Category Archives: Museums

Giveaway! See Amazon Adventure 3D at the National Museum of Natural History

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Amazon Adventure 3D tells the epic, true story of explorer Henry Bates’ fascinating 11-year journey through the visually stunning and biodiverse Amazon rainforest as a young man who risks his life for science in the 1850’s.

As in any great detective story, audiences will experience, in immersive IMAX®, the compelling clues Bates unearths in his major discovery of the phenomenon of mimicry, whereby certain animals adopt the look of others that helps them deceive predators and gain an advantage to survive.

Little known to the public, Bates made other crucial contributions to biology: identifying 8,000 species new to science and, most importantly, putting the first ever case for the creation of a new species, which Charles Darwin called the “beautiful proof” for Natural Selection.

Audiences will be wowed by the mind-boggling examples of camouflage and mimicry and inspired by Bates’ endless curiosity and determination to explore the wilds of nature from the time he was a young boy.

Amazon Adventures 3D is playing at the Johnson IMAX Theater in the National Museum of Natural History. Running time is 45 minutes. Tickets are available online or at the Box Office located on the main floor of the museum.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to see Amazon Adventures 3D at the Johnson IMAX Theatre (tickets must be used by June 1, 2017), simply leave a comment below or on the KidFriendly DC Facebook (enter on both for two shots at winning) page naming your child’s favorite Amazonian creature. This giveaway will run through April 28, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


This post is sponsored by Smithsonian Enterprises, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2017, DC, Educational, Giveaway, Movies, Museums, Nature, Sponsored Post, Ticket Giveaway, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: April 21-23

Celebrate National Parks and Earth Day at Shenandoah (and cross fingers for no rain!)

Celebrate National Parks and Earth Day at Shenandoah (and cross fingers for no rain!)



Earth Day celebrations, the March for Science, a math festival, National Parks Week, dinosaurs! It sounds like a STEM sort of weekend. Except there’s also a birthday bash for Shakespeare, lots of live entertainment, a literary fest, an extravaganza of fairies and gnomes, and much more. It’s a well-rounded selection of fun. Happy Weekend!

Earth Optimism Day
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

A great way to spend Earth Day: Celebrating conservation success stories at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo! The family-friendly event will feature fun activities and interactive demos, including a conservation scavenger hunt. Plan to bike there and get free valet bike parking – register for it here.

March for Science
Where: Starts north of Washington Monument | DC
When: Saturday, 9am
Admission: Free

Celebrate science and join the “first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.” Well-timed to take place on Earth Day, the DC event will start with a teach-in and rally, then a march through the streets will follow.

Shop & Celebrate
Where: 529 Kids Consign | Alexandria, VA
When: Friday, 3-6pm
Admission: Free

The go-to upscale children’s and maternity consignment boutique is celebrating five years of business and you’re invited to the birthday bash! During the festivities, get 10% off all full-price items, plus there will be balloon animal art and a photo booth with a chance to win a FREE mini photo session. Party goers will also have the chance to score raffle prizes from local shops. And no party is complete without treats, so adults can enjoy rosé and Popped Republic will be on-hand with popcorn goodies for all. Local lifestyle and family blogger Angelica Talan (who is awesome!) of ClarendonMoms.com and AngelicaInTheCity.com will serve as the guest host for the party.

Juggle Jam
Where: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, 6-7:30pm
Admission: $5 suggested donation

Throw caution to the weekend! Conquer the thrilling challenge of juggling with veteran juggler Christian Kloc. This workshop begins with a short demo, moves into some goofy warm-ups, then puts juggling props in your hands and offers pro tips to jumpstart your newfound circus habit. After practicing controlled chaos, put on a show with your fellow jugglers and get the thundering applause you deserve! All ages are welcome. Equipment is provided. Wear comfortable clothes that allow relaxed movements.

National Math Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center | Mt. Vernon Square, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: Free

The National Math Festival brings together some of the most influential mathematicians of our time to inspire and challenge participants to see math in new and exciting ways. Through a day of lectures, hands-on demonstrations, art, films, performances, puzzles, games, children’s book readings, and more, we bring out unexpected sides of mathematics for everyone, from toddlers to adults of all ages.

Earth Day Family Day
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 11:30am-3pm
Admission: Free

The American Art Museum is going green for the 47th annual Earth Day! Follow the rhythms of Bash the Trash as they perform with instruments made from recycled and reused materials, or make artworks inspired by Mother Nature. From trees to oceans to critters, come celebrate the many gifts this planet has to give us.

Discover the Dinosaurs
Where: DC Armory | SE DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $14-52

Venture back to a time when the dinosaurs roamed the earth at the ALL NEW Discover the Dinosaurs UNLEASHED! Experience up-close encounters with a lifelike Stegosaurus, Velociraptor, and the king T-Rex in this thrilling walk-through exhibit. Kids can meet a baby dino, take a spin in the Jurassic Jeeps on the Dino Raceway, and visit the Kids Adventure Zone filled with themed bouncy houses, crafts, face painting, and more. It’s family fun of prehistoric proportions!

Musical Morning with Uncle Devin
Where: Room & Board | 14th Street, DC
Whne: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free – RSVP here

Kids can get their groove on with the Uncle Devin Show, a DC-based musical experience featuring percussion instruments and vocals. All ages will love learning about percussion and can create their own musical instrument-themed craft to take home. Two sessions will take place at 10:20am and 11:20am. Room & Board is located at 1840 14th Street NW.

Anatomy of Sports
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine | Silver Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Bones and muscles need to work together for optimal performance. Athletes of all ages should know how their bodies work in order to compete and stay healthy. During Anatomy of Sports, athletes will demonstrate their sport while medical illustrators and physical therapists reveal how muscles and bones work together. This session is perfect for families with children playing sports, the recreational athlete ,or the practiced sports enthusiast. Read more about the National Museum of Health & Medicine in this KFDC post.

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

* Your wish for all-ages entertainment has been granted: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp is at Adventure Theatre
* TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched brings family puppetry to Black Rock Center for the Arts
* It’s opening weekend for The Jungle Book at Imagination Stage
* The Three Billy Goats Gruff is on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Baby Bear’s Birthday is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Gala Hispanic Theatre presents Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights – En Español!
* Ragtime is running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* Make it a date night at Fun Home running at National Theatre through May 13

A Raisin in the Sun
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through May 7
Tickets: $40-111

Take older kids or make it a date night for this play. The story follows an African American family in the 1950’s as they yearn for a better life from their Chicago tenement and have the opportunity to realize it. With stellar performances by the cast, the show is emotional and thought-provoking as it spotlights struggles and issues that our society still grapples with today. Read the full KFDC review of it here.

Holland in Haymarket
Where: Burnside Farm | Haymarket, VA
When: Saturday, & Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $8/day

Tiptoe, stroll, frolic through the tulips! Burnside Farm’s annual Festival of Spring showcasing the season’s flowers is open and blooming. Wander through the giant fields that contain over 50 different varieties of flowers in a rainbow of colors and pick your own to enjoy at home: $1 for 2 daffodils, $1 per tulip.) Be sure to have your camera handy for some brilliant photo ops.

Run of the Mill
Where: Peirce Mill | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

All ages are welcome to see the 2,000-pound millstone convert corn to cornmeal using good old-fashioned renewable energy of water. Miller Jeanne and Friends of Peirce Mill invite you to see DC’s only gristmill in action. Be sure to stop by Peirce Barn next door to explore the exhibits and enjoy children’s crafts. They will also be celebrating Rock Creek’s spring herring run with a special obstacle course for kids. Read more about Peirce Mill in this KFDC post.

Weekend Tudor Tots: Earth Day
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 10-11am
Admission: $5/child, free for adults

It’s a special weekend session of the (usually) Tuesday program for little ones to celebrate Earth Day. Read, sing, and play as Tudor Place celebrates spring while learning to reduce, reuse, and recycle in the picturesque gardens. Tots will take home a craft they’ve made themselves.

White House Spring Garden Tours
Where: White House Grounds | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm & Sunday, 10am – 2:30pm
Admission: Free, but tickets are required

Here’s a chance to see the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Kitchen Garden, and South Lawn at the White House. The annual Spring Garden and Grounds Tours are being held on Saturday and Sunday — and gaining admission to the event is as easy as picking up tickets the day of. Go here for more details and info on how to get tickets.

Earth Day Campfire
Where: Meadowside Nature Center | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 7:15-8pm
Admission: $6

Celebrate Earth Day around the campfire! Craft some handy take-care-of-the-planet reminders for your home and wind down the evening with s’mores. All participants must register in advance.

Hop on the Eye Spy Trains
Where: Montgomery County Parks | Cabin John & Wheaton, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $4/ride

Montgomery Parks recently started offering Spring Eye Spy Train rides at Cabin John and Wheaton Regional Parks for the first time! (The mini trains run during summer, too, but the Eye Spy fun is usually reserved for Halloween.) Hope on board and look for hidden figures in the woods as you ride around the park. Of course, stay to play at the park, too. Read KFDC write-ups about the Cabin John playground and the Wheaton playground.

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

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

Happy Birthday to the Bard!
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 12pm
Admission: Free

‘Tis Shakespeare’s 453rd birthday, and the Folger Shakespeare Library is celebrating with its annual Open House on Sunday afternoon. In true Renaissance fashion, there will be song and dance, Elizabethan crafts, and theatrical performances. Guests can also enjoy sword fighting demos, special tours, a giant birthday cake, and an appearance by Queen Elizabeth I. The free event takes place rain or shine. Food trucks will be stationed in Puck’s Circle The Folger Shakespeare Library is located at 201 East Capitol Street SE.

Earth Day Festival
Where: Brookside Gardens | Wheaton, MD
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Join Montgomery Parks at Brookside Gardens for a celebration of their wild animal friends and learn how you can help them. Fun crafts, games, nature walks, and talks will are some of the festivities to enjoy. And you’ll also have opportunities to see and meet the animals who live at Brookside up close!

Fairy & Gnome Festival
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5, free for member and under 2
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This annual festival at one of the most enchanting places will delight the whole family — and we know from experience. Festivities are scattered throughout the beautiful grounds, creating a charming journey of discovery for young (and old) guests. Search for hidden fairy and gnome homes and use them as inspiration to create your own special pieces. Climb, explore, build, and dream in the lovely Fairy Lolly. Get faces painting, and enjoy music, dancing, games, crafts, food, drink, and more. Oh, and don’t let little ones miss the unicorn (yes, unicorn!) rides and a petting zoo. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post.

Park It
Where: National Parks
When: All weekend long
Admission: Free

It’s the tail end of National Park Week, so there’s no entrance fee to national parks that usually charge admission this weekend. If weather permits, hit the trail at Shenandoah, Prince William Forest, Great Falls, Harpers Ferry, or head up to Baltimore to explore Fort McHenry. Find even more parks to visit here.

HERtime2shine
Where: Silver Spring Civic Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Join Montgomery County Recreation at the second #HERtime2shine Sports & Fitness Event in celebration of girls and women in sports. The event aims to empower girls to get involved in sports and live healthy, active lifestyles by bringing the county’s sports and fitness organizations together to showcase new opportunities. The fun, carnival-style day will include demonstrations, entertainment and informational booths,cool prizes, and activities for the whole family.

Bethesda Literary Festival
Where: Throughout downtown Bethesda, MD
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: Free

The 18th annual festival celebrating reading and writing begins Friday night and runs through the weekend. Both local and national authors, journalists, and poets will be there to present their works, lead discussions, and sign books. While most of it is geared toward adults, especially for the younger set will be family storytime on Saturday morning. View the schedule for event times and locations.

Falls Church Feeds the World
Where: Christ Crossman UMC | Falls Church, VA
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Volunteer with the community to assemble and package 30,000+ meals to combat hunger around the world — kids aged 4 and older can help with meal packaging. There also will be a children’s festival with games and fun activities that will teach children about food insecurity in our community and the world.

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

Rain is in the forecast, so you might need extra ideas for indoor outings. Burn some energy at an indoor playground, visit a museum, explore a historic place, catch some live entertainment, bring the outdoors in at a nature center. This post listing over 90 ideas for activities inside that will get your fun started.

***BONUS BITS***
* The Chime giveaway to celebrate moms is still running – enter for your chance to win a $200 gift card to Bliss Spa and $100 in free babysitting!
* How about a fun — and yummy — day date? Hank’s Oyster Bar is hosting it’s 10th Annual Oyster Fest on Saturday!
* This weekend may be too rainy for it, so plan ahead for some recreation on the water with this new round-up places to paddle, pedal, sail, and go with the flow.
* Looking for summer activities? Kids can kick it at DC Way Soccer Camp!

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Where to Play on the Weekdays: April 17-21

Skip among the spring flowers at Dumbarton Oaks

Skip among the spring flowers at Dumbarton Oaks



* Along with these recommendations, be sure to check out the Spring Break guide with more ideas for things to do with kids off from school this week!

Monday – Go over the rainbow and beyond at Watkins Regional Park. There is so much for all ages to enjoy. Visit the animals at Old Maryland Farm, then head to the Watkins Nature Center to view some cool creatures and birds. Along with animals inside, look for frogs in the pond right outside and do some bird watching and visit the owls, then hike the short trails nearby. And the adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will keep little ones frolicking for hours. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 8:30am – 5pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free. (Update: The farm is closed Mondays, but the park is still worth a visit — the Nature Center and playground are fantastic. Or enjoy it all a different day of the week.)

Tuesday – Experience a bit of Holland in Haymarket, VA, at Burnside Farms’ Festival of Spring. The blooming tulips are absolutely stunning, stretching along acres of fields in a striking array of colors and varieties. Even better, you can pick your own to bring the beauty home ($1 per stem). Admission also includes bouncy fun, a playhouse area, cornhole games, and authentic dutch wooden shoes to “klomp” around in. A cow train and wagon rides are an extra $2. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $8.

Wednesday – Locate secret doors, see outrageously fabulous themed rooms, and browse a trove of secondhand treasures on a tour of The Mansion on O Street. The Dupont Circle landmark is a mansion, museum, restaurant, vintage store, and hotel all in one. And visitors are welcome to explore (and shop!) it all. Tours offered 11am – 3pm. Self-guided tours start at $15. Purchase tickets in advance online.

Thursday – Meet a variety of reptiles and learn about their habitats around the world at Ecosystems Alive, an educational live animal show visiting Discovery Theater. Recommended for ages 6-11, showtimes are 10:15am and 11:30am (on Friday, too). Tickets are $6/child, $8/adult, $3/ages 2 and under. For live entertainment with littler ones, The Three Billy Goats Gruff is the current show at The Puppet Co. in Glen Echo Park. Showtime is 11am. Tickets are $12.

Friday – Frolic on the playground and sprawling fields and do some light hiking at Montrose and Dumbarton Oaks Parks in Georgetown. Both are fun, easy places to enjoy a nice day with little ones (and big ones, for that matter). Admission at both locales is free. Plan to grab a bite at one of the many nearby eateries on M Street or Wisconsin Ave. If you want to make a longer day of it, visit Dumbarton Oaks Gardens, too. Located right next to Montrose, the grounds will be popping with color this time of year, making an already beautiful place even more exquisite. Hours are 2-6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $10.


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The Weekend Round-Up: April 14-16

Tulips abloom at Burnside Farm

Tulips a bloomin’ at Burnside Farm



It may be Easter weekend, but there’s way more going on than egg hunts and bunnies (though there are plenty of them, too). Have fun at Nationals Park — and in national parks. Go to a flower filled festival. Join a bird walk or bike ride. See a show. Enjoy some recreation on the water. Fling some discs on a course…. These are just some of many ways to enjoy the next few days — and some QT with the kids. Happy Weekend!

Tiptoe Through the Tulips
Where: Burnside Farm
When: Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 6pm
Admission: $6/Friday $8/Weekend

Experience Holland in Haymarket, VA! The bloom has begun at Burnside Farm, where their annual Festival of Spring showcases the season’s flowers. Stroll through the giant fields that contain over 50 different varieties of flowers in a rainbow of colors and pick your own to enjoy at home: $1 for 2 daffodils, $1 per tulip.) Be sure to have your camera handy. Along with the flowers, there are bouncy features, a playhouse area, cornhole games, and authentic Dutch wooden shoes to try on, concessions for sale, and a picnic area.

Egg-cellent Celebrations
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by event

Egg hunts, bunny visits, and more spring fun to celebrate Easter and the season are happening all around the area. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs for the whole fam. Join a Bird Egg-stravaganza at Woodend, hunt amid storybook installations at Clark’s Elioak, enjoy loads of spring fun at Ticonderoga Farm, hop on a Bunny Train, fill a basket at an Eggstravagnza, feast at Pinstripes, or find another event where you can celebrate here.

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

The Nats host the Phillies all weekend with games Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Sunday’s game is going to be extra egg-citing. Not only is it Kids Day, Screech’s Birthday, and Kids Run the Bases, after the game young fans can join the first-ever egg hunt in the outfield at Nationals Park! This requires purchase of a special ticket, and adults must buy it, too (though the hunt is just for kids). Be sure to check out these KFDC tips for doing a Nats game without breaking the bank. And consider signing up for the Jr. Nationals Kids Club, too.

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

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

Bluebells at the Bend
Where: Riverbend Park
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: $7

Celebrate the Virginia Bluebells as they blanket the banks of the Potomac River at Riverbend Park. Bring the whole family for fun including games, music, wildflower walks, wagon rides, live animals, and more. Read more about Riverbend in this KFDC post. And to see what else is going on at other Fairfax County Parks, go here.

Free Parking
Where: National Parks
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: FREE!

It’s National Parks Week through April 23, so there will be no entrance fee at national parks where they usually charge to get in this weekend and next. Take advantage of complimentary admission and celebrate our parks by visiting a local natural treasure. Hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, take a ride on Skyline Drive, explore Fort McHenry, or visit Harpers Ferry. For more ideas of places to visit, see the National Park Service website.

Breakin’
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Spring Break is winding down for some kids, but just kicking off for others (incuding mine!), and there are a bunch of great ways to take advantage of the time off from school. See a special exhibit, hit the beach, take a cool day trip or overnight, and more. Check out the guide with ideas for where to go and what to do around DC during Spring Break 2017.

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

* Your wish for all-ages entertainment has been granted: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp is at Adventure Theatre
* The Three Billy Goats Gruff is on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Bunny Business is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Ragtime is running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* The Broadway hit Chicago is at the Kennedy Center for one more weekend
* A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage is a great option with older kids or for a date night

Spring Bird Walk
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
When: Sunday, 8-10am
Admission: Free

Bird nerds and those who enjoy a nature walk in a lovely place can join the National Park Service every Sunday in April and May from 8-10am to explore Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and Marsh to find resident birds and arriving spring migrants from the tropics. Binoculars and gird guides provided. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Ride with Recess Outings
Where: Capitol Hill
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10-11:30am
Admission: $30-40

Join Recess Outings on a bike ride! If you’ve just starting to cycle with little ones in tow, the Precious Cargo ride on Saturday is an introduction to biking with toddlers. On Sunday, To Market, To Market is designed for anyone up for a leisurely exploration of DC, with world-class markets serving as the bookends along the route as you meander from Eastern Market to Union Market and back again. Get more details about both rides here.

Furnished with a Firelock
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/child, free for 2 and under

Learn about the militia in Colonial Virginia right before the American Revolution at this new educational and fun event. Witness the sights and sounds of an 18th century militia encampment and help the soldiers with their camp duties – then fall in to learn the manual of arms.

Go with the Flow
Where: Potomac, Anacostia, South, & Patuxent Rivers
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by boathouse

Enjoy the weekend on the water, where you can paddle and explore! A bunch of places around the area that rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and pontoons have opened for the season! Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, and you can also row from Key Bridge Boathouse, which just opened for the season. Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis has paddling options. And if you’re up for a bigger excursion, you can rent your own pontoon at Solomons Island.

Disc Golf
Where: Local parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Hit the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to enjoy a day outdoors with the family. Read about one of our outings playing the Frisbee-Golf combo. We’ve also enjoyed it at Seneca Creek State Park and Burke Lake Park. Not only is disc golf fun and challenging, the courses are set up in pretty places with lots of opportunities for more active recreation.

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

Between the glorious weather and the blooming everything (it seems, right?), it’s a great time to be outdoors. Plan for some al fresco adventures — the round-up of The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids has ideas galore!

***Good Stuff to Know***
* There’s an awesome giveaway going on right now to celebrate Mother’s Day coming up. Enter here for a chance to win a $200 gift card to Bliss Spa and $100 in babysitting credit from Chime by Sittercity (note: it doesn’t have to be used on Mother’s Day)!
* Thomas the Tank Engine & friends are rolling into Baltimore for Day Out With Thomas at the B&O Railroad Museum April 28-30 and May 5-7. (Note: The giveaway has ended, but find ticket links in the post).
* There are lots of great shows coming to local stages this season — save your seats in advance!
* We dig the The Brig! The family-friendly beer garden near Barracks Row has a nice selection of brews, good food, live music on Saturdays, and a 25-foot screen for viewing sports games. Yay.


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Where to Go & What to Do Around DC During Spring Break 2017

Local explorations and sibling bonding at Great Falls

Local explorations and sibling bonding at Great Falls



Ask and you shall receive! A number of people contacted me recently to ask if I’d be posting a Spring Break guide, as many local kids get time off from school over the next couple of weeks. I’d kind of been considering it anyway, but the interest from you guys solidified my decision to do it.

Many of the ideas here are already on the blog, but sometimes a little guidance for what’s best at certain times helps. (What people more hip than me call *curated* 😉 ) Among these recommendations are activities being hosted especially for Spring Break, exhibits and shows that are hot tickets right now, outings that take advantage of the great spring weather, and places and experiences that kids who are in school all day can’t get to easily.

And, of course, the rest of this blog is full of suggestions if you want even more options. So, whether you’re enjoying a staycation or visiting from out of town, you should have no problem keeping the kids (and yourself!) happy during the week off — or on, depending how you look at it. Happy Spring Break!

Special Activities

Navigate the aerial forest at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring

Navigate the aerial forest at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring

Spring Break in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring
When: April 7-17
Admission: Varies by age

The park that offers a thrilling aerial forest adventure is adding some extra zip to the pursuit with a series of themes and special events. During Spring Break, each day will be themed, and guests who participate will be eligible to play games, win prizes, and receive park discounts.

Artsy Adventures
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: April 13 & 14, 9am – 3:30pm
Admission: $35-40

The wonderful art center and sculpture garden has a couple of special Spring Break Camp days open. On Thursday, join for a fun-filled day of art and nature as they explore with color. On Friday, get creative with lines. Note that these all-day camps are drop-off. You can also go together and enjoy the wonderful Fairies in the Garden exhibit (more on that below)!

Egg-Cellent Outings
Where: Around the area
When: Through April 17
Admission:; Varies by event

Egg hunts, Bunny visits, and more seasonal activities are happening all around the area. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs for your whole gang. NoVa Parks has events going on during the week, and even more places are offering fun on weekends.

Wild Knights
Where: Medieval Times
When: Through the month of April
Admission: $37/adult, $29.95 (use code SB17)

Get discount pricing on Medieval Times spectacle and feast during Spring Break. Even better, before the 5pm shows this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (April 11-13), kids ages 5-12 can participate in FREE Jr. Knights Training (limited space available first come, first serve) and a FREE activity book! Doors open at 3:30pm, and training begins at 4pm. Training is open to both boys and girls. Closed toe shoes are required to participate.



Special Exhibits

Look out for hidden gnomes at Annmarie Sculpture Gardens

Look out for hidden gnomes at Annmarie Sculpture Gardens

Fairies in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $5/adult, $4/senior, $3/child

Annmarie’s magicalicious exhibit of fairy and gnome houses just opened for the season. As if the sculpture garden near Solomons, MD, wasn’t already wonderful, this annual display adds extra delight to a visit there with more than 50 handmade fairy and gnome homes scattered through the grounds. Visit the Arts Building to borrow a costume (or purchase one in the Gift Shop) to get into the fanciful spirit, grab a guide, and start your journey to locate them all. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors
Where: Hirshhorn Museum
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Surely, you’re aware of the exhibit at the Hirshhorn. It’s been one of the hottest tickets in town and photos of the spectacular Infinity Rooms are flooding social media feeds. While it’s next to impossible to get passes online, you might try for same-day — a limited number of Walk-Up Timed Passes are available daily. I hear there are lines for these, but if you don’t mind waiting, this could be your chance to go. Before you do, check out this KFDC review of the exhibit for an idea of what to expect and tips on going with kids.

Earth Explorers
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Daily, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, under 5 are free

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

Q?rius
Where: National Museum of Natural History
When: Daily, 2pm
Admission: Free

The interactive and experiential learning space is designed for kids ages 11 and up (though some younger ages could enjoy it, too). Visitors can view up close — and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. For really little ones, there is Q?rius Jr: A Discovery Room for more age-appropriate exploring. And, of course, there’s the whole rest of the museum for everyone. Read more about Q?rius here.

Get Outdoors

Kick off the flip flops and enjoy a day at Flag Ponds

Kick off the flip flops and enjoy a day at Flag Ponds

Beachy Keen: Sand, Surf, & Fossils
Where: Around the area
When: Daily
Admission: Varies by beach

Many of us associate Spring Break with beach trips, so why not hit one with the kids? There are several places within day trip-distance from DC that are nice for sand and surf. Head out to Calvert County for a day at Flag Ponds Nature Park, including some fossil hunting (call ahead to confirm days/hours). Head a little further out to North Beach or Brownies Beach (Bayfront Park). Or go east to Sandy Point State Park. You can also play paleontologist and look for prehistoric fragments along the Potomac at Purse State Park in Charles County, MD (one of our very favorite outings in the area).

Take a Hike
Where: Around the area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

It’s a great time of year to spend some time on the trail as the weather warms up and color returns to the landscape. See flowers in bloom, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids. (Heads up: The bluebells at Riverbend Park should be popping right about now, making the hike from there to Great Falls especially nice!)

Roam a Garden
Where: Around the area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

With flowers blooming and landscapes bursting with color, a visit to a garden is a fantastic outing, especially when there’s often more to do than just look at plants and flowers. Explore and play at the National Arboretum, wander around Green Spring Gardens on a scavenger hunt, enjoy flora and wildlife and the Children’s Garden at Brookside, venture out to the gorgeous Meadowlark Botanical Garden, relish in the peace at the Brookland Monastery, stroll among the many multi-tiered plats at Dumbarton Oaks, romp in the children’s area at River Farm, or stop and smell the roses (and more) at the U.S. Botanic Garden.


Museums & More “DC” Sites

Newsflash:  The Newseum is awesome!

Newsflash: The Newseum is awesome!

Focus on News and Media
Where: Newseum
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $24.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-19, free for 6 and under
(look for a deal)

The museum dedicated to all things news and journalism is fascinating — and one of my personal favorite’s in DC. Much of the collection is better appreciated (and understood) by older children, so while they have off from school is a good time to take advantage of an outing there. Read more about the Newseum in this KFDC post.

African American History & Culture
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

The relatively new museum is full of powerful exhibits and a must-see on the National Mall. Advanced passes are gone through April, but with the kids home and open days ahead of you, it’s a good time to try for same-day passes — up to four(4) same-day timed entry passes are available online everyday starting at 6:30am until they run out. A limited number of walk-up passes are also available beginning at 1pm on weekdays.

Abe’s Last Days
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: Daily, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: $3-8

Ford’s isn’t just a place to catch live entertainment. The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination highlights its historic significance through tours and exhibits about the president, the Civil War, and that fateful night at the theatre. This is the busy season, so it’s recommended to reserve tickets in advance.

Show Them the Money
Where: Bureau of Engraving & Printing
When: Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: Free

This is a great outing with kids on break from school, since tours are only offered on weekdays. Tours run every 15 minutes 9am – 6pm this time of year. Admission is free, but tickets are required, and you can pick them up at the booth on Raoul Wallenburg Place starting at 8am. Your time slot may be for later in the day, so have some plans in mind in case your tour is later in the day.

Day Trips & Overnights

Hike from West Virginia to Maryland at Harpers Ferry

Hike from West Virginia to Maryland at Harpers Ferry

Hiking & History
Where: Harpers Ferry
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free ($10 if you park in lot)

Get some fresh air and exercise as you enjoy spring weather and historic sites. Harpers Ferry is an easy day trip or quick getaway destination from DC, and spring is a great time to go. For more about a visit there, see this KFDC post.

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

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

Go Underground
Where: Luray Caverns
When: Ongoing, 9am – 7pm
Admission: $24/adults, $21/seniors, $12/ages 6-12, 5 and under free

Behold the spectacular underground world of stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system at Luray. Afterward, make your way through the Garden Maze or check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum. Admission does not include attractions beyond the cavern. KFDC Tip: Be sure to make a pit stop before going into the caverns, because it can be a long walk out to a restroom, and once you’re out, you may not be able to go back in.

Tramp & Camp
Where: Shenandoah National Park
When: Ongoing
Admission: $25/vehicle, campsites are extra & vary

Whether you go for a day or even several, Shenandoah National Park is a boon for outdoor recreation close to DC. If you can only swing a day, find some good trails to hike or even ride along Skyline Drive and take in the beautiful vistas from the car. If you can stay overnight, it’s a great place for a camping experience with kids. Either way, enjoy being immersed in nature and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings!

Explore Another Capital City
Where: Annapolis
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by activity

Maryland’s capital city is as beautiful as it is fun, and you can easily make a day (or few) of it there. Take a Pirate Adventure on the Chesapeake, enjoy some outdoor recreation at Quiet Waters Park, feast on crabs, or stroll around town and the Naval Academy grounds. It’s all an easy drive out Rt. 50 from DC.


Live Entertainment

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp will entertain all ages

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp will entertain all ages

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Through
Admission: $19.50

With performances scheduled almost every day of the week, you can catch an all-ages show at the best children’s theatre around! This is Aladdin as you’ve never seen it before… Aladdin and his love, the princess Adora, must outsmart an evil Magician who wants to use the genie in Aladdin’s lamp for his nefarious schemes! Will he get away with it? Get ready for love, magic, and mystery in this show! And plan to stay after at Glen Echo Park for a picnic lunch (BYO or buy there) and some time on the playground.

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

Take kids preschool-aged to 9 years to see this marionette romp in which three brothers get the goat of a hen-pecked troll, in their attempts to trip-trap-tromp to where the grass is greener. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry. Plan to stay at Glen Echo Park after the show for a picnic lunch (BYO or buy there) and some time on the playground.

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

This is an outstanding production that kids about middle school ages and up will appreciate. The groundbreaking masterpiece follows an African American family in the 1950’s as they yearn for a better life from their Chicago tenement and have the opportunity to realize it. With stellar performances by the cast, the show is emotional and thought-provoking as it spotlights struggles and issues that our society still grapples with today.


Extra Tips

* If you’re looking specifically for rainy day ideas, see The Great Indoors list or the round-up of Indoor Playgrounds
* And for where to relish the sublime weather, check out The Best Places to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
* National Parks Week is April 15-23. Entrance to all national parks will be free April 15-16 and April 22-23!
* The Smithsonian Event Calendar is always worth checking before you head to the museums or the Zoo
* Look for deals and discounts on CertifiKID and Goldstar.


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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend