Category Archives: Parade

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



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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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Where to Celebrate MLK Day 2017

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Special events and activities to honor and celebrate MLK have started this week and even more will be happening throughout the coming weekend. Whether you’re looking for ways to teach kiddos about MLK, want to give back on the Day of Service, enjoy live entertainment that pays tribute to his legacy, or join a special event to observe the occasion, these recommendations will have you covered.

Day of Service
Where: Various locations
When: January 16
Admission: Just your time

If you want to volunteer on the MLK, Jr. Day of Service, there are many ways and places you can do so around the area. Start here to find opportunities that suit your family.

ConSERVE DC
Where: Anacostia Park
When: January 16, 9:30am – 2:30pm
Admission: Just your time

Join the Student Conservation Association as they gather to ConSERVE DC this MLK Day by mobilizing the next generation of community stewards to help restore our public lands. With the support of American Express, they will be bringing together hundreds of volunteers for a massive cleanup of the Anacostia River. Join them to honor the legacy of Dr. King and connect the issues of social and environmental justice and help improve the health of DC’s urban waterfront.

More Family Volunteer Ops
Where: Various locations
When: Ongoing
Admission: Just your time

For more places to volunteer as a family that aren’t included in the official MLK Day of Service database, this KFDC post has suggestions. All of the organizations listed welcome kids to help out, though some have age requirements, so be sure to note them.

Learn about MLK
Where: Local libraries
When: MLK Week, now through January 16
Admission: Free

DC Public Libraries are hosting many events to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Storytime, arts & crafts, songs, and exhibits are just some of the ways you and the kids can take part.

Artsy MLK Days
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Gardens
When: January 14-16
Admission: Free

Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King with a community art activity! Each year, Annmarie invites guests of all ages to help create a community art installation in honor of a dream. This year’s big MLK Days project is a collective mural titled “#WDUS4 – What Do You Stand For?”. There will also be coloring and poetry activities, and the whole family can enjoy them.

Visit Memorials
Where: MLK & Lincoln Memorials
When: January 16
Admission: Free

Pay tribute to Dr. King at sites that honor his legacy. Visit the MLK Memorial, a powerful and poignant memorial along the Tidal Basin. From there, you can head to the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and see if you can find his words etched in the stone there.

I Have a Dream Weekend Celebration
Where: Port Discovery
When: January 14-16
Admission: $14.95/ages 2 and up

Community comes to life at the Baltimore children’s museum over the three-day “I Have a Dream” weekend. Celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with special programs, including a meet and greet with the Negro League Baseball Museum, painting quilt squares for their community quilt with the Baltimore African-American Quilters Guild, making a birthday card, a birthday tribute by The Kindersinger (Saturday), and more fun festivities.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Tribute & Celebration
Where: Strathmore
When: January 16, 3:30pm
Admission: Free

This multi-cultural program engages diverse, talented performers and award honorees who serve their communities unselfishly. Approximately 2,000 young people, including county officials and local press, participate in the commemoration in the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Limit four tickets per household.

KanKouran West African Dance Company
Where: Dance Place
When: January 15, 4-6pm
Admission: $15-30 (1 child free with adult paid ticket)

KanKouran, an integral part of the DC dance community for nearly 30 years, presents their annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in an electrifying, athletic, and family-friendly performance of traditional West African dance and drumming. During this special Family Series show, reserve one free ticket for a child 12 & under with paying adult.

MLK Parade, Peace Walk, & Festival
Where: Throughout SE & SW DC
When: January 16
Admission: Free

Commemorate the life of MLK, Jr. on a peace walk and parade along Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. The Peace Walk begins at 10am at 2500 MLK Ave SE and ends at the R.I.S.E Center at 2730 MLK Ave SE. The MLK Parade will commence at noon from 2700 MLK Ave SE and continue up MLK Avenue to Anacostia Park, where the MLK Holiday Festival and Health Fair will be underway. All ages are welcome to join.

Let Freedom Ring at Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: January 16, 6pm
Admission: Free

It’s the annual special Millennium Stage performance in honor of MLK Day. The Kennedy Center and Georgetown University host a musical celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. This year the concert will feature a special performance with Gladys Knight and the Let Freedom Ring Choir. Free tickets will be given away up to two per person in line in the Hall of Nations at 5pm on a first-come, first-served basis.


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The Weekend Round-Up: December 2-4

Scene from a past (snowy) Boat Parade of Lights

Scene from a past (snowy) Boat Parade of Lights



Holiday cheer is abundant this weekend with all kinds of events and activities that celebrate the season. And if you’re still not quite ready to embrace the spirit, there are plenty of activities to sate the bah-humbuggers, too. Happy Weekend!

Smithsonian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian Museums
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the holiday season at Smithsonian Museums — the Air & Space Museum, Natural History, American History, Hirshhorn, Sackler Gallery, American Indian, African Art, and Smithsonian Castle! This Holiday Festival has tons going on, something for everyone in your crew — concerts by the U.S. Air Force Band, family holiday photo ops; screenings of The Muppet Christmas Carol; trunk shows featuring apparel, jewelry and art; book signings; festive food; and hours of additional family-friendly entertainment. See the schedule for more details.

Georgetown GLOW
Where: Georgetown neighborhood
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday 6-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light – literally. Every evening through January 1, the neighborhood will sparkle with modern light art installations on exhibit throughout the bustling community. Works of local, regional, and international artists will be on display in both public and privately-owned spaces, including M Street, along the C&O Canal, and more nearby places. Take the family dinner, then go for a stroll to check them all out.

Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

There are so many great activities running through the season to celebrate the holidays in DC. Watch model trains buzz around the National Parks and Historic Sites-themed display at the Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greetings exhibit. See the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Join the Frost Fest at Pentagon Row. If you hope to hit ‘em all, you better get on it! A few are highlighted below, but get the complete rundown on all the area’s holiday happenings, see the 2016 KFDC Holiday Guide.

Fun for a Buck — or Free
Where: Baltimore
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free or $1

In the spirit of the holidays, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore presents Dollar or Less Days this weekend when participating attractions will open their doors offering free or $1 admission! The Maryland Science Center, Babe Ruth Museum, Port Discovery, National Aquarium, Historic Ships of Baltimore, Christmas Village, and more exciting places will be welcoming guests to take advantage. Go here for the full list of participating venues.

It Takes a Christmas Village
Where: Baltimore Inner Harbor
When: Friday & Saturday, 11am – 8pm & Sunday, 11am – 7pm
Admission: $1 or less this weekend!

West Shore Park in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has been transformed into a Christmas Village this holiday season, and it’s full of fun for all ages. There’s kids entertainment all day long, photo ops with Santa, gingerbread house making, a bratwurst eating contest, and more. Plus, everyday there are more than 60 booths to browse for gifts, food, entertainment, and lots of holiday fun to celebrate the season. Oh, and this is par of the Dollar or Less Days, so you get in for a buck!

Let There Be Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks or gardens (or the Zoo!) that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. If you opt for the latter, dress the kids in PJ’s, turn up the holiday tunes, and bring along a thermos of hot chocolate. Either way, be prepared to be dazzled!

Ross Christmas Tree Sale
Where: Ross Elementary School
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free (but plan to buy a tree!)

Ross Elementary School, located at 1730 R St NW, will kick off their 9th Annual Holiday Tree today starting at 4pm. You can pre-order your tree — delivery is available — here or stop by this weekend to pick out your tree or wreath! All proceeds benefit the Ross PTA.

Santa Fly-In
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5

This will be an experience to remember as you watch Santa fly into the historic College Park Airport (it’s the world’s oldest continuously operating airport!). Make some holiday arts and crafts, then have your picture taken with Santa Claus after his big flight.

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland
Where: Downtown Bethesda
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but concerts and events cost extra

Bethesda’s Winter Wonderland is back, turning Bethesda Row into an outdoor street bazaar. The celebration features holiday performances, a live ice sculpting presentation, and a visit from Santa Claus in Veterans Park.

Scottish Christmas Walk Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

For the 45th consecutive year, the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade will showcase marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and more. The parade begins at St. Asaph and Wilkes Streets and concludes at Market Square with a massed band concert. There will also be other festive events throughout the weekend — see the website for details.

Holiday Festival & Boat Parade of Lights
Where: Alexandria
When: Saturday, 4-9pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria’s harbor lights up when more than 50 illuminated boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront, led by Alexandria’s fireboat Vigilant and Washington, DC’s fireboat John Glenn. Before and after the parade, stop in to the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Holiday Open House between 4-9pm to enjoy performances by the Alexandria Choral Society plus gift shopping in open artist studios.

College Hoops
Where: Local colleges
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

It’s college b-ball season, and with so many universities in the area, there’s always some good hoops action going on. Both the GWU and Georgetown men’s team play in the BB&T Classic on Sunday, while the GWU women host Illinois (tickets here). At George Mason, the men match up against Mercer on Saturday evening (tickets here). The AU and Howard men keep it local tomorow, and the AU women host William & Mary (tickets here). And it’s Maryland vs. Oklahoma State for the men, and against UMBC for the women (tickets here). Go, Terps!

Star Wars Days
Where: Garfield High School in Woodbridge
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $10, 4 and under are free

Star Wars Days is a one of kind place for all things Star Wars, Sci-Fi, Comics, Anime, Cosplay, Scouting, and STEM! Over 20 artists will showcase their crafts and more. And you can browse more than 30 tables of toys, clothing, jewelry, collectibles, lightsabers, comics, glassware, custom products, geek candies, and lots of other great items.

Holiday Book Sale
Where: Silver Spring Library
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Browse a great selection of gently used books for children and adults at the Silver Spring Library’s Holiday Book Sale. Stock up with good reads for the winter and find like-new bargains for gift giving! All proceeds will be used to supplement library programming and services at the Silver Spring Library, via Friends of the Library Silver Spring Chapter, organizer of the event.

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

Check out the new program for children ages 0 to 6 with various themes, this week numbers. Early learners 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. Children can listen to counting stories, create art with numbers and learn about numbers, colors, and shapes with toy clocks.

Winter Wonderland
Where: Burke Lake Park
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $15/advance, $20/at event

Celebrate the season with a train ride on the Holiday Express at Burke Lake’s Winter Wonderland. Enjoy a tour on the U.S.S. Reindeer, then take a spin on the Carolers Carousel, experience the Snowman’s Wagon Ride, play Gingerbread Man’s Golf, or warm yourself by the fire and toast s’mores. Hot chocolate, spiced cider and candy canes will also be available. And don’t miss a visit with Santa!

A Spin on the Carousel
Where: Arena Stage
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets start at $64

The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel, is running at Arena Stage — and it’s wonderful! Owen and I saw the musical a couple of weeks ago, and we were both completely captivated and moved by the show. Brilliant performances by the talented cast, a simple yet beautiful theatre-in-the-round-setting, and a story that is emotional and hopeful make for a superb theatre experience. I recommend it for ages 10 and up, or make it a date night.

The Secret Garden
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets start at $44

Shakespeare Theatre Company brings the beloved children’s story to life on stage in a beautiful, enchanting production. When orphaned, 10-year-old Mary Lennox moves to England to stay with her uncle, she seeks refuge in her late aunt’s mysterious walled garden and discovers amazing secrets. The show is getting rave reviews — Sasha and I think they are well-deserved. It’s one that kids and adults can enjoy, though the long running time (2.5 hours with intermission) and somber tone could make some some children antsy.

Holidays on Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment, there’s plenty of that now. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe opens at Adventure Theatre this weekend. Enjoy the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre, or see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Imagination Stage. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

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

For shows without the seasonal trimmings, see InterAct Story Treatre’s Cantaré. Reserve free tickets to Music Around the World, this week’s Saturday morning at the National performance. Enjoy Adventures with Mr. Bear at The Lab at Convergence. Or take little ones to Aquarium at Imagination Stage.

Carpe Noctem
Where: St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, MD
When: Saturday
Admission: $5/adult, free for kids

Seize the night while you sip and shop, perusing the aisles for beautiful, unique gifts. The event supporting the students of St. Jerome Academy features two levels of shopping fun. In addition to many talented vendors and live music throughout the evening, Carpe Noctem has various dinner options, wine, beer, tasty desserts, and warm drinks for kids available for purchase. Children can enjoy face-painting, a photo op with St. Nicholas, and coloring activities. Customers will receive a complementary drink with their paid admission.

Photos with Santa
Where: Fellowship Hall at Foundry Church
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Friends of Stead Park and Foundry Church are hosting a Community Christmas Festival in the beautiful, new Fellowship Hall at Foundry. Kids can take a photo with Santa, write a him letter, create an ornament, or make a gingerbread house ($15). To order a gingerbread house in advance visit go here.

Christmas is Afoot
Where: Fall Church, 384 N Washington St.
When: Saturday, 4-8pm,
Admission: Free

Take a walk through Bethlehem! All are welcome to go on historically-themed journey to interact with Bethlehem street vendors and artisans, and explore the booths of potters, scribes, woodworkers, and the like, as Mary and Joseph would have seen in their travels. Head into the marketplace, where you will be able to participate in a service project putting together health kits for unhoused people in the community. End the passage through time outside with warm refreshments and carol singing around fire-pits.

Make Room for Latkes
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Sunday, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: $10/family in advance, $15 at door

Get the Chanukah celebration started early with the DCJCC! At this family event, activities include crafts, cooking, singing, candle lighting, latkes, a mitzvah (good deed) project, and take-home goodies. It’s a perfect morning for Jewish and interfaith families with children ages 3 and older.

Holiday Shop
Where: Markets around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

Get through your gift list and have a good time! There are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents and then some. Head to Penn Quarter or Dupont Circle or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about them all is available in the 2016 Holiday Guide. And if you need gift ideas — for all ages, interests, and prices (even free!) — be sure to check out the KFDC Gift Guide!

Skaters Gonna Skate
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

‘Tis the season for outdoor ice skating, so lace up and get gliding. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour on Saturday morning; meander the paths at Canal Park; 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 Washington Harbor is hosting Cartoon Skate on Saturday morning!

Go East
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

For some museum-ing on the Mall without festival crowds, head to the National Gallery. The recently reopened East Building is remarkable and will impress all ages. I just posted about it with lots of pics to give you a glimpse, but plan a visit for yourself.

Chill Out(side)
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

I’m a big proponent of getting outdoors, no matter what the weather. So, just because the temps are dropping, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time outside. Roam free at Dumbarton Oaks (no admission fee this time of year). Hit the trail at Riverbend, Cunningham Falls, Rock Creek, and more. Explore the National Arboretum or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Hang out at Hains Point. Hit the playground at Watkins, Cabin John, or ClemyjontriParks. Find even more ideas in this post about great outdoor pursuits with kids.

The Great Indoors
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’d prefer to spend the day indoors, or just want to see what else there is to do around town, this post has 80+ ideas for activities.


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