Category Archives: Nature

The Weekend Round-Up: February 3-5

Any visit to Annmarie Sculpture Garden should include play time in the Fairy Lolly

Any visit to Annmarie Sculpture Garden should include play time in the Fairy Lolly



Keep the Chinese New Year celebrations going or get the Valentine-inspired fun started. Catch some live entertainment in the cozy comfort of a theatre or get outdoors for nature explorations. Scope out sweet rides or go for a spin on ice. Enjoy story time and crafts or (w)hoop it up at a basketball game. Whatever your family’s interests, there’s bound to be activities and events to indulge them. Happy Weekend!

Chinese New Year Family Day
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Bring your entire family to a fun-filled day of activities and entertainment for all ages. Learn the arts of paper cutting, Beijing-style appliqué, calligraphy, sugar and bottle painting, “bristle dolls,” and Chinese makeup. Play dress up and snap pictures at the Chinese costume trunk. Enjoy performances by Beijing acrobats and Chinese musicians. And much more!

Chocolate Lovers Festival
Where: City of Fairfax
When: Saturday & Sunday,
Admission: Depends on activities

The City of Fairfax presents its annual festival centered around one of the most wonderful things in the world: Chocolate! There will be all kinds of activities for all ages throughout the weekend, both chocolate and non-chocolate themed — tastings, story time, puppet shows, face painting, chocolate challenges, a chocolate caper mock trial, and much more. The schedule of events has details.

Celebrate La Chandeleur!
Where: Hillwood Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $18/adult, $12/member, $5/child, free under 3

La Chandeleur, also known as Crêpe Day, marks the halfway point between winter and spring. In France, families celebrate by eating crêpes, which are round and golden, like the springtime sun. Hillwood and Alliance Française de Washington invite families to celebrate this holiday in festive French fashion amidst Hillwood’s spectacular gardens, magnificent mansion, and exquisite French treasures.

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

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

Archi-Builder Studio Series
Where: District Architecture Center
When: Saturday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: $75/5-week series

Kids ages 9-14 who love drawing houses, building structures, designing a pillow fort might consider signing up for this. This multi-series architectural program engages students in the design process used by architects to build scale models of habitable spaces of their own imagining. At each session, young architects will work in teams to learn processes and techniques to progress their ideas into a final design.

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

Early learners ages 0-6 and their caregivers will have the chance to hear a story and participate in hands-on activities and crafts inspired by objects from the museum’s collection at this weekly program. Saturdays in February are all about things that go! Join for stories about transportation, and enjoy games, crafts, and activities inspired by objects in the museum that help us travel.

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

* Ella Enchanted opens at Adventure Theatre this weekend!
* Reserve free tickets to see Magician Brian Curry, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performer
* Experience Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions at Strathmore on Saturday
* Hamlette puts a twist on the Shakespearean classic as it open at The Keegan Theatre
* Goldilocks is the latest Main Stage show at The Puppet Co.
* And Dragon Babies is the featured Tiny Tots performance on Sunday
* Mr. Jon and Friends are playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin Java
* Watch Blue Sky Puppet Theatre perform at the Avalon Theatre in Alexandria, the first show in this season’s Family Matinee series
* Little ones will be delighted by Blue at Imagination Stage
* The Folger Theatre presents As You Like It
* Make it a KidFree night out at Arena Stage where ROE recently opened

Crush-Worthy Classroom Valentine Workshop
Where: The Paper Source
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $25

Kids ages 8 and up can grab their BFF and some glitter for a workshop that will give them heart eyes! Make 5 – 6 Valentines for your classmates, friends, and family using your favorite stickers, stamps, washi tape, and more! A 10% off coupon will be provided with the class. Buy two seats at the same time and save 10% off each seat.

Valentine Crafts
Where: Michael’s
When: Saturday, times vary
Admission: $2

Head to a Michael’s location for some creative Valentine’s fun. The arts & crafts supply store is hosting drop-in workshops this weekend (and next) for children to make cards and decor — all with a love theme. Search the website to find a store near you.

YA Book Launch Party
Where: Hooray for Books
When: Friday, 7pm
Admission: Free

Calling all YA Bookworms! New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley will be launching her newest YA novel Our Own Private Universe, a thoughtful look at the search for self that comes with adolescence, complicated by the intersection of race, religion, and orientation. They will also have brownies, books, and general merriment.

Hawks and Owls                           
Where: Buddie Ford Nature Center
When: Saturday, 2 – 3pm
Admission: $5/resident, $10/non-resident

Discover the important work of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia from a raptor expert through a live hawk and owl presentation. Recommended for ages 5 & up, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Read a KFC review of Buddie Ford here.

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.

Valentine Photo Box
Where: The Home Depot
When: Saturday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Join the home improvement store’s weekly hands-on workshop and build a Valentine-themed photo box, perfect for keeping photos of loved ones front and center. Once the box is built, kids can decorate it with paint and stickers. Along with their craft, all participants receive a certificate of achievement, a workshop apron, and a commemorative pin (while supplies last). Register here.

Chinese New Year Celebration
Where: Port Discovery
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $14.95/ages two and up

Celebrate the Chinese New Year and commemorate the year of the Rooster at Port Discovery. Learn, experience, and participate in traditions surrounding the Chinese New Year celebration, including the Lion Dance (complete with a paper mache lion, drums, and cymbals), performances from the Gina Ling Dancers, festive rooster and dragon-themed art projects, Happy Fortunes, and Chinese New Year Lucky Charms. Also learn about Calligraphy and Chopstick training and enjoy a live petting zoo from Wildlife Adventures.

Marine MRE Cook-Off
Where: National Museum of the Marine Corps
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Watch a couple of marine chefs vie for the coveted Golden Canteen Cup as they pull two MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat) from a box and combine them to create one meal. MRE’s are intended to be consumed by the military when traditional food is not readily available, each packing about 1200 calories and containing a main course, side dish, dessert or snack, bread, spread, beverage mix, utensils, a heater, beverage mixing bag and more. It’s like Top Chef, military-style!

Maple Sugaring Days
Where: Brookside Nature Center in Wheaton
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6

Be a part of the maple sugaring process and help collect the sap from trees, watch as its boiled down into sweet maple syrup, and enjoy a taste! This program takes place every Thursday Saturday, and Sunday in February at select times. Sessions fill up, so register now! This event is also offered in Spanish.

World Wetlands Day
Where: Huntley Meadows Park
When: Saturday, 12-2pm
Admission: $8 Free

Get a little nature fix at this hidden spot in Alexandria. The park will be showcasing the importance and beauty of wetlands with presentation and education stations, a guided wetland walk, and crafts for participants ages four and older. Learn why these unique ecosystems are significant to people, plants, and animals and how the Huntley Meadows wetland was formed. Head home with ideas about what you can do to help protect these fading treasures. Read a KFDC review of Huntley Meadows.

Lunar New Year Celebration
Where: Potomac Mills
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with an afternoon of festivities for shoppers at Potomac Mills. Stop by the Grand Court to experience the celebratory events, including Chinese Dance, the iconic Lion Dance, a Fashion Show, traditional Chinese music, the Guzheng, food samples, and much more.

Love Rocks! Family Dance Party
Where: Port Discovery
When: Saturday, 6-9pm
Admission: $18/members, $20/non-members

Bring the whole family to the Love Rocks! Family Dance Party on Saturday! The special night out will be filled with Valentine’s-themed fun. Dance along to tunes from DJ Holly, become your most-loved character with face painting fun, create Valentine’s crafts and art projects, and explore three floors of fun exhibits that are sure to get hearts pumping. Food and beverages included.

Chinese New Year Celebration
Where: Sackler Gallery and Ripley Center
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Ring in the Year of the Rooster with art! The Sackler’s third annual Chinese New Year celebration features free attractions for all ages highlighting contemporary performers and artists from Beijing. See Chinese opera and acrobatics, create Year of the Rooster-themed crafts, see demos of traditional Chinese art, and try your hand at projects, too. Chinese food will also be available for purchase. 

Recreation on Ice
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Warm up with a quintessential cold weather activity! Lace up the ice skates and get gliding at one of many outdoor rinks in the area. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at Canal Park; or do some shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Tyson’s Corner, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on both alfresco and indoor ice skating options in the area. And I recommend checking Certifikid for admission deals.

Watch the Wizards
Where: Verizon Center
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Wizards will be hosting at home this weekend with a game Saturday night. Catch them at the Verizon Center against New Orleans. And be sure to look for a ticket deal through Certifikid — along with the discount seats, you’ll also get a Wizards T-shirt!

Full STEAM Ahead: Creative Compost
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center
When Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Bring the preschool set the artLAB for hands-on investigations and challenges! This free program is designed to help children explore, observe, ask questions, and make predictions as they create and play. Plan to stay beyond the session to explore the beautiful grounds, play in the Fairy Lolly, and check out the art. Read a KFDC review about Annmarie Sculpture Garden.

DC, Inside & Out
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Looking for ways to stay active and entertained without a chill in the air? Then The Great Indoors post, a list of over 80 ideas for places to go inside, should have you covered. And if you prefer the outdoors no matter the weather, The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids, has a bunch of recommendations, too.

Find Reviews on Outdoor Gear at GearWeAre.com!

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Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 17-20

Enjoy warmer weather and avoid crowds downtown at the National Zoo this week

Enjoy warmer weather and avoid crowds downtown at the National Zoo this week



Tuesday – Put some color in what’s forecast to be a gray day on a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Housing some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around, the vibrant, quirky collections — including interactive pieces — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & ages 7 and up, free for 6 and under.

Later in the day, Whole Foods Market Fair Lakes is celebrating their 10th Anniversary with fun for the whole family from 4-7pm. There will be live music, face painting, raffles, delicious samples from local vendors, and a cake cutting. Plus, you can enjoy exclusive sale items all day and get a free pint glass with any food purchased from the store’s sports bar, seafood shack, or cheese grille.

Wednesday – Have a wild time at the National Zoo, while the weather warms up and the weekday crowds thin out. Check the Daily Events schedule before you go to help plan your outing or pick your animal visits as you go. Grounds are open 8am – 5pm, exhibit building hours are 9am – 4pm, and the Visitor Center 10am – 4pm. 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.

Thursday – Enjoy the day at Watkins Regional Park! The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will keep little ones frolicking for hours. While you’re there, stop by Old Maryland Farm to visit the animals and the Watkins Nature Center to view some cool creatures and birds. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 8:30am – 5pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free.

Friday – As the 45th president is sworn in on Inauguration Day, head to Alexandria (and avoid the crowds of DC) to visit the home of the nation’s first POTUS, George Washington. Mount Vernon is hosting special activities, including scavenger hunts, exhibits, photo ops, and more, not to mention the ongoing programs and exhibits will be available, too! This program runs January 19-22. Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is $20/adult, $10/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under at the door, but $2 less if you purchase tickets online. And if you’re planning to take in the action at the U.S. Capitol, I recommend checking out this guide.


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The Weekend Round-Up: January 14-16

mlk_memorial

The holiday weekend means extra time for fun with the kids, and there are so many great ways to take advantage. Join an MLK inspired event, get artsy with DCPS creatives, discover travel & adventure options, check out a new museum exhibit, enjoy live entertainment, explore a national park for free, and much more. This round-up has all the details you need to plan. Happy Weekend!

Celebrate MLK
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies

MLK Day may be on Monday, but there are events and activities that pay tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout the weekend. Volunteer opportunities, library activities, the annual Peace Walk & Parade, art adventures, and live entertainment are some of the ways you can celebrate the day. This post has details on all of them.

Create DC!
Where: Union Market
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get creative with the DCPS Arts Team! Families are invited to a day of creative play alongside some of DC’s amazing artists, educators, and arts organizations. Create shadow puppets, enjoy the DC Youth Orchestra petting zoo, join a drum circle, watch Shakespeare Theatre Company perform a mini “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream,” check out wearable art, and much more!

Travel & Adventure Show
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $16/adults, free for 16 and under

Get travel inspiration, experience culture, and have fun! A big expo like this might sound like a grown-up affair, but a bunch of cool pursuits will thrill the kids, too. Besides the hundreds of travel providers and destinations featured, there will be cultural performances, Segway rides, camel rides (!), a rock climbing wall, “worldly” photo ops, and kids games.

More Live Entertainment
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is on the Imagination Stage for its final weekend
* Encore Stage & Studio presents The Little Princess — by kids for kids
* Tweens can enjoy Bud, Not Buddy at the Kennedy Center
* The Alden Theatre presents both The Ugly Duckling and The Giver on Saturday
* Titanic is still afloat at Signature Theatre, and it’s getting great reviews
* Little ones will be delighted by Blue at Imagination Stage
* Rocknoceros is playing a special MLK Day show at Jammin Java
* Plan for a KidFree night out to see ROE, which just opened at Arena Stage

Bilingual Education Fair
Where: Francis Gregory Library
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

DC’s first Bilingual Education Fair is poised to be a fun and educational Saturday morning! Thirty exhibitors, including 13 bilingual public schools, foreign cultural institutes, language app developers, and more organizations will take part. There will be both grown-ups and kids programs. Children can enjoy story time and activities in 7 different languages, while adults can listen to three mini-talks by a student, an American University professor, and a parent about why, how, and where in DC to raise a bilingual child, followed by 20 minutes of questions and answer.

Children’s Theater Festival
Where: Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/ages 5-13, free for 4 and under

Enjoy a full day of theater and so much more. Teatro de la Luna presents six hours of all kinds of artistic activities to delight the entire family. Coloring, reading, drawing, ballet, music, and dance performances will be part of the day’s festivities. And all of it is presented Bilingual.

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

Head to the book store in Old Town Alexandria for a reading just for little ones. At the weekly program, story time experts will read children board and picture books, sing songs, and perform and teach some fingerplays. Recommended for ages 0-3.

Rock On
Where: Newseum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $24.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-18, free for 6 and under

One of my very favorite DC museums debuts a new exhibit on Friday. “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics” explore the ways music has influenced issues ranging from political campaigns to civil rights. See John Lennon’s bed-in guitar, Jimi Hendrix Woodstock Stratocaster guitar, stage costumes worn by the Village People, original handwritten lyrics by Bob Dylan, Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” jewelry from the VMA’s, video with some of rocks most influential musicians, plus artifacts related to the Vietnam War, Kent State University, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Black Lives Matter movement. The Newseum is best for older children, and this KFDC post has a bit more about it.

Recreation on Ice
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Warm up with a quintessential cold weather activity! Lace up the ice skates and get gliding at one of many outdoor rinks in the area. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at Canal Park; or do some shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Tyson’s Corner, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on both alfresco and indoor ice skating options in the area.

All Aboard for a Model Train Open House
Where: Historic Vienna Depot of the W&OD Railroad
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).  As described in Model Railroader magazine, 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.

Open Studio: Dazzling Designs of the Qur’an
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday, 12 – 4 pm
Admission: Free

Discover The Art of the Qur’an at this free Open Studio for families, as you explore illuminated designs in manuscripts of the Qur’an. Take a family-friendly tour of the exhibition (offered at 12:30pm and 2:30 pm), then head to the ImaginAsia classroom to get creative. Tea and refreshments provided. All ages welcome with adult companions.

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

Early learners ages 0-6 and their caregivers will have the chance to hear a story and participate in hands-on activities and crafts inspired by objects from the museum’s collection at this weekly program. Saturdays in January are all about clothes! Hear a reading that makes us think about the clothes we wear and how they can change over time. Then check out some clothes that are housed at the museum collection and enjoy fun, clothing-related crafts.

Wizard School Scavenger Hunt
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $17.50/ages10-17, $19.50/adult

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. It’s 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. Designed for kids and adults to do together, and kids must be accompanied by an adult. Advance purchase is required.

Watch the Wizards
Where: Verizon Center
When: Saturday, 8pm & Monday, 2pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Wizards will be hosting at home this weekend with games Saturday night and Monday afternoon. Catch them at the Verizon Center against the 76ers on Saturday, or watch some on-court action on MLK Day when they play Portland.

An Afternoon with Winnie the Pooh
Where: Northeast Library
When: Sunday, 3pm
Admission: Free

Join Northeast Library for an Afternoon with Winnie the Pooh, one of the world’s most lovable characters! Guests can enjoy a story reading, watch a short movie, and make a Pooh and friends craft to take home. Best for kids ages 5 and up. Snacks provided, too!

Free Parking
Where: National Parks
When: Monday
Admission: Free!

It’s the first 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; explore the just posted about Prince William Forest Park, go to Fort McHenry, hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, or visit Harpers Ferry.

DC, Inside & Out
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Looking for ways to stay active and entertained without a chill in the air? Then The Great Indoors post, a list of over 80 ideas for places to go inside, should have you covered. And if you prefer the outdoors no matter the weather, The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids, has a bunch of recommendations, too.




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Take a Nature Break at Prince William Forest Park

pwfp_lead

My kids are funny when it comes to hiking. Sometimes they are gung-ho, but every now and then when I suggest we hit the trail, there’s a little protest: “But it’s just walking!” is something I’ve heard more than once.

Then I explain that it’s much more than just walking. It’s observing the nature around us, enjoying some active recreation, getting out of the bustling city for peaceful surrounds, unplugging, spending quality time together. I relish a good hike and, at the risk of sounding eye rollingly cheesy, think it’s the perfect thing for a mini reboot. Taking even a little break from our busy, hurried city life to slow down and connect is good for all of us.

pwfp_hike

The thing is, I can almost always guarantee that even when there is initial resistance to the hiking plan, they end up being happy trampers. (“Mom, you were right…” is not uncommon either 😉 ). Once we get to our destination, they’re excited to be there — racing each other down the path, looking out for wildlife, finding a perfect walking stick, and just exploring the environment around us.

pwfp_mushrooms

When we visited Prince Washington Forest Park in Northern Virginia this past fall, they were actually quite amenable to the idea. This mostly had to do with the fact that Owen had just been there for Nature Bridge , a three-day outdoor education program with school, and loved the location. I had been there myself a year before for a trail race and recalled it being a beautiful park with varied terrain and interesting trails. Collective enthusiasm to go someplace is never a bad thing!

pwfp_visitor_center

Prince William Forest Park stretches over 15,000 acres in Northern Virginia. The largest protected green space in the DC-Metro area, there are over 37 miles of trails to hike, plus miles of paved and gravel paths to cycle, rivers for fishing, and cabins and tent sites for camping.

There is a $7 entrance fee per vehicle (or $5 for walk- and bike-ins) that we paid at the Visitor Center upon our arrival. While we were there, we picked up a trail map, checked out the exhibits, and learned a little more about the park’s nature and history. A couple of tidbits: The area was significant strategic point in the Civil War, and during the Great Depression when the park was called the Chopawamsic Recreation Area, it housed children’s relief camps.

pwfp_exhibit

There are a few trail heads near the Visitor Center, and trails within the park are as short as a half mile and as long as almost 10. Many connect, so you can extend your hike and explore different areas. Our jaunt along the Laurel Loop Trail took us through the woods, which were vibrant with fall colors at the time, and along the Quantico Creek. Owen pointed out some of the spots he visited on his school trip, like a beaver dam and small waterfall, and we had a picnic lunch by the water.

pwfp_sash

Then we hopped onto another trail that took us deeper into the woods, and eventually to small cemetery. We learned that there over 40 family cemeteries in the park, mostly from the late 19th and early 20th century, but some even earlier. It’s important to respect these sites and also illegal to alter them in any way. You can read about a couple of them here.

pwfp_tombstone

pwfp_grave

While we didn’t see much wildlife besides birds, squirrels, and fish, plenty do live there. Deer, beavers, and black bears (!) are some of the other mammals you might encounter. And sightings of snakes, turtles, and frogs are pretty common.

The variety in trails makes Prince William Forest Park a great place to hike with young children, since there are plenty of short, flat trails. And if you’re with older kids who want more of a challenge, there are longer and more difficult trails, too. You even can make it a weekend trip — cabins are available May – October, and tent sites May – November. Whether you overnight it or just go for a few hours, it makes for a great escape from the city.

pwfp_owen



Prince William Forest Park is located in Triangle, VA, about a 45 minute drive from DC. It’s open daily from sunrise to sunset. The Visitor Center is open 8am – 4pm November – February, and 9am – 5pm March – October. Admission is $7/car or $5/walk- or bike-in.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Educational, Exhibit, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 9-13

Taking in the view at Kenilworth Aquatic Garden

Taking in the view at Kenilworth Aquatic Garden





Monday – Jump with joy at Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield, VA. This bouncy nirvana hosts Kid Flight sessions, when the whole park is open only to children under the age of 6, from 10am – 2pm Monday through Friday. Special pricing starts at $8/30 minutes ($10/hour), and an accompanying adult jumps free! I recommend buying tickets and submitting waivers online in advance to save time when you get there.

Tuesday – Take your toddlers to story hour at East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. The children’s book readings are perfect for future readers ages 0-4. The session starts at 11am, and admission is free. After, browse the inventory then grab a lunch at one of many nearby eateries.

Wednesday – Join wacky citizen-scientist Professor Wingnut and his friend Seymour Seagull as they explore the amazing science of flight! This show presented by Discovery Theater fittingly takes places at the National Air & Space Museum. Tickets are still available for the 1pm performance (on Thursday, too!) and cost $3-8, depending on age. If they sell out, you can catch a different kind of show at the museum’s Albert Einstein Planetarium or just explore the amazing space 😉 . Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Thursday – Enjoy what will hopefully be a warmer, sunnier day at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Go on a nature walk among the ponds filled with giant lily pads and other interesting marsh plants and look for geese, great blue herons, turtles, frogs, and tiny fish on the way. Open 8am – 4pm this time of year, and at 2pm you can join a Garden Walk with a park ranger. Admission is free.

Friday – Explore the local environment from the comfort of the indoors at Buddie Ford Nature Center, which I just posted about last week. The facility in Alexandria boasts 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.


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Filed under All ages, Babies, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter