Giveaway: Enter to Win Free Admission to Brookside’s Garden of Lights!

Holiday light displays are always a seasonal treat, and you have a chance to win a visit to an area favorite: The spectacular Garden of Lights at Brookside Gardens!

Escape to a glittering world with towering sunflowers, puffy rain clouds, lazy turtles, larger-than-life mushrooms, and other critters so beautiful, you’ll think you’ve been transported to a fairytale land.

Garden of Lights delights families every year with its imaginative and lighted figures that help usher in the holiday season. The handmade forms of forest animals, flowers and other natural elements help transform the gardens into whimsical winter scenes.

But the fun doesn’t stop outdoors. The conservatory will be transformed by G-scale model trains racing through a wintry landscape. And no wintertime shindig would be complete without mugs of piping hot cocoa, s’mores and live musical performances.

Garden of Lights opens November 24 and will run through January 1 (closed December 24-25). Hours are 5:30-9:30pm Sunday – Thursday, and 5:30-10pm Friday – Saturday. Admission is $25 per car/van Sunday – Thursday, and $30 per car/van Friday – Saturday. (KFDC Tip: If yu can swing it, go on a weekday when it’s less crowded.) Brookside Gardens is located at 1800 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton, MD.

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Giveaway: For a chance to win free admission to Brookside’s Garden of Lights, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite holiday treat to eat (savory or sweet). Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. The passes can be used on any date the exhibit is open. This giveaway will run through Tuesday, November 21, 2017, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Montgomery Parks, however, I only promote events, places, and programs that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Giveaway, Holidays, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Sponsored Post, Trains, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Guest Post: Treating Children with Special Needs in the Emergency Department by Dr. Christina Johns

[Note: This is a sponsored guest post contributed by Dr. Christina Johns, Senior Medical Advisor at PM Pediatrics. This was originally published on her blog, Dear Dr. Christina.]

Anyone who likes going to urgent care or the emergency department, raise your hand!
Anyone? No one?

That’s right. Nobody likes it for any reason, anytime.  It’s stressful, often unplanned and disorganized, and can be a frustrating experience.  I put my doctor head together with a few parents who live this firsthand, and we came up with some ideas that might help make the journey just a little easier.

One of the most helpful things you can do takes place before an emergency ever happens: that is PREPARE for the “just in case.” Make a detailed list of your child’s medical and surgical history, including all medicines with strength and dose.  I can’t tell you how many times a parent will forget to mention their child’s underlying diagnosis when I meet them for the first time. This is not because they want to keep something from me. It’s just not the first thing on their mind in an emergency.  A child with a brain shunt may have stomach pain and vomiting that doesn’t SEEM related to the shunt, but it may very well be. So having a handy and complete summary of your child’s medical “story” is a godsend to most clinicians, and can help your child and save time, too.  Same thing goes with any medical equipment or special dietary items (like liquid nutrition).  Bring these.  Just in case.

Also, I want to empower all you caregivers out there to remember that you have as much expertise about your child as the medical team.  After all, YOU live with your child every day, so don’t be afraid to speak up. Tell the doctor about the details that are unique to your own child, and tell them what you think, even if it “goes against” the medical convention.  It’s a team effort, friends, and just as I’ll ask you to be patient and flexible with the medical team, the clinicians need to LISTEN to you and incorporate your input as well.  This is a big deal.  If you feel like you aren’t being heard, then by all means speak up and say just that.  If you do this in a collaborative and respectful way, any solid medical provider should pause and redirect their focus to make sure you are being heard.

You are your child’s best advocate!

It nearly always helps to have your doctor give a “heads up” phone call to the urgent care or emergency department staff to let them know that you are coming in. Getting all the doctors’ brains on the same page really can make the visit go smoother. So please call your doctor if you can before you head on in to urgent care so that this communication can take place.

I wish you every good vibe as you navigate what can sometimes be a very tricky road!
That being said, if you can try to be as well prepared as possible for an unexpected trip to the emergency department, it will help you to focus on what’s really important: comforting your child.

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Christina Johns, MD, MEd is the Senior Medical Advisor at PM Pediatrics. As a parent, pediatrician, and pediatric emergency physician with a master’s in education, she shares her own expertise, plus the wealth of knowledge from their highly skilled staff, with patients and families everywhere.

Follow Dr. Christina online for health tips, insightful articles, and more.

This post is sponsored by PM Pediatrics, however, I only promote services, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under Guest Post, Professional Service, Sponsored Post

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 13-17

Showing off works from an Open Studio session at the National Portrait Gallery

Monday – Let the kids burn some energy at Dynamite Gymnastics Center in Rockville, MD. Tumbling mats, a foam pit, floor beams, trampolines, and more equipment will keep them active during Open Gym time. Sessions take place 12-12:50pm and 2-2:50pm. Admission is $8/child, $12/participating adults.

Tuesday – Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with a Story & Discovery session at the National Museum of the American Indian. On Tuesdays (and Saturdays) through November, hear a reading of the book “Hungry Johnny” by Cheryl Minnema at 11:15am in the imagiNATIONS activity center. Go early or stay after to explore the children’s area even more, and plan on lunch or a snack at the Mitsitam Cafe, where they serve indigenous cuisines of the Americas that are interesting and tasty. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Wednesday – Enjoy Theatre for the Very Young at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, where The Apple Tree is running from November 15-19. Tickets are still available for the 10am show (as well as other days) and cost $12. Plan to have lunch at one of the many nearby eateries after the performance.

Thursday – Get a dose of nature in an unexpected place at Winkler Botanical Preserve. Located just off 395 and Seminary Road in Alexandria, VA, the park is a lovely outdoor surprise amid a bustling suburban area. Hours are 8:30am – 4pm, and admission is free.

Friday – Head to the National Portrait Gallery for some creative fun. Take little ones to play in the Explore! activity space designed for children 18 months to 8 years. And all ages can join the Open Studio Friday session in the Education Center, where guests are welcome to drop in anytime from 1-6pm and explore a different art medium with all kinds of neat projects. Of course, make time to tour the collections (in the American Art Museum section, too!) and hang out in the beautiful Kogod Courtyard. Museum hours are 11:30am – 7pm. Admission is free. Read more about the Penn Quarter venue in this KFDC post.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Art, DC, Fall, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays