Tag Archives: Family Fun

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 17-20

Enjoy warmer weather and avoid crowds downtown at the National Zoo this week

Enjoy warmer weather and avoid crowds downtown at the National Zoo this week



Tuesday – Put some color in what’s forecast to be a gray day on a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Housing some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around, the vibrant, quirky collections — including interactive pieces — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & ages 7 and up, free for 6 and under.

Later in the day, Whole Foods Market Fair Lakes is celebrating their 10th Anniversary with fun for the whole family from 4-7pm. There will be live music, face painting, raffles, delicious samples from local vendors, and a cake cutting. Plus, you can enjoy exclusive sale items all day and get a free pint glass with any food purchased from the store’s sports bar, seafood shack, or cheese grille.

Wednesday – Have a wild time at the National Zoo, while the weather warms up and the weekday crowds thin out. Check the Daily Events schedule before you go to help plan your outing or pick your animal visits as you go. Grounds are open 8am – 5pm, exhibit building hours are 9am – 4pm, and the Visitor Center 10am – 4pm. Admission is free, though parking in the Zoo lot for non-members is $22 (free for members). You can also try parking on Connecticut Avenue or a side street, or take Metro to Woodley Park or Cleveland Park stations.

Thursday – Enjoy the day at Watkins Regional Park! The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will keep little ones 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 8:30am – 5pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free.

Friday – As the 45th president is sworn in on Inauguration Day, head to Alexandria (and avoid the crowds of DC) to visit the home of the nation’s first POTUS, George Washington. Mount Vernon is hosting special activities, including scavenger hunts, exhibits, photo ops, and more, not to mention the ongoing programs and exhibits will be available, too! This program runs January 19-22. Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is $20/adult, $10/ages 6-11, free for 5 and under at the door, but $2 less if you purchase tickets online. And if you’re planning to take in the action at the U.S. Capitol, I recommend checking out this guide.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 9-13

Taking in the view at Kenilworth Aquatic Garden

Taking in the view at Kenilworth Aquatic Garden





Monday – 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 at $8/30 minutes ($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.

Tuesday – Take your toddlers to story hour at East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. The children’s book readings are perfect for future readers ages 0-4. The session starts at 11am, and admission is free. After, browse the inventory then grab a lunch at one of many nearby eateries.

Wednesday – Join wacky citizen-scientist Professor Wingnut and his friend Seymour Seagull as they explore the amazing science of flight! This show presented by Discovery Theater fittingly takes places at the National Air & Space Museum. Tickets are still available for the 1pm performance (on Thursday, too!) and cost $3-8, depending on age. If they sell out, you can catch a different kind of show at the museum’s Albert Einstein Planetarium or just explore the amazing space 😉 . Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Thursday – Enjoy what will hopefully be a warmer, sunnier day at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Go on a nature walk among the ponds filled with giant lily pads and other interesting marsh plants and look for geese, great blue herons, turtles, frogs, and tiny fish on the way. Open 8am – 4pm this time of year, and at 2pm you can join a Garden Walk with a park ranger. Admission is free.

Friday – Explore the local environment from the comfort of the indoors at Buddie Ford Nature Center, which I just posted about last week. The facility in Alexandria boasts fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. And if weather permits, continue the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.


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

Discover the History of Fort McHenry

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Given the many, many years I’ve lived in DC and the frequency that we visit Baltimore, it’s kind of surprising I’d never been to Fort McHenry until recently. That’s not for lack of talking about going, though. I can’t count the number of times over the years that Levi and I drove nearby or through the tunnel bearing its name and remarked about wanting to go — starting before we even had children.

O, say can you see...my kids having a sweet moment?!

O, say can you see…my kids having a sweet moment?!

All that talk finally came to fruition when we made a trip to the national monument with the kids a few week ago. The site of the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812 and birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, Fort McHenry makes for a very interesting, informative, and enjoyable outing for all ages.

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There are all kinds of engaging exhibits both in the Visitors Center and throughout the grounds, from historical objects and structures to multimedia displays and interactives. We started at the Visitors Center, where we paid admission ($10/adult) and got a good background about the site from several exhibits. One of the kids’ and my favorites was a video featuring various artists performing the Star Spangled Banner (Whitney Houston’s Super Bowl rendition the best by far, of course.) There is also a 10-minute film depicting the history of Fort McHenry that is a must-see, with a little surprise at the end that I found very moving.

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With more knowledge of Fort McHenry, including details about defeating the British in battle in 1814 and the waving American flag that inspired the National Anthem, we headed outside to explore the actual fort. Having more insight into the history undoubtedly enhanced the tour, especially for the kids, since they had a better understanding of the site’s significance and could actually placed what they’d just learned where they now were.

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Many original structures remain at the fort and are open for exploration. In fact, most of the barracks and officer’s quarters now contain exhibits, some of them recreating what the spaces would have looked like back then, others displaying artifacts, and even more highlighting interesting aspects of the fort’s history. In one of them you can see the cross brace of the flag pole that hoisted the original star spangled banner. Along with the barracks, there are several underground areas, like prison cells and shelters, which the kids enjoyed exploring.

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Cannons sit at the forefront of it all, the guns aimed at the Chesapeake. You can walk along the bastion and take in the same view the soldiers did over two hundred years ago. What was once a battle scene is now a nice Baltimore vista. And if you look back at the fort, you’ll see the flag waving in the wind above.

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You can explore it all on a self-guided tour or join a Ranger Talk offered at 2:30pm this time of year. Other programs such as drill, musket, and artillery demonstrations by the Fort McHenry Guard occur seasonally, so it’s worth checking the website to see what might be on the schedule before you go. And you can help with the flag changes that place twice a day.

Fort McHenry is located in the Locust Hill neighborhood of Baltimore. It’s open daily, with exceptions of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. Park hours are 9am – 5pm, and the fort and Visitors Center close at 4:45pm. Admission is $10/adult, free for children 15 and under. Free parking is available in a lot. You could also make an adventure of getting there and take a Water Taxi from the Inner Harbor.


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Filed under All ages, Educational, Exhibit, Maryland, Monuments & Memorials, Outdoor, Park, Weekdays, Weekend

New Summer Activity that Local Families are Raving About

[Note: This post is exclusive to KidFriendly DC and announces the launch of an exciting new summer activity for local families. It was written by the folks at the Kiddovate Foundation.]

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If you are looking for a fun summer activity to do WITH your kids, we’ve found it. It’s not a camp, class, or cookout. And it doesn’t require driving, diving, or dishing out cash. It’s something you can do at home, for free, with the whole family. And your kids will LOVE IT.

Sounds impossible, but it’s true! KidFriendly DC was among the first to learn about the launch of The Kiddovate Family Challenge! Check out this video to see this month’s challenge yourself — the KidFriendly DC crew was eager to jump in, and your kids will be, too!

The Kiddovate Family Challenge is an exciting family activity that encourages kids and parents to work together to solve monthly creative challenges. Imagine building a rubber band powered vehicle, innovating a new kind of firework, or using recyclable materials to construct the ultimate toy store. These are the types of challenges that families participate in each month, and winners receive great prizes from big time sponsors. (In July, the sponsor is Six Flags America!)

Parents feel great about participating in Kiddovate’s STEAM-based challenges; and kids are so engaged that they will actually turn off their iPads and start building! Besides being fun and engaging for the whole family, the Kiddovate Family Challenge inspires innovative thinking, teamwork, collaboration, and hands-on building with everyday materials like old shoe boxes, egg cartons, and empty toilet paper tubes. Seriously, you have to see this video.

The Kiddovate Family Challenge is subscription based, but it’s super cheap when compared to alternative activities, or even movie tickets! For just $4.99 per month your family gets access to the monthly challenge and you become eligible to win fantastic prizes geared at creating even more family fun.

Great news for KidFriendly DC readers, if you sign up for the Kiddovate Family Challenge soon, the first month (July) is free! Please don’t miss out on the chance to join in the fun and ignite a flurry of creativity and innovation in your own home.

Again, check out this video to see this month’s challenge. Spoiler alert: You and your kids will be designing and prototyping a totally innovative water park experience. You guessed it, winners receive AWESOME prize package to Six Flags America.

Sign up for the Kiddovate Family Challenge today to have so much fun “making a splash” with your kids.

Yes, the prizes and recognition are great. But, beyond that, your family wins something priceless: time together as a family, making memories and having fun. It might sound simple, even cheesy, but in a fast paced world where turnover and timelines move at a rapid pace, taking time to roll up your sleeves and engage with your kids is a precious commodity. Challenging yourself to listen to your kids’ ideas and help bring them to life can be transformative in a family.

So, “take the plunge” and start making waves with this awesome family-friendly activity, from the folks at Kiddovate who are working hard to help today’s kids become tomorrow’s innovators.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Kiddovate Foundation, however, I only promote services, events, and programs that I truly believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Sponsored Post