Category Archives: Free

Join the Launch Party for the Acton Children’s Business Fair

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Acton Academy of Washington, DC, however, I only promote programs and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Live Entertainment on Local Stages this Spring

The interactive TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched at BlackRock Center for the Arts

The interactive “TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched” at BlackRock Center for the Arts



With the new season comes a whole new lineup of live entertainment. There are shows for all ages and interests — plays, puppet theatre, musicals, concerts, dance performances, and more to enjoy at venues around the area. Here’s what you and the kids can see on local stages this spring, listed in order of opening date.

Paper Dreams
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through April 9
Tickets: $14

In a brand-new collaboration with Mons Dansa Dance Company Barcelona, Spain, we bring to life our first DANCE performance based show, perfect for ages 1-5 that explores the many facets of creativity. A fun, interactive production that tells the story of two delightful creatures who live inside a wastepaper basket. Can our greatest mistake actually turn out to be the next greatest innovative idea?

Ragtime
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: Through May 20
Tickets: $18-64 (look for a discount)

Based on E.L. Doctorow’s celebrated novel, this epic Tony-winning musical depicts three families striving for the American dream at the turn of the 20th century. As the country balances on the cusp of social change, the lives of a wealthy white family, a daring Harlem musician and a determined Jewish immigrant intersect—and their fates are inextricably bound and profoundly changed. With an expansive musical score, striking relevancy and a who’s who of 20th-century historical characters, “Ragtime” confronts both the unbridled optimism and the stark reality of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

The Select (The Sun Also Rises) (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Lansburgh Theatre
When: Through April 2
Tickets: $44-113 (look for a discount)

A stage littered with liquor bottles and café chairs seamlessly transforms itself from the bistros of Paris to the banks of the Irati River; a long bar table roars to life and charges a champion matador; an out-of-control dance party takes off during a night of nonstop revelry. As the story winds its way through France and Spain and lands in Pamplona where bullfighting and the fiesta rage in the streets, Hemingway’s narrator carries the heavy burdens of a war injury and his inability to have the woman he loves; a woman whose amorous escapades he follows with bemused but painful fatalism.

Monica Becomes a Big Sister
Where: Discovery Theater
When: March 23
Tickets: $3-8

Monica can’t wait for the newest member of the family to arrive. But a broken leg sends her to the emergency room with her mom. In a musical medical adventure, Monica discovers that a hospital isn’t such a scary place—and that a baby brother might join you on the trip back home. Recommended for ages 3-7

Mother Earth & Me
Where: Discovery Theater
When: March 23
Tickets: $3-8

The magic of earth science takes center stage in this fun, interactive Discovery Theater original as we explore the origins of our planet, the water cycle, and our important role in the ecosystem, as well as folklore about the “big blue marble” we call home. Kick off Earth Month by pledging to become an Earth Warrior—and find out some great ways to start right away!

To Sail Around the Sun
Where: Kennedy Center
When: March 25-26
Tickets: $20

Set to the timeless music of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, this imaginative world premiere co-commission between the NSO and Company | E uses dance, film, storytelling, and musicians to weave together stories about the changing of the seasons. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Pike St. (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Woolly Mammoth
When: March 27 – April 23
Tickets: $39-49 (look for a discount)

On the Lower East Side, a mother works hard to keep the electricity flowing for her daughter’s respirator while a hurricane looms nearby. As she prepares for disaster, a vibrant host of characters—a decorated war veteran, her ne’er-do-well father, her octogenarian downstairs neighbor—bring new meaning to the phrase “it takes a village.”

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: March 30 – April 30
Tickets: $12

A marionette romp in which three brothers get the goat of a hen-pecked troll, in their attempts to trip-trap-tromp to where the grass is greener. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry.

A Raisin in the Sun
Where: Arena Stage
When: March 31 – May 7
Tickets: $66-111

Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking masterpiece follows the Younger family yearning for a better life far from the cramped confines of their Chicago tenement. Hope arrives in the form of an unexpected financial windfall, but when they realize they have differing definitions of the American dream, which dreams get realized and which deferred? A Raisin in the Sun paints the African-American experience in brilliant and powerful strokes, as vibrant and vital today as they were in 1959.

Water on Mars
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: April 1-2
Tickets: $18-24

Water on Mars is virtuoso juggling gone wild. Take three monstrously skillful young jugglers, six hands and thousands of catches. Add flying chocolate and backflips, 400 rolls of tape and magnetic jump-ropes. Result: better than a roller coaster and as good as the 4th of July. When these three work together on a single project it´s like 3 Jackson Pollock´s sword fighting with paint covered brushes. Designed for spaceships and distant planets, Water on Mars is the future of juggling.

Saturday Family Jazz Sessions
Where: Strathmore
When: Several Saturdays in April, May, & June
Tickets: $10/advance, $12/at door

Junior jazz aficionados can spend Saturday mornings singing, playing, and preparing for a lifetime of music appreciation. Strathmore’s fun, creative, kid-friendly series features music by a different performer each session. These will take place during the spring April 1, April 22, May 6, May 20, June 3, and June 17.

Chicago
Where: Kennedy Center
When: April 4-16
Tickets: $50-159 (look for a discount)

With show-stopping numbers, astonishing dancing, and a healthy dose of razzle dazzle, Chicago is a heart-pounding spectacle of everything that makes Broadway great. Foxy Roxie Hart (portrayed by Grammy winner Brandy Norwood) and Velma Kelly bring down the house in this six-time Tony winner! Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Tot Rock: Alphabet Rockers – Hip Hop for Kids
Where: Discovery Theater
When: April 6-7
Tickets: $3-8

Alphabet Rockers is the “modern day De La Soul for the 21st century (all-natural) juice box crowd” (Cooper & Kid). This is an intergenerational dance party where the performers’ infectious energy and hip hop grooves get kids jumping and head nodders rocking out – all set to educational lyrics about complex cultural topics and learning goals. Alphabet Rockers make learning come alive through the beats, rhymes, moves and community of hip hop – and you will have confidence this is adding value to your community and life.

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: April 7 – May 21
Tickets: $19.50

This is Aladdin as you’ve never seen it before. Aladdin and his love, the princess Adora, must outsmart an evil Magician who wants to use the genie in Aladdin’s lamp for his nefarious schemes! Will he get away with it? Get ready for love, magic, and mystery in this production for all ages.

Smart People
Where: Arena Stage
When: April 14 – May 22
Tickets:

Do our belief systems stem from our environment, or are some prejudices hard-wired into us? With barbed wit, Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly) explores the unavoidable nature of cultural bias and other sticky subjects in the controversial and fiercely funny new play Smart People. Four intellectuals — a doctor, an actress, a psychologist, and a neurobiologist studying the human brain’s response to race — search for love, acceptance and identity in a complex world where political correctness comes face-to-face with cold hard data.

Fun Home (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Theatre
When: April 18 – May 13
Tickets: $48-98 (look for a discount)

Every once in a while a Broadway musical comes along that surprises, moves and excites audiences in ways only a truly landmark musical can. The groundbreaking, life-affirming and exquisite new musical FUN HOME was the event of the Broadway season, receiving raves from critics and audiences alike, winning five 2015 Tony Awards including BEST MUSICAL and making history along the way. Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, FUN HOME introduces us to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood. A refreshingly honest musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, FUN HOME is extraordinary, a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway. (New York Times)

Ecosystems Alive
Where: Discovery Theater
When: April 20-21
Tickets: $3-8

From tropical forests to tundras, deserts to wetlands, our planet’s ecosystems display a rich diversity. Be introduced to live reptiles from a variety of habitats and discover why healthy ecosystems are so important to all life. You might get to meet a boa constrictor, box turtle, bearded dragon, or other creatures from around the world. Recommended for ages 6-11.

In the Heights – En Español!
Where: Gala Hispanic Theatre
When: April 20 – May 21
Tickets: $40-60

New York’s Washington Heights is a vibrant community on the brink of change, where the biggest struggle can be which traditions you take with you and which you leave behind. With its gripping tale of hopes and dreams, this groundbreaking musical is the next chapter in the multicultural American story. Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Where: Strathmore
When: April 21
Tickets: $20-60

The world-renowned all-singing, all-plucking superstars return with their toe-tapping music, hilarious banter, and sheer superlative entertainment. Last year they celebrated “30 Plucking Years” of ukulele action, this year they will have been active for “One Billion Seconds.” See for yourself why the Ukes of GB (the original Ukulele Orchestra, the oldest and the best) and their entertaining, witty, shopping trolley dash through all genres of music has led to sold-out shows all over the world. Critics, trying to encapsulate the group’s indefinable magic and joy, have heralded the group as “the best musical entertainment.”

The Jungle Book
Where: Imagination Stage
When: April 22 – May 28
Tickets: $15-30

Mowgli is a human child brought up in the jungles of India by a family of wolves. The embittered tiger Shere Kahn may be stalking him, but Mowgli is a quick learner. His friends, Baloo the goofy bear, and Bagheera, the savvy Jaguar, teach him how to gain the trust of the four-footed hunters, the birds, and the snakes so that he will never be friendless. He falls into a bad crowd of silly monkeys who lead him astray and play a mean trick on him. How will Mowgli escape from the deep, dark well? And, how will he save himself when Shere Kahn turns the wolf pack against him? Kipling’s timeless classic deals with very timely issues in this lively new version. Mowgli learns to respect his environment and the wisdom of the animals. And he realizes that, as a grown man, it’s his responsibility to protect them. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: April 23, 2pm & 4pm
Tickets: $18

After an extraordinarily popular performance at BlackRock in 2014, the TreeHouse Shaker’s Hatched returns to BlackRock. With movement, music, handcrafted puppets, and very little human dialogue, this show is set on a family farm, a newborn chick emerges from her shell at sunrise to a strange and busy world. Audience members interact and play with the characters on stage; they give the chicks their feed, milk bottles to the lamb and are licked by the cow. A beautiful introduction to theater, Hatched will charm and engage babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Macbeth (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: April 25 – May 8
Tickets: $44-102 (look for a discount)

In a world beset by civil war and invasion, Macbeth and his artful lady begin a series of murders, plunging us into the darkest night of the soul. Storms rage, fires burn and night blankets the earth in this tale of sound and fury, accompanied by Shakespeare’s richest poetry.

Paper Dreams
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: April 27-30
Tickets: $6-10

Imagination Stage partners with Mons Dansa from Barcelona, Spain for a delightful movement performance. A fun, interactive production that tells the story of two delightful creatures who live inside a wastepaper basket. Can our greatest mistake actually turn out to be the next greatest innovative idea? Recommended for ages 1-5.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre
When: Most Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Boogie Babes
Where: Eastern Market
When: Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday morning. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the market or at one of many nearby eateries after.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

Shear Madness
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $50-54 (look for a discount)

Set today in the Shear Madness hairstyling salon, this record-breaking comedy is Washington’s hilarious whodunit. After more than 13,000 performances, the show has stayed in great shape. Recommended for kids middle school ages and up.

Peppa Pig Live!
Where: Strathmore
When: May 3
Tickets: $29-59

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash is an action-packed live show featuring your favorite characters as life size puppets and costume characters! Come join Peppa, George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and more in an all singing, all-dancing adventure full of songs, games and muddy puddles!

Cinderella
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: May 4 – June 11
Tickets: $12

The elegance of 17th-century France, combining elaborate costumes of the Comédie-Française and Offenbach’s “Gaiety Parisian” to adorn the tale of the cinder girl who captures the heart of the handsome prince. The production was acclaimed at the 1997 National Puppet Festival, and performed by invitation at the Center for Puppetry Arts, in Atlanta.

Jojo’s Puppy Adventure
Where: Discovery Theater
When: May 4-5
Tickets: $3-8

Jojo has always wanted a pet of his own. But when he discovers an injured puppy, he knows he must reunite it with its owner. Join Jojo on an interactive musical search to find the puppy’s home—and a happy ending for both of them. Recommended for ages 3-7.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Where: Synetic Theater
When: May 10 – June 11
Tickets: $20-60

Synetic’s visionary Founding Artistic Director Paata Tsikurishvili brings his mind-bending, cinematic style to Victor Hugo’s gothic, heartbreaking epic of inner beauty and undying loyalty. When the beguiling dancer Esmerelda captures the heart of the deformed bell-ringer Quasimodo, his adoptive father, the priest Frollo, decides he wants her for himself – plunging all of Paris into a spiral of riots, revolution, and murder. This production will not have dialogue. Recommended for ages 13+ for violence.

Nearly Lear
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 12-14
Tickets: $20

What if King Lear was told by his closest companion? In this one-woman tour-de-force, Susanna Hamnett plays the Fool–and every other character–to tell a very personal and poignant story borrowing from Shakespeare’s words. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: E.T. The Extraterrestrial In Concert
Where: Strathmore
When: May 3
Tickets: $35-92

Soar through the stars with Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece as you’ve never seen or heard it before! Jack Everly conducts John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score live as the classic film is projected on a giant HD screen. Bring the whole family to experience the magic of Elliott and his friend from far, far away.

Shakespeare for the Young: Midsummer Magic
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: May 17-21
Tickets: $6-10

Shakespeare’s delightful story of tricks and magic spells comes to life for the very young through puppets, movement and music. Recommended for ages 2-7.

Titus
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 20-21
Tickets: $20

Young Titus is in a situation that seems hopeless… he can either give up or fight. This exciting and challenging journey examines the obstacles faced by young people in our modern world and how we learn to find courage within ourselves as we confront those obstacles. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Mouth Open, Story Jump Out
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 20-28
Tickets: $20

Don’t miss a one-man show from Polarbear, one of the UK’s most exciting spoken-word artists. International assassins, secret codes, dog-eating boa constrictors, and more come to life when a boy tries to make sense of his father’s disappearance. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

NSO Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 21
Tickets: $20

Critically acclaimed Brooklyn-based production company Giants Are Small offers an invigorating new perspective on Prokofiev’s classic, with a narrator and the musicians of the NSO creating all of the sound effects on stage. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Under the Baobab Tree with Iya
Where: Discovery Theater
When: May 4-5
Tickets: $3-8

Gather beneath the iconic tree of life as master educator Iya Bashea Imana shares captivating folktales. Music and movement, puppets, and eco-friendly crafts combine with timeless stories that offer an introduction to African traditions and wisdom. REcommended for ages 3-7

Hip Hop Culture: /peh-LO-tah/
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 9-11
Tickets: $20

Marc Bamuthi Joseph explores soccer by layering poetry, movement, visuals, and music into a fresh theatrical form based on Hip Hop aesthetics. This world premiere co-commission features verbally and physically energetic performances.

Strathmore Children’s Chorus: Celtic Sounds
Where: Strathmore
When: June 11
Tickets: $20-25

The Strathmore Children’s Chorus focuses their 5th anniversary spring concert on all things Celtic. Celtic Sounds celebrates the traditional music of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, bringing to life classics such as “Loch Lomond,” “Danny Boy,” and more. Celtic Sounds also includes a world premiere from composer Mandy Miller, plus guest artists from the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance and the A. Mario Loiderman Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts Choirs.

*Know of a great upcoming production not listed here? Let me know in the comments below!


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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

blossoms_picnic

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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Where to Play on the Weekdays: March 13-17

Doing some sketching at the National Gallery of Art

Doing some sketching at the National Gallery of Art





Monday – Say oui to Yoga in French! This new program from Bilingual Villages, which offers language immersion playgroups and activities for families, is a series of five weekly classes, but you can drop in for single sessions, too. Designed for children ages 2-5 and their caregivers, classes are led by a certified Yoga instructor who is also a native French speaker. Classes run every Monday March 13 – April 10 from 9:30-10:15am. Admission is $20/session or $89 for all five. Bilingual Villages is located at 10518 A Connecticut Avenue, Suite 3 in Kensington, MD.

Tuesday – If the weather forecast is completely off and snow is a no-go… Head up to the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore to for Pi Day (3.14)! It’ll be a celebration of the mathematical constant Pi — and the sweet, circular baked dessert! Enjoy all kinds of Pi- and pie-related activities throughout the day along with all of the ongoing fun, engaging exhibits at the children’s museum. The program runs from 10am -2pm, museum hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is 24.95/adult, 18.95/ages 3 and up, free for 2 and under. Read more about the Maryland Science Center in this KFDC post.

And if it snows, well, get out and enjoy our first (and probably last) real snow of the season! No word yet on whether sledding will be permitted on Capitol Hill (not that a ban ever stopped us before), but I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday – Go to Story Time in the ReSource Room at the National Archives. The monthly series welcomes children aged 3-5 with accompanying adults to enjoy a book reading, participate in group activities, and create a craft — all with a an Amelia Earheart theme, perfect for celebrating Women’s History Month. The session takes place 10-11am in the Boeing Learning Center. Admission is free.

Thursday – Spend the morning at wacky magic show as The Great Zucchini performs at Jammin Java. Doors open at 10am and the fun begins at 10:30am. General admission tickets are $5. Smoothies, juices, acai bowls, and the coffee menu will be available for purchase, too.

Friday – Get an art fix at the National Gallery of Art! The recently reopened East Building is full of contemporary art with bold colors and captivating designs. Be sure to stop in the Alexander Calder room on the 4th floor, where mobiles of all shapes and sizes will dazzle little ones, and don’t miss the giant blue rooster on the roof. The West Building houses more classical works, the collections featuring many of the masters, including the only Leonardo da Vinci painting on public view in the US! Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.


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Filed under All ages, Art, Class, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter