Hanging out in the Asian Collection at the National Arboretum
Make a day of it at the National Arboretum
. Explore the plant collections, go for nature walks through the woods, visit the Washington Youth Garden
, and see the old Capitol columns. There are so many ways to enjoy one of the loveliest places in the city. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free. Read more about the Arboretum in the round-up of the best places to spend a day outdoors
— it tops the list!
Tuesday – Get on board the Regal Summer Movie Express! The series begins this week, presenting family films for just $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday at participating theaters during the summer. See what’s playing at a theater near you — there are two movie choices every week.
Wednesday – Head to the National Museum of American History, where they’ve joined forces with LEGO Systems for visitors to experience The Nation We Build Together. A nine-foot-tall LEGO Statue of Liberty model will be displayed, and guests of all ages are invited to take part in a hands-on building activity and have a chance to take home their very own miniature LEGO brick-built Statue of Liberty. Festivities begin at 10am. Building activities begin at 12:30pm on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is free.
Thursday – Make it a beach day at Flag Ponds Nature Park. Swim in the Chesapeake (or just dip the toes if it’s jellyfishy), build sandcastles on the shore, have a picnic, spot wildlife in the woods, and definitely do some fossil hunting — the park is a great place to search for shark teeth and other prehistoric remnants. Hours are 9am – 6pm, and admission is $8/car. Get a glimpse and read more about it in this KFDC post.
Friday – Spend the day at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival where circus arts and the movement of people in America are the focus. The annual celebration of living cultural heritage is full of hands-on activities, performances, demos, and much more from June 29 – July 4 and July 6-9, 11am – 5pm each day, with the opening ceremony at 10am this first day, and evening dance parties at 5:30pm and circus performances most nights at 7pm. Find it all on the National Mall from 7th to 12th Streets. Admission is free.
Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Discount, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays
See the only Da Vinci in the U.S. at the National Gallery of Art!
Catch a performance of Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook
at Adventure Theatre. The show recommended for all ages starts at 10:30am. Tickets are $19.50. If weather allows, plan to picnic and play at Glen Echo Park afterwards. BYO food or purchase lunch at the Praline Cafe there.
Tuesday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden, where there is so much for all ages to enjoy indoors and out. Let little ones flex their green thumbs in the newly renovated Children’s Garden — they can water and plant, and play with lots of new features. Explore the different plant collections, too — walk amid tropical rainforest, desert, and woodland flora. Then take a stroll through the lovely National Garden outside. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here.
Wednesday – Celebrate the first official day of summer with a quintessential seasonal activity: Swimming! Jump in at a public pool, which as of this week are open daily through Labor Day. Even better, they’re free (or a small fee if you’re not a resident of the District or county where it’s located). Check out the 2017 Summer Guide for links to public pools in the area and be sure to note open swim times, as they may vary from pool to pool.
P.S. Registration for Artful Conversations, the National Gallery of Art’s program for ages 8-11 starting July 7, opens at 12pm.
Thursday – Explore the woods and wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Look for little creatures as you hike — turtles, frogs, fish, and birds are practically guaranteed wildlife sightings — and take in sweeping vistas of the marshland. Be sure to stop in the Visitors Center, where there are several interactive exhibits about the surrounding environment. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free. Sunscreen and hat recommended.
Friday – Get an art fix at the National Gallery of Art! The East Building is full of contemporary works with bold colors and captivating designs. Be sure to stop in the Alexander Calder room on the 4th floor, where mobiles of all shapes and sizes will dazzle, and don’t miss the giant blue rooster on the roof. The West Building houses more classical pieces, the collections featuring many of the masters, including the only Leonardo da Vinci painting on public view in the U.S.! Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.
Filed under 2017, All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays
Stay cool in the sprays at Turkey Thicket playground
Cool off on the hot day at a spray park. There are a bunch of playgrounds within the DC Department of Parks and Rec that have areas where kids can splash around. See locations here
, and find a list of other interactive fountains and splash pads around the area in the Guide to Summer in DC
Tuesday – Venture up to Baltimore for a day of play and learning at Port Discovery. Several levels full of awesome hands-on exhibits, including the current KLUTZ: Amazingly Immature! Exhibit, keep kids entertained all day long. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $14.95 for ages 2 and up, free for under 2. And if you think you might go a few times this year, I recommend checking out their membership options.
Wednesday – Jump with joy at Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield, VA. This bouncy nirvana hosts Kid Flight sessions, when the whole park is open only to children under the age of 6, from 10am – 2pm Monday through Friday. Special pricing starts $10/hour, and an accompanying adult jumps free! I recommend buying tickets and submitting waivers online in advance to save time when you get there.
Thursday – Roam the enchanting gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown while you still can — starting July 10, they will close for renovations until March 15, 2018. The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm, but you can play at nearby Montrose Park or grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand. I promise, it’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit. Admission is $10/adult, $5/ages 12 and under. No entry fee for Montrose Park.
Friday – Play with light and technology at XYZT: Abstract Landscapes, the debut exhibit at the brand new ARTECHOUSE. All ages will be dazzled by 10 digital installations that are meant to be manipulated (and awed!) by guests. Hours are 10am – 4pm, and timed tickets are required. Admission is $15/adult, $10/child.
Filed under 2017, All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays