Category Archives: Weekend

The Best Events of the 2017 Cherry Blossom Season for Families

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There’s much more to cherry blossom season in DC than just the famous flowers. The National Cherry Blossom Festival makes it a great celebration with all kinds of events over several weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festival. Here are the best of them for families to help plan for a peak blossom experience. And be sure to check out this post, too, with tips for cherry blossom viewing. Happy spring!

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: March 15 – April 2
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the bloom season and most of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Enjoy them daily starting March 15 from 12-6pm.

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Celebration of Japanese culture in the beauitful Kogod Courtyard! A taiko drumming performance will kick off the day, followed by Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts. Make your own tatebanko (a Japanese paper diorama) with friends from the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Gallery, go on a scavenger hunt to find spring themed artworks, and more!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress Young Readers Center
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Learn about Japanese culture as you create origami artwork creation, try on kimonos, and enjoy more other activities. Cherry Blossom princesses from the last few years will instruct children in the art of tiara-making. At 11am and 1:30pm, the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, will present “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” a program about Japanese life and culture. Following each of these presentations, there will be a karate demonstration along with other attractions. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature – read more about it here.

Friendship Between Nations Family Day
Where: National Archives
When: March 25, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship, such as the gift of the cherry blossoms from Japan to the US. Investigate treaties, learn about some of the crazy gifts countries have given, and participate in interactive activities designed for the entire family to enjoy.

Kites of Asia Heritage Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian heritage! At the Air & Space Museum’s annual event, you can talk to kite experts, see pan-Asian kite displays, marvel at indoor kite flying, make your own kite, and maybe even take a dance lesson!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: April 1, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is probably my favorite event of the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly a sight to behold. It’s magical for kids — and even for me as a jaded adult! The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 8, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is easily the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: M Street & New Jersey Ave. SE
When: April 8, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. There will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. All at a new location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Be prepared for a crowd.

Family Workshop: Japanese Woodblock Printing
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: April 8-9, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, join the Sackler for opening weekend of Inventing Utamaro and free family activities! In this Open Studio, witness firsthand the beauty and complexity of Japanese woodblock prints. Take a family-friendly tour (offered at 12:30pm and 2:30pm) of the exhibition, then explore traditional tools and papers. A teaching artist demonstrates transferring designs to a block, carving, and basic printing techniques. Come prepared to get your hands inky. All ages welcome!

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park
When: April 9
Admission: Free

The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park present the 3rd annual Anacostia River Festival, also a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival! Celebrate the Anacostia River with some fun outdoor recreation! Explore the river by canoe, ride in a bike parade, play lawn games with your family, and experience Southeast DC’s local arts scene. This year they’re celebrating biking in the District with trail rides, safety classes, quick bike tune ups, and special bike activities for all ages.

Family Afternoon: Design with Nature
Where: National Building Museum
When: April 9, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

All ages can drop in for creative hands-on activities, a community garden design project, and opportunities to learn about Japanese art and design. See how nature is intentionally integrated into the built world, different ways people design with nature, and how nature can inspire design in and around built spaces. Learn about symbolism of the natural world across cultures and make connections between springtime symbolism, design, nature, and the built world they live in.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront
When: April 15, 2-9:30pm
Admission: Free

This event that takes place along the District Wharf and the Titanic Memorial on the Southwest Waterfront is one of the last of the festival this year. It’s an afternoon and part-evening affair with free live music and family-friendly festivities, including water-related activities, cultural experiences, and delicious foods. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: March 10-12

A feast for the eyes at Infinity Mirrors

A feast for the eyes at Infinity Mirrors



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Between the winter temps on the way and all the great options for fun things to do, this weekend will be extra cool. Check out an exhibit or special program at a museum, shoot for some college hoops action, catch a live show, start your celebrations early for St. Pats and Pi Day, get in one last skate outdoors, find a new place to play indoors. These pursuits and more will have you and your crew ready to spring forward (don’t forget to change your clocks — Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday)! Happy Weekend!
Update: Be aware of street closings on Saturday due to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon!

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

Winter is finally coming, so you might need extra ideas for indoor outings. Burn some energy at an indoor playground, visit a museum, explore a historic place, bring the outdoors in at a nature center…this post has 90 suggestions for activities and places inside, most them mainstays around DC, and just about all of them tried and tested by the Team KFDC.

Prelude to Madness
Where: Verizon Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The best part of the college hoops season is beginning, and there will be live action in DC as the Big Ten Tournament is hosted at the Verizon Center. You can still get tickets for the games, though you’ll have to go through resale outlets. With so many strong teams in the conference, it promises to be an exciting tourney! (Go, Terps!)

Family Owl-tings
Where: Huntley Meadows Park
When: Friday, 5:45 – 7pm & Saturday, 12-2pm
Admission: $7/Friday, $9/Saturday

On Friday evening, discover the secret world of owls on a family owl outing. Find out what makes these raptors excellent predators of the night, then venture out on a trail hike as guides try to hear or spot one of Huntley’s resident owls. Recommended for participants ages 6 and up. On Saturday, join the Festival of Owls as special guests from the Raptor Conservancy will there with feathered friends. Meet local owls up close and personal. Learn how the raptors live, hunt and survive. Touch real owl feathers and bones, dissect owl pellets, make an owl craft, and learn how you can help protect these elusive birds of the night. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Register in advance here!

Have A Ball with American Pops
Where: First Congregational UCC
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $15-32

Cinderella has never sounded sweeter! This heartwarming and comedic retelling of the fairy tale classic is one part storybook and four parts Great American Songbook. Four lovable and dynamic singer-actors bring a huge cast of characters to life with the use of colorful costumes and playful props, as they join forces with the American Pops Orchestra to introduce the next generation of music lovers to some of the best-loved American songs of the Twentieth Century. This show is interactive and immersive, with plenty of audience participation and fun for all ages. First Congregational UCC is located at 945 G Street NW.

Kids in the Castle
Where: Heurich House Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Heurich House Museum is opening its doors for free, self-guided tours, allowing visitors to explore the gilded details of the Heurich family home at their own pace. The first floor, second floor, and basement, and the museum garden will also welcome guests to play and relax after going through the house.  Children and their parents are invited to wander through it all and complete a scavenger hunt to win prizes.

Later, Skaters
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

This weekend is your last chance to hit the ice al fresco. Local outdoor ice skating rinks (the ones that are still open, anyway) are shutting down their Zambonis after Sunday. See this post listing them all for details on where you can glide ‘neathe the sky one last time this winter (and be sure to note that Canal Park is already closed).

The Tuskegee Experience
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Saturday, 11am – 3:30pm
Admission: Free, but tickets required

At this NMAAHC Community Day, guests can learn about and possibly meet Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen, who overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. Experience historical tap dance (and take a tap lesson!), see a puppet show, take a self-directed tour in Double Victory: the African American Military Experience, and do hands-on activities. Register for the event here!

Weaving Winter Trees Workshop
Where: Anne Marie Sculpture Garden
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $15/member, $20/non-member

Kids in grades 3rd – 6th can get ready to say farewell to winter with a special art project. Students will learn the basic fundamentals of weaving with instructor, Dollie Karolewski. They’ll also paint a winter scene and then weave a fiber tree into the scene. Register in advance here.

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

* Ella Enchanted is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* PAW Patrol Live! “Race to the Rescue” will be at the National Theatre this weekend
* InterAct Story Theatre kicks of Season 2 of their Wheaton Family Theatre Series with a performance by Tom Teasley
* Little ones will love Art on the Horizon’s Nutt and Bolt (sold out online, so call about tickets)
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Tiny Tots Sing-a-Long is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* From the Mouths of Monsters is a Frankenstein-inspired show at the Kennedy Center
* Catch The Freshest Snow Whyte at Imagination Stage

KidFree Entertainment
Where: Lanburgh Theatre, Sidney Harman Hall, & Arena Stage
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Shakespeare Theatre Company presents two productions to applaud right now! The Select (The Sun Also Rises) brings a Hemingway classic to the Lansburgh Theatre stage with a cleverly directed and superbly acted show. And King Charles III is a thought-provoking drama that pits the monarchy against parliament, putting England in a national conflict that is, coincidentally, timely and familiar. And at Arena Stage, Intelligence is a political thriller running through April 9. All best for KidFree outings, but older tweens and teens could enjoy them, too.

Objects of Wonder
Where: National Museum of Natural History
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Catch the debut of a new exhibition at the museum that’s always a kid fave. More than 145 million artifacts and specimens, including many exceptional objects rarely seen by the public, will be on view for guests. Explore the scope and splendor of the world’s most extensive natural history research collection.

Earth Explorers
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Throughout the weekend, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, under 5 are free
(look for a discount)

Witness animal migrations from a hot air balloon, submerse into the deep sea to study marine life, discover new species in the rain forest, gear up for a polar expedition. These are all adventures — simulated ones, anyway — to be experienced at the Nat Geo Museum’s newest exhibition that offers a glimpse into the work and passion of explorers in the field. Full of hands-on displays and interactive installations, it’s informative and inspiring. Best for elementary school ages and up, but younger children can enjoy it, too.

See Stars
Where: Arlington Planetarium
When: Friday/Saturday, 7:30pm & Sunday 1:30pm/3pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/children 12 and under (cash only)

Get a close look at the night sky at a planetarium show. Open for public multimedia programs on weekends throughout the school year, the Arlington Planetarium presents “Undiscovered Worlds” on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm. “One World One Sky,” a Sesame Street adventure featuring Big Bird plays on Sunday at 1pm, and “Magic Tree House: Space Mission” will be shown at 3pm. Doors open 15 minutes prior to show time and are closed and locked once the program begins. Sky theater has a 58 seat capacity. Once full capacity is reached, the doors will be closed.

Gaithersburg St. Patty’s Parade
Where: Washingtonian Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The city’s 17th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will include both traditional Irish performances and classic parade pageantry. Celtic dancers, bagpipes, marching bands, clowns, firetrucks, and more will make their way through town.

District of Love March
Where: Emery Rec Center
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 2:30pm
Admission: Free

March to support diversity and inclusion in our community. Celebrate with local artists, musicians, and community members, and enjoy featured musical acts Elena y Los Fulanos, Lilo, Ethiopian Dance and more! The March will go right through some of DC’s most diverse neighborhoods along Georgia Ave. NW starting at Georgia and Madison St. NW at the Emery Rec. Center and marching down to U St ending at the African-American Civil War Memorial Site.

Dr. Seuss on the Loose Dance Party!
Where: Kensington Town Hall
When: Saturday, 3-5pm
Admission: $5 person, $20/family

Join the Noyes Children’s Library Foundation for the Dr. Seuss on the Loose Dance Party! Dance, wiggle and giggle with Aaron Anderson of A-Squad Entertainment. Create crafty masterpieces, enjoy the Dr. Seuss Read-a-Thon Room, and don’t miss the Seuss-themed raffle. All ages welcome (recommended for ages 18 months – 6 years). Please bring a book for our book drive for Crossway Community in Kensington. RSVP at facebook.com/MakeMoreNoyes. Kensington Town Hall is located at 3710 Mitchell Street in Kensington, MD.

DC St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Constitution Ave. from 7th to 17th Streets NW
When: Sunday, 12pm
Admission: Free

Find a spot on the curb along Constitution Avenue to watch the 46th annual St. Patrick’s parade roll through the city. Floats, marching bands, Irish dancers, bag pipers, members of the police and fire departments, and other entertainment will be part of the celebratory spectacle.

Purim Carnival
Where: Congregation Adat Reyim
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

This fun holiday event is open to everyone of all ages! Come in costume and enjoy games, food, face painting, balloons, a lego zone, caricaturist, and much more. Enter to win exciting raffle and silent auction prizes including Disney World passes, gift cards to restaurants, local businesses and birthday parties! Admission is free, but game tickets are $0.50 each, raffle tickets are $1 each, and food will be for sale.

Science Talent Search Project Exhibition
Where: National Geographic
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Science enthusiasts of all ages will love the Regeneron Science Talent Search Public Exhibition of Projects! Meet the top 40 young scientists in the nation (all high school seniors competing for $1.8 million in awards) as they share their original research projects.

Purim Carnival
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission:

When was the last time you dressed up like a queen or king? Now is your chance – the EDCJCC’s Purim Carnival is the perfect time for children and adults to dress up and celebrate this festive annual holiday! Enjoy carnival games, arts & crafts, hamantaschen (yummy Purim treats), music and a Purim play. And don’t forget your costume! Teen Jewish a cappella group from Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Marak HaYom (which means “soup of the day” in Hebrew) will perform. Register here

A Day of Flying in the Great Hall
Where: National Building Musem
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Partake in some super fly activities at the Building Museum. All ages can drop in on Sunday to watch as the DC Maxecuters demo all kinds of model planes in and across the Great Hall. Of course, you can enjoy all the other NBM offerings the rest of the weekend (admission fee required for some).

Full STEAM Ahead: Baffling Biomimicry
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Preschool-aged children and their caretakers are invited to visit the artLAB for hands-on investigations and challenges! This program is designed to help children explore, observe, ask questions, and make predictions as they create and play! Activities themed around money are planned for this fun and imaginative session.

Family Dance
Where: Glen Echo Park Ballroom Annex
When: Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $5/ages 4 and up

Join the Family Dance session that takes place the second Sunday of each month. It’s a rare opportunity to experience the joy of dance with your children and the community. No experience is necessary, just and dance — a family dance leader will show you everything you need to know right then and there, with a focus on having fun! Recommended for families with kids ages 4-12, but all ages welcome!

Games + Pi
Where: Labyrinth Game Shop
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Pi Day is Tuesday, but Labyrinth is celebrating a couple of days early. Stop in for some of their favorite math-themed games as well as free pie. They’ll have a variety of games to play, so drop by and get in a play or two!

**PLAN AHEAD**
Get KFDC insight to prep for some of DC’s most popular outings and events:
* Read a review of the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn to get an idea of what to expect and tips for visiting with kids
* March 19-22 are the new predicted cherry blossoms peak dates, and KFDC has tips to help you plan for and make the most of your bloom viewing experience
* The KFDC Guide to the National Museum of African American History & Culture will help you navigate one of the city’s most remarkable new attractions with children


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Journey with Earth Explorers at the National Geographic Museum

An Earth Explorer journal entry

An Earth Explorer journal entry



Want to witness animal migrations from a hot air balloon, submerse in the deep sea to study marine life, discover new species in the rain forest, or gear up for a polar expedition? These are all adventures — simulated ones, anyway — to be experienced at the National Geographic Museum’s newest exhibition.

An explorer greeting at the entrance

An explorer greeting at the entrance

Earth Explorers takes you on a journey around the globe, offering a glimpse into the work and passion of real explorers in the field. Hands-on displays, interactive installations, and Nat Geo’s signature stunning visuals are your guides in this informative, inspiring, and fun experience.

Eye-popping exhibits will thrill all ages

Eye-popping exhibits will thrill all ages

Learn more about this featured Earth Explorer

Learn more about this featured Earth Explorer

The exhibit features six stations covering different regions and types of explorations: Base Camp, Oceans, Rain Forests, Mountains and Caves, African Savannah, and Polar Regions. Each area provides a sense of the work environment in its particular setting. Video footage and photos let you see the places and wildlife that exists there. Gear on display shows you the equipment needed to do the work. And field journals from the explorers provide insight into their work — how they got started, how they approach expeditions, what impels them to probe the unknown, and advice for future explorers.

Journals reveal more about each explorer

Journals reveal more about each explorer

The view from the sub

The view from the sub

Get a bird's eye view of the African savannah

Get a bird’s eye view of the African savannah

Guests can get even more of a feel for the work in immersive installations that replicate the experiences of the explorers. Delve into the ocean in a submarine, take an aerial survey of the African savannah from a hot air balloon, study ecosystems under a tent in the rain forest, check out an Arctic cabin and learn how scientists study polar animals, and ride in an off road vehicle used in the field. These are just some of the larger interactive elements. Smaller ones, like touchscreen displays and fun, wall-mounted trivia games, abound.

Chill out in an Arctic cabin

Chill out in an Arctic cabin

Interactives are fun and educational

Interactives are fun and educational

There are so many neat details to the exhibit that you’ll feel like an explorer yourself as you go through it. You don’t want to miss something that might provide key insight into a particular region or expedition or discovery. And a unique supplement is an interactive digital experience that utilizes an advanced technology, augmented reality (AR), to bring various animals inside the exhibit to life on your iOS or Android device.

Tropical trivia

Tropical trivia

Earth Explorers is also an exhibit with all-ages appeal. While probably best for about ages 8-13 — there is quite a bit of reading and information that older kids will digest more easily — younger children will love the hands-on and immersive parts along with striking and playful imagery and video. No matter what age, it’s meant to inspire and get kids to think about what they might want to be when they grow up.

It’s given me all kinds of ideas! 😉

Earth Explorers is on view at the National Geographic Museum through September 10, 2017. Tickets are $15/adult, $12/seniors, student, & military, $10/ages 5-12, free for under 5. Museum hours are 10am – 6pm.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Museums, Nature, Tweens, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: March 4-5

Theatrics at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where there's a special program for kids this weekend

Theatrics at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where there’s a special program for kids this weekend



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After a nice teaser of spring, it’s going to feel a little more like winter this weekend, but that won’t affect your family fun. Stay cozy inside at a performing arts fest, theatre workshop, museum program, summer camp preview, IMAX movie, or live show. And if you want to bundle up and bask in the sunshine, there are always lots of great activities to enjoy outside. Happy Weekend!

Intersect with the Performing Arts
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show (includes free fun!)

There’s more family programming at the INTERSECTIONS Festival this weekend, most of it on Saturday. See Jane Franklin Dance perform The Big Meow. Catch the In Series’ presentation, Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood. Capitol Tap and House of Tap performs Feel the Beat Through Your Feet! Clown Cabaret brings The Heist to the stage. And Saturday morning from 10am – 12pm, the Zip Zap Circus will bring FREE fun and entertainment to the Atlas lobby! These are just the most kid-friendly shows — the whole line-up throughout the Festival is worth checking out by grown-ups.

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

As the mercury drops toward temps more normal for this time of year, you might be seeking out fun indoors. This post lists more than 80 suggestions for things to do, most them mainstays around DC, and just about all of them KFDC tried and tested.

Family Shabbat Clusters
Where: DCJCC
When: Friday
Admission: $36

Celebrate Shabbat your way! Family Shabbat Clusters are groups of people that get together to celebrate Shabbat once a month and are a great way to make new friends and start traditions. Every Shabbat Cluster season starts with a Kickoff Dinner at the EDCJCC for all participants. Register here.

Shake(speare) Up Your Saturday
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free, but registration required

Join the Folger’s family program that takes place the first Saturday of every month. In this “Courtly Meetings & Country Greetings” session, imagine yourself in the two worlds of As You Like It, the court of Duke Frederick and the Forest of Arden. Ages 5-7 at 10-11am, and ages 8-14 at 11am – 12pm. Go here to sign up.

Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: Saturday, 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Irish holiday a a bit early in Old Town Alexandria. Pre-parade festivities begin in the morning, and the annual procession kicks off at 12:30pm at Alfred and King Streets, then winds through Old Town, showcasing elected officials, Irish Ambassadors, military commanders, scout troops, high school bands, and local celebrities.

Recycled Cycles for Sale!
Where: Big Bear Cafe
When: Saturday, 10am whiles supplies lasts
Admission: Free

Spring is coming and with it, great cycling weather, so now is the best time to make sure you have a quality ride that meets your needs. Well, just in time, Phoenix Bikes, a non-profit youth program and community bike shop in Arlington, VA, will be selling a large inventory of quality, refurbished bikes and new bike gear along with friends Gearin’ Up Bicycles and Bikes for the World. Check out the sale for a great deal on a bike that benefits local non-profits and be ready to ride this spring…truly a win-win!

Apollo on the Move
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Explore how Apollo 11 and the Moon landing transformed our lives 50 years ago and continues to influence space exploration and inspire people today and into the future. Go inside the Museum’s Restoration Hangar where staff work to conserve, restore, and preserve spacecraft and aircraft. See the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia undergoing conservation treatment and meet the experts who care for the artifact. Talk to experts who moved the Command Module Columbia from DC to Chantilly, VA, and learn about the preparation that goes into moving large artifacts. This is a unique opportunity for all ages to enjoy!

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

* Ella Enchanted is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* Reserve free tickets for Mister G, this week’s Saturday morning at the National performance
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Tiny Tots Sing-a-Long is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Join a Saturday Family Jazz Session at Strathmore
* The Freshest Snow Whyte just opensed at Imagination Stage
* Dan Zanes “Song Gusto Hour” with Claudia Eliaza is the Saturday morning show at Jammin Java

Earth Explorers
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Throughout the weekend, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, under 5 are free
(look for a discount)

Witness animal migrations from a hot air balloon, submerse into the deep sea to study marine life, discover new species in the rain forest, gear up for a polar expedition. These are all adventures — simulated ones, anyway — to be experienced at the Nat Geo Museum’s newest exhibition that offers a glimpse into the work and passion of explorers in the field. Full of hands-on displays and interactive installations, it’s informative and inspiring. Best for elementary school ages and up, but younger children can enjoy it, too.

Suit Up!: Working in Space
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Join the Air & Space Museum in Chantilly for Making STEM Magic, a weekly program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. On Saturdays this month… Space: the final frontier, and the most dangerous. Want to be an astronaut? Learn how to suit up and protect yourself from the dangers of space in the March design challenge.

Lil’ Kickers Open House
Where: Merritt Academy
When: Sunday, 11am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Sample a soccer program for kids! Lil’ Kickers will be providing mini classes throughout the morning for children to experience their program. This is the second of several Open House Events at their four locations. Merrit Academy is located at 9211 Arlington Boulevard, Fairfax, VA 22031

Theatre Camp Open House
Where: Highwood Theatre
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Learn about this one-of-a-kind summer camp in downtown Silver Spring and then some at this Open House. Meet the teachers, see the space, enter raffles, and hear all about what’s coming up this summer. From Art Squared (with 3D Printing, Improv, Digital Music, and more) to technical theatre, musical theatre, and acting, they’ve got something for everyone in grades K-12.

Cocoa & Craft in the Park
Where: Hidden Oaks Nature Center
Whne: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: $6

Crafts, cocoa, and nature all in one outing! Stay and play for 20 minutes or more as you sip cocoa and create up to three crafts at the Nature Center. There are new craft kits each month. For ages 2 -12, and children younger than 10 must be accompanied and assisted by an adult.

DREAM BIG IMAX 3D
Where: Air & Space Museum & Udzar-Hazy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $9/adult, $8/senior, $7.50/ages 2-12

With some rain in the forecast, a movie at a museum will be a great plan. This latest film on local giant screens promotes the E in STEM. From the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots to footbridges in Haiti to a solar car race across Australia, DREAM BIG celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small and highlights how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. View the trailer here. And, of course, plan to explore the museum while you’re there!

Are You Ready for Some Fútbol?
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission Ticket proces vary

DC United kicks off a new season this weekend as they host Kansas City Sporting for the first match of the regular season. The game is a Heineken Green & Red Star Matchday, which means adults can enjoy a special promo: One ticket, one drink for $20 with the code HEINEKEN when you purchase online. And if you need to catch up on the local soccer scoop, check out the DC United website for a refresher.

KidFree Entertainment
Where: Lanburgh Theatre & Sidney Harman Hall
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Shakespeare Theatre Company presents two productions to applaud right now! The Select (The Sun Also Rises) brings a Hemingway classic to the Lansburgh Theatre stage with a cleverly directed and superbly acted show. And King Charles III is a thought-provoking drama that pits the monarchy against parliament, putting England in a national conflict that is, coincidentally, timely and familiar. I’ve seen and recommend both – best for a KidFree outing, but older tweens and teens could enjoy them, too.

Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Ring in the Persian New Year at the annual Nowruz celebration! Free attractions for all ages include storytelling, hands-on art activities, live music, film screenings, calligraphy, food, and the featured exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan.

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

This could ve the last good skating weekend of the season, so take advantage whileyou can! Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; or do some 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. And a heads-up that Canal Park closed early this season!

Cool Hikes
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Bundle up for a walk in the woods. See the flowers that popped up with warmer temps, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids.

**PLAN AHEAD**
A few new KFDC posts will help you prepare for some of DC’s most currently popular pursuits:
* Read a review of the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn to get an idea of what to expect and tips for visiting with kids
* The KFDC Guide to the National Museum of African American History & Culture will help you navigate one of the city’s most remarkable new attractions with children
* The cherry blossoms are expected to peak March 14-17, and KFDC has the scoop for making the most of your bloom viewing experience


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms (2017)

DC at its peak

DC at its peak

[Note: With the announcement of the predicted cherry blossom peak dates, it’s time to bring back this annual KFDC post. This was originally written in 2011 (hence, the now very outdated Lost reference) and has been updated every year since. But because the tips always apply, I’m re-posting yet again, just with a few minor updates applicable to this year’s bloom.]


Taking the family to the National Mall to see some pretty flowers sounds easy enough. If only it actually was. The cherry blossom peak, predicted to occur March 14-17 19-22 this year, is one of the best times to visit DC. The city is at its most beautiful, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival provides loads of fun activities to help enjoy it all. But viewing the famous blooms can also be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things. Here are seven recommendations to consider if seeing the cherry blossoms is on your family’s March agenda.

1. Don’t drive if you value your sanity. Take the Metro, ride the bus, bike, walk, jet pack. Get here however you can, just leave the car at home. Traffic is beyond frustrating during the cherry blossom peak, and your chances of finding decent parking are about as good as hitting the Powerball with Hurley’s numbers (okay, slight exaggeration, but it is hard). The masses descend on Washington, DC, this time of year, and way too many do so in their vehicles. Besides, kids love riding the Metro—it’s like an urban version of Hogwarts Express. The Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange Line is mere minutes from all of the blossom action, but it’s also guaranteed to be crowded. Consider riding to L’Enfant on Yellow/Green, Federal Center on Blue/Orange, or even a stop downtown or in Penn Quarter and taking a nice stroll to the blossoms. *If you absolutely must drive and need parking you might find a spot at Hains Point, where there is free and metered parking, then walk or take a shuttle ($1/person) to the Tidal Basin. There is also a parking garage at L’Enfant Plaza. Your best bet, though, might be to find a garage in the downtown or Penn Quarter area, then walk or Metro to the National Mall. Update: You can ensure yourself a spot with Parking Panda, an online parking reservation service that let you search for and reserve spaces in advance. Through April 15, use the promo code CherryBlossom17 to get 10% off your first reservation in Washington, DC!

Flying among the flowers

Flying among the flowers

2. Visit on a weekday if you have the flexibility. Crowds are significantly smaller from Monday to Friday, so you can stroll around the Tidal Basin at a nice pace, and public transportation won’t be nearly as packed (though it still will be more crowded than usual). But if the kids are in school or daycare during the week, think about going later in the day. The National Mall and monuments look beautiful at sunset, and the blossoms make it even more sublime. In the same vein, if you can go super early, the morning light on the Mall makes for quite a picturesque setting, too.

Peak time around the National Mall

Peak time around the National Mall

3. Consider using a child carrier instead of a stroller for little ones. This is especially applicable if you take Metro, since elevator lines can be very long and slow-going. I learned my lesson several years ago on a weekday and ended up taking my daughter out of the stroller and carrying both on the escalator, which was probably as unsafe as it was difficult. Even if you don’t take Metro, a carrier is still a wise option. Navigating crowded walkways while pushing a pram takes focus, and you could end up spending more time concentrating on not rolling over others’ heels than enjoying the sights you came to see. It’s a bonus for wee ones, too — perched on your back, your babe will get a better view of the blossoms.

4. Check the National Cherry Blossom Festival schedule, so you can plan your visit accordingly. Some of the city’s most anticipated events are part of the annual celebration, the Blossom Kite Festival, Southwest Waterfront Fireworks, National Cherry Blossom Parade, and Sakura Matsuri among them. Most events take place close by the blossoms or an easy Metro ride away. While peak bloom is expected before the Festival even begins this year, there might still be some flowering trees for the early events, just maybe a bit past their peak. Other events will be a good month beyond the bloom, so expect more green leaves then. This post has details on cherry blossom season celebration, and be sure to visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival website for dates and details on events.

Get a view of the blossoms from the water

Get a view of the blossoms from the water

5. Get a new view of the blossoms and enjoy a fun activity from the comfort of a cruise on the Potomac. Several companies offer boat rides along the river, many of them specifically for the season when the cherry trees are in bloom. Capitol River Cruises, Potomac Riverboat Company, and DC Water Taxi are a few to check out. Though before you go straight to the websites, look for a deal on Goldstar, Groupon, or Certifikid. We’ve gotten great offers that way. You can also opt for a paddle boat excursion on the Tidal Basin and navigate the waters yourself.

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

6. Seek out other spots to see the cherry blossoms if you don’t want to deal with crowds and chaos around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Several places around the DC-Metro area are well known for their annual cherry blossom displays. When I worked in Bethesda many years ago, it was an annual tradition for my colleagues and me to take a drive through Kenwood, a lovely neighborhood between Little Falls Parkway and River Road with cherry tree-lined streets. The National Arboretum also has a nice collection of the trees and offers a beautiful, peaceful environment in which to view them in bloom. Dumbarton Oaks Gardens is one of the prettiest places in DC and its annual blossoms only add to it.

7. Have your camera ready to take advantage of some of the best photo ops DC offers. The peak colors plus the monuments are about as iconic as you can get when photographing Washington. Get your kids to sit still — or even let them run and play for a fun candid — and you’ve got this year’s holiday card.

Can't beat the blossom backdrop for photos

Can’t beat the blossom backdrop for photos


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend