Category Archives: Monuments & Memorials

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 14-18

Owen & FDR

Owen & FDR



Monday – Wake up really early to see the supermoon!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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The Weekend Round-Up: November 11-13

Roam free at Dumbarton Oaks Gardens - there's no entry fee this time of year!

Roam free at Dumbarton Oaks Gardens – there’s no entry fee this time of year!



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It’s been a heavy week, and I think we all could probably use some good diversions right about now (some more thoughts on that here). Luckily, there are plenty of them happening around the area over the next few days. Observe Veterans Day, go for a glide, see a show, kick off the holiday season, get artsy, enjoy time outdoors, and so much more. And along with these recs, these outdoor suggestions and this indoor list will come in handy, too. Happy Weekend!

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Tour
Where: The Wall
When: Friday & Saturday, various times
Admission: Free

Observe Veterans Day at one of the memorials dedicated to those who have served our country. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is offering special family-friendly tours of The Wall. Kids can get an age-appropriate explanation about the day and the memorial, learn how to look up a name, see photos of service members on The Wall, and learn how to do a name rubbing.

National Veterans Day Ceremony
Where: Arlington Cemetery
When: Friday, 11am
Admission: Free

The National Veterans Day Ceremony begins at 11am with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. Free and open to the public, attendees are encouraged to get there by 10:30am. Read more about Arlington Cemetery in this post about a KFDC experience there.

Opening Day — on Ice!
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

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

Roam Free
Where: Dumbarton Oaks Gardens
When: Saturday & Sunday, 2-5pm (closed Veterans Day)
Admission: Free

Enjoy free admission along with the lovely gardens at Dumbarton Oaks. From now through mid-March, there is no fee to roam the grounds of the Georgetown locale. Bundle up for a walk among the various plats — it’s a beautiful place to explore any time of year. After, head up to M Street and exprience Georgetwon GLOW. Read even more about about Dumbarton and get a glimpse in this early KFDC post.

Free Parking
Where: National Parks
When: Friday
Admission: FREE

It’s the last fee free day of the year for national parks, which means there’s no entrance fee where they usually charge to get in. Take advantage of complimentary admission and the day off from school; hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, take a ride on Skyline Drive to see the mountains covered in autumn colors, or visit Harpers Ferry.

27th Annual Museum Shop Around
Where: Strathmore
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $9

Strathmore elevates the act of gift giving to an art form over Veterans Day weekend, Thursday, November 10 through Sunday, 13, 2016, with Museum Shop Around, the popular annual holiday bazaar that this year convenes 18 area museums, art centers, and cultural destinations to open pop-up shops in the historic Mansion at Strathmore. This community favorite infuses the holidays with the unexpected, clever, heartfelt, handmade, and art-inspired—Strathmore alone will feature wares from more than 100 different artisans and small businesses.

O Say Can You See
Where: Fort McHenry
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $10/adult

Observe the holiday at the birthplace of our National Anthem. Fort McHenry makes for a very interesting, informative, and enjoyable outing for all ages. Engaging exhibits range from historical objects and structures to multimedia displays and interactives, and this weekend there will be a special WWI original uniforms and equipment display. And the grounds located right on the Chesapeake are lovely to stroll on a nice day. Read about our recent experience there.

hiSTORYtime
Where: National Museum of American History
When: Saturday, 11am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Drop by the American History to listen to delicious stories about food! Then, children can participate in food games and crafts, and touch cookware from the collection. This new program aims to boost early literacy, while introducing young visitors ages 0-6 to objects in the museum’s collection. It will also take place on November 19.

Family Math Expo
Where: Montgomery College, Germantown Campus
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

Count our family in for this expo presented by the Montgomery College Math Department. Part of the Maryland STEM Fair, students from preK to college, parents, teachers, and math enthusiasts of all ages are invited to wide selection of board games, card games, app games, and math exploration activities for you to try your hand and mind at. Parents and teachers will also be able to explore resources they can use in their classroom and at home with their kids to build math and problem solving skills in fun ways. Thinking about starting a math club or math circle in your school or neighborhood? This is a great event to meet folks to join with to get started.

Mommy & Me Pop-Up
Where: West Elm DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Browse baby gear and more at this Mommy + Me Pop-Up Shop at the West Elm in Logan. The fun-filled day will feature BambiniWare baby + mommy gear, an organic baby puree bar, mommy mocktails, DIY demo stations, kid-friendly activities, giveaways, and more! RSVP here.

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

* Catch Looking for Roberto Clemente at the Atlas Performing Arts Center
* And Little one will love Aquarium at the Bethesda theatre
* See Where Words Once Were is at the Kennedy Center (look for discount tickets)
* The Olney Theatre presents Mary Poppins
* Hansel & Gretel are the current stars on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Baby Bear’s Birthday is the featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theater
* Northern Virginia Players’ ANNIE Jr. is in its final weekend
* You’ll want some more of Oliver Twist at Creative Cauldron

A Spin on the Carousel
Where: Arena Stage
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission: Tickets start at $50

The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic is Arena Stage’s newest production. Owen and I just saw a performance, and it was an excellent lift to the post-election spirits. Taking place in the Fichandler Stage, the theatre-in-the-round setting really lets the audience appreciate the wonderful talent and direction of the show. Make it a date night, or bring the kids — I’d recommend it for about ages 10 and up.

Animation Mania: Creative Design
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Join the Air & Space Museum for Making STEM Magic, a program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. Ever wonder how pictures can come to life in your favorite animated movie? Learn about motion pictures in the November design challenge and create an optical illusion that will make you flip out.

Grand Opening
Where: Burger-Fi Alexandria
When: Saturday,
Admission: Free

Burger-Fi is celebrating the opening of its new Alexandria location with a weekend full of special events and food giveaways. On “Fry day Friday,” receive a free fry with the purchase of a burger or dog. The first 100 guests in line on Saturday will receive a free cheeseburger and be entered to win lift tickets to Ski Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail. Tommy McFly from 94.7 Fresh FM will broadcast live, and other activities will include a red carpet photo booth, face painting, and balloon twisting. Go on “Sundae Sunday” and receive a free custard cup! Burger-Fi is located at 111 N. Pitt Street in Old Town.

All Ages Dueling Pianos
Where: Bobby McKey’s at National Harbor
When: Saturday, 1-3:30pm
Admission: $18

The whole crew can enjoy an afternoon of music and fun at this dueling piano shows. The two hours of all-request live music paired with a lunch buffet is a great way to stay cool on a hot summer day. And this is a performance where kids are encouraged to wiggle in their seats, dance in the aisles, and sing along!

Intro to 3D Modeling
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange
When: Saturday, 2-4 pm
Admission: Free

Is your teen interested in learning 3D design and learning how to use a 3D printer? Sign them up for this free class at Brentwood Arts Exchange’s new MakerBot, where kids ages 16 and up can learn the basics of 3D printing and leave the class with their very own three-dimensional object! Registration required, as seating is limited. Call 301-277-2863 or register in person at the Brentwood Arts Exchange.

The Emporiyum
Where: Union Market, Dock 5
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $15-25

Meet, eat, and shop as this two-day market and celebration of everything delicious, returns to Union Market. Get a taste of 95 artisans, producers, chefs, and restaurants, will bincluding Erik Bruner-Yang’s Paper Horse, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Ramen Burger, Co Co & Co, Megpies, Eggloo, Bon Bon Bon, and many more. Meet the people behind the brands, taste and learn about their products, and shop for unique edible gifts. Tickets and the full vendor roster can be found on The Emporiyum website.

Positivi-Tree Lighting and Street Fest
Where: Downtown Silver Spring
When: Saturday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

The 5th Annual event is Downtown Silver Spring’s official Tree Lighting and Street Fest. And this year it will feature the lighting of Positivi-Tre, an impressive 35-foot-tall public art installation comprised of hundreds of illuminated and multi-colored umbrellas! Other fun festivities of the evening will include food tastings, live entertainment, ice sculpting, and more!

Sunday at the Studio
Where: Gary Rosenthal Collection
When: Sunday
Admission: $22.50/family

Get ready for Chanukah with glass artist Gary Rosenthal! Get a fascinating tour of Gary’s studio (he’ll show how the glass is made!); make your own dreidel, menorah, mezuzah, candlesticks or tzedakah box; learn a bit with PJ Library’s own Sarah Rabin Spira; and enjoy a tasty snack. Gary’s studio is located at 4218 Howard Avenue in Kensington.

Full STEAM Ahead
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free for little ones, $5/adult, $3/ages 6-17

The amazing Garden & Arts Center in Solomons, MD, injects creativity and fun into STEM by adding Art, and turning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math into STEAM! The program designed for toddlers and preschoolers uses hands-on investigations and challenges as children explore, observe, ask questions, and make predictions about the world around them as they create and play. Drop in Sunday for a Busy Bankers session, then plan to explore the rest of the grounds and exhibits while you’re there – it’s seriously fantastic! Read more about Annmarie in this KFDC post.

Kick off the Holidays
Where: National Harbor
When: Sunday, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

Join National Harbor for a full day of holiday fun, topped off by their annual tree lighting. They’ll have tons of holiday activities, including the opening of the holiday market, card-making for the Troops, a holiday movie on the Plaza, live entertainment, Santa at the carousel, fireworks, and more!

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

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

Leaf Peep on the Trail
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Take in the brilliant color spectrum of autumn and get a little exercise to boot on a family hike. From right here in the city to country locales, you’ve got your pick of places where you can enjoy the fall foliage and some time outdoors. This post about good area hikes with kids started in the early KFDC days, and with many new recommendations added since — Prince William Forest Park, the most recent — there are lots of great recommendations for happy trampers.

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

Montgomery Parks presents loads of special activities for visitors of all ages. Watch a raptor feeding at Meadowside Nature Center, enjoy some evening fun at Locust Grove Nature Center, discover amazing creatures at Brookside Nature Center, and more. See the online calendar for details and even more events happening this weekend.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
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. Go on a family Bird Walk at Green Spring Gardens. Join the Reptile and Amphibian Club at at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park (ages 6 to 15). Take a wagon ride and journey to the pond at Riverbend Park. Details and registration for these and more activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

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Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 7-11

Only in DC: 2nd grade biking field trip to the U.S. Capitol

Only in DC: 2nd grade biking field trip to the U.S. Capitol


Monday – Go for Story Time at the National Postal Museum. Occurring the first Monday of every month, the program includes a book reading and activities for little ones in the museum’s education space. Stay after to explore the rest of the museum, full of interactive exhibits that all ages can enjoy. Story Time is at 10:30am and repeated at 11am. Admission is free. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Tuesday – VOTE!

And in the spirit of democracy, take a tour of the U.S. Capitol. Even if you can’t get on a guided tour day-of, there still are interesting exhibits and statues to see in the Visitor’s Center, which is open 8:30am – 4:30pm daily. Both admission to the Center and tours are free.

Wednesday – Wander around the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. Stop by the art center’s many galleries to view all kinds of works in a variety of mediums — you may even see the artists, too! Plan to grab lunch in the area at one of the many dining options nearby. And take a stroll by the waterfront for scenic views and boat watching.

Thursday – Play, picnic, and enjoy the surrounding scenery at Hains Point. Drive all the way down, almost to the tip, to reach the playgrounds. They’re set amid a large grassy area with picnic tables and bathrooms right there, too. And the spot offers great views of the rivers and airplanes taking off and landing at DCA. Admission is free.

Friday – Observe Veterans Day by visiting the sites that honor those who have served our country. Make the rounds on the Mall at your leisure or attend special ceremonies — they will take place at the World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorials, and Korean War Memorial from 2-4pm, and they’re all within easy walking distance from each other. And the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is offering special family-friendly tours of The Wall — several times slots are available for the free activity (they are also being offered all day Saturday, November 12).


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The Weekend Round-Up: November 5-6

A beautiful dose of nature for these city kids at Prince William Forest Park

A beautiful dose of nature for these city kids at Prince William Forest Park



Autumn is is hitting a sweet spot this weekend with a combo of vibrant fall hues and gorgeous weather — a perfect backdrop for all of the fun, enriching events and activities happening around the DMV. Here are details on all of them, and I highly recommend some time outdoors, too. Happy Weekend!

Leaf Peep on the Trail
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Take in the brilliant color spectrum of autumn and get a little exercise to boot on a family hike. From right here in the city to country locales, you’ve got your pick of places where you can enjoy the fall foliage and some time outdoors. This post about good area hikes with kids started in the early KFDC days, and with many new recommendations added since — Prince William Forest Park, the most recent — there are lots of great recommendations for happy trampers.

Back, East
Where: National Gallery of Art – East Building
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

After a long renovation, the galleries in the East Building of the National Gallery of Art recently reopened! Enjoy it all at this Community Celebration, a special fun and art-filled weekend featuring sketching, performances, face painting, and a photo booth. Activities are for all ages, unless noted otherwise. Auditorium programs are on a first-come, first-seated basis. And it’s all free!

Kids Euro Festival
Where: Around the DC-Metro
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

This weekend is the last to enjoy free artistic adventures of the European variety, thanks to the annual Kids Euro Festival. Musicians, storytellers, dancers, and puppeteers are just a few of the many, many exciting acts that are performing at a variety of venues through November 6. See what’s on the schedule over the next few days.

Ikea Cook and Eat Your Way
Where: Ikea Stores
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

Cook and eat your way Ikea! This event taking place at stores across the country welcomes all for a day of fun, food, and family. There will be all kinds of giveaways, special offers, workshops — enjoy a Swedish American breakfast for just $1.50, sample Swedish treats, get kitchen design tips, and more!

Dia Day los Muertos Family Day
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Day of the Dead with the American Art Museum! Enjoy traditional Mexican folk dance performances throughout the day, add your own artwork to their mural, and leave your handmade ofrendas (offerings), including paper marigolds, calaveras (skull masks), and paper monarch butterflies on the Day of the Dead altar.

DC Author Festival
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Meet your favorite local author, snag a signed book, and hear authors speak on variety of topics at this festival that showcases the talents of area writers! And a KFDC tip: Go at 3pm to hear Rebecca Green of Not-So-SAHM speak and sign her fabulous book Banish Boredom!

hiSTORYtime
Where: National Museum of American History
When: Saturday, 11am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Drop by the American History to listen to delicious stories about food! Then, children can participate in food games and crafts, and touch cookware from the collection. This new program aims to boost early literacy, while introducing young visitors ages 0-6 to objects in the museum’s collection. It will also take place on November 12 and 19.

Rocking Romeo and Juliet
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Shake up your Saturday with a workshop at the Folger! These programs occurring on the first Saturday of every month, encourage families to experience Shakespeare’s language together. This session, dive into the Bard’s most famous love story of bitter feuds, banishment, betrayal, and doomed lovers. Ages 5-7 go 10-11am, and 8-14 from 11am – 12pm. Register here.

Children’s Flea Market
Where: McLean Community Center
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Scope out the bargain prices at this annual flea market! Children’s toys, clothes, games, and other items will be sold by those who know them best…the kids! Whether you plan to get your holiday shopping done early or want to fill the toy chest with goods, get some good deals and help support this entrepreneurial venture by local youths.

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

Join Watson Adventures on a unique Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt for kids 10 & up! Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the National Gallery in search of art that echoes characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies. Wizards and muggles alike can play and enjoy this hunt. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead references to the books will provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art. It’s a great way to discover—or rediscover—the museum. This hunt is designed for kids and adults to do together, but all-adult teams will be allowed to compete separately. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Advance purchase is required. Questions? Call 877-9GO-HUNT.

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

* Reserve free tickets for Jon Sands’ Slam Poetry for Kids, this week’s Saturday at the National show
* Join InterAct Story Theatre for African drumming and dancing at Highland Elementary School on Saturday!
* Peter and the Wolf is at Arts Barn for one show only
* Catch Looking for Roberto Clemente at the Atlas Performing Arts Center
* Where Words Once Were opens at the Kennedy Center (get discount tickets)
* The Olney Theatre presents Mary Poppins
* Hansel & Gretel are the current stars on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Animal Crackers is the featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theater
* This weekend if your last chance to catch the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s fantastic production of Romeo & Juliet (recommended for older children or make it a date night)
* See Miss Nina’s Rap, Rock, and Read Show at Jammin Java on Saturday morning
* The Okee Dokee Brothers are playing a Sunday show at Alden Theatre
* ANNIE Jr. opens at Summit Church today for a two weekend run
* It’s opening weekend for Oliver Twist at Creative Cauldron
* See the superbly acted The Little Foxes at Arena Stage (recommended for teens and up)

Dog Pool Dip
Where: Washington Hilton
When: Saturday, 12-3pm
Admission: $5 suggested donation

Four-legged friends and their people are welcome for the Washington Hilton’s annual dog pool dip, when the community is invited to bring their dogs for a swim after the pol closes for the season and before it’s drained and winterized. This event benefitting the Humane Rescue Alliance has seen upwards of 150 dogs splash in the large outdoor 75-80 degree heated, saline-treated pool. There is also a children’s wading pool for smaller dogs who want to join the fun as well! The current forecast for this Saturday is 63 and SUNNY! Are you interested in joining the pawrty?

Side Yards
Where: Yards Park
When: Saturday, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

The third annual sideshow extravaganza, Side Yards, is back at The Yards Park! An evening of all-ages quirky amusement and wonder beckons DC to let loose while taking in the sights and sounds of the East Coast’s top sideshow performers. Stages of entertainment will showcase the unusual talents of contortionists, magicians, jugglers, escape artists, snake handlers, fire breathers, sword swallowers and more attention-grabbing acts.

Shanghai Nights
Where: George Mason Center for the Arts
When: Friday, 8pm & Saturday, 2pm & 8pm
Admission: $30-50

The Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China will delight the whole family with this thrilling exhibition! Trampoline artists and aerial acrobats fly through the air with the greatest of ease, while jugglers, contortionists, and martial artists demonstrate the exacting precision of their skills. Through jaw-dropping feats of acrobatics, impeccably timed stunts, and beautiful costumes, performers merge the hustle and bustle of contemporary Shanghai with China’s rich cultural heritage to produce this celebration of their native land.

Maryland Emancipation Day
Where: Montgomery County Parks
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Celebrate Maryland Emancipation Day, which commemorates the adoption of the 1864 Maryland Constitution that abolished slavery in the state of Maryland. join Montgomery Parks for free activities take place all weekend long, such as hikes on the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, living history demonstrations, live musical performances, and tours of historic sites.

Fall Back to Bethesda
Where: Rock Creek Mansion
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: $10

Celebrate fall with fun for the whole family while raising critical funds for NIH Charities, Bethesda Fire Department and MetroBethesda Rotary Foundation. Kids pre-K – 8th grade can enjoy unlimited inflatables, face painting, and interactive FUN from Activity Rocket, an dall can enjoy food, music, games, and the beautiful Rock Creek Mansion setting.

Dancing with My Baby
Where: NOVA Natural Birth Center
When: Sunday, 10:30-11am
Admission: Pay what you can

This program allows families the opportunity to connect through movement, dance, yoga, and the expressive arts through simple dance steps and routines set to music. Families can enjoy a fun way to support the parent-child bond while making memories together. Classes are offered on a “Pay What You Can” basis. Register online here.

Disc Golf
Where: Calvert Road Park
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Hit the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to enjoy a nice fall day outdoors with the family. Not only is it fun and challenging, the courses, many of them set up in scenic places, are lovely this time of year. This post has info about one in College Park, and there are also great courses at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg and Burke Lake Park in Burke.

Farm Fun
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

Just because you don’t need to pick out a potential Jack o’ lantern, that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun on the farm. Many locales have way more to enjoy than just pumpkin patches. Whiz down slides, bounce on giant jumping pillows, visit farm animals, and loads more. This list of fall fests has details to get started — Ticonderoga, Cox, Clark’s Elioak, and Great Country Farms are all good bets.

Hiking & History
Where: Harper’s Ferry
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free ($10 if you park in lot)

Get some fresh air and exercise as you take in autumn hues and historic sites. Harpers Ferry is an easy day trip or weekend destination from DC, and fall is a great time to go. For more about a visit there, see this KFDC post.

O Say Can You See
Where: Fort McHenry
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $10/adult

Venture up to Baltimore to explore the birthplace of our National Anthem! Fort McHenry makes for a very interesting, informative, and enjoyable outing for all ages. Engaging exhibits range from historical objects and structures to multimedia displays and interactives. And the grounds located right on the Chesapeake are lovely to stroll on a nice day. Read about our recent experience there.


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Discover the History of Fort McHenry

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Given the many, many years I’ve lived in DC and the frequency that we visit Baltimore, it’s kind of surprising I’d never been to Fort McHenry until recently. That’s not for lack of talking about going, though. I can’t count the number of times over the years that Levi and I drove nearby or through the tunnel bearing its name and remarked about wanting to go — starting before we even had children.

O, say can you see...my kids having a sweet moment?!

O, say can you see…my kids having a sweet moment?!

All that talk finally came to fruition when we made a trip to the national monument with the kids a few week ago. The site of the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812 and birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, Fort McHenry makes for a very interesting, informative, and enjoyable outing for all ages.

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There are all kinds of engaging exhibits both in the Visitors Center and throughout the grounds, from historical objects and structures to multimedia displays and interactives. We started at the Visitors Center, where we paid admission ($10/adult) and got a good background about the site from several exhibits. One of the kids’ and my favorites was a video featuring various artists performing the Star Spangled Banner (Whitney Houston’s Super Bowl rendition the best by far, of course.) There is also a 10-minute film depicting the history of Fort McHenry that is a must-see, with a little surprise at the end that I found very moving.

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With more knowledge of Fort McHenry, including details about defeating the British in battle in 1814 and the waving American flag that inspired the National Anthem, we headed outside to explore the actual fort. Having more insight into the history undoubtedly enhanced the tour, especially for the kids, since they had a better understanding of the site’s significance and could actually placed what they’d just learned where they now were.

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Many original structures remain at the fort and are open for exploration. In fact, most of the barracks and officer’s quarters now contain exhibits, some of them recreating what the spaces would have looked like back then, others displaying artifacts, and even more highlighting interesting aspects of the fort’s history. In one of them you can see the cross brace of the flag pole that hoisted the original star spangled banner. Along with the barracks, there are several underground areas, like prison cells and shelters, which the kids enjoyed exploring.

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Cannons sit at the forefront of it all, the guns aimed at the Chesapeake. You can walk along the bastion and take in the same view the soldiers did over two hundred years ago. What was once a battle scene is now a nice Baltimore vista. And if you look back at the fort, you’ll see the flag waving in the wind above.

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You can explore it all on a self-guided tour or join a Ranger Talk offered at 2:30pm this time of year. Other programs such as drill, musket, and artillery demonstrations by the Fort McHenry Guard occur seasonally, so it’s worth checking the website to see what might be on the schedule before you go. And you can help with the flag changes that place twice a day.

Fort McHenry is located in the Locust Hill neighborhood of Baltimore. It’s open daily, with exceptions of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. Park hours are 9am – 5pm, and the fort and Visitors Center close at 4:45pm. Admission is $10/adult, free for children 15 and under. Free parking is available in a lot. You could also make an adventure of getting there and take a Water Taxi from the Inner Harbor.


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Filed under All ages, Educational, Exhibit, Maryland, Monuments & Memorials, Outdoor, Park, Weekdays, Weekend