Category Archives: Trains

The Weekend Round-Up: April 28-30

Go for a spin on the beautiful Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park

Go for a spin on the beautiful Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park



This is always a great time of year in DC, and not only because of the warmer weather and colorful hues that come with spring. It’s also when some of the area’s best annual events occur. Say “oui” to a Georgetown outing, celebrate a grand carousel, explore your world at local university, enjoy a day of fun on a dairy farm, experience “shear” joy at one of the best parks around, spend a day with beloved train, and even more. And the compilation of the best outdoor places and the big list of indoor activities have even more ideas for mainstay fun. Happy Weekend!

Bon Jour, Georgetown!
Where: Book Hill Neighborhood | Georgetown, DC
When: Friday/Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

The Georgetown French Market returns to the Book Hill neighborhood bringing the signature European open air market back for its 14th year, featuring nearly 40 Georgetown boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and galleries, art, and antique home furnishings. But it’s not all about the shopping; kids will enjoy the strolling mimes, children’s activities, live music, and French cuisine from Georgetown cafes and restaurants. Visit the website to download a schedule of events and list of participating shops.

Carousel Day
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free (rides are $1.25)

The park’s annual Family Day may have a new name, but the celebration of the beautiful historic Dentzel Carousel, now open for its 97th season, is the same fantastic event. Along with rides on the merry-go-round, guests of all ages can enjoy a loads of fun activities: Music and dance performances, arts & crafts, face painting, storytelling, and balloon animals are just some of the usual favorites. See the full schedule of events here.

Go, Terps!
Where: University of Maryland
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

The annual Maryland Day celebration in College Park gets a giant thumbs-up from me, and not just because it’s my alma mater. This is a fantastic event for families, and I know from experience. Every year, the University hosts a huge open house for, well, everybody. “Explore Our World of Fearless Ideas” is the theme, and guests will be able to do that and then some. There will be over 400 activities for varying ages, including learning games; an adventure area; autograph sessions with the basketball teams; musical performances; arts & crafts; farm animal visits; puppet shows and sing-a-longs; face painting; fossil digs; insect and instrument petting zoos; and TONS more. It’s spread out all over campus — and it’s a huge campus, so prepared for lots of walking (worth every step!) and be sure to bring a stroller for little ones.

Shearing & Fiber Day
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Join the workers at the Old Maryland Farm for the annual shearing of the sheep and llama! See firsthand how wool and hair are collected from farms and learn how it will end up in your clothing. Enjoy the wool spinning demonstration and fiber display. Hay rides are also available for $2 per rider. And while you’re there, enjoy the rest of the wonderful offerings at Watkins Regional Park!

Picnic on the Pasture
Where: South Mountain Creamery | Middletown, MD
When: Saturday, 9am – 7:30pm
Admission: $14/adult, $9/child, $40/family

Join South Mountain Creamery for breakfast and plan to stay all day to enjoy wide open country, fresh air, green grass, and wholesome fun for the entire family. Free tours of the farm, petting zoo for the kids, hay rides for everyone, live music, and fun farm exhibits, like ice cream churning and bee keeping, will be going on. Visit our farmers market and meet farm and producer partners. Admission fee includes parking, family activities, and one (adult/child) meal platter good for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Additional food and snacks will be available for purchase.

Day Out with Thomas
Where: B&O Railroad Museum
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: $22-25

All aboard, little engineers! Thomas the Tank Engine™ will be able to talk to his fans when he returns to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore! Take a 25-minute train ride behind Thomas the Tank Engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy a full day of live entertainment, activities, and family fun!

Book Shop Birthday Bash
Where: East City Book Shop | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 8pm
Admission: Free

Help East City Book Shop celebrate their first birthday as well as Independent Bookstore Day! A daylong lineup of activities will include two storytimes, authors as guest booksellers, an a capella performance, free food throughout the day, plus a free gift to anyone who purchases $50+ at the store (while supplies last). There will be evening fun, too! Visit the website for the day’s schedule and more details.

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

* Your wish for all-ages entertainment has been granted: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp is at Adventure Theatre
* Enjoy Theatre for the Very Young at a performance of Paper Dreams at the Atlas
* Go wild for The Jungle Book at Imagination Stage
* It’s the last weekend to see The Three Billy Goats Gruff at The Puppet Co.
* And Baby Bear’s Birthday is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage is outstanding and appropriate for middle school ages an dup
* Gala Hispanic Theatre presents Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights – En Español!
* Ragtime is running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* Make it a date night at Fun Home running at National Theatre through May 13 (look for a discount)
* Synetic Theatre’s Macbeth would also make for a good KidFree outing (look for a discount)

Nats vs. Mets
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

It’s a weekend at home for the Nats as they host the Mets. There are games Friday at 7:05pm, Saturday at 1:05pm, and on Sunday at 1:35pm. Stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases, and be sure to check these KFDC tips for doing a Nats game without breaking the bank.

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

The Nats aren’t the only baseball team in town. The Bowie Baysox, one of the local minor league teams, are hosting the Akron Rubber Ducks all weekend, and there’s extra fun and special promos to enjoy, too — post-game fireworks, Purple Rain Night, Read & hit a hoe Run Night, PJ Masks Day and more. Get details on what’s happening when here. And read more about Baysox games in this KFDC post.

Charm City Bluegrass Festival
Where: Druid Hill Park | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 9:30pm
Admission: $55/advance, $60/day of, free for 10 and under

Music lovers and foodies will be gathering for the fifth annual all-day celebration of bluegrass. Three stages, 14 bands, and 12 hours of family-friendly festivities, will include local food, limited release beer from Union Brewery, artists, kid’s games, crafts, spontaneous jam sessions, and more. New to the festival this year is a third stage, providing festival goers with a more comprehensive musical experience featuring traditional and progressive bluegrass, folk and Americana. Visit the website for the lineup of music and food.

Mother’s Day Fused Glass Pendants
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $40/member, $45/non-member (includes parent & child)

Kids ages 10 and up with adults can learn to create a fused glass heart pendant with various bits of colorful mosaic glass. Each parent/child couple will create two hearts to exchange for Mother’s Day. Hearts will need to be fired in a kiln and will be ready for pickup by Mother’s Day. A special gift for the maternal figures in your life!

Catch the Ultimate Breeze
Where: Gallaudet University | Northeast, DC
When: Saturday, 6:30pm
Admission: $10/advance, $12.50/day of

Bring the kids out for fun, fresh air, and Pro Ultimate Frisbee! Not only will you get to see exciting Frisbee action as local team DC Breeze takes on the Ottawa Outlaws, kids can join a free youth clinic (for ages 6-17) before the game at 5pm (FYI: they offer this at every home game.) And while your kids are learning Ultimate out on the field, you can enjoy food and drink specials and listen to a live band to get ready for the game.

KidFree Theatre: Smart People
Where: Arena Stage
When: Through May 21
Admission Tickets start at $41

Oh, this is good! The newest production at Arena Stage is clever and captivating as it deals with race and what shapes our belief systems. The topic is explored through four smart, strong characters, their approaches to their professions, and interactions with each other. While it covers serious subject matter, the show is loaded with laugh-out-loud moments, bringing comic relief to tense situations. In the end, though, it leaves you thinking… and also wistful for a time when we thought, perhaps, we’d crossed some of those bridges.

Family Day: From a Moment to Infinity
Where: Hirshhorn Museum
When: Sunday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Hirshhorn and Smithsonian Gardens are teaming up for a day of free family friendly activities inspired by Orchids: A Moment and Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors. Visitors of all ages are invited to pot their own orchid, try their hands at botanical sketching, obliterate an orchid with dots, create their own “orchidgami,” explore an infinity play space, and more. And those who dress in the theme “A Moment to Infinity” will be entered in a costume contest to win exciting prizes!

Dog Days Bloom Fest
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/child, $10/adult

This adventure for dogs and their people has something for every member of the family, but canines especially will have a blast at the day’s festivities. The addition of a Frisbee Competition with the Appalachian Air Canines on Saturday brings a new level of excitement to this year’s event. Professionals will also be providing tips for working with your dog. And the rest of the farm, which is essentially a sprawling playground, is open for all to enjoy. Explore the many acres, and opt for a wagon ride to see the orchards and farm in bloom!

Fancy This
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: Through September 17, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2

Walk amid a garden of butterflies as Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy during the first weekend of its annual run. The display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight! Plan to tour the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds while you’re there and see if there are any other special kids’ programs to enjoy. Read about one of our experiences at the exhibit and rest of Brookside.

Strawberry Fields
Where: Shlagel Farms
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The PYO season has begun as the first farms has opened its strawberry patches to the public, so you can get out there and reap the fruits. See this post for details on Shlagel and other area farms that will open soon where you can gather your own berries, several offering much more than just picking.

Celebrate Ella
Where: Meridian Hill & Marvin Gaye Parks
When: Saturday, 6pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: Free

Ella Fitzgerald is turning 100, and in the spirit of celebration for her life and legacy, The DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) and The American Pops Orchestra (APO) are partnering to bring the joy and beauty of music to the DC community with performances this weekend. Open to the public, this tribute to Fitzgerald brings music to local parks in a family-friendly environment and will feature Fitzgerald favorites including  “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” “Just One of Those Things,” and “The Lady is a Tramp” among many others in the setting of two of DC’s iconic parks. Saturday’s show will take place in Meridian Hill Park in Columbia Heights, and Sunday’s will be at Marvin Gaye Park in northeast.

27th Annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale
Where: National Arboretum
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

The Arboretum’s annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale is a weekend designed for gardeners of all levels searching for their perfect plant, herbs from the Potomac Unit of the National Herb Society, or horticulture guidance from expert horticulturists. Make it a family affair — the event also features food and drink vendors, a performance by the Washington Revels, and a strawberry potting activity for children. Festivities will take place outside the Administration Building and Visitor Center, adjacent to the National Capitol Columns, near the Azalea Collection (which is beautiful now!), and in the Grove of State Trees, so you can enjoy the beautiful grounds, too.

Mother’s Day Tea Party: A Family Clay Workshop
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Sunday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $65/members, $75/non-members (includes parent & child)

Celebrate Mother’s Day by working with Mom to create an entire tea service complete with teapot, creamer, sugar bowl, and teacups. Work together to make your own whimsical set out of clay, then decorate them with colorful underglazes. Create special memories with this great workshop!

***BONUS BITS***
* Learn about Flex Academies and their after school enrichment programs.
* Want a fun & educational summer camp? Check out e² Young Engineers.
* You might find a great deal on it (and lots of other camps) on CertifiKID.
* The azaleas in bloom at the National Arboretum is a beautiful!
* The National Air & Space Museum just debuted a new Virtual Reality Motion Ride. Go for a spin in space on the VR Transporter next time you’re there!


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Theatre, Trains, Virginia, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: April 21-23

Celebrate National Parks and Earth Day at Shenandoah (and cross fingers for no rain!)

Celebrate National Parks and Earth Day at Shenandoah (and cross fingers for no rain!)



Earth Day celebrations, the March for Science, a math festival, National Parks Week, dinosaurs! It sounds like a STEM sort of weekend. Except there’s also a birthday bash for Shakespeare, lots of live entertainment, a literary fest, an extravaganza of fairies and gnomes, and much more. It’s a well-rounded selection of fun. Happy Weekend!

Earth Optimism Day
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

A great way to spend Earth Day: Celebrating conservation success stories at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo! The family-friendly event will feature fun activities and interactive demos, including a conservation scavenger hunt. Plan to bike there and get free valet bike parking – register for it here.

March for Science
Where: Starts north of Washington Monument | DC
When: Saturday, 9am
Admission: Free

Celebrate science and join the “first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.” Well-timed to take place on Earth Day, the DC event will start with a teach-in and rally, then a march through the streets will follow.

Shop & Celebrate
Where: 529 Kids Consign | Alexandria, VA
When: Friday, 3-6pm
Admission: Free

The go-to upscale children’s and maternity consignment boutique is celebrating five years of business and you’re invited to the birthday bash! During the festivities, get 10% off all full-price items, plus there will be balloon animal art and a photo booth with a chance to win a FREE mini photo session. Party goers will also have the chance to score raffle prizes from local shops. And no party is complete without treats, so adults can enjoy rosé and Popped Republic will be on-hand with popcorn goodies for all. Local lifestyle and family blogger Angelica Talan (who is awesome!) of ClarendonMoms.com and AngelicaInTheCity.com will serve as the guest host for the party.

Juggle Jam
Where: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, 6-7:30pm
Admission: $5 suggested donation

Throw caution to the weekend! Conquer the thrilling challenge of juggling with veteran juggler Christian Kloc. This workshop begins with a short demo, moves into some goofy warm-ups, then puts juggling props in your hands and offers pro tips to jumpstart your newfound circus habit. After practicing controlled chaos, put on a show with your fellow jugglers and get the thundering applause you deserve! All ages are welcome. Equipment is provided. Wear comfortable clothes that allow relaxed movements.

National Math Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center | Mt. Vernon Square, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: Free

The National Math Festival brings together some of the most influential mathematicians of our time to inspire and challenge participants to see math in new and exciting ways. Through a day of lectures, hands-on demonstrations, art, films, performances, puzzles, games, children’s book readings, and more, we bring out unexpected sides of mathematics for everyone, from toddlers to adults of all ages.

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

The American Art Museum is going green for the 47th annual Earth Day! Follow the rhythms of Bash the Trash as they perform with instruments made from recycled and reused materials, or make artworks inspired by Mother Nature. From trees to oceans to critters, come celebrate the many gifts this planet has to give us.

Discover the Dinosaurs
Where: DC Armory | SE DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $14-52

Venture back to a time when the dinosaurs roamed the earth at the ALL NEW Discover the Dinosaurs UNLEASHED! Experience up-close encounters with a lifelike Stegosaurus, Velociraptor, and the king T-Rex in this thrilling walk-through exhibit. Kids can meet a baby dino, take a spin in the Jurassic Jeeps on the Dino Raceway, and visit the Kids Adventure Zone filled with themed bouncy houses, crafts, face painting, and more. It’s family fun of prehistoric proportions!

Musical Morning with Uncle Devin
Where: Room & Board | 14th Street, DC
Whne: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free – RSVP here

Kids can get their groove on with the Uncle Devin Show, a DC-based musical experience featuring percussion instruments and vocals. All ages will love learning about percussion and can create their own musical instrument-themed craft to take home. Two sessions will take place at 10:20am and 11:20am. Room & Board is located at 1840 14th Street NW.

Anatomy of Sports
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine | Silver Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Bones and muscles need to work together for optimal performance. Athletes of all ages should know how their bodies work in order to compete and stay healthy. During Anatomy of Sports, athletes will demonstrate their sport while medical illustrators and physical therapists reveal how muscles and bones work together. This session is perfect for families with children playing sports, the recreational athlete ,or the practiced sports enthusiast. Read more about the National Museum of Health & Medicine in this KFDC post.

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

* Your wish for all-ages entertainment has been granted: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp is at Adventure Theatre
* TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched brings family puppetry to Black Rock Center for the Arts
* It’s opening weekend for The Jungle Book at Imagination Stage
* The Three Billy Goats Gruff is on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Baby Bear’s Birthday is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Gala Hispanic Theatre presents Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights – En Español!
* Ragtime is running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* Make it a date night at Fun Home running at National Theatre through May 13

A Raisin in the Sun
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through May 7
Tickets: $40-111

Take older kids or make it a date night for this play. The story follows an African American family in the 1950’s as they yearn for a better life from their Chicago tenement and have the opportunity to realize it. With stellar performances by the cast, the show is emotional and thought-provoking as it spotlights struggles and issues that our society still grapples with today. Read the full KFDC review of it here.

Holland in Haymarket
Where: Burnside Farm | Haymarket, VA
When: Saturday, & Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $8/day

Tiptoe, stroll, frolic through the tulips! Burnside Farm’s annual Festival of Spring showcasing the season’s flowers is open and blooming. Wander through the giant fields that contain over 50 different varieties of flowers in a rainbow of colors and pick your own to enjoy at home: $1 for 2 daffodils, $1 per tulip.) Be sure to have your camera handy for some brilliant photo ops.

Run of the Mill
Where: Peirce Mill | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

All ages are welcome to see the 2,000-pound millstone convert corn to cornmeal using good old-fashioned renewable energy of water. Miller Jeanne and Friends of Peirce Mill invite you to see DC’s only gristmill in action. Be sure to stop by Peirce Barn next door to explore the exhibits and enjoy children’s crafts. They will also be celebrating Rock Creek’s spring herring run with a special obstacle course for kids. Read more about Peirce Mill in this KFDC post.

Weekend Tudor Tots: Earth Day
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 10-11am
Admission: $5/child, free for adults

It’s a special weekend session of the (usually) Tuesday program for little ones to celebrate Earth Day. Read, sing, and play as Tudor Place celebrates spring while learning to reduce, reuse, and recycle in the picturesque gardens. Tots will take home a craft they’ve made themselves.

White House Spring Garden Tours
Where: White House Grounds | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm & Sunday, 10am – 2:30pm
Admission: Free, but tickets are required

Here’s a chance to see the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Kitchen Garden, and South Lawn at the White House. The annual Spring Garden and Grounds Tours are being held on Saturday and Sunday — and gaining admission to the event is as easy as picking up tickets the day of. Go here for more details and info on how to get tickets.

Earth Day Campfire
Where: Meadowside Nature Center | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 7:15-8pm
Admission: $6

Celebrate Earth Day around the campfire! Craft some handy take-care-of-the-planet reminders for your home and wind down the evening with s’mores. All participants must register in advance.

Hop on the Eye Spy Trains
Where: Montgomery County Parks | Cabin John & Wheaton, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $4/ride

Montgomery Parks recently started offering Spring Eye Spy Train rides at Cabin John and Wheaton Regional Parks for the first time! (The mini trains run during summer, too, but the Eye Spy fun is usually reserved for Halloween.) Hope on board and look for hidden figures in the woods as you ride around the park. Of course, stay to play at the park, too. Read KFDC write-ups about the Cabin John playground and the Wheaton playground.

All Aboard for a Model Train Open House
Where: Historic Vienna Depot of the W&OD Railroad | VA
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). 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.

Happy Birthday to the Bard!
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 12pm
Admission: Free

‘Tis Shakespeare’s 453rd birthday, and the Folger Shakespeare Library is celebrating with its annual Open House on Sunday afternoon. In true Renaissance fashion, there will be song and dance, Elizabethan crafts, and theatrical performances. Guests can also enjoy sword fighting demos, special tours, a giant birthday cake, and an appearance by Queen Elizabeth I. The free event takes place rain or shine. Food trucks will be stationed in Puck’s Circle The Folger Shakespeare Library is located at 201 East Capitol Street SE.

Earth Day Festival
Where: Brookside Gardens | Wheaton, MD
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Join Montgomery Parks at Brookside Gardens for a celebration of their wild animal friends and learn how you can help them. Fun crafts, games, nature walks, and talks will are some of the festivities to enjoy. And you’ll also have opportunities to see and meet the animals who live at Brookside up close!

Fairy & Gnome Festival
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5, free for member and under 2
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This annual festival at one of the most enchanting places will delight the whole family — and we know from experience. Festivities are scattered throughout the beautiful grounds, creating a charming journey of discovery for young (and old) guests. Search for hidden fairy and gnome homes and use them as inspiration to create your own special pieces. Climb, explore, build, and dream in the lovely Fairy Lolly. Get faces painting, and enjoy music, dancing, games, crafts, food, drink, and more. Oh, and don’t let little ones miss the unicorn (yes, unicorn!) rides and a petting zoo. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post.

Park It
Where: National Parks
When: All weekend long
Admission: Free

It’s the tail end of National Park Week, so there’s no entrance fee to national parks that usually charge admission this weekend. If weather permits, hit the trail at Shenandoah, Prince William Forest, Great Falls, Harpers Ferry, or head up to Baltimore to explore Fort McHenry. Find even more parks to visit here.

HERtime2shine
Where: Silver Spring Civic Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Join Montgomery County Recreation at the second #HERtime2shine Sports & Fitness Event in celebration of girls and women in sports. The event aims to empower girls to get involved in sports and live healthy, active lifestyles by bringing the county’s sports and fitness organizations together to showcase new opportunities. The fun, carnival-style day will include demonstrations, entertainment and informational booths,cool prizes, and activities for the whole family.

Bethesda Literary Festival
Where: Throughout downtown Bethesda, MD
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: Free

The 18th annual festival celebrating reading and writing begins Friday night and runs through the weekend. Both local and national authors, journalists, and poets will be there to present their works, lead discussions, and sign books. While most of it is geared toward adults, especially for the younger set will be family storytime on Saturday morning. View the schedule for event times and locations.

Falls Church Feeds the World
Where: Christ Crossman UMC | Falls Church, VA
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Volunteer with the community to assemble and package 30,000+ meals to combat hunger around the world — kids aged 4 and older can help with meal packaging. There also will be a children’s festival with games and fun activities that will teach children about food insecurity in our community and the world.

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

Rain is in the forecast, so you might need extra ideas for indoor outings. Burn some energy at an indoor playground, visit a museum, explore a historic place, catch some live entertainment, bring the outdoors in at a nature center. This post listing over 90 ideas for activities inside that will get your fun started.

***BONUS BITS***
* The Chime giveaway to celebrate moms is still running – enter for your chance to win a $200 gift card to Bliss Spa and $100 in free babysitting!
* How about a fun — and yummy — day date? Hank’s Oyster Bar is hosting it’s 10th Annual Oyster Fest on Saturday!
* This weekend may be too rainy for it, so plan ahead for some recreation on the water with this new round-up places to paddle, pedal, sail, and go with the flow.
* Looking for summer activities? Kids can kick it at DC Way Soccer Camp!

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Date Night, DC, Educational, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Theatre, Trains, Virginia, Weekend

Enter to Win a Day Out With Thomas at the B&O Railroad Museum!

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I know lots of tiny train enthusiasts will be excited about this… Thomas the Tank Engine™ is returning to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. The crew from the Island of Sodor will be rolling in to the “station” on their annual Day Out With Thomas tour, stopping from April 28-30 and May 5-7. And two lucky KFDC readers can win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to go on opening day, April 28!

A Day Out With Thomas ticket includes all kinds of locomotive-themed fun. Along with all-day admission to the B&O Railroad Museum and fun live entertainment, you get to take a scheduled 25-minute train ride behind Thomas the Tank Engine™ and enjoy all of these activities and programs:

• Photo opportunities with Sir Topham Hatt
• Thomas Imagination Station of interactive play
• Carnival Games
• Moon bounce
• Kid’s climb-on train
• Craft & tattoo stations
• Interactive B&O Railroad Museum exhibits
• Free rides for children on Thomas Power Wheels, Museum’s carousel, Happy Train, & Choo Choo Blueville

Tickets to a Day Out With Thomas are $22 and available for purchase online. Of course, you can also try to win them through the giveaway below.

* * * * *

Giveaway: For a chance to win one of the Family 4-Packs of tickets to Day Out With Thomas on Friday, April 28, with a 1:45pm train ride time, simply leave a comment on the post. To be eligible, you must subscribe to KidFriendly DC (see sign-up to the left). This giveaway will run through April 2, 2017, then a winner will be drawn at random and announced shortly thereafter. Good luck!


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Filed under All ages, Giveaway, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Spring, Trains

The Weekend Round-Up: March 17-19

All eyes on the Tidal Basin... come on, cherry blossoms!

All eyes on the Tidal Basin… come on, cherry blossoms!



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There might be some questions about the fate of the cherry blossoms — will they or won’t they bloom? — but when it comes to cool pursuits around DC, there’s never any doubt, and this weekend is no exception. See basketball action that brings more laughs than madness, go green at an environmental film fest, celebrate Women’s History Month at a special museum program, let older kids have their day in “court,” shop a wacky and wonderful museum sale, take in some live entertainment, enjoy activities at local parks, have some KidFree fun, and wind it all down Sunday evening at an anniversary bash for a DC institution. Details on these and many more area happenings are all right here. Happy Weekend!

Cherry Blossom Festivities
Where: Tidal Basin
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

How our famous flowers fare after the recent blast of winter remains to be seen, but the National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off this weekend regardless. Tickets are long gone for the Opening Ceremony event, but there will be a variety of performances at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Hopefully, there will be pretty blooms to enjoy along with them. And for tips on viewing the cherry blossoms, be sure to check out this KFDC post.

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Verizon Center & Eagle Bank Arena
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $25 and up

The Ambassadors of Goodwill are bringing their A-game — an exciting combo of basketball, entertainment, and comedy — to the DC area with three shows, at the Patriot Center Friday evening, then two at the Verizon Center on Saturday, and back at the Patriot Center on Sunday. Tickets are still available for all of them.

Women’s History Month Family Day
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Explore the various roles women had at the Post Office throughout its long history. Watch a historic printing press demonstrations, play the “Dead Letter Office” game and learn about the first female Post Master, Mary Katherine Goddard. Meet a female Postal Inspector and learn about her exciting job “Behind the Badge.” Enjoy story time and scavenger hunt and take home an NPM airplane as a souvenir! “Amelia Earhart” will make several appearances and engage visitors by speaking about her love of stamps and her airborne adventures.

Refuge System Birthday Bash
Where: National Wildlife Visitors Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the work of 566 wildlife refuges across the US and its territories at the annual Refuge System Birthday Bash. This year’s theme is Awareness & Action, and the Refuge will be sharing ways to help wildlife through crafts, games, educational activities, and Environmental Film Festival. The National Wildlife Visitor Center is located at 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop in Laurel, MD.

White Elephant Barn Sale
Where: American Visionary Art Museum
When: Saturday, 7am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Help AVAM clear out their hoard! And if you’re familiar with the museum, then you know you this is an opportunity to score something great. Get your hands on amazing artwork, books, cards & publications, electronics, office supplies & furniture, vintage Macs, retro AVAM & Kinetic memorabilia, plenty of art fixins, and loads more… it’s a picker’s paradise! All proceeds benefit AVAM. And while you’re there, take a tour of the museum, too (admission $15.95/adult, $9.95/child). Read more about AVAM here.

Room for Children
Where: House of Sweden
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

It’s opening weekend in the space for family fun at the Swedish Embassy on Georgetown’s waterfront. This library and arts studio for the young is designed to stimulate children’s interest in books, music, storytelling, and self-expression — Room for Children pushes the boundaries of what a library can be. Parents are encouraged to engage in it all with kids and share the experience! This will be open on weekends through December, and every Saturday, there is a storytime session at 2pm.

Mock Trial for Kids
Where: Trinity Washington University
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: $50/child

Kids ages 8-12 can have their day in “court” as they join this one of a kind legal educational program from Juris Prudence Academy. The 90-minute workshop will teach academy students basic legal principles in a collaborative setting. Guided by a lawyer, students will participate in a mock trial, applying the principles they have learned in the workshop.

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

* Go prehistoric at Strathmore for Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live Friday night
* See a special performance of Aladdin by The Washington Ballet at THEARC
* Reserve free tickets to see Christylez Bacon, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* The Kennedy Center presents puppetry for children with Grug and the Rainbow
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Magic Toyshop is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Little ones will love Art on the Horizon’s Nutt and Bolt (sold out online, so call about tickets)
* From the Mouths of Monsters is a Frankenstein-inspired show at the Kennedy Center
* Saturday is the last chance to see The Freshest Snow Whyte at Imagination Stage
* Catch a whiff of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales at Alden Theatre
* Enjoy funky folk msic for the whole family at a Billy Jonas concert hosted at Tikvat Israel Congregation on Sunday

Women in Aviation and Space
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Throughout the history of aviation and space exploration, women have fought to be on equal terms with their male counterparts. At this family day, learn about the significant contributions women have made despite the many challenges they faced. The day will feature presentations by women in the field, hands-on activities, and stories.

Movie at the Museum: Long Way North
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

Set in 1892, this animated adventure, part of the Environmental Film Fest, follows 15-year-old Russian aristocrat Sacha as she leaves behind her comfortable Saint Petersburg life in the hopes of tracking down and saving her beloved grandfather, Oloukine, a famous explorer who has gone missing near the North Pole. Sacha has always been fascinated by the exciting life of her grandfather and dreams of becoming an explorer, too. But Sacha’s parents strongly disapprove of her ambitions and, in fact, have already made arrangements for her marriage. Defying her destiny, Sacha flees her home and launches a daring quest toward the Great North in search of Oloukine and his ship. Recommended for ages 11 and up.

Environmental Film Fest
Where: Several locations around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by film

Films from across the globe are being screened around the DC-Metro area for the the 25th annual Environmental Film Festival. And there are a few family-oriented flicks among them. Born in China follows three animal families into the wilds of China. Conquest of the Skies highlights the power of flight in nature. Little film-goers will be enthralled by Light on Earth about creatures that glow. Cat people will enjoy Kedi about the felines that have roamed the streets of Istanbul for thousands of years. There are even more films that older kids will likely enjoy and learn from and others to consider for a grown-up outing. View the websites watch trailers and get showtimes and details.

Spring Batiks Workshops
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: $27/member, $32/non-member

Kids in grades 3-6 can learn how to create a vibrant springtime batik artwork on fabric with with instructor, Dollie Karolewski. Using melted crayons and fabric paints, each child will come away with their own unique 12×12″ artwork.

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.

Park it in Fairfax
Where: Several Fairfax parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Search for birds and mammals at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by “going green” at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Learn about the moon during a family astronomy session at Observatory Park at Turner Farm. Details and registration for these and even more activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Park it in MoCo
Where: Montgomery County Parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Montgomery Parks also presents loads of special activities for visitors of all ages. Go on a Family Green Hour walk at Locust Grove Nature Center, watch a raptor feeding at Nature Center, experiment with Awesome Acts of Science at Black Hill Visitors Center, and more. See the online calendar for details and even more events happening this weekend.

Clean-Up at the Colonial Farm
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Play a valuable role in preparing the Claude Moore Colonial Farm for its 2017 season and Opening Day on April 1. On this 18th century working farm and National Park trails and fields need to be cleared, fences rebuilt, and wood split, moved and stacked. There is also work in the greenhouse, cleaning animal pens, and a variety of other spruce up activities for all ages. It’s a great activity for families and groups, and you get picnic hot dog lunch! Bring work gloves and dress for the weather.

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

Drop in at the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Eleanor Roosevelt and complete a hands-on activity. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum. For more about the program, see this post about one of our experiences there.

NOVA Mini Maker Faire
Where: South Lakes High & Langston Highs Middle Schools
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: $15/adult, $5/children

It’s a gathering of inventors, entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, and curious minds at the 4th annual NoVa Mini Maker Faire. The event inspires, informs, connects, and entertains thousands of attendees in a family-friendly environment. More than 100 makers will share their knowledge through hands-on projects for adults and kids in areas from primitive tools and blacksmithing to drones and 3D printers. Experience it all at South Lakes High School and Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston, VA.

Happy 20th, Millennium Stage!
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Sunday, 5pm
Admission: Free

The Kennedy Center celebrates a major milestone this month – the 20th anniversary of Millennium Stage, the only U.S. institution that offers a free performance every day of the year, (6 p.m. daily on the Millennium Stage). The celebration will feature performances by Celtic rock band, Scythian, and New Orleans funk band, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, in a massive party overtaking the Center’s Grand Foyer. Go early! The first 1,000 fans get a free T-shirt, and ticket giveaways will be open for entry until 8pm! A special MS20 happy hour from 5-6 p.m. features all beer and wine 50% off at the Grand Foyer Bars.

Everyday Play
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Want even more options for local activities with the kids? The Everyday Play page is loaded with ideas for ongoing fun — every single one of them tried and tested by yours truly and crew.

Go KidFree!
Where: Around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Need ideas for things to do sans kids? Here are a few suggestions of some places and activities for KidFree fun this weekend:
*Get your green on for St. Pat’s Day at one (or more) of these 17 places
*Watch March Madness out at a local spot
*Enjoy some Hemingway on stage at a performance of The Select (The Sun Also Rises) at the Lansburgh Theatre
*Grab an Instagram-worthy drink and bite at the Pop-Up Cherry Blossom Bar
*Savor tapas and sangria at Joselito, a new(ish) Spanish restaurant on Capitol Hill


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Shop, Theatre, Trains, Virginia, Volunteer, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: November 25-27

See model trains zip around National Parks and Historic Sites at the U.S. Botanic Garden

See model trains zip around National Parks and Historic Sites at the U.S. Botanic Garden



Tiny Prints - Black Friday Sale


Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! With the big feast behind you, it’s time to get out and take advantage of the long weekend. Embrace the holiday spirit at a seasonal event. Keep the brood entertained at a theatre — there are several live shows on local stages. Enjoy extended hours at the museums. Enjoy an outdoor adventure. Or find a place to hang in the great indoors. I, for one, am thankful for all these great options the DC-Metro has to offer. Happy Weekend!

#OptOutside
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission:Varies by Locale

Take a cue from REI and get outside! You’ve got your pick of places around the DC-Metro for adventures in the fresh air. Bundle up and 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.

Post-Thanksgiving Puppets
Where: Library of Congress
When: Friday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join the Library of Congress to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter at their annual day-after-Thanksgiving Puppet Show. The 40-minute performance will be an original production based on three of her famous stories, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” “The Tale of Benjamin Bunny,” and “the Tailor of Gloucester.” Showtimes are at 10:30am and 1:30pm with puppet-making crafts all day. This will take place in the Young Readers Center Room G-29.

Nights at the Museums
Where: American History and Air & Space Museums
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free

If you’re making the rounds at the museums on the National Mall, save Natural History, American History, and Air & Space for last. The three Smithsonian favorites will have extended hours this weekend, open until 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday. (And FYI: The American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery in Penn Quarter are always open until 7pm.)

Season’s Greenings
Where: US Botanic Garden
When: Through the weekend
Admission: Free

Easily one of DC’s most popular holiday attractions, Season’s Greenings is an annual delight for all ages. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials, and the West Gallery boasts one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s National Parks and Historic Places-themed exhibit is a gorgeous as it is impressive. Get a better idea and a glimpse of what to expect in this post and this one about some of our past Season’s Greenings experiences.

Northwest Coast Dance Celebration
Where: National Museum of American Indian
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free

Performances at the at the NMAI are always festive and engaging, and this one is sure to follow suit. Experience a dance celebration with internationally renowned West Coast First Nations mask-dancing group Git Hayetsk (People of the Copper Shield) from Vancouver B.C. and the award-winning multi-generational Tsimshian dancers Lepquinm Gumilgit Gagoadim (Our Own Dance in Our Hearts) from Southeast Alaska. The program will include humor and theatrical dance to teach about Indigenous lifeways of the Northwest Coast.

CANstruction
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Check out sculptures built entirely with cans of food! The works are the results of a creativedesign-build competition that benefits the Capital Area Food Bank. Teams from architecture and design firms from Washington, DC used their skills to construct the sculptures, which are on display for all to view through the weekend. After the de-canstruction, the nutritious shelf-stable food will be donated to for distribution to those in need after the event.

Must-See Modern Art
Where: Hirshhorn Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit at the Hirshhorn is a must-see for modern art fans. The mix of performance art, video installations, paintings, dioramas, and more inspired works is intriguing and moving and unlike anything I’ve seen before. Kids will be just as captivated as adults (though if that’s not the case for you, there’s always the carousel right outside on the Mall).

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Gaylord National Resort’s annual holiday extravaganza has festivities galore that capture the spirit of the season. And the best part is that there are activities for all ages at varying price points (even free!), from dancing fountains and indoor snowfalls to a tour of amazing “Christmas Around the World”-themed ice sculptures.

Light Up Old Town
Where: Market Square in Old Town Alexandria
When: Friday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Alexandria’s official start to the holiday season in Old Town’s Market Square this evening. Along with the tree lighting, entertainment will include a visit from Santa, musical performances, plus caroling and a community sing-a-long.

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

This weekend is the start of even more big holiday events around DC and the continuation of others. If you hope to hit ‘em all during the season, you should get going now. For the complete rundown on all the area’s holiday happenings, see the 2016 KFDC Holiday Guide.

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

The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel, recently opened at Arena Stage, and it is wonderful! Owen and I saw the musical last week, 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 an excellent 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. It’s a show that kids and adults can enjoy, though the long running time (2.5 hours with intermission) and serious tone could make some some children antsy.

Holidays on the 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, too. Enjoy the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at THEARC 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.

Downtown Holiday Market
Where: 8th & F Strets, NW
When: Through December 23, 12-8pm
Admission: Free

This, to me, is the holiday market in DC. It’s not even so much about the merchandise for sale (though there’s always a great variety of gift items — I never leave empty handed). There’s something about the usually bustling block in the middle of Penn Quarter transforming into an open air market for a few weeks that is so charming and kind of magical, making our big city feel like a small town. A bonus is the free live entertainment along with treats and coffee drinks available for purchase. And after you’ve done your shopping and enjoyed a snack and music, you can pop into the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum that are literally right next to the market.

Night 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!) in the area 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 — it doesn’t get much cozier than that

Winter Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farms
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $9.95/person, free for children under 2

The annual festival includes hayrides to the white pine fields with access to all of the farm attractions — swings, forts, slides, tunnels, and more. Fire pits are inviting to keep you warm and make some s’mores or roast hot dogs. Cut down your Christmas tree while you’re there or buy one from the lot. Read more about the Festival in this post about one of our experiences there.

Kids Day at Bobby McKeys
Where: Bobby McKeys at National Harbor
When: Saturday, 1pm
Admission: Starts at $18

The whole family can enjoy an afternoon of fun at one of Bobby McKey’s dueling piano shows. It’s two hours of all-request live music paired with a lunch buffet, that’s sure to make everyone happy. And this is a performance where kids are encouraged to wiggle in their seats and dance in the aisles!

The Inside Scoop
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by locale

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.


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