, the Johns Hopkins Lion Dance Troupe, and the Korean dance groups Sang Hee Ju Traditional Dance Company and Stepping Stones.

Story Time
Where: East City Bookshop
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

East City Bookshop is launching its second weekly storytime, this one for readers ages 4 – 8 years old. Starting this weekend, and continuing every Sunday, join the free children’s book reading session led by a rotating cast of staff members, local librarians and teachers, and children’s book authors.

Hit the Slopes
Where: Liberty Mountain
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies

Take advantage of winter and enjoy a quintessential seasonal activity — skiing! Liberty Mountain is one of the more convenient places to go with the kids, especially if they are newbies. Just over an hour from DC in PA, it’s easy to get to for a one-day venture on the slopes, the runs aren’t too difficult, and kids can do a couple of hours of ski school (be sure to sign up in advance). Get the scoop on their children’s programs here. Currently, they claim “spring-like, soft snow conditions thanks to recent mild temperatures but colder weather now returning to our valley!”

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

It’s going to be a great weekend to get out and glide! Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at CanalPark; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area. And note that both at Canal Park and Washington Harbor are hosting Cartoon Skate on Saturday morning!

Out and About
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

It’s going to be sunshiny and not too cold considering it’s winter, so get out and enjoy it! Take a hike, check out a new playground, roam around a garden, maybe even do some fossil hunting. This KFDC post has loads of ideas for enjoying time outdoors with the kids around the area. (And if the weather should turn, or you’re just seeking activities inside, The Great Indoors post has you covered.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Library of Congress, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: January 20-22

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This Weekend Round-Up is being brought to you a bit earlier than usual since it includes info about big events happening on Friday. And a little ulterior motive: It also lets me give a special shout-out to my very favorite tween on his 11th (!) birthday. I could gush forever about what an incredible kid I think he is — he’s kind, smart, fun, curious, adventurous, positive, compassionate — but then I’d be that mom (okay, so I am that mom). And now more than ever my hopes are that all these qualities serve not just him, but also others well. With that, here are your recommendations for activities with the kids over the next few days. Happy Weekend! Happy Birthday, my sweet O. And even though I try to keep my blog non-political, I have to say… Thank you, President Obama.

Hang at the First President’s Place
Where: Mount Vernon
When: Thursday – Sunday, 8am – 5pm
Admission: $20/adult, $10/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under at the door
($2 less if you purchase tickets online)

The home of the nation’s first POTUS, George Washington, is hosting special Inauguration Weekend activities. Scavenger hunts, exhibits, photo ops, and more, not to mention the ongoing programs will be offered at the estate. There will also be special extended hours to enjoy it all.

Inauguration: Swearing In and Parade
Where: National Mall & Downtown DC
When: Friday, 11:30am – 5pm
Admission: Free

If you want to experience the inauguration ceremony as close to the event as possible, you can head to the National Mall and watch it all go down on big screens that will be set up there. Be prepared for crowds — during the last two inaugurations, people were packed like sardines, and just walking was incredibly slow-going. Following the ceremony from 3-5pm, there will be a parade following the President and Vice President from the Capitol to the White House. The Washington Post has a guide on all you need to know for planning — road closures, public transportation details, access points, security info, and more.

Women’s March
Where: Starts at Independence Ave. & 3rd St. SW
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

The turnout for this is expected to be huge! The event starts with a rally by the U.S. Capitol from 10am – 1:15pm, then the marching begins after that. Be sure to check the FAQ for information on transportation, what to bring, etc. And this map from Washingtonian of restrooms, refreshments, and more places welcoming marchers will come in handy, too.

Rock On
Where: Newseum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $24.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-18, free for 6 and under

Explore the ways music has influenced issues ranging from political campaigns to civil rights at the Newseum’s latest exhibit, “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics.” See John Lennon’s bed-in guitar, Jimi Hendrix Woodstock Stratocaster guitar, stage costumes worn by the Village People, original handwritten lyrics by Bob Dylan, Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” jewelry from the VMA’s, video with some of rocks most influential musicians, plus artifacts related to the Vietnam War, Kent State University, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Black Lives Matter movement. The Newseum is best for older children, and this KFDC post has a bit more about it.

Explore the Rails with Thomas & Friends
Where: Port Discovery
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission:$14.95/ages two and up

All aboard! Everyone’s favorite blue engine will roll into Port Discovery Children’s Museum this weekend for a brand new exhibit! Climb aboard Thomas’ cab, fix wobbly wheels, pull levers, dress as a train conductor, and more. Join on opening weekend for special activities…or be sure to stop by before the exhibit departs the station on May 7th.

More Charm City Fun
Where: Baltimore
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Escape the DC crowds and zip up I-95 for even more fun in our sister city, where there are several great ways to spend the day — or even the whole weekend. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. Tour the ships at the Inner Harbor. And both the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art offer free activities on weekends!

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Goldilocks is the new Main Stage show at The Puppet Co.
* And Winter Wonderland is the featured Tiny Tots performance this weekend
* Find out what ballet and juggling have in common at 4×4:Ephemeral Architectures at Strathmore on Sunday evening
* Titanic is still afloat at Signature Theatre, and it’s getting great reviews
* Little ones will be delighted by Blue at Imagination Stage
* Make it a KidFree night out at Arena Stage where ROE recently opened

Astro-Bots: Astronomy
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. Ready to explore our solar system? During this session, program a robot to travel through space and gather information about our nearest neighbors in this January design challenge.

Broadway Bound
Where: Herndon High School
When: Saturday, 7:30pm
Admission: $10, $5/students & seniors

Join Herndon High School students as they present “Broadway Bound,” an evening of song and dance featuring some favorites from West Side Story, Newsies, A Chorus Line, In the Heights, Rock of Ages, Little Women, and more! The school is located at 700 Bennett Street in Herndon, VA, and the show will take place in the auditorium — enter through door #6, at the back of the school.

Out of Many Festival
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: Saturday, 1-5pm & Sunday, 10:30am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Festivals at this museum always include vibrant performances in the atrium, and this one centers around them. The two-day celebration highlights Native performers, both traditional and contemporary, from across the country, including groups from the DC area, highlighting mariachi music, West African dance, taiko drums, salsa music and dance, Chinese youth lion dances, jazz, and much more!

Portrait Story Days: Barack Obama
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 1-4pm & Sunday, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Pay tribute to our departing POTUS at a special story time. Drop by the Portrait Gallery to enjoy this regularly featured program — young visitors and their families can listen to a story and complete an art project. This weekend’s sessions will feature Barack Obama.

The Wild Rumpus Dance Party 
Where: Kensington Town Hall
When: Sunday, 3-5pm
Admission: $5, $20/family

Enjoy an afternoon of fun to benefit the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation’s Make MORE Noyes Campaign! Dance your claws off with Aaron Anderson of A-Squad Entertainment at the party. Create “monstrous” masterpieces at the craft table. Enjoy the Where the “Wild Things Are” Penny Theater show. Browse the display of Maurice Sendak memorabilia — and make sure to enter the Sendak raffle. Dancing is geared to ages 18 months to 6 years, but all ages are welcome! RSVP here

Think Outside
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Take advantage of warmer winter weather and enjoy some time outside! You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for outdoor adventures. 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 outdoor fun.

The Inside Scoop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’d prefer to spend the day indoors, or just want more options for activities around town, this post list more than 80 suggestions for things to do. For locations in DC, especially downtown, I recommend calling ahead to check Inauguration Weekend schedules.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Moms, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Theatre, Tweens, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: January 14-16

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The holiday weekend means extra time for fun with the kids, and there are so many great ways to take advantage. Join an MLK inspired event, get artsy with DCPS creatives, discover travel & adventure options, check out a new museum exhibit, enjoy live entertainment, explore a national park for free, and much more. This round-up has all the details you need to plan. Happy Weekend!

Celebrate MLK
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies

MLK Day may be on Monday, but there are events and activities that pay tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout the weekend. Volunteer opportunities, library activities, the annual Peace Walk & Parade, art adventures, and live entertainment are some of the ways you can celebrate the day. This post has details on all of them.

Create DC!
Where: Union Market
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get creative with the DCPS Arts Team! Families are invited to a day of creative play alongside some of DC’s amazing artists, educators, and arts organizations. Create shadow puppets, enjoy the DC Youth Orchestra petting zoo, join a drum circle, watch Shakespeare Theatre Company perform a mini “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream,” check out wearable art, and much more!

Travel & Adventure Show
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $16/adults, free for 16 and under

Get travel inspiration, experience culture, and have fun! A big expo like this might sound like a grown-up affair, but a bunch of cool pursuits will thrill the kids, too. Besides the hundreds of travel providers and destinations featured, there will be cultural performances, Segway rides, camel rides (!), a rock climbing wall, “worldly” photo ops, and kids games.

More Live Entertainment
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is on the Imagination Stage for its final weekend
* Encore Stage & Studio presents The Little Princess — by kids for kids
* Tweens can enjoy Bud, Not Buddy at the Kennedy Center
* The Alden Theatre presents both The Ugly Duckling and The Giver on Saturday
* Titanic is still afloat at Signature Theatre, and it’s getting great reviews
* Little ones will be delighted by Blue at Imagination Stage
* Rocknoceros is playing a special MLK Day show at Jammin Java
* Plan for a KidFree night out to see ROE, which just opened at Arena Stage

Bilingual Education Fair
Where: Francis Gregory Library
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

DC’s first Bilingual Education Fair is poised to be a fun and educational Saturday morning! Thirty exhibitors, including 13 bilingual public schools, foreign cultural institutes, language app developers, and more organizations will take part. There will be both grown-ups and kids programs. Children can enjoy story time and activities in 7 different languages, while adults can listen to three mini-talks by a student, an American University professor, and a parent about why, how, and where in DC to raise a bilingual child, followed by 20 minutes of questions and answer.

Children’s Theater Festival
Where: Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/ages 5-13, free for 4 and under

Enjoy a full day of theater and so much more. Teatro de la Luna presents six hours of all kinds of artistic activities to delight the entire family. Coloring, reading, drawing, ballet, music, and dance performances will be part of the day’s festivities. And all of it is presented Bilingual.

Wee Ones Storytime
Where: Hooray for Books
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

Head to the book store in Old Town Alexandria for a reading just for little ones. At the weekly program, story time experts will read children board and picture books, sing songs, and perform and teach some fingerplays. Recommended for ages 0-3.

Rock On
Where: Newseum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $24.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-18, free for 6 and under

One of my very favorite DC museums debuts a new exhibit on Friday. “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics” explore the ways music has influenced issues ranging from political campaigns to civil rights. See John Lennon’s bed-in guitar, Jimi Hendrix Woodstock Stratocaster guitar, stage costumes worn by the Village People, original handwritten lyrics by Bob Dylan, Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” jewelry from the VMA’s, video with some of rocks most influential musicians, plus artifacts related to the Vietnam War, Kent State University, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Black Lives Matter movement. The Newseum is best for older children, and this KFDC post has a bit more about it.

Recreation on Ice
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 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.

All Aboard for a Model Train Open House
Where: Historic Vienna Depot of the W&OD Railroad
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Chug on down to Vienna to watch model train and trolley activities that realistically depict an actual railroad that existed in North Carolina in the 1950′s, the Western North Carolina (WNC).  As described in Model Railroader magazine, every hill, town, building, locomotive, rail car, and industry in this layout is modeled after those places and things as they looked in that era. Well, almost everything. To satisfy popular demand, expect an occasional sighting of Thomas the Tank Engine (and a few of his friends) chugging around among the bigger steam and diesel locomotives. The Vienna Depot is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, VA.

Open Studio: Dazzling Designs of the Qur’an
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday, 12 – 4 pm
Admission: Free

Discover The Art of the Qur’an at this free Open Studio for families, as you explore illuminated designs in manuscripts of the Qur’an. Take a family-friendly tour of the exhibition (offered at 12:30pm and 2:30 pm), then head to the ImaginAsia classroom to get creative. Tea and refreshments provided. All ages welcome with adult companions.

hiSTORYtime
Where: National Museum of American History
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Early learners ages 0-6 and their caregivers will have the chance to hear a story and participate in hands-on activities and crafts inspired by objects from the museum’s collection at this weekly program. Saturdays in January are all about clothes! Hear a reading that makes us think about the clothes we wear and how they can change over time. Then check out some clothes that are housed at the museum collection and enjoy fun, clothing-related crafts.

Wizard School Scavenger Hunt
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $17.50/ages10-17, $19.50/adult

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. It’s 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. Designed for kids and adults to do together, and kids must be accompanied by an adult. Advance purchase is required.

Watch the Wizards
Where: Verizon Center
When: Saturday, 8pm & Monday, 2pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Wizards will be hosting at home this weekend with games Saturday night and Monday afternoon. Catch them at the Verizon Center against the 76ers on Saturday, or watch some on-court action on MLK Day when they play Portland.

An Afternoon with Winnie the Pooh
Where: Northeast Library
When: Sunday, 3pm
Admission: Free

Join Northeast Library for an Afternoon with Winnie the Pooh, one of the world’s most lovable characters! Guests can enjoy a story reading, watch a short movie, and make a Pooh and friends craft to take home. Best for kids ages 5 and up. Snacks provided, too!

Free Parking
Where: National Parks
When: Monday
Admission: Free!

It’s the first fee free day of the year for national parks, which means there’s no entrance fee where they usually charge to get in. Take advantage of complimentary admission and the day off from school; explore the just posted about Prince William Forest Park, go to Fort McHenry, hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, or visit Harpers Ferry.

DC, Inside & Out
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Looking for ways to stay active and entertained without a chill in the air? Then The Great Indoors post, a list of over 80 ideas for places to go inside, should have you covered. And if you prefer the outdoors no matter the weather, The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids, has a bunch of recommendations, too.




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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Babies, Date Night, DC, DC Volunteer Opportunities, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Monuments & Memorials, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Volunteer, Weekend, Winter