Category Archives: Outdoor

Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 24-28

Plenty of blackberries for the picking at Homestead Farms




Monday – Stay cool and have fun at a pool, sprayground, or water park. The Summer in DC guide has links to the many places around the DC-Metro area where it’s all about getting wet — and you can consider this for any day of the week! But if staying cool means avoiding the outdoors altogether, check out The Great Indoors list of more than 90 ideas for adventures inside. Hours and admission varies by locale.

Tuesday – Go over the rainbow and beyond at Watkins Regional Park. The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will have little ones frolicking for hours. Be sure to stop by Old Maryland Farm to visit the animals and spend time at Watkins Nature Center to view even more cool creatures and birds, then hike the nearby trails. Go for a spin on the carousel, take a ride on the miniature train that winds through woods, and play mini golf. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 10am – 5:30pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free, but rides and mini golf are a small fee.

Wednesday – See the sea of sunflowers at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, MD. The sight of thirty acres of bright yellow blooms stretching gloriously through the fields will make your day! Plus, admission is free. Plan to pair the outing with some blackberry picking at Homestead Farms, located just a few minutes away. Bring along some lunch to eat in the covered pavilion, and make time to visit the farm animals there, too. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission to the PYO fields is $3/person, but it’s deducted from the cost of the berries you pick to bring home.

Thursday – Go bowling! Take advantage of Kids Club Bowling at Pinstripes in Georgetown. From 10am – 12pm Monday – Thursday, kids can bowl for $3/hour ($3/shoe rental) and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult). Eat while you bowl or stay after for lunch — they have a good kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too. Afterwards, head down Wisconsin Avenue to Georgetown Waterfront Park to play in the spray fountain and enjoy some outdoor time along the Potomac.

Friday –Make it a mission to visit the International Spy Museum, where you and the kids can go undercover to explore the intriguing world of espionage. Hours are 9am – 7pm. Regular admission is $21.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-11, free for 6 and under, but you can find a discount on adult tickets here.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

Scenes from the Sunflower Bloom at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area



I’m no horticulturalist or anything, but I loves me a beautiful flower bloom. It’s not just the dramatic vistas they create as brilliant bursts of color stretch across landscapes; something about the annual recurrence — the concept of renewal — is at once comforting, uplifting, exciting, and hopeful. (Why, hello, my inner cheeseball.)

This was the first time we went to see the sunflower bloom at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, MD. I’d actually never heard about it before and have the Montgomery County Tourism Office on social media to thank for the heads-up this year. It was one of their Instagram posts that alerted me to the peak dates, which are right now through next weekend.

So, this bloom is amazing! The thirty acres of tall yellow flowers is such a happy sight, like a big congregation of smiling emoji sunshine faces. It was a crazy hot day when Owen and I went to see it, but I’m so glad we braved the temps. We didn’t stay too long, about 20-30 minutes, but it was enough time to take in the sublime scene. I recommend wearing hats, close-toed shoes, and sunscreen, and bringing along a bottle of water.

I couldn’t find an exact address for McKee-Beshers, but put the location in my phone GPS and followed the route. It led us to a small parking lot just off River Road, and a sign there confirmed we were in the right place. (There’s no admission, just park and head to the fields.) It’s just a few minutes down the road from Homestead Farms, so I recommend planning a visit there, too, to make the most of your time while you’re out that way. We did some blackberry picking and enjoyed a picnic lunch that we brought along. Just make sure you go soon, because the bloom (and blackberries!) won’t be there for much longer.

The first glimpse beyond the trees

There’s some room to walk among the flowers, just be careful you don’t hurt the plants

A shorty among the tallies

The flip side…sunflowers turn slowly throughout the day, so they’re always facing the sun

Matching bumble bee

Stop and smell, though there’s not much of an aroma

Rising high

Sunflower close-up

Still in the bud stage

Go see them…and have your camera ready!

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: July 21-23

Sunflowers taller than my tall kid at McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area





It’s just about midsummer (of the break from school, anyway), and the magic comes in the form of some so many wonderful events and activities going on over the next few days. Happy Weekend!

Mars Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Friday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Zoom over to Air & Space for their annual celebrating of the Red Planet! Kids can check out a real meteorite, test maneuvering skills in a hands-on activity with small robots, get news about Curiosity from a science team member, see images of current activity on Mars, and much more. A special highlight is a look at the Mars Rover Concept Vehicle, which will be on view Friday and Saturday.

Seize the Summer Days
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: All weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Summer is whizzing by, so enjoy the season while you can with activities that only occur this time of year. Start off the weekend with a free outdoor concert this evening, then continue the fun on Saturday and Sunday with water play at a pool or spray park. Or take it indoors at special summer program like HIVE at the Building Museum or free admission for kids to the Newseum. Wind it all up with crab feast or a movie under the stars. Get details about all of these summer diversions and even more in the 2017 Summer Guide.

Tennis, Anyone?
Where: Kastles Stadium at the Smith Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Friday, 7pm
Admission: Tickets start at $22

The Washington Kastles, the DC franchise of World TeamTennis, will serve up exciting action on the court at the Smith Center on Friday evening. Nick Kyrgios, Martinia Hingis, and Frances Tiafoe are the featured players as they play the Philadelphia Freedom. And there are always fun activities going to outside the court for all ages to enjoy. For some background, see this post from a few years back (but note the location has changed since then).

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

Pow! Bam! Kaboom! It’s an action-packed day of superheroes. Arrive dressed as your favorite character. No costume? Come as your superhero’s secret identity and make a mask at our crafting station. Show off your powers in our series of challenges and let those villains know that there is nothing you can’t overcome.

Montgomery County Farm Tour
Where: Montgomery County Farms | Montgomery County, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Learn about agricultural heritage, promote local farms, and indulge in seasonally fresh food as Montgomery County celebrates the 28th Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale. Activities will vary from farm to farm, but several will have hayrides, pony rides, music, animals to visit, and other activities planned. All 17 participating farms will be open Saturday, and some will reopen on Sunday, so be sure to check the website for the schedule before you go.

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

* Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook is running at Adventure Theatre
* The Maryland Youth Ballet will perform Snow White at Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods series
* See theatre by kids for kids as Encore Stage & Studio presents The Music Man
* Go down the rabbit hole for Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure at Imagination Stage
* And little ones will love Raton en Movimiento!, also playing at the theatre in Bethesda
* Arts on the Horizon brings entertainment to littles with By the Seashore
* The UniverSoul Circus is wowing audiences at FedEx Field
* Penguin’s Playground is the featured Tiny Tots show at The Puppet Co.
* My Fair Lady at Olney Theatre is recommended for ages 10 and up
* It’s the final weekend for the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company production of The Tempest at PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City, MD
* Make it a date night to see An Octoroon at Woolly Mammoth
* The Capital Fringe Festival is still bringing a variety of performances to venues around DC

Root for the Baysox
Where: Prince George’s Stadium | Landover, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Nats aren’t the only baseball team in town. The Bowie Baysox, one of the local minor league teams, are hosting the Altoona Curve all weekend, and there’s extra fun and special promos to enjoy, too — post-game fireworks, a salute to Seinfeld, Police Appreciation Day, and more. Plus, there are always fun and games especially for kids. Read more about Baysox games in this KFDC post.

Tour de Fat
Where: Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Saturday, 4-9pm
Admission: $25/adult, free for kids

The celebration of bike and bemusement is zany in the best way possible. It’s changed a bit this year from previous ones, with more live music, a later start time, no bike parade, and paid entry instead of free admission. But there is still all kinds of bike-centric art and fun, music and vaudeville-esque entertainment, a dance contest, and beer (New Belgium is behind it all)!

Baltimore Artscape
Where: Baltimore, MD
When: Friday/Saturday, 11am – 9pm & Sunday, 11am – 8pm
Admission: Free

America’s largest free arts festival is happening all weekend long in Baltimore. With a camp theme this year, it features more than 150 fine artists, fashion designers, and craftspeople; visual art exhibits, including outdoor sculpture, art cars, photography. There are also concerts on outdoor stages, plus dance, opera, theater, film, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performances. Kids can enjoy hands-on projects, demonstrations, competitions, children’s entertainers, and street theater. Concessions sold on site, too! This all takes place at Mount Royal Avenue & Cathedral Street, Charles Street, Bolton Hill, and Station North Arts & Entertainment District neighborhoods.

Go with the Flow
Where: Waterways around the DMV
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 rent kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards, rowboats, and pontoons. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, and you can also paddle from nearby Thompson Boathouse and Ballpark Boathouse next to Yards Park. Bladensburg Waterfront Park also has vessels for rent along with free pontoon boat tours on weekends from 5-5:45. If you’re up for a bigger excursion, you can rent your own pontoon at Solomons Island. And you can see where else you can explore by water in this round-up of great places to row.

Spartan Kids Race
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront
When: Saturday, several time slots
Admission: $25-40 varies by race, free to spectate

While the Nats are away, it’s Spartan Race day! The main event is for adults, but kids can enjoy a great active challenge, too. They’ll run, jump, duck, climb, get muddy — and have a blast! There’s a one mile course for ages 9-13, and a half-mile for ages 4-8. Entry fee is less if you register in advance.

Tanabata: The Japanese Star Festival
Where: Hillwood Museum & Estate | Upper Northwest, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: $18/adult, $12 Hillwood and JASWDC members, $5/ages 6-18, under 6 free.

Tanabata, the Japanese Star Festival, celebrates the legend of Orihime, the weaver princess, and Hikoboshi, the herder, lovers separated by the Milky Way who are allowed to meet just once a year on one day during the summer months. Celebrate the festive holiday at Hillwood — explore the enchanting Japanese-style garden, hear fascinating tales through storytelling and song, enjoy a variety of hands-on activities like writing poems and special wishes on tanzaku to hang on bamboo, decorating paper lanterns, and making paper ornaments, calligraphy, and more.

Secondhand Game Sale
Where: Labyrinth Game Shop | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 7pm & Sunday, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Labyrinth is hosting its legendary Used Game Sale. The proceeds raised go to buy games for local teachers’ classrooms, support the shop’s game class aftercare program, and add new games to the demo library. The sale includes a live and silent auction on the first day, and a rummage sale on the second day.

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.

Kids Paint Along
Where: Artist & Craftsman Supply | Brentwood, DC
When: Saturday, 1-2:30pm
Admission: $10

During this easy class just for kids, students will be lead step-by-step to paint a fun ice cream cone in honor of summer! Most appropriate for ages 6-12, and parents must remain on premises. All supplies included. Spots are limited so sign up soon: Call 202.526.4446 or stop by the store to register.

A Sea of Sunflowers
Where: McKee Beshers Wildlife Management Area | Poolesville, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Get your cameras ready for the latest eye-popping bloom! The sunflowers at McKee Beshers are reaching their peak, and visitors are welcome to take in the brilliant scene. It is gorgeous! Nine fields showcase 30 acres of flowers, and they are expected to bloom for two weeks. Read more about it here. Tip: If you plan to go, pair it with a outing PYO blackberries outing like we did at Homestead Farms, which is just minutes away.

Take Your Pick
Where: Farms around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, and veggies are available for picking at local farms. Just about all of the spots listed in this post about PYO places have something ready for harvest now and welcome guests to come pick ’em themselves. However, it’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended. Tip: If you plan to see the sunflowers at McKee-Besher, consider heading to Homestead Farms just a few minutes away before or after your bloom viewing.

Indoor Playgrounds
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

If you can’t stand the heat, and the kids have a lot of energy to expend, there are places around the area that will feel like havens. Read about them in this round-up of play spaces where, in some cases, they can literally bounce off the walls.

Family Happy Hour
Where: The Brig | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 12-3pm
Admission: Free

Head to The Brig Beer Garden on Barracks Row for a special Sunday happy hour, including arts & Ccafts for kids and adults, water-activities, and more! Proceeds support Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, providing CHAWSOME education in the arts for all — for 45 years! (Happy Anniversary, CHAW!)

***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* Did you know you can have Weekend Round-Ups and other KFDC posts delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe by simply entering your email in the sign up box on the left side of the blog.
* Check out the Free in DC blog if you haven’t yet. It lists all kinds of events and opportunities that don’t cost a dime. There’s more for adults (think parents night out!), but also some items for kids, too.
* Best pizza (and Italian hoagies, for that matter) in the DC area: The Italian Store, hands down. It’s been our favorite for years!

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Sports, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend