Category Archives: Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: January 20-22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Explore the ways music has influenced issues ranging from political campaigns to civil rights at the Newseum’s latest exhibit, “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics.” See John Lennon’s bed-in guitar, Jimi Hendrix Woodstock Stratocaster guitar, stage costumes worn by the Village People, original handwritten lyrics by Bob Dylan, Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” jewelry from the VMA’s, video with some of rocks most influential musicians, plus artifacts related to the Vietnam War, Kent State University, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Black Lives Matter movement. The Newseum is best for older children, and this KFDC post has a bit more about it.

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

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

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

Escape the DC crowds and zip up I-95 for even more fun in our sister city, where there are several great ways to spend the day — or even the whole weekend. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. Tour the ships at the Inner Harbor. And both the Walters Art Museum and Baltimore Museum of Art offer free activities on weekends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Moms, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Theatre, Tweens, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 17-20

Enjoy warmer weather and avoid crowds downtown at the National Zoo this week

Enjoy warmer weather and avoid crowds downtown at the National Zoo this week



Tuesday – Put some color in what’s forecast to be a gray day on a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Housing some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around, the vibrant, quirky collections — including interactive pieces — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & ages 7 and up, free for 6 and under.

Later in the day, Whole Foods Market Fair Lakes is celebrating their 10th Anniversary with fun for the whole family from 4-7pm. There will be live music, face painting, raffles, delicious samples from local vendors, and a cake cutting. Plus, you can enjoy exclusive sale items all day and get a free pint glass with any food purchased from the store’s sports bar, seafood shack, or cheese grille.

Wednesday – Have a wild time at the National Zoo, while the weather warms up and the weekday crowds thin out. Check the Daily Events schedule before you go to help plan your outing or pick your animal visits as you go. Grounds are open 8am – 5pm, exhibit building hours are 9am – 4pm, and the Visitor Center 10am – 4pm. Admission is free, though parking in the Zoo lot for non-members is $22 (free for members). You can also try parking on Connecticut Avenue or a side street, or take Metro to Woodley Park or Cleveland Park stations.

Thursday – Enjoy the day at Watkins Regional Park! The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will keep little ones frolicking for hours. While you’re there, stop by Old Maryland Farm to visit the animals and the Watkins Nature Center to view some cool creatures and birds. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 8:30am – 5pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free.

Friday – As the 45th president is sworn in on Inauguration Day, head to Alexandria (and avoid the crowds of DC) to visit the home of the nation’s first POTUS, George Washington. Mount Vernon is hosting special activities, including scavenger hunts, exhibits, photo ops, and more, not to mention the ongoing programs and exhibits will be available, too! This program runs January 19-22. Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is $20/adult, $10/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under at the door, but $2 less if you purchase tickets online. And if you’re planning to take in the action at the U.S. Capitol, I recommend checking out this guide.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays

Take a Nature Break at Prince William Forest Park

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My kids are funny when it comes to hiking. Sometimes they are gung-ho, but every now and then when I suggest we hit the trail, there’s a little protest: “But it’s just walking!” is something I’ve heard more than once.

Then I explain that it’s much more than just walking. It’s observing the nature around us, enjoying some active recreation, getting out of the bustling city for peaceful surrounds, unplugging, spending quality time together. I relish a good hike and, at the risk of sounding eye rollingly cheesy, think it’s the perfect thing for a mini reboot. Taking even a little break from our busy, hurried city life to slow down and connect is good for all of us.

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The thing is, I can almost always guarantee that even when there is initial resistance to the hiking plan, they end up being happy trampers. (“Mom, you were right…” is not uncommon either 😉 ). Once we get to our destination, they’re excited to be there — racing each other down the path, looking out for wildlife, finding a perfect walking stick, and just exploring the environment around us.

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When we visited Prince Washington Forest Park in Northern Virginia this past fall, they were actually quite amenable to the idea. This mostly had to do with the fact that Owen had just been there for Nature Bridge , a three-day outdoor education program with school, and loved the location. I had been there myself a year before for a trail race and recalled it being a beautiful park with varied terrain and interesting trails. Collective enthusiasm to go someplace is never a bad thing!

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Prince William Forest Park stretches over 15,000 acres in Northern Virginia. The largest protected green space in the DC-Metro area, there are over 37 miles of trails to hike, plus miles of paved and gravel paths to cycle, rivers for fishing, and cabins and tent sites for camping.

There is a $7 entrance fee per vehicle (or $5 for walk- and bike-ins) that we paid at the Visitor Center upon our arrival. While we were there, we picked up a trail map, checked out the exhibits, and learned a little more about the park’s nature and history. A couple of tidbits: The area was significant strategic point in the Civil War, and during the Great Depression when the park was called the Chopawamsic Recreation Area, it housed children’s relief camps.

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There are a few trail heads near the Visitor Center, and trails within the park are as short as a half mile and as long as almost 10. Many connect, so you can extend your hike and explore different areas. Our jaunt along the Laurel Loop Trail took us through the woods, which were vibrant with fall colors at the time, and along the Quantico Creek. Owen pointed out some of the spots he visited on his school trip, like a beaver dam and small waterfall, and we had a picnic lunch by the water.

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Then we hopped onto another trail that took us deeper into the woods, and eventually to small cemetery. We learned that there over 40 family cemeteries in the park, mostly from the late 19th and early 20th century, but some even earlier. It’s important to respect these sites and also illegal to alter them in any way. You can read about a couple of them here.

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While we didn’t see much wildlife besides birds, squirrels, and fish, plenty do live there. Deer, beavers, and black bears (!) are some of the other mammals you might encounter. And sightings of snakes, turtles, and frogs are pretty common.

The variety in trails makes Prince William Forest Park a great place to hike with young children, since there are plenty of short, flat trails. And if you’re with older kids who want more of a challenge, there are longer and more difficult trails, too. You even can make it a weekend trip — cabins are available May – October, and tent sites May – November. Whether you overnight it or just go for a few hours, it makes for a great escape from the city.

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Prince William Forest Park is located in Triangle, VA, about a 45 minute drive from DC. It’s open daily from sunrise to sunset. The Visitor Center is open 8am – 4pm November – February, and 9am – 5pm March – October. Admission is $7/car or $5/walk- or bike-in.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Educational, Exhibit, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Celebrate MLK Day 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Monuments & Memorials, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Park, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Volunteer, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 9-13

Taking in the view at Kenilworth Aquatic Garden

Taking in the view at Kenilworth Aquatic Garden





Monday – Jump with joy at Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield, VA. This bouncy nirvana hosts Kid Flight sessions, when the whole park is open only to children under the age of 6, from 10am – 2pm Monday through Friday. Special pricing starts at $8/30 minutes ($10/hour), and an accompanying adult jumps free! I recommend buying tickets and submitting waivers online in advance to save time when you get there.

Tuesday – Take your toddlers to story hour at East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. The children’s book readings are perfect for future readers ages 0-4. The session starts at 11am, and admission is free. After, browse the inventory then grab a lunch at one of many nearby eateries.

Wednesday – Join wacky citizen-scientist Professor Wingnut and his friend Seymour Seagull as they explore the amazing science of flight! This show presented by Discovery Theater fittingly takes places at the National Air & Space Museum. Tickets are still available for the 1pm performance (on Thursday, too!) and cost $3-8, depending on age. If they sell out, you can catch a different kind of show at the museum’s Albert Einstein Planetarium or just explore the amazing space 😉 . Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Thursday – Enjoy what will hopefully be a warmer, sunnier day at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Go on a nature walk among the ponds filled with giant lily pads and other interesting marsh plants and look for geese, great blue herons, turtles, frogs, and tiny fish on the way. Open 8am – 4pm this time of year, and at 2pm you can join a Garden Walk with a park ranger. Admission is free.

Friday – Explore the local environment from the comfort of the indoors at Buddie Ford Nature Center, which I just posted about last week. The facility in Alexandria boasts fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. And if weather permits, continue the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.


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Filed under All ages, Babies, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter