The National Arboretum is always a good bet on a nice day
Locate secret doors, see outrageously fabulous themed rooms, and browse a trove of secondhand treasures on a tour of The Mansion on O Street
. The Dupont Circle landmark is a mansion, museum, restaurant, vintage store, and hotel all in one. And visitors are welcome to explore it all. Tours offered 11am – 3:3opm. Self-guided tours start at $15. Purchase tickets
in advance online.
Tuesday – Seize what’s forecast to be a beautiful day at the National Arboretum. Go for nature walks through the woods, visit the Washington Youth Garden, romp in open green spaces and at the old Capitol columns, picnic in the Grove of State Trees… so many ways to enjoy one of the loveliest places in the city. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.
Wednesday – Let little ones bounce, climb, swing, tumble, and slide at the PG Sports & Learning Complex Gymnastics Center. The hour-long open play session begins at 11:30am, and admission is $6/child. (This also takes place on Tuesday at the same time.)
Thursday – Venture up to Baltimore to see some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. The colorful, quirky works — some of them interactive — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & ages 7 and up, free for 6 and under.
Friday – Catch a performance of Callaloo: A Jazz Folktale at the Discovery Theater. As this post goes live, tickets are still available for the 10:15am show. Admission is $3-6. If the show sells out, take the opportunity to explore the Smithsonian Ripley Center, where the theater is located, and the Smithsonian Castle next door.
Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Weekdays, Winter
Visit the Newseum for FREE during Museum Day Live!
Free access to amazing museums is a wonderful and convenient perk of living in the DC area. But if you find yourself always opting for the Smithsonian venues over places that charge admission, you’re missing out on many collections of art, culture, science, and nature that are fascinating, beautiful, even fun!
But thanks to Smithsonian Magazine, you can check out some of those museums without spending a dime. This Saturday, September 26, is their annual Museum Day Live!, when many museums that usually charge an entrance fee will waive it for guests. All you have to do is register to get your ticket and you can visit a participating museum of your choice for free. Tickets are good for two people, and you must print it and bring with you or show it on your mobile device to receive gratis admission.
These are some of the participating area museums (that usually require a fee) that families will enjoy:
Dumbarton Oaks Gardens (KFDC review)
National Building Museum (KFDC review)
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Newseum (KFDC review)
Tudor Place & Historic Garden
Annapolis Maritime Museum
Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Art Center (KFDC review)
B&O Railroad Museum
Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore Museum of Industry (KFDC review)
Chesapeake Children’s Museum
College Park Aviation Museum
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum
Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Discount, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Virginia, Weekend
A couple of chicks playing in the giant nest at the National Arboretum’s Youth Garden
Monday – Visit the National Arboretum on one of the two weekdays it’s open to the public since budget cuts prompted its closing Tuesday through Thursday. Go for nature walks through the woods, visit the Washington Youth Garden, romp in open green spaces and at the old Capitol columns, and enjoy one of the loveliest outdoor spaces in the city. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.
Tuesday – Celebrate New Year’s Eve at one of several events around town that not only welcome kids, but in most cases, center around them. See this post for a list of family-friendly options to ring in 2014.
Wednesday – Enjoy a New Year’s Day brunch (or lunch) with the kids. This thread from last year on the KFDC Facebook page generated a lot of recommendations for good places to have a family feast. Plus, a few more: Ted’s Bulletin, Carmine’s, and Cactus Cantina. And it’s probably a good idea to make a reservation or call ahead.
Thursday – See some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. The colorful, quirky works — some of them interactive — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & children 7 and up, free for ages 6 and under
Friday – As the temps dip, stay warm and entertained at an IMAX movie. You’ve got your choice of several playing right now: Flight of the Butterflies 3D, The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D, Titans of the Ice Age 3D, and Jerusalem 3D are all playing at the Natural History Museum’s Johnson IMAX Theatre. And the Air & Space Museum’s Lockheed Martin IMAX Theatre presents Air Racer 3D, Hubble 3D, Hidden Universe 3D, The Dream Is Alive, and To Fly! Be sure to check schedules for showtimes.
Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, New Years, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter
The National Christmas Tree (photo, courtesy my awesome friend, Torey)
Go bowling! It’s a perfect activity on a rainy day. Lucky Strike
in Penn Quarter sets up ramps and bumpers for little bowlers, as do BowlMor AMF
and Bowl America
, both with several locations in Maryland and Virginia. Or try duck pin bowling at White Oaks Lane
in Silver Spring.
Tuesday: Watch Santa have some fun on the water before his big night out. For the 28th year, Santa will water ski his way up the Potomac along with knee boarding reindeer, flying elves, the jet-skiing Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman in a dinghy! You can view it all from National Harbor at 1pm sharp. While you’re there, stop by the Gaylord National Resort for the Christmas on the Potomac holiday extravaganza (there is plenty to enjoy sans ICE, too).
Wednesday: Have yourself a merry little Christmas… and enjoy some activities out of the house, too. The Botanic Garden and Mount Vernon are open. You can bundle up and get out for a hike. Or spend the day as I did growing up, with Chinese food and a movie.
Thursday: Make your way up to Baltimore to visit the Maryland Science Center, where your crew can explore a variety of exhibits, play in the Kids Room, see an IMAX movie, and much more. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $16.95/adults, $13.95/ages 3+, free for 2 and under.
Friday: Catch a performance of Lyle the Crocodile at Imagination Stage. Recommended for ages 4-12, showtimes are 1:30pm and 4pm. Tickets start at $12.
Filed under All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays
Trains on a smaller scale at Union Station
Head to the big train station to check out the little trains. Union Station’s annual Holiday Train Show
is back in the Main Hall, featuring 3 G-Scale LGB Steam Locomotives running on 200 feet of track, a mountain landscape with 40 new structures, 25 trucks and vintage cars, 100 trees along with people, even dogs and cats. After (or before), grab a bite to eat or pop over to the Postal Museum
Tuesday: Climb inside a life-sized snow globe at Google’s Winter Wonderlab. A holiday season treat at Westfield Annapolis Mall, it’s one of multiple entertainment zones that feature games, music, and videos. Inside the snow globe, kids and parents can create a personalized slow-motion video they can share with friends or relatives. Free and open during mall hours.
Wednesday: See Drumming with Dishes: Holiday Edition, an interactive play geared toward children ages 1-5. Presented by Arts on the Horizon, performances take place a few days this week at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE. Showtime is 10:30am. Tickets are $8.
Thursday: Bundle up and hit the trail. Great Falls is a great place to hike and enjoy the outdoors any time of the year. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side of the park along a breathtaking stretch of the Potomac, you’re guaranteed some of the best vistas in the area. Be sure to stop in the Visitor Center where you can learn about the history and nature of the area. Hours are 7am – dark. The Visitor Centers are open from 10am – 4pm. Admission is $5/vehicle.
Friday: Venture up to Baltimore for a Family Fun Friday at Port Discovery. Along with many levels full of awesome hands-on exhibits, there are special things to take advantage of, including literacy programs, storytime, music sessions, and painting. Opens at 9:30am. Admission is $13.95 for ages 2 and up, though if you go after 4pm, you can enjoy a Target $2 Family Fun Night until 8pm!
Filed under All ages, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Play, Seasonal, Theatre, Trains, Weekdays