Tag Archives: DC outdoors

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 17-21

Little ones can relate "Harold and the Purple Crayon" to artist Linn Meyers' hand drawn wall art at the Hirshhorn Museum's STORYTIME+ program

Little ones can relate “Harold and the Purple Crayon” to artist Linn Meyers’ hand drawn wall art at the Hirshhorn Museum’s STORYTIME+ program

Monday – Take advantage of the surprise warm weather and go geocaching. It’s like a scavenger hunt, and a great way to enjoy the outdoors with a little adventure. Even better, you can pick and choose where and when you want to do it. This KFDC post has all the info you need to get started.

Tuesday – Enjoy STORYTIME+, the Hirshhorn Museum’s new program that invites the youngest artists (ages birth – preschool) and their caregivers to explore contemporary art through stories and movement. Museum staff will read a book aloud, introduce children to an artist in the collection, and lead an activity. “Harold and the Purple Crayon” is this session’s featured book, and little ones can explore and participate in Harold’s misadventures through hands-on fun and close-looking with an original wall drawing created for the Hirshhorn by artist Linn Meyers. Meet in the lobby at 10am. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Learn about the area’s wildlife, enjoy hands-on activities in the Nature Center, see the night sky, take a hike, and visit horses at Rock Creek Park. The Nature Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm, and admission is free. If you’re keen on seeing stars, there’s a planetarium show at 4pm. You can also visit the equine residents at the nearby Horse Center for free. (Unfortunately, pony rides are not offered on weekdays this time of year, but staff at the stables always welcome visitors.)

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 – Catch a performance of Hansel & Gretel, the latest Main Stage production at The Puppet Co. Showtime is at 11am. Tickets are $12. Plan to stay after to picnic (BYO and buy from the cafe) and romp on the Glen Echo Park playground.

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Where to Play on the Weekdays: September 12-16

What's not to love about the sculpture gardens on the National Mall?

What’s not to love about the sculpture gardens on the National Mall?

Monday – Enjoy the outdoors on the National Mall. View art al fresco — kids will love the whimsical creations at the National Gallery of Art and Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Gardens. Stroll along the paths at the Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle. Take a spin on The Carousel for $3.75 a ride. And, of course, pop into a museum (or two or three) while you’re there.

Tuesday – Venture up to Baltimore for a day of play and learning at Port Discovery. Several levels full of awesome hands-on exhibits will keep the kids entertained for hours! Open 9:30am – 4:30pm. Admission is $14.50 for ages 2 and up (free for under 2).
Update: Port Discovery is closed for exhibit maintenance. Instead, check out the Baltimore Museum of Industry, a fun little time trip through the city’s early business days with lots of interesting, interactive exhibits. Hours are 10am – 4pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Tour on your own — admission is $12/adult, $7/ages 7-12, free for 6 and under — or join the Wee Workers program for preschoolers 10:30-11:30am (free for kids, $5/adults).

Wednesday – Catch a free concert for little ones as the Teddy Bear Band plays a lunchtime show, perfect for children ages 2-5 and their families. Pack some snacks and join the fun in the McLean Central Park Gazebo at the McLean Community Center. Showtime is 12:30pm. Admission is free.

Thursday – Hit the playground at Wheaton Regional Park. Two levels of slides, climbing nets, monkey bars, swings, and more fun features will appeal to all ages and abilities. Pack lunch to eat at nearby picnic tables under the lofty trees. It’s open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.

Friday – Head to the National Portrait Gallery for some creative fun at an Open Studio Friday session. All ages are welcome to explore a different art medium each week with all kinds of neat projects. Drop in anytime from 1-6pm. Go earlier or stay after to explore the museum’s collections and hang out in the Kogod Courtyard. Museum hours are 11:30am – 7pm. Admission is free. Read more about the Penn Quarter gallery in this KFDC post.


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The Weekend Round-Up: September 9-11

Catch a sunset this evening at Yards Park's final Friday Night Concert of the summer

Catch a sunset this evening at Yards Park’s final Friday Night Concert of the summer

This summer is kind of like those last lingering party guests. You know, great to have around while the bash is in full swing, but now that it’s winding down, you’re ready for them to go. But don’t let summer’s overstayed welcome (i.e., heat) curb your family fun. Opt for indoor activities or seek out shade. And keep in mind that fall is just around the corner, so enjoy the last bits of this season while you can. Because when those guests do finally leave, you often long for their company again. Happy Weekend!

Final Concert by the River
Where: Yards Park
When: Friday, 6:30pm
Admission: Free

Tonight is your last chance to catch live music in the fresh air at The Yards. Party Like It’s, the DC party band, will be playing a mix of covers and original tunes on the boardwalk to close out the Capitol Riverfront Summer Concert Series. Go early, so the kids can play in the fountains before the music starts or listen to it as they splash around. Bring along a picnic dinner or buy food there (and note that you can’t BYOB).

Family Day at Abe’s
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy the grounds of President Lincoln’s Cottage and Armed Forces Retirement Home as the Lincoln family did! There will be live entertainment and activities inspired by the Lincoln family and their life at the Soldiers’ Home. A Civil War encampment, petting zoo, pony rides, arts & crafts (including a top hat station and card making for veterans), live music, and food vendors will be part of the day’s festivities. RSVP to the free event!

Step Xplosion
Where: Raymond Recreation Center
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Step right up for the culminating performance of Step Xplosion, the Step Africa! tour through all 8 DC Wards to kick off the new season. Featuring step teams from the DC area and DC’s own DJ Beauty & the Beatz, this is sure to be one thrilling show! Reserve your free tickets here.

Short Film Family Showcase
Where: DC Public Libraries
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

The 13th Annual DC Shorts Film Festival is back through September 18, presenting 131 films from 33 countries, countless parties, special screenings, and free events throughout the 10-day event. Among them is a FREE Family Showcase presented by RCN in partnership with DC Public Libraries – and you’re invited! For more about the films, the screenings, and the festival and to reserve your spot, visit the DC Shorts website.

Savor the Bay
Where: Sandy Point State Park
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $10, free for ages 12 and under

How about a day filled with delicious seafood, live entertainment, kids activities, food demos and competitions, loads of shopping options, vendors, exhibits, contests? You can enjoy all that and more at the 49th annual Maryland Seafood Festival. Even better, it all takes place on the beautiful shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

You Say Tomato…
Where: North Bestheda Market
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

You don’t have to travel all the way to Spain for a tomato-centric festival. And at Tomato Fest 2016, North Bethesda Market’s celebration of the fruit (or veggie, depending on how you categorize), you won’t get pelted by them either. Instead, you can enjoy live music, food & drink offerings, art, kids activities, contests, prizes, and a bushel of fun for the whole family!

Arts & Ales
Where: Hyattsville Gateway Arts District
When: Saturday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

The arts and brewing are coming together for a festival the whole family can enjoy. Over 100 exhibiting artists and artisans, Maryland craft breweries, food vendors, as well a variety of music and dance performances, and activities especially for kids, will be part of the all-ages fun.

Family Fit and Fun Open House
Where: My Gym Potomac & My Gym Bethesda
When: Saturday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Take part in a specially designed and fun-filled day of fitness, including award-winning programs and Zumba, for kids of all ages. You will also have the opportunity to learn more about My Gym classes and offerings for children and families, and take advantage of enrollment specials and discounts offered at the event! Note that this is taking place at both the Potomac and Bethesda locations.

Pawpaw Festival
Where: Meadowside Nature Center
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5

Get your paws on this delightful native fruit and celebrate it with Meadowside Nature Center. They’ll have music, crafts, games, face painting, and advice on growing pawpaws. You can also get a taste of the fruit and purchase pawpaw trees, so you grow your own at home.

Fall into Fun Fair
Where: Washington Episcopal School
When: Saturday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free, but tickets are required

Got kids ages 3-11? Don’t miss the Fall Into Fun Fair presented by our friends at Activity Rocket! Try sports, dance, STEM, yoga, Instrument Petting Zoos & more FREE. Washington Episcopal School is located at 5600 Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda). Get your free tickets here.

Fall Class Sampler
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Saturday, 9:45am – 12:45pm
Admission: Free

Sample Imagination Stage’s line-up of fall classes – on them. Sample classes are about 20 minutes in length, and give students and families a taste of the theatre’s classroom setting. They have exciting offerings for ages 12 months to grade 5. This is not a drop-off event; children must be accompanied by a caregiver. Online registration ends at noon on Friday, September 9. You can still register by phone on September 9 and in-person on September 9 and 10.

A Musical Journey into Space
Where: Jammin Java
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Admission: $8

Can kids go into space? Find out at Jammin Java on Saturday morning as Dr. Jim Thorne, a real space scientist and singer/songwriter, takes you and the kids on a musical journey from the historic Apollo moon program all the way to the stars. The full dinner and drinks menu will be available, so plan on lunch there, too.

Fall Family Festival
Where: Anacostia Community Museum
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the turn of the seasons with the Anacostia Community Museum at their annual event. Enjoy live entertainment, face painting, mask making, storytelling, art activities for the kids, and more. There will be all kinds of fun demos, vendors, and exhibitors outside, and even indoors – plenty of fun for the whole fam!

Where: Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $40

If you’re serious about board games, this tabletop gaming convention is an event you’ll want to check out. There will be opportunities to demo new games, enter tourneys to test your gaming skills against some of the best players, meet people who make and sell games, and more. Kids 10 and under can enter a fantasy themed costume contest in the Family Area. And word has it there will be lots of good swag to score.

Merriment for All
Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, Md
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $19/adults, $16/seniors, $8/ages 7-15, free for 6 and under

Take a glorious day trip back to medieval times at the Maryland Renaissance Festival — it’s a faire that appeals to all ages and sensibilities. Enjoy jousting matches, kids shows, cheeky comedy, tight rope walkers, jugglers, puppetry, Celtic music… and that’s just some of the live entertainment. There are also pony rides, a pirate playground, a giant slide, and all kinds of fun, fascinating things to see. Walk among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in Ren wear in a 16th-century village as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of “mead.” It runs every weekend through October 23 — and admission prices go up after this Sunday — so put it on your fall must-go list. Huzzah!

Virginia Indian Festival
Where: Riverbend Park
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $7

Members of several Native American tribes will gather on the banks of the Potomac to share and celebrate their culture. See dance performances and dug-out canoe demos. Try throwing a spear, shooting a bow, and building a canoe. Shop for pottery, jewelry, and dreamcatchers. All in the beautiful Riverbend setting along the river!

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

It’s one of the last weekends at home for the Nats as they host the Phillies. There are games tonight and tomorrow night 7:05pm, and on Sunday at 1:35pm. Stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases, and check these KFDC tips for doing a Nats game without breaking the bank.

PG County Fair
Where: Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington
When: Through Sunday
Admission: $6/ages 12 and up, $5/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under

The county fair season continues! Enjoy a variety of entertainment and attractions for all ages at PG County’s annual event — 4-H exhibits, magic and dance shows, pig and duck races, a horse pull competition, a chain saw artist, a K-9 show, and much more carnival-style fun.

Rosslyn Jazz Festival
Where: Gateway Park
When: Saturday, 1-7pm
Admission: Free

Head across the Key Bridge from the city for this free annual music festival. Enjoy six hours of performances, fun, and drinks, plus a Kids’ Jazz Zone where children can create their own instrument by the Sandboxand play lawn games. See the website for the line-up of bands and details on parking.

Sing, Talk, and Read Family Festival
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission Free

Join DC Public Library for a day of literacy fun and learn how singing, talking and reading with your baby or young child now can help them later in school. There will be workshops for, crafts and games for kids, live entertainment, door prizes, face painting, complimentary lunch, and more!

Apple Gala & Cider Festival
Where: Great Country Farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $12/adult, $10/child

September may mean back to school for many, but at Great Country it means back to the farm for freshly pressed cider and freshly picked apples. Celebrate the start of the apple picking and cider pressing season with tastings of Rinkers freshly pressed cider — touted as the best in the Valley! — demos, picking, donuts, and more. Of course, the farm’s five-acre play area will be open for fun and amusement, too. Enjoy it all every weekend through September.

Adams Morgan Day
Where: Along 18th Street & Columbia Ave NW
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities at the 38th Annual Adams Morgan Day, offering a day full of music, art, culture, dancing, and more. The family-friendly celebration will have activities for all ages, including free crafts for kids and adults, the Make Fix Anything Project, bike demos, live entertainment, and tons more. More details and the schedule of performances are available on the website.

Rainbow Families Picnic
Where: Hillwood Estate
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $5/adult, free for under 18

Connect with LGBT families and enjoy Hillwood’s urban oasis at this family celebration. Pack a picnic or purchase food from the café’s express menu, play lawn games, get faces painted, try on costumes, make a craft, explore the exhibitions, and more!

Falls Church Feeds the World
Where: Christ Crossman UMC
When: Sunday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Honor the memory of those impacted by the events of 9/11 through service at Christ Crossman’s Falls Church Feeds the World event. Volunteers (ages 4+) are needed to assist in assembling 30,000 healthy meals that will be packed and shipped around the world through Stop Hunger Now. During the meal packaging event, there will be a children’s festival outside, which includes games teaching children about food insecurity, and opportunities for service projects (ages 3+).

September 11: Reflections from the Smithsonian
Where: National Museum of American History
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

To observe the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the American History Museum will display 35 objects from New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA, including airplane fragments, a World Trade Center stairwell sign and a Pentagon clock that stopped upon impact. Visitors can meet Robin Murphy, the inventor of a rescue robot used at Ground Zero and see a screening of the Smithsonian Channel’s award-winning documentary, “9/11: Stories in Fragments,” based on the museum collections and featuring the perspectives of victims, witnesses, ordinary people and heroes from that fateful day.

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Where to Play on the Weekdays: September 6-9

Exploring the exhibits in imagiNATIONS at the National Museum of the American Indian

Exploring the exhibits in imagiNATIONS at the National Museum of the American Indian

Tuesday – Play the day away at Clemyjontri, the brilliantly colored, sprawling playground in McLean that accommodates kids of all abilities. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.

Wednesday – Join Step Arika! for a special storytime for toddlers that combines reading and creative movement. The 10:30am session at Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library is part of Step Xplosion!, a tour of all 8 Wards to kick off their new season. Admission is free. (Note: This also takes place on Thursday at 4pm at Mount Pleasant Library.)

Thursday – Enjoy a class especially for preschoolers (ages 2-5) at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens. Explore a new mansion room or garden each week through make believe, art projects, and imaginative play. During this three-session Fanciful Heroes-themed series, children will hunt for dragons, make a hero’s cape, and explore a fantastical world of adventure. The series is $30 per child with one accompanying adult (($25 member; $18 additional adults), or you can pay $12 per class ($10/members). Classes are 10:30-11:15am on September 8, 15, and 22.

Friday – Discover American Indian culture with all kinds of interactive pursuits at imagiNATIONS, the family activity center in the National Museum of the American Indian. Weave a big basket, play in a teepee and models of native dwellings, do some arts & crafts, hear bird calls of the wild, read kids books in the library, and much more. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

*Want to cool off in the sprays? With expected high temps this coming week, DC DPR announced that operations will continue at public spray parks in the District through September 11! Hours are 10am – 7pm daily. You can also find a list of other spraygrounds in the area here.

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Where to Play on the Weekdays:
August 29 – September 2

Butterfly watching at Wings of Fancy

Butterfly watching at Wings of Fancy

Monday – Walk amid a garden of butterflies at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit. The seasonal display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight! Hours are 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2 (admission to the rest of Brookside is free). Read about a KFDC experience at the exhibit.

Tuesday – Visit the Washington National Cathedral, one of DC’s most iconic attractions. Both guided and self-guided tours are available, and there are lots of features like stained glass, gargoyles, and wrought iron animals that children will find especially interesting. The observation gallery on the seventh floor also showcases interesting architectural designs and stunning birds-eye views of DC. Stroll the beautiful grounds outside, and head to the Beauvoir playground, open to the public since school isn’t yet back in session. The National Cathedral is open 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is $12/adult, $8/ages 5-17, free for 4 and under.

Wednesday – Explore the woods and wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Look for little creatures along the way and stop to take in some gorgeous vistas. Bring along food for a picnic, or plan to grab a bite before or after — though it doesn’t feel like it while you’re there, the park is located close to a busy area with plenty of dining options. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Thursday – Make it your mission to visit the International Spy Museum, where you and the kids can go undercover to explore the intriguing world of espionage. Hours are 9am – 7pm. Regular admission is $21.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-11, free for 6 and under, but you can find a discount on adult tickets here.

Friday – Take advantage of a special seasonal experience while you can — several exhibits and offerings around the area will end after Labor Day. Visit ICEBERGS at the Building Museum. Get free admission for kids to the Newseum thanks to the Summer Fun Deal (and get a deal on adult admission here). Look for fairy houses and enjoy more artistic delights at Annmarie Sculpture Garden. View Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea, an exhibit of colorful sculptures made from plastic debris collected from beaches, at the National Zoo. Get details about all of these special pursuits and more in the 2016 Summer Guide.

One more glimpse of the Wings of Fancy…

...the amazing glass butterfly!

…the amazing glass butterfly!

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