Category Archives: Holidays

Wicked Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween Around DC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Weekend Round-Up: July 1-4


Gymboree Sale On Now!

The holiday weekend gives us extra time for fun, and there so many ways to indulge. Live entertainment, summer activities, baseball, museums, even indoor “icebergs” among them. Happy Weekend! And have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Come Fourth!
Where: Around the area
When: Monday, July 4th!
Admission: Varies by activity

Our lovely city is one of the most exciting places to be this time of year, as people from all over the world come to celebrate America’s birthday. And from fireworks on the Mall and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house and the home of the Declaration of Independence to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, they (and you!) won’t be let down. This post has details on the many ways to celebrate July 4th in DC.

Happy Birthday, Tudor Place!
Where: Tudor Place
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5, $3/member, free for military families

America’s Story Lives Here – now marking a rare American Bicentennial. Join Tudor Place to celebrate #TP200 and patriotism in a festive, one-time event for all ages in the historic gardens. Play traditional American outdoor games, take self-guided garden tours, make patriotic crafts, and enjoy a piece of the giant Tudor Place birthday cake from Dog Tag Bakery (while it lasts).

Summer Staples
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Get your summer on this holiday weekend with a host of activities exclusive to this time of year. Kick it off with an outdoor concert or some free fishing, hit a public pool for some outdoor swimming, get in some good play at a spray ground, check out a special seasonal exhibit, and much more. Go here for the full scoop on these joys of summer, and keep in mind that some regular events might not be happening due to the holiday.

Where: National Building Museum
When: Opens Saturday! (Through September 5)
Admission: Varies, see below

Th Building Museum’s big summer exhibit opens this weekend. Floating sculptures, an environmental narrative, interactive features, and shaved ice treats make ICEBERGS pretty cool to experience. While you probably won’t stay and play for hours like you did at The BEACH last year, it’s definitely worth checking out. Plus, the admission fee gets you into all of the other NMB exhibits, too! Cost is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member.

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

Cinncinatti comes to DC, as the Nats host the Reds all weekend. See Freedom Fireworks after the game on Friday (6:05pm), enjoy Rat Pack night on Saturday (7:05pm) and take advantage of the Herbert Hoover bobblehead promo on Sunday (1:35pm). There’s a Monday game, too, that you can read about here. Be sure to check out these tips for doing a Nats game for less as you plan.

Root for the Baysox
Where: Prince George’s Stadium
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

See baseball on a smaller scale as minor league team Bowie Baysox takes on the Akron Rubberducks. Friday is a Community Heroes celebration, and Saturday will feature fireworks after the game. Sunday has even more special promos: Daniel Tiger visiting, Educator Appreciation Day, and Kids Eat Free! Read more about Baysox games in this KFDC post.

Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $19.50 (Get 15% off using code KFDC)

Adventure Theatre’s latest production is as funny as it is wild. Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, the show takes its characters — and the audience — on an incredible journey to claim Jumanji. Read a KFDC review and enter a ticket giveaway here.

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

* See Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap where Dinorock are playing a concert al fresco
* The UniverSoul Circus is wowing audiences at National Harbor
* The Little Mermaid is a collaboration between Imagination Stage and The Washington Ballet
* Catch a performance of Little Red Riding Hood and the 3 Little Pigs at The Puppet Co.
* And Jellybean Circus is their featured Tiny Tots show
* Enjoy a picnic and a play as Chesapeake Shakespeare presents The Three Musketeers at PFI Park in Ellicott City, MD (bonus: kids are FREE)
*Take your teen or make it a date night to see The Bridges of Madison County at the Kennedy Center
* MOXIE: a Happenstance Vaudeville is on stage at RoundHouse Theatre
* Little Ones will enjoy Inside Out, a performance geared toward ages 1-5, at Imagination Stage

Family Nature Walk
Where: Woodend Nature Sanctuary
When: Saturday, 9am
Admission: Free

Take a hike — and advantage of the Audubon Naturalist Society’s free monthly family program. On the first Saturday of each month from 9-10am, join Master Naturalists for a nature hike around Woodend Sanctuary. Each outing will have a unique and exciting natural history theme that’s appropriate for family members of all ages. Be prepared to hike in sneakers and don’t forget your water bottle. Meet at the amphitheater by the main house.

Kids Free – Summer Fun Deal
Where: Newseum
When: Begins Friday!
Admission: FREE for kids, $22.95/adult

Take advantage of the Newseum’s annual program that welcomes youth visitors for free during the summer, from July 1 through Labor Day. The Summer Fun Deal waives the regular $13.95 entrance fee for kids with one paid adult admission. The deal benefits kids ages 7 and up most, since children 6 and under always get in free, and much of the Newseum’s collection will be better appreciated by older children.

Arrrr, Mateys!
Where: Potomac River via Washington Harbour
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $20 (get a deal here)

Explore the high Potomac “seas” on a Boomerang Family Treasure Hunt Cruise. During the pirate adventure, you’ll help recover stolen treasure from scallywags who pilfered the ship’s booty. Several sail times are available throughout the weekend. When you book on the site, be sure you are looking at Treasure Hunt Cruise times, and not the Party Boat Cruise. For more pirate voyages on local waters, see the Summer Guide.

Pint Sized Breakfast
Where: Brookland Pint
When: Saturday, 9-11am
Admission: Free

Take the little ones to a breakfast designed with them in mind, featuring a FREE breakfast buffet just for kids, storytime and crafts with Barnes & Noble, and an interactive performance by Only Make Believe. Open seating is first come, first serve. If the weather cooperates, head out to the patio!

July Makers Market
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Saturday, 9am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Find handmade, homemade, or homegrown products at Annmarie’s monthly market – this particular one will feature sea glass and beach crafts. Delight in the treasures made by local artists, then continue your art explorations through Annmarie’s gorgeous gardens, where you can the kids can look for fairy houses, play in the fairy lolly, and create some art of your own in the artLAB. (Admission to the market is free, but it’s $5/adult, $3/child for the rest.)

Wee Ones Storytime
Where: Hurray for Books
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Admission: Free

Enjoy a story time especially for babies and toddlers in Old Town Alexandria! Hurray for Books’ story time experts will read your young ones board and picture books, sing songs and perform, and teach some fingerplays. The weekly program is free and open to the public!

Sunday Funday at the Races
Where: Laurel Park
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

Have an exciting day at the races with the family! Starting this weekend, Sundays during the summer will include a FREE Kids Zone (1:30-4:30pm) with pony rides, a petting zoo, and crafts — each week will feature a new project for kids to enjoy. And for the adults, Laurel Park is offering a casual summer Sunday brunch 12-4pm ($22/adults, $11/ages 3-11).

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

With extra time on the holiday weekend, you may want even more options for fun things to do with the kids. If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
The Great Indoors

Smithonian Folklife Festival
Where: National Mall at 3rd-4th Streets
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The annual Festival celebrating living cultural heritage and community traditions is underway. Visitors of all ages will have ample opportunity to discover and explore the culture of Basque Country through special exhibits, workshops, performances, exhibits, demos, and more, including plenty of activities especially children. California Sounds is also a highlight s more than 60 artists perform throughout the festival and many host special activities and demos for guests. For specifics, see the festival schedule. And it all takes place right on the National Mall where you can have plenty more fun at all the museums.

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2016 Independence Day Celebrations Around DC


What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in our nation’s capital? This is where the actual Declaration of Independence is housed (and will be read!), and celebrations take place among some of the country’s most iconic landmarks. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. From fireworks on the National Mall and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, there are loads of ways to revel on July 4th weekend in DC. Here are details on a bunch of them. Happy Independence Day!

National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets
When: July 4, 11:45am
Admission: Free

Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators are expected to line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day make its way from 7th to 17th Streets. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

Independence Day Celebration on the Mall
Where: National Mall
When: July 4, all day (and evening)
Admission: Free

After the parade (even earlier for some), the National Mall will begin filling up for a day of July 4th festivities — the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from 3rd to 4th Streets, Junior Ranger activities, concerts, and more. And the grand finale of it all: At 9:09pm, the sky above will explode with color when the amazing iconic fireworks display. Fireworks will be launched from the Reflecting Pool area, so plan accordingly.

A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
Admission: Free

Down past the other end of the Mall, A Capitol Fourth, the annual Independence Day concert that airs live on PBS, will feature even more musical pageantry. This year’s show will include performances by Smokey Robinson, Kenny Loggins, Gavin Degraw, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, and many more exciting acts. (KFDC tip: Enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)

An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon
When: July 4, 8am – 5pm
Admission: $17/adults, $9/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under.

The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events here.

Fourth of July at the National Archives
Where: National Archives
When: July 4, 8am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate July 4th at the National Archives Building with a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. There will also be historical guests, patriotic music, and family activities from 11am – 4pm. The full schedule of events is available on the National Archives website.

America’s Pastime
Where: Nationals Park
When: July 4, 11:05am
Admission: Ticket prices vary

A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. Catch the July 4th game against the Milwaukee Brewers, which is part of the 2016 Patriotic Series honoring members of the military. And be sure to check this post about ways to save on a Nats game.

Falls Church 4th of July Celebration
Where: George Mason High School
When: July 4, 7pm
Admission: Free

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will present its annual free July 4th Celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Musical entertainment begins at 7pm with a live performance, with fireworks following at 9:20pm. Blankets and flat-based chairs are allowed for seating on the field. Food and drinks will be sold on site.

Neighborhood Parades
Where: Throughout the area
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Admission: Free

Keep it close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, check out this list of parades around town. (And even though the list is from 2015, the information is largely the same, and all of the links lead to this year’s events.)

Star-Spangled Spectacular
Where: Oregon Ridge State Park
When: July 3 & 4
Admission: $9-18

For something a little different than the usual DC July 4th festivities, head north to Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md, on Friday or Saturday. You can spread out a blanket or set up chairs on the sloping green lawn amidst a gorgeous setting as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs their Star-Spangled Spectacular, culminating with a magnificent fireworks display. The starbursts in the sky as a live symphony plays is truly magical. The park opens at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm both days. Be sure to note these parking instructions, as on–site parking is $15, but you can park off site and take a shuttle for free.

Rockville 4th of July Celebration
Where: Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park
When: July 4, 7-9:45pm
Admission: Free

Rockville’s Independence Day Celebration is hosted by the Mayor and Council of Rockville at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park in King Farm. Join in a night of music, entertainment and fireworks. See the website for the lineup of entertainment and parking information.

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The Weekend Round-Up: June 17-19

A daddy-daughter bike ride :)

A daddy-daughter bike ride :)


No more pencils, no more books! Between the end of the school year for most area kids, Father’s Day, and the almost official start of the summer, there’s a lot to celebrate this weekend. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to do just that, and this round-up has the scoop on the best of ’em. Happy Weekend! And a very Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

Father’s Day Fun
Where: Around the area
When: Sunday
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’re still looking for ways to celebrate dad’s big day, don’t stress. You’ve got plenty of options to plan something great. From medieval entertainment to outdoor pursuits, special events to everyday fun, freebies to splurges, this post has a variety of ideas to make Father’s Day an awesome one.

Joys of Summer
Where: Throughout the DC-Metro
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by locale

As school ends for many, and summer is just about to officially begin, celebrate with one — or several — of the many activities exclusive to the season. Swim under the sky, catch a concert beneath the stars, see a special exhibit, play at a water park, and more. For the whole gamut of seasonal fun, check out the 2016 Summer Guide.

Friday Night Fishing
Where: Diamond Teague Park
When: Friday, 5-8pm
Admission: Free

Join Anacostia Riverkeeper at the dock at Diamond Teague Park for catch and release fishing. This evening kicks off the series that will take place every Friday through September 4. Rods, reels, bait, and instruction are all free. No registration required — just show up! Diamond Teague Park is located at 100 Potomac Avenue SE, between Nationals Park and Yards Park.

National Maker Faire
Where: University of DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Join curious, inventive peops from across the country at the Second Annual National Maker Faire. Kicking off the “Week of Making,” the event give innovators a place to share what they love to make. And attendees at theis family-friendly affair have the opportunity to interact with technologies like Raspberry Pi, Arduino, electronics, and 3D printers as well as STEM projects, textiles, crafting activities, homemade robots, and more. And be sure to stop by the DK Publishing booth for book giveaways and prizes, plus the chance to get in on the action with our dinosaur dance party computer coding photo opp!

Juneteenth Celebration
Where: Walker Miller Regional Park
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

Bring the whole family to celebrate this historic date and enjoy free concerts, exhibits, and activities honoring African American culture. Performances include Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clarke, The Doo Wop Cops, Malcom X Drummers, master story teller Baba Jamal Koram, a Tribute to Prince, and a Tribute to the Music of Motown by the BRENCORE Allstars Band.

Taste of Reston
Where: Reston Town Center
When: Friday, 3-11pm & Saturday, 12-11pm
Admission: Free (purchase tickets for tastings)

The largest outdoor food festival in NoVA has also been voted “Northern Virginia’s Best Food Festival” by Virginia Living magazine since 2012. Reston Town Center will be bustling for two days with restaurants and community vendors, live entertainment on three stages, a Wine ‘n Dine area, and the Family Fun Zone featuring activities, interactive games, demonstrations, and arts & crafts for all ages.

Summer in the City Family Day
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Stay cool and celebrate the hottest season in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s indoor Kogod Courtyard. With water scrims to play in, steel drums to dance to, and crafts and games for the whole family, what’s not to love about summer in the city.

Saturday Family Jazz Session
Where: Strathmore
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: $10

Jumpstart a love for jazz with classes that nurture talent and spark musicality! Junior jazz aficionados can spend Saturday mornings singing, playing, and preparing for a lifetime of jazz appreciation at this fun, creative, kid-friendly class with renowned jazz singer Rochelle Rice. Children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult. All attendees, regardless of age, must have a ticket.

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

* It’s opening weekend for Jumanji at Adventure Theatre! (look for discount tickets)
* Reserve free seats for Saturday Morning at the National, featuring Groovy Nate this wee
* Catch a performance of Little Red Riding Hood and the 3 Little Pigs at The Puppet Co.
* And World on a String is their featured Tiny Tots show
* Two of a Kind are playing the Saturday morning kids show at Jammin’ Java
* See Creative Cauldron’s production of The Wind in the Willows
* Be entranced by The Magic of Bill Blagg Live at Alden Theatre on Saturday evening

Columbia Heights Day Festival
Where: Harriet Tubman Elementary School field
When: Saturday, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Whether or not you live in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of DC, you’re invited to rbing the fam out for a fun, free day of excitement and activities to help celebrate the community. In its 11th year, Columbia Heights Day brings together residents and businesses for festivities that will stretch along 11th Street between Park Road and Kenyon Street and take over the Harriet Tubman Elementary School Field. Enjoy local food vendors, live music and entertainment on the Main and Bloombars Stages, a beer garden, six group tents full of fun and unique vendors, as well as many unique stand-alone vendor tents. And this year, there’s a carnival, to boot!

Petworth Park Summer Jam
Where: Petworth Recreation Center
When: Saturday, 5-9:30pm
Admission: Free

Petworth is putting a spin on the summer music series — literally. While most present live entertainment by local artists, the Summer Jam features a swath of the most talented DJ’s the city has to offer. And all ages are welcome to come dance the third Saturday of the month in June, July, and August.

Market Days
Where: North Bethesda Market
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

North Bethesda Market’s first Home and Garden Market is an outdoor event for the entire family on Saturdays through June. Shop for plants and fresh cut flowers, find decor to refresh your home and garden, and enjoy live music and a fresh grilled lunch al fresco. Whole Foods will offer gardening items just for kids, and you can get tips on flower arranging and creating a succulent garden during free weekly seminars.

Innovations in Flight Family Day
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Head to the Chantilly arm of the Air & Space Museum for a special Family Day and Outdoor Aviation Display. See military, recreational, and home-built aircraft as well as classic automobiles. Enjoy presentations, demonstrations, special tours, and hands-on activities for all ages.

Colonial Wheat Harvest
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $3/adult, $2/child

Help the Claude Moore Colonial Farm Family harvest their wheat and rye crops. After, participate in baking breas on the hearth using those very grains. This fun and educational activity is great for families! Learn more about the Farm here, and read about a KFDC experience here.

Chesapeake Exploration
Where: Calvert Marine Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $9/adult, $4/ages 5-12, free for 4 and under

Discover how the prehistoric past, natural environment, and maritime heritage come together to tell a unique story of the Chesapeake Bay. Fascinating exhibits, including display cases full of fossils and artifacts, live fish and other creatures, and a real lighthouse to tour are engaging for all ages. Even better, there are things to see both indoors and out, so you can enjoy the weather and scenic views, too. Read more about it and get a glimpse of what’s there in this new KFDC post.

*A heads-up on fountain fun this weekend: The water features at Yards Park will be unavailable this Saturday & Sunday. If you still want to splash around in the Navy Yard, head to the southern block of Canal Park (200 M Street SE). For water play elsewhere, check out another spray park in the area.

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Ideas for Father’s Day Fun


Still looking for ways to celebrate dad’s big day? Don’t stress — you’ve got plenty of time and lots of options to plan something great. From medieval entertainment to outdoor pursuits, special events to everyday fun, freebies to splurges, here are some ideas to make Father’s Day an awesome one.

Get Medieval
Medieval Times invites families large and small to celebrate dads in an epic way: Dinner theatre featuring a grand battle of steel and steed and a four-course meal fit for a king. It’s like their own personal Game of Thrones adventure. The best part: Dads are FREE with the purchase of a full priced adult admission. In addition, you can treat him to a special Father’s Day package that includes a framed photo, cape, and 25-ounce glass beer stein with your choice of beer for $25. The offer is running now through June 19.

BBQ & Bowl
Pinstripes in Georgetown is offering a backyard BBQ brunch on Sunday, featuring a carving station, fresh seafood, waffle bar, made-to-order omelets, a dessert station with a chocolate fountain, and endless mimosas. They’ll be grilling up summer favorites including, BBQ ribs, Italian sausage, pesto chicken, corn on the cob, and much more. Don’t forget, they have bowling and bocce inside, so you can make a day of it! Sunday, The brunch will be available 9:30am – 3pm. Cost is $34/adult, $15/kids 6-12, kids 5 & under eat free. Bowling and bocce is extra.

Take Flight
Treat dad to a whirl in iFLY’s wind tunnel or make it a family adventure to celebrate his day. This is a good time to go — you can get 20% off a first time visit or return flight packages using the promo code FATHERSDAY2016 at checkout. Note that the deal won’t last forever; you must book and fly by June 19 before the special offer flies away! Read more about the iFLY experience in this KFDC post.

Play it Up
If dad is a theatre buff and/or a fan of Dumas, take him to see The Man in the Iron Mask at Synetic Theatre. This Sunday, dads get in FREE to the 2pm performance — simply show up to the box office and mention the promotion! Tickets for other family members are $20-60.

Go With the Flow
Spend quality time with the man of the hour on the water, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and pontoons. We just had a terrific Mother’s Day at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, where we hiked then kayaked on the Smith River. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, and you can also row from the Ballpark Boathouse next to Yards Park. Bladensburg Waterfront Park also has vessels for rent along with free pontoon boat tours on weekends from 5-5:45.

A Boatload of Fun
If you’re up for a bigger boating excursion, you can rent your own pontoon at Solomons Island. We did this for Mother’s Day a few years ago and had a blast. Make a whole day of it there, and plan on dinner at one of the waterside restaurants when you’re back on land.

Walk in the Woods
Take a hike as you celebrate the dad! See flowers in bloom, tramp in places with scenic views, walk and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. Bring along a picnic for lunch al fresco, too. This go-to KFDC post has a bunch of recommendations for good places to hit the trail with kids.

Disc Golfin’
Celebrate the day by hitting the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to enjoy a day outdoors with the family. We’ve enjoyed outings at Calvert Road Park in College Park, Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, and Burke Lake Park. Not only is it fun and challenging, the courses are set up in pretty parks with opportunities for more recreation at all of them.

Trekkie Time
Indulge dad’s inner Trekkie at a special screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Smithsonian Theaters are celebrating 50 years of Star Trek by providing the opportunity to view an iconic film in an IMAX theater with a state-of-the-art projection system on Sci-Fi Sunday. The screening will take place at the National Air and Space Museum’s Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at 4:15pm. Tickets are $15/adult, $14/senior, and $13.50/children under 12.

A Grand Feast
Steamed crabs, cold beer, scenic riverfront views…that’s a recipe for a great Father’s Day for at least one dad I know. The 2016 Summer Guide has several suggestions on where to feast on Maryland’s best dish.


Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekend