Tag Archives: Fun Things to do with Kids in the Washington DC Area

The Weekend Round-Up: April 28-30

Go for a spin on the beautiful Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park

Go for a spin on the beautiful Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park



This is always a great time of year in DC, and not only because of the warmer weather and colorful hues that come with spring. It’s also when some of the area’s best annual events occur. Say “oui” to a Georgetown outing, celebrate a grand carousel, explore your world at local university, enjoy a day of fun on a dairy farm, experience “shear” joy at one of the best parks around, spend a day with beloved train, and even more. And the compilation of the best outdoor places and the big list of indoor activities have even more ideas for mainstay fun. Happy Weekend!

Bon Jour, Georgetown!
Where: Book Hill Neighborhood | Georgetown, DC
When: Friday/Saturday, 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

The Georgetown French Market returns to the Book Hill neighborhood bringing the signature European open air market back for its 14th year, featuring nearly 40 Georgetown boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and galleries, art, and antique home furnishings. But it’s not all about the shopping; kids will enjoy the strolling mimes, children’s activities, live music, and French cuisine from Georgetown cafes and restaurants. Visit the website to download a schedule of events and list of participating shops.

Carousel Day
Where: Glen Echo Park | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free (rides are $1.25)

The park’s annual Family Day may have a new name, but the celebration of the beautiful historic Dentzel Carousel, now open for its 97th season, is the same fantastic event. Along with rides on the merry-go-round, guests of all ages can enjoy a loads of fun activities: Music and dance performances, arts & crafts, face painting, storytelling, and balloon animals are just some of the usual favorites. See the full schedule of events here.

Go, Terps!
Where: University of Maryland
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

The annual Maryland Day celebration in College Park gets a giant thumbs-up from me, and not just because it’s my alma mater. This is a fantastic event for families, and I know from experience. Every year, the University hosts a huge open house for, well, everybody. “Explore Our World of Fearless Ideas” is the theme, and guests will be able to do that and then some. There will be over 400 activities for varying ages, including learning games; an adventure area; autograph sessions with the basketball teams; musical performances; arts & crafts; farm animal visits; puppet shows and sing-a-longs; face painting; fossil digs; insect and instrument petting zoos; and TONS more. It’s spread out all over campus — and it’s a huge campus, so prepared for lots of walking (worth every step!) and be sure to bring a stroller for little ones.

Shearing & Fiber Day
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper Marlboro, MD
When Saturday,
Admission: Free

Join the workers at the Old Maryland Farm for the annual shearing of the sheep and llama! See firsthand how wool and hair are collected from farms and learn how it will end up in your clothing. Enjoy the wool spinning demonstration and fiber display. Hay rides are also available for $2 per rider. And while you’re there, enjoy the rest of the wonderful offerings at Watkins Regional Park!

Picnic on the Pasture
Where: South Mountain Creamery | Middletown, MD
When: Saturday, 9am – 7:30pm
Admission: $14/adult, $9/child, $40/family

Join South Mountain Creamery for breakfast and plan to stay all day to enjoy wide open country, fresh air, green grass, and wholesome fun for the entire family. Free tours of the farm, petting zoo for the kids, hay rides for everyone, live music, and fun farm exhibits, like ice cream churning and bee keeping, will be going on. Visit our farmers market and meet farm and producer partners. Admission fee includes parking, family activities, and one (adult/child) meal platter good for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Additional food and snacks will be available for purchase.

Day Out with Thomas
Where: B&O Railroad Museum
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: $22-25

All aboard, little engineers! Thomas the Tank Engine™ will be able to talk to his fans when he returns to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore! Take a 25-minute train ride behind Thomas the Tank Engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy a full day of live entertainment, activities, and family fun!

Book Shop Birthday Bash
Where: East City Book Shop | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 8pm
Admission: Free

Help East City Book Shop celebrate their first birthday as well as Independent Bookstore Day! A daylong lineup of activities will include two storytimes, authors as guest booksellers, an a capella performance, free food throughout the day, plus a free gift to anyone who purchases $50+ at the store (while supplies last). There will be evening fun, too! Visit the website for the day’s schedule and more details.

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

* Your wish for all-ages entertainment has been granted: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp is at Adventure Theatre
* Enjoy Theatre for the Very Young at a performance of Paper Dreams at the Atlas
* Go wild for The Jungle Book at Imagination Stage
* It’s the last weekend to see The Three Billy Goats Gruff at The Puppet Co.
* And Baby Bear’s Birthday is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage is outstanding and appropriate for middle school ages an dup
* Gala Hispanic Theatre presents Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights – En Español!
* Ragtime is running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* Make it a date night at Fun Home running at National Theatre through May 13 (look for a discount)
* Synetic Theatre’s Macbeth would also make for a good KidFree outing (look for a discount)

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

It’s a weekend at home for the Nats as they host the Mets. There are games Friday at 7:05pm, Saturday at 1:05pm, and on Sunday at 1:35pm. Stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases, and be sure to check these KFDC tips for doing a Nats game without breaking the bank.

Root for the Baysox
Where: Prince George’s Stadium | Landover, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Nats aren’t the only baseball team in town. The Bowie Baysox, one of the local minor league teams, are hosting the Akron Rubber Ducks all weekend, and there’s extra fun and special promos to enjoy, too — post-game fireworks, Purple Rain Night, Read & hit a hoe Run Night, PJ Masks Day and more. Get details on what’s happening when here. And read more about Baysox games in this KFDC post.

Charm City Bluegrass Festival
Where: Druid Hill Park | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 9:30pm
Admission: $55/advance, $60/day of, free for 10 and under

Music lovers and foodies will be gathering for the fifth annual all-day celebration of bluegrass. Three stages, 14 bands, and 12 hours of family-friendly festivities, will include local food, limited release beer from Union Brewery, artists, kid’s games, crafts, spontaneous jam sessions, and more. New to the festival this year is a third stage, providing festival goers with a more comprehensive musical experience featuring traditional and progressive bluegrass, folk and Americana. Visit the website for the lineup of music and food.

Mother’s Day Fused Glass Pendants
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $40/member, $45/non-member (includes parent & child)

Kids ages 10 and up with adults can learn to create a fused glass heart pendant with various bits of colorful mosaic glass. Each parent/child couple will create two hearts to exchange for Mother’s Day. Hearts will need to be fired in a kiln and will be ready for pickup by Mother’s Day. A special gift for the maternal figures in your life!

Catch the Ultimate Breeze
Where: Gallaudet University | Northeast, DC
When: Saturday, 6:30pm
Admission: $10/advance, $12.50/day of

Bring the kids out for fun, fresh air, and Pro Ultimate Frisbee! Not only will you get to see exciting Frisbee action as local team DC Breeze takes on the Ottawa Outlaws, kids can join a free youth clinic (for ages 6-17) before the game at 5pm (FYI: they offer this at every home game.) And while your kids are learning Ultimate out on the field, you can enjoy food and drink specials and listen to a live band to get ready for the game.

KidFree Theatre: Smart People
Where: Arena Stage
When: Through May 21
Admission Tickets start at $41

Oh, this is good! The newest production at Arena Stage is clever and captivating as it deals with race and what shapes our belief systems. The topic is explored through four smart, strong characters, their approaches to their professions, and interactions with each other. While it covers serious subject matter, the show is loaded with laugh-out-loud moments, bringing comic relief to tense situations. In the end, though, it leaves you thinking… and also wistful for a time when we thought, perhaps, we’d crossed some of those bridges.

Dog Days Bloom Fest
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/child, $10/adult

This adventure for dogs and their people has something for every member of the family, but canines especially will have a blast at the day’s festivities. The addition of a Frisbee Competition with the Appalachian Air Canines on Saturday brings a new level of excitement to this year’s event. Professionals will also be providing tips for working with your dog. And the rest of the farm, which is essentially a sprawling playground, is open for all to enjoy. Explore the many acres, and opt for a wagon ride to see the orchards and farm in bloom!

Fancy This
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: Through September 17, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2

Walk amid a garden of butterflies as Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy during the first weekend of its annual run. The display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight! Plan to tour the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds while you’re there and see if there are any other special kids’ programs to enjoy. Read about one of our experiences at the exhibit and rest of Brookside.

Strawberry Fields
Where: Shlagel Farms
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The PYO season has begun as the first farms has opened its strawberry patches to the public, so you can get out there and reap the fruits. See this post for details on Shlagel and other area farms that will open soon where you can gather your own berries, several offering much more than just picking.

Celebrate Ella
Where: Meridian Hill & Marvin Gaye Parks
When: Saturday, 6pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: Free

Ella Fitzgerald is turning 100, and in the spirit of celebration for her life and legacy, The DC Youth Orchestra Program (DCYOP) and The American Pops Orchestra (APO) are partnering to bring the joy and beauty of music to the DC community with performances this weekend. Open to the public, this tribute to Fitzgerald brings music to local parks in a family-friendly environment and will feature Fitzgerald favorites including  “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” “Just One of Those Things,” and “The Lady is a Tramp” among many others in the setting of two of DC’s iconic parks. Saturday’s show will take place in Meridian Hill Park in Columbia Heights, and Sunday’s will be at Marvin Gaye Park in northeast.

27th Annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale
Where: National Arboretum
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

The Arboretum’s annual Garden Fair and Plant Sale is a weekend designed for gardeners of all levels searching for their perfect plant, herbs from the Potomac Unit of the National Herb Society, or horticulture guidance from expert horticulturists. Make it a family affair — the event also features food and drink vendors, a performance by the Washington Revels, and a strawberry potting activity for children. Festivities will take place outside the Administration Building and Visitor Center, adjacent to the National Capitol Columns, near the Azalea Collection (which is beautiful now!), and in the Grove of State Trees, so you can enjoy the beautiful grounds, too.

Mother’s Day Tea Party: A Family Clay Workshop
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Sunday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $65/members, $75/non-members (includes parent & child)

Celebrate Mother’s Day by working with Mom to create an entire tea service complete with teapot, creamer, sugar bowl, and teacups. Work together to make your own whimsical set out of clay, then decorate them with colorful underglazes. Create special memories with this great workshop!

***BONUS BITS***
* Learn about Flex Academies and their after school enrichment programs.
* Want a fun & educational summer camp? Check out e² Young Engineers.
* You might find a great deal on it (and lots of other camps) on CertifiKID.
* The azaleas in bloom at the National Arboretum is a beautiful!
* The National Air & Space Museum just debuted a new Virtual Reality Motion Ride. Go for a spin in space on the VR Transporter next time you’re there!


Leave a Comment

Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Theatre, Trains, Virginia, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: April 24-28

Butterflies return to Brookside Gardens this week

Butterflies return to Brookside Gardens this week



Monday – Rise + Rhyme at Busboys and Poets in Takoma or Hyattsville, MD. The weekly series welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Admission is $5. Plan on breakfast, too — full service will be available while the little ones are grooving. (The series also takes place in Shirlington, VA, the last Tuesday of every month, which is this week!)

Tuesday – Let little ones bounce, climb, swing, tumble, and slide at the PG Sports & Learning Complex Gymnastics Center in Landover, MD. The hour-long weekly open play session begins at 11:30am, and admission is $7/child. (This also takes place on Wednesdays at 11:30am, Fridays at 4:30pm, and Saturdays at 1:30pm.)

Wednesday – Learn about the area’s wildlife, enjoy hands-on activities in the Nature Center, view 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. (Pony rides are not offered on weekdays this time of year, but guests are welcome to stop by the stables.)

Thursday – Experience the wonderful Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens! Walk amid a garden of butterflies in the annual display of live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world. It’s a guaranteed delight for all ages. The exhibit opens April 26 and runs through September 17. Hours are 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2. Stay to explore the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds and be sure make time to play in the adorable Children’s Garden. The gardens are open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. Read about one of our experiences at the exhibit and Brookside.

Friday – 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.


Leave a Comment

Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Play, Playground, Seasonal, Spring, Story Time, Virginia, Weekdays

Giveaway! See Amazon Adventure 3D at the National Museum of Natural History

kidfriendlydc_amazon_adventure_giveaway_800x600

Amazon Adventure 3D tells the epic, true story of explorer Henry Bates’ fascinating 11-year journey through the visually stunning and biodiverse Amazon rainforest as a young man who risks his life for science in the 1850’s.

As in any great detective story, audiences will experience, in immersive IMAX®, the compelling clues Bates unearths in his major discovery of the phenomenon of mimicry, whereby certain animals adopt the look of others that helps them deceive predators and gain an advantage to survive.

Little known to the public, Bates made other crucial contributions to biology: identifying 8,000 species new to science and, most importantly, putting the first ever case for the creation of a new species, which Charles Darwin called the “beautiful proof” for Natural Selection.

Audiences will be wowed by the mind-boggling examples of camouflage and mimicry and inspired by Bates’ endless curiosity and determination to explore the wilds of nature from the time he was a young boy.

Amazon Adventures 3D is playing at the Johnson IMAX Theater in the National Museum of Natural History. Running time is 45 minutes. Tickets are available online or at the Box Office located on the main floor of the museum.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to see Amazon Adventures 3D at the Johnson IMAX Theatre (tickets must be used by June 1, 2017), simply leave a comment below or on the KidFriendly DC Facebook (enter on both for two shots at winning) page naming your child’s favorite Amazonian creature. This giveaway will run through April 28, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


This post is sponsored by Smithsonian Enterprises, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

82 Comments

Filed under 2017, DC, Educational, Giveaway, Movies, Museums, Nature, Sponsored Post, Ticket Giveaway, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: April 21-23

Celebrate National Parks and Earth Day at Shenandoah (and cross fingers for no rain!)

Celebrate National Parks and Earth Day at Shenandoah (and cross fingers for no rain!)



Earth Day celebrations, the March for Science, a math festival, National Parks Week, dinosaurs! It sounds like a STEM sort of weekend. Except there’s also a birthday bash for Shakespeare, lots of live entertainment, a literary fest, an extravaganza of fairies and gnomes, and much more. It’s a well-rounded selection of fun. Happy Weekend!

Earth Optimism Day
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

A great way to spend Earth Day: Celebrating conservation success stories at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo! The family-friendly event will feature fun activities and interactive demos, including a conservation scavenger hunt. Plan to bike there and get free valet bike parking – register for it here.

March for Science
Where: Starts north of Washington Monument | DC
When: Saturday, 9am
Admission: Free

Celebrate science and join the “first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.” Well-timed to take place on Earth Day, the DC event will start with a teach-in and rally, then a march through the streets will follow.

Shop & Celebrate
Where: 529 Kids Consign | Alexandria, VA
When: Friday, 3-6pm
Admission: Free

The go-to upscale children’s and maternity consignment boutique is celebrating five years of business and you’re invited to the birthday bash! During the festivities, get 10% off all full-price items, plus there will be balloon animal art and a photo booth with a chance to win a FREE mini photo session. Party goers will also have the chance to score raffle prizes from local shops. And no party is complete without treats, so adults can enjoy rosé and Popped Republic will be on-hand with popcorn goodies for all. Local lifestyle and family blogger Angelica Talan (who is awesome!) of ClarendonMoms.com and AngelicaInTheCity.com will serve as the guest host for the party.

Juggle Jam
Where: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, 6-7:30pm
Admission: $5 suggested donation

Throw caution to the weekend! Conquer the thrilling challenge of juggling with veteran juggler Christian Kloc. This workshop begins with a short demo, moves into some goofy warm-ups, then puts juggling props in your hands and offers pro tips to jumpstart your newfound circus habit. After practicing controlled chaos, put on a show with your fellow jugglers and get the thundering applause you deserve! All ages are welcome. Equipment is provided. Wear comfortable clothes that allow relaxed movements.

National Math Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center | Mt. Vernon Square, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: Free

The National Math Festival brings together some of the most influential mathematicians of our time to inspire and challenge participants to see math in new and exciting ways. Through a day of lectures, hands-on demonstrations, art, films, performances, puzzles, games, children’s book readings, and more, we bring out unexpected sides of mathematics for everyone, from toddlers to adults of all ages.

Earth Day Family Day
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 11:30am-3pm
Admission: Free

The American Art Museum is going green for the 47th annual Earth Day! Follow the rhythms of Bash the Trash as they perform with instruments made from recycled and reused materials, or make artworks inspired by Mother Nature. From trees to oceans to critters, come celebrate the many gifts this planet has to give us.

Discover the Dinosaurs
Where: DC Armory | SE DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $14-52

Venture back to a time when the dinosaurs roamed the earth at the ALL NEW Discover the Dinosaurs UNLEASHED! Experience up-close encounters with a lifelike Stegosaurus, Velociraptor, and the king T-Rex in this thrilling walk-through exhibit. Kids can meet a baby dino, take a spin in the Jurassic Jeeps on the Dino Raceway, and visit the Kids Adventure Zone filled with themed bouncy houses, crafts, face painting, and more. It’s family fun of prehistoric proportions!

Musical Morning with Uncle Devin
Where: Room & Board | 14th Street, DC
Whne: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free – RSVP here

Kids can get their groove on with the Uncle Devin Show, a DC-based musical experience featuring percussion instruments and vocals. All ages will love learning about percussion and can create their own musical instrument-themed craft to take home. Two sessions will take place at 10:20am and 11:20am. Room & Board is located at 1840 14th Street NW.

Anatomy of Sports
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine | Silver Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Bones and muscles need to work together for optimal performance. Athletes of all ages should know how their bodies work in order to compete and stay healthy. During Anatomy of Sports, athletes will demonstrate their sport while medical illustrators and physical therapists reveal how muscles and bones work together. This session is perfect for families with children playing sports, the recreational athlete ,or the practiced sports enthusiast. Read more about the National Museum of Health & Medicine in this KFDC post.

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

* Your wish for all-ages entertainment has been granted: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp is at Adventure Theatre
* TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched brings family puppetry to Black Rock Center for the Arts
* It’s opening weekend for The Jungle Book at Imagination Stage
* The Three Billy Goats Gruff is on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Baby Bear’s Birthday is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Gala Hispanic Theatre presents Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights – En Español!
* Ragtime is running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* Make it a date night at Fun Home running at National Theatre through May 13

A Raisin in the Sun
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through May 7
Tickets: $40-111

Take older kids or make it a date night for this play. The story follows an African American family in the 1950’s as they yearn for a better life from their Chicago tenement and have the opportunity to realize it. With stellar performances by the cast, the show is emotional and thought-provoking as it spotlights struggles and issues that our society still grapples with today. Read the full KFDC review of it here.

Holland in Haymarket
Where: Burnside Farm | Haymarket, VA
When: Saturday, & Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $8/day

Tiptoe, stroll, frolic through the tulips! Burnside Farm’s annual Festival of Spring showcasing the season’s flowers is open and blooming. Wander through the giant fields that contain over 50 different varieties of flowers in a rainbow of colors and pick your own to enjoy at home: $1 for 2 daffodils, $1 per tulip.) Be sure to have your camera handy for some brilliant photo ops.

Run of the Mill
Where: Peirce Mill | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

All ages are welcome to see the 2,000-pound millstone convert corn to cornmeal using good old-fashioned renewable energy of water. Miller Jeanne and Friends of Peirce Mill invite you to see DC’s only gristmill in action. Be sure to stop by Peirce Barn next door to explore the exhibits and enjoy children’s crafts. They will also be celebrating Rock Creek’s spring herring run with a special obstacle course for kids. Read more about Peirce Mill in this KFDC post.

Weekend Tudor Tots: Earth Day
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 10-11am
Admission: $5/child, free for adults

It’s a special weekend session of the (usually) Tuesday program for little ones to celebrate Earth Day. Read, sing, and play as Tudor Place celebrates spring while learning to reduce, reuse, and recycle in the picturesque gardens. Tots will take home a craft they’ve made themselves.

White House Spring Garden Tours
Where: White House Grounds | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm & Sunday, 10am – 2:30pm
Admission: Free, but tickets are required

Here’s a chance to see the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Kitchen Garden, and South Lawn at the White House. The annual Spring Garden and Grounds Tours are being held on Saturday and Sunday — and gaining admission to the event is as easy as picking up tickets the day of. Go here for more details and info on how to get tickets.

Earth Day Campfire
Where: Meadowside Nature Center | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 7:15-8pm
Admission: $6

Celebrate Earth Day around the campfire! Craft some handy take-care-of-the-planet reminders for your home and wind down the evening with s’mores. All participants must register in advance.

Hop on the Eye Spy Trains
Where: Montgomery County Parks | Cabin John & Wheaton, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $4/ride

Montgomery Parks recently started offering Spring Eye Spy Train rides at Cabin John and Wheaton Regional Parks for the first time! (The mini trains run during summer, too, but the Eye Spy fun is usually reserved for Halloween.) Hope on board and look for hidden figures in the woods as you ride around the park. Of course, stay to play at the park, too. Read KFDC write-ups about the Cabin John playground and the Wheaton playground.

All Aboard for a Model Train Open House
Where: Historic Vienna Depot of the W&OD Railroad | VA
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). 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.

Happy Birthday to the Bard!
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 12pm
Admission: Free

‘Tis Shakespeare’s 453rd birthday, and the Folger Shakespeare Library is celebrating with its annual Open House on Sunday afternoon. In true Renaissance fashion, there will be song and dance, Elizabethan crafts, and theatrical performances. Guests can also enjoy sword fighting demos, special tours, a giant birthday cake, and an appearance by Queen Elizabeth I. The free event takes place rain or shine. Food trucks will be stationed in Puck’s Circle The Folger Shakespeare Library is located at 201 East Capitol Street SE.

Earth Day Festival
Where: Brookside Gardens | Wheaton, MD
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Join Montgomery Parks at Brookside Gardens for a celebration of their wild animal friends and learn how you can help them. Fun crafts, games, nature walks, and talks will are some of the festivities to enjoy. And you’ll also have opportunities to see and meet the animals who live at Brookside up close!

Fairy & Gnome Festival
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5, free for member and under 2
A

This annual festival at one of the most enchanting places will delight the whole family — and we know from experience. Festivities are scattered throughout the beautiful grounds, creating a charming journey of discovery for young (and old) guests. Search for hidden fairy and gnome homes and use them as inspiration to create your own special pieces. Climb, explore, build, and dream in the lovely Fairy Lolly. Get faces painting, and enjoy music, dancing, games, crafts, food, drink, and more. Oh, and don’t let little ones miss the unicorn (yes, unicorn!) rides and a petting zoo. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post.

Park It
Where: National Parks
When: All weekend long
Admission: Free

It’s the tail end of National Park Week, so there’s no entrance fee to national parks that usually charge admission this weekend. If weather permits, hit the trail at Shenandoah, Prince William Forest, Great Falls, Harpers Ferry, or head up to Baltimore to explore Fort McHenry. Find even more parks to visit here.

HERtime2shine
Where: Silver Spring Civic Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Join Montgomery County Recreation at the second #HERtime2shine Sports & Fitness Event in celebration of girls and women in sports. The event aims to empower girls to get involved in sports and live healthy, active lifestyles by bringing the county’s sports and fitness organizations together to showcase new opportunities. The fun, carnival-style day will include demonstrations, entertainment and informational booths,cool prizes, and activities for the whole family.

Bethesda Literary Festival
Where: Throughout downtown Bethesda, MD
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: Free

The 18th annual festival celebrating reading and writing begins Friday night and runs through the weekend. Both local and national authors, journalists, and poets will be there to present their works, lead discussions, and sign books. While most of it is geared toward adults, especially for the younger set will be family storytime on Saturday morning. View the schedule for event times and locations.

Falls Church Feeds the World
Where: Christ Crossman UMC | Falls Church, VA
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Volunteer with the community to assemble and package 30,000+ meals to combat hunger around the world — kids aged 4 and older can help with meal packaging. There also will be a children’s festival with games and fun activities that will teach children about food insecurity in our community and the world.

The Great Indoors
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Rain is in the forecast, so you might need extra ideas for indoor outings. Burn some energy at an indoor playground, visit a museum, explore a historic place, catch some live entertainment, bring the outdoors in at a nature center. This post listing over 90 ideas for activities inside that will get your fun started.

***BONUS BITS***
* The Chime giveaway to celebrate moms is still running – enter for your chance to win a $200 gift card to Bliss Spa and $100 in free babysitting!
* How about a fun — and yummy — day date? Hank’s Oyster Bar is hosting it’s 10th Annual Oyster Fest on Saturday!
* This weekend may be too rainy for it, so plan ahead for some recreation on the water with this new round-up places to paddle, pedal, sail, and go with the flow.
* Looking for summer activities? Kids can kick it at DC Way Soccer Camp!

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Date Night, DC, Educational, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Theatre, Trains, Virginia, Weekend

Go with the Flow: Recreation on the Water in DC and Beyond

Exploring the Anacostia by canoe

Exploring the Anacostia by canoe



A great way to enjoy a warm weather day is on the water, where you can paddle (or pedal or sail or float or motor) as you take in the scenery and explore. There are a bunch of places around the DC area where you can do all of the above, and if you’ve been reading KFDC for awhile then you probably know we’ve enjoyed many of them. While some are detailed in individual posts, here’s a convenient round-up of them all along with a few more places where you can go with flow around DC.

* Boating in DC now runs many of the boathouses in DC and nearby, including Fletcher’s Boathouse, Ballpark Boathouse, Key Bridge Boathouse, National Harbor, Thompson Boat Center, the Tidal Basin, and Washington Sailing Marina. The website has general info on all of them, and more details are below.
Canoe | $25/hour
Single kayak | $16/hour
Double kayak | $20/hour
Rowboats | $14/hour or $25/day
Stand-Up Paddleboard | $22/hour
2-Person Pedal Boat | $18/hour
4-Person Boat | $30/hour
2-person Swan Boat | $34/hour

Fletcher’s Boathouse
Where: Just off the C&O, 4940 Canal Rd. NW
When: April through October
Rates: see above

Our go-to for paddling on the Potomac. Canoes, kayaks, row boats, and stand up paddleboards are available for rent for some fun on the river. Fletcher’s is also a great place to enjoy a picnic and Potomac views — an open grassy area includes grills, tables, and space to toss a Frisbee. If you can, get there by bike — just off the C&O tow path, it’s conveniently located for cyclers. Read more about Fletcher’s in this KFDC post.

Ballpark Boathouse
Where: Diamond Teague Park, next to Yards Park
When: May 13 – Memorial Day
Rates: See above

Canoes and single and double kayaks are available. This paddling excursion on the Anacostia is more about the views from the water than the nature around it, since the area is very developed. You can get fresh perspectives of Nationals Park, Yards Park, and the Navy Yard, places most of us usually just see on land. Read more about Ballpark Boathouse in this KFDC post.

Key Bridge Boathouse
Where: Beneath the Key Bridge in Georgetown
When: April 15 through October
Rates: See above

They have canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, plus lessons, fitness classes and special tours. You can paddle, then enjoy even more fun at Georgetown Waterfront Park (play in the sprays!), which is a hop, skip, and jump away.

Tidal Basin Pedal
Where: DC Tidal Basin
When: April 15 through October
Rates: $18/hour 2-person boat, $30/hour 4-person boat, $34/hour 2-person Swan boat

Get a new view of DC and take in iconic sites as you pedal your way around the Tidal Basin. Pedal boats are for rent next to the Tidal Basin parking lot just off Maine Avenue.

National Harbor
Where: National Harbor, MD
When: May 6 through October 1
Rates: See above

Paddling and pedaling on the Potomac are just some of the many activities offered at National Harbor. You can also go for a spin on the Capital Wheel, ride a carousel, romp on the playground, eat at one of many restaurants, shop, and more. You may not want to do this all in one day — but you can if you do! Read more about water activities and more at National Harbor in this KFDC post.

Thompson Boat Center
Where: Washington Harbour
When: April 15 through October
Rates: See above

Located right next to the Washington Harbour, it’s a great place to put in for lovely views of the Kennedy Center and Georgetown from the water. Canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards are available.

Washington Sailing Marina
Where: Alexandria
When: April 30 through November
Rates: See above

If you want to set sail on the Potomac, you can rent a small sailing boat at this location. Kayaks and stand up paddleboards are here, too. It’s located right off the GW Parkway near DCA.

Bladensburg Waterfront Park
Where: Bladensburg, MD
When: April through October
Rates: See above

One of the better deals around. For $20/resident and $26/non-resident, you can rent canoes and kayaks to explore the Anacostia (and apparently you can paddle to the National Arboretum) for the whole day! They also offer pontoon boat tours on Thursdays & Fridays at 12pm, and Saturdays & Sundays at 5pm ($2/PG resident, $3/non-resident). Read more about Bladensburg Waterfront Park in this KFDC post.

Quiet Waters Park
Where: Annapolis
When: April through October
Rates: $15-20/hourly, $45-60/full day + $6/car admission

Enjoy paddling opportunities on the South River at this beautiful park in Annapolis. Be sure to take advantage of recreation on land too — you can hike, bike, check out art, picnic, and more!

Solomons Boat Rental
Where: Solomons Island
When: April through October
Rates: Start at $89/hour

Rent your own pontoon (or other motor powered boat) for an excursion on the Patuxent River. Located on Solomons Island, this outfitter rents in one, two, four, or eight hour blocks. Boats accommodate many people, so you can share the cost. Bring along food for a picnic on the water, and plan to jump in for some swimming, too! Read more about the experience in this KFDC post.

Seneca Creek State Park
Where: Gaithersburg, MD
When: Mid-May through Septeber
Rates: See below

It’s worth the drive from DC, not only because they have great paddling rates, but also because it’s a beautiful park with lots to do along with on-water fun. Hike, bike, play disc golf, enjoy an awesome tire playground, and so much more. And pontoon boat rides are offered Saturday and Sunday at 2pm and 4pm for $2 per person.
Boat rental rates:
Canoes and Rowboats | $8/hour or $28/4 hours
2 Person Pedal Boats | $8/hour or $28/4 hours
1 or 2 Person Kayaks | $9/hour or $32/4 hours
4 Person Pedal Boats | $12/hour or $40/4 hours

Pohick Bay Regional Park
Where: Lorton, VA
When: March 11 – October 9
Rates: Vary by vessel (see website)

Recommended by a KFDC reader (see below), they have kayaks, canoes, pedal boats and stand up paddle boards, and jon boats. Other activities at the park include hiking, playground fun, camping, mini and disc golf, and a swimming pool. (Sounds like we’re due for a visit!)

River Riders
Where: Harpers Ferry
When: Memorial-Labor Day, 8am – 6pm & Spring/Fall, 9am – 5pm
Rates: Start at $34,but vary by activity
If you want to take your water recreation up a notch, take a day trip or overnight out to West Virginia. With actual river rapids, they offer white water rafting and kayaking for exciting guided and self-guided adventure on the water. For more mellow fun, float down the Shenandoah or Potomac on a tubing trip.

* On Thursday evenings during late spring and summer, the Anacostia Watershed Society hosts free Paddle Nights and Boat Tours. Launching from different area parks from 5:30-7:30pm, paddlers can explore the river by kayaks and canoes, and those joining boat tours can enjoy the ride on an open air boat. Bladensburg Waterfront Park, Anacostia Park, Kenilworth, Diamond Teague Park, and Kingman Island are locations for these adventures.


4 Comments

Filed under DC, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend