Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 14-18

She could play all day at Yards Park

She could play all day at Yards Park

Monday - Head to National Harbor for an afternoon of all-request Rockin’ music at Bobby McKeys, where they’re hosting a FREE ‘School’s OUT for Summer’ family show! You book the seats and bring the kids, they’ll supply the entertainment & air-conditioning. Doors open at 12:30pm, the dueling piano show will jam from 1-3pm, and the lunch menu will be available. Reserve your spots here.

Tuesday - Enjoy free admission for kids to the Newseum while you can! The Kids Free Summer Fun Deal, which ends after Labor Day, waives the regular $32.95 entrance fee for youth with one paid adult admission. The deal benefits kids ages 7 and up most, since children 6 and under always get in free, and much of the Newseum’s collection will be better appreciated by older children. Adult tickets are $22.95, but you can get a $14 deal on them here.

Wednesday - Discover Milestones in Aviation and Space at the National Air & Space Museum’s special Family Day. Learn how aviation and space exploration changed the world through a variety of activities, including interactive shows, astronaut talks, story time, and lots more hands-on fun. The program runs 10am – 3m. Admission is free.

Thursday - Take advantage of what’s expected to be awesome weather, courtesy of the Polar Vortex, and play outdoors. A great spot to go is Yards Park, where you can enjoy water play in the fountains and land play in the green spaces. Bring along a picnic lunch or pop into one of the new nearby eateries.

Friday - Roam around the lovely grounds, view wildlife in the ponds, and visit the Korean Bell Garden at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna. Admission is $5/adults, $2.50/ages 7-17 and seniors, free for ages 6 and under. Hours are 10am – 8pm.

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The Weekend Round-Up: July 11-13

Completing a muddy mile at last year's Merrell Down & Dirty

Completing a muddy mile at last year’s Merrell Down & Dirty


A mud run, museum programs, celebrations of French and Irish cultures, archaeology appreciation, live entertainment, and plenty of summertime fun make the recs in this round-up. And the Everyday Play list, full of mainstay DC ideas, is always a good one to keep handy. Happy Weekend!

Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run
Where: Prince George’s Stadium
When: Sunday
Admission: $85/adult, $30/ages 7-13, $20/ages 4-6

If you’re up fun and muddy physical challenge, the Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race is making its seventh stop across the nation on the series’ tour when it comes to the DC area on Sunday. And one of the best things about it is that kids can get in on the fun, too. For children ages 4-13, there’s the Adventure Kids series, featuring tike-size obstacles for a 100 yard dash or 1 mile course. For the grown-up crowd, the exhilarating racing series features 5K and 10K off-road courses filled with military-style obstacles, commanding cargo climbs, wild water crossings, and of course, tons of mud. Get a glimpse of Owen and his buddies in last year’s race here.

Stories in Art
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

One of my favorite museum programs for kids begins this weekend! Children ages 4-7 can pack their imaginations and travel to the National Gallery of Art. They’ll be introduced to Italian artists, investigate paintings and sculptures from Italy, and make a souvenir to document each adventure. This weekend’s sessions will focus on artist Canaletto’s Venetian views. There are several time slots available each day. Sign-in for Stories in Art will take place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 10am on Friday and Saturday and at 11:00am on Sunday, and will continue until all spaces are filled. And they do often fill up, so plan to get there early to register. For more about the program, see this past post about one of our Stories in Art experiences.

Artful Conversations
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

The National Gallery of Art is also kicking off the summer series of its Artful Conversations program for kids ages 8-11. Guests will observe a work of art, participate in a discussion about it, then sketch their own masterpiece. Sessions are on Saturday at 11am and 1pm, and Sunday at 12pm and 2pm. Sign-in takes place in the West Building Rotunda beginning at 10am on Saturday and 11am on Sunday and will continue until all spaces are filled.

Fun on the Farm
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10.95

Remember what it was like to run through the sprinklers, have little pools, and not have to wait in line to get wet? Ticonderoga Farm’s Duck Duck Splash event this weekend has just that, and it’s a fun, relaxing time for kids and parents. Bring a picnic and enjoy the great outdoors, the pillow bounce, hayride, swinging bridge, and many other activities for that all ages will love.

Bastille Day Open House
Where: Alliance Française
When: Friday, 3-8pm
Admission: Free

The Alliance will open its doors to all for a Bastille Day Themed Open House featuring mini classes, placement tests, wine and cheese, and a DJ. This is a great opportunity to get to know the AFDC community of friends, teachers and students. From 3pm-5pm is the Kids Open House, and an Adults Open House will take place 5:30-8pm.

French Festival
Where: Hillwood Estate & Gardens
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $18/adult ($12/members), $5/ages 6-18, free for 5 and under

With exquisite French 18th-century interiors, collections, and gardens as a backdrop, and the gems of French jeweler, Cartier, sparkling in a special exhibition, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens celebrates France’s national holiday, Bastille Day. Throughout the day, games, lively theatrics, dance, pantomime, and music bring the life of the French court to the lush gardens at Hillwood. The estate remaining open until 7 p.m. for leisurely enjoyment of the gardens, the Mansion, and the special exhibition, Cartier: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Dazzling Gems.

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

See a free outdoor concert tonight at Yards Park out the Sculpture Garden , swimming under the sun at one of many public pools, catch a movies under the stars at National Harbor on Sunday, enjoy some sprayground fun in Georgetown, Arlington, or the Capitol Riverfront… Activities exclusive to the season can be enjoyed all weekend long. Get the full scoop on all of these summer staples.

Nat Geo Honors Futbol
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Sunday
Admission Free

In honor of the World Cup, the National Geographic Museum is offering free admission on Sunday to visitors wearing a soccer jersey. Don your favorite team’s shirt and check out the Peruvian Gold or New Age of Exploration exhibit. Or see a the Wildest Weather in the Solar System 3D ($7 but admission to the museum is waived).

Balloon Plays
Where: Fort Fringe – The Shop
When: Saturday, 12:45pm

If you want to check out the Capital Fringe Festival with the kiddos, this is your best bet. A show for both children (ages 5 and up) and children-at-heart. It’s fantastical enough for Fringe, whimsical enough for adults – intended for all audiences. Balloons fill the stage and become puppets, scenery, musical instruments, games, and more under the lighthearted touch of three talented clown performers. “Three clowns find themselves in a world of balloons. Each wants to tell their own story within the magical landscape. Come to play, come to pop. Balloons can be anything.” Fort Fringe – The Shop is located at 607 New York Avenue NW.

Annapolis Irish Festival
Where: Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds
When: Friday, 4-10pm & Saturday 11am – 10pm
Admission: $20/adult, free for kids 12 and under

Celebrate magical Celtic traditions and music at the 4th Annual Annapolis Irish Festival. Along with a lively lineup of Celtic music acts, there will be over 90 vendors selling everything from food to art to clothes and accessories. Little Leprechaun Land, an area especially for kids, will offer pony rides, face painting, balloon art, cultural activities, bouncy fun, music and magic shows, and Irish dancing – and it’s all part of admission.

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

* Be hugely entertained by The BFG at Imagination Stage (look for discount tickets)
* Younger audiences will love Mouse on the Move, also at Imagination Stage
* 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 Baby Bear’s Birthday is the featured Tiny Tots shows at The Puppet Co.
* See Dino Rock amid the trees at Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods
* Groove with Rainbow Rock on Saturday morning at Jammin’ Java

Bear Awareness Day
Where: National Zoo
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Become more Bear Aware at the Zoo’s free family-friendly event celebrating bears of all kinds. This event offers educational and fun activities for children, keeper talks and animal demonstrations. Learn how to bear-proof a camp site, compare bears from around the world, and take the Bear Awareness pledge.

Celebrate the Potomac
Where: Piscataway Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: $10/ages 11+, free for 10 and under

Returning for its second year at Piscataway Park, Celebrating the Potomac is a Celebrate Potomac River heritage as the Potomac River Heritage Tourism Alliance commemorates the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Admission to the event includes Pride of Baltimore II deck tours where you’ll learn about the critical role that these topsail schooner privateers played in the war, music from the era performed by Jennifer Cutting’s OCEAN, theatrical performances, Piscataway Park hayrides, and shore side Captain talks. Be adventurous and book a War of 1812 kayak tour with Atlantic Kayak Company; additional fee required. Picnics are welcome, but food will also be available for purchase.

Day of Archaeology Festival
Where: Fort Totten/ Fort Circle Park
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Part of a worldwide celebration of archaeology, the DC festival will be hosted by Archaeology in the Community with archaeological organizations from DC, Maryland, and Virginia presenting a variety of festivities. The public will be able to talk to archaeologists in person and learn about the science and art of archaeology. There will be engaging activities for children, including mock‐excavations, hands‐on artifact displays, crafts, and demonstrations. The archaeology of local prehistoric and historic inhabitants will also be featured. Enjoy live music, face painting, and visits from some of DC’s best food trucks! Fort Totten/Fort Circle Park is located at the Corner of Gallatin St. and South Dakota Ave. NE.

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.

Walk in the Woods
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

How about hitting the trail? This go-to KFDC post has a bunch of recommendations for good places to hike with kids (though I heard Greenbelt Park has been having a tick problem recently). Find more details on the Riverbend to Great Falls trail here. And a few that aren’t on the list, but great for family tramping: Turkey Run Park, just off the GW Parkway and Scott’s Run Nature Preserve near Great Falls.

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Take a Hike at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve


We love Great Falls Park, but we also know from experience that on a nice weekend day, chances are it’s going to be pretty crowded. So, we often seek out alternatives in that area if we want a similar hiking experience — trails that meander through lush woods, leading to lovely hang out spots and great views of the Potomac, all within a not-too-far drive from home.



This is what led us to Scott’s Run Nature Preserve a couple of weekends ago. The locale in McLean is just a couple of miles away from Great Falls. And while it doesn’t have the spectacular vistas that it’s larger, better known neighbor does, Scott’s Run is peaceful and pretty and makes for a nice hiking experience with kids.



There are two places to park and start a trip there. Both are right off Georgetown Pike, just past the Beltway. We opted for the second lot adjacent to the main creek (the actual Scott’s Run) that flows through the park, eventually into the Potomac. We walked along the creek a bit on a wide gravel path that also leads to the river, crossing offshoots of the creek en route. Along the way, we spotted several chipmunks and caterpillar eggs, and enjoyed the shade of the leafy canopy above.



It was probably a little less than a mile to the river from our parking lot. There’s a great waterfall and pool of water surrounded by boulders and a small sandy area, which would have been an ideal place to stop for a picnic had it not been occupied already. We opted for a nearby area, sitting on a fallen tree to eat lunch and hang out before exploring a grassy area stretching along the water.




On the way back, we chose a different route along a trail that snaked through the woods and took us by what looked like remnants of an old fireplace and chimney. This way was longer and deeper in the woods, but generally a flat, easy hike. Though we only encountered it near the waterfall, I hear there are many areas with rocky cliffs in the park — something to keep in mind if you’re with little ones who tend to wander. All in all, we probably hiked about three miles total that day, but you can easily extend or shorten that depending on what you’re family is up for when you go.




Scott’s Run Nature Preserve is located in McClean just off Georgetown Pike. It’s open from just before sunrise to just after sunset. Admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, Free, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Volunteer, Weekdays

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.


Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

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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