Category Archives: Parade

The Best Events of the 2017 Cherry Blossom Season for Families

blossoms_picnic

There’s much more to cherry blossom season in DC than just the famous flowers. The National Cherry Blossom Festival makes it a great celebration with all kinds of events over several weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festival. Here are the best of them for families to help plan for a peak blossom experience. And be sure to check out this post, too, with tips for cherry blossom viewing. Happy spring!

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: March 15 – April 2
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the bloom season and most of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Enjoy them daily starting March 15 from 12-6pm.

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Celebration of Japanese culture in the beauitful Kogod Courtyard! A taiko drumming performance will kick off the day, followed by Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts. Make your own tatebanko (a Japanese paper diorama) with friends from the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Gallery, go on a scavenger hunt to find spring themed artworks, and more!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress Young Readers Center
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Learn about Japanese culture as you create origami artwork creation, try on kimonos, and enjoy more other activities. Cherry Blossom princesses from the last few years will instruct children in the art of tiara-making. At 11am and 1:30pm, the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, will present “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” a program about Japanese life and culture. Following each of these presentations, there will be a karate demonstration along with other attractions. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature – read more about it here.

Friendship Between Nations Family Day
Where: National Archives
When: March 25, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship, such as the gift of the cherry blossoms from Japan to the US. Investigate treaties, learn about some of the crazy gifts countries have given, and participate in interactive activities designed for the entire family to enjoy.

Kites of Asia Heritage Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian heritage! At the Air & Space Museum’s annual event, you can talk to kite experts, see pan-Asian kite displays, marvel at indoor kite flying, make your own kite, and maybe even take a dance lesson!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: April 1, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is probably my favorite event of the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly a sight to behold. It’s magical for kids — and even for me as a jaded adult! The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 8, 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: April 8, 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.

Family Workshop: Japanese Woodblock Printing
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: April 8-9, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, join the Sackler 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 demonstrates transferring designs to a block, carving, and basic printing techniques. Come prepared to get your hands inky. All ages welcome!

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park
When: April 9
Admission: Free

The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park present the 3rd annual Anacostia River Festival, also a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival! Celebrate the Anacostia River with some fun outdoor recreation! Explore the river by canoe, ride in a bike parade, play lawn games with your family, and experience Southeast DC’s local arts scene. This year they’re celebrating biking in the District with trail rides, safety classes, quick bike tune ups, and special bike activities for all ages.

Family Afternoon: Design with Nature
Where: National Building Museum
When: April 9, 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.

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

This event that takes place along the District Wharf and the Titanic Memorial on the Southwest Waterfront is one of the last of the festival this year. 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.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: March 4-5

Theatrics at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where there's a special program for kids this weekend

Theatrics at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where there’s a special program for kids this weekend



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After a nice teaser of spring, it’s going to feel a little more like winter this weekend, but that won’t affect your family fun. Stay cozy inside at a performing arts fest, theatre workshop, museum program, summer camp preview, IMAX movie, or live show. And if you want to bundle up and bask in the sunshine, there are always lots of great activities to enjoy outside. Happy Weekend!

Intersect with the Performing Arts
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show (includes free fun!)

There’s more family programming at the INTERSECTIONS Festival this weekend, most of it on Saturday. See Jane Franklin Dance perform The Big Meow. Catch the In Series’ presentation, Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood. Capitol Tap and House of Tap performs Feel the Beat Through Your Feet! Clown Cabaret brings The Heist to the stage. And Saturday morning from 10am – 12pm, the Zip Zap Circus will bring FREE fun and entertainment to the Atlas lobby! These are just the most kid-friendly shows — the whole line-up throughout the Festival is worth checking out by grown-ups.

The Inside Scoop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

As the mercury drops toward temps more normal for this time of year, you might be seeking out fun indoors. This post lists more than 80 suggestions for things to do, most them mainstays around DC, and just about all of them KFDC tried and tested.

Family Shabbat Clusters
Where: DCJCC
When: Friday
Admission: $36

Celebrate Shabbat your way! Family Shabbat Clusters are groups of people that get together to celebrate Shabbat once a month and are a great way to make new friends and start traditions. Every Shabbat Cluster season starts with a Kickoff Dinner at the EDCJCC for all participants. Register here.

Shake(speare) Up Your Saturday
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free, but registration required

Join the Folger’s family program that takes place the first Saturday of every month. In this “Courtly Meetings & Country Greetings” session, imagine yourself in the two worlds of As You Like It, the court of Duke Frederick and the Forest of Arden. Ages 5-7 at 10-11am, and ages 8-14 at 11am – 12pm. Go here to sign up.

Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: Saturday, 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Irish holiday a a bit early in Old Town Alexandria. Pre-parade festivities begin in the morning, and the annual procession kicks off at 12:30pm at Alfred and King Streets, then winds through Old Town, showcasing elected officials, Irish Ambassadors, military commanders, scout troops, high school bands, and local celebrities.

Recycled Cycles for Sale!
Where: Big Bear Cafe
When: Saturday, 10am whiles supplies lasts
Admission: Free

Spring is coming and with it, great cycling weather, so now is the best time to make sure you have a quality ride that meets your needs. Well, just in time, Phoenix Bikes, a non-profit youth program and community bike shop in Arlington, VA, will be selling a large inventory of quality, refurbished bikes and new bike gear along with friends Gearin’ Up Bicycles and Bikes for the World. Check out the sale for a great deal on a bike that benefits local non-profits and be ready to ride this spring…truly a win-win!

Apollo on the Move
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Explore how Apollo 11 and the Moon landing transformed our lives 50 years ago and continues to influence space exploration and inspire people today and into the future. Go inside the Museum’s Restoration Hangar where staff work to conserve, restore, and preserve spacecraft and aircraft. See the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia undergoing conservation treatment and meet the experts who care for the artifact. Talk to experts who moved the Command Module Columbia from DC to Chantilly, VA, and learn about the preparation that goes into moving large artifacts. This is a unique opportunity for all ages to enjoy!

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

* Ella Enchanted is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* Reserve free tickets for Mister G, this week’s Saturday morning at the National performance
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Tiny Tots Sing-a-Long is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Join a Saturday Family Jazz Session at Strathmore
* The Freshest Snow Whyte just opensed at Imagination Stage
* Dan Zanes “Song Gusto Hour” with Claudia Eliaza is the Saturday morning show at Jammin Java

Earth Explorers
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Throughout the weekend, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, under 5 are free
(look for a discount)

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.

Suit Up!: Working in Space
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Join the Air & Space Museum in Chantilly for Making STEM Magic, a weekly program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. On Saturdays this month… Space: the final frontier, and the most dangerous. Want to be an astronaut? Learn how to suit up and protect yourself from the dangers of space in the March design challenge.

Lil’ Kickers Open House
Where: Merritt Academy
When: Sunday, 11am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Sample a soccer program for kids! Lil’ Kickers will be providing mini classes throughout the morning for children to experience their program. This is the second of several Open House Events at their four locations. Merrit Academy is located at 9211 Arlington Boulevard, Fairfax, VA 22031

Theatre Camp Open House
Where: Highwood Theatre
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Learn about this one-of-a-kind summer camp in downtown Silver Spring and then some at this Open House. Meet the teachers, see the space, enter raffles, and hear all about what’s coming up this summer. From Art Squared (with 3D Printing, Improv, Digital Music, and more) to technical theatre, musical theatre, and acting, they’ve got something for everyone in grades K-12.

Cocoa & Craft in the Park
Where: Hidden Oaks Nature Center
Whne: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: $6

Crafts, cocoa, and nature all in one outing! Stay and play for 20 minutes or more as you sip cocoa and create up to three crafts at the Nature Center. There are new craft kits each month. For ages 2 -12, and children younger than 10 must be accompanied and assisted by an adult.

DREAM BIG IMAX 3D
Where: Air & Space Museum & Udzar-Hazy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $9/adult, $8/senior, $7.50/ages 2-12

With some rain in the forecast, a movie at a museum will be a great plan. This latest film on local giant screens promotes the E in STEM. From the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots to footbridges in Haiti to a solar car race across Australia, DREAM BIG celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small and highlights how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. View the trailer here. And, of course, plan to explore the museum while you’re there!

Are You Ready for Some Fútbol?
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission Ticket proces vary

DC United kicks off a new season this weekend as they host Kansas City Sporting for the first match of the regular season. The game is a Heineken Green & Red Star Matchday, which means adults can enjoy a special promo: One ticket, one drink for $20 with the code HEINEKEN when you purchase online. And if you need to catch up on the local soccer scoop, check out the DC United website for a refresher.

KidFree Entertainment
Where: Lanburgh Theatre & Sidney Harman Hall
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Shakespeare Theatre Company presents two productions to applaud right now! The Select (The Sun Also Rises) brings a Hemingway classic to the Lansburgh Theatre stage with a cleverly directed and superbly acted show. And King Charles III is a thought-provoking drama that pits the monarchy against parliament, putting England in a national conflict that is, coincidentally, timely and familiar. I’ve seen and recommend both – best for a KidFree outing, but older tweens and teens could enjoy them, too.

Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Ring in the Persian New Year at the annual Nowruz celebration! Free attractions for all ages include storytelling, hands-on art activities, live music, film screenings, calligraphy, food, and the featured exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan.

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

This could ve the last good skating weekend of the season, so take advantage whileyou can! Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; 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 a heads-up that Canal Park closed early this season!

Cool Hikes
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Bundle up for a walk in the woods. See the flowers that popped up with warmer temps, 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.

**PLAN AHEAD**
A few new KFDC posts will help you prepare for some of DC’s most currently popular pursuits:
* Read a review of the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn to get an idea of what to expect and tips for visiting with kids
* The KFDC Guide to the National Museum of African American History & Culture will help you navigate one of the city’s most remarkable new attractions with children
* The cherry blossoms are expected to peak March 14-17, and KFDC has the scoop for making the most of your bloom viewing experience


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: February 17-20

A view of the Washington Monument from the African American Museum

A view of the Washington Monument from the African American Museum, a nod to President’s Day and Black History Month in one shot



ellaenchantedkidfriendlydc

It’s probably no surprise that there are scores of fun ways to celebrate President’s Day around DC. But there’s much more going on over the long weekend, too. Enjoy a Black History Month activity, go to the theatre, check out a new, cool exhibit, have a laugh at kids improv, savor the great weather with some outdoor recreation… Read on for details and even more ideas for making most of the extra time off. Happy Weekend!

Get Out
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

When it’s high 60’s and sunny in February, a recommendation to get out and seize the nice day is going to top the round-up. Stroll the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks, day trip and hike at Harpers Ferry, romp on the playground and visit the animals at Watkins Regional Park, take a walk in the woods, go fossil hunting. There are so many ways to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather — read about them all in this post about the best outdoor places around the area.

Party at George’s Place!
Where: Mount Vernon
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: $17/adult, $9/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under

Celebrate George Washington’s 285th birthday with special festivities at his former digs. Sample his favorite breakfast, mingle with costumed characters from the old days, and enjoy some dancing with the 18th-century. On Monday, there will be syrup-making and dance demos along with ceremonial wreathlayings to honor Washington. Bonus: Admission is free on Monday, but I can tell you from experience that a lot of folks show up to take advantage of the complimentary entry.

Stop by Abe’s, Too
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15/adult, $6/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under

There’s no special event, but this seems like a good way to honor our 16th POTUS for President’s Day. Located on the Armed Forces Retirement Home campus in northwest DC, the cottage was Abraham Lincoln’s country home and workplace, where he spent one quarter of his presidency. Admission includes the Cottage tour, an innovative small group tour in which a professional guide uses “historical voices” and images through multimedia technology to bring the stories of Abraham Lincoln and his family to life. It’s recommended for ages 6 and up.

Presidential Family Fun Day
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate America’s presidents with games, music, crafts, and a stovepipe-hat workshops led by staff from President Lincoln’s Cottage and a guided tour in the iconic “America’s Presidents” exhibition with Senior Historian David C. Ward. The Nationals’ Racing Presidents from MLB’s Washington Nationals will also attend from 11:30am – 12:30pm.

Discover Engineering Family Day
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free ($5 suggested donation)

The Building Museum always hosts great family events, and this annual festival is no exception. Celebrate National Engineers Week as you discover how professional engineers turn ideas into reality and do some engineering and problem solving of your own. Hands-on activities allow kids to explore forces behind roller coasters, build a structure that withstands a tsunami, discover what makes popcorn pop, launch a rocket, and more! We’ve gone several years and have always had a great time. It gets crowded, but there are so many activities available, kids can always be involved in the fun. Recommended for children ages 4-12 with adult supervision.

Happy Birthday, Frederick Douglass!
Where: Frederick Douglass Historic Site
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free ($1.50/house tour)

George and Abe aren’t the only ones with birthdays; Freddy was born in February, too! Celebrate the 199th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth with the National Park Service and its community partners as we hear about him more and more. The estate in Anacostia where Douglass lived for nearly the last 20 years of his life is now a historic site that welcomes the public to tour, and every year they host a birthday event in his honor. This year’s programs and activities explore the significance of the visual, performing, and culinary arts in Frederick Douglass’s life.

Black History Month Celebrations
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

February is Black History Month, and there are events and activities throughout the DC area to celebrate it. Museum programs (including an entire museum!), special tours and exhibits, story time sessions, and more will be enlightening and fun for all ages. See where they’re happening this weekend.

President’s Day Weekend Spectacular
Where: Port Discovery
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm/Sunday, 12-5pm/Monday, 9:30am – 5pm
Admission: $14.95/ages two and up

Enjoy President’s Day Weekend with fun, indoor family-friendly activities that will educate and entertain. On Saturday, there will be lots of train related fun, interactive engineering demos and experiments, and live music from roaming musician, Mr. Norman, and an interactive play of The Little Engine that Could. On Sunday, join in for art projects, Mother Goose on the Loose, Jingle Jangle Music Time, and programs like Kamishibai and The Adventure to the Imagination that will help your imagination go wild! On Monday, Celebrate President’s Day with tunes from DJ Holly, take part in an interactive story time featuring singing, dancing and finger plays, get musical during Jingle Jangle Music Time and in the hands-on Percussion Garden.

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

* Ella Enchanted is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* Join a Saturday Family Jazz Session at Strathmore
* Follow that Fiddle with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center
* The Freshest Snow Whyte just opensed at Imagination Stage
* This weekend is your last chance to seeGoldilocks at The Puppet Co.
* And Snow Show is the featured Tiny Tots performance on Sunday
* Jason Didner & the Jungle Gym are playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin Java
* The Folger Theatre presents As You Like It
* See the American Boychoir perform in Bethesda

DREAM BIG IMAX3D
Where: Air & Space Museum & Udzar-Hazy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $9/adult, $8/senior, $7.50/ages 2-12

The latest film to grace the giant screens at local museums promotes the E in STEM. From the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots to footbridges in Haiti to a solar car race across Australia, DREAM BIG celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small and highlights how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. View the trailer here.

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.

ComedySportz for Kids
Where: DC Improv
When: Saturday, 2:30pm (doors open at 2pm)
Admission: $10

Kids as young as first grade can enjoy this afternoon improv show with ComedySportz, a comedy troupe that specializes in short-form improv games. This show features child-sized versions of those games, hosted by a Kids Coach. Guests will love being able to shout out during a show and some of the older kids will enjoy a chance to go crazy onstage.

Washington Dollar Days
Where: Tudor Place
When: Friday/Saturday/Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: $1

Don’t miss your chance to practice the frugality our founding father approved of: George Washington was born in February, and Tudor Place is celebrating him all month through artifacts, furnishings, and stories, all for just one “Washington dollar!” Tours begin hourly, and it’s recommended you book ahead.

KidFree: King Charles III
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Through March 18
Admission: $64-123 (look for a discount)

Make it a date night at this play that imagines a not too far away future when the Queen is dead and Prince Charles prepares to take the throne. It’s an interesting drama that pits the monarchy against parliament, putting England in a national conflict that is, coincidentally, timely and familiar. For more about the show, Washington City Paper has a good review.

Frozen Day of Play
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: $4, free for ages 4 and under

Families are invited to a day of play and creativity as we explore the wonders of winter and ice through a variety of art projects, pretend play, investigations, and more! From frosty face painting, to a frozen treasure hunt, to guided winter walks, kids of all ages will delight in this sensory seasonal experience. Drop in and escape the winter blues with lots of fun for all! Read a KFDC write-up about Annmarie.

Earth Explorers
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Throughout the weekend, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $12/adult, $10/ages 5-12, under 5 are free (look for a discount)

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.

Mommy and Me
Where: Congress Heights Arts & Cultural Center
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Admission:

Join Buffy and Breezy of A. Lauren Design at their first ‘Mommy and Me’ event on Sunday. Enjoy brunch catered by Florida Avenue Grill, along with fun activities to do together — a DIY tulle skirt, face painting, pictures, and more! Contact alaurendesign@gmail.com with any questions and follow @alaurendesign. Tickets can be purchased through EventBrite.

A Local & National Treasure
Where: Library of Congress
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Explore the largest library in the world and one of DC’s most iconic attractions. Not only does the Library of Congress have a whole great space dedicated to kids, it’s is a trove of knowledge, art, history, and culture – and the public is welcome to enjoy it all. The Young Readers Center only has hours Monday through Saturday, but the rest is open daily. Read more in this very recent KFDC post.

Eco-Explorations
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center
When: Monday, 10-11:00am
Admission: $5/adult, $4/military, $3/youth; free ages 5 & under

Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, Solomons, Maryland, invites families to come along on an eco-exploration. Staff naturalist, Hester Burch, will lead youngsters and their caregivers on a hands-on exploration of the natural world of Annmarie Garden. This session is all about House cats vs Bobcats: What are the differences and similarities of domesticated and wild felines. As part of Eco-Explorations, kids will make a cat toy to take home. Families are also invited to bring in their own natural treasures to share for show & tell.

Family Fun Lego Day
Where: Bender JCC of Greater Washington
When: Monday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: $8/members,| $10/general public, parents free

Imagine what you’ll create at this fun-filled day with everyone’s favorite childhood building toys. Create and build with Legos and Duplos, play in the Family Gym, enjoy a screening of Trolls, and purchase a pizza lunch!

George Washington Birthday Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: Monday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria hosts the largest parade in the country celebrating George Washington’s birthday with marching bands, historic re-enactment troops, and more. Bundle up to watch the procession as it travels through Old Town. See the website for more info and route details.

Free Park-ing
Where: National Parks
When: Monday
Admission: Free!

It’s a fee free day at national parks, which means there’s no entrance price where they usually charge to get in. Take advantage of complimentary admission and the day off from school. Explore Prince William Forest Park, go to Fort McHenry, hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, or visit Harpers Ferry.

The Inside Scoop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’re looking for fun indoors, or just want more options for activities around town, this post lists more than 80 suggestions for things to do, just about all of them KFDC tried and tested.


***PLAN AHEAD***
Mock Trial for Kids!
Where: Trinity Washington University
When: March 18, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: $50/child

The Juris Prudence Academy is a one of a kind legal educational program for kids ages 8-12, which will be held on Saturday, March 18, 2017 at Trinity University in Washington, DC. The 90-minute workshop will teach academy students basic legal principles in a collaborative setting. The academy will be guided by a lawyer, and students will participate in a mock trial, applying the principles they have learned in the workshop. Mock trial topics are ones that will be interesting to children, such as the following:
– Should Kids Have the Right to Vote?
– Should Kids be Allowed to Drive at a Younger Age?
– Should School Recess Be Longer?
– Should Kids Have School on Saturdays?
For more information about the Academy, review the FAQs on the event registration page. Scholarship tuition waiver nomination forms are available by emailing academy@jurispprudence.com.


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The Weekend Round-Up: January 27-29

The Chinese New Year Parade is one of several ways to celebrate the Year of the Rooster

The Chinese New Year Parade is one of several ways to celebrate the Year of the Rooster



Chinese New Year celebrations to usher in the Year of the Rooster, a chance to check out some sweet rides, a couple of new indoor play options, an improv gig for kids, loads of live entertainment, and quintessential winter recreation are among the options for family fun. That’s a lot to cock-a-doodle-doo about (aagh, couldn’t help myself!). Happy Weekend!

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 has zoomed back into town. 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. The show will be in town through February 5.This post about one of our experiences at a past show has more about what to expect.

Chinese New Year Parade
Where: Chinatown
When: Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Welcome, Year of the Rooster! On Sunday, the annual Chinese New Year Parade brings vibrant tradition to downtown DC. Festivities kick off at 6th & I Streets NW at 2pm and will wind through the streets of Chinatown celebrating Chinese culture in a brilliant procession that includes traditional dance, music, and, of course, the iconic dragons. Kids always love seeing the show and having trinkets and treats given to them by parade participants passing by (mine especially dig this!). The parade lasts about two hours, and spectating is free. Get there a little early to stake out your curbside spot — folks come out for this one, especially if it’s a nice day.

Family Day: Okinawa Lunar New Year
Where: The George Washington University and Textile Museum
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Lunar New Year, island style! Join the Textile Museum on the closing weekend of the exhibition “Bingata! Only in Okinawa” for an all-ages festival that celebrates the traditions of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Enjoy traditional dance and karate demonstrations; create your own bingata pattern; and go fishing in the islands’ tropical reefs. This is a great time to visit a fantastic museum that normally might be a little sophisticated for young kids.

Chinese New Year Festival
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3:30pm
Admission: Free

Join the gallery in the heart of DC’s Chinatown neighborhood as they open their doors to the the community for the 2017 Lunar New Year and celebrate the Year of the Rooster! Help “awaken the lion” and ring in the New Year. Enjoy a variety of activities and demonstrations throughout the day, including crafts, traditional performances, and a scavenger hunt. (If you go, stop by the new Explore! with the Portrait Gallery while you’re there.)

Celebrate Saturdays!
Where: Library of Congress
When: Saturday, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Join the Library of Congress to celebrate new ways of engaging with the Young Readers Center as they launch new Saturday hours! Watch a ribbon cutting with Dr. Carla Hayden and Teen Board representatives; enjoy story time with award-winning authors Meg Medina and Erica S. Perl; and stay for crafts, book accessibility demos, and a very special guest parade. Kids are encouraged to wear their best book character costumes and have fun! Space is limited, so plan to arrive early.

Explore! with the Portrait Gallery
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am – 6pm
Admission: Free

A new indoor play space for little ones, ages 18 months to 8 years old, opens this weekend. The exhibition in partnership with the Explore! Children’s Museum of Washington, DC, offers several hands-on activities aimed to expand the experience of portraiture. I got a sneak peek of it earlier this week — you can read more about in this KFDC post. (If you go on Saturday, plan to check out the Chinese New Year Festival in the Kogod, too!)

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

* Hamlette puts a twist on the Shakespearean classic as it open at The Keegan Theatre
* Catch The Big Meow from Theatre on the Run
* Goldilocks is the latest Main Stage show at The Puppet Co.
* And Panda-Monium is the featured Tiny Tots performance this weekend
* Enjoy NSO Music for Young Audiences as they perform Catch the Vibe at Kennedy Center
* Catch Titanic at Signature Theatre while it’s still cruising this final weekend
* 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

Monster Jam
Where: Verizon Center
When: Saturday
Tickets: $15-95

The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC. Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, Pirate’s Curse, Shark, Alien Invasion, Zombie, Monster Mutt Rottweiler, and Blue Thunder are among the vehicular beasts you’ll see tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Polar Bear Plunge
Where: Sandy Point State Park
When: Saturday, 8am – 2pm
Admission: $75 to plunge, free to spectate

If you want to take a quick dip in the cold, cold Chesapeake Bay for a good cause or want to watch others endure a frigid swim, head toward the Bay Bridge on Saturday for the 21st Annual Polar Bear Plunge. All ages can participate in this event that raises funds for Special Olympics Maryland. And you can still donate if you don’t want to plunge in.

Lunar New Year Celebration
Where: Leesburg Corner Outlets
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Leesburg’s shopping destination is hosting a Lunar New Year celebration with an afternoon of cultural festivities. Activities will include calligraphy writing, origami folding, and a variety of local performances, including colorful Dragon Dances and a Han Conture Fashion Show. Trendsetters can also enjoy in-store specials from participating retailers.

ComedySportz for Kids
Where: DC Improv
When: Saturday, 2:30pm (doors open at 2pm)
Admission: $10

Kids as young as first grade can enjoy this afternoon improv show with ComedySportz, a comedy troupe that specializes in short-form improv games. This show features child-sized versions of those games, hosted by a Kids Coach. Guests will love being able to shout out during a show and some of the older kids will enjoy a chance to go crazy onstage.

Lunar New Year Celebration, Hon
Where: Walters Art Museum
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission:

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster with art activities and traditional Lunar New Year performances by the Baltimore Chinese School, the Johns Hopkins Lion Dance Troupe, and the Korean dance groups Sang Hee Ju Traditional Dance Company and Stepping Stones.

Story Time
Where: East City Bookshop
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

East City Bookshop is launching its second weekly storytime, this one for readers ages 4 – 8 years old. Starting this weekend, and continuing every Sunday, join the free children’s book reading session led by a rotating cast of staff members, local librarians and teachers, and children’s book authors.

Hit the Slopes
Where: Liberty Mountain
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies

Take advantage of winter and enjoy a quintessential seasonal activity — skiing! Liberty Mountain is one of the more convenient places to go with the kids, especially if they are newbies. Just over an hour from DC in PA, it’s easy to get to for a one-day venture on the slopes, the runs aren’t too difficult, and kids can do a couple of hours of ski school (be sure to sign up in advance). Get the scoop on their children’s programs here. Currently, they claim “spring-like, soft snow conditions thanks to recent mild temperatures but colder weather now returning to our valley!”

Ice It
Where: Local ice skating rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

It’s going to be a great weekend to get out and glide! Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at CanalPark; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area. And note that both at Canal Park and Washington Harbor are hosting Cartoon Skate on Saturday morning!

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

It’s going to be sunshiny and not too cold considering it’s winter, so get out and enjoy it! Take a hike, check out a new playground, roam around a garden, maybe even do some fossil hunting. This KFDC post has loads of ideas for enjoying time outdoors with the kids around the area. (And if the weather should turn, or you’re just seeking activities inside, The Great Indoors post has you covered.


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The Weekend Round-Up: January 20-22

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This Weekend Round-Up is being brought to you a bit earlier than usual since it includes info about big events happening on Friday. And a little ulterior motive: It also lets me give a special shout-out to my very favorite tween on his 11th (!) birthday. I could gush forever about what an incredible kid I think he is — he’s kind, smart, fun, curious, adventurous, positive, compassionate — but then I’d be that mom (okay, so I am that mom). And now more than ever my hopes are that all these qualities serve not just him, but also others well. With that, here are your recommendations for activities with the kids over the next few days. Happy Weekend! Happy Birthday, my sweet O. And even though I try to keep my blog non-political, I have to say… Thank you, President Obama.

Hang at the First President’s Place
Where: Mount Vernon
When: Thursday – Sunday, 8am – 5pm
Admission: $20/adult, $10/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under at the door
($2 less if you purchase tickets online)

The home of the nation’s first POTUS, George Washington, is hosting special Inauguration Weekend activities. Scavenger hunts, exhibits, photo ops, and more, not to mention the ongoing programs will be offered at the estate. There will also be special extended hours to enjoy it all.

Inauguration: Swearing In and Parade
Where: National Mall & Downtown DC
When: Friday, 11:30am – 5pm
Admission: Free

If you want to experience the inauguration ceremony as close to the event as possible, you can head to the National Mall and watch it all go down on big screens that will be set up there. Be prepared for crowds — during the last two inaugurations, people were packed like sardines, and just walking was incredibly slow-going. Following the ceremony from 3-5pm, there will be a parade following the President and Vice President from the Capitol to the White House. The Washington Post has a guide on all you need to know for planning — road closures, public transportation details, access points, security info, and more.

Women’s March
Where: Starts at Independence Ave. & 3rd St. SW
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

The turnout for this is expected to be huge! The event starts with a rally by the U.S. Capitol from 10am – 1:15pm, then the marching begins after that. Be sure to check the FAQ for information on transportation, what to bring, etc. And this map from Washingtonian of restrooms, refreshments, and more places welcoming marchers will come in handy, too.

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

Explore the ways music has influenced issues ranging from political campaigns to civil rights at the Newseum’s latest exhibit, “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics.” 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.

Explore the Rails with Thomas & Friends
Where: Port Discovery
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission:$14.95/ages two and up

All aboard! Everyone’s favorite blue engine will roll into Port Discovery Children’s Museum this weekend for a brand new exhibit! Climb aboard Thomas’ cab, fix wobbly wheels, pull levers, dress as a train conductor, and more. Join on opening weekend for special activities…or be sure to stop by before the exhibit departs the station on May 7th.

More Charm City Fun
Where: Baltimore
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Escape the DC crowds and zip up I-95 for even more fun in our sister city, where there are several great ways to spend the day — or even the whole weekend. 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. Learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. Tour the ships at the Inner Harbor. And both the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art offer free activities on weekends!

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

* Goldilocks is the new Main Stage show at The Puppet Co.
* And Winter Wonderland is the featured Tiny Tots performance this weekend
* Find out what ballet and juggling have in common at 4×4:Ephemeral Architectures at Strathmore on Sunday evening
* Titanic is still afloat at Signature Theatre, and it’s getting great reviews
* Little ones will be delighted by Blue at Imagination Stage
* Make it a KidFree night out at Arena Stage where ROE recently opened

Astro-Bots: Astronomy
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Join the Air & Space Museum for Making STEM Magic, a monthly program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. Ready to explore our solar system? During this session, program a robot to travel through space and gather information about our nearest neighbors in this January design challenge.

Broadway Bound
Where: Herndon High School
When: Saturday, 7:30pm
Admission: $10, $5/students & seniors

Join Herndon High School students as they present “Broadway Bound,” an evening of song and dance featuring some favorites from West Side Story, Newsies, A Chorus Line, In the Heights, Rock of Ages, Little Women, and more! The school is located at 700 Bennett Street in Herndon, VA, and the show will take place in the auditorium — enter through door #6, at the back of the school.

Out of Many Festival
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: Saturday, 1-5pm & Sunday, 10:30am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Festivals at this museum always include vibrant performances in the atrium, and this one centers around them. The two-day celebration highlights Native performers, both traditional and contemporary, from across the country, including groups from the DC area, highlighting mariachi music, West African dance, taiko drums, salsa music and dance, Chinese youth lion dances, jazz, and much more!

Portrait Story Days: Barack Obama
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 1-4pm & Sunday, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Pay tribute to our departing POTUS at a special story time. Drop by the Portrait Gallery to enjoy this regularly featured program — young visitors and their families can listen to a story and complete an art project. This weekend’s sessions will feature Barack Obama.

The Wild Rumpus Dance Party 
Where: Kensington Town Hall
When: Sunday, 3-5pm
Admission: $5, $20/family

Enjoy an afternoon of fun to benefit the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation’s Make MORE Noyes Campaign! Dance your claws off with Aaron Anderson of A-Squad Entertainment at the party. Create “monstrous” masterpieces at the craft table. Enjoy the Where the “Wild Things Are” Penny Theater show. Browse the display of Maurice Sendak memorabilia — and make sure to enter the Sendak raffle. Dancing is geared to ages 18 months to 6 years, but all ages are welcome! RSVP here

Think Outside
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Take advantage of warmer winter weather and enjoy some time outside! You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for outdoor adventures. Take a hike, hit a playground, explore a garden, visit animals, or see what else there is to do al fresco in this post with tons of ideas for outdoor fun.

The Inside Scoop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’d prefer to spend the day indoors, or just want more options for activities around town, this post list more than 80 suggestions for things to do. For locations in DC, especially downtown, I recommend calling ahead to check Inauguration Weekend schedules.

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