Category Archives: Virginia

The Weekend Round-Up: December 10-11

Skate under the stars at Washington Harbour

Skate under the stars at Washington Harbour



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Holiday season is in full swing, and this round-up of recs is proof with a loads of ways to celebrate the season. And DC’s tried and true activities are always a good bet for family fun — you can refer to the big list of indoor activities, or enjoy some cool outdoor pursuits. Happy Weekend!

#StandWithComet
Where: Comet Ping Pong
When: Friday, 11:30a – 9:30pm
Admission: Your meal and a big tip!

Show some support for this local institution! A favorite of many for pizza and family-friendly dining has had an undeserved rough time as of late, and the community is showing we stand with them by patronizing the restaurant today. Eat some pizza, play some ping pong, and show them some love. Read more about Comet here.

DIY Holiday Cards
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Create one-of-a-kind handmade cards at the museum all about mail. The National Postal Museum provides beautiful holiday stamps from all over the world, along with a variety of crafts supplies to both inspire your creativity and decorate your cards. We’ve been to this event a few times over the years, and its always very well-organized and tons of fun. Plan to stay after to tour the exhibits, many of them interactive and interesting for all ages. Read more about the museum in here.

GLOW with It
Where: Georgetown
When: Nightly through January 1, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light — literally. Georgetown GLOW has the neighborhood sparkling with modern light art installations, some of them interactive, on display throughout the bustling community, which is extra lively and festive this time of year. The works are illuminated all around the neighborhood, and finding them is part of the adventure. Take the family to dinner or skating at Washington Harbour, then go for a stroll to check them all out.

Journey to Narnia
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission” $19.50

Holiday magic comes to the Adventure Theatre stage in this very clever and creative production of the classic The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The two-actor show is exciting and fun, getting the audience in on the adventure, too. All ages will enjoy the journey to Narnia Pevensie siblings!

Italian Holiday Festival
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am-3pm
Admission: Free

There’s no place like SAAM for the holidays. To celebrate the vibrant culture of Italy, Simona Rodano returns as The Italian Fairy to engage kids with the beauty of her native language. Along with Nutcracker ballet and winter-themed crafts, this festival will have all the music and Italian flair you’ll need to get in the spirit of this joyful season.

“Yes, Virginia” Family Day
Where: Newseum
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: FREE for kids (details below), $19.50/adult

Celebrate the season with the Newseum at its 18th annual “Yes, Virginia” Family Day. Join for a reading of the heart-warming editorial, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. Afterward, the One-and-Only Macy’s Santa Claus will make a special guest appearance to read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and pose for photos with good boys and girls as Figgy Puddings Holiday Carolers from the Washington National Opera provide entertainment. Kids 18 and younger will receive free admission that day if they bring a letter to put in Macy’s Believe Mailbox. (There will also be a table outside the Newseum where youth can fill out a letter on the spot). Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish® for every letter collected. For more about the museum, see this KFDC post.

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

Holiday-themed fun is happening all over the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. See model trains buzz around the National Parks and Historic Sites-themed display at the US Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greetings exhibit. Or take the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

“Shop” & Gift Hope
Where: Discovery Elementary School, Arlington
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Put a new spin on gift-giving and philanthropy. At this Gifts That Give Hope Fair, you can support the community and give a meaningful gift by making a donation to one of 17 locally-based nonprofits featured at the fair. Personalize the card to a loved one, then give that act of kindness in their name. Shoppers of all ages are making GTGH an annual tradition, and there are some special touches this year just for them, including a Spanish-language children’s choir, interactive science experiments with Rosie Riveters, face-painting, Dr. Bear from Children’s National, and refreshments.

EdFEST
Where: DC Armory
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Explore the city’s many public school PK3-12 options for your child. Representatives from DC public schools (DCPS) and DC public charter schools will showcase their programs, just in time to help you make informed school selections for the 2017-18 school year common lottery. The event will also feature many free services and fun activities for the whole family, including games and entertainment; sports activities; story time; and flu shots, immunizations, and dental services.

Nationals Winterfest
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am – 4pm
Admission: $33/adult, $23/child, under 2 are free

It’s the ultimate holiday season celebration for Nats fans! Join clinics with Nationals players and coaches, watch a Homerun Derby featuring the Nationals mascots, make a snow fort, take batting practice, hear a winter or baseball themed story read by a Nationals player, ride down The Slider – a giant slide reminiscent of a sledding hill, and more. Guests can also meet and greet their favorite Nats players and mascots, take a photo with Santa, strike a pose at the life-size snow globe photo station, and donate a toy to a child in need.

Hyattsville for the Holidays
Where: Hyattsville Arts District
When: Through December 17
Admission: Free (but plan to shop!)

Kick off a week of fun-filled neighborly holiday festivities for the whole family in Hyattsville. Participating businesses along the Arts District corridor are extending their shopping hours, offering engaging workshops for all ages, and hosting receptions for friends all over the DC Metro area to gather and celebrate all the innovative and artistic businesses that are blossoming in the Gateway Arts District. Franklin’s, Green Owl Design, and Tanglewood Works are a few of the places in the mix, plus there’s a chance to win prizes from them, too!

Family Opera: Goyesquitas
Where: GALA Hispanic Theatre
When: Saturday, 2:30pm
Admission: $25/adult, $23/senior, $15/student

Take the whole family on a musical journey to Spain with composer-pianist Enrique Granados as your tour guide! Goyesquitas, an original production from The In Series: Opera & More, celebrates Spanish culture through lovely music and lively dance. Audiences of all ages can explore cultural traditions as they hear, see, and dance along to the music around them.

Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Woodrow Wilson High School
When: Saturday, 5pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $23-30/adults, $20-24 seniors/10+, $14-18/under 10

Capitol Hill’s Momentum Dance Theatre presents its 18th annual Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker. The show is a unique, high-energy twist to the typical Nutcracker, set to music from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite plus hip hop, pop, funk, and more. Momentum’s professional performers are joined by students as young as age 5. Expecting a tree? Nope. A Nutcracker? Yes, but not the one you knew as a child. A prince and mice? Yep. Rats and ninjas? You bet! (The school is located at 3950 Chesapeake Ave. NW.)

Russian Winter Festival
Where: Hillwood Estate
When: Saturday
Admission: $18/adults, $12/members, $5/ages 6-18, free under 6

Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden are on hand at Sviatki, a Russian-style celebration of the holidays. Winsome characters will surprise and delight visitors across the estate, create and wear your own headpiece, listen to festive music, and enjoy a variety of live cultural entertainment.

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

For shows without the seasonal trimmings, dance along with Rainbow Rock at Jammin Java. Enjoy Adventures with Mr. Bear at The Lab at Convergence. Or take little ones to Aquarium at Imagination Stage. Make it date night to see a fantastic production of Carousel at Arena Stage or take older kids to see Moby Dick there. Go Into the Woods at the Kennedy Center. See Sheakepeare Theatre Company’s enchanting and moving performance of The Secret Garden.

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. Enjoy the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre. 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.

Santa Brunch & The Nutcracker
Where: City Club of Washington
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $15/child, $30/member, $40/non-member, Nutcracker tickets sold separately

Jeté into the holiday spirit by joining City Club Members and their families for a delicious meal, pictures with Santa, and gingerbread house making. All of this will be followed by a matinee presentation of The Nutcracker at 2pm at The Warner Theatre!

Wizard School Scavenger Hunt for Harry Potter Fans
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $17.50/ages 10-17, $19.50/18 and up

Join Watson Adventures on a unique Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt for kids 10 & up! Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the National Gallery in search of art that echoes characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies. Wizards and muggles alike can play and enjoy this hunt. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead references to the books will provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art. It’s a great way to discover—or rediscover—the museum. This hunt is designed for kids and adults to do together, but all-adult teams will be allowed to compete separately. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Advance purchase is required.

Winter’s Eve
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Admission: Free

Get into the holiday spirit at Glen Echo Park’s annual Winter’s Eve celebration. It’s free, open to the public, and visitors of all ages can enjoy performances, arts & crafts open studios, hot chocolate, and a holiday sing-along. Browse and buy fine artworks at the Holiday Art Show and artist studios. Kids and adults can create gifts to share in the holiday-themed craft rooms.

Songs for Unusual Creatures
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, 6pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy free entertainment on Saturday evening! It’s Target Family Night at Millennium Stage, the Kennedy Center’s free nightly performance. Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and writer Michael Hearst presents a special music program featuring some of Earth’s strangest animals and interesting, uncommon instruments.

Santa’s Elves Hunt
Where: Mansion on O Street
When: Sunday, many times slots available
Admission: $35

Join a festive holiday treasure hunt to help Santa find special goodies found only at O Museum in The Mansion! Easily one of the neatest places in the city, the Dupont Circle locale is filled literally floor to ceiling with all kinds of interesting items — and all of them for sale, so you can do some holiday shopping, too! Be ready to see some really funky decor, and keep an eye out for secret doors. Read more about this wonderful site here.

Magical Mirrors Children’s Book Fair
Where: Sankofa Video, Books & Café
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

Stock up on kids’ holiday gifts as DC’s largest collector of African-American children’s literature hosts its 5th Annual book fair! A special treat this year will be a chance to see author Sherrita Berry-Petus on Sunday, as she reads from her books, “Rock on With Your Afro Puffs” and “Smile Bright Chocolate Prince.”

Sunday at the Studio
Where: Gary Rosenthal Collection
When: Sunday, several time slots available
Admission: $22.50/family

Feeling a need for a joyful creative outlet? Want to take some broken pieces and make them whole? Join PJ Library for a unique craft opportunity. Nationally renown local artist Gary Rosenthal is welcoming guests to his studio to create fused-glass mosaic and metal art! These beautiful, heirloom-quality keepsakes also make great gifts. A wide range of project choices will be offered. All levels of artistic ability and ages welcome, but small children need supervision. Gary’s studio is located at 4218 Howard Avenue in Kensington, MD.

Christmas on the Big Screen
Where: Arlington Cinema Draft House
When: Sunday, 12:30-9pm
Admission: $8

Catch a merry flick — or eight — and get into the holiday spirit. This Christmas-themed movie marathon welcomes you to join for as many films as you’d like. You can even pop in for one early, leave, then return for evening entertainment. All for one very reasonable admission price!

Family-Style with Shakespeare Theatre
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Sunday (and through December 18)
Admission: Varies by activity

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Family Week is returning with free and low-cost programs, something for all ages. STC will celebrate the themes, story, and artists of their current production, The Secret Garden, through the workshops, events and conversations. Families can also get a special discount on tickets during this time — see the website for details.

Market (Holi)Days
Where: Eastern Market
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

A Capitol Hill weekend institution gets extra festive this weekend as Eastern Market celebrates the holidays. Along with the numerous vendors selling their art, accessories, treats, and more, there will be special activities for all ages, Make crafts, here stories, watch a juggler, and do some tree decorating, and more. See the website for the day’s schedule.

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

Warm up with a quintessential cold weather activity! Lace up the ice skates and get gliding at one of many outdoor rinks in the area. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at Canal Park; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Tyson’s Corner, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on both alfresco and indoor ice skating options in the area.

Colonial Wassail
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday
Admission: $3/adult, $2/child, free for 2 and under

“Stand fast, root! Bear well, top!
God send us a howling crop!” In the winter the apple trees need encouragement to bear fruit during the coming year, so Claude Moore Colonial Farm invites you to gather in the orchard to wassail the trees with singing, dancing and chants to ensure “a howling crop.” Enjoy hot spiced cider, sugar cakes, a roaring bonfire, and 18th century games, too – a fun and educational activity for all!

Light it Up
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, expect to be dazzled!

**If you’re doing some holiday shopping this weekend, check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide, full of ideas and inspiration for gifts for all ages at all price points (even free!), from kids’ products to theatre tickets to unique experiences to gifts that give back!**

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Chanukah, Charity, Christmas, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Shop, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 5-9

One more activity at the Building Museum: Toss a penny in the fountain and make a wish

One more activity at the Building Museum: Toss a penny in the fountain and make a wish



garden_of_lights

Monday – Explore the beautiful grounds and cathedral of the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. A DC “secret” to many, the “Oasis of Peace” welcomes visitors to stroll through the gardens and tour the church. Hours are 9am – 4:45pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Head to the National Building Museum for a few kid activities. The monthly Little Builders Storytime takes place at 10:30am & 11:30am in the Building Zone. You can also see the Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse exhibit featuring many dollhouses that take you through London history, all of them beautiful with intricate details. Children will also enjoy areas that encourage pretend play with dress up and props inspired by some of the displays. And the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit upstairs is always fun for kids. Museum hours are 10am – 5pm. Exhibit admission is $10/adult, $7/child, free for members. I highly recommend checking out membership options if you frequent the museum a few times per year. That’s even a recommendation in this year’s Holiday Gift Guide!

Wednesday – Experience the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Along with festive model train displays, the event features tons of fun and activities for kids. Admission is $18/adults, $12/ages 2-12. Hours are 10am – 4pm Monday – Saturday (11am -4pm Sunday).

Thursday – See a holiday stage favorite on strings as The Nutcracker entertains at The Puppet Co. Showtime is 11am. Tickets are $12. If weather permits, plan to stay at Glen Echo Park after the show for a picnic and playtime, too!

Friday – Explore Air & Space beyond the National Mall — the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center, the Chantilly arm of the museum, showcases even more fascinating artifacts of flight. See all kinds of air and space crafts, pretend to pilot in a flight simulator, get hands-on in a discovery station, and much more. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free, but parking is $15.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Seasonal, Shop, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

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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The 2016 KFDC Holiday Gift Guide

Presents!

Presents!


As the holiday season hits full swing, many of us are thinking about gifts for family and friends. So just like last year, I’m taking the opportunity to share some things I’ve really enjoyed and/or think would make wonderful presents for a variety of people. This also gives me a chance to highlight local businesses and people offering unique products and experiences as well as organizations that are doing great things. And then there are some ideas that are simply fun and enriching. You might notice some things are back from last year, but that’s because they’re worth repeating (kind of like the photo above). None of these recommendations are sponsored; they’re just things that I truly like and think you and yours might, too. Happy gifting!

Made by Sasha: Glowing space mobile

Made by Sasha: Glowing space mobile

Tinker, Create, and Innovate
Just when I thought my kids were moving on from Kiwi Crate after several years of receiving the monthly craft box subscription, they have assured me they still love it, recently delving into projects like a glowing space mobile and groovy lava lamp. Hence, I’m endorsing the products with fervor once again. The original kit comes with all the supplies needed to make an adorable craft. There is also the Koala Crate for ages 3-5, the Doodle Crate for ages 9-16+, and the Tinker Crate also for ages 9-16+. Sasha still enjoys the Kiwi, while Owen likes Tinker-ing away. They’re great to have on hand for rainy days or anytime kids want a ready-to-go (ie, minimal work for you) project at home.

An activity bag ready for delivery

An activity bag ready for delivery

Craft and Give Back
Similar to Kiwi Crate, but with a philanthropic twist, Little Loving Hands provides pre-packaged children’s craft kits where the end product is used to contribute towards supporting a philanthropic cause. The company’s mission is to provide a fun and educational method for parents and caretakers to engage children in learning about the importance of being kind and giving back to others. Each kit contains materials for the project, as well as documents and other fun items to reinforce what the children are working on and how they are helping others. One Sasha worked on was a sweet little activity bag that was sent to a patient at the Children’s Inn at NIH.

Cover to cover inspiration

Cover to cover inspiration

Banish Boredom
This book is a bible of fun, educational, and just really awesome ideas for crafts, science projects, outings, and other activities with kids. And, as its title states, parents will enjoy them just as much as their babes. Banish Boredom: Activities to Do with Kids That You’ll Actually Enjoy is written by my friend Rebecca of the fantastic blog Not-So-SAHM, so I can assure you all of these ideas come from a cool, creative, smart, fun source. (Really, after reading her book and blog, you’ll want to hang out with her and her kids, too!) With a wealth of ideas and tons of good tips, it’s perfect for parents who like DIY pursuits, but sometimes need a little extra inspiration.


Currently on stage at Sidney Harman Hall

Currently on stage at Sidney Harman Hall

Hot Tickets
There’s so much great live entertainment both currently running and coming to local stages soon, that would make fantastic presents for kids and adults. A few shows to consider this season are The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Adventure Theatre; Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the National Theatre; The Secret Garden by Shakespeare Theatre Company; Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Imagination Stage; Carousel and Moby Dick at Arena Stage; and Into the Woods at the Kennedy Center. And coming up next year: A National Symphony Orchestra concert especially for children, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood at Lisner Auditorium, Monster Jam at the Verizon Center, or The Harlem Globetrotters at EagleBank Arena.

A super fly gift

A super fly gift

Take Flight
For kids and adults who like thrilling adventures, consider a gift certificate to iFLY Loudoun. This opportunity to experience “flying” without stepping foot in (or out of) an airplane is fairly new to the area — and guaranteed to make any thrill seeker’s day. Meant to simulate skydiving, flights take place in a vertical wind tunnel on a smooth cushion of air created by high-powered fans that enable people to float. It’s incredibly exhilarating, but also a splurge, making it a special and unique present. Read more about the experience here.

Hello, Port Discovery?  I'd like a membership, please.

Hello, Port Discovery? I’d like a membership, please.

Members Only
For children who aren’t quite old enough to fly or take in a big show, consider a membership to a museum. The National Building Museum offers family memberships for $90/year, getting you all into the Building Zone and most exhibits free of charge (regularly $3-10/person). Port Discovery in Baltimore is another great one with loads of hands-on, curiosity-peaking, educational, fun exhibits that keep kids engaged for hours. Family memberships for the year start at $114 (admission is $14.95/person), and right now they are offering 10% off if you purchase by December 31!

Get your game on at Labyrinth

Get your game on at Labyrinth

Game Time
DC’s best shop for board games and puzzles recently expanded, so they have even more fantastic options for holiday gifts at Labyrinth Game Shop on Capitol Hill. This is one of my go-tos for birthday party presents and always a stop for some shopping this time of year. Since I first wrote about the store when it opened six years ago, it’s gotten even better. They have something for everyone — all ages, every interest. And the service is just as great as the inventory. Give them a few details about who you’re shopping for, and they’ll show you just the right game to buy.

A robust selection of kids' reads

A robust selection of kids’ reads

Book It
Combine your shopping trip to Labyrinth with a stop next door at East City Book Shop, one of the newest retail establishments to open on Capitol Hill, and a really great one, at that. The store doesn’t just have an excellent selection of books from all genres, you’ll also find gifts for children and adults, some of the cutest and most clever greeting cards, and friendly service from staff who will also offer good recommendations if you’re stumped on what to get. You may also end up making plans to return to one of their events — they host weekly story time for kids, book discussions, author readings, and more.

Capture them with this gift

Capture them with this gift

Picture Perfect Presents
How about a gift that includes your whole gang? Present them (and yourself!) with a family portrait session — I know just the right photographer for it. I have adored Darcy Troutman’s photos forever, mostly on her blog No Monsters in My Bed. But over the last couple of years, she has started her own photography business capturing families and weddings, helping people make and preserve memories. Her style is unique and the photos gorgeous, but her approach to her work is what really makes it special. Also, she’s funny and sweet and really comfortable to be around, the ideal personality for the job. Plus, her photos will not only capture this time in your lives, they’ll make for great gifts for extended family throughout the year, too.

DC Kid

DC Kid

T’s That Salute DC
If you’re looking for a fun “DC” gift, check out Sneekis. I discovered this local T-shirt company that specializes in DC-themed wear through Instagram last year. Their clever designs incorporate local sports and recreation, plus a zeal for the District that giftees can proudly boast across their chests. Since then, they’ve also started making T’s in children’s sizes, so tiny Washingtonians can represent, too! Read more about them here.

Out of the mouths of babes

Out of the mouths of babes

T’s with ‘Tude
Recently launched by the fabulous Shannon who writes But I Do Have a Law Degree, Kidsults is an online store of t-shirts, onesies, and other products featuring her kids’ best (hilarious!) insults. “Your hugs are boring,” “I will never forgive you, even when you’re dead,” “I didn’t like you when I was a baby,” are just a few of the zingers printed on a variety of items. Perfect for parents and kids with a great sense of humor — just like Shannon. If you check out the Kidsults website, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Love my LuLaRoe dress

Love my LuLaRoe dress

Clothes for Comfort
You’ve probably heard by now about the LuLaRoe clothing line for women and children, as online boutiques have been popping up all over social media. I was recently introduced to it by local seller Jill O’Hanlon and now understand what the hype is all about. The clothes are incredibly comfortable — and really cute, too. There are dresses, t-shirts, tunics, cardigans, and you can mix and match many of them. But the leggings, which are super soft and in all kinds of fun prints and colors, are their signature piece and would make great stocking stuffers. The kids clothes are also adorable and comfy, and the prices are reasonable, too! Join Jill’s Facebook group to start shopping.

gift_gtghGifts That Give Hope
How about boxing up hope and happiness? At a Gifts That Give Hope event, you can support the community and find unique and meaningful gifts for loved ones, co-workers, teachers, and holiday hosts. Learn more about 16 locally based nonprofit organizations, while enjoying festive holiday music and refreshments, visits with Santa, face painting, and other children’s activities. The Arlington Fair will take place Saturday, December 10, at Discovery Elementary School from 10am – 2pm. You can also purchase online.

A trove of international treasures

A trove of international treasures

Global Gifts
Help support people in developing countries while you shop for fabulous, unique, hand crafted gifts, all brought to you with fair trade practices. This is what you can expect at Trade Roots in Arlington. I visited the store for the first time a couple of months ago and was so impressed by both the amazing selection — jewelry, accessories, art, house wares, neat items for children — and values on which the shop operates. As owner Lisa Ostroff explains on her website, “Fair trade respects and appreciates hardworking people, provides a living wage for marginalized populations, supports the conservation of the environment, and empowers women and minorities.” These are gifts that go a long way…all around the world.

Gifts for all ages at the National Gallery

Gifts for all ages at the National Gallery

Enter Through the Museum Gift Shop
We have some pretty amazing museums in our city, and many of their gift shops echo the impressive collections and have items that are an extension of their programs. It’s not just prints of paintings you see; you can buy books, puzzles, accessories, games, housewares, and lots of children’s items that are artistic, clever, and innovative. For instance, Smithsonian’s Spark!Lab Kit is available at the National Museum of American History — and a great time to purchase it is this weekend, December 3 & 4, at the annual Smithsonian Holiday Festival. And I highly recommend browsing shops at some of the other museums in town: The National Building Museum, International Spy Museum, and Newseum all have particularly great inventory.

Free to be at the Arboretum

Free to be at the Arboretum

Give Freely
Of course, not all gifts have to come with a hefty price tag. There are so many magical yet still inexpensive experiences to be had in the DC area, some without even spending a dime. You can creatively package them up — perhaps a big, fun card with a photo — and promise a visit. Some suggestions: The new and phenomenal National Museum of African American History & Culture; the Washington Youth Garden, Bonsai Museum, and old Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum; the recently reopened East Building of the National Gallery of Art; the Fairy Lolly and art experiences at Annmarie Sculpture Gardens; the Wizard of Oz playground at Watkins Regional Park; a trip through history at Fort Washington; a nature walk among the lily pad laden ponds at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. And there are many, many, many more right in our backyard.

Happy Holidays!


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Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 28 – December 2

Walk among "icebergs" at the Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit

Walk among “icebergs” at the Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit



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Monday – Zip over to DC’s big train station to check out the little trains. Union Station’s annual Holiday Train Show is back in the West Hall, featuring an elaborate Norwegian mountain landscape. Plan to grab a bite to eat at one of many options there or pop over to the National Postal Museum next door for more fun. Admission is free to both the train exhibit and the Postal Museum.

Tuesday – Make your way up to Baltimore to visit the Maryland Science Center to explore a variety of neat hands-on exhibits, play in the Kids Room, build in the Science & Main area, and so much more. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $20.95/adults, $16.95/ages 3+, free for 2 and under. (I suggest checking out their membership options — if your family of 4 goes just twice in a year, it’s worth it. Plus, there’s reciprocity with other museums around the country.)

Wednesday – Head to the Hirshhorn to view the Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit. The must-see for modern art fans is a mix of performance art, video installations, paintings, dioramas, and more inspired works that are intriguing, moving, and visually stunning. After, treat kiddos to a ride on the carousel located on the Mall very close to the museum. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Thursday – Watch the airplanes, kick a soccer ball, have a picnic, or just hang out at Gravelly Point. The park located right off the GW Parkway next to Ronald Reagan Airport is a great place to enjoy a nice day, offering views of the river and airplanes taking off or landing right overhead. (Warning: Some kids find that part exciting, others might be frightened by the loud noise and sight of an airplane coming right at them.) Admission is free.

Friday – Enjoy a little time trip back to the 18th century at Claude Moore Colonial Farm. The living history farm welcome visitors to explore the grounds, where there is a tobacco barn, farm house, garden, orchard, and animals. Guests can also interact with a family portraying life as it was back then. Hours are 10am – 4:30pm Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $3/adults, $2/children ages 3 and up, free for 2 and under. Read about our first experience there in this post.


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