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

The Library of Congress: A Local & National Treasure for All Ages

The magnificent Great Hall at the Library of Congress

The magnificent Great Hall at the Library of Congress



Recently, I realized I had yet to post a write-up about the Library of Congress. Which is kind of surprising given that we live just blocks away, within walking distance, and it’s one of DC’s most iconic, fascinating, beautiful attractions that makes for a great outing with kids.

We don’t visit all that frequently, but we’ve spent a decent amount of time there over the years. I used to pop in more when the kids were little to stroll around the grand space, and Sasha and I would occasionally attend story time on Fridays at the Young Readers Center. And while I’ve mentioned it here and there over the years to recommend those regular book readings and other special events for families, there’s been no KFDC dedicated post. Until now.

loc_girls_dance

It was the recent announcement of new Saturday hours at the Young Readers Center that brought this to my attention. Dedicated to readers from babies to teens, visitors are welcome to explore the collection of books and enjoy both regular and occasional special programs for kids and parents. On the shelves you’ll find everything from board and picture books to early reader chapter books to middle reader series and YA novels. And while you can’t check them out of the library, guests are free to settle in there with a good read.

loc_yrc_books

loc_yrc

Within a such palatial, stately building, the space is a nice, cozy place to hang out and read with kiddos (or let older kids read on their own). Plenty of comfy seating and even stuffed animals to snuggle with are available. There are also small toys around for little ones to play with as they explore. The Young Readers Center is open Monday through Saturday 9am – 4:30pm, and hosts a free story time every Friday at 10am (space is limited to 50 people, so plan accordingly).

loc_sash

loc_floor

_____

Don’t make that your only stop on an outing to the Library of Congress! There is so much to see and do beyond that — it’s the largest library in the world, after all. The magnificent architecture and stunning design alone will wow visitors young and old. Stand in the Great Hall and look around — you’ll see lots of other people gazing up at the ornate ceilings, reading inscriptions on walls, examining sculptures and paintings and even the beautiful floors, and just wandering around marveling at it all. There are interactives where you can get information about the significance, history, and artistry of the various features. And two very popular displays are a Giant Bible of Mainz and an original Gutenberg Bible.

loc_interactive

loc_thomas_jefferson

From the Great Hall, you can easily access Thomas Jefferson’s Library, a reconstruction of the president’s library arranged in the same particular order he preferred. There are 2,000 volumes from his original collection, plus another 3,000 or so that match those destroyed in an 1851 fire at the Capitol. It’s a huge and impressive treasury of books!

Taking in the view ofthe Main Reading Room

Taking in the view ofthe Main Reading Room

Another must-see is the Main Reading Room, which you can’t actually enter without a special pass but can view from an overlook. The vast space has ceilings 160 feet high and at the center of its dome is a mural depicting twelve figures representing “the countries, cultures, and eras that contributed to the development of Western civilization as understood in 1897.” Be sure to also take a look around at the bronze statues representing great influences in various subjects. (This area is accessible to researchers ages 16 and up. Go here to learn more.)

loc_hall_walls

The exhibit Exploring the Early Americas contains an interesting collection of rare maps, paintings, and artifacts. Show kids what explorers thought the world looked like centuries ago, and get a close look at a case of ceramic flasks and vessels sculpted with faces and symbolic designs.

loc_map

loc_exhibit2

There are even more exhibits downstairs that change out seasonally. Recently, paraphernalia highlighting presidents and the women’s movement were showcased. Follow the long hallway and you’ll come to the Bob Hope and American Variety exhibit and the American Folk Life Center. There is even a room of pianos dedicated to Gerswhin.

loc_prezexhibit

loc_bob_hope

I should note that all of this is in the Thomas Jefferson Building, one of three that make up the entire Library of Congress. It’s great to explore on your own, but guided tours are also available hourly every day beginning at 10:30am until 3:30pm (2:30pm on Saturdays). You can also check the calendar for any other programs taking place.

loc_tunnel

And if you’re feeling ambitious about your day out, take the tunnel from the Library to the U.S. Capitol Building. Yes, you can follow a long underground hallway to the Capitol Visitor Center and embark on a whole new tour there!

loc_hallway

The Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building is located on First Street SE, between Independence Avenue and East Capitol Street. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.


1 Comment

Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Library of Congress, Museums, Ongoing, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend: December 23-25

It's Christmukkah Time!

It’s Christmukkah Time!



It’s become an annual tradition to simplify a bit over these holiday weekends, both to give myself a little break and because there’s a limited selection of one-off events during this time. There are still plenty of activities to enjoy — mostly DC mainstays and holiday events — you just won’t see all the details here. This list of links, though, will get your holiday weekend adventures started. Merry Christmukkah to all…and to all, a Happy Weekend!

The KFDC 2016 Guide to the Best of the Holidays in DC
*Holiday Shows
*Model Trains
*Special Events
*Chanukah
*Light Displays

Winter Entertainment

Everyday Play

The Great Indoors

Indoor Playgrounds

The Best Places in the DC Area to Spend A Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Skaters Gonna Skate: Where to Hit the Ice this Season

Walks in the Woods

A few specific ideas…

See Waterskiing Santa on Christmas Eve!

The National Memorial Lighting

A tradition for many who don’t celebrate Christmas — go out for Chinese food and a movie.

Season’s Greenings at the Botanic Garden

GLOW with it in Georgetown

Christmas at George W’s Old Digs


Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Ring in the New Year, Family-Style

The 12pm ball drop at Noon Yards Eve

The 12pm ball drop at Noon Yards Eve



If you thought New Year’s Eve celebrations were a thing of the pre-kids past, think again! There are several great ways to ring in 2017 around the area that don’t just welcome, but center around the younger set. Here’s where you and your crew can get in on the fun. Happy New Year!

Noon Yards Eve
Where: The Yards Park
When: 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

The Yards is once again hosting its Noon Yards Eve festival to ring in 2017! The fourth annual event will transform the park into a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with fun for both kids and adults. Activities will include music and dancing, balloon artists, bouncy inflatables, trackless train rides, face painters, kids crafts, and a big balloon drop at 12pm.

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town
When: Starting at 1pm
Admission: $30, kids 12 and under are free

Fun and entertainment will be in abundance at the area’s largest family-friendy New Year’s Eve celebration. There will be more than 100 performances on indoor stages throughout Old Town Alexandria, with entertainment from a variety of genres. Among the many kids activities will be live entertainment, face painting, story time, balloon sculptures, interactive art activities, and much more. The evening will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display on the Potomac River at the foot of King Street. For details on where shows will take place, see the schedule on the website.

Rocknoceros New Year’s Eve Party
Where: Jammin Java
When: 11am & 2pm
Admission: $10

For the 10th straight year, the widely popular band that always gets kids rockin’ will be playing a special New Year’s Eve gig at Jammin Java. Sing along to some of your favorite tunes and enjoy the full menu of food and drinks while you’re there. Opt for lunchtime show at 11am, or go in the afternoon at 2pm. Doors open half-hour before the show and general admission seating is on a first come, first served basis.

The Celebration of Centuries
Where: Medieval Times
When: 3:30pm (doors open at 2pm)
Admission: $39.95/adult, $29.95/child (look for discount)

Experience an epic afternoon of fun and celebration as you countdown to 2017. Along with a four-course feast and thrilling jousting action, there will be special activities for the occasion — knight training, face painting, and a princess storytime will make the day extra exciting a for young revelers.

Noontime New Year: Snow Ball!
Where: Port Discovery
When: 9:30am – 5pm
Admission: $13.95

Join the children’s museum in Baltimore for a Snow Ball at its annual Noontime New Year Celebration. Kids are encouraged to dress up in their favorite costumes and count down to the New Year at 12 noon with Eric Energy! Toast 2017 with juice and cookies and enjoy a fun day of programs and performances! Be sure to check the schedule for timing of specific events.

Midnight Noon
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: 10am – 2pm
Admission: $20.95/adult, $16.95/3-12, free for 2 and under

The Maryland Science Center’s New Year’s Eve family extravaganza will transform the midnight tradition into one the kids can enjoy. The 9th annual Midnight Noon will give kids the opportunity to see the ball drop before bedtime. Guests can dance their way into a very happy “Noon” Year — Grammy-nominated Baltimore kids band Milkshake will take to the stage at 11:30am. Visitors can also decorate party hats, construct noise makers, and more. And the rest of the Science Center will be open for exploration, too!

Watch Night New Year’s Eve Celebration
Where: West Broad Street in Falls Church
When: 7pm – Midnight
Admission: Free

Ring in the New Year with free, family-friendly festivities at Falls Church’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration. Enjoy food, music, singing, dancing, entertainment, performances and interactive festivities that appeal to all ages. Highlights include a children’s scavenger hunt, a wide variety of inflatables, free balloons, karaoke, face painting, caricaturist drawings, and restaurants with special Walking Watch Night Menus at local restaurants. The evening concludes at midnight with the traditional countdown and lowering of the City of Falls Church Star. All events take place within a four-block area that begins on the 100 Block of West Broad Street. A free shuttle bus stops at each venue and the East Falls Church Metro throughout the evening, including a shuttle from the East Falls Church Metro station.

Family Game Night at Garden in Lights
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: 6-9pm
Admission: $6/ages 5 and up, free for 4 and under

Celebrate the final evening of 2016 in Calvert County! Enjoy Annmarie’s spectacular holiday light show in the gardens, then head inside to play a variety of family-friendly games. Wonderful friends from High Tide Games in Lexington Park, Play-n-Trade Games in Lusby, and PaxSpace in California will all be there with a wide variety of interactive games. Guests can also tour the game exhibit, enjoy a Holiday I Spy game, and a disco ball will be spinning, so you can do some dancing, too! Plus, refreshments will be available from the cafe.

Family Fun Entertainment on the Eastern Shore
Where: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay
When: Thursday – Friday
Admission: See room rates on website

How about an easy getaway to ring in 2017? The Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay is offering special family-friendly activities to celebrate the new year. An inflatable fun house, arcade games, a kids’ karaoke and dance party, dive-in movie-watching from the comfort of an indoor pool, and an early ball drop are just some of the festivities hotel guests can enjoy. And there’s even more fun for adults — find details here.

Swoosh into 2017
Where: Ski Liberty
When: 5pm – 1am
Admission: Lift tickets start at

Hit the slopes to ring in the new year! Ski Liberty’s celebration will include late-night skiing and snowboarding until 1am, fireworks at midnight, and a variety of special events happening around the resort. New for this year, enjoy a decadent fixe prix dinner at Ike’s Chophouse. There is also a special, by reservations only, party at Boulder Ridge with Snow Tubing from 10pm to 1am. Find something for everyone and every age!

Glide into 2017
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the day & evening
Admission: Varies by rink

Skate under the stars to celebrate the start of the new year. Gliding on ice surrounded by twinkling lights, art sculptures, and the hubbub of people in festive spirits is a fun, active way to revel. Join a special event like Rock & Skate at Washington Harbour or just do your own thang. Be sure to check times for each rink, as hours may change for the holiday.

New Years Night Lights
Where: Around the area
When: After dark
Admission: Varies by locale

Start your own family New Year’s Eve tradition with a seasonal treat: Bundle up for a stroll or take a drive through one of several spectacular light displays! Most of the light shows that dazzle this time of year are open on New Year’s Eve. Combine an outing to see them with dinner out — this guide from Edible DC has suggestions on where to eat nearby all the holiday lights. If you’re enjoying it from the comfort of a car, pack a thermous of hot chocolate, yummy snacks, and prepare a festive playlist for the ride.

Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Holidays, Hotel, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, New Years, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 19-23

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens are free to roam from November to March

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens are free to roam from November to March



Monday – Experiment with hands-on fun at the Children’s Science Center Lab at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Kids of all ages can explore a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging interactive exhibits and activities. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $12 (under 2 are free).

Tuesday – Roam the enchanting gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm, but you can play at nearby Montrose Park or grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand. I promise, it’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit. And admission is free to both — there’s never an entry fee at Montrose, and Dumbarton waives it from November 1 – mid-March.

Wednesday – Welcome winter with a walk in the woods (and some alliteration) at Great Falls. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you can’t go wrong. Take in spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center — there’s one on each side — to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife.

Thursday – Go bowling. It’s a perfect activity for what’s forecast to be a rainy day. Take advantage of Kids Bowling at Pinstripes in Georgetown. From 10am – 12pm Monday – Thursday, ALL kids can bowl for $3 ($3/shoe rental) and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult)! Eat while you bowl or stay after for lunch — they have a good kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too.

Friday – Get hyped for the holiday weekend! Pick one of many activities that happen this time of year: Check out a train display, catch a holiday show, ride trolleys, meet Santa, see an evening light display, and enjoy loads of other seasonal delights. The KFDC Holiday Guide has all the details on where to go and what to do.

2 Comments

Filed under All ages, Annual, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: December 16-18

A close look at the Capitol tree

A close look at the Capitol tree



nasm_stem_magic

This round-up is heavy on holiday events, but you’ll find a few other activities and events sprinkled in, too. For even more, the Everyday Play page is loaded with all kinds of ideas for getting out and about around the DMV. Happy Weekend!

Season’s Greenings
Where: US Botanic Garden
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The Botanic Garden’s annual holiday attraction never disappoints. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials and one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs — this year’s National Parks and Historic Sites theme is especially great. A heads-up that it’ll probably be crowded, but the line usually moves quickly, and it really is a beautiful, fun, unique display to see! And if you go in the late afternoon, plan to stop and see the Capitol Christmas Tree after as it’s lit every evening at sundown.

Wreaths Across America
Where: Arlington National Cemetery
When: Saturday, 9:30am – 2pm
Admission: Free

A chance for the whole family to volunteer! Help place Veterans’ Remembrance Wreaths on the graves of American heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There is no sign-up or age requirement — families are encouraged to volunteer together. Be sure to visit the website for details, including schedule and meeting location. Read about more family-friendly volunteer opportunities around the DC area.

Cookies & Cocoa with Santa
Where: Topgolf Alexandria
When: Saturday, 9-11am
Admission: Free

Santa Claus is coming to town and this year he’s bringing Cookies & Cocoa! This free event for families with children 12 and under will feature cookies to snack on, a hot chocolate bar, a holiday-themed gift, and kids’ activities. Santa will be there for complimentary photos, and all pictures taken will be available for download on the Topgolf Alexandria Facebook page after the event.

More Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Get into the holiday spirit the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. Take the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

A Solstice Circus
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $25/adult, $15/ages 11 and under

In the darkest winter days, one young man discovers that he has the power to bring light and inspire joy in even the most surprising places. This holiday show is an uplifting, delightful spectacle that will amaze the whole family. Featuring acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, and other dazzling performances – the spirit is sure to be contagious! Start a new and unique holiday tradition by coming to the circus! Appropriate for all ages.

Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Woodrow Wilson High School
When: Saturday, 5pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $23-30/adults, $20-24 seniors/10+, $14-18/under 10

Check out a unique, high-energy twist to the typical Nutcracker featuring lots of local kids as Capitol Hill’s Momentum Dance Theatre presents its 18th annual Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker. We caught a show last week and loved watching students as young as 5 years perform along with the professional dancers! The show is set to music from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite plus hip hop, pop, funk, and more — you’ll be dancing in your seats along with the performers. (And look out for Owen’s best buddy showing off his sweet pop & lock moves!)

More Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Much of the live entertainment on local stages right now is holiday-inspired.
Stomp over to the Atlas for Step Afrika!’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show. See the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at the Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the National Theatre. Get details on these shows and others in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

GLOW With It
Where: Georgetown
When: Through January 1, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light — literally. Georgetown GLOW has the neighborhood sparkling with modern light art installations, some of them interactive, on display throughout the bustling community, which is extra lively and festive this time of year. The works are illuminated all around the neighborhood, and finding them is part of the adventure. Take the family to dinner or skating at Washington Harbour, then go for a stroll to check them all out.

Journey to Narnia
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission” $19.50

Adventure Theatre’s clever and creative production of the classic The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is a family must-see this season! The two-actor show is exciting and fun, getting the audience in on the adventure, too. All ages will enjoy the journey to Narnia with the Pevensie siblings!

Showtime Beyond the Holidays
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

Want to see a show without all the holiday trimmings? Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is on the Imagination Stage. The Sheakespeare Theatre Company presents The Secret Garden at Sidney Harman Hall. Carousel and Moby Dick are running at Arena Stage. The Kennedy Center has Into the Woods and Wicked among its theatre options. Mary Poppins is at Olney Theatre. And Adventures with Mr. Bear starts at the Atlas on Sunday. Descriptions, ticket info, and links to discounts for all of these are in this new round-up of
winter entertainment
.

Making Stem Magic: Innovation
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Join the Air & Space Museum for Making STEM Magic, a monthly program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. In the December challenge, learn about the Wright brothers and test your design skills as you design, create, and test your own paper copter.

Shakespeare Theatre, Family-Style
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Sunday (and through December 18)
Admission: Varies by activity

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Family Week offers free and low-cost programs for all ages celebrating the themes, story, and artists of their current production, The Secret Garden. Workshops, events and conversations run through this weekend. And families can also get a special discount on tickets during this time — see the website for details.

Night Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks, the National Zoo, or Mormon Temple in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, get ready to be dazzled.

Children’s Holiday Celebration
Where: MLK Library
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Join MLK Library staff in the Children’s Room for a festive holiday program. Celebrate the season with crafts, stories, games, and lots of fun — including a chance to meet Santa! Recommended for ages 12 and under.

Open Studio & Ceramics Sale
Where: Hollow Works Studio
When: Saturday, 11am –
Admission: Free

Shop for one-of-a-kind ceramics in the artist’s studio! Hollow Works Ceramics, a recent addition to the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide, sells beautiful, unique bowls, mugs, and vases that would make perfect presents. See for yourself here, but plan to shop on Saturday. The studio is located in the alley right off of 7th and H Streets NE.

Winter Solstice in MoCo
Where: Montgomery County Parks
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6

Montgomery Parks will host three winter solstice celebrations this year featuring crafts, campfires, treats and more. Roast marshmallows, hear winter tales, and make a lantern at Meadowside Nature Center. Enjoy shadow-puppet theatre, sip cider, and make cultural crafts at Brookside. And have treats by the campfire at Locust Grove. Look for details about all of these celebrations here.

Holiday Shop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

If you’re still working through your gift list, there are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents by local vendors and then some. Head to Penn Quarter, National Harbor, or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about all of them is available in the 2016 Holiday Guide. And if you need some gift ideas, be sure check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide!

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

So, we’ll be going from an arctic blast to temps in the 60’s by Sunday — but the warmer weather will come with rain. The big list of ideas for outings that take place inside will come in handy. (And secretly hoping that I’ll jinx it by writing this, and the weekend will be gorgeous.)

Here Comes Chanukah!
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Sunday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $25/family

Grab your socks and yarmulke, it’s time to bounce for Chanukah. Start celebrating early at this rockin’ Chanukah party, featuring a moon bounce, games, crafts, treats, and plenty of fun for the whole family!

Nutcracker Family Yoga
Where: Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church
When: Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $20/parent & child, $10/additional child

Calling all soldiers and sugar plum fairies! Breathing Space Yoga invites you to enjoy a classic tale in a new way! Families will bring the Nutcracker story to life through yoga, dance, music, and lots of heart. Bring your sense of wonder and magic and join in for a special journey that will get you into the holiday spirit!

Go Rogue
Where: Local movie theaters
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by theater

In case you hadn’t heard, the newest Star Wars film opens in theaters today. If you’re planning to take the kids to see Rogue One this weekend, the Air & Space Museum would be a suitable place to catch a screening. And if you want a little insight on it before, the Washington Post has several reviews.


Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend