Explore the Wild Side of Our National Parks at BioBlitz!

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Registration is open for the National Parks BioBlitz in DC this Friday and Saturday, May 20-21. Hosted by the National Park Service (NPS) and National Geographic, BioBlitz is a fast-paced expedition to discover and document the plants and animals that thrive in our national parks and celebrate the centennial of NPS.

You can register online to join a scientist-led inventory team in one of the area national parks. Most inventories are one to two hours and best suited for ages 8 and up. There are some great birding opportunities for those wanting to get an early start, fish counts in the creek, bugs, bats, plants, and more. Not only is this a cool way to explore and gain an appreciation for the natural resources in our parks, the verified data gets uploaded to NPS databases and gives valuable information to national park scientists.

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For those with younger kids, there will be a Biodiversity Festival at Constitution Gardens on the National Mall. The festival will run 9 am – 5 pm, both Friday and Saturday, May 20-21. From morning outdoor yoga, kid-oriented music performances and live-animals, to explorer talks, science and nature exhibits, there will be something for all ages at the festival.

All events are free, but to guarantee a spot on an inventory team, you need to register online.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Festival, Free, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: May 16-20

The butterflies are back at Brookside Gardens!

The butterflies are back at Brookside Gardens!





Monday - Hike the woods and wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Look for little creatures along the way and stop to take in some gorgeous vistas. Bring along food for a picnic, or plan to grab a bite before or after — though it doesn’t feel like it while you’re there, the park is located close to a busy area with plenty of dining options. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Tuesday - Enjoy Stories from Strawberry Park at the Mosaic District. The series presents live interactive performances for children ages 10 and under every Tuesday 10-11am. While you’re there, let the kids play with the life-size chess set, check out Mosaic Yards, and grab a bite to eat at one of the many eateries. The storytime session is held outside, but if weather doesn’t cooperate, it’ll take place in the Angelika Film Center. Admission is free.

Wednesday - Join Grip the Mat at Union Market’s Lab1270 for a specially curated Mommy and Me yoga class made for moms and their tots. After, enjoy healthy refreshments from Honest Tea and Illy Coffee, plus fun wellness activities both moms and kids will enjoy, including play dough making and sprays from doTERRA Essential Oils. The session begins at 10am, and tickets are $30/mom & child ($32 with mat rental).

Thursday - Walk amid a butterfly haven at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit, which recently opened and will be on view through September 25. Plan to tour the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds while you’re there. The butterfly garden is open 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under. The park is open sunrise – sunset, and admission is free. For more about the exhibit and Brookside, read about a KFDC experience there.

Friday - Spend some time outdoors on the National Mall. View art al fresco — kids will love the whimsical creations at the National Gallery of Art and Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Gardens. Stop and smell the roses and other pretty flowers at the Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle. Take a spin on The Carousel for $3.75 a ride. And, of course, pop into a museum (or two or three) while you’re there.


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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: May 14-15

The sun'll come out... this weekend (fingers crossed)!

The sun’ll come out… this weekend (fingers crossed)!



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Sports, art, culture, nature, and entertainment are just some of what you can explore and enjoy with the kids over the next few days. Even better, some of them may actually take place in the sunshine. Happy Weekend!

May the Force be with United
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Friday, 7pm (gates open at 6pm)
Admission: Ticket prices vary

It’s Star Wars Night at the DC United match against the New York Red Bulls. Along with the soccer action on the pitch, there will be lightsabre battles, appearances by your favorite characters, and more fun Sta Wars-inspired fun. Before you go, be sure to check out the preview video to set the scene for the game.

Shortcut to Europe
Where: EU Embassies
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Avoid the hefty airfare and jet lag and explore the Continent from this side of the pond. Passport DC invites you to join European Union embassies and the EU Delegation for a day of international food, dancing, kids entertainment, exhibitions, vacation planning, and more. Get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the embassies, some of which are among Washington’s historic and architectural treasures. Admission is free, but bring identification, as some embassies will conduct security checks. Get an idea of what to expect in this post about one of our experiences at an Around the World Embassy Tour.

Spring Farm Day
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: $7/advance, $8/at door

Have a super fun day getting the farm experience at Frying Pan Farm Park’s annual spring fest — milk a cow or goat, visit baby animals, see farm equipment demos, and watch some sheep lose their wool. Along with the farm-y stuff, there will be carousel and wagon rides, plus crafts, games, and fair food for all to enjoy.

Go Fish!
Where: Fletcher’s Cove
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Get the kids hooked on nature at this fishing event. All ages are invited to an action-packed day of fishing instruction and fun at the Department of Energy and Environment’s 9th Annual Family & Youth Casting Call. Training and gear will be provided for participants to catch a fish. Activities aren’t limited to casting a line — guests can learn to tie knots, do some fish art, enjoy games, and learn about the Potomac watershed and the wildlife that is such an exciting part of it.

Renwick in Bloom Family Day
Where: Renwick Gallery
When: Saturday, May 14 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Most of WONDER may be gone, but now spring is in bloom at the Renwick Gallery! Make your own bookmark with pressed flowers, create a bug with paper plates, or transform a paper bag into a tree. The RockCandy cloggers will bring spring to life with lively dancing, and Smithsonian Gardens will bring the blooms indoors with live plants and gardening ideas.

Taste of Arlington
Where: Wilson Blvd. from Glebe Rd. to N. Quincy St.
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free, but pay for tasting tickets

The 29th annual Taste of Arlington transforms Wilson Boulevard and neighboring streets into a family-friendly street festival with dining, music, and entertainment for all ages. This annual event features the cuisine of more than 50 Arlington restaurants, two concert stages with live music, an expanded Beer and Wine Garden with Deschutes Brewery’s Street Pub, a 5k race benefiting Girls on the Run, BarkPark, and a KidZone with a rock climbing wall and carnival games.

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

It’s a weekend at home for the Nats as they host Miami. There’s a game tonight, a doubleheader on Saturday, and one Sunday afternoon. Check for special promos here. And before you go, get some KFDC tips on doing Nats game without breaking the bank.

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

* Follow the yellow brick road to the National Theatre where The Wizard of Oz is running through the weekend
* Watch ArtsPowers’ new colorful musical Chicken Dance at Alden Theatre
* See The Emperor’s Nightingale at Adventure Theatre
* Encore Stage & Studio presents Shakespeare’s Tweflth Knight by kids for kids
* Looking for Roberto Clemente is on the Imagination Stage
* See a fairy tale on strings as Sleeping Beauty is performed at The Puppet Co.
* And Animal Crackers is the featured Tiny Tots show

Strawberry Fields
Where: Area farms
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by location

The PYO season has begun! A few local farms have opened their strawberry patches to the public, so you can get out there and reap the fruits. See this post for details on area farms where you can gather your own strawberries, several offering much more than just picking.

Children’s Walking Tour
Where: Around Penn Quarter
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $5

Kids ages 8-12 can get a new perspective of the city on this walking tour that take a hands-on approach to learning about architecture in the vibrant Penn Quarter neighborhood. Architect Mary Kay Lanzillotta will lead the group along the streets, and participants will learn new terms like keystone, cornice, pilaster, pediment, portico, and many morel features that make up buildings. The tour will start and end at District Architecture Center where the kids can incorporate the architectural details they learned into their own cardboard buildings after the tour. Parents are invited to join the tour and participate in the building process. Sign up here.

SerbFest
Where: Saint Luke Serbian Orthodox Church of Potomac
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Free

Celebrate Serbian culture an enjoy family activities at this three-day festival. There‘s something for everyone, including traditional Serbian cuisine, beverages, dance and music performances, gifts and boutique items, and lots of family-friendly activities.  Saint Luke’s is located at 10660 River Road in Potomac, MD.

Tennis Camp Open House
Where: Trinity Washington University
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

RDUTennis is offering an opportunity to have fun, grab some tips, meet the staff, and learn about their camps in DC this summer. Brian Rosenthal and staff will be on court & soccer fields for two hours to provide instruction and answer all questions — drop in for two hours or just a few minutes. Participants are expected to bring their own racquet, but RDUTennis will have all the balls ready. Just RSVP to Brian@rdutennis.net with the name of your child, age, and when you plan to arrive.

Kids Saturday Crafting
Where: A.C. Moore
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Get crafty with leading arts and crafts retailer, A.C. Moore! Children are invited to join the store’s Craftologists for Kids 2nd Saturday, a free monthly event where guests work on a new arts & crafts project each session – this time they’ll color an owl drawstring backpack to bring home. All supplies are provided.

Spring Fest
Where: Cathedral Commons
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

Cathedral Commons, the new mixed-use development on Wisconsin Avenue, will be in full bloom on Saturday for Spring Fest. Curated by Art Soiree, the event will combine art, music, family-friendly fun, and food throughout the day. Stroll the streets and catch to live musical performances, peruse local art vendors, taste delicious food and beverage offerings from neighborhood restaurants, and have a chance to win prizes and giveaways from area retailers. Festivities take place rain or shine.

O Roy G. Biv Writing Workshop
Where: 826 DC
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

What’s in an ode? In this workshop hosted by 826DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting kids with their creative and expository writing skills, young writers ages 6-12 will not only go over all the goods and gold living in one of poetry’s greatest forms of flattery but they will focus their writing on an easy to adore object: colors. This workshop is highly recommended for those who have a favorite color above all else.

Inova Celebration
Where: Inova Loudoun Hospital
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Inova Loudoun Hospital will celebrate 10 years of treating pediatric patients in the county’s only Children’s ER, and the public is invited to this FREE fun, family celebration. Guests can enjoy a variety of activities including a petting zoo, glitter tattoo artists, moon bounce, and educational stations. Children are invited to bring their favorite teddy bear or stuffed toy to the teddy bear clinic in the Mobile Health Services bus. In addition, there will be tours of the Children’s ER, ambulance and helicopter, and Loudoun County Fire & Rescue emergency vehicles. Yummy birthday treats and giveaways will be available throughout the event. RSVP here or call 1.855.My.Inova to enter a drawing for four great seats and parking at a Nats game ($1,000 value).

CityJews PopUp: Havdahlah
Where: Stead Park
When: Saturday, 5:30-7:30pm
Admission: Free

Havdalah is a fun, family experience for the senses. Bring a picnic dinner (vegetarian or dairy) and blanket and enjoy play time, a Shabbat-friendly craft, story time, desserts, and the Havdalah ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat and ushers in the new week. The ritual involves lighting a special Havdalah candle with several wicks, blessing a cup of wine or grape juice, and smelling sweet spices.

 RSVPs requested so there are enough desserts and drinks for all!

Beyblade Tourney
Where: MLK Park in Silver Spring
When: Saturday
Admission: $5 to participate

Calling all Bladers! The Beyblade Tourney is returning. It will take place beside the pavilion just above the basketball courts. For more details on tourney times and more, see the website.

Frozen on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor
When: Sunday, 8:30pm-ish
Admission: Free

The National Harbor kicked off Movies on the Potomac, its summer (and spring) outdoor film series last Sunday, showing free family-friendly flicks under the stars by the river. This week, you can wind down the weekend with a screening of Frozen. Get there early and grab some dinner at one of the many eateries there. For more about things to do at National Harbor, see this post.

Sun Day
Where: Around the area
When: Sunday (& Saturday if you wanna get wet)
Admission: Varies by activity

Put away the building materials and stop gathering animals in pairs, because it looks like we’re finally going to emerge from this patch of wet weather. So, if you see a big, bright, yellow spot in the sky on Sunday, rejoice by getting out and taking advantage of what, hopefully, will be a nice, sunny day. Find a boatload of great ideas to enjoy time outdoors here.

Plan Ahead for Adventure
Where: Solomons, MD
When: Future Weekends
Admission: Prices vary by package

Some outings take advanced planning, especially ones that are particularly cool. Ruddy Duck Adventures offers all-inclusive day trips around the Solomons, MD, area. They devise itineraries that include fun activities and great dining, plus all the instruction and gear needed; all guests have to do is drive. Opt for a fossil and shark teeth hunt, a paddling excursion, or wine and art adventure — and you can make it a family outing or a day date sans kids. This recent post has all the details you need to start planning.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Family Summer Vacation Ideas from Luxe Traveler Club

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[Note: This is a guest post written by Alisa Cohen, a local mom and owner of Luxe Traveler Club, a travel planning company specializing in family travel (as well as those rare opportunities to travel without the kids). She has been traveling with Parker, 4, and Simon, 1, since they were born, both boys having passports by the time they were 3 months old. Luxe Traveler Club coordinates everything from one-night getaways to multi-month adventures.]



With Memorial Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan that summer vacation. Whether it is a long weekend or a multi-week getaway, family travel does not need to be stressful. My favorite memories with my own kids are almost all from vacations. Remembering my one-year-old son trying his first chocolate croissant on the streets of Paris and my four-year-old son playing with kids he met at the playground in Italy makes me smile.

Here are four summer vacation ideas to fit different types of travelers. Where will you make your summer memories?

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For the Beach Loving Family
Especially with very young kids, a simple beach vacation is sometimes the best option. It is just easy…and sometimes you need that.

Nothing is less complicated than an all-inclusive hotel, and Azul Beach in the Riviera Maya is a dream for traveling with the 5 and under set. They just have it down perfectly, with swim-up family suites that allow you to be in the pool with a monitor while your little one naps, to availability of anything you would need for a baby (stroller, crib, toys, baby food, etc.), to one of the best kid’s club I have ever seen. With a direct flight to Cancun, and then a short drive the hotel, you will be on the beach by lunchtime.

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For the Foodie Family
Poutine? Montreal bagels? Smoked meats? Montreal has its own bucket list of food. Add to this the fact that the current exchange rate for the Canadian dollar is averaging a 30% savings on the U.S. dollar, a stay at the Ritz Carlton Montreal is a fantastic pick for summer travel with the kids. The city may be filled with Parisian charm, but getting there could not be easier with a short direct flight. Kids will love exploring Old Montreal, thrill seeking at the centrally located amusement park, and enjoying activities on the St. Lawrence River.

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For the Road Tripping Family
Nothing says iconic road trip more than Highway 1 along the California Coast. Start your adventure in San Francisco riding cable cars, visiting Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, and eating your way through the Ferry Building. A stay at the Palace Hotel will leave you nice and rested for your days of exploring the City by the Bay.

Now it is time for some relaxation. A 2.5-hour drive south will bring you to the Carmel area, where a stay at Carmel Valley Ranch will keep the kids busy with an endless roster of activities, and the parents happy with a wine tastings, spa, tennis, and a great line up for fitness classes.

The scenic 4.5-hour drive to Santa Barbara will leave you ready for some pool time, and the rooftop pool at the Canary does not disappoint. Enjoy exploring Santa Barbara’s restaurants and shops on State Street, riding the Waterfront trolley, and visiting the Zoo and the Museum of Natural History Sea Center.

Saving the best for last, end your trip with the two-hour drive to the Los Angeles area, where you can go out with a bang with a visit to Disneyland. Want to stay in the Hollywood Hills or on the beach in Santa Monica? Stay at a vetted kid-friendly home rental to really live the Southern California life.

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For the International Jet-Setting Family
International travel with children seems overwhelming, but, with the right planning, it just so fantastic. The vacation might involve more playgrounds than museums, but watching your kids explore a foreign city really is magical.

Direct flights are key for international travel with children, which is why Spain is one of my favorite picks. Fly directly to Barcelona where the kids will love the fairy-tale Park Guell, tasting their way through the Boqueria Market, and playing in the sand at the city’s beaches. Do you have a young soccer fan? A visit to Camp Nou would easily be the highlight of his or her trip.

Renting a vetted kid-friendly apartment will provide that extra space to make you feel like you have a home base. For longer stays, hop a train to Madrid or Seville to continue the adventure.

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Clients are always surprised to learn that there is no charge to work with Luxe Traveler Club. In addition, through relationships and preferred partnerships, they are able to provide VIP treatment for clients, including special amenities and perks, such as daily breakfast, spa and resort credits, upgrades, and late check-outs. They also work with well-vetted kid-friendly apartment and villa rentals around the world.

Contact Luxe Traveler Club for assistance with any of the suggested trips or to start planning your own adventure.


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Filed under All ages, Destination from DC, Guest Post, Professional Service, Summer

Make a Great Day of it with Ruddy Duck’s New Adventure Packages

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As much as I enjoy planning our excursions around DC and surrounding areas, sometimes it’s really nice to have the logistics coordinated for me. Especially when the day’s outing is devised by people who really know a locale and its best offerings, and have first-hand insight on how to make the most of it all.

This is what I appreciate most about Ruddy Duck Adventures, the Calvert County tour company that offers all-inclusive day trips around the Solomons, MD, area. They provide an itinerary that includes fun activities and great dining, plus all the instruction and gear needed; all guests have to do is drive. And they plan the adventures with local knowledge and ardent zeal for all the area has to offer, making the trips as authentic as they are enjoyable. We know this from experience, their Fossil & Shark Teeth Hunt easily a KFDC favorite last year.

Ruddy Duck Adventures has just expanded their selection of tours, introducing two new packages that combine several activities to make for fantastic day-long excursions. And a great thing about these new adventures, is that they can be family outings (depending on the ages of your children) or unique grown-up outings (think daytime date or moms’ day out). Even better, they are offering KidFriendly DC readers a special 10% discount on bookings for a limited time!

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The Paddle Package is perfect for those who like active recreation, especially on the water. Start with kayaking around Solomons Island. After working up an appetite, enjoy a tasty lunch at the cozy Ruddy Duck Brewery. From there, swing by the Solomons Island boardwalk for ice cream, shopping, and great views. That will give you some rest time before the next activity: stand-up paddle boarding! Finally, wind down the day with dinner, including amazing Potomac views, at the Ruddy Duck Seafood & Alehouse. No prior experience is necessary for any of the paddling, and all instruction and gear is included.
Cost: $129/person ($20/kids ages 5-11).

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The Gardens & Grapes Package lets you savor the area in a more relaxed and artsy way. Start by exploring the beauty of nature and art at Annmarie Sculpture Garden. Then, drive just down the road to Ruddy Duck Brewery & Grill for a yummy lunch. From there, head to award-winning Port of Leonardtown Winery for a delicious wine tasting. That segues right into the next activity, wine and cheese aboard a Chesapeake skiff for a relaxing human-powered boat tour. Top it all off with dinner, including amazing Potomac views, at the Ruddy Duck Seafood & Alehouse.
Cost: $109/person ($20/kids ages 3-11).

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The original Fossil & Shark Teeth Hunt is also available for $89/person ($20/kids ages 3 and up). When you consider all that is included with all of the packages — the activities, instruction & equipment, two meals, snacks, admission fees — you’re getting a pretty amazing deal, not to mention there is also the KFDC 10% discount. And you can consider it for a special occasion, as a friend of mine did when her family opted for (and loved!) the Fossil Hunt Package a couple of weeks ago to celebrate her birthday. Though anytime you go and share a unique and wonderful experience is going to be special.

For more about Ruddy Duck Adventures and to book your adventure, visit the website — and be sure to use the code KFDC at check out to get your 10% discount. You can also read about our experience on the Fossil & Shark Teeth Hunt.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ruddy Duck Adventures, however, I only promote programs, services, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under Art, Exhibit, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Sponsored Post, Weekend