Category Archives: Ongoing

Scenes from the National Gallery of Art East Building

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It’s been a few months since the reopening of the National Gallery of Art’s East Building. The wing that houses museum’s modern and contemporary collections was closed for several years while it was being renovated. The upgrade didn’t just enhance the interior; it also added over 12,000 feet of space. There is now a rooftop with views of the Capitol, Smithsonian Castle, and downtown DC, as well as two tower galleries — one of them dedicated to Alexander Calder’s mobiles, the other showcasing Mark Rothko’s abstract works. Both excellent additions to an already remarkable place.

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We visited the updated museum the first weekend it was open and have been back several times since. (I really can’t express enough how incredibly lucky we are to have world-class museums right in our backyard that we can easily pop into without having to pay an admission fee. Sometimes we go on whim when we’re out on a bike ride or happen to be driving nearby and see a free parking space.) I’m just now, though, getting around to posting some photos from our visits.

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Surely, by now you’ve seen pictures of the giant, royal blue cockerel that stands on the rooftop (a sculpture called Hahn/Cock). It’s quirky and cool, for sure, but there are plenty more eye-popping, beautiful, and evocative works to view. Here’s a glimpse of some of them. But you need to pop in or make a plan to go and experience it all for yourself.

The National Gallery of Art is open Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm, and Sunday 11am – 6pm. Admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Museums, Ongoing, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 31 – November 4

A walk in the woods at Woodend Nature Sancutary

A walk in the woods at Woodend Nature Sancutary



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Monday – Make it a musical morning with the Boogie Babes as Mr. Gabe performs for the kiddie crowd. Showtime is 10:30am at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Admission is $6/child, free for siblings 6 months and under. (And I’d guess at least some of the show will be inspired by the day’s main event.)

Later on, get your Halloween on! Head to the International Spy Museum store for Spy Fright, where you can learn tricks of the trade from make-up and disguise artist, Roger Riggle. Then you’ll be all set for a Gymboree party or trick-or-treating at Mount Vernon, Old Town Alexandria boutiques, Leesburg Outlets, Gateway DC, or the Pentagon City Mall! Details about all of these events are in the guide about Wicked Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween in DC.

Tuesday – Visit the largest library in the world to see the #1 children’s author in the world! Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, is coming to the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium from 10am – 12pm, for a one-hour program and book signing. Seating is limited for the public, so get there early! Admission is free.

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

Then from 4:30-5:30pm, take children ages 5-12 to the Shaw Neighborhood Library for a fun afternoon of music with the DC Youth Orchestra! Kids will have the opportunity to check out and play a variety of orchestral instruments with the help of the DCYO’s specialized instructors. Admission is free.

Thursday – 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 ages 6 and under, 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.

Friday – Take the money tour at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It’s a great outing with kids on the DCPS day off, since tours are only offered on weekdays. Tours run every 15 minutes 9am – 2pm 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. This post from one of our outings there has more details about the experience.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Halloween, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 24-28

A giant blue rooster, a roof top space, and great views from it...all new at the NGA

A giant blue rooster, a roof top space, and great views from it…all new at the NGA



Monday – Visit the recently reopened East Building of the National Gallery of Art! Full of modern art with bold colors and captivating designs, it’s a great museum to visit with kids. Be sure to stop in the new Alexander Calder room on the 4th floor, where mobiles of all shapes and sizes spin and dazzle. And, of course, don’t miss the giant blue rooster — and fabulous views of the Capitol — on the roof top. Hours are 10am – 4:30pm, and admission is free.

Tuesday – Explore and play at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington. Hike the short trails and let the kids romp on the playground, then visit the nature center where you can see turtles, snakes, and other creatures in terrariums and discover more about the natural world in the Kids Cave. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Let little ones bounce, climb, swing, tumble, and slide at the PG Sports & Learning Complex Gymnastics Center. The hour-long open play session begins at 11:30am, and admission is $7/child. (This also takes place on Tuesday at the same time.)

Thursday – Catch a performance of Aquarium at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. With gentle music, beautiful puppets, and interactive props, children and caregivers will delight in the magical underwater world the play creates. Showtime is 10am, and tickets are $10. Afterward, grab some lunch at a nearby H Street eatery — Maketto, Bullfrog Bagels, and Shawafel are a few of our faves.

Friday – Head to Cabin John Regional Park for play time and Halloween fun. Begin with some time on the awesome sprawling playground amid the lovely woods. Then starting at 1pm, you can take a ride on the “Eye Spy” Halloween Train, which features just enough “boo” power for kids age 8 and under. Park hours are 9am – dusk, and admission is free. Train rides are $6, and I recommend purchasing tickets in advance online.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Halloween, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

Volunteer with the Kids at DC Diaper Bank to Help Babies & Families Thrive

DC Diaper Bank Founder and Executive Director Corinne Cannon

DC Diaper Bank Founder and Executive Director Corinne Cannon



“We want to give babies what they need to thrive.”

On a recent visit to DC Diaper Bank in Silver Spring, this is how Executive Director Corinne Cannon began explaining the mission of her amazing organization that provides diapers to families in need.

A small sample of the many Size 1 diapers ready for distribution

A small sample of the many Size 1 diapers ready for distribution

The non-profit was born in 2010 from Corinne’s own experience as a new mother with a challenging baby. Realizing how hard parenting was even with a lot of support, she thought about those who weren’t as fortunate and began to research ways to help make caring for an infant easier. It was then she learned that diapers, a basic necessity for babies, are not covered by WIC, food stamps, or other social welfare systems, and she set out to help make them available. Six years later, DC Diaper Bank provides over 100,000 diapers a month to families in need and has donated over 3,000,000 diapers since launching. (Wow!)

Keeping track of DC Diaper Bank's amazing work

Keeping track of DC Diaper Bank’s amazing work

It truly takes a village to make it all happen. Donations, both diapers and monetary, are contributed by everyone from huge multinational companies to individuals in the community. Diaper drives are held by businesses, schools, and other area organizations. Local ambassadors help spread the word about DC Diaper Bank and offer drop-off locations around the region. And members of the community — kids included! — are welcome and encouraged to volunteer at the warehouse to help bundle diapers and prepare them for distribution to partners.

Volunteers tables where diapers are bundled to prep for distribution

Volunteers tables where diapers are bundled to prep for distribution

So, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I had never been to the DC Diaper Bank warehouse until that visit a few weeks ago. I have been very aware of it for years and even know Corinne — our kids attend the same school, and we served on the fundraising committee together a few years ago. I am seriously in awe of what she has created and achieved, what she has given to those in need, how it all brings the community together. While I have helped promote their diaper drives and Boogie Babes — the music show is now run by DC Diaper Bank, and all proceeds support the organization — I have yet to volunteer there. But that’s about to change, as the kids and I are signed up to go next month. :)

Diapers are often donated in original boxes then repackaged to fit more in each bundle

Diapers are often donated in original boxes then repackaged to fit more in each bundle

You can help out, too! Interested in volunteering at DC Diaper Bank? Check out their family-friendly warehouse volunteer hours for a day and time to sign up. And don’t worry if your kiddos are too little to help package diapers — they are still welcome to join, and there’s even a small play area where they can stay busy while you help.

A sweet area for little kiddos to play while you volunteer

A sweet area for little kiddos to play while you volunteer

And if you want to donate to DC Diaper Bank, there are several ways to give, all listed on the website here. And I should mention that they take more than just diapers, there are many other essential items, like formula and breast feeding supplies, that they also accept — see a complete list here.

Follow DC Diaper Bank to stay updated:
* Facebook
* Twitter
* Instagram
* Subscribe to their e-newsletter

More quick links:
* Host a Diaper Drive
* Become a DC Diaper Bank Ambassador
* Donate to DC Diaper Bank’s Amazon Wishlist
* Donate to this non-profit in your charitable giving


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Filed under All ages, Babies, Cause, Charity, DC, Educational, Free, Maryland, Moms, Ongoing, Volunteer, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 17-21

Little ones can relate "Harold and the Purple Crayon" to artist Linn Meyers' hand drawn wall art at the Hirshhorn Museum's STORYTIME+ program

Little ones can relate “Harold and the Purple Crayon” to artist Linn Meyers’ hand drawn wall art at the Hirshhorn Museum’s STORYTIME+ program



Monday – Take advantage of the surprise warm weather and go geocaching. It’s like a scavenger hunt, and a great way to enjoy the outdoors with a little adventure. Even better, you can pick and choose where and when you want to do it. This KFDC post has all the info you need to get started.

Tuesday – Enjoy STORYTIME+, the Hirshhorn Museum’s new program that invites the youngest artists (ages birth – preschool) and their caregivers to explore contemporary art through stories and movement. Museum staff will read a book aloud, introduce children to an artist in the collection, and lead an activity. “Harold and the Purple Crayon” is this session’s featured book, and little ones can explore and participate in Harold’s misadventures through hands-on fun and close-looking with an original wall drawing created for the Hirshhorn by artist Linn Meyers. Meet in the lobby at 10am. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Learn about the area’s wildlife, enjoy hands-on activities in the Nature Center, see the night sky, take a hike, and visit horses at Rock Creek Park. The Nature Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm, and admission is free. If you’re keen on seeing stars, there’s a planetarium show at 4pm. You can also visit the equine residents at the nearby Horse Center for free. (Unfortunately, pony rides are not offered on weekdays this time of year, but staff at the stables always welcome visitors.)

Thursday – Experiment with hands-on fun at the Children’s Science Center Lab at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Kids of all ages can explore a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging interactive exhibits and activities. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $12 (under 2 are free).

Friday – Catch a performance of Hansel & Gretel, the latest Main Stage production at The Puppet Co. Showtime is at 11am. Tickets are $12. Plan to stay after to picnic (BYO and buy from the cafe) and romp on the Glen Echo Park playground.

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Filed under All ages, Art, Babies, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Gradeschoolers, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Preschoolers, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays