Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 24-28

History on view at Fort Washington Park

History on view at Fort Washington Park

Monday - Observe the 201st anniversary of the Burning of Washington at a locale connected to the event: Fort Washington Park. Kids (and adults!) will enjoy seeing the cannons and other historic sights within the grounds. Hours are 8am – sunset. Admission is $5/vehicle.

Tuesday - Celebrate the National Park Service’s 99th birthday at a Servabration on the National Mall from 10am – 1pm. Games, crafts, photo booth ops, and birthday cakes will be part of the festivities at the free event hosted by the Student Conservation Association. It’s also a fee-free day at all national parks, so you can take advantage and visit one that usually charges admission — see a list of them here. In the evening, attend a free helmet safety workshop at the National Museum of Health & Medicine from 6-7pm.

Wednesday - Enjoy what’s forecast to be a gorgeous day at River Farm. Explore the grounds and play in the gardens, particularly the adorable Children’s Garden. The American Horticulture Society’s headquarters overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria are as sublime as they are fun. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

Thursday - Head up to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to tour the historic ships. There are four vessels that welcome visitors to explore — the USS Constellation, USS Torsk, USCGC Taney, and LV116 Chesapeake. Admission to tour one ship is $11/adult, $5/ages 6-14, free for ages 5 and under, and you can add on for just a few dollars more per ship.

Friday - Soak up the summer day at a spray park. Kids can run through fountains and splash around shallow pools at places all around area. 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 on the warmest days. Get details on a bunch of local spray parks in the guide to Summer in DC.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Festival, Free, Maryland, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: August 21-23

Waiting for a table at Mike's Crab House isn't so bad with a view like this

Waiting for a table at Mike's Crab House isn’t so bad with a view like this

Summer break is winding down in DC, but this round-up of local fun around the area will help you and the kids make the most of these final days. Happy Weekend!

Think Outside
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Looks like it’s going to be a glorious DC weekend, so get out and take advantage of activities outside. Take a hike, hit a beach, explore a garden, visit animals, or see what else there is to do al fresco in this post with tons of ideas for outdoor fun.

Nature & Animals & Fun… Oh, My!
Where: Watkins Regional Park
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission: Free

The recently opened Wizard of Oz themed playground is a new draw that will delight children, but there are plenty of other tried and true things to do at Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, MD. Visit the animals at Old Maryland Farm. Go for a spin on the Chesapeake Carousel, take a ride on the Miniature Train, and play a round of Mini Golf. Drop in at the Nature Center, where feathery and reptilian residents are on view. Get details on all of it in this recent post.

Hatch Day
Where: Rock Creek Nature Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Join Rock Creek Park in celebrating Hatch Day, the 20th birthday of resident box turtle Pokey – it was two decades ago that he hatched from his egg! Pokey is a quite an unusual turtle because he loves people. Kids are invited to meet Pokey and earn a junior ranger badge as they enjoy a day of activities, including a turtle obstacle course, Ranger Reads storytime, worm hunts, and a Pokey dance competition.

Get Crabby
Where: Annapolis
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Depends on how much you order!

It’s not a true DC summer if you don’t take advantage of one of the area’s best offerings: blue crabs! Feasting on the steamed Old Bay-spiced creatures is a seasonal treat, and doing so at a waterfront crab house on the Chesapeake Bay is a bonus. Cantler’s in Annapolis is an institution, and we recently had a fantastic experience at Mike’s Crab House in Riva — the crabs were delicious, the scenery gorgeous, and there’s a great outdoor waiting area if tables aren’t immediately available. After your feast, head into downtown Annapolis for ice cream at Kilwin’s and a stroll around town — it’s going to be perfect weather for it!

All’s Fair
Where: Montgomery & Prince William Counties
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

County fair season continues in Montgomery and Prince William counties this weekend, where their annual fests are chock full of amusement for everyone. Carnival rides and games, farm animals, live entertainment, pony rides, the junk food gamut, pig races, and so much more. These are the last few days of both, so get there while you can. This post has the whole scoop on all of the county fun.

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

The Nats are back at home for a weekend of baseball against the Milwaukee Brewers. Catch a game on Friday or Saturday evenings (both at 7:05pm) or Sunday afternoon (1:35pm). Stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases when children ages 4-12 can loop the infield after the final out. And be sure to check out these tips on how to do a Nats game without breaking the bank!

Magical Moments from the Movies
Where: Wolf Trap
When: Friday, 7:30pm
Admission: $26-50

Kids and their parents can “Let It Go” on Friday evening as Wolf Trap presents Disney in Concert: Magical Moments from the Movies. Whether they’re pirates or princesses, children are invited to dress as their favorite Disney character to enjoy film clips and live singers performing scenes from beloved Disney classics, including Frozen, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and more. Thirty minutes prior to the performance, children are invited to participate in a parade from the Plaza and onto the Filene Center stage.

Friday Night Fishing
Where: Diamond Teague Park
When: Friday, 5-8pm
Admission: Free

Join Anacostia Riverkeeper at the dock at Diamond Teague Park for catch and release fishing – a wonderful parent/child experience with the Anacostia River. This evening is the first in the series that will take place every Friday through September 4. Diamond Teague Park is located at 100 Potomac Avenue SE, between Nationals Park and Yards Park.

Summer Staples
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Free concerts in the fresh air, outdoor swimming, movies under the stars, sprayground fun… Activities exclusive to this time of year can be enjoyed all weekend long. Details on all of these seasonal staples and more can be found in the guide to Summer in DC.

Arts Open House
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Get a taste of all that BlackRock has to offer at their annual Open House. Sample art glasses, view gallery exhibits, and enjoy a family-friendly live performance by local rock group The Grandsons. Kids can join an “Around the World” themed scavenger hunt, and adults can browse a fine arts and crafts sale hosted by the Art League of Georgetown.

Anatomy of Sports
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Play a sport? Learn how your body works and stay off the sidelines! Bones and muscles need to work together for optimal performance. Athletes of all ages should know how their bodies work in order to compete and stay healthy. During the event, athletes will demonstrate their sport while medical illustrators and physical therapists reveal how muscles and bones work together. Anatomy of Sports is perfect for families with children playing sports, the recreational athlete, or the practiced sports enthusiast.

Baysox Appreciates the Kids
Where: Prince George’s Stadium
When: Saturday,
Admission: $7-15

The the kids out to the minors for a fun local baseball experience. A smaller stadium means good views from just about every seat, and lower costs for almost everything means you can indulge a little more. There’s also a great play area for children, not to mention it’s Kids Appreciation Night – fireworks, a T-shirt giveaway, and a Halloween Party (kids encouraged to dress in costume), and an invasion by Minions during the game!

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

* It’s your last chance to cat-ch Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude at Adventure 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!
* See a show on strings at The Puppet Co. where Dinosaur Desperados is the new main stage production
* And Panda-Monium is the featured Tiny Tots shows at the puppet theatre
* Ben Tufts and Friends present The Great Zucchini + Rainbow Rock + John Henry at Jammin’ Java on Saturday.

Dear Evan Hansen
Where: Arena Stage
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Tickets prices vary (details below)

This weekend is your last chance to see what the raves are all about. Whether a family outing with older kids (not recommended for all ages) or a grown-up night out, I highly recommend seeing this show. The world premiere musical is incredibly moving, brilliantly performed, and full of songs and a story that will stick with you for a while. Tickets start at $55, and for families with kids/teens interested in a theatre outing, Arena offers pay-your-age tickets (for patrons 30 and under) and the Family Fun Pack (four seats for $125). More details about both programs are available here. Bring tissues.

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

Enter to Win a $100 Peapod Gift Card!


Even though Peapod, the online grocery delivery service, has been around for awhile now, I never took advantage of it until a couple of weeks ago. I guess that’s because I actually don’t mind (dare I say, enjoy?) grocery shopping. I like to stroll the aisles and think about meals to make at home. I also like to select my produce and protein (fish/meat/chicken) to make sure I’m getting good quality, and was a little skeptical of a delivery service doing that for me.

However, as my kids get older and their lives get busier (which means mine does, too), I’m always looking for ways to streamline where I can. So, when I was offered the opportunity to try Peapod and host a giveaway for KFDC readers, I figured why not give it a go?

The online order was easy to execute — I just signed up and started filling my shopping cart. I liked how they highlighted Weekly Specials, so I didn’t miss the great deals on berries and several other items. After that, I mainly browsed by “aisle,” and made sure to include plenty of produce and a big piece of salmon, so I could see if what they sent met my standards. At check out, I chose a two-hour delivery window for early the next morning to make sure we’d be home, but time slots throughout the day were available.

The verdict: The service was great! My delivery arrived right in the middle of the time slot, no items were missing, and the fruits, veggies, and fish were all up to par. I’ll definitely be using it again when I’m in a pinch.

Ready to do some online grocery shopping? Go to Peapod.com to get started. And to stay updated and on specials and other news, follow them on Facebook here and on Twitter and Instagram @PeapodDelivers.

Giveaway: Want a chance to win a $100 gift card for Peapod? Simply leave a comment below telling me what kind of service already does or would make your life easier. To be eligible, you must follow KidFriendly DC on Facebook and subscribe to the blog (see sign up on left sidebar). All entrants must live in DC or have a DC address they can use for delivery (possibly work or a friend). The giveaway will run through Sunday, August 23, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a gift card to purchase my groceries as I tried the Peapod service, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.


Filed under DC, Eats, Giveaway, Professional Service

Over the Rainbow and Beyond at Watkins Regional Park


Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, Md, was one of my early parent discoveries. And by parent discovery, I mean it took having a child to realize the place existed, even though I had lived in the area for years. We first start visiting when Owen began toddling around, not long after his first birthday, and it’s been a constant in our rotation of go-to outings since.


So, the park is far from new to KFDC (as you probably knew if you’ve been reading the blog awhile…I recommend it quite often), but with a new, recently opened Wizard of Oz themed playground, it seems like a perfect time to spotlight one of our favorites.



When I first heard about the playground, which was replacing an older one, I thought it could either be terribly cheesy or super cute. Luckily, it turned out to be the latter, full of vibrantly colored apparatuses that embrace the story of Dorothy and friends: Children can slide down ruby red slippers, swing over the rainbow, play in and on a farm house, romp down the yellow brick road, and so much more.



That’s not all there is to do at Watkins — far from it, in fact. Just across the road from the playground are a the Chesapeake Carousel, Miniature Train, and Mini golf that open from mid-spring through summer. And just beyond that is Old Maryland Farm, where you can visit chickens, peacocks, turkeys, bunnies, llamas, cows, horses, and ducks.



A bit further up the road, but still within walking distance is the Watkins Nature Center, one of the best in the area, in my opinion. Inside, rescued birds and reptilian creatures are on view in caged areas and terrariums, along with a small turtle pond. There are also sweet activity areas for puppet shows and bird watching. Outside, you can visit larger rescued birds like owls and hawks and stop by the frog pond and try to spot them hiding among the lily pads. A small amphitheater, where storytime sessions and other programs sometimes take place, is a fun place for performances when it’s not in use. And short trails nearby that loop through the surrounding woods make for nice easy hikes with the kids.




Even more, the park is fantastic for birthday parties! Owen and Sasha had a joint bash at the Nature Center, and it was easily one of the best parties they’ve had. We’ve attended many others there and at Old Maryland Farm (which includes a hayride), and they’ve never disappointed. The Carousel area also offers parties during the season, though we’ve never been to one.


The carousel, train, and golf, which all require a small fee, are only open during the week until early September and weekends through the end of month beyond that. The rest, though, is open year-round, and even better, it’s all free to explore and enjoy. And I highly recommend you do so.


Watkins Regional Park is located at 301 Watkins Park Drive in Upper Marlboro, Md. Park hours are dawn to dusk, and admission is free, but some venues within the park have their own hours and fees:
- Old Maryland Farm is open Tuesday – Friday 9am – 4pm, Saturday 9am – 4:30pm, Sunday 11:30am – 4:30pm
- Watkins Nature Center is open Monday – Saturday 8:30am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm
- The Carousel, Train, and Golf are open seasonally – see the website for details. (And the Train, is unfortunately closed as this post goes live due to mechanical problems.)

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Birthday Parties, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 17-21

Stroll the beautiful gardens and tour the Cathedral at the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland

Stroll the beautiful gardens and tour the Cathedral at the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland

Monday - If you haven’t yet experienced The BEACH at the National Building Museum (or even if you have), head over and go for a swim! The installation taking up most of the Great Hall includes an “ocean” of nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls, where visitors can submerge and play. It’s the #1 must-do in DC this summer, in my opinion. Admission is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member, and it doesn’t hurt to reserve tickets in advance. Museum hours are 10am – 5pm. And a heads-up that there could be a wait to get in, but hopefully not a long one, if so.

Tuesday - Jump the morning away at Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield, Va. This bouncy nirvana hosts Kid Flight sessions for children 46″ tall & under from 10am – 12pm Monday through Friday for $10/hour (includes accompanying adult). If you have older kids, plan to head over at noon or later, when all ages can join the fun. Rates then start at $10/hour.

Wednesday - Explore the beautiful grounds and cathedral of the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. A DC “secret” to many, the “Oasis of Peace” welcomes visitors to stroll through the gardens and tour the church. Hours are 10am – 4:45pm. Admission is free.

Thursday - Catch a performance of Dinosaur Desperados at The Puppet Co. Recommended for ages 3-9, the production runs 50 minutes. Showtimes are 10am and 11:30am. Ticket are $10. Plan to hang out at Glen Echo after for lunch (BYO or buy at the cafe) and some fun on the playground.

Friday - Take the kids on your own archaeological adventure at Purse State Park in Charles County, Md. The locale on the Potomac is full of fossilized shark teeth and bones along the shoreline. Be sure to check the tide table before you go, as there’s not much beach at high tide. There are no concessions or facilities there, so plan accordingly. Admission is free.

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