Tag Archives: DC Area Parks

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 27 – March 3

It's a jungle in there at the U.S. Botanic Garden

It’s a jungle in there at the U.S. Botanic Garden



Monday – Let imaginations run wild with pretend play at the Playseum in Bethesda. Little ones can visit the pet shop, bake in the kitchen, dress up in costumes, enjoy story time, and do some art projects — all possibilities in the many themed rooms and crafts areas. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $9/person.

Tuesday – Cruise over to the U.S. Navy Museum, where there will be a special program about sailors’ lives aboard ship during World War II from 11am – 1pm. You can also see the museum’s amazing collection of model ships, peer into a real periscope, sit in the gun seats of old fighter planes, view naval artifacts hundreds of years old, and much more. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free. Be sure to note requirements for access to the base and museum.

Wednesday – Drop in for an open play session at SkillZone, a brand new children’s activity center in the heart of Capitol Hill. Welcoming little ones from babies up through 6 years old, the space includes slides, towers, racing ramps, and water play with a section just for toddlers. Hours are 10am – 6pm (M/W/Th/F & 11am – 4:30pm Sat/Sun). Admission is $20/1st child, $15/siblings, free for infants.

Later on… Do you think BIG thinks? And dream BIG dreams? Do you LOVE Dr. Seuss? If so, join Northeast Neighborhood Library from 3:30-5:00pm for an afternoon of crazy crafts, silly snacks, and goofy games! There will also be music, giveaways, a reader’s theater, and birthday cake in honor of the man who loved words, rhyming, and imagination. RSVP is required! Stop by the Children’s Desk on the second floor or call 202.698.0183 to RSVP.

Thursday – If you can’t make it to the Wednesday event, celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday on the actual day by visiting your local library. There are special programs at many of them — story times, crafts, and more — that pay tribute to the beloved children’s book author. This post has background on our early experiences at and links to area libraries.

Friday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden, where there’s plenty to enjoy both indoors and out. Walk amid tropical rainforest, desert, and woodland flora, and see the beautiful collection of orchids in the annual exhibit. If weather permits, take a stroll through the National Garden outside, too. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 21-24

Spread your wings at Potomac Overlook Regional Park

Spread your wings at Potomac Overlook Regional Park



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Tuesday – Drop in at the National Museum of American History for Museum ABCs. The program for ages 3-6 and adult companions introduces early learners to the museum collection through letter learning. In February, G is for Gold: Hear a story, make a sparkly craft, and dig for gold! Sessions are 11am – 1pm and 2-4pm, and admission is free. If your child is too young or old for the series, go explore the museum exhibits. (And on other days of the week, take little ones to play in Wegman’s Wonderplace and older kids to Spark!Lab for hands-on fun — both are closed Tuesdays, but open daily otherwise.)

Wednesday – Explore and play, indoors and out, at Potomac Overlook Regional Park in Arlington. Hike the short trails and let the kids romp on the playground. Then visit the nature center where you can see turtles, snakes, and other creatures and learn about the area’s natural environment. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Thursday – Roam the beautiful grounds and cathedral of the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. A DC “secret” to many, the site welcomes visitors to stroll through the gardens and tour the church. Hours are 9am – 4:45pm. Admission is free.

Friday – Enjoy the day and some active fun amid the lovely woodsy setting of Cabin John Regional Park. Kids can climb, swing, jump, slide, and run on the sprawling Adventure Playland. The Miniature Train is closed for the season, but the playground alone has plenty to keep children happy. Bring along food for a picnic — several tables are right there, or you can spread out a blanket in a nearby grassy area. Admission is free.

Later on, get a preview of My Gym Potomac and My Gym Bethesda’s spring offerings for kids at a free Open House from 4-7pm! My Gym Bethesda is located at 5110 Ridgefield Road and My Gym Potomac is located at 11325 Seven Locks Road.


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Filed under DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 13-17

Strike up some fun at Pinstripes!

Strike up some fun at Pinstripes!



Monday – Go bowling! It’s a great indoor activity for what’s forecast to be a cold, windy day. Take advantage of Kids Bowling at Pinstripes in Georgetown, where from 10am – 12pm Monday – Thursday, kids can bowl for $3/hour ($3/shoe rental) and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult). Eat while you bowl or stay after for lunch — they have a good kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too.

Tuesday – Take a Valentine’s Day hike at Riverbend Park. The Great Falls locale may not be as popular as its national park neighbor, but it’s just as fantastic a place to enjoy some time in nature — especially with kids. Trails are mellow for little hikers, the views are lovely, there are plenty of nice picnic spots, and admission is free. And if you want to see the magnificent falls up river, they’re an easy two-mile walk in the woods away. You’ll love it, I promise. 🙂 Riverbend Park hours are 7am to dusk.

Wednesday – Join the Boogie Babes for a special February pop-up show at the Miracle Theatre on Barracks Row. with Mr. Skip will lead the musical fun starting at 10:30am. Admission is $6, free for siblings 6 months and under. Plan to grab lunch at one of many eateries on 8th Street SE or stop by District Doughnut for a treat!

Thursday – Experiment with hands-on fun at the Children’s Science Center Lab at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Kids of all ages can explore a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging interactive exhibits and activities. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $12 (under 2 are free).

Friday – Enjoy a free screening of One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure at the Einstein Planetarium in the National Air & Space Museum. Showtime is 10:30am every Friday (and Sunday, plus the first Saturday of every month). It only lasts about 20 minutes, so explore the many impressive exhibits and discover How Things Fly, a room full of hands-on activities with major kid appeal, while you’re there. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Local Events & Activities to Celebrate Black History Month

A Statue of the famous 1968 Olympics Black Power salute at the African American History & Culture Museum

A Statue of the famous 1968 Olympics Black Power salute at the African American History & Culture Museum



February is Black History Month, and there are events and activities throughout the DC area to celebrate it. Museum programs (including an entire museum), special tours and exhibits, story time sessions, and more will be enlightening and fun for all ages. Here’s where they’re happening over the next few weeks.

Tour the NMAAHC
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

If you can get in, this is the best place to learn about black history and culture in America. (This was #1 in my Top 16 of 2016… and now that I’ve taken the kids, will be doing a write-up about it very soon!) It’s a tough ticket to get right now — museum admission is still by timed entry passes — but it is possible to get same-day tickets. They are available online everyday starting at 6:30am until they run out.

African American Pioneers in Aviation and Space
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: February 11
Admission: Free

Each February, the museum celebrates the significant contributions African Americans have made to flight and space exploration despite the overwhelming obstacles they had to overcome. Enjoy presentations, hands-on activities, and stories. Learn about African American astronauts, pilots, and scientists of the past and present and their accomplishments.

Slave Life Tour
Where: Mount Vernon
When: Daily through February, 11:30am
Admission: $20/adult, $10/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under (+ $4/exhibit)

Tack this on to a visit to George Washington’s estate. The 60-minute guided walking tour highlights the lives and contributions of the enslaved community who built and operated Mount Vernon. In 1799, more than 300 slaves lived and worked on the five farms that made up Washington’s 8,000-acre plantation. Listen to their stories and learn more about their daily life at Mount Vernon. Visit the refurbished slave quarters and view reproduction clothing, tools, furniture, cookware, ceramics, toys, and personal accessories that represent their experiences.

Celebrate Frederick Douglass’ Birthday
Where: Frederick Douglass Historic Site
When: February 18-19; Ongoing
Admission: Free ($1.50/house tour)

Celebrate the 199th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth with the National Park Service and its community partners. The estate in Anacostia where Douglass lived for nearly the last 20 years of his life is now a historic site that welcomes the public to tour, and every year they host a birthday event in his honor. This year’s programs and activities explore the significance of the visual, performing, and culinary arts in Frederick Douglass’s life. You can also go other times — the grounds are always open to visitors, though you need to make reservations to tour the house.

African-Americans at Walney Walking Tour
Where: Ellanor C. Lawrence Park
When: February 11, 11am & February 19, 2pm
Admission: $6

In this interactive walking tour, learn the names and stories of the many African-American families who lived here in slavery and in freedom. The one-hour program is recommended for ages 6 and up. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. Sign up for Feb. 11 here and Feb. 19 here.

Portrait Story Days
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Most Saturdays, 1-4pm & Sundays, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Drop in to the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story from friends at the DC Public Library about a notable person featured in the collection and complete a hands-on art project. All through February, the program highlights black Americans in honor of Black History Month. Read more about the program and museum here.

Civil Rights at 50
Where: Newseum
When: Through January 2, 2018
Admission: $24.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-18, free for 6 and under (look for a discount)

This new exhibit explores the civil rights events of 1967, when black Americans used their First Amendment freedoms to challenge police brutality, economic inequality and the Vietnam War amid deadly riots and the rise of the Black Panther Party. This exhibit is probably better for older kids.

Jim Crow on Streetcars
Where: National Trolley Museum
When: Through February, Saturdays & Sundays, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $7/adult, $5/child

In recognition of Black History Month, the Museum presents this temporary exhibit. Learn about the nature of segregation aboard the cars in 19th century New York, the efforts to black the practice as it developed across the South, and the eventual success in opening employment opportunities.

Celebration: Black History Month 2017
Where: PG County Parks
When: Throughout February
Admission: Varies by activity

Celebrate and honor African American heritage during Black History Month with PG County Parks and Recreation. From performances to history lessons to tours, there are plenty of exciting events and activities planned throughout the area. For a complete listing of Black History Month events, go here.

Montgomery Parks Celebrates Black History Month
Where: Josiah Henson Park
When: February 25 & 26
Admission: Free

Montgomery Parks will celebrate Black History Month during the last weekend in February with free, educational events that highlight the stories, struggles, and successes of African Americans. Events include free guided tours of the park, the screening of a PBS documentary about the park, and the annual spoken word poetry event, “Lyrical Rhythms: The Sounds of Freedom.”

Hidden Figures
Where: Local movie theaters
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by theater

Playing in theaters now, this film that tells the story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program is inspiring and a perfect movie pick during Black History Month. Common Sense Media says it’s appropriate for ages 10 and up, but I’d say kids a little younger could watch it, too.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 6-10

Playground fun in Palisades

Playground fun in Palisades



Gymboree Sale On Now!


Monday – Wander, play, and explore at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria. Be sure to stop in the Horticultural Center and pick up instructions for a kids’ scavenger hunt to add some extra fun to the outing. Hours are 9am – 4:30pm. Admission is free. You may also be able to join a Nature Playgroup for children ages 2-5 ($6 – register for it here.)

In the evening, tune in to the National Geographic Channel for “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric,” a special documentary that explores gender identity.

Tuesday – Head to the National Building Museum for kiddie activities. The monthly Little Builders Storytime takes place at 10:30am & 11:30am in the Building Zone, where children can also enjoy areas that encourage pretend play with dress up and props inspired by some of the displays. And the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit upstairs is always fun for kids. Museum hours are 10am – 5pm. Exhibit admission is $10/adult, $7/child, free for members. I highly recommend checking out membership options if you frequent the museum a few times per year.

Wednesday – Get in on a DC “secret” and some playground fun in Upper Northwest. Amid a small wooded area at Palisades Park is The Glass Forest, a collection of sculptures made from natural and scrap materials that is a unique must-see! It makes for a nice artsy break from a play session at the park. Admission is free.

Thursday – Join the Peter Pan Club at the College Park Aviation Museum. The program that occurs every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month welcomes children ages 5 and under to enjoy a flight-themed story and craft activity. And the exhibits — old airplanes and relics from aviation history — are neat to check out, too! Museum hours are 10am – 5pm, and the program begins at 10:30am. Admission is $5/adults, $2/children.

Friday – Catch a performance of Ella Enchanted at Adventure Theatre. Showtime is 10:30am, and tickets are $19.50. If weather permits, plan to stay and play on the Glen Echo Park playground after the show.


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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter