Category Archives: Library of Congress

Where to Play on the Weekdays: May 1-5

So much to marvel at in the Library of Congress

So much to marvel at in the Library of Congress



Monday – Visit the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress, to explore children’s books, see interesting exhibits, and marvel at one of DC’s most beautiful buildings. The Young Readers Center is open 9am – 4pm and welcomes visitors to read books and hang out in the cozy space. And be sure to spend time checking out the rest of the LOC, too — it’s truly magnificent! Hours are 9am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Get revved up for Strolling Thunder! Join parents and babies from across the country as they stroll on Capitol Hill urging Congress to Think Babies. Events will emphasize the importance of making our youngest children’s potential a national priority. The Stroll takes place at Upper Senate Park from 12:30-1:30pm.

If you prefer to keep the day non-political, go for a walk in the woods and explore the grounds of Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. The home of the Audubon Naturalist Society is perfect for hiking with little ones. The trails are mellow, there are several small exhibits like bees nests and bird feeding areas, and wildlife sightings are practically guaranteed. Open dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Explore the grounds and play in the gardens, particularly the Children’s Garden, at River Farm. The American Horticulture Society’s headquarters overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria are as lovely as they are fun. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

Thursday – Discover American Indian culture with all kinds of hands-on pursuits at imagiNATIONS, the family activity center at the National Museum of the American Indian. Weave a big basket, play in a teepee and models of native dwellings, do some arts & crafts, build an igloo, hear bird calls of the wild, read kids books in the library, and much more. Plan on lunch or a snack at the Mitsitam Cafe, where they serve indigenous cuisines of the Americas that are interesting and tasty! Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm (cafe 11am – 3pm). Admission is free.

Friday – Spend the day at Flower Mart, the annual spring festival presented by the All Hallow’s Guild of the National Cathedral. Don’t let the name fool ya — along with plant sales and floral and horticultural displays, there is tons of fun for all ages. Music and entertainment, games and rides, tasty foods, the All Hallows Guild antique carousel, and other activities will delight the younger set. Admission is free, though concessions and some activities will cost a fee. Read about one of our experiences at the fair. (KFDC tip: The Beauvoir Playground will be open to the public that day since The Cathedral School is closed, so take advantage of weekday play there!)


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The Weekend Round-Up: March 24-26

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is open for the season!

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is open for the season!



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This first weekend of spring is full of seasonal fun and then some! Enjoy a cherry blossom-inspired event, celebrate Maryland’s birthday, zip through the treetops, catch a live show, have fun on the farm, learn to make slime….plus, the blossoms should be in full bloom anytime now, so plan get out and see the DC in peak mode. Happy Weekend!

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join SAAM and the National Cherry Blossom Festival for a celebration of Japanese culture! A taiko drumming performance kicks 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 our friends from the Smithsonian’s Freer Sackler Asian art museums. Go on a scavenger hunt to find spring-themed artworks and more!

Maryland Day
Where: Annapolis and Southern Anne Arundel County
When: Friday – Sunday, times vary by activity
Admission: Activities are free or just $1

Celebrate Maryland’s birthday and rediscover the state’s history during fun-filled annual festival highlighting the uniqueness of the Four Rivers Heritage Area, as local cultural and heritage sites offer special activities and tours. Stroll through downtown Annapolis or visit Historic London Town and the Annapolis countryside to enjoy educational tours, costumed re-enactors, art exhibits, kids’ activities, and more. Visit the website for more details ad schedule of events.

Kites of Asia 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!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress Young Readers Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
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: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

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

Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The kick of warmth starting today should give the cherry blossoms the final nudge needed to get to full bloom, so get out and view the splendor of it all. The Tidal Basin is the most iconic spot to see them, but other places in the area also showcase the famous flowers. This post suggests some spots and offers tips on making the most of your viewing experience.

Adventure in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by age

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring recently opened for the season! Kids as young as 5-years-old can experience thrills on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial adventure forest, the largest in North America. Children ages 5-6 and an accompanying adult have access to two of the easier courses. Older kids can do much more. It may seem like a pricey venture, but it’s so worth it. Trust me. Read more about the park in this KFDC post.

Composting Workshop
Where: National Arboretum
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10

Join Washington Youth Garden for a family-friendly Urban Composting workshop lead by Compost Cab. Join them at the demonstration garden to learn about indoor and outdoor home composting and leave with the knowledge to make your own soil for your garden. Wear clothing that can get dirty — compost can get messy!

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

* Reserve free tickets to see Bilbo’s Journey presented by Traveling Lantern Theatre Company, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Magic Toyshop is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Paper Dreams at Imagination Stage will delight young audiences
* Older youth audiences will enjoy The Manhattan Project’s production of Alice in Wonderland at the Bethesda theatre
* From the Mouths of Monsters is a Frankenstein-inspired show at the Kennedy Center
* Justin Roberts is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin Java
* See To Sail Around the Sun at the Kennedy Center
* Go KidFree at a performance of The Select (The Sun Also Rises) at the Lansburgh Theatre

Spring Farm Fun
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $14.95 ages 2 and up

Start celebrating Easter as soon as this weekend at Ticonderoga’s annual spring festival! With giant slides, awesome jumping pillows, playgrounds, animals, mazes, and more, the farm in Chantilly is a blast everyday (it’s open daily), but they take the fun up a notch on weekends in early spring. Along with the permanent amusement, there are egg hunts and visits from the Easter Bunny. Be sure to check the website for timing of specific activities. For an idea of what’s there, see this post about their Winter Festival, which is much of the same, but with Easter instead of Christmas festivities.

Going Wild Weekend
Where: Port Discovery
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $$14.95/ages 2 and up

Spring is finally here – and it’s time to “Go Wild” at Port Discovery! Join Wildlife Adventures and programs all about wildlife: Interact with live animals, learn about wildlife with fun programs like Living WILD, Wild Tales, and UnWrap, UnRoll and UnWind, and enjoy animal-themed art projects where you can create Fire Breathing Dragons and Going Wild Masks. Plus, take part in interactive plays and theater performances, yoga for kids, and enjoy roaming music throughout the day!

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. This weekend, Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale is the one family-friendly film showing on Sunday. 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 website to watch trailers and get showtimes and details.

Cántale a Tu Bebé (Sing To Your Baby)
Where: The Mansion at Strathmore
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: $10

Join a bilingual music party celebrating the release of Cántale a Tu Bebé, the Spanish-language version of the award-winning book/CD Sing To Your Baby by Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. Sonia De Los Santos (solo musician and Dan Zanes Band) and Jorge Anaya (Dc-area Latino vocalist) join Cathy & Marcy for this intimate event. Learn how to use music for fun, skill development and as an ongoing expression of love in both Spanish and English. It’s never too early (or too late!) to sing with family!

DC Youth Orchestra SpringFest
Where: Easter High School
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

The DC Youth orchestra Program is celebrating Spring with the community!  It’ll begin with a prelude concert featuring DCYOP chamber groups and faculty. The Orchestra Idol competition concert will follow — think Battle of the Bands meets DC youth! Over 200 students from 80 different schools will be assigned to one of three hybrid orchestras. Each orchestra will have one hour to prepare a piece which will then be performed in front of a panel of celebrity judges and community audience. The winner will be determined by the combined votes of the celebrity panel and audience texts score. Join to enjoy the music and chip in with your vote! 

Museum Movie: The Eagle Huntress
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

Among the isolated Kazakh tribe in the mountains of northwest Mongolia, the long tradition of eagle hunting has only been practiced by men. This documentary follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her family to become an eagle hunter. Her decision causes controversy amongst older members of the community, but Aisholpan boldly embarks on a strict program of training. This inspiring film captures her courage. English narration, and Kazakh with English subtitles. Recommended for ages 11 and up.

Make Slime to Fight Cancer
Where: Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax
When: Sunday, 2-3pm
Admission: $20

Local 9-year-old, Hannah, has been making slime since last summer, and with the recent with slime craze many kids have asked to buy it as well as how to make their own. So, her mom thought it would be fun have her teach a class for kids in the area — and this Sunday Hannah will be doing just that. (How cool is that?!) Even better, part of the proceeds will go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which helps fight childhood cancer. All supplies are included in the fee, and you can use the code HANNAH to get a $5 discount.

Make Room for Matzah
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Sunday, 10:30am -12pm
Admission: $10/family by 3/24, $15/family after

Join for hands-on Passover workshop to get ready for Passover and learn more about this tradition for your interfaith or Jewish family. Your child will make a beautiful Miriam’s Cup to enhance your seder and do a mitzvah for seniors celebrating Passover. Then we will have a Seder Plate Taste Test, as you delve into why we have the things on the Seder plate that we do. Best for ages 3 and up.

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

Enjoy the season and some active fun. See flowers that are popping up with warmer temps, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and savor the time outdoors. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for places to walk in the woods with the kids.

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

If you’re looking for things to do 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


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The Library of Congress: A Local & National Treasure for All Ages

The magnificent Great Hall at the Library of Congress

The magnificent Great Hall at the Library of Congress



Recently, I realized I had yet to post a write-up about the Library of Congress. Which is kind of surprising given that we live just blocks away, within walking distance, and it’s one of DC’s most iconic, fascinating, beautiful attractions that makes for a great outing with kids.

We don’t visit all that frequently, but we’ve spent a decent amount of time there over the years. I used to pop in more when the kids were little to stroll around the grand space, and Sasha and I would occasionally attend story time on Fridays at the Young Readers Center. And while I’ve mentioned it here and there over the years to recommend those regular book readings and other special events for families, there’s been no KFDC dedicated post. Until now.

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It was the recent announcement of new Saturday hours at the Young Readers Center that brought this to my attention. Dedicated to readers from babies to teens, visitors are welcome to explore the collection of books and enjoy both regular and occasional special programs for kids and parents. On the shelves you’ll find everything from board and picture books to early reader chapter books to middle reader series and YA novels. And while you can’t check them out of the library, guests are free to settle in there with a good read.

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Within a such palatial, stately building, the space is a nice, cozy place to hang out and read with kiddos (or let older kids read on their own). Plenty of comfy seating and even stuffed animals to snuggle with are available. There are also small toys around for little ones to play with as they explore. The Young Readers Center is open Monday through Saturday 9am – 4:30pm, and hosts a free story time every Friday at 10am (space is limited to 50 people, so plan accordingly).

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Don’t make that your only stop on an outing to the Library of Congress! There is so much to see and do beyond that — it’s the largest library in the world, after all. The magnificent architecture and stunning design alone will wow visitors young and old. Stand in the Great Hall and look around — you’ll see lots of other people gazing up at the ornate ceilings, reading inscriptions on walls, examining sculptures and paintings and even the beautiful floors, and just wandering around marveling at it all. There are interactives where you can get information about the significance, history, and artistry of the various features. And two very popular displays are a Giant Bible of Mainz and an original Gutenberg Bible.

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From the Great Hall, you can easily access Thomas Jefferson’s Library, a reconstruction of the president’s library arranged in the same particular order he preferred. There are 2,000 volumes from his original collection, plus another 3,000 or so that match those destroyed in an 1851 fire at the Capitol. It’s a huge and impressive treasury of books!

Taking in the view ofthe Main Reading Room

Taking in the view ofthe Main Reading Room

Another must-see is the Main Reading Room, which you can’t actually enter without a special pass but can view from an overlook. The vast space has ceilings 160 feet high and at the center of its dome is a mural depicting twelve figures representing “the countries, cultures, and eras that contributed to the development of Western civilization as understood in 1897.” Be sure to also take a look around at the bronze statues representing great influences in various subjects. (This area is accessible to researchers ages 16 and up. Go here to learn more.)

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The exhibit Exploring the Early Americas contains an interesting collection of rare maps, paintings, and artifacts. Show kids what explorers thought the world looked like centuries ago, and get a close look at a case of ceramic flasks and vessels sculpted with faces and symbolic designs.

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There are even more exhibits downstairs that change out seasonally. Recently, paraphernalia highlighting presidents and the women’s movement were showcased. Follow the long hallway and you’ll come to the Bob Hope and American Variety exhibit and the American Folk Life Center. There is even a room of pianos dedicated to Gerswhin.

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I should note that all of this is in the Thomas Jefferson Building, one of three that make up the entire Library of Congress. It’s great to explore on your own, but guided tours are also available hourly every day beginning at 10:30am until 3:30pm (2:30pm on Saturdays). You can also check the calendar for any other programs taking place.

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And if you’re feeling ambitious about your day out, take the tunnel from the Library to the U.S. Capitol Building. Yes, you can follow a long underground hallway to the Capitol Visitor Center and embark on a whole new tour there!

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The Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building is located on First Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.


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The Weekend Round-Up: January 27-29

The Chinese New Year Parade is one of several ways to celebrate the Year of the Rooster

The Chinese New Year Parade is one of several ways to celebrate the Year of the Rooster



Chinese New Year celebrations to usher in the Year of the Rooster, a chance to check out some sweet rides, a couple of new indoor play options, an improv gig for kids, loads of live entertainment, and quintessential winter recreation are among the options for family fun. That’s a lot to cock-a-doodle-doo about (aagh, couldn’t help myself!). Happy Weekend!

Washington Auto Show
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Friday, 12-10pm; Saturday, 10am -10pm; Sunday 10am – 7pm
Admission: $12/adults, $5/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under

The annual Washington Auto Show has zoomed back into town. And if there’s any “grown-up” event that is equally fun for all ages, this is it. The Auto Show is like a Truck Touch, but with automobiles — more than 700 of them! — on display for guests to check out. Other activities, like Ride ‘n Drives and celeb appearances, give guests even more to do and see. There will also be fun especially for kids and pop-ins by some of their favorite characters along with the autos. The show will be in town through February 5.This post about one of our experiences at a past show has more about what to expect.

Chinese New Year Parade
Where: Chinatown
When: Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Welcome, Year of the Rooster! On Sunday, the annual Chinese New Year Parade brings vibrant tradition to downtown DC. Festivities kick off at 6th & I Streets NW at 2pm and will wind through the streets of Chinatown celebrating Chinese culture in a brilliant procession that includes traditional dance, music, and, of course, the iconic dragons. Kids always love seeing the show and having trinkets and treats given to them by parade participants passing by (mine especially dig this!). The parade lasts about two hours, and spectating is free. Get there a little early to stake out your curbside spot — folks come out for this one, especially if it’s a nice day.

Family Day: Okinawa Lunar New Year
Where: The George Washington University and Textile Museum
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Lunar New Year, island style! Join the Textile Museum on the closing weekend of the exhibition “Bingata! Only in Okinawa” for an all-ages festival that celebrates the traditions of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Enjoy traditional dance and karate demonstrations; create your own bingata pattern; and go fishing in the islands’ tropical reefs. This is a great time to visit a fantastic museum that normally might be a little sophisticated for young kids.

Chinese New Year Festival
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3:30pm
Admission: Free

Join the gallery in the heart of DC’s Chinatown neighborhood as they open their doors to the the community for the 2017 Lunar New Year and celebrate the Year of the Rooster! Help “awaken the lion” and ring in the New Year. Enjoy a variety of activities and demonstrations throughout the day, including crafts, traditional performances, and a scavenger hunt. (If you go, stop by the new Explore! with the Portrait Gallery while you’re there.)

Celebrate Saturdays!
Where: Library of Congress
When: Saturday, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Join the Library of Congress to celebrate new ways of engaging with the Young Readers Center as they launch new Saturday hours! Watch a ribbon cutting with Dr. Carla Hayden and Teen Board representatives; enjoy story time with award-winning authors Meg Medina and Erica S. Perl; and stay for crafts, book accessibility demos, and a very special guest parade. Kids are encouraged to wear their best book character costumes and have fun! Space is limited, so plan to arrive early.

Explore! with the Portrait Gallery
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am – 6pm
Admission: Free

A new indoor play space for little ones, ages 18 months to 8 years old, opens this weekend. The exhibition in partnership with the Explore! Children’s Museum of Washington, DC, offers several hands-on activities aimed to expand the experience of portraiture. I got a sneak peek of it earlier this week — you can read more about in this KFDC post. (If you go on Saturday, plan to check out the Chinese New Year Festival in the Kogod, too!)

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

* Hamlette puts a twist on the Shakespearean classic as it open at The Keegan Theatre
* Catch The Big Meow from Theatre on the Run
* Goldilocks is the latest Main Stage show at The Puppet Co.
* And Panda-Monium is the featured Tiny Tots performance this weekend
* Enjoy NSO Music for Young Audiences as they perform Catch the Vibe at Kennedy Center
* Catch Titanic at Signature Theatre while it’s still cruising this final weekend
* Little ones will be delighted by Blue at Imagination Stage
* The Folger Theatre presents As You Like It
* Make it a KidFree night out at Arena Stage where ROE recently opened

Monster Jam
Where: Verizon Center
When: Saturday
Tickets: $15-95

The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC. Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, Pirate’s Curse, Shark, Alien Invasion, Zombie, Monster Mutt Rottweiler, and Blue Thunder are among the vehicular beasts you’ll see tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Polar Bear Plunge
Where: Sandy Point State Park
When: Saturday, 8am – 2pm
Admission: $75 to plunge, free to spectate

If you want to take a quick dip in the cold, cold Chesapeake Bay for a good cause or want to watch others endure a frigid swim, head toward the Bay Bridge on Saturday for the 21st Annual Polar Bear Plunge. All ages can participate in this event that raises funds for Special Olympics Maryland. And you can still donate if you don’t want to plunge in.

Lunar New Year Celebration
Where: Leesburg Corner Outlets
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Leesburg’s shopping destination is hosting a Lunar New Year celebration with an afternoon of cultural festivities. Activities will include calligraphy writing, origami folding, and a variety of local performances, including colorful Dragon Dances and a Han Conture Fashion Show. Trendsetters can also enjoy in-store specials from participating retailers.

ComedySportz for Kids
Where: DC Improv
When: Saturday, 2:30pm (doors open at 2pm)
Admission: $10

Kids as young as first grade can enjoy this afternoon improv show with ComedySportz, a comedy troupe that specializes in short-form improv games. This show features child-sized versions of those games, hosted by a Kids Coach. Guests will love being able to shout out during a show and some of the older kids will enjoy a chance to go crazy onstage.

Lunar New Year Celebration, Hon
Where: Walters Art Museum
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission:

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with art activities and traditional Lunar New Year performances by the Baltimore Chinese School, the Johns Hopkins Lion Dance Troupe, and the Korean dance groups Sang Hee Ju Traditional Dance Company and Stepping Stones.

Story Time
Where: East City Bookshop
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

East City Bookshop is launching its second weekly storytime, this one for readers ages 4 – 8 years old. Starting this weekend, and continuing every Sunday, join the free children’s book reading session led by a rotating cast of staff members, local librarians and teachers, and children’s book authors.

Hit the Slopes
Where: Liberty Mountain
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies

Take advantage of winter and enjoy a quintessential seasonal activity — skiing! Liberty Mountain is one of the more convenient places to go with the kids, especially if they are newbies. Just over an hour from DC in PA, it’s easy to get to for a one-day venture on the slopes, the runs aren’t too difficult, and kids can do a couple of hours of ski school (be sure to sign up in advance). Get the scoop on their children’s programs here. Currently, they claim “spring-like, soft snow conditions thanks to recent mild temperatures but colder weather now returning to our valley!”

Ice It
Where: Local ice skating rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

It’s going to be a great weekend to get out and glide! Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at CanalPark; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area. And note that both at Canal Park and Washington Harbor are hosting Cartoon Skate on Saturday morning!

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

It’s going to be sunshiny and not too cold considering it’s winter, so get out and enjoy it! Take a hike, check out a new playground, roam around a garden, maybe even do some fossil hunting. This KFDC post has loads of ideas for enjoying time outdoors with the kids around the area. (And if the weather should turn, or you’re just seeking activities inside, The Great Indoors post has you covered.


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The 2016 Library of Congress National Book Festival

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Book lovers, mark your calendars! On September 24, readers of all ages are invited to join some of the country’s most celebrated authors for the 16th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival.

Book enthusiasts, young and old, come from all over for the day of reading-related activities. Works by more than 120 authors, poets, and illustrators will be showcased and the creators themselves will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for special appearances.

All genres are represented on stages throughout the festival — Children, Teens, Picture Books, Contemporary Life, Culinary Arts, Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Poetry & Prose, Science and Special Programs — where readings, presentations, book signings, photo ops with writers (and costumed PBS characters), and more exciting experiences for guests will take place. And a Book Sales area gives guests an opportunity to purchase selected reads — and possibly have them signed by the authors.

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If your children love books, chances are an author of one of their favorite stories will be there (Andrea Beaty, author of the hugely popular Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer, among them). Kids will also be able to enjoy an array of fun and exciting activities on the Expo Floor. Last year, Sasha had a blast visiting booths representing every state and getting her passport stamped to earn a special souvenir.

Even more, there’s bound to be a writer — or many — that parents will be excited about, too. Joyce Carol Oates, Salmon Rushdie, Lauren Groff, Sarah Vowell, even Stephen King (!) are among the many that will be in attendance. Have a look for yourself at the complete list and start planning your National Book Festival experience. Most presentations are first come, first served — and people do line up early to get seats for the favorites — the Stephen King presentation requires tickets, which are free and will be issued electronically on September 14 at 9am.

The National Book Festival will be held at the Washington Convention Center on Saturday, September 24, from 9am to 10pm. Admission is free. You can read about one of our past visits — including an interview with Magic Treehouse author Mary Pope Osborne! — here.

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