Category Archives: Winter

Enter to Win Tickets to National Parks Adventure 3D!


National Parks Adventure 3D is the latest film to hit the big screen at the National History Museum’s Johnson IMAX Theater. And I have two 4-Packs of tickets to see it up for grabs.

Explore the wilds of America and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service in this giant screen film as big as the outdoors. National Parks Adventure, narrated by Robert Redford, is an adventure for the whole family. Join world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker, adventure photographer Max Lowe, and artist Rachel Pohl as they hike, climb, and explore their way across America’s most pristine parks in an action-packed expedition that will inspire the adventurer in us all.

National Parks Adventure is an awe-inspiring visual and musical journey that reminds us of America’s great natural heritage. Immersive IMAX® 3D cinematography takes viewers soaring over red rock canyons, hurtling up craggy mountain peaks and into other-worldly realms found within America’s most legendary outdoor playgrounds, including Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Yosemite, and Arches.

I caught a screening of the film a few weeks ago, and for the full 45 minutes, was completely immersed in the spectacular scenery and thrilling adventure. We soared through Yosemite, walked among the giant redwoods of Muir Woods, scaled rock faces in Arches, and climbed ice walls in Glacier as we explored the beauty and history of the nation’s protected lands. It’s a magnificent journey sure to captivate viewers of all ages.

National Parks Adventure 3D is playing at the Samuel C. Johnson IMAX Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Tickets are $9/adult and $7.50/ages 2-12, and can be purchased online at or at the IMAX box office located in the Museum. View showtimes here.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a 4-Pack of tickets to see National Parks Adventure 3D, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite National Park or one you’d most like to visit. To be eligible, you must follow KidFriendly DC on Facebook and subscribe to the blog (sign up on the left). There will be two 4-Pack giveaways, the first will run through March 3, and the second through March 10. After the end of each, a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Smithsonian Entertprises, however, I only promote programs, products, and services that I truly believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.


Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Giveaway, Movies, Museums, Nature, Sponsored Post, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Glow Time: Giant Bunnies Will Light up The Yards Park


The Yards Park is becoming known for its eclectic presentations of public art and experiences (think Laser Cat and Tour de Fat), and they’re doing it again over the next couple of weeks, through March 6, with an installation melding light, sculpture, and music.

Light Yards started this past Saturday with an evening event featuring large sculptures constructed of industrial steel with illuminated white cubes and a large-scale projection mapping visual display set to the beat of a live DJ set. It was great timing with the warmer weather, so we checked it out with friends after having dinner nearby.


Two large-scale installations flashed with color and pictures as techno music blared in the background. The kids donned glow necklaces as they danced and played with a giant Lite-Brite, kind of like a low-key, kid-friendly rave.


The Yards Park will be hopping again this weekend as giant luminescent bunnies created by artist Amanda Parer join the art mix on Saturday. And they’re kicking off their US tour with an event especially for families from 3-6pm. Kids and adults can delight in the sight of the enormous glowing bunnies, while enjoying children’s activities, including the giant Lite-Brite, bunny crafts, balloon artists, face painters, glitter tattoos, and a DJ.


That evening from 6-10pm, The Yards will again meld music and art with a performance by electric violinist DJ Manifesto. Food and beverage will be available for purchase at both featured events, plus there are many family-friendly eateries in the area if you want to make an afternoon and evening of it.

The installation will be lit every evening from 7-10pm during its run through March 6. (Update: Due to the potential for winds and for security reasons, the bunnies will be up and lit only on the weekends of February 27-28 and March 4-6.) Both the family-friendly and evening events will take place on Saturday, February 27. Admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Exhibit, Free, Music, Outdoor, Park, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 22-26

Get a close look at the world's animals at Nat Geo

Get a close look at the world’s animals at Nat Geo

Monday – Relish in the sunny day on the trail at Riverbend Park. Make that your starting point for a 2-mile hike to Great Falls, where you can take in magnificent vistas, explore the Nature Center, and have a picnic. Or just wander around Riverbend and enjoy the Visitor Center and views there. Park hours are 7am to dusk, Visitor Center 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Zoom in on the world’s animal species at the National Geographic Museum, where two fantastic exhibitions, Photo Ark and CROCS, will engage visitors of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, free for 4 and under — look for discount tickets here.

Wednesday – Check out your local library. Drop in for story time, sing-a-longs, arts & crafts, and other activities, or just go to browse for books. See this post from the very early KFDC days for a little background and quick links to libraries around the area. Hours vary by location, admission is free.

Thursday – Take a little time trip through Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. The Inner Harbor attraction highlights the trades and people that helped build the port city through exhibits that showcase relics from the past and recreate various industry environments. Hours are 10am – 4pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Admission is $12/adult, $7/ages 7-12, free for 6 and under.

Friday – Put some colorful music in your morning at a Rainbow Rock show. The kindie band is playing at Jammin’ Java at 10:30am (doors open at 10am). Admission is $5, but you can find a discount on Certifikid). Plan on lunch there, too — the full menu will be available.

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: February 20-21

Fun abounds, outdoors and in, this winter weekend

Fun abounds, outdoors and in, this winter weekend


The combo of nice weather and a choice selection of activities equals guaranteed family fun! Happy Weekend!

Get Out
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

When it’s 60 and sunny in February, a recommendation to get out seize the nice day is going to top the round-up. Hit the trail for a hike, explore Peirce Mill and Rock Creek, stroll the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks, go fossil hunting, day trip to Harpers Ferry, romp on the playground and visit the animals at Watkins Regional Park. Find even more ways to enjoy a lovely day in this post about outdoor recreation around the area.

Travel & Adventure Show
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $16/adults, free for 16 and under

Get travel inspiration, experience culture, and have fun! A big expo like this might sound like a grown-up affair, but some cool pursuits will thrill the kids, too. Besides the hundreds of travel providers and destinations featured, there will be cultural performances, a SCUBA pool, Segway rides, a rock climbing wall, “worldly” photo ops, and kids games. Purchase tickets online and use the promo code DCPA for a $5 discount.

Puppetry Festival
Where: Alden Theatre
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: $15 ($10/McLean residents)

Live entertainment and hands-on activities will make for a fun day at McLean Community Center on Saturday. The festival features two 45-minute shows along with puppet making stations. Watch Jim West Puppets perform “Aesops Fables” at 10:30am followed by Crabgrass Puppets’ “African Adventure Tales” at 11:30am. And kids can make their own at self-guided booths from 10am – 1pm.

African American Pioneers in Aviation
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join the Air & Space Museum to celebrate the significant contributions African Americans have made to flight and space exploration despite the overwhelming obstacles they had to overcome. Enjoy presentations, hands-on activities, and stories, plus the opportunity to meet astronauts, fighter pilots, and others who will share stories of their challenges and accomplishments. Learn about inspiring historic figures like Bessie Coleman through reenactments and story times – and more!

Roll with It
Where: DC Armory
When: Saturday, 4pm (door open at 3pm)
Admission: $15/adults, $6/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under

DC Rollergirls, the National Capital Region’s only women’s flat-track roller derby league, are back for another season of hard-hitting skating. First, see Scare Force One take on the DC Demoncats. Then, watch the Majority Whips face off against the Cherry Blossom Bombshells.

Ice It
Where: Local Ice Skating Rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

Do some of your own skating, and enjoy the nice days doing it! As long as the warmer temps don’t melt the ice, it’ll be a perfect weekend to get out and glide. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at 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 that both at Canal Park and Washington Harbor are hosting Cartoon Skate on Saturday morning!

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

* James and the Giant Peach is Adventure Theatre’s latest production
* OLIVÉRio: A Brazilian Twist is a clever take on the Dickens classic at the Kennedy Center (Read a KFDC review and look for discount tickets)
* Disney Live! Mickey & Minnie’s Doorway to Magic comes to EagleBank Arena in Fairfax on Sunday
* Spend Saturday morning with SteveSongs at Jammin’ Java
* JACK and Phil, Slayers of Giants-INC is on the Imagination Stage
* Mount Vernon Children’s Community Theatre presents Ghostchaser
* The Reston Community Players begin their run of Mary Poppins this weekend
* A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on stage at the Folger Shakespeare Library
* See a beautiful wordless version of Romeo and Juliet at Synetic Theatre (best for ages 12 and up)

Animal Close-Ups
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12 (find a discount here)

Experience two fascinating exhibits in one outing at the museum downtown. Photo Ark, a gorgeous collection of portraits of the world’s animal species, spotlights conservation through the lens of photographer Joel Sartore. And you can zoom in on CROCS through an exhibit focusing on crocodilians. Both exhibitions feature components — captivating images, interactive displays, and live creatures — that are compelling for all ages.

Mardi Gras Family Festival
Where: Anacostia Community Museum
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Laissez les bons temps rouler at the Anacostia Community Museum! Enjoy live entertainment, face painting, mask making, storytelling, coconut art, parasol painting, shields, balloon art, and our popular “Parasols on Parade” second-line parade. Attendees also can participate in the popular Art of Adornment workshop with artist and entrepreneur Januwa Moja-Nelson, and get a complimentary picture of yourself dressed in Januwa’s individual designs — sign up on a first-come, first-served basis upon arrival.

Family Art Exploration
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 1:15pm
Admission: $10, no registration required

Kids ages 10 and under (accompanied by an adult) are welcome to drop in to the Candy Corner at the historic Glen Scho Park for artful an Saturday morning. The ongoing program switches up activities every week, so just be ready to get creative. Combine the activity with a show at Adventure Theatre or The Puppet Co. for an extra fun-filled outing! (Note: This program usually takes place from 10am – 12:30pm; hours have changed this weekend only.)

Lunar New Year Celebration
Where: Leesburg Premium Outlets
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with an afternoon of festivities in honor of the Lunar New Year! Stop by the Food Court for children’s crafts, food samplings, and martial arts demonstrations. A fashion show and live performances featuring Chinese Instrument-Guzheng, Peking Opera will be among the festivities, too.

Nursery School Open House
Where: College Park Nursery and Kindergarten
When: Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Looking for early education options for your child? College Park Nursery & Kindergarten invites you to check out their programs and facilities on Saturday. The accredited, parent-run, cooperative school offers a play-based curriculum that includes arts and crafts, play, music, language arts, science projects, and outside play! They have half-day classes for 2-5 year olds, with aftercare available until 3pm. Parents volunteer in the classroom up to twice a month, and children do not have to be potty-trained.

Light It Up
Where: The Yards
When: Saturday & Sunday, 7-10pm
Admission: Free

The Yards is becoming known for its eclectic presentations of public art and experiences (think Laser Cat and Tour de Fat), and they’re doing it again starting this weekend with an installation melding light, sculpture, and music. While an event specifically for families (including giant glowing bunnies!) will take place next weekend, some folks might want to see what it’s all about sooner. This Saturday evening will feature large sculptures constructed of industrial steel with illuminated white cubes and a large-scale projection mapping visual display set to the beat of a live DJ set. And the art will be lit every evening while it’s at the Yards. No matter when you get there, it’s sure to be interesting!

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

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

Frozen Day of Play
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/ages 6-17, free for 5 and under

Drop in for a family day of play and creativity as you explore the wonders of winter and ice through a variety of art projects, pretend play, investigations, and more. From frosty face painting, to a frozen treasure hunt, to guided winter walks, kids of all ages will delight in their sensory seasonal experience.

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

Animal Close-Ups & Crocs at the National Geographic Museum


If you don’t get off the well trodden museum path of the National Mall every now and then, you could miss out on some amazing exhibitions in other areas around DC. One place where you can just about always count on a great, enriching experience is the National Geographic Museum. The exhibits often appeal to a wide age range, include interactive elements that engage visitors, and focus on aspects of the world that are both fascinating and significant.


In fact, there currently are two exhibits at Nat Geo that meet these standards — and then some. Photo Ark, which opened in the fall is a gorgeous collection of portraits of the world’s animal species.



The exhibit puts the focus on conservation through photographer Joel Sartore’s lens by showcasing images of species and highlighting their conservation status, which range from least concern to threatened to endangered to, sadly, extinct (with more levels in between).


Many of the portraits were shot at zoos and aquariums around the world, and you can get an idea of how some of them were done by peering into photo tents on display — inside are adorable videos of small animals posing for their close-ups. You can also catch scenes of the process on TV screens mounted on the walls.



A whole area is dedicated to various species of reptiles and snakes, their unique features and brilliant skin patterns projected on and streaming across large screens. There is also information about each creature and quotes printed on the walls. All of it together makes the exhibit as thought-provoking and engaging as it is beautiful.



The museum zooms in on one animal with a whole other exhibit: CROCS. And it’s one you can really sink your teeth into (from their tagline!) through a variety of interesting displays, interactive components, video, and live crocodiles!



We joined a guided tour of the exhibit to get some background on crocodilians, which are up to hundreds of millions years old. But you can learn a lot on your own from the many displays and installations. Some of the kids’ favorite features included a sound board where they could listen to different croc calls, a force gauge to compare their strength to that of a croc’s jaw, and a life-sized model of one of the world’s largest crocodiles, Gomek.



The highlight, though, were the real crocodiles in a few dioramas around the exhibit that were made to simulate their natural habitats. The crocs don’t actually do that much — just seeing an eye or mouth open or a foot move the tiniest bit was cause for excitement — but it was pretty neat to see them hanging out in the museum. You might catch baby alligators swimming in one of them, which is a pretty cute sight.


You can check out both of the National Geographic exhibits in one outing — they don’t take a long time to tour (though you could definitely spend a good amount of time if you wanted to), and admission to the museum gets you into everything. Even better, both can be appreciated by visitors of all ages.


Photo Ark will be on view through April 10, CROCS through May 8. Admission is $15/adult, $12/seniors & students, $10/ages 5-12, free for 4 and under — look for a discount here. The museum is open daily 10am – 6pm.

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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Museums, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter