Giveaway: Enter to Win Tickets to Tomorrowland at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center!


Tomorrowland, a PG-rated sci-fi film starring George Clooney, opens at the National Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center this week, and you have a chance to win a 4-pack of tickets to see it!

From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s riveting, mystery adventure Tomorrowland, starring Academy Award® winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as Tomorrowland. What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever.

You can experience the film in the Museum’s recently upgraded Airbus IMAX® Theater, featuring the new IMAX® laser projection and 12 channel sound system as well as the largest IMAX® screen in Northern Virginia.

Showtimes and tickets are available online. You can also purchase tickets at the box office or enter below for a chance to win them.

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located at 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway in Chantilly, VA. Admission to the museum is free. Parking is $15, but free after 4pm.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a 4-pack of tickets to see Tomorrowland at the Airbus IMAX® Theater, simply leave a comment telling me your child’s favorite Smithsonian museum. The tickets are good through June 11, 2015. To be eligible, you must like KidFriendly DC on Facebook. This contest will run through this Friday, May 22, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

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


Filed under Contest, DC, Giveaway, Movies, Museums, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

{Sponsored} Ask a Plastic Surgeon: How to Heal Scrapes & Prevent Scars


[Note: This is a sponsored guest post written by Houtan Chaboki, MD, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon serving Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. With summer on the horizon and kids outdoors, active, and likely a bit more prone to cuts and scrapes than usual, these tips and information will be good to keep on hand.]

Cuts, scrapes, and abrasions are expected in any household, especially homes with children. As a facial plastic surgeon in the bustling Washington, DC area, I’m often asked what ointment is recommended to minimize scars after injuries or surgery. Generally, the answer is always the same: A bland, non-allergenic ointment must be used continuously for the first few weeks after injury or surgery. Keep the area “glistening” with ointment.

Many companies may claim that their particular ointments or creams reduce scarring after plastic surgery, injury, scratches, or cuts better than competing products. However, in the medical literature, there isn’t much well-done scientific research to support those claims. So how does one pick the best ointment to prevent scars?

First, speak with your plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or primary care physician and follow his or her advice, as some injuries might require more than just an ointment.

Historically, the general idea among plastic surgeons years ago was to keep the wound open and let it dry and scab to aid in preventing infection. However, plastic surgeons now better understand the wound healing process and no longer recommend letting a wound get dry. Covering a wound and skin with an ointment generally improves healing and may possibly prevent the need for future scar revision procedures.

Numerous studies suggest that any occlusive dressing on the skin (after injury, plastic surgery, etc.) will improve the final scar by around 33%. The dressing may be a bandage, ointment, or both. Simply covering up the skin area with something improves the redness, swelling, and overall cosmetic appearance. Physicians don’t know specifically how covering the skin helps, but it does help.


A bland, non-allergic material, such as petrolatum jelly or silicone, should be used as the occlusive skin dressing for the first several weeks after injury or surgery. Some brand names of products with varying degrees of petrolatum include Vaseline®, Aquaphor®, and Mederma®.

Studies have additionally shown that a few topical ointments, such as vitamin E, triple antibiotic, Neosporin®, or Bacitracin®, may cause contact dermatitis or a skin allergy after lengthy use. Other topical antibiotic ointments have much less risk of skin allergy, such as polymyxin B or muporicin.

Lastly, there isn’t any convincing evidence that adding any ingredients to the bland, non-allergic ointment has an added benefit. Ointments with these additives, on the other hand, might cause irritation or allergy, so I generally don’t recommend them.

Covering a wound is one aspect of wound care to minimize scarring. Other methods to help reduce scarring after injury or plastic surgery include:

  • Avoid prolonged, direct sunlight. Use hats, clothes, bandages, etc. for protection.
  • Treat infections immediately. Signs of infection include increasing pain, redness, swelling, and discharge.
  • Massage the area once the wound has appropriately healed.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and keep hydrated.

For my plastic surgery patients, I usually recommend topical petrolatum jelly or silicone gel (patient’s choice) to be used continuously on the incision for the first several weeks after surgery. The patient doesn’t need to remove the existing ointment; he or she can just apply more to the area several times daily to keep it “glistening.” Once incisions have healed appropriately, patients should go back to using sunblock daily.

At our own home with our two very active (and mischievous) daughters, we keep several containers of plain petrolatum jelly around the house.

sm_kidfriendlydc-chaboki-image About the author: Dr. Houtan Chaboki is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Serving Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia, he specializes in cosmetic facial surgery, reconstructive facial surgery, and medical spa treatments. He is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. As a member of FACE TO FACE: The NationalDomestic Violence Project, he provides free cosmetic surgery for victims of domestic violence. He is passionate about providing all his deserving patients with top-level care and beautiful results.

Dr. Chaboki’s two offices are located at:

2021 K St NW #206
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 741-3409

5215 Loughboro Rd NW #210
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 741-3409

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

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Filed under DC, Guest Post, Maryland, Professional Service, Sponsored Post, Virginia

Where to Play on the Weekdays: May 18-22

Free play everyday at Cabin John Regional Park

Free play everyday at Cabin John Regional Park


Monday - Take advantage of Tots Playtime at Pinstripes in Georgetown. From 10am – 12pm most weekdays, ALL kids can bowl for just $5, and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult)! Stay after for lunch — they have a kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too.

Tuesday - Go strawberry picking! The seasonal fruits are ripe and ready for gathering at several area farms — this recent post has a list of them. And I always recommend calling ahead to confirm the patches are open and good for PYO that day.

Wednesday - Take the kids to play amid the lovely wooded setting of Cabin John Regional Park. They can climb, swing, jump, slide, and run on the sprawling Adventure Playland. The Miniature Train is only open on weekends right now, but the playground alone has plenty to keep children happy. Bring along food for a picnic — there are several tables to eat on, or you can spread out a blanket in a nearby grassy area. Admission is free.

Thursday - Head to The Plaza at CityCenter for Kids Corner with MLK Library. The weekly program welcomes little ones for reading, singing, and fun with DC Public Library every Thursday at 10am. Admission is free.

Friday - Go on an artsy adventure to the National Portrait Gallery, where Open Studio Fridays welcome visitors to join in some creative fun, exploring a different art material each week with all kinds of projects. Drop in anytime from 1-4pm. Admission is free.


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

The Weekend Round-Up: May 15-17

An 18th-century time trip at Claude Moore's Market Fair

An 18th-century time trip at Claude Moore’s Market Fair

I hope you’ve got a few minutes to spare. You’re going to need some extra time to get through this round-up, because the next few days are chock full of possibilities for fun — music by the river, a jaunt back in time, a fishing intro, cultural festivals, opera at the ballpark, live entertainment, and so much more. Plus, you can start getting your summer on a little early — the brand new 2015 Summer Guide has details on what’s going on. Happy Weekend!

Rockin’ on the Riverfront
Where: Yards Park, SE DC
When: Friday, 6:30-8:30pm
Admission: Free

One of my favorite spring & summer activities starts up again this evening. The Yards Park’s Friday concert series kicks off their 2015 season with the R&B sounds of Jimi Smooth. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, or you can BYO and make a picnic dinner of it with the family. The fountains will be on, and there’s plenty of space for kids to frolic, and, of course, the boardwalk where everyone can dance!

18th Century Spring Market Fair
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm, McClean VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4:30pm
Admission: $8/adult, $3/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under

Celebrate the season in a fun and educational way at Claude Moore Colonial Farm’s 18th Century Spring Market Fair. Colonial Virginia event set in time period right before the American Revolution. Play games, listen to music and enjoy a children’s puppet theater. Watch the Blacksmith, Spinners and Cabinetmaker in action or make your own Corn Husk Doll. Meet the Farm family and neighbors, in costume and character. See heritage breed animals including turkeys, chickens and pigs. Browse herbs and flowering plants and shop for the latest fashions in clothing, jewelry, soaps and lotions. Lunch available for purchase includes spit roasted chicken, fresh vegetables, sausages, bread, cheeses, roasted olives and fruit pies. Cask ales, beers, wine and fresh ginger ale available at the Colonial Tavern.

Casting Call
Where: Fletcher’s Cove, NW DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get the kids hooked on nature at this fishing event. All ages are invited to an action-packed day of fishing instruction and fun. Training and gear will be provided for participants to catch a fish. Activities aren’t limited to casting a line—guests can learn to test water quality and tie knots, do some fish art, identify bugs, join a scavenger hunt, and go for their Junior Ranger Badge.

Fiesta Asia Street Fair
Where: Pennsylvania Avenue, 3rd – 6th Streets, NW DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Asian Heritage Month at the annual street fair presented by the Asia Heritage Foundation and Passport DC. This showcase of Asian art and culture will include music and dance performances, martial arts demos, food, hands-on activities, and more. Especially for kids is the Kiddiz Cool Lounge with origami, sidewalk chalk, dragon making, story telling, Okinawan Drumming, bamboo dancing, and more. While admission is free, be prepared to spend on food and marketplace fun.

Opera in the Outfield
Where: Nationals Park, SE DC
When: Saturday, 5pm
Admission: Free

How about opera where there’s usually baseball? The Washington National Opera presents Opera in the Outfield for the 7th year with a simulcast performance of Rossini’s romantic comedy Cinderella on Saturday evening. The show starts at 7pm, but gates open at 5pm for “pregame” activities for the entire family, including a royal parade, a costume dress-up station, photo ops with Cinderella characters and the Babe Ruth statue, face painting, chances to win prizes, and more. Get there early for a seat on the field, otherwise there will be plenty of seating in the stands.

Kids to Parks Day
Where: Parks around the area
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

Celebrate local, state, and national parks and public lands on Saturday in commemoration of the 5th Annual Kids to Parks Day. There are nearly 100 events happening across the DC region for kids and families to enjoy, which can be found on along with downloadable tips and activity guides to plan park adventures. And those who pledge to participate at the website will also have a chance to win a grand prize, a Nikon COOLPIX L830 camera!

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

* Enjoy a spirited performance for young audiences (7+), Feet Don’t Fail Me Now, at the Kennedy Center
* Be enchanted by The Washington Ballet’s Alice (in wonderland) also at the Kennedy Center (look for a deal on select seats)
* The Creative Cauldron brings Once on this Island to the stage again this weekend
* Catch a performance of Sinbad: The Untold Tale at Imagination Stage
* The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* See a show on strings at The Puppet Co. where Cinderella is the current main stage production
* And Teddy Bear’s Picnic is the featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theatre
* Rock out with Jason Didner & the Jungle Gym at Jammin’ Java on Saturday morning

Special Olympics Pep Rally
Where: National Postal Museum, NW DC
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

The National Postal Museum has teamed up with USPS in support of their letter writing campaign for the athletes of Special Olympics USA. At the “Pep Rally” event visitors will be given the opportunity to write letters of encouragement to the athletes representing our country at the games. The museum will supply the materials needed to create the letters including paper, postcards, pens, decorating supplies and a “how to guide,” and will ensure that the letters will be delivered to the team prior to the games in July. Visitors will receive a raffle ticket for every letter they write!

Family Volunteer Day
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, NE DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Spring into action and help get Kenilworth’s amazing Gardens ready for the season. Join the staff as they remove invasive plants, weed and mulch the entry gardens, and assist with other park projects. There is no set age limit, but parent supervision is required for ages 18 and younger.

Hawaiian Cultural Festival
Where: National Museum of the American Indian, SW DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10:30am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

In its 9th year, this 3-day festival showcases Hawaiian artists, performers, and practitioners of traditional Hawaiian culture. This year’s theme is The Epic Journey of Pele and Hi’iaka, and you can follow it through a variety of programs this weekend, includes hula, chanting, traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music, food demos, and hands-on activities for all ages.

Gaithersburg Book Festival
Where: Gaithersburg City Hall, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

The City of Gaithersburg welcomes you to their sixth annual literary event! Festivities will include the chance to see and meet some of the world’s best writers, from best-sellers to acclaimed up-and-comers; join in literary workshops; and a full day of fun at the Children’s Village. The Gaithersburg City Hall is located at 31 South Summit Avenue.

Victory Garden Puppet Program
Where: National Archives, NW DC
When: Saturday, 12pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives Education team for a fun, interactive puppet show focusing on the Victory Gardens of World War II. Be sure to get your hands in the dirt with the other activities before or after the show. You can plant a vegetable to take with you and start a victory garden of your own once you get home or create your own shadow puppet, just like the ones used in the show.

McLean Day
Where: Lewinsville Park, Mclean VA
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

McLean’s annual festival to celebrate the city is extra special this time ‘round because it’s in its 100th year! The McClean Community Center is going all out for the event, making it bigger and better than ever with all kinds of amusements and rides, a marketplace, live entertainment, food truck, a history walk, petting zoo, balloon animals, tennis game, laser tag, and more! This will all take place at Lewinsville Park, located at 1659 Chain Bridge Road.

Armed Forces Day
Where: National Cryptologic Museum, Annapolis MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Honor and celebrate the men and women serving in our nation’s Armed Forces at the National Cryptologic Museum on Saturday. With a focus on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the event promises to be a day of fun and education for the whole family. Indoor and outdoor will include a chance to talk by ham radio, K-9 Unite demos, crafts with U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, live jazz from the U.S. Air Force Band, scavenger hunts, games, and more. Service members will be serving hot grilled food and drinks, and ice cream and cotton candy will be available for a sweet treat.

Enfants du Mond
Where: The French Academy, Chvey Chase DC
When: Saturday, 1:30-3pm
Admission: $25/child, $20 each for 2 or more children

Support children in Nepal as the kids enjoy a worldly experience at The French Academy. They are offering a Workshop for kids ages 3-13, and tuition will be donated to “Save the Children” in order to support emergency help: provide food and water, rebuild homes. Travel to different continents and learn vocabulary about countries, food, and animals. Dance and sing to celebrate the beautiful diversity of the world. Every child can bring a little object or some food from his/her heritage country to show others.

Taste of Arlington
Where: Downtown Ballston, VA
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free, but you must purchase tickets to taste

Head across the river from DC for a day of food, fun, and more food. Over 50 Arlington restaurants will be offering samples of their fare at the annual street festival in downtown Ballston. And while the food is the main focus, there will be plenty more to enjoy, including live entertainment, art for sale, a Bark Park and World Pup Tourney, plus a KidZone with face-painting, a rock climbing wall, inflatables, carnival games & more. Tickets are available for purchase through the Taste of Arlington website, or you can buy them the day of the event. This all goes down on Wilson Blvd., from Glebe Road & N. Quincy & N. Stuart to 9th.

A Day in the Park
Where: Stead Park, NW DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Head to the park for a day of free concerts, games, crafts and fun. As part of the Washington Jewish Music Festival, the DCJCC is hosting this day of fun for families. Bring the kids to rock out to the music of Grammy-nominated duo The Pop Ups, winner of two Parent’s Choice® Awards; Latin Grammy-nominated Mister G performing in Spanish and English; and Jewish chick rock sensation Naomi Less. Jump on a moon bounce, get your face painted, play field games, and more!

Truck Touch
Where: Tikvat Israel Congregation, Rockville
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $5

Here’s a chance to get into the driver’s seat and explore all kinds of cool vehicles – a fire truck, ambulance, U-Haul and UPS trucks, stretch limo, Pepco cherry picker, and many more. If that sounds like it’ll appeal more to the kids, then go for the marketplace where vendors will be selling jewelry, books, doll clothes, among other items. Plan to have a bite there, as food will also be for sale.

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

The National Harbor kicked off its summer (and spring) movie series last Sunday, showing free family-friendly flicks under the stars by the river. This time, you can wind down the weekend with a showing of Brave. Get there early and grab some dinner at one of the many eateries there.

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

The 2015 KFDC Guide to Summer in DC

Make a summer day (and night) of it at Yards Park

Make a summer day (and night) of it at Yards Park

Are you ready for the summer? If, like me, you answered that with a resounding, “Yeah!” then you’re in luck. The season may not officially begin for a few more weeks, but this is the time of year that I start shifting gears — from close-toed shoes to sandals, jeans to shorts, red wine to margaritas. It’s when play dates extend well into the evening, a dip in the pool counts as a bath, and the folks at the neighborhood water ice shop know the kids by name.

It’s also when some of DC’s most quintessential “summer” activities begin. Music and movies in the open air, special fests and feasts, water-inspired recreation, and bonus attractions at everyday places are just some of the joys of the season. This guide has details on all of them, most of it updated from last year, plus a few choice additions. So, unpack the swimsuits and flip flops, get out the blender for margaritas (and smoothies for the kids), and get ready to have some summer fun!

Outdoor Pool Season
Play in the Sprays
Water Parks
Summer Concert Series
Big Screen Under the Stars
Movies at Theaters Near You
Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel
Children’s Theater Series
Summer Sports
Crab Feasts
Museum Programs

Outdoor Pool Season
Nothing says summer like swimming under the sun, and there are plenty of public pools in the area where you can jump in for free or a small admission fee.

  • DC outdoor public pools will open on Saturday, May 23, from 12 – 6pm and will be open weekends only until June 20 (though they will be open Memorial Day, Monday, May 25). After that, they will open daily, though all pools are closed one day a week for maintenance, so be sure to check the schedule before you go.
  • For outdoor swimming outside of the city, Montgomery County outdoor public pools will open on May 23 through Labor Day — the Department of Recreation website has locations and hours.
  • In Northern Virginia, Arlington’s Upton Hill has a whole water park for guests to enjoy, and Alexandria has several places where the public is welcome to swim. Be sure to check the website for hours, as they vary from pool to pool.

A refreshing run through the sprays at Georgetown Waterfront Park

A refreshing run through the sprays at Georgetown Waterfront Park

Play in the Sprays
Kids can run through fountains and splash around at many area spraygrounds. Several are within the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, but some of the best are built right into the urban landscape, making the concrete jungle a cool place to hang out during the hottest months.

  • Georgetown Waterfront Park, right next to the Washington Harbour, has a fountain with arcing sprays that makes for a fun, refreshing way to cool off on a hot, summer day. The rest of its pretty green space along the Potomac is a great place to hang out, too.
  • The Yards Park is a favorite for many in the city with two levels of super fun sprays, a wading pool and wall of water (essentially a water fall between the levels), plus a great scenic location on the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard
  • Canal Park in the Navy Yard is great for all ages with both a gentle, shallow fountain that is perfect for really little ones to enjoy, plus a bigger fountain with lots of sprays for more enthusiastic play where the ice rink is in the winter.
  • Starting May 23, DPR Spray Parks will be open for the season, but hours vary by location, so be sure to check the website for hours.
  • Some of the area’s most popular spray parks — Lyon Village Park, Hayes Park, and Drew Park — can be found in Arlington.
  • The interactive fountain in Downtown Silver Spring plaza is open daily from 10am – 9pm. While my kids have never played there, I recall seeing very happy youngsters playing in the sprays on the colorful mosaic design during my lunch breaks when I worked at Discovery. It always looked like a blast.
  • The fountain in the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza located at 14th and Park Road, NW is a great place to cool down on a hot day, with many sprays that surge up from a pretty, circular tiled surface. Do a little shopping while you’re there — Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and many other big retail stores are right there — and plan to grab a bite at one of many kid-friendly eateries around. And don’t miss a chance to stop in the Museum of Unnatural History at 826DC.
  • The Fountain on the Square at Rockville Town Square welcomes kids to splish splash from May to September. It’s open Monday – Saturday 11am to 9pm and Sunday 12-8pm, but it’s turned off for maintenance at certain time during the week, so be sure to check the schedule before you go.
  • One of the newest to the sprayground scene, the fountains in the Mosaic District welcome all to play in the sprays that jet up from concrete. Surrounded by retails and restaurants, you can make a day of it there with some shopping and eating, too. Plan to go on a Tuesday with little ones when you can also enjoy Stories from Strawberry Park at 10-11am.

Water Parks
Giant water slides, wave pools, waterfalls, sprays and splash pads…this is the stuff kids’ summer dreams are made of. There are actually several water parks around the area offering many of these attractions, just about all of them opening Memorial Day weekend for limited hours, until they open daily in a few weeks. Here’s a quick list — visit the websites for more details.

Rockin' on the Riverfront is a great start to a summer weekend

Rockin’ on the Riverfront is a great start to a summer weekend

Summer Concert Series
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.

  • One of my personal favorites is Rockin’ on the Riverfront. The Yards Park Friday concert series, running May 15 – September 11, presents a new band each week on the boardwalk stage overlooking the Anacostia River. Along with the free music, food and beverages are available for purchase (or you can BYO — adult beverages okay, too). I recommend getting there early, so the kids can play in the fountains before the concert starts at 6:30pm. And on a hot summer day, it’s nice to continue the water fun even while the tunes are playing — you can still hear them from across the park!
  • Experience live music amid art at Jazz in the Garden, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s free concert series, every Friday from 5:30–8:30pm. The first performance of the season is May 22, rain or shine, and there will be weekly shows through August 28. Spread out a blanket, pack a picnic dinner or purchase food and drinks there, and enjoy the sounds of a variety of jazz artists. Note: Adult drinks are available from the pavilion; BYO alcohol is not permitted.
  • The U.S. Air Force Band 2015 Summer Concert Series kicks off Friday, May 29, at 8pm, at the Air Force Memorial. After that, you can catch free performances all summer long at locales around the DC-Metro area, including other iconic spots like the Capitol steps and Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument grounds. Show times vary so be sure to check the U.S. Air Force Band website for the complete summer schedule.
  • Carter Barron Amphitheater’s annual concert series takes place amid the woods of Rock Creek Park. While most shows are free, a few require admission. The 2015 lineup has not yet been announced, but check the website for an update soon!
  • All summer long, families can enjoy a variety of free fun at Rockville Town Square. Kids Night will be every Wednesday with live entertainment for the younger set (more info to come soon). And concerts for all ages on Friday evenings began May 1 and will run through September 4 — enjoy live music, good food, and beverages from 6:30-9:30pm.
  • Strathmore, the North Bethesda performing arts center, will host free outdoor concerts every Wednesday from July 1 – August 19.
  • Starting July 16, Rock the Row returns to Pentagon Row through August 20. On Thursdays from 7-9pm, all are invited to the lounge on the new plaza for food samples and craft beer in the VIP section or to gather at one of the outdoor cafés while enjoying live music, giveaways, and merchant specials.
  • You can kick-start your weekends at Tysons Corner Center’s Fresh Artists Concert Series, co-hosted by 94.7 Fresh FM and powered by Intelsat. Featuring “Fresh Artists,” the series has a little something for everyone. Grab a blanket and enjoy performances ranging from ballet to blues, folk to funk, and poetry to pop. This will run from July 26 – August 29.

Bicycles and bemusement at Tour de Fat

Bicycles and bemusement at Tour de Fat

Several stand-out events are anticipated around the area this time of year, celebrating everything from music to art & culture to neighborhoods to food.

  • Tour de Fat may just be my second-favorite festival (Renn Fest takes the top cake), and it’s only been happening for a few years. The celebration of all things bicycle is zany in the best way possible. There’s a bicycle parade, bicycle art, reconfigured bicycles to ride, a dance contest to win a bicycle, a car-for-bike swap, a bike-themed kids areas, and bikes parked everywhere. There’s also beer (New Belgium is the sponsor).
  • Get folksy at Glen Echo Park May 30-31, when the annual Washington Folk Festival showcases the diversity of traditional music in Washington. All of the artists hail from the DC area, but cultures from around the nation, as well as the world, will be represented through music, dance, crafts, and stories. The public is invited to enjoy the free festival that is renown in the folk community.
  • It sounds like a grown-ups-only event, but the Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival offers plenty of family fun, too. Taking place May 30-31 at Bull Run Park, festivities include wine tasting (of course), chef demos, food truck fare, live music, and a whole Family Tent with activities especially for kids.
  • Imagination Bethesda, an annual festival occurring in the heart of its namesake city, is all about children. On June 6 from 10am – 3pm, Woodmont & Elm downtown will be lined with activity tents offering tons of fun for kids — arts & crafts, face painting, games, etc. There will also be live entertainment, food from local restaurants, and more. Admission is free.
  • Attend one of the biggest summer barbeques around on June 27-28 as the National Capital Barbeque Battle returns to pit some of the nation’s best barbequers against each other as they compete for big prizes. The reward for attendees: Samples from all the entrants (plus, more food), live music, cooking demos, kids’ fun, and more.
  • The DC Jazz Festival presents a variety of performers at venues all around the city from June 10-16. Keep up to date on details by visiting the website.
  • Every summer, the National Mall becomes stomping grounds of folks from around the globe to celebrate living cultural heritage and community traditions at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year’s event will run from June 24-28 and July 1-5, celebrating Peruvian culture and heritage.
  • The annual Del Ray Music Festival is always a popular event. The date is still TBD, but count on a celebration of the Alexandria community with a day of food, games, and lots of kids’ activities along with a varied line-up of live entertainment.
  • It might run into fall, but it starts in August, so I’m counting the Maryland Renaissance Festival among the summer fun. Plus, it’s one of my very, very favorite annual events (more confirmation on that here). The merriment begins August 29 and will continue every weekend through October 19. Go. Just go.

Big Screen Under the Stars
Outdoor movies have become a DC summer tradition in the last few years with films al fresco in several neighborhoods. Even better, all of them are FREE! (*Before you make plans to enjoy any of the series, be sure to check schedules, as some movies may not be appropriate for children.)

  • “Dance, Dance, Dance” is the theme of this year’s NoMa Summer Screen, so mark your calendars for Breakin 2: Electric Bugaloo, Grease, Footloose, and a bunch of other family-friendly flicks. begins May 27 and will run weekly on Wednesdays until August 19. The series will take place at Storey Park Lot (1005 First Street NE), which will be temporarily transformed into a mural-filled urban park. Get there to picnic at 7pm, and the movie begins at dark. See the list of films on the website.
  • The Capitol Riverfront will start presenting the Canal Park Outdoor Movie Series on June 4, and it will run every Thursday evening at sundown through September 3. Celebrating characters whose decisions shape the world, space, and time, the lineup includes plenty of movies that kids will enjoy
  • Union Market’s drive-in movie series is returning to the vibrant district in Northeast DC and will “flashback” every Friday, rolling out films that salute the ‘80s and ‘90s decades.
  • The National Harbor hosts Movies on the Potomac, with family films every Sunday night. It started May 10 and runs through September 27. Movies begin at sunset, usually around 8:30pm.
  • The longest running, Screen on the Green, takes place on the National Mall on Mondays in July and August. See the lineup of films here.
  • Bethesda Outdoor Movies will bring five days of flicks al fresco to downtown at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues from July 21-25.
  • Catch Films in the Park at the Mosaic District every Friday from June 5 – September 4. The entire film line-up is family-friendly, and they’re kicking it off with one of my all-time faves (Rudy never fails to make me cry.)

Movies at Theaters Near You
Special summer movie series for families at local theaters are a great way to keep kids entertained and stay cool when the weather heats up. Even better, these programs invite guests to view films on the cheap.

  • The Regal Summer Movie Express presents flicks for kids on many Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am. Admission is just $1. Be sure to check the website for the film schedule and theater locations, as it doesn’t run at all theaters every week.
  • Starting July 7, THEARC Theater will present Showtime Tuesdays, free children’s movies every Tuesday from 9:30am-11:30am through August 13. The program includes a fun pre-show activity, snack, and movie screening — all on them.
  • The Atlas Performing Arts Center presents a Summer Film Series every year, including A Family Series that takes place on Fridays at 5pm. The schedule has yet to be released, so stay tuned for an update

Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel!
These extra delights bring even more fun to several parks around the area that are already great outdoor places to hang with the kids.

  • Watkins Regional Park opened its attractions on a limited schedule in early May, but come Memorial Day weekend, they can be enjoyed for extended hours almost every day of the week. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am – 7pm; Sundays 12–7 pm, closed Mondays except May 25 (Memorial Day), July 4 (July Fourth Holiday; closes at 4pm) & September 7 (Labor Day).
  • Cabin John Regional Park opened its Miniature Train on weekends only back in April, but as of June 1 it’ll be operating daily 10am – 7pm through August. After that, hours will be limited, so check the schedule.
  • The Miniature Train and Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel at Wheaton Regional Park started taking guests for spins in early May and will continue daily through August 30 (limited times after that). Hours are 10am – 6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am – 7pm Saturday & Sunday.
  • The Clemyjontri carousel has been running on weekends since April, but will be offering rides daily starting May 25 on weekdays 9:30am – 1:00pm and weekends 9:30am – 6:30pm.
  • The Carousel at RIO Washingtonian in Gaithersburg will celebrate its Grand Opening on May 31 at 11am. Be among the first to take a spin or catch a ride another time. The Americana-themed classic carousel will feature 30 Allan Herschell-style dancing horses, whimsical creatures, and two chariots, allowing for up to 38 adult and 30 children passengers, with wheelchair access and chariot wheelchair positions. Rides are $3.
  • Kind of like a London Eye of the U.S., The Capital Wheel at National Harbor is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of DC. The 42-gondola (all closed and climate-controlled with room for 8) will soar 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront, offering vistas of the White House and Capitol, the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, and more amazing sites. Ticket prices start at $15. Read more about it here.

A setting as great as the entertainment at Children's Theatre in the Woods

A setting as great as the entertainment at Children’s Theatre in the Woods

Special Children’s Theatre Series
All the world’s an outdoor stage at these venues that present entertainment especially for children throughout the summer.

  • From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10am 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. All of the productions are recommended for children between Kindergarten and 6th grade, though I think kids even younger can enjoy them, too (mine have). Read a KFDC review of the series from a couple of summers ago.
  • Backyard Theater for Children, 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 9-30. Admission is $8, free for ages 2 and under.

Boys of summer

Boys of summer

Summer Sports
Some of the season’s best action takes place in ballparks, stadiums, and arenas thanks to our local sports teams. Here’s where you can join the fan clubs.

  • A day at Nationals Park is all it takes to understand why baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Catching a Washington Nationals game is one of our family’s preferred ways to enjoy a nice summer (or spring) day (or evening), anyway. The excitement extends well beyond the diamond with games and activities in the park, a playground for kids, the Racing Presidents, fun in the stands, and more. And I highly recommend the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for children 12 and under. Just $20 gets them membership, which includes Nats swag, plus a coupon book with offers for free meals, BOGO tickets, a ballpark tour, and all kinds of discounts. Even a few months into the season, it’s still worth it!
  • Tennis, anyone? The Washington Kastles, the DC franchise of World TeamTennis, will bring some on-court thrills to The Wharf on the Southwest Waterfront, where Kastles Stadium is located, July 12-29. For some background, see this post and this one from a few years back.
  • Whether you’ve got a little soccer fan in your fam or not, DC United matches are fun experiences for all ages. And since games only last 90 minutes, it’s not too long for antsy young spectators. Be sure to check for any pre- or post-game activities for kids.
  • Can’t stand the heat? Head to the Verizon Center to see the Washington Mystics (w)hoop it up on the basketball court. Tickets start at $19.
  • Swing up to Charm City to see the Baltimore Orioles play. Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark, and you can head to the Inner Harbor before or after to make a day of it up north.
  • If the Nats or O’s aren’t in town, or you want to see baseball on a smaller scale, you’ve got several great options around the area. Take ‘em out to the minors at a Bowie Baysox, Potomac Nationals, or Aberdeen Ironbirds game. Summer collegiate team Bethesda Big Train is also very popular for non-majors baseball action.

Crab Feasts
Easily one of the best activities during summer in Maryland and neighboring areas (this is where I get non-DC-centric because I have to give credit where it’s due). Here are some suggestions for places to get ‘em, though the “best” is always a subject for debate.

Tending to the USBG Children's Garden

Tending to the USBG Children’s Garden

Museum Programs & Seasonal Exhibits

  • First there was indoor mini-golf, last year it was a giant maze. This summer, the National Building Museum is riding the seasonal wave and bringing The BEACH to the Great Hall. The installation will cover 10,000 square feet and include an “ocean” of nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls. Visitors are welcome to “swim” in the ocean or spend an afternoon at the “shore’s” edge. Admission is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member. Open July 4 through September 7.
  • During the warm months, little ones can flex their green thumbs in the outdoor Children’s Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden — they can dig in dirt, water plants, and explore a cute little Bamboo Forest. The rest of the USBG’s outdoor gardens are great to explore, too!
  • You can walk amid a garden of butterflies at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit. It’s back after being closed last summer during renovations. The seasonal display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world will be open daily July 1 – September 25, 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2 (admission to the rest of Brookside is free). Read about a KFDC experience at the exhibit.
  • Every year, the Newseum offers the Summer Fun Deal. From July 1 – September 7, there is no admission fee for kids ages 18 and under. The promotion waives the $12.95 regular entrance charge for youth with one paid adult admission, senior admission, or Newseum membership (a benefit to ages 7 and up, as kids 6 and under are always free). Up to six kids can enter free with the offer. Read a KFDC take on the Newseum and look for a deal on adult admission here.

Gonna eat me a lot of peaches

Gonna eat me a lot of peaches

PYOP: Pick Your Own Produce

    While the picking season starts in the spring with strawberries, it carries on through summer with even more delicious fruits — blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, plus veggies and more produce you can gather yourself. Find out where you can PYOP at farms around the area.

Have I left out anything really good? If you think so, feel free to let me know in the comments.


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