The Weekend Round-Up: October 2-3

A special Family Day, fascinating exhibits, and shelter from the rain make the Air & Space Museum a great destination this weekend

A special Family Day, fascinating exhibits, and shelter from the rain make the Air & Space Museum a great destination this weekend


Whether or not Hurricane Joaquin hits DC remains to be seen, but at least it sparked this great meme. That said, many of this weekend’s events are at the mercy of the impending storm and could be cancelled at any time. While this round-up will be updated as much as possible, it’s a good idea to check websites and call ahead to confirm events are still on. Rain or shine… Happy Weekend!

Taste of Georgetown
Where: K Street NW, Wisconsin to Thomas Jefferson
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but pay per taste

In its 21st year, the Taste of Georgetown will showcase the spectacular cuisine of over 30 of the neighborhood’s premier restaurants, highlighting Georgetown’s culinary personalities and featuring more than 60 delectable dishes to sample, as well as wine pairings, a Chef Showdown, and Gypsy Sally’s Music Stage. Bring young foodies to the Kids Canteen for free activities including facepainting, bocce ball, and more fun for kids of all ages. Plus, they can meet characters from WETA Kids, Peg + Cat! Tasting tickets can be purchased online or at the event.

Where: Fairfax County Government Center
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

The annual event especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children features scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee.

DC Veg Fest
Where: Yards Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Bring the kids to the largest celebration of vegetarian and vegan living in the area. Now in its 8th year, DC VegFest is a full day of delicious vegetarian and vegan cuisine, cooking demos, music, and more. A Kid’s Area will feature games and crafts, Ask-A-Vegan Family, kid-friendly cooking demos and music. Attendees will enjoy free food samples along with tasty vegan cuisine from food vendors.

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

* See Mariko’s Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure at the Kennedy Center
* When She Had Wings just opened on the Imagination Stage
* Catch a classic story on strings as The Puppet Co. present The Velveteen Rabbit
* And Mother Goose Caboose is the featured Tiny Tots show at the Glen Echo venue
* Head to the U.S. Botanic Garden for The Cerulean Time Capsule, an interactive theatrical adventure (and tour the plant collections while you’re there)
* Anna Menendez – La Fiesta Del Baile is this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* The Alden Theatre presents Sleeping Beauty at the McLean Community Center

Hispanic Heritage Day: Innovators in Air and Space
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Head to the AIr & Space Museum on the Mall as they celebrates the contributions of Latinos to aviation and space exploration. Hear about Latin Americans’ contributions to aviation and space exploration, meet Hispanic scientists and engineers — including a NASA astronaut — and participate in bilingual activities

Fall Fun
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Seasonal festivals are in full swing at area farms, in local communities, even a 16th century village in Maryland, and they’re welcoming visitors for all kinds of fun. Get details on all of them in this post about autumn celebrations.

Wheaton Family Theatre
Where: Wheaton Library
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Fresh off of a successful fall production in Silver Spring, InterAct Story Theatre is launching the first season of their new Wheaton Family Theatre Series. The season begins with a free community performance of InterAct’s popular play The Hero of EVERYTHING followed by a special Behind The Scenes talkback, where kids can meet the actors, talk about the play, and find out how some of the special effects and backstage magic happens. Wheaton Library is located at 11701 Georgia Avenue in Wheaton, MD.

Plated Road to Discovery Tour
Where: M Street Lot
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Plated, the service that delivers fresh ingredients for meals at home, is hitting the road. Outfitted with a fully functional kitchen and espresso bar, the “Road To Discovery” Airstream tour includes cooking demonstrations featuring Kenwood and De’Longhi products, food tastings, and talks by local tastemakers. This weekend, they’ll be in DC, and De’Longhi barista partner and 2014 U.S. Barista Champion, Laila Ghambari, will be educating consumers on coffee culture and showing them how to create the perfect home brew.

Takoma Park Street Festival
Where: Carroll Avenue to Carroll Street
When: Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The streets of Takoma Park will be filled with music, artisans, community groups, children’s activities, food vendors and a variety of green companies at the city’s 34th annual festival. Start your holiday shopping — over 150 vendors will be selling all kind of artistic wares. Festivities for kids include crafts, face painting, inflatables, and FUN! And music lovers will enjoy three stages hosting 18 popular local bands playing everything indie folk, rock, blues, country, reggae and everything in between.

Ultimate Clinic for Girls
Where: West Potomac Park, next to MLK Memorial
When: Sunday, 9-11am
Admission: Free

Learn to play Ultimate Frisbee! Girls in grades 5-8 are welcome to join a FREE two-hour clinics that teaches the basic skills and concepts of Ultimate, one of the fastest growing team sports in the country. There are four clinics total — attend one or all four! No experience is necessary! Email to register for free.

¡Sí se puede! Dolores Huerta Family Day
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Sunday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join the Portrait Gallery in celebrating the work of labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta during Hispanic Heritage. Storytelling with artist and author Joe Cepeda and music by Luis Orozco will entertain and enlighten visitors of all ages. Hands-on activities and bilingual tours of the exhibition “One Life: Dolores Huerta” will also be offered.

Barbie in Concert
Where: Potomac Mills Mall
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Families are invited to a rockin’ show starring Barbie in her all new movie, Rock ‘N Royals. Fans will have the opportunity to see a live concert performance of songs from the movie, meet the stars of the film, sing along with interactive karaoke, and play with new Barbie in Rock ‘N Royals dolls and toys. Follow the link for schedule details.

Cardboard Day of Play
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Gardens
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/child

Enjoy an afternoon of imaginative play as Annmarie Scupture Garden participates in the Global Cardboard Challenge. The Main Gallery of the Arts Building will be transformed into a cardboard wonderland as families build, create, and play their way through awesome amusements, art activities, cardboard construction, creative play, and tons of tinkering. Stop by one of several art stations to create your own cardboard masterpiece. Visit Cardboard City, the Cardboard Farm, or let your imagination soar on the Cardboard Autobahn! Go ahead of the event for even more artistic delights at Annmarie.

Navy Mile
Where: Navy Memorial Plaza, Pennsylvania Ave.
When: Sunday, 8am
Admission: $10-40 to run

The inaugural Navy Mile on Pennsylvania Avenue – set for Sunday, October 4, from 8:00 am until 12 pm – will festively kick off the U.S. Navy 240th Birthday and Heritage Week. Modeled after the famous Fifth Avenue Mile in New York City, the Navy Mile is designed for all ages and abilities, from serious mile athletes and Wounded Warriors to casual runners and even non-runners. The run is only half the fun; it will be accompanied on the Navy Memorial Plaza by an Expo featuring a full slate of activities, like a push-up challenge, Teddy from the Racing Presidents, performances by the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers and the Navy Ceremonial Guard. It’s all family-friendly and open to everyone!

The Great Indoors
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If there’s any weekend that this list of more than 70 ideas for indoor activities will come in handy, this one is it. Stay dry and have fun!

NOTE: Art Safari at the Torpedo Factory, which was originally listed, has been removed, as it’s taking place next Saturday, October 10.

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Wicked Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween in 2015

Halloween kitty and Minecraft Steve haunt the neighborhood last year

Halloween kitty and Minecraft Steve haunt the neighborhood last year

Costumes, candy, and a frightening amount of fun are a recipe for one killer holiday! Even better, while the actual day may still be weeks away, you can celebrate all month long. Loads of activities and events that embrace the spooky spirit take place all over the DC-Metro, and they’re creeping up on the calendar. This annual KFDC list has all of the details on where and when you can have a wicked good time celebrating one of the best holidays of the year. Happy Halloween!

Haunted Museum Historic Ghost Tour
Where: National Building Museum
When: October 9-31 (Fridays), 8pm & 9:15pm
Admission: $10/members, $15/non-members, adults are free

Ghost tours at the National Building Museum combine history, humor, and several hair-raising tales into a fun evening. The Museum houses many artifacts related to the building — plans, drawings, and tools — as well as some objects that defy easy explanation, including a collection of shoes found underneath the foundation, believed to have been buried to ward off evil spirits, and a plaster mask, thought to be a death mask dated from the late 1800s. The building is spectacular — and eerie — with the lights out! This tour is recommended for ages 10 and up. Tickets are limited.

Scary Face Pancakes
Where: IHOP Restaurants
When: Throughout October
Admission: Free (but plan to buy pancakes!)

IHOP is celebrating Halloween throughout the month of October by offering kids the opportunity to create their very own Scary Face Pancakes. And on October 30 from 7am – 10pm, they’re giving away the sweet treats for FREE to children 12 and under.

“Eye Spy” Halloween Train
Where: Cabin John Regional Park
When: October 10-11, 16-18, 23-25, & 28-31
Admission: $5 and a can of food

Hop on board the Halloween Train! Cabin John’s “Eye Spy” features just enough “boo” power for kids age 8 and under. Along the ride through the woods on the train, kids can try to find Halloween friends hiding along the way and mark them off their “Eye Spy” game cards that they receive with admission. Guests can also enjoy Halloween movies every night, face painting on Saturdays and Sundays, and light refreshments for sale. The train runs 3-8pm on weekdays and 1-8pm on weekends. Purchase tickets online starting October 1 here.

Haunted Train & Creepy Carousel
Where: Wheaton Regional Park
When: October 10-11, 16-18, 23-25, & 28-31
Admission: $5 and a can of food

Wheaton Regional Park’s Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel are back and scarier than ever! This annual Halloween attraction is best for guests ages 8 and up, because they do their best to make it “very scary” (and this is part of the website description, so take their word for it). Admission includes one ride each on the train and carousel, plus entrance to the Hall of Jack o’ Lanterns movie theater presenting scary films every night. The train and carousel run 6:30-9:30pm each night. Purchase tickets online starting October 1 here.

Haunted Chocolate House Workshop
Where: Tudor Place
When: October 10, 12pm & 1:30pm
Admission: $10/member, $20/non-member, $4/adult

After a “spooktacular” family-friendly tour of the historic garden, children build and decorate “haunted houses” to take home, made of chocolate walls and candy decor. For children aged 5+ and their family members. One chocolate house per registered child.

Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: October 15, 6-8pm
Admission: $10/child

Children ages 3-8 are invited to come to the Indoor Arena Barn dressed in their favorite costumes anytime between from 6-8pm. Enjoy fun, games, and a wagon ride. Finish the evening with treats and a small pumpkin. Reservations are required, and space is limited, so sign up soon!

Spooky SPY Family Night
Where: International Spy Museum
When: October 16, 6-9pm
Admission: $14

Ditch your Halloween costume and change your while identity at the Spy Museum’s annual Halloween event! Has your brother been spying on you? Is grandma really a secret agent? Does dad really have lethal ninja skills? Now’s your chance to find out as your family of spies gains exclusive after-hours access to the Museum. Test your family’s spy skills as you run top secret missions, go deep undercover and transform your appearance with the help of professional make-up artists, challenge yourself in Code Cracker competitions, and enjoy SPY snacks and a chance to explore all forms of spy tradecraft. Go in disguise as your favorite spy! For ages 5 and up, includes exclusive after-hours admission, SPY snacks, scavenger hunt, prize competitions, and more! Space is limited — advance registration required. (One adult required for every five KidSpy agents.)

Adventures in Halloweenville
Where: Village at Leesburg
When: October 16, 23, 30, 17, 24, 31
Admission: $5

Don’t miss this October’s one-of-a-kind interactive Halloween Adventure hosted by Habitat for Humanity. Halloweenville is a non-scary haunted house designed for children ages 6-11 and their parents complete with a Pumpkin Village for 3-5 year olds. All proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity. The event run from 6-8pm pm Fridays and 12-7pm on Saturdays.

Halloween Family Day
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: October 17
Admission: Free

Ghosts and goblins and witches, oh my! Get in the Halloween spirit with spooky craft activities, scavenger hunts, and live music and performances. Whether in new costume or an old favorite, all are welcome to arrive wearing their Halloween best!

Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo
When: October 23-25, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $30/non-members

Join the Zoo for their annual not-so-spooky Halloween haunt. With more than 40 treat stations, animal demonstrations, keeper chats, and decorated trails, this frightfully fun evening is a treat for the whole family. New this year will be an entertainment stage with musicians, jugglers, and a DJ spinning Halloween favorites. Also, don’t miss a themed hay maze and scarecrow field. Costumes encouraged!

Coal Mine
Where: Bradley Farm in Herndon
When: October 23-24
Admission: $5

The Bradley Farm Haunted House promises everyone a ghoulishly fun time, and for a good cause — proceeds from the community fundraising event help Herndon – Reston FISH bring emergency help to folks in our community. This year’s “Coal Mine” theme promises fright and fun! On Friday and Saturday evening from 6-10pm, it offers a dark and scary adventure that’s perfect for tweens, teenagers, and adults. For the younger crowd, there’s a non-scary version on Saturday afternoon from 1-5pm that will include trick-or-treating inside the haunted house for children 10 and under, as well as face painting, balloons art, carnival-style games, live entertainment, and costumed characters.

Air and Scare
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum
When: October 24, 2-7pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15 until 6pm

See the spooky side of air and space at the Udvar-Hazy Center’s 11th Annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Bring the tiniest visitors by the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. Fun for the whole family!

Halloween in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: October 24, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $1

Dress the whole family and enjoy a day of trick-or-treating, art activities, lunch and more! The 16th Annual Halloween in the Garden will feature more than 70 community organizations and businesses donning costumes and handing out candy and treats to all the children. Free ooky, spooky crafts will be provided and devilishly delicious food vendors will be present. Admission fees will benefit local charities. Don’t forget to bring your camera— there are always unique photo opportunities with the boo-tiful decorations!

Where: Market Common Clarendon
When: October 24, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Your furry family member can get in on the Halloween fun at this event. Market Common Clarendon has partnered with Homeward Trails and Doorways VA to host the 2015 Howl-O-Ween Dog Walk that will start and finish at Market Common Clarendon with trick-or-treating and an exciting pet costume contest! Walk through Visit stores and restaurants in The Loop and continue to businesses around the community, until you make your way back.

Halloween Art Party
Where: Anna Banana Arts & Crafts
When: October 24, 10-11:30am
Admission: $30/child

Join the Georgetown art studio to decorate mini pumpkins and a trick or treat tote, plus make scary spider art. Fun for ages 3-10. Class size is limited, so sign up soon!

Harbor Halloween
Where: National Harbor
When: October 24, 12-2:30
Admission: Free

It’s a spooktacular family event that will include activities for everyone. Join the fun at The Black Dog’s Howl-loween. Trick or treat around the shops at the Harbor. Enjoy a showing of Hocus Pocus on the Plaza Big Screen (movie will begin at 12:30am). And watch the First Annual National Harbor Chef Pumpkin Carving Contest. Bonus: Children in costume ride FREE on the Capital Wheel with adult purchase!

NSO Family Concert: A “Sleepy Hollow”-een
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 25
Admission: $15-18

All Hallows’ Eve has arrived for Ichabod Crane! Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke leads all the ghoulishly attired orchestra members in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, his riveting re-imagining of Washington Irving’s classic ghost story about the fabled Headless Horseman, complete with an engaging narrator and spine-tingling sounds. Children should don their own costumes and go early for trick-or-treating in the special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Then, take your seats for a frightfully fun adventure through the classics.

Where: Woodend Nature Sanctuary
When: October 30, 6-9pm
Admission: $5/child, $10/members, $15/non-member

Join the Audubon Naturalist Society for a family-friendly, nature-themed Halloween! Walk the woods at Woodend Nature Sanctuary and enjoy animal encounters and treat stations along well-lit trails. Afterwards, head inside the mansion for refreshments and visit craft stations where you can make animal masks or paint pumpkins. Costumes not required, but encouraged!

Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
When: October 30, 3:30-6:30pm
Admission: $10/adult, $5/child

Trick-or-treat a day early at Mount Vernon! Back by popular demand, the estate will again open its gates for Halloween fun and spook-tacular activities. Join a special scavenger hunt, take a wagon ride on the 12-acre field, and create a boo-tiful Halloween craft. Guests can also check out wool carding, spinning, and fish net making in the historic area before greeting “Martha Washington” on the piazza of the Mansion. Historic chocolate-making demos and tastings will take place. Burn off all the extra excitement (and calories!) with 18th-century dancing. A children’s costume parade around the Mansion will begins at 5pm, and prizes will be awarded for most fang-tastic “George” and “Martha” costumes!

Haunted Hangar
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: October 30, 7-9pm
Admission: $5

Wear your costume and enjoy fun fall themed activities. Explore the museum’s gallery and all of its hidden haunts. Arts, crafts, hayrides, and spooky fun await kids and families.

Glen Echo Fall Frolic
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: October 31, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but small cost for some activities

It’s a safe and fun Halloween event with something for everyone! Daytime activities for families will include pumpkin decorating, trick-or-treating, and a costume parade around the Park.

Trick or Treat in the Boo-tiques
Where: Old Town Boutique District in Alexandria
When: October 31, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Bring your little ghosts and goblins to the Old Town Boutique District to start their trick-or-treating early. Stop by the dozens of shops, where they’ll be dishing out treats and some maybe some family-friendly tricks. Halloween costumes are encouraged.

Halloween Carnival
Where: Falls Church
When: October 30, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $2/children ages 2 and up (adults free)

The City of Falls Church has been hosting the annual Halloween Carnival for over 30 years! Infants through sixth graders are invited to enjoy carnival games, a moon bounce, face painting, crafts, a haunted house, movies, candy, and a live creepy creature show featuring the spookiest reptiles in nature. The first hour is best for children up to 2nd grade, and 3rd – 6th graders will enjoy the second hour.

Exorcist Steps Commemoration
Where: Georgetown, Prospect & 36nd Streets
When: October 30, 6pm
Admission: Free

One of the city’s most famous sites will get special recognition Halloween weekend on the 42nd anniversary of the The Exorcist debut. Writer William Peter Blatty will be there along with Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans. This is an event more suited for older kids (teens, or parents on a night out) seeing as our kiddies likely aren’t aware of the head-spinning flick.

Where: Port Discovery
When: October 31, 10am – 3:30pm
Admission: $13.95/ages 2 and up

Dress up the little ones in their favorite costumes and join Port Discovery’s annual festival. Enjoy not-so-scary, family friendly programs and performances including science-themed activities, crafts, live entertainment, yoga, and more!

Spooky Science
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: October 31, 12-4pm
Admission: $20.95/adult, $16.95/ages 3-12

Celebrate the chills and thrills of Halloween at the MSC’s 7th annual event, where creepy chemistry and mysterious science combine to provide a hauntingly good time. Engage in hair-raising activities, create creepy crafts, and witness fangtastic demonstrations. Spend the afternoon with making gooey, glowing slime, decorating pumpkins and trick-or-treat bags, creating catapults for a punkin’ chunkin’ contest, exploring spooky sensory bins, and much more! Wear your costume to make it a truly spooktacular day.

Trick or Treat at Tudor Place
Where: Tudor Place
When: October 31, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $5/members, $10/non-members, $3/adults

Halloween is “spooktacular” at Tudor Place! Wear your costumes (optional), and wander the estate’s many meandering paths to find treats (not tricks!) in every corner of the enchanting North Garden. Paint pumpkins and enjoy other crafts, face painting, and active period games amid lovely autumn color.

Spy Fright
Where: International Spy Museum Store
When: October 31, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Go deep undercover this Halloween at the Spy Museum where spooks of every kind will be on the prowl. Spend the scariest night of the year at the place where disguises aren’t just for Halloween! Everyone is invited to arrive in disguise in the Spy Museum Store, where acclaimed professional make-up and disguise artist, Roger Riggle, will be on hand to teach the tools-of-the-trade necessary to transform guests in preparation for a night of tricks and treats. Demonstrations are free-of-charge and include quick disguise applications meant to help guests create their own undercover masterpieces.

Where: 7th Street SE in front of Eastern Market
When: October 30, 5:30-7:30pm
Admission: Free

Capitol Hill’s annual event is a legendary neighborhood event for little ones. The block of 7th Street SE next to Eastern Market will be closed to traffic for one of the best community Halloween celebrations in the city. Hayrides, moon bounces, goody giveaways, and even a mini carousel add to the excitement. The best part is seeing the masses of jubilant kids in all kinds of costumes indulging in the extravaganza.

Pumpkin Patch Party
Where: Gymboree of DC
When: October 31
Admission: $15/non-members, $10 members ($5/additional child)

Dress up and join the Halloween fun at one of two Gymboree parties! Pumpkin activities, seasonal craft projects, music, snacks, dancing, and parades will be part of the festivities. Newborns – 5-year-olds are invited 11:45am – 1:45pm, and newborns – 2-year-olds can party 4-5:30pm. Reservations required: Call 202.627.2450 or email Gymboree DC is located at 2639 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 113.

Pumpin Rock ‘n Roll
Where: Warner Circle Park in Kensington, MD
When: October 31, 12pm
Admission: Free

Join Headfirst Camps this Halloween for a spooky afternoon of music, games, food, and fun at the first ever Pumpkin Rock N’ Roll! Warner Circle Park will be transformed into a full-blown Halloween extravaganza. Kids can participate in a fun costume contest and parade, and enjoy family-friendly attractions including festival-style musical performances, food trucks, inflatable rides and slides, and a rock wall. Don’t miss the main event: The Pumpkin Roll, a derby race of Halloween pumpkins-turned-boxcars.

Halloween Yoga
Where: lil omm
When: October 31 – November 1
Admission: Varies by class

Are you in for an ohh-so-omm weekend?? Go to any family yoga classes over the weekend dressed in your Halloween best (yes, costumes!) for some festive yoga family fun.

Dia de los Muertos
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: October 31 – November 1
Admission: Free

Join the American Indian museum for its annual Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”), a celebration originating in Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Central America, to commemorate the lives of the dearly departed and welcome the return of their spirits. Learn and take part in this centuries-old tradition, which includes pre-Hispanic and Spanish customs alike.

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Halloween, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

A Unique Dose of Nature in the City at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Summertime at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, when the lotus flowers bloom

Summertime at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, when the lotus flowers bloom

For a big urban city, DC boasts a surprising number of places that showcase some really great nature. There are the obvious sites like Rock Creek Park and the National Arboretum. And then there are some lesser known, but no less wonderful, spots. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is one of them.

One of Sasha's early visits

One of Sasha’s early visits

And one a couple of years ago

And one a couple of years ago

We visit the park from time to time — it’s been a KFDC recommendation for years — but not as often as we should, considering how close we live. Tucked away behind a residential area in northeast DC, you could easily drive within a few blocks of it yet never know it’s there. (And you probably have driven that close; the park is located almost right off 295 just south of Route 50.) The hidden element aspect is part of the park’s allure. Just a small part, though.

A recent stroll by the ponds post-bloom

A recent stroll by the ponds post-bloom


The best part of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is what it contains, which is unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else in the District, or the country, for that matter — Kenilworth is the only national park devoted to cultivated water-loving plants. Numerous ponds make up much of the park, and depending on the time of year you go, they could be filled with small or giant lily pads, gorgeous lotus flowers and water lilies, and a variety of interesting aquatic plants.

The summer bloom

The summer bloom

The fall remnants

The fall remnants

Paths winding among the ponds make for excellent nature walks, letting visitors get a close look at the flora and fauna that thrives there. Along with the vegetation, it’s quite possible to see any number of marshland residents — frogs, turtles, geese, great blue herons, and more.

Pick a path...

Pick a path…

View the marsh from the boardwalk

View the marsh from the boardwalk

Beyond the ponds are wetlands that are a tidal flood plain of the Anacostia River. A boardwalk traverses part of these with lookout areas to take in scenic views of the marsh. On one side tall grass and plants extend for acres, the color variations lovely to see in changing light. On the other side, marsh plants sprout up from the water surrounded by lofty trees. Egrets, herons, ducks, and geese are practically guaranteed bird sightings, while eagles are a lucky glimpse.



A lookout vista

A lookout vista

Taking in the views on the other side

Taking in the views on the other side

The story of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is an interesting one. The land was originally owned by Walter B. Shaw, a Civil War veteran from Maine. In one of the ponds that was previously used to make ice, he planted water lilies from his home state and eventually built a business selling them around the world. The flowers also attracted thousands of visitors during summers. In the 1930′s, however, the gardens were nearly condemned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with orders to dredge the Anacostia River, but Shaw’s daughter Helen lobbied Congress to preserve the land, and eight acres of the garden were purchased for the National Park Service (much of the surrounding marsh land was left accidentally).

Enjoying the flowers during the festival

Enjoying the flowers during the festival

Now, they are part of a beautiful and peaceful place to explore. And while the best time to go is during the summer when the lotus flowers and water lilies are in spectacular full bloom, Kenilworth is pretty amazing during any season.

Something to see during every season

Something to see during every season

Rangers lead park tours everyday at 10am, and the park occasionally hosts Volunteer and Family Days, when the public is invited to help maintain the grounds. And every year in July they hold the Lotus & Water Lily Festival to celebrate the new bloom with activities for kids, dancing and drumming, gardening workshops, and park tours.

Whether you go soon or wait for the bloom, you’re in for something special.

Being handsome by the lily pads

Being handsome by the lily pads

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are located at 1550 Anacostia Avenue NE. There is a small Visitor Center, where you can learn more about the park, and kids can do some small activities. Restrooms are right next door, and picnic tables are located nearby. The park is open daily 9am – 5pm April 1 – October 31, and 8am – 4pm November 1 – March 31, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day when it’s closed. Admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Educational, Free, Nature, Outdoor, Volunteer, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: September 28 – October 2

Watching our creation fly through a wind tunnel at the Children's Science Center Lab

Watching our creation fly through a wind tunnel at the Children’s Science Center Lab

Monday - Visit the Children’s Science Center Lab at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Kids can explore a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging hands-on exhibits and activities. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $12. (under 2 are free).

Tuesday - See some modern art at the Hirshhorn Museum. It might not be the first gallery that comes to mind for an outing with kids, but there are plenty of interesting, colorful, and quirky works that all ages can appreciate on some level. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Wednesday - Learn about the history of flight at the College Park Aviation Museum. It’s a perfect place for young visitors with eye-popping displays and hands-on fun. They can view early airplanes up close, dress up like aviators, create flight-inspired art, and more. Keep an eye on the runway right outside the floor-to-ceiling windows — you might see planes take off and land at the College Park Airport, the oldest continuously operating airport in the world! Open daily 10am – 5pm. Admission is $4/adults, $2/children, free for ages 2 and under.

Thursday - Take a fall hike and get a dose of history all at once at Roosevelt Island. The trails are easy for little ones to tramp, and you can explore the Memorial Plaza to learn about the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt. The entrance to the park is located right off the GW Parkway, just past the Roosevelt Bridge, and accessible only from the northbound lanes. Hours are 6am – 10pm. Admission is free.

Friday - See a classic children’s story performed on strings at The Puppet Co., where The Velveteen Rabbit is the current Main Stage production. Showtimes are 10am and 11:30am. Tickets are $10.

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: September 26-27

Hit a Rock Creek trail to celebrate 125 years of the park

Hit a Rock Creek trail to celebrate 125 years of the park

Space exploration, seasonal celebrations, museums for free, live entertainment, animal adoptions, an air show, and all kinds of other fun can be on your family’s agenda. Happy Weekend!

Take the Fall
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Autumn has arrived and there are tons of ways to celebrate the season, from city streets to country farms. The annual Barracks Row Fall Festival is back on 8th Street SE on Saturday, Ren Fest gets medieval every weekend through October, Great Country Farm’s Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival begins, and many more farms are welcoming visitors for all kinds of autumn-inspired fun. Get details on all of them in the guide to fall festivals around area.

Where: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Experience firsthand how NASA conceives, designs, builds, and tests the spacecraft that explore our world, our solar system, and our universe. Goddard is opening its gates to the public for a day-long festival of science, engineering, and fun that will feature hands-on activities for every age, hosted by the people who are doing some of the most cutting edge Earth and space science. Highlights include the Chamber of Horrors integration and testing facility, Hubble Space Telescope control facilities, and one of the largest clean rooms in the world, where the NASA Webb Telescope is being developed to look back to the origins of our universe.

Museum Day Live
Where: Various museums
When: Saturday
Admission: FREE

There are some museums in the DC area that actually charge admission. But on Saturday, Smithsonian Magazine is hosting its annual Museum Day Live!, when those that require us to open our wallets to visit are free. Take advantage at the Newseum, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Koshland Science Museum, National Building Museum, Kreeger Museum, Dumbarton Oaks, and many more fantastic museums in the area. You do have to register and bring a ticket (that is good for admission for two people), but it’s all complimentary!

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

* See Caps for Sale, the world premiere musical at Adventure Theatre (look for a ticket deal)
* Let little ones discover their inner superhero at the InterAct Story Theatre’s The Hero of EVERYTHING
* When She Had Wings just opened on the Imagination Stage
* City Kids Theatre’s The Story Thief and the Princess of Dreams is on stage in Georgetown
* Catch a classic story on strings as The Puppet Co. present The Velveteen Rabbit
* And Old MacDonald’s Farm is the featured Tiny Tots show at the Glen Echo venue
* Head to the U.S. Botanic Garden for The Cerulean Time Capsule, an interactive theatrical adventure
* Illstyle and Peace Production’s The History of Hip Hop is this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* It’s a Tot Rock Fest at Jammin’ Java on Saturday

Dinner and a Movie
Where: Monroe Street Market
When: Friday at dusk
Admission: Free

Enjoy “Dinner and a Movie” at Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market in Brookland. Participating restaurants will feature special promotions, while a free outdoor movie is shown beginning at dusk. Moviegoers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair. Tonight, all guests will receive a free bag of popcorn as watch a screening of Rio.

Innovation Festival
Where: National Museum of American History
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Join the American History Museum for a festival the whole family can enjoy and celebrate the accomplishments of American inventors and the spirit of innovation! Exhibits, talks, and demonstrations will showcase ingenuity at the Smithsonian and across America. Discover inventions and meet the people who design and create them. Learn how America’s intellectual-property system has driven innovation. This will all take place in the new Innovation Wing.

Be a Junior Botanist
Where: U.S. Botanic Garden
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Adventure abounds at the as you discover all the talents needed to become a Junior Botanist. Between hands-on activities, engaging discussions with USBG staff and volunteers, and tasty cooking demos, be sure to ponder plants with root expert Dr. Jerry Glover. Then, check out a backpack and try to become an actual Junior Botanist!

Worldwide Day of Play
When: Saturday, 12-3pm
Admission: Free

As Nickelodeon celebrates kids and all the ways they play on Saturday, the National Children’s Museum is partnering with THEARC to host a day of play and activities for children and families. The NCM’s Museum On the Move will bring its Imagination Playground™ to encourage collaborative play and building using the oversized blue foam blocks. And students from the I CAN Internship program at THEARC will lead other activities to round out the programming for the day.

Where: The Kinsbury Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free to attend & $20/adult, $15/child to walk

Dogs and their people are invited to the Washington Humane Society’s annual DC Walk for the Animals & Pet-A-Palooza. Participants can walk a mile to raise awareness and much needed funding for WHS and /or join Pet-A-Palooza, a festival of games, contests, and activities for kids, adults, and dogs. Adopt Force One, the WHS mobile adoption vehicle, will be onsite with adoptable animals looking to find their forever homes. Prizes for Top Fundraising Team and Top Individual Fundraiser will be awarded at the event. The Kingsbury Center is located at 5000 14th Street, NW, near the Carter Barron Amphitheater in Northwest DC.

Road to the Puppy Bowl
Where: lululemon Logan Circle
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Animal Planet’s all-star adoption event is here to help animals of all sizes, shapes, and breeds find their forever homes — for half-price. Those hoping to add a playful pup or a furry feline to their home can join Animal Planet and Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL) at the lululemon athletica Logan Circle for a fun-filled event with photo ops, giveaways, and overly adorable animals. The best part, half of adoptions fees will be covered!

Music School Open House
Where: Bach to Rock – Bristow, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

America’s music school for students of all ages is opening a new Virginia location in Bristow on Monday, and to celebrate the grand opening, B2R is hosting an open house on Saturday. The community is invited to tour the school, learn about individual lessons and group classes, check out the recording studio, meet the teachers, and more. The new B2R is located at 9070 Devlin Road, Suite 100.

Make Scape 2015
Where: Open Works
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm

Celebrate and discover Baltimore’s Maker Community at the First Annual MakeScape! Enjoy demos, food, crafts, and activities for kids, and more. You can also take a tour of the future home of Open Works, Baltimore’s new creative incubator and safe place open to all to learn, make, and innovate…no matter age, education, income, race, neighborhood or social class. Open works is located at 1400 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore.

Leesburg Airshow
Where: Leesburg Executive Airport
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

The 6th annual Leesburg Airshow will take to the skies with thrilling aerobatic demonstrations, sky divers, and more! Witness a showcase of impressive aircraft, classic cars, and a variety of exhibitors on the tarmac, food vendors, flight schools, and aviation clubs among them. Go here for directions and parking instructions.

Happy Birthday, Rock Creek
Where: Rock Creek Park
When: Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate 125 years of Rock Creek Park, the oldest natural urban park in the National Park System. All kind of activities – hikes, workshops, pony rides, wall climbing, skating, poetry readings, yoga, and more – will be offered throughout the day. And it will all culminate with cake. Go here for a schedule of events.

Turkish Festival
Where: Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 12th-14th St.
When: Sunday, 11am – 7pm
Admission: Free

You’ll be whirling like a dervish from all there is to enjoy at the 13th Annual Turkish Festival on Sunday. Watch Turkish dance and stage performances, enjoy a Turkish coffee and tea and have and find out your destiny from the ever-popular Turkish fortune-tellers who read fortunes from coffee grinds, and sample Turkish cuisine from local restaurants. Shop an authentic Turkish bazaar featuring 25 vendors showcasing everything from Turkish jewelry to clothing to home accessories. And a “Kid’s Tent” will provide an interactive introduction to Turkey with hands-on activities for children of all ages.

Walking Town DC
Where: Various DC neighborhoods
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission Free

Put on your walking shoes for a free guided stroll in the city! WalkingTown DC features outdoor walking tours of DC’s most interesting locations and neighborhoods through September 27. The tours take place outside, rain or shine, and many include a restroom break. Just about all of the tours are family-friendly and wheelchair accessible and take place at varying times throughout the day. See the schedule for details and to sign up.

Then & Wow!
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

This family festival is the Glen Echo Park Partnership’s annual celebration of the Park’s revitalization and recalling of its history. The event features kiddie rides and arcade games, as well as videos and an exhibition on the Park’s past. Other activities include carousel rides, face painting, vintage cars, and magic shows. Admission to the park is free, but rides and some activities require tickets.

Fall Arts Festival
Where: Workhouse Arts Center
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Over 100 of the nation’s best artists will exhibit their original fine art and unique fine crafts at the Workhouse Arts Center. The two-day outdoor event will feature work by artists from across the Mid-Atlantic region, showcasing paintings, photography, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, hand crafted furniture and much more. Local gourmet food vendors and food trucks, local beer and wine for purchase, live music, and a children’s craft tent and activities will also be part of the festivities.

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

The Nats are hosting the Phillies as they wind down the season. Catch an evening game on Friday or afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday. And be sure to check out this post on how to do a Nats game without breaking the bank.

Crafty Bastards
Where: Union Market
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $5

Shop for unique wares at The Washington City Paper’s annual Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair. The market will include more than 170 talented vendors, local food truck fare, and a selection of craft brews at the New Belgium Beer Garden. The carefully-selected roster of independent artisans will be selling everything from jewelery and clothing to handbags and accessories to housewares and stuff for kids.

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