Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 7-11

You can't beat the lovely outdoor setting of Wolf Trap's Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods

You can’t beat the lovely outdoor setting of Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods

Monday - Deliver on fun at the National Postal Museum, where they just debuted a brand new exhibit. “Behind the Badge” showcases the work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, one of the nation’s oldest federal law-enforcement agencies. The exhibit features lots interactives, giving visitors opportunities to try their hand at a variety of skills that are part of a postal inspector’s repertoire, like spotting fraud and other mail scams, identifying crime suspects, and analyzing crime scenes. And the rest of the exhibits are always a hit with all ages. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday - Explore the nearly 200-year-old history of Decatur House. The White House Historical Association is offering tours of the historic home on Tuesdays and Fridays through September 30 as part of the bicentennial of the burning of Washington and the “Star-Spangled Summer.” Discover its connections to the War of 1812 and its Slave Quarters, one of only a few remaining examples in an urban setting. Tours begin at 11:00am, 12:30pm, and 2pm. Admission is free.

Wednesday - Take the money tour at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It’s a perfect outing during the summer break from school, since tours are only offered on weekdays. This post has all the background and details you need to plan for it.

Thursday - Catch a musical performance for kids amid the lofty trees at Wolf Trap. Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band are playing the Thursday and Friday shows of the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods series this week. Showtime is 10:30am. Tickets are $10, children under 2 are free. This posthas a review of a past KFDC experience there.

Friday - Explore the grounds and play in the gardens, specifically the Children’s Gardens, at River Farm. The American Horticulture Society’s headquarters overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria are as lovely as they are fun. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.


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The Weekend Round-Up: July 4-6


Whether you’re looking for ways to celebrate the 4th or just enjoy the city over the long holiday weekend, you’ve got lots of options. And it looks like we’ll have a respite from the heat, humidity, and storms, so be sure to browse the outdoor list along with the recs below. Happy Weekend! And have a safe and happy 4th of July!

July 4th Celebrations
Where: Around the area
When: Friday, July 4th!
Admission: Varies by activity

Our lovely city is one of the most exciting places to be this time of year, as people from all over the world come to celebrate America’s birthday. And from fireworks on the National Mall and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house and the home of the Declaration of Independence to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, they (and you!) won’t be let down. This post details on the many ways to celebrate July 4th in DC. Happy Independence Day!

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Where: National Mall
When: All weekend
Admission: Free

The annual Festival celebrating living cultural heritage and community traditions is underway. Visitors of all ages will have ample opportunity to discover and explore it all through special exhibits, workshops, performances, exhibits, demos, and more, including plenty of activities especially children. For specifics, see the festival schedule. And it all takes place right on the National Mall where you can easily pop into museums when you need a break from the heat.

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

The much-anticipated Big Maze opens today at the Building Museum! The large-scale labyrinth looming 18 feet high and measuring 60 feet by 60 feet boasts a series of twists and turns for visitors to weave through and explore. After you find your way out, be sure to get a “bird’s eye” view from the balconies of the 2nd and 3rd floors.

Joys of Summer
Where: Around the area
When: All weekend long

Admission: Varies by activity

Get your summer on this holiday weekend with a host of activities exclusive to this time of year — outdoor swimming, spray ground play, concerts under the stars, movies al fresco. Go here for the full scoop on these joys of summer, and keep in mind that some regular events might not be happening due to the holiday (Jazz in the Garden and Rockin’ on the Riverfront among them).

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

Chicago comes to DC, as the Nats host the Cubs all weekend. There’s an Independence Day game on Friday (11:05am), plus match-ups on Saturday (4:05pm) and Sunday (1:35pm). Take advantage of the Harris Teeter Family Pack and stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases when children ages 4-12 can loop the infield after the final out. And before you go, read about the Jr. Nationals Kids Club, which for just $20, offers tons of cool perks for kids 12 and under.

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

* Be hugely entertained by The BFG, which just opened at Imagination Stage (look for discount tickets)
* Enjoy Disney’s the Lion King at the Kennedy Center
* Catch a colorful show as Pinkalicious is on stage at Adventure Theatre
* The Wizard of Oz is on the Main Stage, and Old McDonald’s Farm and “Teddy Bears’ Picnic are the featured Tiny Tots shows at The Puppet Co.
* Mr. Gabe is playing a free family concert at Mason District Park in Annandale
* Patty Shukla is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java

DCMeet Market
Where: Logan Circle
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The monthly outdoor community market will be celebrating July 4th weekend with a Summer Cookout Party, featuring BBQ from Kingston Seoul, locally-made gelato from Dolcezza, and handcrafted root beer from Thunder Beast, plus more! They’ll also have live music from Lady Hatchet, Merry Toddlers More, and DJ Natty Boom hosted by Rock-n-Romp. In addition, No Kings Collective will be doing a live art installation for all to see. And, as always, the market will showcase over 40 local vendors selling fine arts, home décor, handcrafted jewelry, fashion apparel, baby accessories, and prepared foods.

Row Your Boat
Where: Potomac & Anacostia Rivers
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by boathouse

A great way to enjoy the weekend will be on the water, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and pontoons. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, and we recently rowed from the Ballpark Boathouse at Yards Park. Bladensburg Waterfront Park also has vessels for rent along with free pontoon boat tours on weekends from 5-5:45.

DC Capitol Fair
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Friday 6-11pm & Saturday/Sunday 2-11pm
Admission: Starting at $4

RFK Stadium’s parking lot will be jam-packed with amusement through July 6 at the DC Capitol Fair. More than 100 rides, games, and attractions will be onsite, among them the Giant Wheel, Super Himalaya, Pirate Ship, and the Extreme. Live entertainment will include the Fearless Flores Circus, a magic and illusion show, hypnotist show, wolf show, lion and tiger show, full petting zoo, and more. All live entertainment and shows are free with fair admission. There will also camel and pony rides for an additional charge. Regular admission to the fair is as low as $4 per person with two-for-one admission discounts available online at www.rfkfair.com. Pay-One-Price unlimited rides wristbands are also available online at a $5-off discount before Friday’s opening. Individual ride tickets can be purchased at the event. Parking is free.

Beet Ya Feets
Where: Anacostia Community Museum
When: Sunday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Hip Hop dancers Da’Originalz guide participants in creating their own form of self-expression through original dance movements. Join in this fun workshop, demonstration, and group practice session. Call ACM at 202.633.4844 to register for this event.

London Nights with Whistler
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Explore the impact of gaslights and electricity on nightlife in the nineteenth century. Examine paintings and prints of London by Whistler for content, mood, and technique. In the classroom, use black paper backgrounds, foreground cutouts of people, oil and chalk pastels, and wax gilt to create nightscapes of your favorite outdoor nighttime activities. Recommended for ages 8-14.

(Geo)Cache in on Fun
Where: Around the Area
When: Anytime
Admission: Free

Take the kids on a treasure hunt and have a little adventure along the way. Geocaching is a perfect way to be active and enjoy a day outdoors. Whether you search in the city or seek out a destination that requires a hike in the woods, locating the hidden cache will be a thrill for everyone. See this recent post about our first foray into the pursuit.

World Cup with the Kids
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free, but plan to spend on food and drinks

The USA may be out, but there’s still some of exciting World Cup soccer to see. If you and the kid want to catch some matches with other fútbol fanatics, check out these suggestions for family-friendly places to watch the tournament. They include local restaurants and bars (they welcome kids during the day) as well as outdoor venues hosting special viewing parties.

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Caching in Around DC

Geocache found!

Geocache found!

I love a good scavenger hunt. That thrill of successfully navigating the unknown, solving a puzzle, or locating hidden “treasure,” is so satisfying and often super fun. So, it’s kind of surprising that until a few weeks ago we had never tried geocaching. I know people who do it regularly, including my friend Rebecca from Not-So-SAHM and her kids, who inspired me to finally see what the venture was all about.

The treasure hunt begins...starting right from home

The treasure hunt begins…starting right from home

All it really took was a simple Google search that led me to the Geocaching.com website, where I got the full scoop on how it works: Basically, it’s a “real world treasure hunt,” where you search for geocaches, or small hidden containers, using GPS and hints and tips from others playing/hunting along. The containers can be placed and logged by anyone in the geocaching community, and they are located all over the world. There are a bunch of other easy rules and etiquette that you can read about here.

Through the park we go in search of the hidden cache

Through the park we go in search of the hidden cache

The Geocaching.com website also offers a free app, which I downloaded before we embarked on our first geocaching adventure. Using my location, the app noted all of the nearby geocaches on a map, and I selected one just down the street from our house for an easy introduction to the pursuit. The kids invited some friends along on their treasure hunt, and they were all really excited to find the hidden cache.

Using the GPS to home in on the cache

Using the GPS to home in on the cache

The app has a built-in GPS and even counts down to several feet from the spot, which led us to the general area pretty quickly. After that, however, it took some help from the “Hint” and “Activity” features on the app. The former offers a tip, but usually a veiled one, so you still have some solving to do. The latter is the log of others who have searched for, and most often found, the geocache; many include notes that come in handy as you’re looking. Also among the features is an “About” tab that gives background on the geocache location and what may have led to its placement. This is interesting and worth the read.

Read all about it...

Read all about it…

Once we zeroed in on the location of our geocache, it was just a matter of finding exactly where it was. It took a few minutes, but we did it. The kids all crowded around as I opened the small metal magnetic container, eager to see what was inside. It was a long strip of paper about an inch wide rolled up tightly. We uncoiled it to find names and dates of all those who had been there before us. A note on the app had said to bring a pen, so I used it to add our name (KidFriendly DC). Then the kids rolled the paper back up and returned it to its container and placed it back where we found it. After that I logged our find on the app. Success!

Adding our names to the log (excluding photos to keep the hiding place a secret!)

Adding our names to the log (excluding photos to keep the hiding place a secret!)


I’ve read that some geocaches may be larger and contain an item that you can take, though rules recommend you replace it with something of equal or greater value. Sasha and I found another geocache not far from our house, which was also a scroll of paper where we just added our name. But we’re excited to see what kinds of treasures — and adventures — await!

Kids give a thumbs up on the experience (Sasha sees a bird)

Kids give a thumbs up on the experience (Sasha sees a bird)

For more details on getting started on your treasure hunt adventures, visit the Geocaching.com website

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Where to Play on the Weekdays: June 30 – July 4

Zip among the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring

Zip among the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring

Monday – Play it cool at a spraypark! The Palisades Playground includes a wet area with a water slide, sprinklers, and get rave reviews. And the dry area sounds super fun, too. Hours are 10am – 7pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday - Head to the National Building Museum for play and storytime. The Book of the Month program takes place in the Building Zone at 10:30am and 11:30am with readings of Who Stole My House by Barbara Veit and Anna Laura Cantone. Admission to the Building Zone ($3/non-members) is timed and on the hour, and after you can head up to the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit (for non-members: $8/adult, $5/child; free for members) or hang out in the magnificent Great Hall.

Wednesday - Hang out in the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring. Kids as young as 5-years-old can experience fun and adventure on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial forest, the largest in North America. For $49, children ages 5-6 and an accompanying adult have access to two of the easier courses. Older kids can do even more. Hours are 9am – dusk, and admission is $39/ages 7-9, $44/ages 10-11, $49/ages 12 and older. And if you’re looking for fun with little ones… Experience adventure on a smaller scale at the Cabin John Regional Park Adventure Playland. Kids can climb, swing, jump, slide, and run amid the lovely wooded setting, and the miniature train that guests can ride ($1.75/passenger) is a fun bonus.

Thursday - Take a day trip out to Luray Caverns to behold the spectacular underground world of stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system. Afterward, make your way through the Garden Maze or check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum. Hours are 9am – 7pm. Admission for the caverns is $24/adults, $21/seniors, $12/ages 6-12, free for ages 5 and under. Other attractions cost extra.

Friday - Come “fourth” and celebrate! This post has a list of ways to do so throughout the DC-Metro. Happy Independence Day!

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2014 Independence Day Celebrations


Our lovely city is one of the most exciting places to be this time of year, as people from all over the world to celebrate America’s birthday. And from fireworks on the National Mall and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house and the home of the Declaration of Independence to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, they (and you!) won’t be let down. Here are details on the many ways to celebrate July 4th in DC. Happy Independence Day!

National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets
When: July 4, 11:45am
Admission: Free

Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators are expected to line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day make its way from 7th to 17th Streets. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

Independence Day Celebration on the Mall
Where: National Mall
When: July 4, all day (and evening)
Admission: Free

After the parade (even earlier for some), the National Mall will begin filling up for a day of July 4th festivities — the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Junior Ranger activities, concerts, picnics, and more. And the grand finale of it all: At 9:10pm, the sky above will explode with color when the amazing iconic fireworks display.

A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
Admission: Free

Down past the other end of the Mall, A Capitol Fourth, the annual Independence Day concert that airs live on PBS, will feature even more musical pageantry. Patti LaBelle is headlining the show, and there will also be appearances and performances by Frankie Valli, Phillip Phillips, Jordin Sparks, The Muppets, the National Symphony Orchestra and many more exciting acts. And Tom Bergeron of “Dancing with the Stars” is hosting once again. (KFDC tip: Enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)

An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon
When: July 4, 8am – 5pm
Admission: $17/adults, $8/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under.

The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events here.

America’s Pastime
Where: Nationals Park
When: July 4, 11:05am
Admission: Ticket prices vary

A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. Catch the July 4 game against the Chicago Cubs, which is part of the 2014 Patriotic Series which honors members of the military.

Falls Church 4th of July Celebration
Where: George Mason High School
When: July 4, 7pm
Admission: Free

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will present its annual free July 4th Celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Musical entertainment begins at 7pm with a live performance by The Original Moonlights, with fireworks following at 9:20pm. Blankets and flat-based chairs are allowed for seating on the field. Food and drinks will be sold on site.

Neighborhood Parades
Where: Throughout the area
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Admission: Free

Keep it mellow and close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, check out this list of parades around town.

Star-Spangled Spectacular
Where: Oregon Ridge State Park
When: July 3 & 4
Admission: $9-18

For something a little different than the usual DC July 4th festivities, head north to Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md, on Thrusday or Friday. There, you can spread out a blanket or set up chairs on the sloping green lawn amidst a gorgeous setting as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs their Star-Spangled Spectacular, culminating with a magnificent fireworks display. The starbursts in the sky as a live symphony plays is truly magical. The park opens at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm both days. Be sure to note these parking instructions, as on–site parking is $15, but you can park off site and take a shuttle for free.

Reading of the Declaration of Independence
Where: National Archives
When: July 4, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate July 4th at the National Archives Building with a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. There will also be historical guests, patriotic music, and family activities from 11am – 4pm. The full schedule of events is available on the National Archives website.

Rockville 4th of July Celebration
Where: Montgomery College – Rockville Campus
When: July 4, 7-9:45pm
Admission: Free

Rockville’s Independence Day Celebration is hosted by the Mayor and Council of Rockville at Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus located at 51 Mannakee Street. Join in a night of music, entertainment and fireworks. See the website for the lineup of entertainment and parking information.

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