Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 27-31

It's a jungle in there at the U.S. Botanic Garden

It’s a jungle in there at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Monday - Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden — one of our very favorite places in the city — where there’s plenty to enjoy both outdoors and in. Little ones kids can flex their green thumbs in the newly renovated outdoor Children’s Garden. Get to the root of things in the Exposed exhibit. Tour the plant collections, and be sure to stop in the “Plants in Culture” exhibit where you can sniff the aromas of various plants and learn about their everyday uses. Outside in the National Garden, stroll among the roses and other plants, run through the grass, sit in the small amphitheater, and relax by the fountain. Pack lunch to eat at one of several tables there. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here.

Tuesday - Glimpse the past on the Potomac at Fort Washington Park. Kids will love seeing the cannons and other historic sights there. Grounds are open are 8am – sunset, buildings 9am – 4pm. Admission is $5/vehicle.

Wednesday - Beat the heat in the cool comfort of a movie, a heavily discounted one! The Regal Summer Movie Express presents family films for just $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday at participating theaters during the summer. See what’s playing at a theater near you — there are two movie choices every week.

Thursday - Devise a plan to visit the International Spy Museum, where you and the kids can go undercover to explore the intriguing world of espionage. Hours are 9am – 7pm. Regular admission is $21.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-11, free for 6 and under, but you can find a discount on adult tickets here.

Friday - Head on down to the 4-H fair! Running July 30 – August 2, the first couple of days of the 67th 4-H Fairfax Fair & Carnival will feature rides, amusements, farm fun, and treats. Held at Frying Pan Farm Park, hours are 10am – 3pm both days and 5-10pm on Friday as well. (There are even more activities through the weekend!) Carnival ride tickets are $1 or 24 for $20 (most ride take 3-5). Unlimited carnival ride tickets are $18 if you buy online by July 28, and $25 day-of, and you can get a $5 off unlimited rides coupon here.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

Get $25 off Google Express and Run One Less Errand


As a blogger, I get tons of requests from businesses to try out services and products and share my experiences and opinions on KidFriendly DC. I’m selective about what I choose to review. It needs to be something that truly will be of interest to many readers, that is useful or enriching, and somehow relates to the focus of my blog.

When Google Express invited me to an event to learn more about their business, I RSVP’ed with a “yes” immediately. I was aware of the shopping service and thought it sounded like a very convenient time-saver that busy parents could appreciate. However, I hadn’t yet tried it, so wanted to find out more and meet some of the folks behind it. (And full disclosure: The event at the amazing Jefferson Hotel included cocktails and dinner, plus a chance to mingle with other local bloggers, which is always fun.)


Google Express is an online shopping and delivery service. And while they may not be the first to do this, what they offer is unique. They have a variety of local stores from which you can buy items — Costco, Giant, Babies R Us/Toys R Us, Ulta, Staples, Walgreens, Logan Hardware, and more — and they deliver same day or next day. Think about it: You can cross a lot of to-dos off your list with a 10-minute online session.

I left the event at the Jefferson with some great gifts, including a promo code to try out Google Express. Excited to use it both because I was curious abut the service and running low on some of my staple groceries, I was on the website within a couple of days filling up my shopping cart. Not only did I get items I wanted from Costco and Giant, I was able to pick out a present for an upcoming birthday party from Barnes & Noble. Satisfied with my selections, I began the check out process.

And this is when I hit a little snag; I couldn’t complete my check out. Instructed to contact customer service by email, I did just that and got a quick response. It took a few back and forth communications until we finally figured out there was a technical glitch related to my specific promo code. So, I’m being honest and letting you know that it wasn’t the smoothest of check-outs. But, they were extremely responsive and also gave me a credit to make up for the inconvenience. And, really, it only took a few minutes of my time to work that out, way less than it would have to go to three different stores to buy everything myself.


The delivery was scheduled for the next day with a few-hours’ window. You can require that someone be home to sign for it, or you can opt to have your packages left and give instructions if you want them placed in a certain spot. Our order arrived on schedule, and I received an email that they had been left, which was great since I was down the street at the time.

One minor glitch, but overall a good experience. I can say for sure that I will use Google Express again and recommend it as well. Hey, the time it saves you can instead be spent enjoying activities and events you read about here. :-)

If you’ve never used Google Express and want to try it out, use the code EXPRESSDC to get $25 off your first order. This is only good for the first 2,500 shoppers to redeem it and expires July 31, so start shopping soon! And, currently, you can get the first three months of the service for free, after that it’s $10/month. Also important to note: Right now, they only deliver to DC addresses. So if you don’t live in the District, maybe you can use a work or friend’s address for delivery.


Filed under DC, Discount, Product Review, Professional Service

The Weekend Round-Up: July 24-26

Make a day trip to Flag Ponds Nature Park

Make a day trip to Flag Ponds Nature Park

Savor the summer fun in the District and beyond! This round-up of special events and seasonal activities has all the details you need for making the most of your leisure time with the kids. Happy Weekend!

Mars Day!
Where: Air & Space Museum
When: Friday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Red Planet with a variety of educational and fun family activities at the annual Mars Day! Visitors can see a real meteorite that came from Mars, view the surface of Mars in 3-D with red/blue glasses. Learn about the latest missions and discoveries, talk to scientists active in Mars research, and more.

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

Kick off the weekend with free music in the fresh air. Local fave Justin Trawick will be performing on the Yards Park boardwalk this evening. Catch the show along with great views of the Anacostia River from the comfort of a blanket spread out on the grass. Pack a picnic or purchase food there from nearby eateries and food truck vendors.

Show Glorious Show
Where: Round House Theatre
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $45/adult, $35/student

Adventure Theatre is bringing OLIVER! to Round House Theatre in Bethesda. Opening tonight and running through August 16, this stage version of the Dickens classic is ATMTC’s first full-length musical production. And if their trove of wonderful children’s productions on the Glen Echo stage is any indication, this one is sure to have us wanting more.

National Dance Day
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

This celebration of the art of dance began a few years ago (read more background along with my ode to one of my favorite associated shows) and has become an annual happening. This year’s National Dance Day celebration in DC is in collaboration with the Kennedy Center’s 25/40 Celebration, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 40th anniversary of VSA. A variety of artists will headline the festivities at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, including tap dance Baakari Wilder famous for his Broadway role in Bring in da Funk, Bring in da Noise; Antoine Hunter, Deaf African American choreographer; DC-based hip-hop crew Culture Shock; Evan Ruggiero, one-legged tap dancer, singer, and guitarist; and AXIS Dance Company, one of the world’s most acclaimed physically integrated companies, along with SYTYCD Season 9 Alumni Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer.

Capital Fringe Festival
Where: Various venues
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

The Capital Fringe Festival is in its final weekend and presenting several performances kids will enjoy. Augustus the Sissy, is a performance about friendship, football and the gift of being different . See Alice, a vibrant, steampunk reworking of a much-loved classic that puts us in the main character’s head as she enters Wonderland. Watch puppets in The Giant Turnip, a whimsical and light-hearted tale that celebrates caring for the earth and community. Enjoy Experimental, a comedy paralleling Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Those are just a few with the all-ages tag; more show details and ticket sales are on the Capital Fringe Festival website.

Montgomery County Farm Tour
Where: Montgomery County farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Learn about agricultural heritage, promote local farms, and indulge in seasonally fresh food as Montgomery County celebrates the 26th Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale. Activities will vary from farm to farm, but several will have hayrides, pony rides, music, animals to visit, and other activities planned. All farms will be open Saturday, and some will reopen on Sunday, so be sure to check the website for the schedule before you go.

Lovin’ Summer
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

Free concerts, outdoor swimming, movies under the stars, sprayground fun. Activities exclusive to the season can all be enjoyed this weekend. The Summer 2015 guide has the whole scoop on all of them.

More Live Entertainment
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Cat-ch Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude at Adventure Theatre
* The BFG is enchanting audiences at National Theatre
* Fly away to Neverland at a performance of Peter Pan in the ThreeSixty Theatre at Tysons. We caught a show, and it was spectacular!
* Enjoy Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap as the Maryland Youth Ballet takes the outdoor stage
* Experience Double Trouble on the Imagination Stage
* And little ones will live Aquarium, also at the Bethesda theater
* Katherine Lyons: Transformations Information is this week’s free Saturday Morning at the National performance
* See a show on strings at The Puppet Co. where Snow White and the 7 Dwarves is the current main stage production
* And Old Macdonald’s Farm is the featured Tiny Tots shows at the puppet theatre

Baby Loves Disco
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Saturday, 11am (doors open at 10:30am)
Admission: $12

Join the family dance party at Jammin’ Java for Baby Loves Disco’s Summer Healthy Snacks Party! The fun will feature BLD’s signature DJ and MC, along with all kinds of kids activities. The MC will pump up the crowd, and the DJ will spin G-rated dance tunes, while kids and parents get groovin’.

Peachy Keen
Where: Local farms
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

It’s peach picking time at many local farms; the summer fruits are ripe and ready for harvest. If you want to get them at their peak, check out this list of area farms that offer pick-your-own. You can probably still pick berries and other fruits & veggies, too. And it’s always a good idea to check websites or call for updates to see what’s available when you plan to go.

Tennis, Anyone?
Where: Kastles Stadium at the Smith Center
When: Sunday, 5pm (gates open earlier for pre-match festivities)
Admission: Tickets start at $15

The Washington Kastles will serve up exciting tennis action on the court at the Smith Center on Sunday. Sam Querrey is the featured player as they play the Springfield Lasers with Martina Hingis as the standout. And there are always fun activities going to outside the court for all ages to enjoy.

Kids Summer Safety Festival
Where: Veterans Plaza
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Mocha Moms and partners are hosting a day of fun and safety tips in Silver Spring. Along with a variety of demos and car seat checks, there will be firetrucks on display, face painting, live musics, kids crafts, and more activities for all ages.

Beach Day
Where: Flag Ponds Nature Park
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $6/car

‘Tis the season to hit the beach! There are several places within day trip-distance from DC that are great for sand and surf…and fossil hunting. That’s right, many spots in the Calvert Cliffs area are well known for shark teeth finds. We recently spent a day at Flag Ponds Nature Park and loved it. This post has all the details, plus a bit of info about another fave (though a pricey one) out that way, Brownie’s Beach.

Indoor Swim
Where: National Building Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $5-16 (see details below)

Jump in at The BEACH, the Building Museum’s big summer installation that is a blast for all ages. The architectural simulation of a beach, there is a beach chair lined seashore that slopes gently into the ocean, and the “water” consists of nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls. It’s pretty cool just to view — but even better to experience. Admission is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member.

Fancy This
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2

Walk amid a garden of butterflies at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit, back this year through September 25 after being closed last summer during renovations. The seasonal display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight! Read about a KFDC experience at the exhibit. Plan to tour the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds while you’re there and see if there are any other special kids’ programs to enjoy.

Find even more ideas for family fun in these popular KFDC posts:
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy A Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
The Great Indoors


Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Adventure Theatre Presents OLIVER! at Round House Theatre

Franco Cabanas as Oliver

Franco Cabanas as Oliver

I always love an opportunity to bring my children to see stage productions of books they enjoy. It’s a chance to watch a story that was once just on pages and in their heads come to life, to see imagination and interpretation at work. So, as Owen is finishing up Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, the timing of this new production couldn’t be better.

Adventure Theatre MTC is bringing OLIVER! to Round House Theatre in Bethesda. Opening Friday, July 24, and running through August 16, the show is ATMTC’s first full-length musical production. And if their trove of wonderful children’s productions on the Glen Echo stage is any indication, this one is sure to be a hit.


This steampunk-inspired OLIVER! features an extraordinary team of Helen Hayes Award Recognized local performers and Adventure Theatre MTC veterans, accompanied by a chamber orchestra as this version of the classic story is performed.

A young orphan who arrives on the streets of London with no friends, no money, and nowhere to live. He meets a cheeky pickpocket who shows him a whole new way of life. But as chance would have it, Oliver stumbles upon a gentleman who might just hold the key to his mysterious past. Packed full of joyful songs, including Consider Yourself, You’ve Got To Pick a Pocket or Two, Oom-Pah-Pah! and the exuberant Food Glorious Food, this will be the theatrical highlight of your year.

Director Joseph Ritsch speaks to the heart this production, “As a director I always ask, why this play now? Why OLIVER! now? … I was so taken by Oliver’s continual ability to find the joy in life even in the most dire of circumstances. There is a light in this young man that shines bright no matter how dark his world gets. There is something so beautifully hopeful in that, and in today’s complicated world of 2015, such hope is indeed a welcomed necessity.”

It sounds like a show that will have many of us wanting more.

OLIVER! will be on stage July 24 – August 16. Tickets are $35/students and $45/adults and can be purchased on Adventure Theatre MTC’s website or by calling the box office at 301.634.2270. All performances will take place at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, MD.

*Important for parents to note: This is a two-act show, so it runs two hours long with a 15 intermission approximately. It is also faithful to the stage version and may be too violent for very young children. Recommended for around ages 7 and up, but parents should use their best judgement.

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

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Filed under Gradeschoolers, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Preteens, Seasonal, Sponsored Post, Summer, Teens, Theatre, Tweens, Weekend

The BFG Marks a Giant Leap in DC Children’s Theatre


Have you heard the big news? The BFG, the beloved Roald Dahl book, has been brought to life for the stage and will be at The National Theatre through July 25. Owen and I saw a performance this past weekend, and we both found the production hugely entertaining.

Integrating magnificent puppetry, rich visuals, and imaginative storytelling, this stage version presents the tale of the world’s only friendly giant, who brings good dreams to humans, and Sophie, an orphaned little girl, as they embark on a magical journey to save the children of England from bad giants. It does so with adventure and humor that captivates both children and adults.

And this presentation of The BFG is more than just a wonderful show. It’s the inaugural production of The National Children’s Theatre, an alliance between Imagination Stage and The National Theatre to bring the theatre arts to more children in DC. In pre-performance remarks about the partnership, it was announced that 10,000 children from each ward in the District would be invited to see The BFG in November — a tremendous treat for many! I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

The BFG is running at The National Theatre through July 25, with morning performances during the week, an evening show Friday, and a matinee on Saturday. It’s recommended for ages 5 and up. Tickets are $14-38.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to see The BFG, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Filed under DC, Gradeschoolers, Live Entertainment, Preteens, Summer, Teens, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend