Tag Archives: DC with kids

Where to Play on the Weekdays: March 27-31

Exploring art at the Sackler Gallery

Exploring art at the Sackler Gallery



balletnova_banner

Monday – Visit the Sackler Gallery on the National Mall. The Smithsonian museum houses a great collection of Asian art as well as special exhibits, like the current Chinamania. Be sure to head all the way downstairs to an area full of stations that encourage visitors to touch and get a close look. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Go to Tudor Place for Tudor Tots. The weekly program at the historic estate in Georgetown invites little ones to learn about the world around us through songs, stories, crafts, and movement, all tailored to growing tots with a different theme each session. The fun takes place 10-10:45am, and admission is $5/child (accompanying adults free).

Wednesday – Take advantage of The Beauvoir School’s Spring Break and head to their super fantastic playground, open to the public when class is not in session. It’s open all day, and admission is free.

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.

Friday – See a show on strings at The Puppet Co., where The Three Billy Goats Gruff begins its month-long run this week. Showtime is 11am, and tickets are $12. If the weather is nice, plan to stay at Glen Echo Park, where the theatre is located, for some fun on the playground and a picnic lunch — BYO fare or buy food from the Praline Bakery on premises.


Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Play, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: March 24-26

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is open for the season!

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is open for the season!



kitesofasia-post300x250

This first weekend of spring is full of seasonal fun and then some! Enjoy a cherry blossom-inspired event, celebrate Maryland’s birthday, zip through the treetops, catch a live show, have fun on the farm, learn to make slime….plus, the blossoms should be in full bloom anytime now, so plan get out and see the DC in peak mode. Happy Weekend!

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join SAAM and the National Cherry Blossom Festival for a celebration of Japanese culture! A taiko drumming performance kicks off the day, followed by Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, and cherry blossom themed crafts. Make your own tatebanko (a Japanese paper diorama) with our friends from the Smithsonian’s Freer Sackler Asian art museums. Go on a scavenger hunt to find spring-themed artworks and more!

Maryland Day
Where: Annapolis and Southern Anne Arundel County
When: Friday – Sunday, times vary by activity
Admission: Activities are free or just $1

Celebrate Maryland’s birthday and rediscover the state’s history during fun-filled annual festival highlighting the uniqueness of the Four Rivers Heritage Area, as local cultural and heritage sites offer special activities and tours. Stroll through downtown Annapolis or visit Historic London Town and the Annapolis countryside to enjoy educational tours, costumed re-enactors, art exhibits, kids’ activities, and more. Visit the website for more details ad schedule of events.

Kites of Asia Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian heritage! At the Air & Space Museum’s annual event, you can talk to kite experts, see pan-Asian kite displays, marvel at indoor kite flying, make your own kite, and maybe even take a dance lesson!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress Young Readers Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Learn about Japanese culture as you create origami artwork creation, try on kimonos, and enjoy more other activities. Cherry Blossom princesses from the last few years will instruct children in the art of tiara-making. At 11am and 1:30pm, the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, will present “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” a program about Japanese life and culture. Following each of these presentations, there will be a karate demonstration along with other attractions. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature – read more about it here.

Friendship Between Nations Family Day
Where: National Archives
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship. Investigate treaties, learn about some of the crazy gifts countries have given, and participate in interactive activities designed for the entire family to enjoy.

Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The kick of warmth starting today should give the cherry blossoms the final nudge needed to get to full bloom, so get out and view the splendor of it all. The Tidal Basin is the most iconic spot to see them, but other places in the area also showcase the famous flowers. This post suggests some spots and offers tips on making the most of your viewing experience.

Adventure in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by age

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring recently opened for the season! Kids as young as 5-years-old can experience thrills on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial adventure forest, the largest in North America. Children ages 5-6 and an accompanying adult have access to two of the easier courses. Older kids can do much more. It may seem like a pricey venture, but it’s so worth it. Trust me. Read more about the park in this KFDC post.

Composting Workshop
Where: National Arboretum
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10

Join Washington Youth Garden for a family-friendly Urban Composting workshop lead by Compost Cab. Join them at the demonstration garden to learn about indoor and outdoor home composting and leave with the knowledge to make your own soil for your garden. Wear clothing that can get dirty — compost can get messy!

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Reserve free tickets to see Bilbo’s Journey presented by Traveling Lantern Theatre Company, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Magic Toyshop is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Paper Dreams at Imagination Stage will delight young audiences
* Older youth audiences will enjoy The Manhattan Project’s production of Alice in Wonderland at the Bethesda theatre
* From the Mouths of Monsters is a Frankenstein-inspired show at the Kennedy Center
* Justin Roberts is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin Java
* See To Sail Around the Sun at the Kennedy Center
* Go KidFree at a performance of The Select (The Sun Also Rises) at the Lansburgh Theatre

Spring Farm Fun
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $14.95 ages 2 and up

Start celebrating Easter as soon as this weekend at Ticonderoga’s annual spring festival! With giant slides, awesome jumping pillows, playgrounds, animals, mazes, and more, the farm in Chantilly is a blast everyday (it’s open daily), but they take the fun up a notch on weekends in early spring. Along with the permanent amusement, there are egg hunts and visits from the Easter Bunny. Be sure to check the website for timing of specific activities. For an idea of what’s there, see this post about their Winter Festival, which is much of the same, but with Easter instead of Christmas festivities.

Going Wild Weekend
Where: Port Discovery
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $$14.95/ages 2 and up

Spring is finally here – and it’s time to “Go Wild” at Port Discovery! Join Wildlife Adventures and programs all about wildlife: Interact with live animals, learn about wildlife with fun programs like Living WILD, Wild Tales, and UnWrap, UnRoll and UnWind, and enjoy animal-themed art projects where you can create Fire Breathing Dragons and Going Wild Masks. Plus, take part in interactive plays and theater performances, yoga for kids, and enjoy roaming music throughout the day!

Environmental Film Fest
Where: Several locations around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by film

Films from across the globe are being screened around the DC-Metro area for the the 25th annual Environmental Film Festival. And there are a few family-oriented flicks among them. This weekend, Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale is the one family-friendly film showing on Sunday. There are even more films that older kids will likely enjoy and learn from and others to consider for a grown-up outing. View the website to watch trailers and get showtimes and details.

Cántale a Tu Bebé (Sing To Your Baby)
Where: The Mansion at Strathmore
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: $10

Join a bilingual music party celebrating the release of Cántale a Tu Bebé, the Spanish-language version of the award-winning book/CD Sing To Your Baby by Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. Sonia De Los Santos (solo musician and Dan Zanes Band) and Jorge Anaya (Dc-area Latino vocalist) join Cathy & Marcy for this intimate event. Learn how to use music for fun, skill development and as an ongoing expression of love in both Spanish and English. It’s never too early (or too late!) to sing with family!

DC Youth Orchestra SpringFest
Where: Easter High School
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

The DC Youth orchestra Program is celebrating Spring with the community!  It’ll begin with a prelude concert featuring DCYOP chamber groups and faculty. The Orchestra Idol competition concert will follow — think Battle of the Bands meets DC youth! Over 200 students from 80 different schools will be assigned to one of three hybrid orchestras. Each orchestra will have one hour to prepare a piece which will then be performed in front of a panel of celebrity judges and community audience. The winner will be determined by the combined votes of the celebrity panel and audience texts score. Join to enjoy the music and chip in with your vote! 

Museum Movie: The Eagle Huntress
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

Among the isolated Kazakh tribe in the mountains of northwest Mongolia, the long tradition of eagle hunting has only been practiced by men. This documentary follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her family to become an eagle hunter. Her decision causes controversy amongst older members of the community, but Aisholpan boldly embarks on a strict program of training. This inspiring film captures her courage. English narration, and Kazakh with English subtitles. Recommended for ages 11 and up.

Make Slime to Fight Cancer
Where: Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax
When: Sunday, 2-3pm
Admission: $20

Local 9-year-old, Hannah, has been making slime since last summer, and with the recent with slime craze many kids have asked to buy it as well as how to make their own. So, her mom thought it would be fun have her teach a class for kids in the area — and this Sunday Hannah will be doing just that. (How cool is that?!) Even better, part of the proceeds will go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which helps fight childhood cancer. All supplies are included in the fee, and you can use the code HANNAH to get a $5 discount.

Make Room for Matzah
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Sunday, 10:30am -12pm
Admission: $10/family by 3/24, $15/family after

Join for hands-on Passover workshop to get ready for Passover and learn more about this tradition for your interfaith or Jewish family. Your child will make a beautiful Miriam’s Cup to enhance your seder and do a mitzvah for seniors celebrating Passover. Then we will have a Seder Plate Taste Test, as you delve into why we have the things on the Seder plate that we do. Best for ages 3 and up.

Walks in the Woods
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Enjoy the season and some active fun. See flowers that are popping up with warmer temps, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and savor the time outdoors. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for places to walk in the woods with the kids.

The Ins and Outs of DC
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

If you’re looking for things to do outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
The Great Indoors


3 Comments

Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Babies, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Library of Congress, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Hunt for Harry Potter in the National Gallery of Art with Watson Adventures

A couple of wizards at work on their clues

A couple of wizards at work on their clues



I love discovering new ways to explore old favorites. Like many Washingtonians, we’d been to the National Gallery of Art countless times, but never on a scavenger hunt, nor with Harry Potter as inspiration for a tour.

When I first learned about Watson Adventures’ Wizard School Scavenger Hunt, I was immediately intrigued. Not only does our crew love a good clue-driven search, we’re also big Harry Potter fans. Not to mention it takes place at a magnificent museum, where wandering through the galleries even without a purpose is fantastic.

Does one of these paintings reveal an answer?

Does one of these paintings reveal an answer?

This scavenger hunt is also a competition, adding a whole other fun and challenging element to the adventure. You sign up as a team, which can be a family/youth or all-adult, and compete against other groups. You’re all on a mission to find art that echoes characters, places, and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies in search of answers to 24 questions. There are clever Harry Potter-themed clues to help you locate each one, but many of them are tricky to decipher and take some sleuthing and careful examination of the art to figure out!

Exploring the galleries armed with clues

Exploring the galleries armed with clues

Every team has the same questions, but ordered differently for each group to stay spread out, though we did run into other teams searching for the same art a couple of times. You have 90 minutes to complete the hunt, which takes place throughout most of the West Wing of the NGA. And that hour and a half goes by quickly — we were scrambling for those last few clues to finish before the hunt time was up!

The search covers a lot of museum ground

The search covers a lot of museum ground

So excited to come across the guy they always sing about (Alexander Hamilton)

So excited to come across the guy they always sing about (My name is Alexander Hamilton…)

One point is given for every question answered correctly. The team that comes up with the most creative name also gets points. And you lose points if you’re not back to the starting place before the hunt time is up. The teams (one family/youth, one all-adult) that have the most points win.

Someone is feeling stumped

Someone is feeling stumped

Waiting for the announcement of the winners

Waiting for the announcement of the winners

As the Hogwarts crew might say, this adventure is bloody brilliant! It’s unique, fun, and exciting, and something the whole family can do together. All four of us contributed to the effort, and while we didn’t win, we had such a great time together completing the task. On top of that, we all agreed that it made us take a much closer look at some of the art that we often casually stroll by, something we’ll keep in mind on our next visit.

Want to see the clues?  Go sign up!

Want to see the clues? Go sign up!



So, is your family ready to prove yourselves wizards among muggles? If so, here’s what you need to know about Watson Adventures:

* The Wizard School Scavenger Hunt is hosted monthly at the National Gallery of Art. The next one takes place Saturday, April 8, at 2pm. Sign up here.
* Cost is $17.50/ages 17 and under, and $19.50/adults
* While the website recommends this for ages 10 and up, I’d say about ages 8 and up can enjoy it. Sasha (8) loved it, and a couple of her 2nd grade classmates were there and had a great time, too.
* Watson Adventures also hosts scavenger hunts with other themes at different locations. Most are geared toward adults (think KidFree!), but Secrets of Georgetown is also for teens.
* Scavenger hunts are hosted in other cities, too. Visit the website to see where.


Disclosure: Our family received complimentary admission for the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt from Watson Adventures, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Art, Competition, DC, Gradeschoolers, Museums, Parents, Preteens, Teens, Tweens, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: March 17-19

All eyes on the Tidal Basin... come on, cherry blossoms!

All eyes on the Tidal Basin… come on, cherry blossoms!



kitesofasia-post300x250

There might be some questions about the fate of the cherry blossoms — will they or won’t they bloom? — but when it comes to cool pursuits around DC, there’s never any doubt, and this weekend is no exception. See basketball action that brings more laughs than madness, go green at an environmental film fest, celebrate Women’s History Month at a special museum program, let older kids have their day in “court,” shop a wacky and wonderful museum sale, take in some live entertainment, enjoy activities at local parks, have some KidFree fun, and wind it all down Sunday evening at an anniversary bash for a DC institution. Details on these and many more area happenings are all right here. Happy Weekend!

Cherry Blossom Festivities
Where: Tidal Basin
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

How our famous flowers fare after the recent blast of winter remains to be seen, but the National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off this weekend regardless. Tickets are long gone for the Opening Ceremony event, but there will be a variety of performances at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Hopefully, there will be pretty blooms to enjoy along with them. And for tips on viewing the cherry blossoms, be sure to check out this KFDC post.

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Verizon Center & Eagle Bank Arena
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $25 and up

The Ambassadors of Goodwill are bringing their A-game — an exciting combo of basketball, entertainment, and comedy — to the DC area with three shows, at the Patriot Center Friday evening, then two at the Verizon Center on Saturday, and back at the Patriot Center on Sunday. Tickets are still available for all of them.

Women’s History Month Family Day
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Explore the various roles women had at the Post Office throughout its long history. Watch a historic printing press demonstrations, play the “Dead Letter Office” game and learn about the first female Post Master, Mary Katherine Goddard. Meet a female Postal Inspector and learn about her exciting job “Behind the Badge.” Enjoy story time and scavenger hunt and take home an NPM airplane as a souvenir! “Amelia Earhart” will make several appearances and engage visitors by speaking about her love of stamps and her airborne adventures.

Refuge System Birthday Bash
Where: National Wildlife Visitors Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the work of 566 wildlife refuges across the US and its territories at the annual Refuge System Birthday Bash. This year’s theme is Awareness & Action, and the Refuge will be sharing ways to help wildlife through crafts, games, educational activities, and Environmental Film Festival. The National Wildlife Visitor Center is located at 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop in Laurel, MD.

White Elephant Barn Sale
Where: American Visionary Art Museum
When: Saturday, 7am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Help AVAM clear out their hoard! And if you’re familiar with the museum, then you know you this is an opportunity to score something great. Get your hands on amazing artwork, books, cards & publications, electronics, office supplies & furniture, vintage Macs, retro AVAM & Kinetic memorabilia, plenty of art fixins, and loads more… it’s a picker’s paradise! All proceeds benefit AVAM. And while you’re there, take a tour of the museum, too (admission $15.95/adult, $9.95/child). Read more about AVAM here.

Room for Children
Where: House of Sweden
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

It’s opening weekend in the space for family fun at the Swedish Embassy on Georgetown’s waterfront. This library and arts studio for the young is designed to stimulate children’s interest in books, music, storytelling, and self-expression — Room for Children pushes the boundaries of what a library can be. Parents are encouraged to engage in it all with kids and share the experience! This will be open on weekends through December, and every Saturday, there is a storytime session at 2pm.

Mock Trial for Kids
Where: Trinity Washington University
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: $50/child

Kids ages 8-12 can have their day in “court” as they join this one of a kind legal educational program from Juris Prudence Academy. The 90-minute workshop will teach academy students basic legal principles in a collaborative setting. Guided by a lawyer, students will participate in a mock trial, applying the principles they have learned in the workshop.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Go prehistoric at Strathmore for Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live Friday night
* See a special performance of Aladdin by The Washington Ballet at THEARC
* Reserve free tickets to see Christylez Bacon, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* The Kennedy Center presents puppetry for children with Grug and the Rainbow
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Magic Toyshop is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Little ones will love Art on the Horizon’s Nutt and Bolt (sold out online, so call about tickets)
* From the Mouths of Monsters is a Frankenstein-inspired show at the Kennedy Center
* Saturday is the last chance to see The Freshest Snow Whyte at Imagination Stage
* Catch a whiff of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales at Alden Theatre
* Enjoy funky folk msic for the whole family at a Billy Jonas concert hosted at Tikvat Israel Congregation on Sunday

Women in Aviation and Space
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Throughout the history of aviation and space exploration, women have fought to be on equal terms with their male counterparts. At this family day, learn about the significant contributions women have made despite the many challenges they faced. The day will feature presentations by women in the field, hands-on activities, and stories.

Movie at the Museum: Long Way North
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

Set in 1892, this animated adventure, part of the Environmental Film Fest, follows 15-year-old Russian aristocrat Sacha as she leaves behind her comfortable Saint Petersburg life in the hopes of tracking down and saving her beloved grandfather, Oloukine, a famous explorer who has gone missing near the North Pole. Sacha has always been fascinated by the exciting life of her grandfather and dreams of becoming an explorer, too. But Sacha’s parents strongly disapprove of her ambitions and, in fact, have already made arrangements for her marriage. Defying her destiny, Sacha flees her home and launches a daring quest toward the Great North in search of Oloukine and his ship. Recommended for ages 11 and up.

Environmental Film Fest
Where: Several locations around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by film

Films from across the globe are being screened around the DC-Metro area for the the 25th annual Environmental Film Festival. And there are a few family-oriented flicks among them. Born in China follows three animal families into the wilds of China. Conquest of the Skies highlights the power of flight in nature. Little film-goers will be enthralled by Light on Earth about creatures that glow. Cat people will enjoy Kedi about the felines that have roamed the streets of Istanbul for thousands of years. There are even more films that older kids will likely enjoy and learn from and others to consider for a grown-up outing. View the websites watch trailers and get showtimes and details.

Spring Batiks Workshops
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: $27/member, $32/non-member

Kids in grades 3-6 can learn how to create a vibrant springtime batik artwork on fabric with with instructor, Dollie Karolewski. Using melted crayons and fabric paints, each child will come away with their own unique 12×12″ artwork.

All Aboard for a Model Train Open House 
Where: Historic Vienna Depot of the W&OD Railroad
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Chug on down to Vienna to watch model train and trolley activities that realistically depict an actual railroad that existed in North Carolina in the 1950′s, the Western North Carolina (WNC).  As described in Model Railroader magazine, every hill, town, building, locomotive, rail car, and industry in this layout is modeled after those places and things as they looked in that era. Well, almost everything. To satisfy popular demand, expect an occasional sighting of Thomas the Tank Engine (and a few of his friends) chugging around among the bigger steam and diesel locomotives. The Vienna Depot is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, VA.

Park it in Fairfax
Where: Several Fairfax parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Search for birds and mammals at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by “going green” at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Learn about the moon during a family astronomy session at Observatory Park at Turner Farm. Details and registration for these and even more activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Park it in MoCo
Where: Montgomery County Parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Montgomery Parks also presents loads of special activities for visitors of all ages. Go on a Family Green Hour walk at Locust Grove Nature Center, watch a raptor feeding at Nature Center, experiment with Awesome Acts of Science at Black Hill Visitors Center, and more. See the online calendar for details and even more events happening this weekend.

Clean-Up at the Colonial Farm
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Play a valuable role in preparing the Claude Moore Colonial Farm for its 2017 season and Opening Day on April 1. On this 18th century working farm and National Park trails and fields need to be cleared, fences rebuilt, and wood split, moved and stacked. There is also work in the greenhouse, cleaning animal pens, and a variety of other spruce up activities for all ages. It’s a great activity for families and groups, and you get picnic hot dog lunch! Bring work gloves and dress for the weather.

Portrait Story Days & Discoveries
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 1-4pm & Sunday, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Eleanor Roosevelt and complete a hands-on activity. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum. For more about the program, see this post about one of our experiences there.

NOVA Mini Maker Faire
Where: South Lakes High & Langston Highs Middle Schools
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: $15/adult, $5/children

It’s a gathering of inventors, entrepreneurs, tech enthusiasts, and curious minds at the 4th annual NoVa Mini Maker Faire. The event inspires, informs, connects, and entertains thousands of attendees in a family-friendly environment. More than 100 makers will share their knowledge through hands-on projects for adults and kids in areas from primitive tools and blacksmithing to drones and 3D printers. Experience it all at South Lakes High School and Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston, VA.

Happy 20th, Millennium Stage!
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Sunday, 5pm
Admission: Free

The Kennedy Center celebrates a major milestone this month – the 20th anniversary of Millennium Stage, the only U.S. institution that offers a free performance every day of the year, (6 p.m. daily on the Millennium Stage). The celebration will feature performances by Celtic rock band, Scythian, and New Orleans funk band, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, in a massive party overtaking the Center’s Grand Foyer. Go early! The first 1,000 fans get a free T-shirt, and ticket giveaways will be open for entry until 8pm! A special MS20 happy hour from 5-6 p.m. features all beer and wine 50% off at the Grand Foyer Bars.

Everyday Play
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Want even more options for local activities with the kids? The Everyday Play page is loaded with ideas for ongoing fun — every single one of them tried and tested by yours truly and crew.

Go KidFree!
Where: Around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Need ideas for things to do sans kids? Here are a few suggestions of some places and activities for KidFree fun this weekend:
*Get your green on for St. Pat’s Day at one (or more) of these 17 places
*Watch March Madness out at a local spot
*Enjoy some Hemingway on stage at a performance of The Select (The Sun Also Rises) at the Lansburgh Theatre
*Grab an Instagram-worthy drink and bite at the Pop-Up Cherry Blossom Bar
*Savor tapas and sangria at Joselito, a new(ish) Spanish restaurant on Capitol Hill


Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Shop, Theatre, Trains, Virginia, Volunteer, Weekend, Winter

The Best Events of the 2017 Cherry Blossom Season for Families

blossoms_picnic

There’s much more to cherry blossom season in DC than just the famous flowers. The National Cherry Blossom Festival makes it a great celebration with all kinds of events over several weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festival. Here are the best of them for families to help plan for a peak blossom experience. And be sure to check out this post, too, with tips for cherry blossom viewing. Happy spring!

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: March 15 – April 2
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the bloom season and most of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Enjoy them daily starting March 15 from 12-6pm.

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Celebration of Japanese culture in the beauitful Kogod Courtyard! A taiko drumming performance will kick off the day, followed by Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts. Make your own tatebanko (a Japanese paper diorama) with friends from the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Gallery, go on a scavenger hunt to find spring themed artworks, and more!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress Young Readers Center
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Learn about Japanese culture as you create origami artwork creation, try on kimonos, and enjoy more other activities. Cherry Blossom princesses from the last few years will instruct children in the art of tiara-making. At 11am and 1:30pm, the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, will present “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” a program about Japanese life and culture. Following each of these presentations, there will be a karate demonstration along with other attractions. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature – read more about it here.

Friendship Between Nations Family Day
Where: National Archives
When: March 25, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship, such as the gift of the cherry blossoms from Japan to the US. Investigate treaties, learn about some of the crazy gifts countries have given, and participate in interactive activities designed for the entire family to enjoy.

Kites of Asia Heritage Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian heritage! At the Air & Space Museum’s annual event, you can talk to kite experts, see pan-Asian kite displays, marvel at indoor kite flying, make your own kite, and maybe even take a dance lesson!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: April 1, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is probably my favorite event of the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly a sight to behold. It’s magical for kids — and even for me as a jaded adult! The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 8, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is easily the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: M Street & New Jersey Ave. SE
When: April 8, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. There will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. All at a new location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Be prepared for a crowd.

Family Workshop: Japanese Woodblock Printing
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: April 8-9, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, join the Sackler for opening weekend of Inventing Utamaro and free family activities! In this Open Studio, witness firsthand the beauty and complexity of Japanese woodblock prints. Take a family-friendly tour (offered at 12:30pm and 2:30pm) of the exhibition, then explore traditional tools and papers. A teaching artist demonstrates transferring designs to a block, carving, and basic printing techniques. Come prepared to get your hands inky. All ages welcome!

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park
When: April 9
Admission: Free

The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park present the 3rd annual Anacostia River Festival, also a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival! Celebrate the Anacostia River with some fun outdoor recreation! Explore the river by canoe, ride in a bike parade, play lawn games with your family, and experience Southeast DC’s local arts scene. This year they’re celebrating biking in the District with trail rides, safety classes, quick bike tune ups, and special bike activities for all ages.

Family Afternoon: Design with Nature
Where: National Building Museum
When: April 9, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

All ages can drop in for creative hands-on activities, a community garden design project, and opportunities to learn about Japanese art and design. See how nature is intentionally integrated into the built world, different ways people design with nature, and how nature can inspire design in and around built spaces. Learn about symbolism of the natural world across cultures and make connections between springtime symbolism, design, nature, and the built world they live in.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront
When: April 15, 2-9:30pm
Admission: Free

This event that takes place along the District Wharf and the Titanic Memorial on the Southwest Waterfront is one of the last of the festival this year. It’s an afternoon and part-evening affair with free live music and family-friendly festivities, including water-related activities, cultural experiences, and delicious foods. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.


Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend