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
When: Sunday, 2pm
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
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
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.)
Where: Library of Congress
When: Saturday, 9am – 4:30pm
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
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!)
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
Where: Verizon Center
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
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)
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
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.
Where: East City Bookshop
When: Sunday, 11:30am
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
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!”
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.