Where to Play on the Weekdays: June 27 – July 1

Kids (and adults!) will love the Recycled Tire Playground at Seneca Creek State Park

Kids (and adults!) will love the Recycled Tire Playground at Seneca Creek State Park


Monday - Experience WONDER at the Renwick Gallery while it’s still on view — the much celebrated exhibit closes in a couple of weeks on July 10. Even if you’ve already seen it, a repeat look is just as enchanting. And if it’s your first time, well, you’re in for quite a treat. Hours are 10am- 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday - See a high-energy dance show in the fresh air at Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods. SOLE Defined will take the outdoor stage for the first performance of the week, and you can catch other exciting acts every Tuesday – Saturday at 10:30am through August 6. Tickets are $8-12.

Wednesday - Tie dye a t-shirt at A.C. Moore’s special summer program for kids! The arts & crafts store is offering a summer-long schedule of FREE “Make & Take” activities for children ages 4–12, designed to tap their creativity. Sessions will take place every Wednesday from 1-3pm, and there is no cost to join. Find an A.C. Moore location near you.

Thursday - Play the day away at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg. You’ve got your pick of activities to enjoy throughout the 6,000+ acres of lovely recreational space. Hike through the woods, rent a canoe, play Frisbee golf, have a picnic, and be sure to let the kiddos romp on the awesome Recycled Tire Playground complete with zip line and giant tire monster to clamber upon.

Friday - Spend the day at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival where Basque country and California sounds are in the spotlight. The annual celebration of living cultural heritage is full of hands-on activities, performances, demos, and much more from June 29 – July 4 and July 7-10, 11am – 5pm each day, with special events most evenings at 6:30pm. Find it all on the National Mall from 3rd-4th Streets. Admission is free.

*Plan ahead for summer weekends!* Check out Ruddy Duck Adventures packages that explore all kinds of cool fun in Solomons, MD. And KidFriendly DC readers can get a discount using the code KFDC!


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The Weekend Round-Up: June 24-26

Enjoy nice trails, history, and some of the best natural scenery in the area at Great Falls Park

Enjoy nice trails, history, and some of the best natural scenery in the area at Great Falls Park



Summer break just got more official. Not only are all of the kids in the area finally finishing up the school year, it’s also the first weekend of the season calendar-wise. And on a personal note, it’s really kicking in as I get ready to drop off my (not so) baby boy for his first sleep away camp adventure, a milestone that’s both exciting and emotional. But while my face might be buried in tissues as I say goodbye for a few weeks, all of you here have will have loads to smile about — events and activities galore, great weather, and that “official” summer feeling. Happy Weekend!

Summer in the City
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

Free concerts, outdoor swimming, special exhibits, movies under the stars, sprayground fun… Activities exclusive to the season can be enjoyed all around the area throughout the weekend. Get the full scoop on all of these joys of summer in the 2016 Summer Guide.

Choctaw Festival
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: Friday & Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma celebrates its tribal history and heritage with two days of food, workshops and performances. Activities and demos include Native dancers, singers, storytellers, and booths showcasing beadwork, pottery, flutes, the Choctaw language and tribal cooking. Hands-on activities for kids and families along with meet & greets with Choctaw Nation princesses of all ages allow visitors to learn more about Choctaw culture.

SkateFest
Where: Wakefield Park in Annandale, VA
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free for spectators

See amazing skating tricks and skills or show off some of your (or your kids’) own! SkateFest is a rad event full of skateboarding, free gear, and tons of prizes. The weekend celebrates Go Skateboarding Day with family friendly activities for all ages: music, games, food, giveaways, skateboard vendor tents, and Sk8 For A Cause, a Skate Competition all to benefit Children’s National Medical Center. Friday is a registration/prelim day with some extra activities, and the main festival takes place on Saturday. See the online schedule for specifics.

Barbeque Battle
Where: Pennsylvania Avenue NW
When: Saturday 11am – 9pm & Sunday, 11am – 7:30pm
Admission: $15/adults, free for ages 12 and under

Join one of the biggest summer barbeques around as the Giant National Capital Barbeque Battle returns to pit some of the nation’s best barbequers against each other to compete for big prizes. The reward for attendees: Samples from all the entrants (plus, more food), live music, cooking demos, kids’ fun, and more. It all takes place along Pennsylvania Avenue NW, from 9th to 14th Streets.

Heritage Days
Where: Various locales in Montgomery County
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the history, culture, and natural beauty of Montgomery County, MD, as more than 30 historic sites welcome visitors for guided tours, re-creations of historic events, children’s activities, and more — all free of charge. Learn about the history of dairy farming, railroads, and trolleys; African American communities, astronomy, local arts & culture, and outdoor recreation. Check the online brochure for participating locations and activities.

SpongeBob SquarePants Family Day
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Visit a pineapple under the sea?! On Saturday, the Postal Museum will be decked out like Bikini Bottom—SpongeBob’s underwater home—and filled with fun activities for the whole family. Drop in for a chance to meet SpongeBob SquarePants, play nautical-themed games, build a sand castle with kinetic sand, and more! Visitors can document their experience by sending a limited-edition SpongeBob postcard or posing for pics in a Bikini Bottom photo booth as well as enjoy performances by comic bubble artist Casey Carle, the renowned. Be there or be square!

Capital Fringe Music Festival
Where: Baldacchino Tent at Old City Farm & Guild
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-9pm
Admission: Free

The Capital Fringe Festival is returning this summer, filling the city with non-stop theater, dance, music, visual art, and everything in-between. Preview the festival this weekend before it officially kicks off on July 7, and join Capital Fringe at its first-ever two-day outdoor music festival that will feature bands on one stage under the Baldacchino Tent.

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. Bonus: Use the code KFDC at check out to get a 10% discount! And for some inside scoop, read about our experience on the fossil hunt.



Precious Cargo Bike Ride
Where: Capitol Hill
When: Saturday, 9am & 4pm
Admission: $30

Join Recess Outings, a new bicycle outing business on Capitol Hill, for a ride designed to help parents become more comfortable biking with toddlers. The group will talk about safety and preparing for an outing, then go for a guided ride with a stop at a neighborhood play space. Whether you want to begin including your little one in your daily commute, use your bike more for everyday transportation, or simply share your love of biking with your toddler and spend more time together outdoors, this is the perfect way to get started! All bikes, child seats, helmets, and snacks are provided. Rides begin and end near Eastern Market. Sign up in advance here!

Chinatown Community Picnic
Where: Chinatown Park at 6th and I Street NW
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

As part of the 2nd annual “Chinatown Park Start Fresh!,” summer series, the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs is hosting a community picnic, and the public is welcome to join. Family-friendly activities will include outdoor games, balloon twists, face painting, arts & crafts, cultural performances, cultural exhibitions, free fitness classes, free bike repair, and more! Light refreshments will also be provided. RSVP here.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Several Fairfax parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Enjoy an evening adventure at Frying Pan Farm Park, take a wagon ride at Riverbend, look for critters in the waters of Lake Fairfax, explore history at llanor C. Lawrence Park, and more! Go here to see all of your options, this weekend and beyond, and register for activities.

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

* See Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap where Josh & the Jamtones are playing a concert al fresco
* Enjoy a picnic and a play as Chesapeake Shakespeare presents The Three Musketeers at PFI Park in Ellicott City, MD (bonus: kids are FREE)
* Join the excitement of Jumanji at Adventure Theatre! (look for discount tickets)
* The Little Mermaid is a collaboration between Imagination Stage and The Washington Ballet
* Catch a performance of Little Red Riding Hood and the 3 Little Pigs at The Puppet Co.
* And Baby Bear’s Birthday is their featured Tiny Tots show
* Hear the Gravedigger’s Tale, a free one-man show at the Folger Theatre
* Let the international Irish dance phenomenon Riverdance wow your crew at Wolf Trap (look for discount tickets)
* The Kennedy Center presents American Acoustic: Family Show with Chris Thile, a matinee show geared toward young people
* Robert Post Comedy Theatre for Kids will entertain at the Kennedy Center in the afternoon

National Day of Play
Where: Gymboree Play & Music DC
When: Saturday, 11:45am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate 40 years of playing & learning with Gymboree! Bring your family & friends for a day of fun activities for all to enjoy. Facepainting, play time, art, music, refreshments, and Gymbo Live! will be part of the festivities. Suitable for newborns to age 5. Space is limited, so register in advance!

Vine on the Waterfront
Where: Oronoco Bay Park
When: Saturday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

This food and wine festival in Alexandria may sound like a grown-up event — and the main festivity is, for the most part — but there will be activities for little ones, too! The festival will showcase some of the best of Alexandria’s restaurants and Virginia wineries. And to complement it all will be live entertainment, a children’s corner (moon bounce, arts & crafts, and more), and cooking demos. While admission is free, you will need to purchase tickets to sample food and wine – $20 for 8 tickets, $20 for the wine sampling. Rain or shine.

Open Studio: Welcome to Murad Khani
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday & Sundays, 12–4pm
Admission: Free

Witness how artists from Afghanistan are transforming their lives and their country during an afternoon of free family-friendly activities. Take a tour (12:30pm and 2:30pm) of the special exhibition Turquoise Mountain, then head to the ImaginAsia classroom to get creative with family and friends. All ages are welcome with adult companions.

Papitám
Where: MLK Jr. Memorial Library
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Kids ages 8-12 can participate in Papitám, a learning-through-play experience that educates kids with culturally appropriate Native American explorations such as pottery creation, jewelry-making, and wildlife games. Algonquin for “Let’s Play,” Papitám is designed and presented by Maryland’s only state recognized native nation, The Piscataway. Join them for a morning of creativity and fun!

DC United vs. New England Revolution
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission: Tickets prices vary

Kick it at a soccer match where Messi won’t dominate our team. The DC United are hosting the New England Revolution on Saturday evening. Be sure to stop by the Fan Zone in section 222 for a variety of kids activities.

Babe Ruth Baseball Family Day
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Sunday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free
Celebrate America’s pastime and one of its greatest heroes. View the new exhibition One Life: Babe Ruth and enjoy games, crafts, and music in the lovely Kogod Courtyard.

Walks in the Woods
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Hit the trail with the fam to enjoy the sunshine and some quality time. See flowers in bloom, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post, started in the early KFDC days and updated several times since, has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids.

Get the Blues
Where: Homestead Farm
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $3

A recent update from Homestead said their blueberry patch is loaded with the blue fruits and the picking’s easy. While admission to the farm is free, it’s $3 to access the blueberry fields. BYO container or purchase one there. Be sure to visit the goats and pigs while you’re at the farm. And for more places to PYO produce, see this post.

(Up)Rising Fest
Where: Rhode Island Avenue between 5th-24th Streets NE
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

This choose-­your-­own­-art ­adventure weaves its way through Rhode Island Avenue businesses, open areas, and vacant properties, exploring the theme of creative collaborations — innovative and artistic ways to solve complex problems. The day will include performing and visual arts elements, hands-on activities, local food, drink, and retail vendors, as well as a chance to hang out with Rhode Island Avenue small business owners and employees.


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Dive into the Magical World of Cirque Italia this Summer!

cirqueitalia_acrobat

A dinosaur, mermaid, and human sized bubbles… oh, my! This definitely isn’t Kansas or the Land of Oz. It’s the Cirque Italia water circus, and it’s returning to the DC area for it’s third year with a brand new production that promises a dynamite show like no other.

The first traveling water circus in the US, Cirque Italia invites audiences into the magical world of acrobats, aerialists, contortionists, and more exciting acts. They perform around an extraordinary stage that holds 35,000 gallons of water and features a dynamic lid that lifts 35 feet into the air, allowing water to fall like rain from above as fountains dazzle below! This incredible show takes place under a majestic white and blue big top tent transported all the way from Italy. Inside, the intimate and theatrical setup just might make you forget you’re under a circus tent. (And don’t let that word fool you — this extravaganza is completely animal free!)

cirqueitalia_elena-VII

So what can you expect to see at this unique show? A contortionist who is able to bend her body in ways you would never imagine! An Italian singer balancing atop stacks and stacks of chairs…on his hands! A crazy clown, Alex, plunging off a diving board during his acrobatic trampoline excursion! A jetski act that may get you wet! Breathtaking aerial divas soaring like beautifully colored birds of paradise! A Laserman causing all kinds of explosions to scare away the large dinosaur that has invaded the show! All of this, plus thrilling high wire feats, twin juggling maniacs, elegant chiffons, photo ops with a mermaid, and much more!

cirqueitalia_clown-X

All of this will take place in three locations during July and August. Experience the magic July 8-10 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaitherburg, MD; July 28-31 at Potomac Mill in Woodbridge, VA; and August 4-7 at the The Great Frederick Fair in Frederick, MD.

Tickets are $10-50 and can be purchased online or by phone at 941.704.8572. *SPECIAL OFFER: Get one free child (age 2-12) with the purchase of a regular price adult ticket in Level 2 or 3.

Visit the Cirque Italia website for more information and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with the latest news.


This post is sponsored by Viva Arts LLC in association with Cirque Italia, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Showtime Around DC this Summer

"Jumanji" will play on the Adventure Theatre stage all summer long

“Jumanji” will play on the Adventure Theatre stage all summer long



Summer brings a whole new lineup of shows to local stages. And the timing couldn’t be better — it’s a perfect way to keep cool during long hot days and, at some venues, enjoy the outdoors on nice ones. Here’s where you catch all the live entertainment coming to the area over the next few months.

Outdoor Summer Concert Series
Where: Throughout the area
When: Various day and times
Tickets: Almost always FREE

Free music in the fresh air has become a staple of the season, and there are opportunities to enjoy just about every genre regularly at outdoor venues all around the DC-Metro. From Jazz on the National Mall to riverside entertainment to music amid the nature of local parks to shows in local shopping centers, the 2016 Summer Guide has a round-up of where and when you can enjoy the sounds of summer.

Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods
Where: Wolf Trap
When: June 21 – August 6
Tickets: $8-10

From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10:30am Tuesdays through Saturdays. Amidst 117 rolling wooded acres and nestled in a shady grove, the stage is set for lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. The productions welcome all ages, though most are geared toward younger children. The full schedule of shows is available on the Wolf Trap website. And you can read a KFDC review of the series from a previous summer here.

Little Red Riding Hood & the 3 Little Pigs
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Through July 17
Tickets: $10

What’s so bad about the Big Bad Wolf? At last B.B. (Big Bad) Wolfe tells his side of the story, in rap, no less. Has the notorious pork poacher and grandma impersonator gotten a bum rap, or is he truly deserving of his moniker? You be the judge! This is one of our funniest productions and includes lots of audience participation. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Jumanji
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Through August 28
Admission: $19.50 (look for a discount)

When Judy and Peter find a mysterious old board game, they play it, hoping to alleviate their boredom. One live lion, an erupting volcano, and a dozen destructive monkeys later, the children are no longer bored. Will they ever finish this mysterious magic game and claim Jumanji?! Recommended for ages 4 and up.

The Little Mermaid
Where: Imagination Stage
When: June 22 – August 15
Tickets: $17-35

In this faithful re-telling of the Hans Christian Andersen original, the Little Mermaid falls in love with a human Prince, and longs to join him in his world above the waves. Despite the warnings of her Mer-family, the Little Mermaid seeks out the Enchantress who trades her pair of legs for the mermaid’s beautiful singing voice. A follow-up to the highly acclaimed The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe(2012), this collaboration between Imagination Stage and The Washington Ballet features dance, puppets, music, and singing in a highly theatrical and epic style of performance. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Gravedigger’s Tale
Where: Folger Theatre
When: Through June 26
Tickets: Free

Based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this one man interactive play is a family friendly production featuring the comedic actor Louis Butelli. Devised by director Robert Richmond (Richard III and Henry V), the Gravedigger, who appears to have much more knowledge about court life in Elsinore than originally thought, arrives with a trunk and a book and responds to questions from the audience using the text from Hamlet.

Riverdance
Where: Wolf Trap
When: June 23-26
Tickets: $20-75 (look for a discount)

The international Irish dance phenomenon is back in Riverdance—The 20th Anniversary World Tour featuring a new number, costumes, and lighting! Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music, and song. Of all the performances to emerge from Ireland—in rock, music, theatre, and film—nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of Riverdance.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre
When: Most Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Boogie Babes
Where: Angelika Pop-Up, Eastern Market, & The Atlas
When: Wednesdays & Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at the Angelika Pop-Up (behind Union Market) on Wednesdays and in Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday over the summer. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the Markets.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

The Three Musketeers
Where: PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City, MD
When: June 24 – July 24
Tickets: $38-42/adult, free for kids (2 with paid adult)

All for one, one for all! Swashbuckling heroes seek fortune, love, and danger in Alexandre Dumas’ adventure tale, The Three Musketeers. With its themes of loyalty and honor and its exciting stage combat, this high-energy play is perfect for our summer stage at the PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City. Bring a picnic, your friends, and your whole family. Gates will open 90 minutes before the performance for picnicking.

Inside Out
Where: Imagination Stage
When: June 25 – July 31
Tickets: $14

It’s bedtime! But instead of getting ready, two children use their imaginations to turn their room into a wonderland of mess! While playing dress-up, a glove becomes a dancing fish, a shirt becomes a fantastic creature, and a sock dance rocks the closet. In this interactive show, discover the joy of turning things inside out! Recommended for ages 1-5.

Robert Post Comedy Theatre for Kids
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 25
Tickets: $20

Robert Post’s one-man variety show serves up a delightful entertainment feast. Hilarious, poignant, and physically dazzling, his meticulously crafted sketches fill the stage with bumblers, dreamers, and cartoonish heroes of every stripe.

American Acoustic: Family Show with Chris Thile
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 25
Tickets: $20

n a matinee show in the Family Theater geared toward young people, Chris Thile plays a solo set full of traditional and original music while also answering questions from the audience. This is your chance to get up-close-and-personal with the virtuoso musician.

Best of Serenade!
Where: Strathmore
When: June 26
Tickets: $5-10

The largest international choral gathering in Washington, DC, Best of Serenade! is the grand finale of Serenade!, a 5-day summer festival and the largest international choral gathering. Choirs from across the world perform a repertoire that spans the ages and genres in this annual concert.

The Bridges of Madison County
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 28- July 17
Tickets: $49-129 (look for a discount)

One of the most romantic stories ever written is now an irresistible, two-time Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Based on the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County tells the story of Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson and her life-changing, four-day whirlwind romance with traveling photographer Robert Kincaid. It’s an unforgettable story of two people caught between decision and desire, as a chance encounter becomes a second chance at so much more. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Rainforest Alive!
Where: Discovery Theater
When: June 29 – July 1
Tickets: $3-8

Discover the dynamic world of tropical rainforests while you meet beautiful jungle animals. Live animals from each layer of the forest will be featured along with stories of survival in this fascinating and endangered environment. Featured animals may include an iguana, boa constrictor, turtle and other rainforest creatures. Recommended for ages 4-12

UniverSoul Circus
Where: National Harbor at the Plateau
When: June 29 – July 31
Tickets: $16

A big top spectacle of global proportions, the 2016 production of UniverSoul Circus takes fans of all ages on an unforgettable journey of light, sound and soul. Get ready for electrifying, edge-of-your-seat performances, including extreme motorsports, back-flipping canines, twirling bicycles, disco-dancing pachyderms, free-flying aerial acts and much much more.

DreamWorks Animation in Concert
Where: Wolf Trap
When: June 30
Tickets: $25-45

Experience the thrilling music from Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, and more, as DreamWorks Animation’s great stories and beloved characters inspire and delight audiences of all ages in this world premiere performance! We celebrate 20+ years of visually stunning footage projected in HD onto the big screen while iconic music scores by Hans Zimmer, John Powell, Alexandre Desplat, Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman, and others are performed live by symphony orchestra.

Born for This: The Bebe Winans Story
Where: Arena Stage
When: July 1 – August 28
Tickets: $50-99

Detroit natives BeBe and CeCe Winans, youngest siblings of the Winans family dynasty, experience the ultimate in culture shocks when invited to join Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Praise the Lord television show. The Winans teenagers have the opportunity to become more than just television celebrities, but to integrate TV evangelism. As BeBe and CeCe encounter fame, fortune and even a young Whitney Houston, BeBe must learn to balance his desire for success with his true calling. Combining classic Winans hits with brand new songs, this inspirational musical features Juan and Deborah Joy Winans in their Arena Stage debuts as BeBe and CeCe Winans.

Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: July 2, 6pm
Tickets: Free

Toss the blankies, kiddos! Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players return to BlackRock this summer for the Center’s first, free outdoor summer concert designed specifically with little ones and their families in mind. These GRAMMY-nominated all-stars of the indie family music scene will take the stage on BlackRock’s lawn for an hour-long performance that’ll get kids and their parents alike springing to their feet; jumping, dancing and bouncing off each other like bumper cars.

Taratibu Youth Association
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 6-8
Tickets: $3-8

This sensational ensemble of young artists represents the performing arts of the African diaspora. With eclectic and diverse musical influences, TYA performs percussive dance styles from stepping to traditional South African Gumboot to modern dance and hip hop. Singing in Zulu and Sotho from South Africa, Kiswahili from Tanzania, Creole from Haiti, and Yoruba from Cuba, their performances are educational and inspirational; telling stories of empowerment and cultural history from several different countries. You may learn a song in Zulu, steps from Taratibu; a Pan African drill or learn the history of ‘Ti Zwezo,’ the traditional song of Haiti. Recommended for ages 5-16.

Backyard Theater for Children
Where: Strathmore
When: July 7-28
Tickets: $18, free for under 2

Strathmore’s summer theater series brings live music and fun to kids — all outdoors under a big tent. Weekly performances take place every Thursday at 9:30am and 11:30 from July 7-28.

Capital Fringe Festival
Where: Various DC theatres
When: July 7-31
Tickets: Varies by show

Filling the city with non-stop theater, dance, music, visual art, and everything in-between, the annual Fringe Festival presents an eclectic mix of performances — from all genres, for all ages. Family-friendly shows are always among the lineup; other acts would make for a great date night or adult evening out. Check out the calendar to plan your Fringe experience.

Cirque Italia
Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds
When: July 8-10
Tickets: $10-50

Dive into the magical world of acrobats, aerialists, contortionists and more exciting acts and experience Cirque Italia! A show like no other, the first traveling water circus in the US features an extraordinary stage that holds 35,000 gallons of water with a dynamic lid that lifts 35 feet into the air, allowing water to fall like rain from above as fountains dazzle below! This incredible show takes place under a majestic white and blue big top tent which came all the way from Italy. Inside is such a theatrical and intimate setup, you just might forget you are under a circus tent!

The Magic of Science
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 12-15
Tickets: $3-8

Educating entertainer Robert Pirtle is ready to show you the ‘magic of science!’ He’ll use chemistry, mathematics, optical illusions and more to reveal the magical essence behind the science you’ve learned in the classroom. Everyone, both in the audience and on stage, will become a magician! Everything done will look and act like a real magic trick — the real trick being that it’s actually science at work. Come with us on a journey of exploration into the science behind the magic! Recommended for ages 5-12.

Phantom of the Opera
Where: Kennedy Center
When: July 13 – August 20
Tickets: $25-149

This spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera comes to DC as part of a brand-new North American tour. Critics are raving that this breathtaking production is “bigger and better than ever before.” The production boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier. The beloved story and thrilling score, with songs like “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask of You,” and “Masquerade,” is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions now on tour. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Twelfth Night (KidFree Recommendation!)
Where: Synetic Theatre
When: July 13- August 7
Tickets: $20-60

After garnering 11 Helen Hayes Award nominations, Synetic’s 2014 hit is back by popular demand! Set in the Roaring ’20s and inspired by the silent comedy of Keaton and Chaplin, Twelfth Night tells the tale of fraternal twins, Viola and Sebastian, separated in a strange new land. Having survived a shipwreck and believing her brother Sebastian has been lost, Viola falls hopelessly in love with Duke Orsino and disguises herself as a man to enter his services. This production will not have dialogue.

Mary Poppins
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: July 15-24
Tickets: $15/adult, $12/child (look for a discount)

Encore Stage & Studio presents this classic in their signature by kids, for kids style: Mary Poppins is a practically perfect, spoonful of sugar nanny that unexpectedly arrives in the Banks household one blustery day. Using lessons disguised as games, she helps to teach the Banks children how to be their best selves. But, is Mary Poppins’ magic enough to save this family from drifting apart? Enjoy your favorite Disney melodies and watch Mary Poppins soar across the TJ stage in this Broadway adaptation that won seven TONY awards, including Best Musical. Recommended for ages 6 and older.

Beatboxing with Mr. Max
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 19-22
Tickets: $3-8

Mr. Max takes us with him as he takes the mike to make some crazy- good mouth music. This astounding human beatbox introduces kids to the most powerful musical instrument ever: their own bodies. With lots of audience participation and exciting on-the-spot improvisations, Max covers themes in hip-hop culture, language, math, and music. Get ready to make some truly hip beats! Recommended for ages 5-12.

Peter and the Wolf
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: July 21 – August 28
Tickets: $10

Staged with half life-size marionettes, Peter and the Wolf is one of the Puppet Co.’s best-loved stories. Over a million children and adults have seen this one-man show, based on Prokofiev’s popular tale of good versus evil, performed by Puppet Master Christopher Piper. An introduction to the instruments in the orchestra precedes this story of Peter and his animal friends, and their attempts to capture wily “Old Lupus.” Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Urban Artistry
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 26-29
Tickets: $3-8

They are guided by the origins of the drum, the energy of the underground dance movement and the art that documents all of our histories. Urban Artistry illuminates the counterculture styles of urban dance (often referred to as hip-hop), and their calling to create a diverse community of people with whom to share the experience. This award-winning dance troupe will inspire you to get up on your feet! Recommended for ages 5-16.

BSO: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone
Where: Strathmore
When: August 5
Tickets: $35-65

The Harry Potter™ film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. This concert will feature the Baltimore Symphony performing every note from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™. Audiences will be able to relive the magic of the film in high-definition on a giant screen while hearing the orchestra perform John Williams’ unforgettable score.

Uke Summit Evening Concerts
Where: Strathmore
When: August 13-14
Tickets: $15

Enjoy an evening performance of both professional and amateur ukulele players, starting with an open mic for our Uke & Guitar Summit attendees at 6:30pm and followed by an amazing lineup at 7pm.

The Tempest
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: August 16-28
Tickets: Free

The Sheakepeare Theatre Company’s beloved annual Free For All program returns, presenting two weeks of FREE performances of a Shakespearean classic, this year The Tempest. In this glittering production, Prospero’s magical island explodes with life, hosting sprites, goddesses, and fools that hold court and delight all ages. To get tickets: For each performance, a select number of seats are given away to lucky lottery winners. Or, every day STC will make at least 200 tickets available to the public in a ticket line at Sidney Harman Hall beginning two hours prior to curtain – limit is two tickets per person. Get there early, as the line usually starts forming about four hours before curtain up.


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Summer Entertainment at Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods

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One of the DC area’s best summer traditions for families begins this week! Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, Wolf Trap’s outdoor theatre series for young audiences, features a fun, engaging lineup of diverse acts. And, true to its name, this all transpires under the leafy canopy of the Wolf Trap National Park woods, tall trees encompassing the amphitheater adding some extra magic to the shows.

Performances span the entertainment spectrum, from puppetry to storytelling to music to dance to theatre. Sing along with Lisa Loeb, laugh and groove with the Story Pirates, be awed by the street dance crew Fly Dance Company, rock out with The Not-Its!, get excited about science with wacky Mr. Molecule, and much more!

You can catch performances Tuesday through Saturday mornings at 10:30 am from June 21 through August 6. Tickets are $8-12, and children under two enter free of charge. All ages are welcome, though most performances are geared toward children 3-6 years old. Purchase tickets online, by calling 877.WOLFTRAP, or at the Box Office.

For more about Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, see this past KFDC review about the series.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Live Entertainment, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend