Category Archives: Nature

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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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: April 10-14

Behind the waterfall at Yards Park

Behind the waterfall at Yards Park


* 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 hang out at Yards Park. The recreational space in the Navy Yard is a perfect place to spend a beautiful spring day. Play in the sprays, hang out in the grassy areas, stroll the boardwalk, take in the views, and have a picnic by the water or go for lunch at one of the many new nearby eateries. Admission to the park is free.

Tuesday – Hit the beach on the 80-degree day! The water may still be too chilly for swimming at Flag Ponds Nature Park, but you can build sandcastles on the shore, have a picnic by the water, spot wildlife in the woods, and do some fossil hunting — the park in Calvert County is a great place to search for shark teeth and other prehistoric remnants. Hours are 9am – 4pm (beach closes at 3:30pm), admission is $6/car. (Update! The park may be closed on Tuesday, so call head to confirm day/hours. If it is, head to Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis for beach fun instead.)

Wednesday – Catch a performance of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp at Adventure Theatre. Showtimes for the all-ages production are 11am and 2pm. Tickets are $19.50. The show runs through May 21.

Thursday – Head to Upton Hill Park for an egg-citing event. Activities will include coloring, games, a moon bounce, and pictures with the Easter Bunny. The fun starts at 11am, and an Egg Hunt begins at 11:30am. Admission is $13 in advance, $14 day of. Add on a mini-golf and food voucher for $7 more and get a great deal on lunch (pizza, chips, and choice of drink) and two hours of mini-golf from 12-2pm.

Friday – Make a day of it at the National Arboretum. Explore the plant collections, go for nature walks through the woods, visit the Washington Youth Garden, and see the old Capitol columns. There are so many ways to enjoy one of the loveliest places in the city. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free. Read more about the Arboretum in the round-up of the best places to spend a day outdoors — it tops the list!


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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

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

The Weekend Round-Up: April 7-9

Jump (and hop) with spring joy at Ticonderoga Farm!

Jump (and hop) with spring joy at Ticonderoga Farm!



Crazy 8 Sale On Now!


Spring Break is about to begin for a lot of local and visiting kids, and there are a ton of fun ways to get it started this weekend. Celebrate the cherry blossoms, Easter, or the season. See Charm City in a whole new light. Join a Pirate Adventure. Catch a live performance. Visit a historic site. Take a family hike. These are a just a few of many special events and activities going on. And with the great spring weather on the horizon, be sure to explore this compilation of the best outdoor places around the DC-Metro, too. Happy Weekend!

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is easily the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: M Street & New Jersey Ave. SE
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. There will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. All at a new location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Be prepared for a crowd.

Easter Celebrations for DC Peeps
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 your whole gang. Find a great nature-themed activity at NoVa Parks. Enjoy loads of festive activities at Ticonderoga Farm or Butler’s Orchard. Take a special Bunny Train Ride. Fill a basket at an Eggstravagnza. Or find another egg-cellent event where you can celebrate here.

Springfest: Crowns, Cowboys & Easter Bunny
Where: B&O Railroad Museum
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $18/adult, $16/senior, $12/child

Enjoy festive activities though April 15 at the museum dedicated to trains! Along with train rides & appearances by Anna, Elsa, the Easter Bunny, and some your favorite royal characters, there will be loads of hands-on fun. See the full schedule of it all here.

Light City
Where: Baltimore’s Waterfront
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free

See Baltimore transformed with large-scale light installations, performances, music, and innovation. Central to Light City is the BGE Light Art Walk along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, featuring more than 50 attractions including illuminated sculptures, projections, interactive technologies, performances, concerts, food vendors and a children’s area. Light City’s innovation programming generates an ecosystem of ideas and learning during the day – while lights, performances, and live music re-imagine Baltimore at night. Be sure to check out the family-friendly features of the festival.

PEEPS Day
Where: National Harbor
When: Saturday, 12pm
Admission: Free

It’s the second annual PEEPS Day at National Harbor, a celebration of the spring season and the uniqueness of everyone’s favorite marshmallow treat! The day will feature games and activities, a DJ, a movie, and the World PEEPS Eating Championship! Check out the full schedule on the website.

Set Sail on the Chesapeake, Matey!
Where: Annapolis Harbor
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $22, $12/ages 2 and under

It’s opening weekend for Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake, returning for its 15th season! This unique outings promises a fun adventure on the water for kids. Young buccaneers starts by getting faces painted and dressing up as pirates, then they set sail for a treasure hunt on the water. While reading a map to find sunken treasure the crew of children use water cannons in defense against an enemy pirate, discover a secret stash of pirates’ grog, and so much more! The Sea Gypsy sails seven days a week, six times a day (9:30am, 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm 3:30pm, and 5pm) — make a reservation for this weekend! Read about a KFDC experience with Pirate Adventures.

Run of the Mill
Where: Peirce Mill, Rock Creek Park
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. Read more about Peirce Mill in this KFDC post.

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

Annmarie’s magicalicious exhibit of fairy and gnome houses opens this weekend. 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.

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 opens at Adventure Theatre this weekend
* Reserve free tickets to Celebrate America’s Jazz Heritage with Unified Jazz Ensemble, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* The Three Billy Goats Gruff is on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Imaginary Friends is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Paper Dreams at Imagination Stage will delight young audiences
* Ragtime is running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* The Broadway hit Chicago just opened at the Kennedy Center
* A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage is a good option with older kids or for a date night
* Circus and theater meets onstage cooking as The 7 Fingers of the Hand presents Cuisine & Confessions at George Mason’s Center for the Arts (be sure to read description to see if appropriate for your kid)

Emancipation Day Celebration
Where: Freedom Plaza
When: Saturday, 1-3pm & 9pm
Admission: Free

Commemorate the end of slavery in Washington, DC, with a parade, truck touch, and more all-ages festivities. Watch a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue at 1pm, then check out vehicles and enjoy a concert at Freedom Plaza. The event will culminate with fireworks at 9pm.

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck
Where: Bethesda Row
When: Saturday, 10am – 8pm
Admission: Free, but treats range in price

Take the kids to a mobile vehicle of cuteness that offers a delicious array of Hello Kitty sweets and special goodies to fans of all ages. The yummy treats on board the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will include a 3-piece Hello Kitty cookie set, a rainbow macaron box set that includes a surprise Sanrio character design, a 4-pack of mini cakes, and bow-shaped bottles of water. In addition to the goodies, a Hello Kitty Cafe mug, a supercute pink Hello Kitty Cafe t-shirt and the pop icon’s signature bow headband will also be available to purchase.

Family Literary Fiesta
Where: Highland Elementary School
When: Saturday, 11am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Kids and adults can join together in a celebration of books and stories! Ali Oliver-Krueger, playwright/composer, performing artist, and Artistic Director of InterAct Story Theatre, will lead a special interactive performance of Mama-San Stories, weaving tales from her Japanese-American childhood with traditional Japanese mukashibanashi (Long-Ago Stories) in this funny and heart-warming east-meets-west storytelling experience.

Weekend Walk in the Woods
Where: Woodend Nature Sanctuary
When: Saturday, 9-10am
Admission: Free

Take a hike — and advantage of the Audubon Naturalist Society’s free monthly family program. On the first Saturday of each month from 9-10am, join Master Naturalists for a nature hike around Woodend Sanctuary. Each outing has a unique and exciting natural history theme that’s appropriate for family members of all ages. Be prepared to hike in sneakers. Meet in the gazebo by the main house. Read a KFDC review of Woodend Nature Sanctuary.

Popovich Comedy Pet Theater
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center
When: Saturday, 11am & 2pm
Admission: $15/adults, $5/children

The whole family will be amused and amazed by the juggling skills of Gregory Popovich and the antics of his furry and feathered friends. This award-winning Moscow Circus veteran has given his loveable troupe of rescue animals — cats, dogs, geese, parrots, a Shetland pony, and others — a new leash on life through this popular show. Clowns, acrobats and jugglers accompany a menagerie of adorable animals that eagerly perform remarkable circus tricks.

Japanese Woodblock Printing
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, all ages are welcome to join the Sackler Gallery for opening weekend of Inventing Utamaro and free family activities. In this Open Studio, witness firsthand the beauty and complexity of Japanese woodblock prints. Take a family-friendly tour (offered at 12:30pm and 2:30pm) of the exhibition, then explore traditional tools and papers. A teaching artist will demonstrate transferring designs to a block, carving, and basic printing techniques. Be prepared to get your hands inky.

Cherrybration Days
Where: Clark’s Elioak Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6

Let little princesses & princes dress up for this visit to the storybook-themed farm (you can read more about it in the list of outdoor outings). Clark’s Elioak will be celebrating Howard County’s “Cherrybration” Days with treats fit for young royalty and plenty of pink pizzazz. Children in a family will get a free hayride if at least one person in the family is dressed as a pink princess. Kids can also dress up in gowns on hand at the farm for a photo opportunity with “Princess Cherrybella.”

Earth Month Scavenger Hunt
Where: Maydale Conservation Park
When: Saturday, 12:30-1:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Earth Month at Maydale with a “Who’s Here?” Scavenger Hunt! Learn about the pond, stream and forest and the animals and insects found there and how and why we should protect them. Registration required for all attending!

Spring Light Show
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $12.95

Who says lights displays are only for the winter holidays? Not Ticonderoga Farm! Their Spring Walk of Lights welcomes you to enjoy Farm Town as it comes alive. Wander past the notorious pirate ship adventure, stroll through the tunnel of amaze, gaze up at an 18-foot bunny, and take in more delightful illuminated scenes. It’s the kind of event that will become seasonal family tradition! Be sure to check out the website for details on timing.

Family Afternoon: Design with Nature
Where: National Building Museum
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

All ages can drop in for creative hands-on activities, a community garden design project, and opportunities to learn about Japanese art and design. See how nature is intentionally integrated into the built world, different ways people design with nature, and how nature can inspire design in and around built spaces. Learn about symbolism of the natural world across cultures and make connections between springtime symbolism, design, nature, and the built world they live in.

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park
When: Sunday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park present the third annual Anacostia River Festival, a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival. For a taste of local D.C., come celebrate the Anacostia River and take a canoe out to explore the River, ride in our bike parade, play lawn games with your family and experience Southeast D.C.’s local arts scene at this special FREE event. This year will be a celebration of biking in the District with trail rides, safety classes, quick bike tune ups, and special bike activities for all ages. Festival location is Good Hope Road & Anacostia Drive SE.

Flower Power
Where: Anacostia Arts Center
When: Sunday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy an interactive art installation, art exhibitions, floral arranging classes, workshops, live music, spring fashion. This free, family-friendly event is part of the Anacostia River Festival, a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival.

DC Way Soccer Festival
Where: Marine Barracks Soccer Field
When: Sunday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

This festival’s goal: To gather children & parents to play soccer, socialize, and have fun! It’s a great chance to introduce kids to the magnificent game of soccer, test your own skills, participate in fun competitions, and ask the coaches questions regarding the game and sports in general. The day will include multiple games and activities, such as soccer tennis, a parents vs. children challenge, best strike contest, and more! The Marine Barracks Soccer Field is located at 7th & I Streets SE.

Banish Boredom
Where: Tenley-Friendship Library
When: Sunday, 3pm
Admission: Free

Looking for some creative fun with the kiddos? Stop by the Tenley Friendship Library on Sunday for a drop-in art activity with Rebecca Green from the blog Not-So-SAHM and author of the book Banish Boredom: Activities to Do with Kids that You’ll Actually Enjoy. Join her to make super fun collage portraits that you can bring home to display!


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: April 3-7

Chat with Rio the sun conure at Buddie Ford Nature Center

Chat with Rio the sun conure at Buddie Ford Nature Center



Monday – Bring little ones to play at Wegmans Wonderplace in the National Museum of American History. Designed especially for children 0-6 years old, the activity center is full of fun and interesting features that cater to curious young visitors. If you’re with older kids, check out the Spark!Lab right next door. Hours at Wegmans Wonderplace are 10am – 4pm, and free admission is on a first come, first served basis, so there may be a short wait to get in. If that’s the case, there’s a whole museum to explore in the meantime!

Tuesday – Take a time trip through Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. The Inner Harbor attraction highlights the trades and people that helped build the port city through exhibits that showcase relics from the past and recreate various industry environments. Hours are 10am – 4pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Admission is $12/adult, $7/ages 7-12, free for 6 and under.

Wednesday – Enjoy a hike and a dose of history all at once at Roosevelt Island. The trails are easy for little legs to tramp, and you can explore the Memorial Plaza to learn about the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt. The entrance to the park is located right off the GW Parkway, just past the Roosevelt Bridge, and accessible only from the northbound lanes. Hours are 6am – 10pm. Admission is free. Get a little more of the KFDC take on it in this post about local walks in the woods with kids. (Update: Just learned the parking lot is closed at Roosevelt Island, and while you can still get there — see parking/walking recommendations on the website — you may want to opt for an alternative hike to avoid any hassle. The Walks in the Woods post above has plenty of ideas!)

Thursday – Explore the local environment from the comfort of the indoors at Buddie Ford Nature Center. The facility in Alexandria houses fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. And if weather permits, continue the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Friday – Have a wild time at the National Zoo! Check the Daily Events schedule before you go to help plan your outing — you can see an elephant training demo, meet a farm animal, watch feedings, and more — or pick your animal visits as you go. This time of year, grounds are open 8am – 7pm this, exhibit building hours are 9am – 6pm, and the Visitor Center 9am – 6pm. Admission is free, though parking in the Zoo lot for non-members is $22 (free for members). You can also try parking on Connecticut Avenue or a side street, or take Metro to Woodley Park or Cleveland Park stations then walk a few blocks.


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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays