Category Archives: Annual

The Weekend Round-Up: March 10-12

A feast for the eyes at Infinity Mirrors

A feast for the eyes at Infinity Mirrors



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Between the winter temps on the way and all the great options for fun things to do, this weekend will be extra cool. Check out an exhibit or special program at a museum, shoot for some college hoops action, catch a live show, start your celebrations early for St. Pats and Pi Day, get in one last skate outdoors, find a new place to play indoors. These pursuits and more will have you and your crew ready to spring forward (don’t forget to change your clocks — Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday)! Happy Weekend!
Update: Be aware of street closings on Saturday due to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon!

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

Winter is finally coming, so you might need extra ideas for indoor outings. Burn some energy at an indoor playground, visit a museum, explore a historic place, bring the outdoors in at a nature center…this post has 90 suggestions for activities and places inside, most them mainstays around DC, and just about all of them tried and tested by the Team KFDC.

Prelude to Madness
Where: Verizon Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The best part of the college hoops season is beginning, and there will be live action in DC as the Big Ten Tournament is hosted at the Verizon Center. You can still get tickets for the games, though you’ll have to go through resale outlets. With so many strong teams in the conference, it promises to be an exciting tourney! (Go, Terps!)

Family Owl-tings
Where: Huntley Meadows Park
When: Friday, 5:45 – 7pm & Saturday, 12-2pm
Admission: $7/Friday, $9/Saturday

On Friday evening, discover the secret world of owls on a family owl outing. Find out what makes these raptors excellent predators of the night, then venture out on a trail hike as guides try to hear or spot one of Huntley’s resident owls. Recommended for participants ages 6 and up. On Saturday, join the Festival of Owls as special guests from the Raptor Conservancy will there with feathered friends. Meet local owls up close and personal. Learn how the raptors live, hunt and survive. Touch real owl feathers and bones, dissect owl pellets, make an owl craft, and learn how you can help protect these elusive birds of the night. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Register in advance here!

Have A Ball with American Pops
Where: First Congregational UCC
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $15-32

Cinderella has never sounded sweeter! This heartwarming and comedic retelling of the fairy tale classic is one part storybook and four parts Great American Songbook. Four lovable and dynamic singer-actors bring a huge cast of characters to life with the use of colorful costumes and playful props, as they join forces with the American Pops Orchestra to introduce the next generation of music lovers to some of the best-loved American songs of the Twentieth Century. This show is interactive and immersive, with plenty of audience participation and fun for all ages. First Congregational UCC is located at 945 G Street NW.

Kids in the Castle
Where: Heurich House Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Heurich House Museum is opening its doors for free, self-guided tours, allowing visitors to explore the gilded details of the Heurich family home at their own pace. The first floor, second floor, and basement, and the museum garden will also welcome guests to play and relax after going through the house.  Children and their parents are invited to wander through it all and complete a scavenger hunt to win prizes.

Later, Skaters
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

This weekend is your last chance to hit the ice al fresco. Local outdoor ice skating rinks (the ones that are still open, anyway) are shutting down their Zambonis after Sunday. See this post listing them all for details on where you can glide ‘neathe the sky one last time this winter (and be sure to note that Canal Park is already closed).

The Tuskegee Experience
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Saturday, 11am – 3:30pm
Admission: Free, but tickets required

At this NMAAHC Community Day, guests can learn about and possibly meet Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen, who overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. Experience historical tap dance (and take a tap lesson!), see a puppet show, take a self-directed tour in Double Victory: the African American Military Experience, and do hands-on activities. Register for the event here!

Weaving Winter Trees Workshop
Where: Anne Marie Sculpture Garden
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $15/member, $20/non-member

Kids in grades 3rd – 6th can get ready to say farewell to winter with a special art project. Students will learn the basic fundamentals of weaving with instructor, Dollie Karolewski. They’ll also paint a winter scene and then weave a fiber tree into the scene. Register in advance here.

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

* Ella Enchanted is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue” will be at the National Theatre this weekend
* InterAct Story Theatre kicks of Season 2 of their Wheaton Family Theatre Series with a performance by Tom Teasley
* Little ones will love Art on the Horizon’s Nutt and Bolt (sold out online, so call about tickets)
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Tiny Tots Sing-a-Long is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* From the Mouths of Monsters is a Frankenstein-inspired show at the Kennedy Center
* Catch The Freshest Snow Whyte at Imagination Stage

KidFree Entertainment
Where: Lanburgh Theatre, Sidney Harman Hall, & Arena Stage
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Shakespeare Theatre Company presents two productions to applaud right now! The Select (The Sun Also Rises) brings a Hemingway classic to the Lansburgh Theatre stage with a cleverly directed and superbly acted show. And King Charles III is a thought-provoking drama that pits the monarchy against parliament, putting England in a national conflict that is, coincidentally, timely and familiar. And at Arena Stage, Intelligence is a political thriller running through April 9. All best for KidFree outings, but older tweens and teens could enjoy them, too.

Objects of Wonder
Where: National Museum of Natural History
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Catch the debut of a new exhibition at the museum that’s always a kid fave. More than 145 million artifacts and specimens, including many exceptional objects rarely seen by the public, will be on view for guests. Explore the scope and splendor of the world’s most extensive natural history research collection.

Earth Explorers
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Throughout the weekend, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, under 5 are free
(look for a discount)

Witness animal migrations from a hot air balloon, submerse into the deep sea to study marine life, discover new species in the rain forest, gear up for a polar expedition. These are all adventures — simulated ones, anyway — to be experienced at the Nat Geo Museum’s newest exhibition that offers a glimpse into the work and passion of explorers in the field. Full of hands-on displays and interactive installations, it’s informative and inspiring. Best for elementary school ages and up, but younger children can enjoy it, too.

See Stars
Where: Arlington Planetarium
When: Friday/Saturday, 7:30pm & Sunday 1:30pm/3pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/children 12 and under (cash only)

Get a close look at the night sky at a planetarium show. Open for public multimedia programs on weekends throughout the school year, the Arlington Planetarium presents “Undiscovered Worlds” on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm. “One World One Sky,” a Sesame Street adventure featuring Big Bird plays on Sunday at 1pm, and “Magic Tree House: Space Mission” will be shown at 3pm. Doors open 15 minutes prior to show time and are closed and locked once the program begins. Sky theater has a 58 seat capacity. Once full capacity is reached, the doors will be closed.

Gaithersburg St. Patty’s Parade
Where: Washingtonian Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The city’s 17th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will include both traditional Irish performances and classic parade pageantry. Celtic dancers, bagpipes, marching bands, clowns, firetrucks, and more will make their way through town.

District of Love March
Where: Emery Rec Center
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 2:30pm
Admission: Free

March to support diversity and inclusion in our community. Celebrate with local artists, musicians, and community members, and enjoy featured musical acts Elena y Los Fulanos, Lilo, Ethiopian Dance and more! The March will go right through some of DC’s most diverse neighborhoods along Georgia Ave. NW starting at Georgia and Madison St. NW at the Emery Rec. Center and marching down to U St ending at the African-American Civil War Memorial Site.

Dr. Seuss on the Loose Dance Party!
Where: Kensington Town Hall
When: Saturday, 3-5pm
Admission: $5 person, $20/family

Join the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation for the Dr. Seuss on the Loose Dance Party! Dance, wiggle and giggle with Aaron Anderson of A-Squad Entertainment. Create crafty masterpieces, enjoy the Dr. Seuss Read-a-Thon Room, and don’t miss the Seuss-themed raffle. All ages welcome (recommended for ages 18 months – 6 years). Please bring a book for our book drive for Crossway Community in Kensington. RSVP at facebook.com/MakeMoreNoyes. Kensington Town Hall is located at 3710 Mitchell Street in Kensington, MD.

DC St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Constitution Ave. from 7th to 17th Streets NW
When: Sunday, 12pm
Admission: Free

Find a spot on the curb along Constitution Avenue to watch the 46th annual St. Patrick’s parade roll through the city. Floats, marching bands, Irish dancers, bag pipers, members of the police and fire departments, and other entertainment will be part of the celebratory spectacle.

Purim Carnival
Where: Congregation Adat Reyim
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

This fun holiday event is open to everyone of all ages! Come in costume and enjoy games, food, face painting, balloons, a lego zone, caricaturist, and much more. Enter to win exciting raffle and silent auction prizes including Disney World passes, gift cards to restaurants, local businesses and birthday parties! Admission is free, but game tickets are $0.50 each, raffle tickets are $1 each, and food will be for sale.

Science Talent Search Project Exhibition
Where: National Geographic
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Science enthusiasts of all ages will love the Regeneron Science Talent Search Public Exhibition of Projects! Meet the top 40 young scientists in the nation (all high school seniors competing for $1.8 million in awards) as they share their original research projects.

Purim Carnival
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission:

When was the last time you dressed up like a queen or king? Now is your chance – the EDCJCC’s Purim Carnival is the perfect time for children and adults to dress up and celebrate this festive annual holiday! Enjoy carnival games, arts & crafts, hamantaschen (yummy Purim treats), music and a Purim play. And don’t forget your costume! Teen Jewish a cappella group from Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Marak HaYom (which means “soup of the day” in Hebrew) will perform. Register here

A Day of Flying in the Great Hall
Where: National Building Musem
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Partake in some super fly activities at the Building Museum. All ages can drop in on Sunday to watch as the DC Maxecuters demo all kinds of model planes in and across the Great Hall. Of course, you can enjoy all the other NBM offerings the rest of the weekend (admission fee required for some).

Full STEAM Ahead: Baffling Biomimicry
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Preschool-aged children and their caretakers are invited to visit the artLAB for hands-on investigations and challenges! This program is designed to help children explore, observe, ask questions, and make predictions as they create and play! Activities themed around money are planned for this fun and imaginative session.

Family Dance
Where: Glen Echo Park Ballroom Annex
When: Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $5/ages 4 and up

Join the Family Dance session that takes place the second Sunday of each month. It’s a rare opportunity to experience the joy of dance with your children and the community. No experience is necessary, just and dance — a family dance leader will show you everything you need to know right then and there, with a focus on having fun! Recommended for families with kids ages 4-12, but all ages welcome!

Games + Pi
Where: Labyrinth Game Shop
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Pi Day is Tuesday, but Labyrinth is celebrating a couple of days early. Stop in for some of their favorite math-themed games as well as free pie. They’ll have a variety of games to play, so drop by and get in a play or two!

**PLAN AHEAD**
Get KFDC insight to prep for some of DC’s most popular outings and events:
* Read a review of the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn to get an idea of what to expect and tips for visiting with kids
* March 19-22 are the new predicted cherry blossoms peak dates, and KFDC has tips to help you plan for and make the most of your bloom viewing experience
* The KFDC Guide to the National Museum of African American History & Culture will help you navigate one of the city’s most remarkable new attractions with children


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

MoCo Students Invited to Show Their Love for Trees in an Arbor Day Video Contest!

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Calling all 3rd to 5th grade students in Montgomery County schools! In celebration of Arbor Day, Montgomery Parks invites you to participate in an Arbor Day Video Contest for a chance to host an Arbor Day Celebration at your school this April. It’s a great opportunity to exercise creativity, highlight local nature, and have fun!

The 2016 Arbor Day contest winner

The 2016 Arbor Day contest winner

To enter:
Create a short video expressing why “We Love Trees in Montgomery County.” Submissions must be received by March 30, 2017 and submitted with the Arbor Day Video Contest Submission Form. The winning student or classroom will be selected March 31, 2017, and the winning school will be notified by April 03, 2017. The school with the winning entry will host Montgomery Parks’ Arbor Day Celebration!

Last year's Arbor Day Celebration at Travilah Elementary School

Last year’s Arbor Day Celebration at Travilah Elementary School

For more information, contest rules, and to submit entries, visit the Arbor Day Celebration web page. Now, go get your cameras rolling and get your videos in!


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Montgomery Parks, however, I only promote programs and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under Annual, Art, Competition, Contest, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, Nature, Schools, Sponsored Post

The Weekend Round-Up: March 4-5

Theatrics at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where there's a special program for kids this weekend

Theatrics at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where there’s a special program for kids this weekend



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After a nice teaser of spring, it’s going to feel a little more like winter this weekend, but that won’t affect your family fun. Stay cozy inside at a performing arts fest, theatre workshop, museum program, summer camp preview, IMAX movie, or live show. And if you want to bundle up and bask in the sunshine, there are always lots of great activities to enjoy outside. Happy Weekend!

Intersect with the Performing Arts
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show (includes free fun!)

There’s more family programming at the INTERSECTIONS Festival this weekend, most of it on Saturday. See Jane Franklin Dance perform The Big Meow. Catch the In Series’ presentation, Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood. Capitol Tap and House of Tap performs Feel the Beat Through Your Feet! Clown Cabaret brings The Heist to the stage. And Saturday morning from 10am – 12pm, the Zip Zap Circus will bring FREE fun and entertainment to the Atlas lobby! These are just the most kid-friendly shows — the whole line-up throughout the Festival is worth checking out by grown-ups.

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

As the mercury drops toward temps more normal for this time of year, you might be seeking out fun indoors. This post lists more than 80 suggestions for things to do, most them mainstays around DC, and just about all of them KFDC tried and tested.

Family Shabbat Clusters
Where: DCJCC
When: Friday
Admission: $36

Celebrate Shabbat your way! Family Shabbat Clusters are groups of people that get together to celebrate Shabbat once a month and are a great way to make new friends and start traditions. Every Shabbat Cluster season starts with a Kickoff Dinner at the EDCJCC for all participants. Register here.

Shake(speare) Up Your Saturday
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free, but registration required

Join the Folger’s family program that takes place the first Saturday of every month. In this “Courtly Meetings & Country Greetings” session, imagine yourself in the two worlds of As You Like It, the court of Duke Frederick and the Forest of Arden. Ages 5-7 at 10-11am, and ages 8-14 at 11am – 12pm. Go here to sign up.

Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: Saturday, 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Irish holiday a a bit early in Old Town Alexandria. Pre-parade festivities begin in the morning, and the annual procession kicks off at 12:30pm at Alfred and King Streets, then winds through Old Town, showcasing elected officials, Irish Ambassadors, military commanders, scout troops, high school bands, and local celebrities.

Recycled Cycles for Sale!
Where: Big Bear Cafe
When: Saturday, 10am whiles supplies lasts
Admission: Free

Spring is coming and with it, great cycling weather, so now is the best time to make sure you have a quality ride that meets your needs. Well, just in time, Phoenix Bikes, a non-profit youth program and community bike shop in Arlington, VA, will be selling a large inventory of quality, refurbished bikes and new bike gear along with friends Gearin’ Up Bicycles and Bikes for the World. Check out the sale for a great deal on a bike that benefits local non-profits and be ready to ride this spring…truly a win-win!

Apollo on the Move
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Explore how Apollo 11 and the Moon landing transformed our lives 50 years ago and continues to influence space exploration and inspire people today and into the future. Go inside the Museum’s Restoration Hangar where staff work to conserve, restore, and preserve spacecraft and aircraft. See the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia undergoing conservation treatment and meet the experts who care for the artifact. Talk to experts who moved the Command Module Columbia from DC to Chantilly, VA, and learn about the preparation that goes into moving large artifacts. This is a unique opportunity for all ages to enjoy!

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

* Ella Enchanted is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* Reserve free tickets for Mister G, this week’s Saturday morning at the National performance
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Tiny Tots Sing-a-Long is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Join a Saturday Family Jazz Session at Strathmore
* The Freshest Snow Whyte just opensed at Imagination Stage
* Dan Zanes “Song Gusto Hour” with Claudia Eliaza is the Saturday morning show at Jammin Java

Earth Explorers
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Throughout the weekend, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, under 5 are free
(look for a discount)

Witness animal migrations from a hot air balloon, submerse into the deep sea to study marine life, discover new species in the rain forest, gear up for a polar expedition. These are all adventures — simulated ones, anyway — to be experienced at the Nat Geo Museum’s newest exhibition that offers a glimpse into the work and passion of explorers in the field. Full of hands-on displays and interactive installations, it’s informative and inspiring. Best for elementary school ages and up, but younger children can enjoy it, too.

Suit Up!: Working in Space
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Join the Air & Space Museum in Chantilly for Making STEM Magic, a weekly program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. On Saturdays this month… Space: the final frontier, and the most dangerous. Want to be an astronaut? Learn how to suit up and protect yourself from the dangers of space in the March design challenge.

Lil’ Kickers Open House
Where: Merritt Academy
When: Sunday, 11am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Sample a soccer program for kids! Lil’ Kickers will be providing mini classes throughout the morning for children to experience their program. This is the second of several Open House Events at their four locations. Merrit Academy is located at 9211 Arlington Boulevard, Fairfax, VA 22031

Theatre Camp Open House
Where: Highwood Theatre
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Learn about this one-of-a-kind summer camp in downtown Silver Spring and then some at this Open House. Meet the teachers, see the space, enter raffles, and hear all about what’s coming up this summer. From Art Squared (with 3D Printing, Improv, Digital Music, and more) to technical theatre, musical theatre, and acting, they’ve got something for everyone in grades K-12.

Cocoa & Craft in the Park
Where: Hidden Oaks Nature Center
Whne: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: $6

Crafts, cocoa, and nature all in one outing! Stay and play for 20 minutes or more as you sip cocoa and create up to three crafts at the Nature Center. There are new craft kits each month. For ages 2 -12, and children younger than 10 must be accompanied and assisted by an adult.

DREAM BIG IMAX 3D
Where: Air & Space Museum & Udzar-Hazy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $9/adult, $8/senior, $7.50/ages 2-12

With some rain in the forecast, a movie at a museum will be a great plan. This latest film on local giant screens promotes the E in STEM. From the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots to footbridges in Haiti to a solar car race across Australia, DREAM BIG celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small and highlights how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. View the trailer here. And, of course, plan to explore the museum while you’re there!

Are You Ready for Some Fútbol?
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission Ticket proces vary

DC United kicks off a new season this weekend as they host Kansas City Sporting for the first match of the regular season. The game is a Heineken Green & Red Star Matchday, which means adults can enjoy a special promo: One ticket, one drink for $20 with the code HEINEKEN when you purchase online. And if you need to catch up on the local soccer scoop, check out the DC United website for a refresher.

KidFree Entertainment
Where: Lanburgh Theatre & Sidney Harman Hall
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Shakespeare Theatre Company presents two productions to applaud right now! The Select (The Sun Also Rises) brings a Hemingway classic to the Lansburgh Theatre stage with a cleverly directed and superbly acted show. And King Charles III is a thought-provoking drama that pits the monarchy against parliament, putting England in a national conflict that is, coincidentally, timely and familiar. I’ve seen and recommend both – best for a KidFree outing, but older tweens and teens could enjoy them, too.

Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Ring in the Persian New Year at the annual Nowruz celebration! Free attractions for all ages include storytelling, hands-on art activities, live music, film screenings, calligraphy, food, and the featured exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan.

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

This could ve the last good skating weekend of the season, so take advantage whileyou can! Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; 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 a heads-up that Canal Park closed early this season!

Cool Hikes
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Bundle up for a walk in the woods. See the flowers that popped up with warmer temps, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids.

**PLAN AHEAD**
A few new KFDC posts will help you prepare for some of DC’s most currently popular pursuits:
* Read a review of the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn to get an idea of what to expect and tips for visiting with kids
* The KFDC Guide to the National Museum of African American History & Culture will help you navigate one of the city’s most remarkable new attractions with children
* The cherry blossoms are expected to peak March 14-17, and KFDC has the scoop for making the most of your bloom viewing experience


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms (2017)

DC at its peak

DC at its peak

[Note: With the announcement of the predicted cherry blossom peak dates, it’s time to bring back this annual KFDC post. This was originally written in 2011 (hence, the now very outdated Lost reference) and has been updated every year since. But because the tips always apply, I’m re-posting yet again, just with a few minor updates applicable to this year’s bloom.]


Taking the family to the National Mall to see some pretty flowers sounds easy enough. If only it actually was. The cherry blossom peak, predicted to occur March 14-17 19-22 this year, is one of the best times to visit DC. The city is at its most beautiful, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival provides loads of fun activities to help enjoy it all. But viewing the famous blooms can also be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things. Here are seven recommendations to consider if seeing the cherry blossoms is on your family’s March agenda.

1. Don’t drive if you value your sanity. Take the Metro, ride the bus, bike, walk, jet pack. Get here however you can, just leave the car at home. Traffic is beyond frustrating during the cherry blossom peak, and your chances of finding decent parking are about as good as hitting the Powerball with Hurley’s numbers (okay, slight exaggeration, but it is hard). The masses descend on Washington, DC, this time of year, and way too many do so in their vehicles. Besides, kids love riding the Metro—it’s like an urban version of Hogwarts Express. The Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange Line is mere minutes from all of the blossom action, but it’s also guaranteed to be crowded. Consider riding to L’Enfant on Yellow/Green, Federal Center on Blue/Orange, or even a stop downtown or in Penn Quarter and taking a nice stroll to the blossoms. *If you absolutely must drive and need parking you might find a spot at Hains Point, where there is free and metered parking, then walk or take a shuttle ($1/person) to the Tidal Basin. There is also a parking garage at L’Enfant Plaza. Your best bet, though, might be to find a garage in the downtown or Penn Quarter area, then walk or Metro to the National Mall. Update: You can ensure yourself a spot with Parking Panda, an online parking reservation service that let you search for and reserve spaces in advance. Through April 15, use the promo code CherryBlossom17 to get 10% off your first reservation in Washington, DC!

Flying among the flowers

Flying among the flowers

2. Visit on a weekday if you have the flexibility. Crowds are significantly smaller from Monday to Friday, so you can stroll around the Tidal Basin at a nice pace, and public transportation won’t be nearly as packed (though it still will be more crowded than usual). But if the kids are in school or daycare during the week, think about going later in the day. The National Mall and monuments look beautiful at sunset, and the blossoms make it even more sublime. In the same vein, if you can go super early, the morning light on the Mall makes for quite a picturesque setting, too.

Peak time around the National Mall

Peak time around the National Mall

3. Consider using a child carrier instead of a stroller for little ones. This is especially applicable if you take Metro, since elevator lines can be very long and slow-going. I learned my lesson several years ago on a weekday and ended up taking my daughter out of the stroller and carrying both on the escalator, which was probably as unsafe as it was difficult. Even if you don’t take Metro, a carrier is still a wise option. Navigating crowded walkways while pushing a pram takes focus, and you could end up spending more time concentrating on not rolling over others’ heels than enjoying the sights you came to see. It’s a bonus for wee ones, too — perched on your back, your babe will get a better view of the blossoms.

4. Check the National Cherry Blossom Festival schedule, so you can plan your visit accordingly. Some of the city’s most anticipated events are part of the annual celebration, the Blossom Kite Festival, Southwest Waterfront Fireworks, National Cherry Blossom Parade, and Sakura Matsuri among them. Most events take place close by the blossoms or an easy Metro ride away. While peak bloom is expected before the Festival even begins this year, there might still be some flowering trees for the early events, just maybe a bit past their peak. Other events will be a good month beyond the bloom, so expect more green leaves then. This post has details on cherry blossom season celebration, and be sure to visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival website for dates and details on events.

Get a view of the blossoms from the water

Get a view of the blossoms from the water

5. Get a new view of the blossoms and enjoy a fun activity from the comfort of a cruise on the Potomac. Several companies offer boat rides along the river, many of them specifically for the season when the cherry trees are in bloom. Capitol River Cruises, Potomac Riverboat Company, and DC Water Taxi are a few to check out. Though before you go straight to the websites, look for a deal on Goldstar, Groupon, or Certifikid. We’ve gotten great offers that way. You can also opt for a paddle boat excursion on the Tidal Basin and navigate the waters yourself.

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

6. Seek out other spots to see the cherry blossoms if you don’t want to deal with crowds and chaos around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Several places around the DC-Metro area are well known for their annual cherry blossom displays. When I worked in Bethesda many years ago, it was an annual tradition for my colleagues and me to take a drive through Kenwood, a lovely neighborhood between Little Falls Parkway and River Road with cherry tree-lined streets. The National Arboretum also has a nice collection of the trees and offers a beautiful, peaceful environment in which to view them in bloom. Dumbarton Oaks Gardens is one of the prettiest places in DC and its annual blossoms only add to it.

7. Have your camera ready to take advantage of some of the best photo ops DC offers. The peak colors plus the monuments are about as iconic as you can get when photographing Washington. Get your kids to sit still — or even let them run and play for a fun candid — and you’ve got this year’s holiday card.

Can't beat the blossom backdrop for photos

Can’t beat the blossom backdrop for photos


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: February 24-26

Go for a hike (or run) in the woods at Rock Creek Park

Go for a hike (or run!) in the woods at Rock Creek Park



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This spring-like weather probably won’t last through the weekend, but that doesn’t mean your fun won’t continue. Enjoy an annual performing arts fest or an event all about kids’ health and nutrition. Celebrate Black History Month or local writers. Explore STEM activities or local nature. Attend open houses for a charter school or kids active programs. These and many more ideas are detailed below. Oh, also… KFDC turns 7 today! And I’ll be celebrating with an awesome giveaway later, so be sure to check back and enter. Happy Weekend!

Intersect with the Performing Arts
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Admission: See the website

The Atlas is kicking off its annual festival that presents tons of fantastic performances in music, theatre, dance, film, and spoken word with several exhibitions especially for families. See Jane Franklin Dance perform The Big Meow. Enjoy Callaloo: The Legend of The Golden Coqui, a puppet show by Sepia Works. Joy of Motion Dance Center’s Alight Dance Theater presents Stargazing. These are just the most kid-friendly — the whole line-up of shows throughout the Festival is worth checking out by grown-ups.

Open House
Where: My Gym Bethesda & My Gym Potomac
When: Friday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Get a preview of My Gym Potomac and My Gym Bethesda’s spring offerings. Meet the teachers and sample the programs — there are Mommy and Me movement and music classes for babies and preschoolers, and tumbling, sports, and parkour classes for older children. The evening will include games and activities, plus discounts on registration! You can also enter a giveaway for a chance to win eight weeks of enrollment here.

Nature Explorations, Inside & Out
Where: Rock Creek Park
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Spend a day exploring at Rock Creek! Visit the Nature Center and catch a planetarium show on Saturday at 1pm and 4pm. Hike from there to Peirce Mill, where you can check out its inner workings. Visit horses at the Horse Center. Or just wander along the trails in the woods and enjoy the nature around you.

Kids in the Kitchen
Where: YMCA Anthony Bowen
When: Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Want your kids to eat smart and learn to make healthy lifestyle choices? Join The Junior League of Washington at Kids in the Kitchen on Saturday for a fun-filled day of games, crafts, hands-on learning, and exciting prizes – all to celebrate and promote nutritional literacy.  This free kids health and nutrition event is targeted at children ages 3-13. The Anthony Bowen Y is located at 1325 W Street NW.

Black History Month Celebration
Where: Josiah Henson Park in Bethesda
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Enjoy free, educational events that highlight the stories, struggles, and successes of African Americans. Activities include guided tours of the park, the screening of a PBS documentary about the park, and the annual spoken word poetry event, “Lyrical Rhythms: The Sounds of Freedom.”

More Ways to Celebrate Black History
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

February is Black History Month, and there are events and activities throughout the DC area to celebrate it. Museum programs (including an entire museum!), special tours and exhibits, story time sessions, and more will be enlightening and fun for all ages. See where they’re happening this weekend.

DC STEMfest
Where: Harmony Charter School
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

DC STEMfest invites everyone from all ages to celebrate science, technology, engineering, and math with fun activities. This free event is open to students, families and features interactive exhibits, hands-on experiments, mind-blowing demos, a full line-up of live science-themed performances and much more.

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

* Ella Enchanted is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* Reserve free tickets for Struggle for Freedom: The Life of Dr. King, this week’s Saturday morning at the National performance
* Jack and the Beanstalk just opened at The Puppet Co.
* And Penguins’ Playground is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* The Freshest Snow Whyte just opensed at Imagination Stage
* Little ones will enjoy Kitchen Adventures with Encore Stage & Studio
* Make it a KidFree night as Shakespeare Theatre Company presents King Charles III at Sidney Harman Hall

Celebration of Writers
Where: Howard University
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The District of Columbia Area Writing Project is proud to host a “Celebration of Writers.” This event, as the name suggests, calls for a fun and exciting celebration of writers from varied fields and genres, as well as the celebration of our most recent graduates from the Teacher’s Summer Institute. Join us for an enjoyable day of interactive performances, including songs, dance, storytelling and poetry. Our guests of honor include prestigious personalities, such as Colbert I. King from Washington Post, Dr. Oneeka Williams who is a renowned childrens’ books author and an urological surgeon and finally Mark A. Williams, a teacher at Duke Ellington School of Arts and organizer of R Street Collective . Register for free here.

African American Pioneers in Aviation and Space
Where: Steve C. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Each February, the Museum celebrates the significant contributions African Americans have made to flight and space exploration despite the overwhelming obstacles they had to overcome. Enjoy presentations, hands-on activities, and stories. Learn about African American astronauts, pilots, and scientists of the past and present and their accomplishments.

Magic of Spying: Tradecraft Trickery
Where: International Spy Museum
When: Saturday, 11 am – 12 pm
Admission: $10 ($9/members)

In the real-life world of espionage, spies often call upon the art of magic and illusion to distract the enemy, make evidence disappear, and escape unnoticed.  Join professional magician, Peter Wood, as he demonstrates the art of misdirection, sleight of hand, and other illusions used by skilled spies. This one of a kind performance, custom-designed for the Spy Museum, is guaranteed to fascinate children and adults alike. For ages 7 and up.

Feel the Heritage Festival
Where: Drew Community Center
When: Saturday, 1-6pm
Admission: Free

Arlington County will celebrate its rich African-American heritage. This free event will feature live music, dance performances, storytelling, children’s activities, including face painting, balloon art, and crafts. And food, art, and other wares will be on sale.

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.

Roll with It
Where: DC Armory
When: Saturday, 4pm (door open at 3pm)
Admission: $15

DC Rollergirls, the National Capital Region’s only women’s flat-track roller derby league, are kicking (or make that, rolling) another season of hard-hitting skating. A 40-minute exposition bout paying tribute to DCRG legacy home teams DC Demoncats and Scare Force One will take place before the main event, featuring the DC Rollergirls National Maulers vs. Free State Roller Derby.

Charter School Open House
Where: Creative Minds International Public Charter School
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

As the lottery deadline nears, explore a DC school option this weekend. It’s a great opportunity to learn about their academic programs and approach to teaching, meet some of the staff, and check out the space. Read more about Creative Minds here.

Dance Your Socks Off
Where: River Park Nursery School
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Admission: $15 or $40/family

River Park Nursery School’s annual Sock Hop is always a fun-filled, family-friendly event. Featuring entertainment by local musical celebrity Mr. Skip, food, games, and a silent auction, enjoy activities for all ages and an opportunity to support preschool education on Capitol Hill.

Lil’ Kickers Open House
Where: Cassel’s Sports Complex
When: Saturday,10:30am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Check out a great soccer program for kids! Lil’ Kickers will be providing mini classes throughout the morning for your children to experience their program, so stop by at any time. Their balanced and creative approach to coaching will have a positive impact on your child that goes far beyond the soccer field. High-energy soccer classes are carefully designed to enhance your child’s overall growth and well-being. The result? Kids with strong physical skills, who are well-balanced and confident. And, they do all this while your child has the time of their life. This is the first of several Open House Events at their four locations. Cassel’s is located at 1400 Park Center Road in Herndon, VA.

DREAM BIG IMAX 3D
Where: Air & Space Museum & Udzar-Hazy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $9/adult, $8/senior, $7.50/ages 2-12

With some rain in the forecast, a movie at a museum will be a great plan. This latest film on local giant screens promotes the E in STEM. From the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots to footbridges in Haiti to a solar car race across Australia, DREAM BIG celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small and highlights how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. View the trailer here. And, of course, plan to explore the museum while you’re there!

District of Dance: A DC Rhythm & Blues Celebration
Where: Anacostia High School
When: Sunday, 3-8pm
Admission: Free

Inspired by the rhythm & blues history of Washington, DC, from the 50s, 60s, and early 70s, this event welcomes all ages for an afternoon and evening of community fun. Join in to celebrate with live performances, hand dance lessons, and panel discussions.  Anacostia High School is located at 1601 16th Street SE.

Teen Studio
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Sunday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Kids in grades 9-12 are invited to examine Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s memorial to honor Civil War heroes Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the men of the all–African American 54th Massachusetts Regiment. Through the combination of art history and studio perspectives, these immersive workshops aim to expand creative thinking. Taught by artists and museum educators, each two-and-a-half-hour workshop consists of conversation and hands-on drawing instruction in the galleries. The workshops are designed for all skill levels. Register in advance!

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

Rain and colder temps are on the way, so you might need extra ideas for indoor outings. Burn some energy at an indoor playground, visit a museum, explore a historic place, catch some live entertainment, bring the outdoors in at a nature center. This post listing over 80 ideas for activities inside will get your fun started.

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

If you’re keen on getting out no matter what the weather, this post has lots of suggestions for great places to spend a day outdoors — trails to hike, playgrounds, gardens with kids activities, and more!


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