Category Archives: Art

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 17-21

Little ones can relate "Harold and the Purple Crayon" to artist Linn Meyers' hand drawn wall art at the Hirshhorn Museum's STORYTIME+ program

Little ones can relate “Harold and the Purple Crayon” to artist Linn Meyers’ hand drawn wall art at the Hirshhorn Museum’s STORYTIME+ program

Monday – Take advantage of the surprise warm weather and go geocaching. It’s like a scavenger hunt, and a great way to enjoy the outdoors with a little adventure. Even better, you can pick and choose where and when you want to do it. This KFDC post has all the info you need to get started.

Tuesday – Enjoy STORYTIME+, the Hirshhorn Museum’s new program that invites the youngest artists (ages birth – preschool) and their caregivers to explore contemporary art through stories and movement. Museum staff will read a book aloud, introduce children to an artist in the collection, and lead an activity. “Harold and the Purple Crayon” is this session’s featured book, and little ones can explore and participate in Harold’s misadventures through hands-on fun and close-looking with an original wall drawing created for the Hirshhorn by artist Linn Meyers. Meet in the lobby at 10am. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Learn about the area’s wildlife, enjoy hands-on activities in the Nature Center, see the night sky, take a hike, and visit horses at Rock Creek Park. The Nature Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm, and admission is free. If you’re keen on seeing stars, there’s a planetarium show at 4pm. You can also visit the equine residents at the nearby Horse Center for free. (Unfortunately, pony rides are not offered on weekdays this time of year, but staff at the stables always welcome visitors.)

Thursday – Experiment with hands-on fun at the Children’s Science Center Lab at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Kids of all ages can explore a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging interactive exhibits and activities. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $12 (under 2 are free).

Friday – Catch a performance of Hansel & Gretel, the latest Main Stage production at The Puppet Co. Showtime is at 11am. Tickets are $12. Plan to stay after to picnic (BYO and buy from the cafe) and romp on the Glen Echo Park playground.

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Filed under All ages, Art, Babies, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Gradeschoolers, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Preschoolers, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: October 8-10

Even superheroes love Ren Fest

Even superheroes love Ren Fest

Most of us have an extra day to fill with fun this weekend, and that won’t be a problem with so many awesome events and activities happening around the DC-Metro. Autumn festivals, post season baseball, loads of live entertainment, cool museum programs, even a chance to hang out in the Obama’s backyard are among your options. This round-up has the scoop you need to get your family’s good time started. And with both rain and sunny weather in the forecast, keep both the list of The Best Places in the DC Area to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids and The Great Indoors post handy, too. Happy Weekend!


Playoffs Pep Rally
Where: Yards Park
When: Saturday, 3-5:30pm
Admission: Free

Get your weekend started early and Ignite Your Natitude! The Capitol Riverfront Pep Rally is celebrating the Nats in the playoffs with live music, local food vendors and food trucks, face painting, lawn games, giveaways, and Bluejacket brews starting two hours before the first pitch.

Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, 5:30pm & Saturday, 4pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The postseason begins for the Nats this weekend as they host the Dodgers. Catch games Friday and Saturday — tickets are still available for both, though they won’t be the cheap seats at this point. If you can’t make it to the game, check out this Washington Post article with suggestions for watching the playoffs elsewhere with other Nats fans.

Taste of DC
Where: Pennsylvania Ave., 3rd-7th Streets NW
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-7pm
Admission: $20, $10/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under

Celebrate the food, wine, and culture of our city during Columbus Day weekend. Along with the obvious — tastings from more than 50 area restaurants — there will be cooking demos, live entertainment, a beer garden, and an area with activities — dancing, games, storytelling, arts & crafts, and more — especially for kids.

White House Fall Garden Tours
Where: White House
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm & Sunday, 10am – 2:30pm
Admission: Free

It’s a rare opportunity to enjoy autumn at the White House! The annual Fall Garden and Grounds Tours are being held this weekend. The Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Kitchen Garden, and South Lawn will be on view to guests. The public is invited, but every visitor, small children included, needs a ticket to tour. Starting at 9am on both days, tickets will be distributed at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion at 15th & E Streets NW on a first-come, first-served basis. Tour times are indicated on each ticket, so keep your day open if you hope to go.

VelocityDC Dance Festival
Where: Sidney Harmon Hall
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Tickets start at $18

If you like dance, you’ll love this festival featuring performances by some of the city’s best-known ensembles, undiscovered gems, and everyone in between. Returning for its 8th season, the VelocityDC Dance Festival will showcase styles ranging from ballet to hip hop, tap to flamenco, demonstrating why it’s a highlight of Washington’s dance season.

Merriment for All!
Where: Revel’s Grove in Crownesville, Md
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $24/ages 16 and up, $10/ages 7-15, free for 6 and under

Enjoy a day of merriment at the Maryland Renaissance Festival! The annual faire recalls medieval times with a village full of fun and entertainment for the whole family. This is one of my very favorite annual events in the DC area, and it could very well become one of yours, too. Huzzah!

Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by locale

Enjoy autumn fun and then some at a number of farms and other locales around the area. Pick pumpkins, whiz down slides, visit animals, jump on giant inflatables, take pony rides, indulge in caramel apples, and much more. The KFDC guide to fall festivals has details on all of them.

Peirce Mill Heritage Day
Where: Peirce Mill, Rock Creek Park
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Step back in time to 1820 with the National Park Service and Friends of Peirce Mill for Peirce Mill Heritage Day! At center stage is the last remaining water mill in DC — visitors can witness the intricate workings of this four-story machine as it grinds corn into meal, powered by a giant water wheel (milling demos take place about every 15 minutes from 11am – 2pm). There will be arts and crafts activities, including water mill toys, corn husk doll making, cornmeal play dough, flour sacks, and Peirce Mill stamps. Watch the hand-assembly of a dry stone wall, see logs hewn with an ax, and crank an old-fashioned cider press. And for your musical entertainment, a local musician Orrin Star will play bluegrass throughout the day. A new addition this year will be a presentation on Latino bread-making culture, with on-site preparation of tortillas using cornmeal. Read more about Peirce Mill in this KFDC post.

Art Safari
Where: The Torpedo Factory
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria’s wonderful tradition for families, Art Safari returns for its 21st year with a full day of hands-on activities for kids and families. Artists will lead young visitors in creative projects across a variety of media, including clay, papier-mâché, fiber, and printmaking. All activities are free, with most appropriate for children ages 5 – 11 and some requiring parental assistance. Children should wear clothing that can get a little dirty.

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

* Find Knuffle Bunny at Adventure Theatre
* Synetic Theatre presents The Music Box, a collection of comedic vignettes set to music, for families
* Catch the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s fantastic production of Romeo & Juliet (recommended for older children or make it a date night)
* The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane opens on the Imagination Stage
* See (and smell?) Flowers Stink, a collaboration between the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Kennedy Center
* It’s the final weekend to watch Rapunzel let down her hair at The Puppet Co.
* And Tiny Tots can enjoy a Tots Sing-a-Long at the puppet theater
* The Olney Theatre presents The Diary of Anne Frank
* See the superbly acted The Little Foxes at Arena Stage (recommended for teens and up)
* Make it a date night to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Kennedy Center
* Ruthless, The Musical just opened at Creative Cauldron

Where: National Museum of American History
When: Saturday 11am – 12pm
Admission: Free

This new program is aimed at boosting early literacy while introducing young visitors (ages 0 to 6) to objects in the museum’s collection. Drop by to listen to stories about music, then kiddos can participate in music making and craft their own instruments.

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

Get the Halloween party started with activities and events that celebrate the spooky spirit. Creep through the woods in a mini-train ride. This post has details on where the tricks and treats are happening.

Maryland Pumpkin Festival
Where: Summers Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $13.95, 2 and under are free

Along with Summers Farm’s regular offerings, such as the corn maze, hay slides, farm animals, hay rides, pumpkin patch, pig races and jumping pillow, their annual Maryland Pumpkin Festival celebrates all things pumpkin with bonus activities: Enjoy pumpkin hunts, pumpkin sculpting demonstration, face painting, an appearance by Mr. Brown the Clown, live music, and more!

An Apple a Day…
Where: Area orchards
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Take advantage of apple season! Several area orchards and farms welcome guests to gather their own. Many on this list with pick-your-own opportunities have apples among their PYO offerings. We also just visited Waters Orchard in Germantown last weekend, and it was fantastic — a great variety of apples in a beautiful setting! And I always recommend calling ahead to be sure the pickings are good the day you plan to go.

Story Time with Bear Song
Where: Walls of Books
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free
Bring little ones to the
bookstore in Shaw for story time with Bear Song. Go early, grab your seat, and settle in to sing great songs, hear great stories, and see great smiles on all the little faces. During Story Time – and, of course, a little bit after, all kid’s books are 10% off!

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration
Where: Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the contributions of Latinos to aviation and space exploration. Hear about Latin American aviators, meet Hispanic scientists and engineers, and enjoy hands-on activities. Many of the activities and presentations are available in English and Spanish.

Where: Saint Luke Serbian Orthodox Church of Potomac
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Free

Celebrate Serbian culture an enjoy family activities at this three-day festival. There‘s something for everyone, including traditional Serbian cuisine (authentic split roasted pig, lamb , and grilled meats), beverages, dance and music performances, gifts and boutique items, and lots of family-friendly activities.  Saint Luke’s is located at 10660 River Road in Potomac, MD.

National Chess Day
Where: Bowie Town Center
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $15

Ready, set, checkmate! A chess tournament hosted by Prince George’s County Home School Chess Club will be held in celebration of “National Chess Day” at Bowie Town Center. Chess enthusiasts are invited to participate in this spectacle with dozens of chess boards arranged in a giant square in the food court at Bowie Town Center. Activities will include a chess 101 basics workshop, monster chess, chess team trivia quiz, blitz chess rounds and live simultaneous play.

Hands-On History Hats Off Program
Where: National Museum of the U.S. Navy
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Head to this hidden gem of a museum for a hands-on opportunity to learn about the history of the U.S. Navy through its ever-changing headgear. Located behind the fighting top, families will be able to pick up and wear hats of the Navy from different eras. There will also be a hat designing station! Read more about the US Navy Museum in this KFDC post.

Movie Time: Abulele
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Saturday, 3pm & Sunday, 12:30pm
Admission: $13.50/adult, $6.75/14 and under

In this heartfelt family film, Adam, a young boy grieving from the loss of his brother, discovers a mythical furry beast (an Abulele) living in his building. When Adam realizes that it’s not the Abulele but the humans who are the real monsters, he risks everything to save his friendly giant. Catch this film at the DC JCC located at 1529 16th Street NW.

Light the Way – Walk for Independence
Where: National Mall
When: Sunday
Admission: $25/adult, $10/child

The 6th Annual Light the Way – Walk for Independence encourages people of all ages, particularly people who are blind or visually impaired, to maintain active and productive lifestyles. This year’s event will provide participants with a morning of fun-filled exercise, camaraderie, and entertainment. Join CLB and walk the scenic, historic, and accessible route between the US Capitol and the Washington Monument. Warm up and wind down with a hip hop dance instructor from Yala Fitness. There will also be a “Kids Zone” tent with a Bubbleologist, face painter, and glitter tattoo artist.

Walks in the Woods
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Fall is a perfect time to hit the trail, when you can enjoy the foliage just as much as the activity itself. This go-to KFDC post has a bunch of recommendations for good places to hike with kids.

Hiking & History
Where: Harpers Ferry
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free ($10 if you park in lot)

Get some fresh air and exercise as you take in the start of autumn hues and historic sites. Harpers Ferry is an easy day trip or weekend destination from DC, and fall is a great time to go. For more about a visit there, see this recent post.


Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Date Night, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Halloween, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Wicked Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween Around DC

Elsa, Frida, & Oliver ready to hit the Halloween scene last year

Elsa, Frida, & Oliver ready to hit the Halloween scene last year

Why wait until the actual day to celebrate one of the best holidays of the year? Besides the bonus of getting extra mileage out of costumes and having more excuses to indulge in sweets, Halloween festivities are a treat any day. And there are loads of ways to get into the spirit during the days leading up to the grand event. From no-fright fun to cool and creepy thrills, this annual KFDC round-up has all of the details on where and when you and the kids can have a wicked good time around DC and even a bit…beyond. Happy Halloween!

“Eye Spy” Halloween Train
Where: Cabin John Regional Park
When: October 8-9, 14-16, 21-23, & 28-30
Admission: $6 and a can of food

Hop on board the Halloween Train! Cabin John’s “Eye Spy” features just enough “boo” power for kids age 8 and under. Along the ride through the woods on the train, kids can try to find Halloween friends hiding along the way and mark them off their “Eye Spy” game cards that they receive with admission. Guests can also enjoy Halloween movies every night, face painting on Saturdays and Sundays, and light refreshments for sale. The “Eye Spy” train runs 1-6pm on Fridays and 11-6pm on weekends. Purchase tickets online starting October 1 here.

Haunted Train & Creepy Carousel
Where: Wheaton Regional Park
When: October 8-9, 14-16, 21-23, & 28-30
Admission: $6

Wheaton Regional Park’s Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel are back and scarier than ever! This annual Halloween attraction is best for guests ages 8 and up, because they “aim to scare” (and this is part of the website description, so take their word for it). Admission includes one ride each on the train and carousel, plus entrance to the Hall of Jack o’ Lanterns movie theater presenting scary films every night. The train and carousel run 6:30-9:30pm each night. Purchase tickets online starting October 1 here. Plan to bring canned food, too, to help neighbors in need.

Costume Drive to Help Families in Need
Where: Hilton McLean Tyson Corner
When: Through October 14
Admission: n/a

Steph Snaps Photos, Hilton McLean, and Harth have yet again joined forces for their 2nd annual costume drive, aiming to secure gently used or new costume donations for local families. The collected costumes and funds will benefit a diverse number of non-profit organizations in our community that will provide costumes for children and families. New or gently used costumes of any size can be dropped off at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner any day. Cash donations are also accepted at — the money collected will help purchase additional costumes with size requirements that have not been fulfilled through the donation process.

Howl-o-Scream Package
Where: Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA
When: Weekends in October
Admission: Rates start at $339/night

Fiery foliage, Halloween-themed spooky events, and mild temperatures will greet you at Kingsmill Resort when you check in this fall. While there are those that believe the waterfront condo-style resort has its share of paranormal activity, there is plenty of room for lively, younger spirits of all ages. (The old spirits are behind the bar.) For those looking to elevate the fear factor, the resort offers the Howl-O-Scream Package, which includes accommodations for two nights, daily breakfast, complimentary parking, Wi-Fi, and shuttle service to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg. Guests also get access to Busch Gardens with two Fun Cards.

Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: October 13, 6-7pm & 7-8pm
Admission: $10/child

Children ages 3-8 are invited to come to the Indoor Arena Barn dressed in their favorite costumes anytime between from 6-8pm. Enjoy fun, games, and a wagon ride. Finish the evening with treats and a small pumpkin. Reservations are required, and space is limited, so sign up soon!

Cirque de la Symphonie: Halloween Extravaganza
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 13-16
Tickets: $24-99

Cirque de la Symphonie brings its trademark brand of awe-inspiring feats and thrills, including jugglers, aerialists, contortionists, strongmen, and more, to a program set to classic spooky music, such as Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Saint-Saëns’s Danse macabre, and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, among other familiar tunes. The Sunday matinee performance is part of the NSO Family Concert Series, designed for young audiences. Beginning one hour before the performance, children and families can enjoy the “Haunted Hall” activities, which include games and activities, an instrument petting zoo, and spook-tacular decorations. Audiences are encouraged to come in costume for all for performances.

The Best Haunted House Ever
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: October 14-23
Tickets: $15/adults, $10/children

Encore Stage & Studio presents a Halloween-inspired show this season: When students from two different high schools sneak into a local haunted house to scare their classmates, utter chaos ensues. At first it seems like the students are just pulling Halloween pranks, but when a spooky zombie and mysterious ghost don’t fit into the students’ haunting plans it can only mean one thing–they are not alone in the house! Happy haunting! Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Spooky SPY Family Night
Where: International Spy Museum
When: October 14, 6-9pm
Admission: $14

Ditch your Halloween costume and change your while identity at the Spy Museum’s annual Halloween event! Has your brother been spying on you? Is grandma really a secret agent? Does dad really have lethal ninja skills? Now’s your chance to find out as your family of spies gains exclusive after-hours access to the Museum. Test your family’s spy skills as you run top secret missions, go deep undercover and transform your appearance with the help of professional make-up artists, challenge yourself in Code Cracker competitions, and enjoy SPY snacks and a chance to explore all forms of spy tradecraft. Go in disguise as your favorite spy! For ages 5 and up, includes exclusive after-hours admission, SPY snacks, scavenger hunt, prize competitions, and more! Space is limited — advance registration required. (One adult required for every five KidSpy agents.)“>Goulishly Good Music
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: October 16

Capital City Symphony’s Family Concerts are always fun, interactive, and educational. This year’s program is inspired by the spookiness and fantasy of Halloween, so don costumes to join in the fun! Face the ghosts and ghouls of Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre and Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, or enter the fairy tale world of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. Along the way you’ll learn how the instruments of the orchestra combine to bring these amazing stories to life. Go 30 minutes before show time to meet the musicians at the Instrument Petting Zoo — kids just might discover their new favorite instrument.

Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo
When: October 21-23, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $30/non-members

Join the National Zoo for their annual not-so-spooky Halloween haunt, one of DC’s most popular events for the kiddie crowd. With more than 40 treat stations, animal demonstrations, keeper chats, live entertainment, and decorated trails, this frightfully fun evening is a treat for the whole family. Costumes encouraged!

Soul Strolls
Where: Congressional Cemetery
When: October 21-22 & 28-29
Admission: $20/adult, $10/child

Congressman, carpenters, suffragists, and bootleggers are among the graveyard residents on Capitol Hill, and they all have a unique tale to tell. Congressional Cemetery’s annual Soul Strolls explore these stories through guided tours and costumed interpreters. Typically only open from dawn to dusk, this special event allows nighttime access to the public. Hour-long walks depart every 15 minutes between 6 -9pm, with beer, wine, and cider will be for sale (to put you at ease among the spirits).

Monster Mash
Where: Center at Leesburg
When: October 22
Admission: Free

Join the the Village at Leesburg for a frighteningly good time the 7th Annual Monster Mash! There will be center-wide trick-or-treating starting while supplies last, live music, street performers, a costume contest for children and pets, a Halloween parade, and as seen on Food Network’s Halloween Wars, Extreme Pumpkin Carving by James Hall, pastry design by Al Dibartolo, and chocolate sculpture with our very own Santosh Tiptur.

Air and Scare
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum
When: October 22, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15 until 6pm

See the spooky side of air and space at the Udvar-Hazy Center’s 11th Annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Bring the tiniest visitors by the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. Fun for the whole family!

Haunted Museum Historic Ghost Tour
Where: National Building Museum
When: October 23, 29, & 31, 8pm & 9pm
Admission: $22/members, $25/non-members

Ghost tours at the National Building Museum combine history, humor, and several hair-raising tales into a fun evening. The Museum houses many artifacts related to the building — plans, drawings, and tools — as well as some objects that defy easy explanation, including a collection of shoes found underneath the foundation, believed to have been buried to ward off evil spirits, and a plaster mask, thought to be a death mask dated from the late 1800s. The building is spectacular — and eerie — with the lights out! This tour is recommended for ages 10 and up. Tickets are limited.

Harbor Halloween
Where: National Harbor
When: October 23, 12-2:30
Admission: Free

It’s a spooktacular family event that will include activities for everyone. Join the fun at The Black Dog’s Howl-loween. Trick or treat around the shops at the Harbor. Enjoy a showing of Hocus Pocus on the Plaza Big Screen (movie will begin at 12:30am). Watch a chef pumpking carving contest. Plus, enjoy special activities, including pumpkin decorating, a Halloween coloring station, and a fabulous family fall themed photo station.

Where: Market Common Clarendon
When: October 22, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Market Common Clarendon’s fourth annual Falloween Festival celebrates the season and the October holiday with a day of delights for the whole fam. Highlights include live children’s entertainment by Rainbow Rock and Mr. Knick Knack, a petting zoo, face painting, pumpkin decorating + crafts for kids, and a trick-or-treat session throughout the property. This follows the annual Howl-O-Ween Dog Walk, in partnership with Homeward Trails and Doorways For Women and Families, which starts and ends on The Loop at Market Common Clarendon beginning at 10am, stopping through local businesses to support both partners with a costume contest taking place at the end of the event.

A Spooktacular Halloween Party
Where: Carluccio’s in Old Town
When: October 27, 6-8pm
Admission: $20

Join Carluccio’s in Old Town Alexandria for a spooktacular evening! The restaurant will be hosting a children’s Halloween party with cookie decorating and a costume contest. Kids ages and up will receive a free pasta meal, with ticket purchase, and accompanying adults can enjoy happy hour specials. Children and accompanying adults encouraged to dress up!

Paranormal Mansion Tours
Where: Oatlands Estate & Gardens
When: October 27-29, 7pm & 8pm
Admission: $30/adult, $12/child

Get a “different” look at Oatlands on this after dark tour of the old mansion. Hear ghost stories and accounts of unexplained occurrences on the property. Advance reservations are required and non-refundable.

Where: 7th Street SE in front of Eastern Market
When: October 28, 5:30-7:30pm
Admission: Free

Capitol Hill’s annual neighborhood event is legendary for little ones. The block of 7th Street SE next to Eastern Market will be closed to traffic for one of the best community Halloween celebrations in the city. Hayrides, moon bounces, goody giveaways, and even a mini carousel add to the excitement. The best part is seeing the masses of jubilant kids in all kinds of costumes indulging in the extravaganza.

Haunted Hangar
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: October 28, 7-9pm
Admission: $5

Wear your costume and enjoy fun fall themed activities. Explore the museum’s gallery and all of its hidden haunts. Arts, crafts, hayrides, and spooky fun await kids and families at the museum where old aircraft and other aviation displays wow visitors.

Spirits of the Past
Where: Bradley Farm in Herndon
When: October 28-29
Admission: $5

The Bradley Farm Haunted House promises everyone a ghoulishly fun time, and for a good cause — proceeds from the community fundraising event help Herndon-Reston FISH bring emergency help to folks in our community. This year’s “Spirits of the Past” theme promises fright and fun! On Friday and Saturday evening from 6-10pm, it offers a dark and scary adventure that’s perfect for tweens, teenagers, and adults. For the younger crowd, there’s a kids haunt with a milder scare on Saturday from 1-5pm that includes trick-or-treating inside the haunted house for children 10 and under, as well as face painting, balloon art, carnival-style games, live entertainment, and costumed characters.

Mr. Jon & Friends Halloween Party
Where: Jammin Java
When: October 29, 10:30am
Admission: $8

Kids musical performer Mr. Jon and playing a Halloween Party concert at Jammin Java. His silly interactive show includes classics like “Wheels On The Bus” along with originals, and his my puppet friend George the Monkey will join the fun, too. All ages can enjoy it, but the 1-6 crowd will dig it most.

Halloween in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: October 29, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $1

Dress the whole family and enjoy a day of trick-or-treating, art activities, lunch and more! The 17th Annual Halloween in the Garden will feature more than 70 community organizations and businesses donning costumes and handing out candy and treats to all the children. Free ooky, spooky crafts will be provided and devilishly delicious food vendors will be present. Admission fees will benefit local charities. Don’t forget to bring your camera — there are always unique photo opportunities with the boo-tiful decorations. New this year, purchase a line-hopper pass for $3/person, on sale at the admission gate from 10:30-11am, and jump to the front of the trick-or-treating line!

Trick or Treat at Tudor Place
Where: Tudor Place
When: October 29
Admission: $10/non-member, $5/member, $3/accompanying adult

Halloween is “spooktacular” at Tudor Place! Wear your costumes (optional) and follow meandering paths to find treats (not tricks!) in every corner of the enchanting North Garden. Enjoy pumpkin-decorating and other crafts, face painting, and outdoor games amid lovely autumn color.

Glen Echo Fall Frolic
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: October 29, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but small cost for some activities

It’s a safe and fun Halloween event with something for everyone! Daytime activities for families will include pumpkin decorating, arts & crafts, face painting, trick-or-treating, and a costume parade around the Park.

Halloween Carnival
Where: Falls Church
When: October 29, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $2/children ages 2 and up (adults free)

The City of Falls Church has been hosting the annual Halloween Carnival for over 30 years! Infants through fifth graders are invited to enjoy carnival games, a moon bounce, face painting, crafts, a haunted house, movies, candy, and a live creepy creature show featuring the spookiest reptiles in nature. The first hour is best for children up to 2nd grade, and 3rd – 6th graders will enjoy the second hour.

Fall-O-Ween Country Fair
Where: Port Discovery
When: October 29, 10am – 3:30pm
Admission: $13.95/ages 2 and up

Dress up the little ones in their favorite costumes and join Port Discovery’s annual festival. Enjoy not-so-scary, family friendly programs and performances including science-themed activities, crafts, live entertainment, arts & crafts, and more!

Spooky Science
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: October 29, 12-4pm
Admission: $20.95/adult, $16.95/ages 3-12

Celebrate the chills and thrills of Halloween at the MSC’s 8th annual event, where creepy chemistry and mysterious science combine to provide a hauntingly good time. Spend the afternoon with making gooey, glowing slime, decorating pumpkins, exploring spooky sensory bins, and even watch pumpkins being launched off of the roof!

Pumpin Rock ‘n Roll
Where: Warner Circle Park in Kensington, MD
When: October 29, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Join Headfirst Camps this Halloween for a spooky afternoon of music, games, food, and fun at the first ever Pumpkin Rock N’ Roll! Warner Circle Park will be transformed into a full-blown Halloween extravaganza. Kids can participate in a fun costume contest and parade, and enjoy family-friendly attractions including festival-style musical performances, food trucks, inflatable rides and slides, and a rock wall. Don’t miss the main event: The Pumpkin Roll, a derby race of Halloween pumpkins-turned-boxcars.

Halloween-Themed Storytime
Where: Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supplu
When: October 29, 11am
Admission: Free

Join 826DC at Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company for a scary (but not too scary) storytime. Join for age-appropriate readings of Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” or one of their favorites, “The Hairy Toe,” while you shop for last minute Halloween costumes at the store full of magically fun items. Recommended for ages 6-12.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
When: October 29, 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Halloween at the library! Join staff at MLK Library in the Children’s Room for a spooky scavenger hunt and see what treats await! Costumes are encouraged. Recommended for ages 5-12.

Halloween Fun in Occoquan
Where: Occoquan, VA
When: October 29
Admission: Free

Join the town of Occoquan for a day of Halloween fun! Enjoy life-size Halloween characters found on shop benches, porches, and doorways. Hunt for six Halloween characters pictured on the entry form (available at any participating shop) and be entered into a drawing to win a life-sized Venetian Victorian Halloween figure!

Dia de los Muertos
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: October 29-30
Admission: Free

Join the National Museum of the American Indian for its annual Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”), a celebration originating in Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Central America, to commemorate the lives of the dearly departed and welcome the return of their spirits. Learn and take part in this centuries-old tradition, which includes pre-Hispanic and Spanish customs alike.

Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
When: October 29 & 31, 3:30-6:30pm
Admission: $12/adult, $6/child

Trick-or-treat at Mount Vernon as George Washington’s estate open its gates for Halloween fun and spook-tacular activities. Join a special scavenger hunt, take a wagon ride on the 12-acre field, and create a boo-tiful Halloween craft. Guests can also check out wool carding, spinning, and fish net making in the historic area before greeting “Martha Washington” on the piazza of the Mansion. Historic chocolate-making demos and tastings will take place. Burn off all the extra excitement (and calories!) with 18th-century dancing. A children’s costume parade around the Mansion will begins at 5pm, and prizes will be awarded for most fang-tastic “George” and “Martha” costumes!

Pumpkin Parade Parties
Where: Gymboree of DC
When: October 29 & 31
Admission: $20/non-members, $15/members ($5/sibling)

Dress up and join the Halloween fun at one of two Gymboree parties! Pumpkin activities, seasonal craft projects, music, snacks, dancing, and parades will be part of the festivities. Newborns – 5-year-olds are invited October 29 3:30-5:30pm, and newborns – 2-year-olds can party October 31, 2-3:30pm. Reservations required: Call 202.627.2450 or email Gymboree DC is located at 2639 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 113.

Trick or Treat in the Boo-tiques
Where: Old Town Boutique District in Alexandria
When: October 31, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Bring your little ghosts and goblins to the Old Town Boutique District’s annual event to start their trick-or-treating early. Stop by the dozens of shops, where they’ll be dishing out treats and some maybe some family-friendly tricks. Halloween costumes are encouraged.

Spy Fright
Where: International Spy Museum Store
When: October 31, 2-6pm
Admission: Free

Go deep undercover this Halloween at the Spy Museum where spooks of every kind will be on the prowl. Spend the scariest night of the year at the place where disguises aren’t just for Halloween! Everyone is invited to arrive in disguise in the Spy Museum Store, where acclaimed professional make-up and disguise artist, Roger Riggle, will be on hand to teach the tools-of-the-trade necessary to transform guests in preparation for a night of tricks and treats. Demonstrations are free-of-charge and include quick disguise applications meant to help guests create their own undercover masterpieces.

Halloween Trick or Treating
Where: Fashion Centre at Pentgaon City
When: October 31, 5-7pm
Admission: Free

Pumpkins, superheroes and wizards are invited to showcase this year’s frightfully-festive Halloween ensembles in Pentagon City during mall-wide trick-or-treating on Halloween evening. Spooky characters can find candy treats from participating retailers displaying a sign in the window.

Trick-or-Treating & Photo Ops
Where: Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets
When: October 31, 5-7pm
Admission: Free

It’s not a trick, but there will be treats! Little shoppers are encouraged to participate in the Leesburg Outlets’ mall-wide trick-or-treating event this spooky season for a chance to show off costumes and collect tasty snacks from the center’s participating retailers. And Halloween’s favorite black cat, Jinx, will be strolling through the center, available for photo opportunities!

Day of the Dead Art Workshop
Where: Arlington Arts Center
When: November 4
Admission: $25

Get ready for AAC’s annual Day of the Dead Celebration at these sessions where students can create works of art inspired by the Latin American holiday. There are two classes, one for ages 7-10 and one for ages 11-14.

Fall Festivals
Where: Around the area
When: Through early November
Admission: Varies by locale

Many of the fall festivals around the area incorporate Halloween fun into their offerings. Pick out potential jack-o-lanterns, do Halloween-themed crafts, go on rides, and more. See a list of seasonal celebrations here.

Did I leave out any good ones? Let me know in the comments!

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The Weekend Round-Up: October 1-2

The Kennedy Center, where you can celebrate Hispanic Heritage and join in a BIG HUG

The Kennedy Center, where you can celebrate Hispanic Heritage and join in a BIG HUG

There’s plenty of fun to soak up around the area this weekend! Celebrate Hispanic Heritage with a big hug at the Kennedy Center, get a taste of a couple local neighborhoods, see innovation in progress at a Maker Fair, hit a fall festival, explore the newly renovated East Wing of the National Gallery, play Minecraft or join a LEGO build, enjoy a variety of live entertainment. And when the sun makes an appearance again, there are lots of great ways to soak it up, too. Happy Weekend!

Family Day: Con Las Puertas Abiertas
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the Kennedy Center! The entire Terrace level will be transformed into a fair with activities, performances, and games for all ages — art, coloring, face painting, instrument building, and poetry writing among them. Two interactive murals will welcome kids to create their own art. Foosball tables and soccer goals encourage some “sports” play. And music and dance performances, as well as dance lessons, can be enjoyed throughout the day. The highlight, however, is the THE BIG HUG of the Kennedy Center. All attendees can celebrate unity, friendship, and diversity by joining hands in solidarity and wrapping around the entire building. Batalá Washington will lead the crowd into “el abrazo.”

Fall For Fairfax KidsFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 7pm & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

This annual event includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment, and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. There’s plenty for adults, too, with more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, fun activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee.

More Fall Festing
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Seasonal festivals are in full swing at area farms, in local communities, even a 16th century village in Maryland, and they’re welcoming visitors for all kinds of fun. A fee tasty ones are listed here, and you can get details on all of them in this post about autumn celebrations.

Virginia Tech Maker Festival
Where: Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center
When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Admission: Free

Virginia Tech and 4-H is hosting a full day of fun and science at its annual Maker Festival. The family-friendly event will be chock full of creativity, engineering, and resourcefulness where you can learn to make just about anything — natural dyes, play dough circuits, LED paintbrushes, t-shirts, jewelry, robots, rockets, and more. There will be concessions for sale 11:30am – 2pm. The first 150 kids who check in that day also will receive a free event T-shirt.

LEGO Master Build
Where: Pentagon City LEGO Store
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

In honor of the interactive store’s recent opening, shoppers and LEGO builders are invited to experience the LEGO Store Master Builder Weekend at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City on the Metro Level from Friday, September 30 – Sunday, October 2 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.! All weekend long, shoppers and plastic-brick engineers can look forward to open play, photo opportunities, and prize giveaways as well as an opportunity to play and create alongside LEGO Store Master Builders! As an added bonus, each child who completes a brick for the Master Build will receive a voucher to redeem at the LEGO Store and a personalized Certificate of Achievement.

Taste of Georgetown
Where: K Street NW, Wisconsin to Thomas Jefferson
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but pay per taste

In its 23rd year, the Taste of Georgetown will showcase the spectacular cuisine of over 30 of the neighborhood’s premier restaurants, highlighting Georgetown’s culinary personalities and featuring more than 60 delectable dishes to sample, as well as wine pairings. Bring young foodies for free activities including face painting, balloon art, and more fun for kids of all ages. Tasting tickets can be purchased online or at the event.

Taste of Bethesda
Where: Woodmont Triangle
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but you pay for food samples

According to some stats, Bethesda has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S. Accurate or not, DC’s suburban neighbor definitely has a food scene worth celebrating. The 27th year of Bethesda’s famous food and music festival will bring 60 restaurants and five stages of entertainment to the downtown’s Woodmont Triangle. Along with delicious food samples and live entertainment, there will be a kid’s corner for face painting, arts & crafts, and more fun for young ones. Admission is free, and taste tickets are sold on-site in bundles of four tickets for $5. Food servings cost one to four tickets. Ticket sales end at 3:30pm.

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

* Find Knuffle Bunny at Adventure Theatre
* Reserve your free tickets for Andres 123, this weeks Saturday Morning at the National performance
* See (and smell?) Flowers Stink, a collaboration between the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Kennedy Center
* Watch Rapunzel let down her hair as The Puppet Co. presents the marionette version of the classic fairytale.
* Catch the Shakepeare Theatre Company’s fantastic production of Romeo & Juliet (recommended for older children or make it a date night)
* Andi Roo and the Andirooniverse is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java
* See Tap Kids perform at Alden Theatre
* The Olney Theatre presents The Diary of Anne Frank
* The Little Foxes is coming to the Arena Stage (recommended for teens and up)
* Enjoy the body percussion, dance, spoken word, blend of The Migraton from Step Afrika

Super Gaming League: Minecraft
Where: iPic Pike & Rose
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: $20

Children can experience Minecraft in the most exciting way possible: In a movie theater! While gaming on the big screen, players will engage in a variety of games that reinforce STEM educational concepts, encourage creativity, and promote team building and sociability. Bonus: Every participant receives a free Super League T-shirt! Use code KIDFRIENDLY to get a 25% discount, and try to win a ticket through the latest KFDC giveaway.

Crafty Yogis
Where: Room & Board
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Join Room & Board 14th Street and celebrate the fall with your family at their second kids’ yoga morning. Instructor Sean Fraser returns to help budding yogis find their inner Zen while teaching children how to communicate, be healthy,Y and relieve stress. Yoga sessions are first come, first serve with a signup on-site. Mats are provided. In between yoga sessions, kids of all ages can craft and participate in hands-on activities. Enjoy sips and snacks and be inspired to create an imaginative space for children using American-made furnishings.

Rock Creek Park Day
Where: Georgetown Waterfront Park
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

To celebrate it’s 126th birthday, Rock Creek Park is throwing us (as in, the public) a party! Join the celebration and head down to the Georgetown Waterfront, where they’ll be hosting free events all day, from ranger led programs to photo-walks, all of them celebrating Rock Creek Park as well as the NPS Centennial. And it’ll all be set up right next to the Taste of Georgetown, so you can sample some tasty bites while you explore nature!

Art on the Avenue
Where: Mount Vernon Ave in Del Ray
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

It’s a showcase of multicultural arts at Alexandria’s Del Ray community festival. Over 300 artists – jewelers, woodworkers, pottery makers, soap crafters, glass makers, painters, sculptors, fabric artists, and musicians – will have their work on display and for sale. And kids’ activities have always been a big part of the festival — scarecrow stuffing, pumpkin painting, lotus flower design, screen art weaving are just some of the crafts to enjoy. Food vendors will also be there offering hot dogs, BBQ, Indian fare, crab cakes, chocolate bananas dipped on a stick, and home made cider donuts.

Grand Opening Celebration
Where: Bright Horizons Reston
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Bright Horizons recently opened its early education center at Commerce Metro Center in Reston, and they are hosting a party to celebrate the launch! On Saturday, parents and children are invited to enjoy all kinds of family fun and get a first look at the new location. Festivities will include carnival style activities, games and prizes, a ribbon cutting ceremony. Plan to get there early — the first 12 families to arrive at the event will receive a complimentary mini photography session with professional photographer, Robert Holley!

Glover Park & Burleth Farmers Market
Where: Hardy Middle School
When: Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Bring the whole family to your local farmers market to taste test fall favorites, like heirloom varieties of apples and all-natural goat cheeses, while listening to live music by the upbeat guitarist, Jerry Hergenreder. The market’s kid-friendly clown, Chubbzy, will be offering facepaint, balloon animals and plenty of jokes! Plus, adults can enjoy free yoga from 110-11am. Prepare for your family’s fall bike rides by getting your bikes repaired through DC Vintage Cycles. Pop ups this Saturday include home-made dog treats by Three Puppies, and Zivaara, a local artisan chocolatier! Hardy Middle School is located at 1819 35th Street NW, across from Safeway.

Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15-35

The theatre world’s version of Restaurant week celebrates the fun of going to the theatre by offering patrons tickets for less. Through October 2, you can see any of the participating shows for $15-35, giving you some kind of discount on the regular price — and several of this week’s Show Time recommendations (see above) are among them!

Trike & Bike Health Fair
Where: Patuxent Community Center
When: Saturday, 11am – 1p
Admission: $25

The National Harbor Chapter of Jack & Jill of America presents this event for kids ages 2-9. Bring your bike, trike, wagon, big-wheel, or other ride-on (don’t forget your helmet) and have fun navigating an obstacle course. Zumba, a children’s book author, fire saftey demo, health & wellness activities, and a raffle will also be part of day’s fun.

Where: Adams Morgan
When: Saturday, 2-6pm
Admission: Free

Get the best seats in the house (or on the sidewalk) as the front porches of homes and a few local businesses are transformed into intimate performance spaces to be enjoyed by anyone who happens to stroll by. Part of Cultural Tourism DC’s Art4All festival, the Adams Morgan PorchFest creates a family-friendly, neighborhood-based alternative to the nightclub music scene. Enjoy a variety of music styles from 36 musicians and/or bands playing at a dozen homes and businesses in the area. Music maps will be available at PorchFest headquarters at 18th Street and Columbia Road NW and on the PorchFest Facebook page.

Back, East
Where: National Gallery of Art
When:Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

After being closed for long term renovations, the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art is reopening! Stop in to see the additional 12,250 square feet of new exhibition space, including two soaring tower galleries and a rooftop terrace overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue. More room to showcase the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary art!

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

It’s the final series of the regular season this weekend for the National League East the #1 team. Catch a them as they host the Marlins tonight (7:05pm), and tomorrow (4:05pm), and Sunday (3:05). Stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases, and check these KFDC tips for doing a Nats game without breaking the bank.

Where: The Pavilion of Turkey Run
When: Saturday, 6-9pm
Admission: $35/adult, $12/ages 6-12, free for under 6

Claude Moore Colonial Farm is celebrating 43 years of operation, and the public is invited to join in the occasion! One of the only privately operated and funded National Park in the U.S., the locale providing an 18th-century experience has welcomed over two million visitors over the years. And they recently signed an agreement with the NPS to continue their work. Help them celebrate with a Bavarian Feast, live entertainment , and dancing at Turkey Run!

Cardboard Day of Play
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Gardens
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/child

Enjoy an afternoon of imaginative play as Annmarie Scupture Garden participates in the Global Cardboard Challenge. The Main Gallery of the Arts Building will be transformed into a cardboard wonderland as families build, create, and play their way through awesome amusements, art activities, cardboard construction, creative play, and tons of tinkering. Stop by one of several art stations to create your own cardboard masterpiece. Visit Cardboard City, the Cardboard Farm, or let little engineers build and tinker in the cardboard construction zone! Go ahead of the event for even more artistic delights at Annmarie.

Takoma Park Street Festival
Where: Carroll Avenue to Carroll Street
When: Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The streets of Takoma Park will be filled with music, artisans, community groups, children’s activities, food vendors and a variety of green companies at the city’s 34th annual festival. Start your holiday shopping — vendors will be selling all kinds of artistic wares. Festivities for kids include crafts, face painting, inflatables, and FUN! And music lovers will enjoy three stages hosting 19 popular local bands playing everything indie folk, rock, blues, country, reggae and everything in between.

Navy Mile
Where: Navy Memorial Plaza, Pennsylvania Ave.
When: Sunday, 8am
Admission: $10-40 to run

Modeled after the famous Fifth Avenue Mile in New York City, the Navy Mile is designed for all ages and abilities, from serious mile athletes and Wounded Warriors to casual runners and even non-runners. The run is only half the fun; it will be accompanied on the Navy Memorial Plaza by an Expo featuring a full slate of activities, like a push-up challenge, Teddy from the Racing Presidents, performances by the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers and the Navy Ceremonial Guard. It’s all family-friendly and open to everyone!

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Several Fairfax parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Help feed animals at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Explore the wild side of Huntley Meadows on a wagon ride. Go on a pirate treasure hunt at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Details and registration for these and more activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Forced From Home Exhibit
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: Through October 9
Admission: Free

Doctors Without Borders, the International medical humanitarian organization, will launch its free, interactive exhibit on the global refugee crisis in front of the Washington Monument this week. “Forced From Home,” aims to put a face on the ongoing global refugee crisis by explaining various migration journeys, showcasing the conditions in which refugees live, and offering first-hand accounts from aid workers working in MSF migration projects around the world.

Inside (or) Out
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Great Indoors
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Date Night, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Shop, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: September 24-25

Celebrate the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Freedom Sounds Festival

Celebrate the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Freedom Sounds Festival

I would call this a big weekend for DC, as we welcome a new museum to the National Mall, host one of the most anticipated annual festivals for book lovers, celebrate the city’s theatre scene, and kick off the official start of fall with a bevy of seasonal fun. But big things always happen here, so it’s really just another (awesome) weekend in Washington. The great variety of fantastic, enriching events in this round-up is proof. Happy Weekend!

Freedom Sounds Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens this weekend, and while you can’t yet visit if you don’t have tickets, you can celebrate the Smithsonian’s newest addition at a big festival right outside the museum. There will be all kinds of festivities throughout the days — music and dance performances, storytelling, art activities, a drum circle, concessions, and more — and the official dedication ceremony will be on Saturday at 10am. Want some evening entertainment? There will be concerts both Friday and Saturday from 6-9pm. The Roots, Public Enemy, and Living Colour are among the performers.

National Book Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 10pm
Admission: Free

Bookworms, take note! One of DC’s biggest annual events is on Saturday. The Library of Congress National Book Festival will feature more than 120 authors, poets, and illustrators from every literary genre. Even better, they will all be there presenting book readings, talks, Q&A’s, book signings, and more. These will take place along with lots of other reading-related activities for all ages. For an idea of what to expect, see this post about one of our past experiences there.

Take the Fall
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Autumn has arrived, and there are tons of ways to celebrate the season, from city streets to country farms. The annual Barracks Row Fall Festival is back on 8th Street SE on Saturday. Ren Fest gets medieval every weekend through October. Cox, Great Country, Montpelier, Clark’s Elioak, and many more farms around the area are welcoming visitors for all kinds of autumn-inspired fun. Get details on all of these events in KFDC guide to Fall Festivals.

Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Mill Street in Occoquan, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Plan for a day of family fun as the streets of Occoquan come to life with beautiful art, live music, and great food! For the 47th year, the historic town will close its streets and host over 300 contemporary and country crafters and artisans from across the US. Find one-of-a-kind, hand crafted items galore. Located just 20 minutes south of Washington DC, but far from the hustle and bustle of a big city, exhibitors and shoppers alike will enjoy the small town oasis nestled along the Occoquan River.

Volunteer for Public Lands
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
When: Saturday, 9am
Admission: Free

Celebrate and serve with Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on National Public Lands Day. Volunteer for the morning to help remove cut lotus from the ponds, clear invasive species from the forest, pick up litter, and complete other tasks around the park. After, stay for a free lunch in the picnic area. Individuals, groups, families, friends welcome — there is something for everyone! SSL credit can be earned. Sign up online here. And if you can’t make it this weekend, you can sign up for October 22 or November 12.

Museum Day Live
Where: Various museums
When: Saturday
Admission: FREE

There are some museums in the DC area that actually charge admission. But on Saturday, Smithsonian Magazine is hosting its annual Museum Day Live!, when those that require us to open our wallets to visit are free. Take advantage at the Newseum, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Koshland Science Museum, National Building Museum, Kreeger Museum, Dumbarton Oaks, and many more fantastic museums in the area. You do have to register and bring a ticket (that is good for admission for two people), but it’s all complimentary!

Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15-35

The theatre world’s version of Restaurant week celebrates the fun of going to the theatre by offering patrons tickets for less. Through October 2, you can see any of the participating shows for $15-35, giving you some kind of discount on the regular price — and several of this week’s Show Time recommendations (see below) are among them!

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

* It’s opening weekend for Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale at Adventure Theatre
* See (and smell?) Flowers Stink, a collaboration between the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Kennedy Center
* Watch Rapunzel let down her hair as The Puppet Co. presents the marionette version of the classic fairytale.
* And Teddy Bear’s Picnic is the featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theatre
* Catch the Shakepeare Theatre Company’s fantastic production of Romeo & Juliet (recommended for older children or make it a date night)
* Jungle Gym Jam & Friends featuring Marsha Goodman-Wood are playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java
* The Olney Theatre presents The Diary of Anne Frank
* The Little Foxes is coming to the Arena Stage (recommended for teens and up)
* Enjoy Pinkalicous the Musical at BlackRock Center for the Arts

Shop Local & Support a School
Where: Maury Elementary School
When: Saturday, 9am – 2pm
Admission: Free, but be ready to spend on awesome finds!

Bargain hunters take note: This is one Yard Sale you don’t want to miss — it’s always huge and excellent. Clothes, toys, bikes, books, baby gear, housewares, furniture, and much more fantastic stuff will be on sale for super cheap. Even better, all proceeds help support a DC public school. Maury Elementary is located at 1250 Constitution Ave. NE.

Teddy Bear Clinic
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Bring your favorite stuffed friend and explore the Teddy Bear Clinic with activities and crafts designed to highlight the body, physical fitness, and healthy habits. This program is recommended for children in PreK-2nd grade.

Fancy This
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2

It’s your last chance to walk amid the garden of butterflies at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit. The display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight! Read about a KFDC experience at the exhibit. Plan to tour the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds while you’re there and see if there are any other special kids’ programs to enjoy.

STEM Magic | Core Concept: OSIRIS-REx
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 program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. During this session, learn about NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to land on an asteroid, take a sample, and bring it back home, then design your own sampling device!

Opera in the Outfield
Where: Nationals Park
When: Saturday, 5pm
Admission: Free

How about opera where there’s usually baseball? The Washington National Opera presents Opera in the Outfield for the 8th year with a simulcast performance of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro on Saturday evening. The show starts at 7pm, but gates open at 5pm for “pregame” activities for the entire family, including a costume dress-up station, fun photo ops, arts & crafts, face painting, chances to win prizes, and more. Get there early for a seat on the field, otherwise there will be plenty of seating in the stands.

Veg Out
Where: Yards Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Bring the kids to the largest celebration of vegetarian and vegan living in the area. Now in its 9th year, DC VegFest is a full day of delicious vegetarian and vegan cuisine, cooking demos, music, and more. A Kid’s Area will feature entertainment by Teatro de la Luna and Norm Hogeland, storytelling, an Ask-A-Vegan Parent Panel, kid-friendly cooking demos, and a child nutritionist. Attendees will enjoy free food samples along with tasty vegan cuisine from food vendors.

Leesburg Airshow
Where: Leesburg Executive Airport
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

The 7th annual Leesburg Airshow will take to the skies with thrilling aerobatic demonstrations, sky divers, and more! Witness a showcase of impressive aircraft, classic cars, and a variety of exhibitors on the tarmac, food vendors, flight schools, and aviation clubs among them. Go here for directions and parking instructions.

Yoga on the Mall
Where: National Mall Sylvan Theatre
When: Sunday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Yogis of all ages are welcome to get on the mat for downward dogs and tree poses on the National Mall. Well known instructors will be leading a variety of classes, including meditation, a family fun session, and an acro-yoga demo. While admission is free, you should RSVP.

Then & Wow!
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

This family festival is the Glen Echo Park Partnership’s annual celebration of the Park’s revitalization and recalling of its history. The event features kiddie rides and arcade games, as well as videos and an exhibition on the Park’s past. Take a ride on the historic Dentzel Carousel, get little faces painted, see vintage cars, and be wowed magic shows, too. Admission to the park is free, but rides and some activities require tickets.

Turkish Festival
Where: Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 12th-14th St.
When: Sunday, 11am – 7pm
Admission: Free

You’ll be whirling like a dervish from all there is to enjoy at the Annual Turkish Festival on Sunday. Watch Turkish dance and stage performances, enjoy a Turkish coffee and tea and have and find out your destiny from the ever-popular Turkish fortune-tellers who read fortunes from coffee grinds, and sample Turkish cuisine from local restaurants. Shop an authentic Turkish bazaar featuring 25 vendors showcasing everything from Turkish jewelry to clothing to home accessories. And a “Kid’s Tent” will provide an interactive introduction to Turkey with hands-on activities for children of all ages.

Curse of the Boggin Book Reading
Where: Barnes & Noble Tysons
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Bring young readers to Barnes & Noble in Tysons Corner Center for a reading by acclaimed children’s author D.J. MacHake. He will read and sign copies of his newest book The Curse of the Boggin, the first in The Library Series about a mysterious library between dimensions and the incredible adventures of 13-year-old Marcus O’Mara and his friends. Mr. MacHale has also written several popular series including Pendragon, Morpheus Road and The SYLO Chronicles. Recommended for ages 8-12.

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

If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Great Indoors
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

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