Category Archives: Educational

The Weekend Round-Up: November 25-27

See model trains zip around National Parks and Historic Sites at the U.S. Botanic Garden

See model trains zip around National Parks and Historic Sites at the U.S. Botanic Garden



Tiny Prints - Black Friday Sale


Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! With the big feast behind you, it’s time to get out and take advantage of the long weekend. Embrace the holiday spirit at a seasonal event. Keep the brood entertained at a theatre — there are several live shows on local stages. Enjoy extended hours at the museums. Enjoy an outdoor adventure. Or find a place to hang in the great indoors. I, for one, am thankful for all these great options the DC-Metro has to offer. Happy Weekend!

#OptOutside
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission:Varies by Locale

Take a cue from REI and get outside! You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for adventures in the fresh air. Bundle up and take a hike, hit a playground, explore a garden, visit animals, or see what else there is to do al fresco in this post with tons of ideas for outdoor fun.

Post-Thanksgiving Puppets
Where: Library of Congress
When: Friday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join the Library of Congress to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter at their annual day-after-Thanksgiving Puppet Show. The 40-minute performance will be an original production based on three of her famous stories, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” “The Tale of Benjamin Bunny,” and “the Tailor of Gloucester.” Showtimes are at 10:30am and 1:30pm with puppet-making crafts all day. This will take place in the Young Readers Center Room G-29.

Nights at the Museums
Where: American History and Air & Space Museums
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free

If you’re making the rounds at the museums on the National Mall, save Natural History, American History, and Air & Space for last. The three Smithsonian favorites will have extended hours this weekend, open until 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday. (And FYI: The American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Penn Quarter are always open until 7pm.)

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

Easily one of DC’s most popular holiday attractions, Season’s Greenings is an annual delight for all ages. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials, and the West Gallery boasts one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s National Parks and Historic Places-themed exhibit is a gorgeous as it is impressive. Get a better idea and a glimpse of what to expect in this post and this one about some of our past Season’s Greenings experiences.

Northwest Coast Dance Celebration
Where: National Museum of American Indian
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free

Performances at the at the NMAI are always festive and engaging, and this one is sure to follow suit. Experience a dance celebration with internationally renowned West Coast First Nations mask-dancing group Git Hayetsk (People of the Copper Shield) from Vancouver B.C. and the award-winning multi-generational Tsimshian dancers Lepquinm Gumilgit Gagoadim (Our Own Dance in Our Hearts) from Southeast Alaska. The program will include humor and theatrical dance to teach about Indigenous lifeways of the Northwest Coast.

CANstruction
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Check out sculptures built entirely with cans of food! The works are the results of a creativedesign-build competition that benefits the Capital Area Food Bank. Teams from architecture and design firms from Washington, DC used their skills to construct the sculptures, which are on display for all to view through the weekend. After the de-canstruction, the nutritious shelf-stable food will be donated to for distribution to those in need after the event.

Must-See Modern Art
Where: Hirshhorn Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit at the Hirshhorn is a must-see for modern art fans. The mix of performance art, video installations, paintings, dioramas, and more inspired works is intriguing and moving and unlike anything I’ve seen before. Kids will be just as captivated as adults (though if that’s not the case for you, there’s always the carousel right outside on the Mall).

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Gaylord National Resort’s annual holiday extravaganza has festivities galore that capture the spirit of the season. And the best part is that there are activities for all ages at varying price points (even free!), from dancing fountains and indoor snowfalls to a tour of amazing “Christmas Around the World”-themed ice sculptures.

Light Up Old Town
Where: Market Square in Old Town Alexandria
When: Friday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Alexandria’s official start to the holiday season in Old Town’s Market Square this evening. Along with the tree lighting, entertainment will include a visit from Santa, musical performances, plus caroling and a community sing-a-long.

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

This weekend is the start of even more big holiday events around DC and the continuation of others. If you hope to hit ‘em all during the season, you should get going now. For the complete rundown on all the area’s holiday happenings, see the 2016 KFDC Holiday Guide.

A Spin on the Carousel
Where: Arena Stage
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets start at $64

The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel, recently opened at Arena Stage, and it is wonderful! Owen and I saw the musical last week, and we were both completely captivated and moved by the show. Brilliant performances by the talented cast, a simple yet beautiful theatre-in-the-round-setting, and a story that is emotional and hopeful make for a an excellent theatre experience. I recommend it for ages 10 and up, or make it a date night.

The Secret Garden
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets start at $44

Shakespeare Theatre Company brings the beloved children’s story to life on stage in a beautiful, enchanting production. When orphaned, 10-year-old Mary Lennox moves to England to stay with her uncle, she seeks refuge in her late aunt’s mysterious walled garden and discovers amazing secrets. It’s a show that kids and adults can enjoy, though the long running time (2.5 hours with intermission) and serious tone could make some some children antsy.

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

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

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Strets, NW
When: Through December 23, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

This, to me, is the holiday market in DC. It’s not even so much about the merchandise for sale (though there’s always a great variety of gift items — I never leave empty handed). There’s something about the usually bustling block in the middle of Penn Quarter transforming into an open air market for a few weeks that is so charming and kind of magical, making our big city feel like a small town. A bonus is the free live entertainment along with treats and coffee drinks available for purchase. And after you’ve done your shopping and enjoyed a snack and music, you can pop into the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum that are literally right next to the market.

Night Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks or gardens (or the Zoo!) in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate — it doesn’t get much cozier than that

Winter Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farms
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $9.95/person, free for children under 2

The annual festival includes hayrides to the white pine fields with access to all of the farm attractions — swings, forts, slides, tunnels, and more. Fire pits are inviting to keep you warm and make some s’mores or roast hot dogs. Cut down your Christmas tree while you’re there or buy one from the lot. Read more about the Festival in this post about one of our experiences there.

Kids Day at Bobby McKeys
Where: Bobby McKeys at National Harbor
When: Saturday, 1pm
Admission: Starts at $18

The whole family can enjoy an afternoon of fun at one of Bobby McKey’s dueling piano shows. It’s two hours of all-request live music paired with a lunch buffet, that’s sure to make everyone happy. And this is a performance where kids are encouraged to wiggle in their seats and dance in the aisles!

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

If you’d prefer to spend the day indoors, or just want more options for activities around town, this post list more than 80 suggestions for things to do.


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Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 21-25

The playground at The Beauvoir School will be a great place to #OptOutside this Friday

The playground at The Beauvoir School will be a great place to #OptOutside this Friday



Monday – Let little ones burn some energy during an open gym session at Sport Bounce of Loundon, where a massive roomful of giant inflatables is a blast for kids. Open gym time is 10-11:30am on Mondays, and admission is $10/ages 2 and up, $6/18-23 months. And while open gym occurs every weekday, the time varies, so be sure to check the schedule if you go a different day.

Tuesday – Go over the rainbow and beyond at Watkins Regional Park. The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will keep kids frolicking for hours. While you’re there, stop by Old Maryland Farm to visit the animals and the Watkins Nature Center to view some cool creatures and birds. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 10am – 5:30pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Head to the National Museum of American History for opening day of Muppets & Puppets, a showcase of Muppets and marionetts from the museum’s collection illustrating the evolution of puppetry. Included in the display will be an Italian Prince and Princess marionette from 1900, an elf marrionette used at the 1963 World’s Fair, the first Kermit Jim Henson created for the television program, “Sam & Friends,” and two popular Muppets, Fozzie Bear, and Swedish Chef. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Thursday – Enjoy some pre- or post feast fun — find a bunch of ideas here for activities on the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday – Take a cue from REI and #OptOutside on Black Friday. The compilation of The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids easily has you covered on this one.


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Where to Play on Thanksgiving Day

Hang out at Hains Point for playground fun -- and great riverside views

Hang out at Hains Point for playground fun — and great riverside views



How about a side of recreation to go with your Thanksgiving turkey? If you’re going to be in town for the holiday and looking for pre- or post-feast activities, here are some ways to complement the main event of the day. Happy Thanksgiving!

*Visit a Smithsonian museum or the National Zoo. They are all open on Thanksgiving from 10am – 5:30pm, except for the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery which are open 11:30am – 7pm. The National Gallery of Art (which is not part of the Smithsonian, just a neighbor on the Mall) is open, too, from 10am – 5pm.

*Experience Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden on opening day! Get an idea of what to expect in this post from a past visit to the annual holiday exhibit.

*Spend Thanksgiving morning with The Great Zucchini at Jammin’ Java. Showtime is 10:30am, general admission is $5.

*Hang out at a playground. Hains Point, Clemyjontri, Cabin John Regional Park, Wheaton Regional Park, plus loads of DC Parks and Rec locations, and many more in NoVa and Maryland are great places to play while you’re waiting for the feast.

*Get gliding and enjoy some active fun. You can skate under the sky at one of several ice rinks in the area that are open on the holiday. Find info for them here.

*Enjoy a holiday hike. Rock Creek, Great Falls, Roosevelt Island, Huntley Meadows, Prince William Forest, and Turkey Run are all great parks for family tramping. This post has details on all of them along with even more recs for local walks in the woods.

*Go bowling. Pinstripes in Georgetown hosts Kids Bowling from 10am – 12pm, when ages 12 and under bowl for just $3 (plus $3 shoe rental). You can also hit the lanes at Lucky Strike in Penn Quarter, Bowlmor in Bethesda or Rockville, or Bowl America in several NoVa locations.

*Get into the holiday spirit at Christmas on the Potomac, the Gaylord National Resort’s spectacular seasonal attraction.

*Dance off the turkey dinner at the Kennedy Center. The evening’s free Millennium Stage performance features their annual Thanksgiving Day Swing Dance Party with music by the Phat Cat Swingers and swing lessons by Jean Veloz. The dancing and show is 7-9pm, but lessons start at 6p.

*Take an evening drive or stroll through a holiday light display — several in the area have started dazzling visitors with twinkling designs.


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The Weekend Round-Up: November 19-20

Holiday fun is starting at Christmas on the Potomac

Holiday fun is starting at Christmas on the Potomac





Get into the holiday spirit, rock it at a gem and fossil show, go ice skating, get outdoors, enjoy a stage production… these are just some of the ways you can enjoy the weekend with the kids. And for even more ideas, check out the huge list of Everyday Play. Happy Weekend!

Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade
Where: Silver Plaza, Downtown Silver Spring
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Turkey Day celebrations are starting early in Downtown Silver Spring. The line-up of over 100 parade units features a giant inflatable turkey, penguin and dinosaur; colorful dancing groups; glittering floats; marching bands; clowns; performing animals; and, of course, an appearance from Santa at the end. Don’t miss a fun family photo op: Right next to the ice rink, you can take a pic with a Frozen inflatable Elsa, a 10-foot tall turkey, or with Hanukkah or Christmas décor.

A Gem of an Event
Where: George Mason University
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6/adult, $3/ages 13-17, free for 12 and under

Kids (and adults!) who like fossils, rocks, and/or gems are in for a treat. Northern Virginia’s 25th Annual Mineral, Gem, & Fossil show will have all that and then some. More than 20 dealers will be selling collectibles, plus there will be demonstrations, exhibits, door prizes & kids activities, including mini-mines and a fossil dig.

The Enchanted Forest
Where: Westin Tysons Corner
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: $15 (some activities are extra)

The Junior League of Northern Virginia’s annual holiday event returns. Stroll through the whimsical forest of theme decorated trees available for silent auction, while enjoying live entertainment, hands on cooking demonstrations, Kids in the Holiday Kitchen activities, a visit from Santa, a model train display by Capital Trackers, kids crafts, gifts for purchase, premium events for adults and kids, and much more. Proceeds benefit the JLNV’s community initiatives through the Kids in the Kitchen programming.

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Gaylord National Resort’s annual holiday extravaganza has festivities galore that capture the spirit of the season. And the best part is that there are activities for all ages at varying price points (even free!), from dancing fountains and indoor snowfalls to a tour of Christmas Around the World-themed ice sculptures. Get an idea of what to expect from this post about our experience there last year.

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

Shows and special events that embrace — and emit — the holiday spirit are beginning around the area. Attend a tree lighting, start your holiday shopping, stroll through Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, visit Santa’s HQ at Tyson’s, catch A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre, and much more. The 2016 KFDC Guide to the Best of the Holidays in DC has ALL you need to help make the season bright.

A Spin on the Carousel
Where: Arena Stage
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets start at $64

The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel, recently opened at Arena Stage, and it is wonderful! Owen and I saw the musical last week, and we were both completely captivated and moved by the show. Beautiful performances by the talented cast, a simple yet lovely theatre-in-the-round-setting, and a story that is emotional and hopeful make for a an excellent theatre experience. I recommend it for ages 10 and up (or a date night). Watch the stars perform on local news here.

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

* Reserve free tickets for Rainbow Puppets’ The Really Big Dinosaur Show this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance
*Get in on The Secret Garden presented by Shakespeare Theatre Company at Sydney Harman Hall
* Disney’s Beauty and the Beast opens at Imagination Stage on Saturday
* And little ones will love Aquarium at the Bethesda Theatre
* See Where Words Once Were is at the Kennedy Center (look for discount tickets)
* The Olney Theatre presents Mary Poppins
* Catch a one-time performance of Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters-An African Tale at Alden Theatre
* Mark Jaster: Piccolo’s Trunk is a mime show that will delight children
* You’ll want some more of Oliver Twist at Creative Cauldron
* Enjoy a celebration of religious unity through the arts at the 37th Annual Interfaith Concert on Sunday

Skaters Gonna Skate
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

Glide the day away as several area outdoor ice rinks start welcoming skaters for the season. Meander your way around Canal Park Ice Rink. Skate in Georgetown at the Washington Harbour. Do some shopping and snacking along with your skating at Pentagon Row in Arlington. Practice your axles and triple lutzes at Reston Town Center. Or get started on holidays gifts after a skating session at Tysons Corner Ice Rink. This post published last year has been updated to reflect this season’s skating details.

Go Whole Hog!
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $3/adults, $2/ages 3-12

With the first cold weeks of late fall comes the traditional season of preserving meats for the coming year. Join the Claude Moore Farm Family as they utilize historic methods for curing, salting, and smoking the mainstay of their diet — pork. You can also take part in helping with other farm tasks that involve the use of hog byproducts, such as rendering lard, dipping candles, and making soap. An educational and fun activity for families and small groups!

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

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

CityJews PopUp: Havdalah

Where: Stead Park
When: Saturday, November 19, 4:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

Celebrate the end of Shabbat with an outdoor, sensory Havdalah experience with PJ Library and our partners. Together you’ll play, snack, read, do crafts, and enjoy a delightful Havdalah ceremony to welcome the new week. This free program is particularly good for interfaith families. Stead Park is located at 1625 P Street NW.

Tykesgiving
Where: Blue Duck Tavern
When: Sunday, 5:30pm
Admission: $150/child & adult

The successful fine dining club for parents and pipsqueaks, Nibble+squeak, will be hosting its first annual DC “Tykesgiving” event at newly Michelin starred Blue Duck Tavern on Sunday, November 20th. The special pre-Thanksgiving dinner will take over the restaurant’s esteemed Chef’s Table just for infants, toddlers, children and their extended families. Ticket price includes the three-course meal for both adult and child, kid beverages, adult beverages (up to 2 glasses of wine!), gratuity, and tax.

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

It’s might be cooling down a bit, but the weather should still be superb, so take advantage with some time on the trail. Peep the last of autumn leaves, 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.

To Market, To Market
Where: Eastern Market
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Whether you want to get your holiday shopping started or just browse around and enjoy the nice vibe, this outdoor flea market on Capitol Hill, is a great place to hang on the weekend. Vendors sell everything from original artwork to fun T-shirts, handmade jewelry to funky accessories, home décor to furniture – and much, much more. Buy fresh produce from farmers’ stalls outside and butchered meats, fancy cheeses, baked goods, pasta, fresh produce, and more inside the actual Eastern Market. Even more, there is often live music courtesy of buskers around the area, and if the kids want some play time afterwards, you can hit one of several parks or playgrounds in the neighborhood (Lincoln Park, at 11th and East Capitol, is the largest and most popular among them).


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Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 14-18

Owen & FDR

Owen & FDR



Monday – Wake up really early to see the supermoon!

Later on, indulge in an unseasonal activity: Swimming! Wilson Aquatic Center in NW is popular, and Deanwood in NE even has a slide. In Maryland, Rollingcrest in PG County has a special preschool area, and there are several indoor aquatic facilities in Montgomery County. In Northern Virginia, Arlington County has a few indoor public pools, and there’s one in Alexandria, too. Be sure to check schedules for open swim times at all of them, and I recommend calling ahead to confirm there are no random closings.

Tuesday – Visit one of DC’s most tried and true for kids: The National Museum of Natural History. With exhibits to indulge all kinds of interests, you really can’t go wrong. Gawk at the beasts in the Hall of Mammals, hold live creatures in the Insect Zoo, learn about early humans and see what you’d look like as a Neanderthal, catch an IMAX film, and be sure to take advantage of FREE entry on Tuesdays to the Butterfly Pavilion! (Tip: Get tickets when you arrive, since entry is timed, and yours may not begin right away.). Admission to the museum is free, but films are $9/adult, $7.50/child. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm.

Wednesday – Let the kids burn some energy at Dynamite Gymnastics Center in Rockville. Tumbling mats, trampolines, the jungle crawl (a huge tunnel to run through), and more equipment will keep them active during Open Gym time. Sessions take place 12-12:50pm and 2-2:50pm. Admission is $8/child, $12/participating adults.

For some evening entertainment, head to The Hamilton for a family-friendly old fashioned style country & western concert. Riders in the Sky will combine music and comedy in their all-ages show. Doors open at 6:30pm, show begins at 7:30pm. Tickets start at $17.

Thursday – Get a dose of nature in an unexpected place at Winkler Botanical Preserve. Located just off 395 and Seminary Road in Alexandria, the park is a nice outdoor surprise in an area full of office complexes and strip malls. Hours are 8:30am – 4pm, and admission is free.

Friday – Take a stroll around the Tidal Basin and visit some of DC’s memorials — Martin Luther King, Jr., Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson are all honored there. Visitors are welcome 24 hours a day, and park rangers are on hand to answer questions from 9:30am – 10pm. Admission is free.


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