Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 11-15

A couple of cherubs at Dumbarton Oaks

A couple of cherubs at Dumbarton Oaks

Monday - Head on down to the county fair. Both the Montgomery and Prince William County Fairs are going on right now, with everything from carnival rides to farm animals to live entertainment. And it’s Family Day at Montgomery, when admission is free for ages 11 and under. This post has more details on both of them, and this one has photos from our visit to MoCo last year.

Tuesday - Go for a swim! There are plenty of places in the area where you can jump in for free or a very small fee. This post has quick links to DC aquatic facilities, and you can find info for Maryland and Virginia public pools in the Summer 2014 guide. Be sure to check schedules for open swim times at all of them.

Wednesday - Roam the exquisite gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm (closing at 6pm), but you can play at nearby Montrose Park or grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand. I promise, it’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit. Admission to Dumbarton is $8/adults, $5/children, and there’s never an entry fee at Montrose.

Thursday - Take a trip to your local library. Drop in for storytime with little ones or let older children check out books and do some browsing. See this post from the early KFDC days for a little background and easy links to libraries around the area.

Friday - Rock out with one of the area’s most popular bands with the kiddie set. Rocknocerous is playing the 10:30am show at Jammin’ Java. General admission tickets are $5. Doors open at 10am. Full lunch and drink menu available!

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: August 8-10

This Weekend Round-Up coming to you from Vacationland...

This Weekend Round-Up coming to you from Vacationland…

A little vacation time doesn’t get in the way of keeping you abreast of DC fun. Here’s what’s happening back home this weekend, and the Everyday Page is always a good browse for more ongoing pursuits. Happy Weekend!

Fair Play
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Carnival rides and games, farm animals, live entertainment, pony rides, the junk food gamut, pig races. Yes, it’s county fair season, and you have your pick of several going on right now – the Howard County Fair, Arlington County Fair, Montgomery County Fair, and Prince George’s County Fair are all on this weekend (whew!). This post has the scoop on all of the county fun.

Barnyard Bash
Where: Ticonderoga Farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10.95

In the last month before school starts, Ticonderoga is planning a special family get-together on the farm for some great outdoor fun!! They’ll have sack races, bean bag tosses, water balloons, a football toss, sprinklers, cotton candy, and sno cones along with all the other amazing attractions – slides, giant jumping pillow, animals, and more — they have to offer!

Capital Wheelin’
Where: National Harbor
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15/adults, $11.25/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under

The Capital Wheel is the new big thing at National Harbor. Go for a spin way up high and take in DC’s iconic views. This very recent post written by my friend, Torey, has all the details of what to expect on whirl around the grand attraction. And there’s plenty more to do at the Harbor after a ride around.

Beach Party Family Festival
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy steel drum music from local DC band Oasis Island sounds and learn to hula with Kinikia from DC Hippodrome. There will be sand, shells, and sports for various summer crafts and games.

Violins for Douglass
When: Saturday, 1:30-4
Admission: Free

Join the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association in partnernship with the Coaltion of African Americans in the Performing Arts and the Price George’s County Philharmonic Kid’s Program for an afternoon honoring the Frederick. Activities will include a musical petting zoo and special workshops for children of all ages, performances by young musicians, and a chance to meet Rev. Reginald M. Green, Sr. a 1964 Freedom Rider. Adults must accompany children. Light refreshments will be served.

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

* This weekend is your last chance to be hugely entertained by The BFG at Imagination Stage
* It’s also the final performances of Mouse on the Move, also at Imagination Stage
* Little Red Riding Hood & the 3 Little Pigs is on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* Bright Star Theatre’s The Ugly Duckling is this week’s free Saturday Morning at the National performance
* Enjoy Disney’s the Lion King at the Kennedy Center
* Catch a colorful show as Pinkalicious is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* See the Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players amid the trees at Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods

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

Summer is whizzing by, so take advantage of the season while you can with activities that only occur this time of year. Enjoy an open air concert at one of many series in the area. Stay cool under the sun at an outdoor pool, sprayground, or water park. Ride mini-trains and carousels at local parks. And much, much more. Find details on all these summer pursuits in the Summer 2014 guide.

Big Fun at the Big Maze
Where: National Building Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $10/adult, $5/age 3-11 members; $16/adult, $13/age 3-11 non-members

You only have a few more weeks to experience this super cool installation at one of our favorite museums. It looms up to 18 feet high in the Great Hall and measures 60 feet by 60 feet. Within there are twists and turns and dead ends, all formed by finely constructed walls of maple plywood at varying heights. Navigating it is a blast, especially for the kids, and viewed from upper levels, it’s like a work of art. Read more about it and get a glimpse here.

Getting to Know Degas and Cassatt
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday, 11am & Sunday, 1pm
Admission: Free

During this session of the National Gallery of Art’s Children’s Film Program, join them for two animated films about Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt based on Mike Venezia’s Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists books. Learn about the life and work of the two artists who were friends and collaborators in later 19th-century Paris. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Circus Extravaganza
Where: Trapeze School New York – DC
When: Saturday, 8:30pm
Admission: $25/adult, $15/child

Trapeze School New York – Washington DC is proud to host an amazing fundraising event to benefit Clowns Without Borders, a troupe of professional performers who volunteer their time, traveling around the world where invited, bringing shows, workshops, smiles, and laughter to children living in zones of crisis around the world. The evening of entertainment will feature incredible acts — double and triple trapeze, silks, lyra, acrobatics and flying trapeze! The clowns will keep you rolling with their antics, and other activities include a photo booth, face painting, balloon twisting, a juggling station, plus delicious food from Nando’s PERi-PERi. Most recently, the clowns traveled to Lebanon to perform a two-week tour for Syrian refugees. Get your tickets today for the family-friendly show!

Ice Cream at George’s Place
Where: Mount Vernon Estate
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $17/adults, $8/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under

Get a glimpse of culinary life in the 18th century through ice cream making demos every Saturday in August at Mount Vernon. Visitors can watch as costumed staff make one of George Washington’s favorite desserts using reproduction period equipment to emulate ice cream-making process of the olden times.

Fest Africa
Where: Silver Spring Civic Center
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1-8pm
Admission: Free

The 12th Annual African Cultural Festival ‘FestAfrica 2014′, hosted by Afropolitan Youth Association, has grown to become DMV’s largest African Festival with over 8,000 expected attendees. The festival will feature music by local and international African Artists and dance performances, African cuisine, vendors, games for children, a health fair, a career fair, a tourism fair, and more. Bring a lawn chair or stand and enjoy great performances!

Dog Days on the Farm
Where: Great Country Farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $12/adult, $10/child

The annual Dog Days Peach Festival is an adventure for dogs and their people with something for every member of the family. Canine guests can run an impressive agility course set up by Sit Stay Training and have their professionals provide tips for working with your dog. Or polish up your dog’s best trick and join the Doggie Olympic Games to go for the gold. Kids and pets can explore the farm style attractions before boarding the wagon ride out to the peach orchards to pick your own. All canine companions are asked to bring their owners on a leash and sport their finest rabies certification tag or have proof with them.

Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week
Where: nZone Sports Center, Chantilly
When: Saturday, 2:30-6pm
Admission: Free

Join the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and local sponsors for a free family event in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week! In the spirit of this year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal For Life,” have fun with soccer workshops and obstacle courses for young children. Enter a free raffle for loads of goodies from community partners. Breastfeeding counselors will be on hand to answer questions and help you plan your breastfeeding success

Wild West Weekend
Where: Elkins & Durbin, WV
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $25/adults, $32/seniors, $25/ages 4-11, free for 3 and under

All aboard for a great adventure for the young ones and adults! Take this last opportunity with Mountain Rail Adventures in West Virginia before school to ride steam driven Old #3 train in Durbin with a cast of Western characters who take over the weekend. This new Wild West Weekend will prove to be the highlight of your summer.

Learn the Ropes
Where: Terrapin Adventures
When: Sunday
Admission: Free

Zip, climb, and traverse your way to fun as Terrapin Adventures celebrates its new Kids Course Grand Opening! The ropes course is built just for ages 5-9, and on Sunday, admission to it is free! Packages are available so Mom and Dad can climb the tower right next door and still be in sight of their children. Older siblings can always tackle the adult zipline, ropes course, giant swing or climbing tower. The whole family comes away happy and knowing they accomplished something good for their body and soul.

The Land of Nod, design for kids and people that used to be kids

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Guest Post: Wintergreen Summer Getaway with a Toddler


[Note: This post was written by Erika Lloyd, a Washington, DC-based freelance writer and parent.]

Before my daughter’s birth, I was a big fan of road trips. Actually, I was a fan of any travel. Now, when I dream of traveling, I think about all the stuff I have to bring along — the pack-n-play, the diapers and wipes and creams, the sippy cups, the toys, the white noise machine, the nightlight, the loveys, the snacks, the extra snacks for when she inevitably decides she doesn’t like the first snacks offered, and all the other things that I have to write down or else I’ll forget them. Travel has changed quite a bit over the 19 months that I’ve been a parent.

I admit that it took me a while to realize that having a child doesn’t mean we can’t travel, it just means that we must take a new approach to travel, one with more planning and balanced expectations. A perfect example of this is our recent trip to Wintergreen Resort in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. As usual, I had grandiose plans to go hiking, biking, and canoeing. However, reality turned them into short walks, exploring the nature center, and swimming in the pool, which I’ve come to learn is pretty productive for a weekend away from DC with a toddler.

The drive to Wintergreen took us a little over three hours, partially due to traffic — we left after work on a Thursday (returning home on Sunday was a bit faster). New-ish parent mistake number 841: Starting a road trip at 7pm. When driving with a toddler, I highly advise leaving in the morning or mid-day (though every other parent probably already knew this). We were convinced she would sleep during the drive, but that didn’t happen. Fortunately we had the Kindle Fire prepped with PBS kids shows.


The hassle of packing and driving was immediately forgotten when we arrived at Wintergreen Resort. Even in the dark it has magical qualities — the fresh, cool air (a welcome break from DC’s humidity), the quiet, the stars (you can SEE the stars!). And we woke up to breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from our deck. Along with the outdoor space, the Wintergreen condo we stayed in had a beautiful living room with views of the mountains, a kitchen and dining room, washer and dryer, and separate bedroom.


With two full days at the resort we had plenty of time to explore the mountain, while also sticking to our daughter’s nap schedule. We didn’t leave the resort from Thursday evening to Sunday morning, as there are so many activities and restaurants to choose from on its 11,000 acres. The surrounding area has a lot to offer, but we decided that it would feel more relaxing for us to hunker down in one area and drive as little as possible. Of course, having a toddler makes it difficult to walk everywhere, especially on a mountain, so we used the car for short drives to many on-site attractions and restaurants.


We visited the Wintergreen Nature Center to purchase a trail map and get advice on child-friendly hiking trails. The Trillium House Trail was short and sweet, and we had a blast looking at all the plants and exploring an old gazebo in the woods. We stopped at vistas to take in the gorgeous scenery and ate at a number of restaurants including Devils Grill, The Edge, and Stoney Creek Bar & Grill. The Edge offered a very relaxing, family-friendly environment with a mix of pub-style food. Devils Grill features fine food in a romantic setting overlooking a golf course — it’s more adult-friendly, but they have high chairs and the wait staff was very sweet with my daughter. We didn’t hire a babysitter, although the resort offers a list of recommend local babysitters upon request so that you can have a date night during vacation.


Wintergreen Resort has so much to offer you probably won’t be able to experience it all in one visit. My family plans to return, especially once our daughter is old enough to participate in more of the activities offered. Discovery Ridge Adventure Center is a highlight of the trip for children, with a zip line, climbing wall, mini golf, inflatable bounce bot for toddlers, tubing park, and bungee trampoline. Lake Monocan Park, in the valley, offers swimming, kayak and canoe rentals, paddleboats, and biking trails. Children ages two-and-a-half through 12 can join one of the half- or full-day programs at The Treehouse. My husband and I treated ourselves to massages at the spa — we took turns swimming in the pool with our daughter, so one of us could sneak away for a bit. Overall, the weekend was a perfect mix of light activity and relaxation away from the city. I highly recommend Wintergreen for a family getaway.

Wintergreen Resort is located in Roseland, Virginia, about 30 minutes from Charlottesville. You can book a stay through the resort and take advantage of special packages that include resort activities, or DIY with VRBO and add the adventures on once you arrive. It’s full of fun activities during the summer and a ski resort during the winter for winter adventure, too.

*For more on Wintergreen, read about a KFDC experience on summer getaway there last year.

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Filed under All ages, Destination from DC, Guest Post, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Guest Post: Go for a Spin on the Capital Wheel


[Note: This post was written by my friend, Torey Potter, whom you've likely seen mentioned on the blog before, since she and her crew have accompanied us on many a KFDC adventure.]

If you’re like me you’ve been intrigued by the idea of a giant Ferris wheel on the waterfront ever since first mention of the Capital Wheel construction back in January. I knew we would try it at some point after it opened and I put the idea in my back pocket waiting for the right clear summer day to check it out.


First, a little background on the Capital Wheel at National Harbor: It was constructed in the image of the London Eye (though only half the size) and was completed in May of this year. Standing at a whopping 175 feet, it offers sweeping views of the harbor, DC and Alexandria, and all the way to the National Mall in the distance. Just don’t call it a Ferris wheel; the term “observation wheel” is used when referring to these large-scale wheels with more luxurious accommodations.


The comfortable eight person gondolas are air conditioned and pipe in tunes by the likes of Whitney Houston and Lionel Richie for your listening pleasure. The cabin is equipped with an emergency call button should you have a change of heart mid-ride. It goes without saying that if you have a fear of heights this is NOT the activity for you. I’ll admit my own stomach dropped a bit as we were gently lifted toward the sky, but I was calmed by the stunning views and the excitement of my eight-year-old (who’s never afraid of anything).


The ride was quite smooth aside from a few creaks at the top. We pointed out the sights we recognized to one another (Andrew’s Air Force Base! The Washington Monument!) and marveled at just how high up we were. My son assured me it was totally safe as he leaned his head against the large window, unconcerned, watching the planes fly in to land at National Airport. When our ride came to an end and we were again greeted by the friendly staff, we both agreed that it was cool and unique to see our city from above. A map inside the gondola of what to keep an eye out for below would be helpful for people unfamiliar with the area, but locals will know where to look.


Ticket prices are a bit steep at $15 for adults and $11.25 for kids ages 3-12 (children 2 and under are free), not including tax, but for a special day or an outing with out-of-town visitors, I’d say it’s worth it. You’ll get four to five revolutions and vistas you won’t get elsewhere. I imagine the views at night are spectacular as well. The Capital Wheel is open every day from 10am to 11pm. Side note: we did not wait in any lines at all on a Tuesday in August, late morning.

While at National Harbor you can do what we did and catch a ferry (Potomac Water Taxi) over to Alexandria for lunch or pop into the Peeps Store for a little treat. Play around on The Awakening, a larger than life sculpture set in the sand at the water’s edge. Also new(ish) on the scene at National Harbor: a carousel and small playground just beyond the ferry dock. With its chain hotels and restaurants and massive parking garages, National Harbor can give off somewhat of a corporate/commercial feel (everything’s shiny and new!), however, it has a lot to offer families and is a quick drive from DC, so definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.

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Early Bird Registration for Fall Classes at BlackRock Center for the Arts


Registration for Fall Classes at BlackRock Center for the Arts is now open, and some of the most popular classes are filling up fast! Located just off I-270 in Germantown, BlackRock offers classes in music, dance, theatre, and visual arts for people of all ages — toddler through adult. Early registration runs through September 3, and prices go up September 4.

For the littler ones, BlackRock is offering a new introduction to dance class this fall called Tiny Dancers, as well as Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet for three- and four-year-olds. Those under five can also take Music Together and Books and Bushes, an excellent first exposure to the joys of reading and the thrill of using paint, glue, glitter and more.

An extremely wide variety of classes are available for ages five through 16 — painting, cartooning, ballet, modern and hip hop dance, drawing (with pencils, pastels, markers, and on the iPad), violin, guitar, woodwinds, piano, theatre, choral arts and much, much more. BlackRock also offers classes for those over the age of 16, and also for those over the age of 21. Wine with the Masters workshops are some of the most popular classes for adults.

Classes at BlackRock tend to fill quickly, so I highly encourage you to register early to ensure your kids — and you, too! — get a great experience in arts education.

Visit the BlackRock website for more information on Fall classes and to browse by genre, age, or day of the week.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BlackRock Center for the Arts, however, I only promote events, services, and activities that I truly believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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