Category Archives: Festival

The Weekend Round-Up: March 17-19

All eyes on the Tidal Basin... come on, cherry blossoms!

All eyes on the Tidal Basin… come on, cherry blossoms!



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There might be some questions about the fate of the cherry blossoms — will they or won’t they bloom? — but when it comes to cool pursuits around DC, there’s never any doubt, and this weekend is no exception. See basketball action that brings more laughs than madness, go green at an environmental film fest, celebrate Women’s History Month at a special museum program, let older kids have their day in “court,” shop a wacky and wonderful museum sale, take in some live entertainment, enjoy activities at local parks, have some KidFree fun, and wind it all down Sunday evening at an anniversary bash for a DC institution. Details on these and many more area happenings are all right here. Happy Weekend!

Cherry Blossom Festivities
Where: Tidal Basin
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

How our famous flowers fare after the recent blast of winter remains to be seen, but the National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off this weekend regardless. Tickets are long gone for the Opening Ceremony event, but there will be a variety of performances at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Hopefully, there will be pretty blooms to enjoy along with them. And for tips on viewing the cherry blossoms, be sure to check out this KFDC post.

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Verizon Center & Eagle Bank Arena
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $25 and up

The Ambassadors of Goodwill are bringing their A-game — an exciting combo of basketball, entertainment, and comedy — to the DC area with three shows, at the Patriot Center Friday evening, then two at the Verizon Center on Saturday, and back at the Patriot Center on Sunday. Tickets are still available for all of them.

Women’s History Month Family Day
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Explore the various roles women had at the Post Office throughout its long history. Watch a historic printing press demonstrations, play the “Dead Letter Office” game and learn about the first female Post Master, Mary Katherine Goddard. Meet a female Postal Inspector and learn about her exciting job “Behind the Badge.” Enjoy story time and scavenger hunt and take home an NPM airplane as a souvenir! “Amelia Earhart” will make several appearances and engage visitors by speaking about her love of stamps and her airborne adventures.

Refuge System Birthday Bash
Where: National Wildlife Visitors Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the work of 566 wildlife refuges across the US and its territories at the annual Refuge System Birthday Bash. This year’s theme is Awareness & Action, and the Refuge will be sharing ways to help wildlife through crafts, games, educational activities, and Environmental Film Festival. The National Wildlife Visitor Center is located at 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop in Laurel, MD.

White Elephant Barn Sale
Where: American Visionary Art Museum
When: Saturday, 7am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Help AVAM clear out their hoard! And if you’re familiar with the museum, then you know you this is an opportunity to score something great. Get your hands on amazing artwork, books, cards & publications, electronics, office supplies & furniture, vintage Macs, retro AVAM & Kinetic memorabilia, plenty of art fixins, and loads more… it’s a picker’s paradise! All proceeds benefit AVAM. And while you’re there, take a tour of the museum, too (admission $15.95/adult, $9.95/child). Read more about AVAM here.

Room for Children
Where: House of Sweden
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

It’s opening weekend in the space for family fun at the Swedish Embassy on Georgetown’s waterfront. This library and arts studio for the young is designed to stimulate children’s interest in books, music, storytelling, and self-expression — Room for Children pushes the boundaries of what a library can be. Parents are encouraged to engage in it all with kids and share the experience! This will be open on weekends through December, and every Saturday, there is a storytime session at 2pm.

Mock Trial for Kids
Where: Trinity Washington University
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: $50/child

Kids ages 8-12 can have their day in “court” as they join this one of a kind legal educational program from Juris Prudence Academy. The 90-minute workshop will teach academy students basic legal principles in a collaborative setting. Guided by a lawyer, students will participate in a mock trial, applying the principles they have learned in the workshop.

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

* Go prehistoric at Strathmore for Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live Friday night
* See a special performance of Aladdin by The Washington Ballet at THEARC
* Reserve free tickets to see Christylez Bacon, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* The Kennedy Center presents puppetry for children with Grug and the Rainbow
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Magic Toyshop is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Little ones will love Art on the Horizon’s Nutt and Bolt (sold out online, so call about tickets)
* From the Mouths of Monsters is a Frankenstein-inspired show at the Kennedy Center
* Saturday is the last chance to see The Freshest Snow Whyte at Imagination Stage
* Catch a whiff of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales at Alden Theatre
* Enjoy funky folk msic for the whole family at a Billy Jonas concert hosted at Tikvat Israel Congregation on Sunday

Women in Aviation and Space
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Throughout the history of aviation and space exploration, women have fought to be on equal terms with their male counterparts. At this family day, learn about the significant contributions women have made despite the many challenges they faced. The day will feature presentations by women in the field, hands-on activities, and stories.

Movie at the Museum: Long Way North
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

Set in 1892, this animated adventure, part of the Environmental Film Fest, follows 15-year-old Russian aristocrat Sacha as she leaves behind her comfortable Saint Petersburg life in the hopes of tracking down and saving her beloved grandfather, Oloukine, a famous explorer who has gone missing near the North Pole. Sacha has always been fascinated by the exciting life of her grandfather and dreams of becoming an explorer, too. But Sacha’s parents strongly disapprove of her ambitions and, in fact, have already made arrangements for her marriage. Defying her destiny, Sacha flees her home and launches a daring quest toward the Great North in search of Oloukine and his ship. Recommended for ages 11 and up.

Environmental Film Fest
Where: Several locations around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by film

Films from across the globe are being screened around the DC-Metro area for the the 25th annual Environmental Film Festival. And there are a few family-oriented flicks among them. Born in China follows three animal families into the wilds of China. Conquest of the Skies highlights the power of flight in nature. Little film-goers will be enthralled by Light on Earth about creatures that glow. Cat people will enjoy Kedi about the felines that have roamed the streets of Istanbul for thousands of years. There are even more films that older kids will likely enjoy and learn from and others to consider for a grown-up outing. View the websites watch trailers and get showtimes and details.

Spring Batiks Workshops
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: $27/member, $32/non-member

Kids in grades 3-6 can learn how to create a vibrant springtime batik artwork on fabric with with instructor, Dollie Karolewski. Using melted crayons and fabric paints, each child will come away with their own unique 12×12″ artwork.

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

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

Park it in Fairfax
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. Search for birds and mammals at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by “going green” at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Learn about the moon during a family astronomy session at Observatory Park at Turner Farm. Details and registration for these and even more activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

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

Montgomery Parks also presents loads of special activities for visitors of all ages. Go on a Family Green Hour walk at Locust Grove Nature Center, watch a raptor feeding at Nature Center, experiment with Awesome Acts of Science at Black Hill Visitors Center, and more. See the online calendar for details and even more events happening this weekend.

Clean-Up at the Colonial Farm
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Play a valuable role in preparing the Claude Moore Colonial Farm for its 2017 season and Opening Day on April 1. On this 18th century working farm and National Park trails and fields need to be cleared, fences rebuilt, and wood split, moved and stacked. There is also work in the greenhouse, cleaning animal pens, and a variety of other spruce up activities for all ages. It’s a great activity for families and groups, and you get picnic hot dog lunch! Bring work gloves and dress for the weather.

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

Drop in at the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Eleanor Roosevelt and complete a hands-on activity. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum. For more about the program, see this post about one of our experiences there.

NOVA Mini Maker Faire
Where: South Lakes High & Langston Highs Middle Schools
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: $15/adult, $5/children

It’s a gathering of inventors, entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, and curious minds at the 4th annual NoVa Mini Maker Faire. The event inspires, informs, connects, and entertains thousands of attendees in a family-friendly environment. More than 100 makers will share their knowledge through hands-on projects for adults and kids in areas from primitive tools and blacksmithing to drones and 3D printers. Experience it all at South Lakes High School and Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston, VA.

Happy 20th, Millennium Stage!
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Sunday, 5pm
Admission: Free

The Kennedy Center celebrates a major milestone this month – the 20th anniversary of Millennium Stage, the only U.S. institution that offers a free performance every day of the year, (6 p.m. daily on the Millennium Stage). The celebration will feature performances by Celtic rock band, Scythian, and New Orleans funk band, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, in a massive party overtaking the Center’s Grand Foyer. Go early! The first 1,000 fans get a free T-shirt, and ticket giveaways will be open for entry until 8pm! A special MS20 happy hour from 5-6 p.m. features all beer and wine 50% off at the Grand Foyer Bars.

Everyday Play
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Want even more options for local activities with the kids? The Everyday Play page is loaded with ideas for ongoing fun — every single one of them tried and tested by yours truly and crew.

Go KidFree!
Where: Around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Need ideas for things to do sans kids? Here are a few suggestions of some places and activities for KidFree fun this weekend:
*Get your green on for St. Pat’s Day at one (or more) of these 17 places
*Watch March Madness out at a local spot
*Enjoy some Hemingway on stage at a performance of The Select (The Sun Also Rises) at the Lansburgh Theatre
*Grab an Instagram-worthy drink and bite at the Pop-Up Cherry Blossom Bar
*Savor tapas and sangria at Joselito, a new(ish) Spanish restaurant on Capitol Hill


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The Best Events of the 2017 Cherry Blossom Season for Families

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There’s much more to cherry blossom season in DC than just the famous flowers. The National Cherry Blossom Festival makes it a great celebration with all kinds of events over several weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festival. Here are the best of them for families to help plan for a peak blossom experience. And be sure to check out this post, too, with tips for cherry blossom viewing. Happy spring!

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: March 15 – April 2
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the bloom season and most of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Enjoy them daily starting March 15 from 12-6pm.

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Celebration of Japanese culture in the beauitful Kogod Courtyard! A taiko drumming performance will kick off the day, followed by Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts. Make your own tatebanko (a Japanese paper diorama) with friends from the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Gallery, go on a scavenger hunt to find spring themed artworks, and more!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress Young Readers Center
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Learn about Japanese culture as you create origami artwork creation, try on kimonos, and enjoy more other activities. Cherry Blossom princesses from the last few years will instruct children in the art of tiara-making. At 11am and 1:30pm, the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, will present “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” a program about Japanese life and culture. Following each of these presentations, there will be a karate demonstration along with other attractions. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature – read more about it here.

Friendship Between Nations Family Day
Where: National Archives
When: March 25, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship, such as the gift of the cherry blossoms from Japan to the US. Investigate treaties, learn about some of the crazy gifts countries have given, and participate in interactive activities designed for the entire family to enjoy.

Kites of Asia Heritage Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian heritage! At the Air & Space Museum’s annual event, you can talk to kite experts, see pan-Asian kite displays, marvel at indoor kite flying, make your own kite, and maybe even take a dance lesson!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: April 1, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is probably my favorite event of the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly a sight to behold. It’s magical for kids — and even for me as a jaded adult! The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 8, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is easily the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: M Street & New Jersey Ave. SE
When: April 8, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. There will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. All at a new location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Be prepared for a crowd.

Family Workshop: Japanese Woodblock Printing
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: April 8-9, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, join the Sackler for opening weekend of Inventing Utamaro and free family activities! In this Open Studio, witness firsthand the beauty and complexity of Japanese woodblock prints. Take a family-friendly tour (offered at 12:30pm and 2:30pm) of the exhibition, then explore traditional tools and papers. A teaching artist demonstrates transferring designs to a block, carving, and basic printing techniques. Come prepared to get your hands inky. All ages welcome!

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park
When: April 9
Admission: Free

The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park present the 3rd annual Anacostia River Festival, also a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival! Celebrate the Anacostia River with some fun outdoor recreation! Explore the river by canoe, ride in a bike parade, play lawn games with your family, and experience Southeast DC’s local arts scene. This year they’re celebrating biking in the District with trail rides, safety classes, quick bike tune ups, and special bike activities for all ages.

Family Afternoon: Design with Nature
Where: National Building Museum
When: April 9, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

All ages can drop in for creative hands-on activities, a community garden design project, and opportunities to learn about Japanese art and design. See how nature is intentionally integrated into the built world, different ways people design with nature, and how nature can inspire design in and around built spaces. Learn about symbolism of the natural world across cultures and make connections between springtime symbolism, design, nature, and the built world they live in.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront
When: April 15, 2-9:30pm
Admission: Free

This event that takes place along the District Wharf and the Titanic Memorial on the Southwest Waterfront is one of the last of the festival this year. It’s an afternoon and part-evening affair with free live music and family-friendly festivities, including water-related activities, cultural experiences, and delicious foods. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.


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Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms (2017)

DC at its peak

DC at its peak

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


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

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

Flying among the flowers

Flying among the flowers

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

Peak time around the National Mall

Peak time around the National Mall

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

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

Get a view of the blossoms from the water

Get a view of the blossoms from the water

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

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

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

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

Can't beat the blossom backdrop for photos

Can’t beat the blossom backdrop for photos


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The Weekend Round-Up: February 24-26

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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The Weekend Round-Up: February 11-12

A close look at a Ganesha statue at the Sackler Gallery, where families can enjoy a special art workshop this weekend

A close look at a Ganesha statue at the Sackler Gallery, where families can enjoy a special art workshop this weekend



So much to love about this weekend’s happenings! Opt for a Valentine’s Day-themed activity, celebrate Black History Month, immerse in adventure at a brand new exhibit, enjoy live entertainment, join a nature program… These are just some highlights among many options for fun with your kiddos. Happy Weekend!

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

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

The Power of Chocolate
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10:30am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

The story of chocolate begins with a small tree that has its roots deep in the world of Mesoamerican culture. Join us for a celebration of one of the world’s most beloved foods. Explore the rich history and ongoing story of chocolate by grinding chocolate, creating a vase with Maya glyphs and learning more about the science, art and culture of chocolate.

More Activities to Love
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Love is in the air — and at places all around DC this weekend! Events and activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day range from story time and crafts to skate dates to nature programs to tea time. And all of them are sure to be especially sweet. This post has the scoop on all of them.

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

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

NOAA Open House
Where: NOAA Silver Spring Campus
When: Saturday, 9am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Explore your world and learn how NOAA—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—takes the pulse of the planet every day and protects and manages ocean and coastal resources. Join NOAA at the Silver Spring campus for a series of free activities, including engaging talks by NOAA experts, interactive exhibits, special tours, and hands-on activities for ages 5 and up. Meet and talk with scientists, weather forecasters, hurricane hunters, and others who work to understand our environment, protect life and property, and conserve and protect natural resources. Note: A government-issued photo ID is required for adults. Check the website for a list of acceptable forms of ID.

African American Pioneers in Aviation and Space
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

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

Carnival Family Day
Where: Anacostia Community Museum
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the exhibition Gateways, the public is invited to enjoy live entertainment, face painting, mask making, storytelling, and other activities for the kids at this popular annual museum event. See the schedule of the day’s events here.

African-Americans at Walney Walking Tour
Where: Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: $6

In this interactive walking tour, learn the names and stories of the many African-American families who lived here in slavery and in freedom. The one-hour program is recommended for ages 6 and up. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.

More Black History Month Celebrations
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

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

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

* Ella Enchanted is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* Reserve free tickets to see Skher Brown and the Dancing Warriors Ensemble, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performer
* Hamlette puts a twist on the Shakespearean classic at The Keegan Theatre
* The Freshest Snow Whyte just opensed at Imagination Stage
* Goldilocks is the latest Main Stage show at The Puppet Co.
* And Snow Show is the featured Tiny Tots performance on Sunday
* Steve Songs is playing two shows at Jammin Java on Saturday
* Watch The Great Zucchini with Barry the Magician perform at the Avalon Theatre in Alexandria
* Little ones will enjoy Kitchen Adventures with Encore Stage & Studio
* The Folger Theatre presents As You Like It
* Make it a KidFree night as Shakespeare Theatre Company presents King Charles III at Sidney Harman Hall

DC National Girls and Women in Sports Day Expo
Where:Deanwood Recreation and Aquatic Center
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 4pm
Admission: Free

“Expanding Opportunity” is the theme of this expo and will be one of more than 1,000 events taking place across the country for National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Decades of research show that girls who play sports have better health, higher self-esteem, greater academic achievement, stronger leadership skills, and greater economic opportunity. All District young women and their parents are invited to this event that will showcase up to 40 local vendors, organizations, and programs dedicated to sports and activity opportunities for girls and young women.

Baltimore, Hon!
Where: Baltimore attractions
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Zip up I-95 for some fun in our sister city, where there are several great places to spend a day off. Play the day away at Port Discovery. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry.

Fables Rule!
Where: Silver Spring Library
When: Saturday, 2:30pm
Admission: Free

Diane Macklin returns to the library, presenting “Fables Rule,” with interactive storytelling and a new twist to classic tales that illustrate valuable lessons. This will take place on the third floor, and the Silver Spring Library is located at 900 Wayne Avenue in Silver Spring.

Books Alive!
Where: Wheaton Library Interim Branch
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: Free, but tickets required

InterAct Story Theatre kicks off a monthly series of fun family safaris through books! Executive and Artistic Director Ali Oliver-Krueger will lead these interactive workshop for kids and parents, exploring a different age-appropriate children’s book through creative drama, then bringing them to life by acting them out in their own words. Stick around after the workshop to explore Wheaton Library’s children’s library and embark on a new reading adventure with your kids!  The program is best for ages 4 and up. Tickets are limited, and you have to register through the Wheaton Library Interim Branch to get your them — visit in-person or by calling 240.777.0678 to sign up.

Light The Way At The Pearl
Where: The Pearl in Silver Spring
When: Saturday, 4:30-8:30pm
Admission: Free

This event that celebrates the opening of The Pearl, luxury apartments in Silver Spring, also welcomes the public to check out some imaginative art! Light the Way is illuminating Silver Spring with a wholly original art installation. Designed by DC artist Kelly Towles, this inflatable light sculpture 45 feet in diameter playfully reinterprets the concept of a meditation labyrinth. Step inside, explore and contemplate, surrounded by trees and light, and then reemerge with a renewed sense of happiness, harmony and peace. There will also be music and cooking demos and food, and cocktails for purchase. The Pearl is located at 180 High Park Lane in Silver Spring.

4th Annual Waterfowl Festival
Where: Black Hill Visitors Center
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Bring the whole family for a day filled with activities, demonstrations and exhibits to celebrate the wondrous water birds that call Little Seneca Lake home. Enjoy an original DUCKumentary, lectures on bird conservation, gorgeous carved wood decoys made right before your eyes and make-and-create opportunities for even the littlest birders. Join guided birding excursions to catch a glimpse of marine ducks, swans and maybe even the Black Hill bald eagles! 

Mid-Winter Play Day
Where: Takoma Park Community Center
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Put some play in your Sunday afternoon with Let’s Play Takoma and the Takoma Park Recreation Department. The variety of indoor entertainment will include Bach 2 Rock bands, local band Outer Body Llama, Zumbini, cookie decorating, board games and crafts, dress-up, puzzles, and more. All ages are welcome to enjoy it all.

Opt Outside
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

It looks like this weekend’s weather — temps in 60’s! — could lend itself to some activity outside. And you’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for outdoor adventures. Visit the Zoo, take a hike, explore a historic site, hit a playground, or see what else there is to do alfresco in this post with tons of ideas recreation in the fresh air. But if there’s rain or you prefer your fun under shelter, The Great Indoors list has you covered.

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