Tag Archives: DC Museums

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 28 – December 2

Walk among "icebergs" at the Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit

Walk among “icebergs” at the Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit



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Monday – Zip over to DC’s big train station to check out the little trains. Union Station’s annual Holiday Train Show is back in the West Hall, featuring an elaborate Norwegian mountain landscape. Plan to grab a bite to eat at one of many options there or pop over to the National Postal Museum next door for more fun. Admission is free to both the train exhibit and the Postal Museum.

Tuesday – Make your way up to Baltimore to visit the Maryland Science Center to explore a variety of neat hands-on exhibits, play in the Kids Room, build in the Science & Main area, and so much more. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $20.95/adults, $16.95/ages 3+, free for 2 and under. (I suggest checking out their membership options — if your family of 4 goes just twice in a year, it’s worth it. Plus, there’s reciprocity with other museums around the country.)

Wednesday – Head to the Hirshhorn to view the Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit. The must-see for modern art fans is a mix of performance art, video installations, paintings, dioramas, and more inspired works that are intriguing, moving, and visually stunning. After, treat kiddos to a ride on the carousel located on the Mall very close to the museum. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Thursday – Watch the airplanes, kick a soccer ball, have a picnic, or just hang out at Gravelly Point. The park located right off the GW Parkway next to Ronald Reagan Airport is a great place to enjoy a nice day, offering views of the river and airplanes taking off or landing right overhead. (Warning: Some kids find that part exciting, others might be frightened by the loud noise and sight of an airplane coming right at them.) Admission is free.

Friday – Enjoy a little time trip back to the 18th century at Claude Moore Colonial Farm. The living history farm welcome visitors to explore the grounds, where there is a tobacco barn, farm house, garden, orchard, and animals. Guests can also interact with a family portraying life as it was back then. Hours are 10am – 4:30pm Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $3/adults, $2/children ages 3 and up, free for 2 and under. Read about our first experience there in this post.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Farm, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Union Station, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 21-25

The playground at The Beauvoir School will be a great place to #OptOutside this Friday

The playground at The Beauvoir School will be a great place to #OptOutside this Friday



Monday – Let little ones burn some energy during an open gym session at Sport Bounce of Loundon, where a massive roomful of giant inflatables is a blast for kids. Open gym time is 10-11:30am on Mondays, and admission is $10/ages 2 and up, $6/18-23 months. And while open gym occurs every weekday, the time varies, so be sure to check the schedule if you go a different day.

Tuesday – Go over the rainbow and beyond at Watkins Regional Park. The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will keep kids frolicking for hours. While you’re there, stop by Old Maryland Farm to visit the animals and the Watkins Nature Center to view some cool creatures and birds. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 10am – 5:30pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Head to the National Museum of American History for opening day of Muppets & Puppets, a showcase of Muppets and marionetts from the museum’s collection illustrating the evolution of puppetry. Included in the display will be an Italian Prince and Princess marionette from 1900, an elf marrionette used at the 1963 World’s Fair, the first Kermit Jim Henson created for the television program, “Sam & Friends,” and two popular Muppets, Fozzie Bear, and Swedish Chef. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Thursday – Enjoy some pre- or post feast fun — find a bunch of ideas here for activities on the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday – Take a cue from REI and #OptOutside on Black Friday. The compilation of The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids easily has you covered on this one.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Schools, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 14-18

Owen & FDR

Owen & FDR



Monday – Wake up really early to see the supermoon!

Later on, indulge in an unseasonal activity: Swimming! Wilson Aquatic Center in NW is popular, and Deanwood in NE even has a slide. In Maryland, Rollingcrest in PG County has a special preschool area, and there are several indoor aquatic facilities in Montgomery County. In Northern Virginia, Arlington County has a few indoor public pools, and there’s one in Alexandria, too. Be sure to check schedules for open swim times at all of them, and I recommend calling ahead to confirm there are no random closings.

Tuesday – Visit one of DC’s most tried and true for kids: The National Museum of Natural History. With exhibits to indulge all kinds of interests, you really can’t go wrong. Gawk at the beasts in the Hall of Mammals, hold live creatures in the Insect Zoo, learn about early humans and see what you’d look like as a Neanderthal, catch an IMAX film, and be sure to take advantage of FREE entry on Tuesdays to the Butterfly Pavilion! (Tip: Get tickets when you arrive, since entry is timed, and yours may not begin right away.). Admission to the museum is free, but films are $9/adult, $7.50/child. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm.

Wednesday – Let the kids burn some energy at Dynamite Gymnastics Center in Rockville. Tumbling mats, trampolines, the jungle crawl (a huge tunnel to run through), and more equipment will keep them active during Open Gym time. Sessions take place 12-12:50pm and 2-2:50pm. Admission is $8/child, $12/participating adults.

For some evening entertainment, head to The Hamilton for a family-friendly old fashioned style country & western concert. Riders in the Sky will combine music and comedy in their all-ages show. Doors open at 6:30pm, show begins at 7:30pm. Tickets start at $17.

Thursday – Get a dose of nature in an unexpected place at Winkler Botanical Preserve. Located just off 395 and Seminary Road in Alexandria, the park is a nice outdoor surprise in an area full of office complexes and strip malls. Hours are 8:30am – 4pm, and admission is free.

Friday – Take a stroll around the Tidal Basin and visit some of DC’s memorials — Martin Luther King, Jr., Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson are all honored there. Visitors are welcome 24 hours a day, and park rangers are on hand to answer questions from 9:30am – 10pm. Admission is free.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Monuments & Memorials, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 7-11

Only in DC: 2nd grade biking field trip to the U.S. Capitol

Only in DC: 2nd grade biking field trip to the U.S. Capitol


Monday – Go for Story Time at the National Postal Museum. Occurring the first Monday of every month, the program includes a book reading and activities for little ones in the museum’s education space. Stay after to explore the rest of the museum, full of interactive exhibits that all ages can enjoy. Story Time is at 10:30am and repeated at 11am. Admission is free. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Tuesday – VOTE!

And in the spirit of democracy, take a tour of the U.S. Capitol. Even if you can’t get on a guided tour day-of, there still are interesting exhibits and statues to see in the Visitor’s Center, which is open 8:30am – 4:30pm daily. Both admission to the Center and tours are free.

Wednesday – Wander around the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. Stop by the art center’s many galleries to view all kinds of works in a variety of mediums — you may even see the artists, too! Plan to grab lunch in the area at one of the many dining options nearby. And take a stroll by the waterfront for scenic views and boat watching.

Thursday – Play, picnic, and enjoy the surrounding scenery at Hains Point. Drive all the way down, almost to the tip, to reach the playgrounds. They’re set amid a large grassy area with picnic tables and bathrooms right there, too. And the spot offers great views of the rivers and airplanes taking off and landing at DCA. Admission is free.

Friday – Observe Veterans Day by visiting the sites that honor those who have served our country. Make the rounds on the Mall at your leisure or attend special ceremonies — they will take place at the World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorials, and Korean War Memorial from 2-4pm, and they’re all within easy walking distance from each other. And the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is offering special family-friendly tours of The Wall — several times slots are available for the free activity (they are also being offered all day Saturday, November 12).


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Monuments & Memorials, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays

Play it Cool with ICEBERGS at the National Building Museum

icebergs_mesh

We’ve come to expect big things from the National Building Museum every summer. It began with indoor mini-golf two years in a row. Then it was the Big Maze. Last year, we got to play at the awesome BEACH. And one commonality among them: They were all really cool.

icebergs_bergs

This year’s installation fits right in with that – literally and figuratively. ICEBERGS, an immersive exhibit with an environmental narrative, transforms the museum’s Great Hall into a sea of icebergs that welcome visitors to explore.

icebergs_below

Blue mesh netting encompasses the exhibit to give it an otherworldly feel, and the “bergs” within are all different sizes presented at varying levels. Some hang from the ceiling as if they’re floating, while others start at floor level with the tip jutting out over the mesh top (like 25% of a real iceberg rising above the surface of the sea).

icebergs_surface

icebergs_berty

You can walk through many of them, and the tallest, 56-foot “bergy bit,” houses scaffolding inside that you can climb to a lookout at the height of the second-story of the Museum, which is right sea level. It’s neat to get a view of both the exhibit and the Museum from that perspective, essentially right in the middle of the Great Hall. You can then exit the berg with a ride down one of two slides (careful, they go fast!).

icebergs_construction

While there is an environmental aspect to the installation — an awareness of ice melt from global warming — it’s not overt (though ICEBERGS is built from re-usable construction materials, such as scaffolding and polycarbonate paneling, which is used in building greenhouses). The overall aesthetic is what captured my attention most — how it looked from different angles as the light moved through; the various levels below, at the surface, and above; and the way it was constructed within the Great Hall, with its grand, marble columns.

icebergs_beanbags

White bean bags meant to resemble ice chunks are within for visitors to lounge. You can sit and enjoy your kakigori shaved ice treat from the stand set up by Daikaya. The strawberry and red bean cup I had was delicious!

icebergs_kakigori

While you probably won’t stay and play for hours like you did at The BEACH last summer, ICEBERGS definitely is worth checking out. Plus, the admission fee gets you into all of the other NBM exhibits, too! And every Wednesday evening, you can chill after hours 6-10pm at ICEBERGS Late Nights, which are “all ages” every week. There will be special performances and programs, plus food and beverages available for purchase from special guest chefs.

icebergs_shavedice

ICEBERGS will be at the National Building Museum July 2 – September 5. Hours are 10am – 5pm, with after hours Wednesdays 6-10pm. Admission is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member. All ages can enjoy it, but little ones should probably be accompanied by adults when going down the slides and climbing up onto the balcony.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Exhibit, Indoor Play, Museums, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend