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Skaters Gonna Skate: Where to Hit the Ice this Season

Speeding along at Canal Park

Speeding along at Canal Park



It’s that time of year when we can enjoy some extra outdoor recreation. Ice skating way is a super cool way to enjoy some active fun during the cold months. Several local outdoor rinks are already welcoming skaters, and the rest will open their ice over next couple of weeks. So, lace up your skates and get out there — this list has details on where to glide under the sky (and indoors, too)!

Outdoor

DC

Canal Park Ice Rink
Where: 220 M Street SE
Cost: $9/adult, $8/child, $4/rental
Hours: Mon-Tues: 12-7pm, Weds-Fri 12-9pm, Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-7pm
Open: mid-November through mid-March
Bonus: They just started offering skating aids for beginners to push around the rink. The Park Tavern restaurant is closed until later in December, but will be reopening as a pizzeria. There are also several eateries and a Starbucks across the street and even more restaurants at the nearby Yards Park.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink
Where: 3050 K Street NW
Cost: $10/adult, $9/child, seniors, military, $5/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Tues 12-7pm, Weds-Thurs 12-9pm, Fri 12-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-7pm
Open: mid-November – mid-March
Bonus: Location, location, location. Not only do you get a lovely view of the Potomac, you’re right in Georgetown, where there’s great shopping and places to eat, so you can really make a day and/or night of it. Also, with push penguins available, it’s a good rink for newbie skaters.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Where: 7th St. & Constitution Ave. NW
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child, $3/skate rental (ID required)
Hours: Mon–Thurs 10am–9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sunday 11am–9pm
Open: November 14 – March 13, except December 25 and January 1
Bonus: You can check out some art on your outing — the rink is literally in the middle of the Sculpture Garden that showcases many big, bold works of art. You can also plan to visit a museum before or after your skating session; it’s easy enough to pop in to one of the free Smithsonian galleries. For some fuel, the Pavilion Cafe is also located within the Sculpture Garden and offers light fare, including warm beverages.

Maryland

Silver Spring Veteran’s Plaza Ice Rink
Where: 8523 Fenton Street, Silver Spring
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child, $3/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–10pm
Open: Now – March 25
Bonus: The rink is right in downtown Silver Spring, surrounded by restaurants, shops, and plenty of parking. It’s also an easy walk from the Metro.

Rockville Town Square Ice Rink
Where: 131 Gibbs Street, Rockville
Cost: $9/age 13 and up, $8/age 12 and under, $3/skate rentals
Hours: Mon-Thur 12-10pm, Fri 12-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm
Open: October 22 through mid-March
Bonus: Skate in the largest outdoor ice skating rink — 7,200 square feet! — between Baltimore and Washington DC. While you’re at the Town Square, take advantage of the selection of restaurants and shops, or spend some downtime at the Rockville Library or VisArts Center.

Pandora Ice Rink
Where: 201 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore Inner Harbor
When: November 13 – mid-March
Cost: $9/adult, $7/child, $/skate rentals
Open: Mon-Thurs 3-8pm, Fri 3-11pm, Sat 11am – 11pm, Sun 11am – 8pm
Bonus: Located at the Inner Harbor, where there are several great attractions for kiddos — Port Discovery, Maryland Science Center National Aquarium, and more — you could easily add this to a whole day or even weekend spent in Charm City. Head to the Little Italy area after for a yummy bite!

Virginia

Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
Where: 1201 South Joyce Street, Arlington
Cost: $8/adult, $7/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–7pm
Open: November 1 through mid-March
Bonus: Recently renovated and expanded, it’s a good choice for kiddos learning to skate — Penguin Skating aids are available at the rink kiosk. Also located amid many shopping and dining options. Skate in the snow December 7 – January 1, when “snow” falls nightly on the ice rink. And be sure to check the calendar for occasional special events.

Reston Town Center Ice Skating
Where: 11900 Market Street, Reston
Cost: $10/adults, $9/children, $5/skate rentals
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-7pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Open: November 3 through mid-March
Bonus: The Town Center is like a mini downtown, so you can do some shopping, have a bite to eat, check off some errands, even see a movie along with your skating excursion.

Tysons Corner Center Ice Rink
Where: 1961 Chain Bridge Road, McLean
Cost: $10/adults, $9/children, $6/skate rentals (Mention DC KIDS to get half-price admission!)
Hours: Mon-Tues: 3-7pm, Wed-Thurs: 3-9pm, Fri: 3-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-7pm
Open: November 6 through mid-March
Bonus: Tack on a skating session to some shopping at the mall — or vice versa.

 

Indoor

DC

Fort Dupont Ice Arena
Where: 3779 Ely Place, SE
Cost: $5/adults, $4/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Fri 12-2pm, Sat 12:45-1:45pm

Maryland

Herbert Wells Ice Rink
Where: 5211 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, Md
Cost: $6/adult, $5/child ($1 off for PG County Residents), $2/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day
Open: Through mid-March

Cabin John Ice Rink
Where: 10610 Westlake Drive, Cabin John Regional Park
Cost: $6.50/adult, $5.50/ages 5-10, $3.50/ages 3-4 $3.25/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, view the current schedule here
Open: Daily, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas

The Gardens Ice House
Where: 13800 Old Gunpowder Road, Laurel
Cost: $7.70/adult, $6.60/student, $4.15/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, see the schedule here

Wheaton Ice Arena
Where: 11717 Orebaugh Avenue, Wheaton
Cost: $6.50/age 11+, $5.50/age 5-10, $3.50/age 3-4, $3.25/skate rental
Hours: Vary, see the schedules here

Virginia

Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Where: 627 N. Glebe Road, Arlington – 8th Level of Ballston Parking Garage
Cost: $8/adults, $7/children, $4/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, view the current public skate schedule here.


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Play it Cool at these Local Ice Skating Rinks

Skating in the city at Canal Park Ice Rink

Skating in the city at Canal Park Ice Rink



With colder weather comes some cool outdoor recreation! Ice skating is a fun and active way to take advantage of the dropping temps, especially under a clear blue or star-filled sky in the fresh air. We’ve got our pick of places in the area where we can get out there and glide. Here are details on all of them, including indoor ice rinks for when you want to take shelter.

Outdoor

DC

Canal Park Ice Rink
Where: 220 M Street SE
Cost: $9/adult, $8/child, $4/rental
Hours: Mon-Tues: 12-7pm, Weds-Fri 12-9pm, Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-7pm
Open: November 8 through March 1
Bonus: The Park Tavern restaurant, located adjacent to the rink, offers a great menu, including hot chocolate if your crew needs a quick warm-up. There are also several eateries and a Starbucks across the street and even more restaurants at the nearby Yards Park.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Where: 7th St. & Constitution Ave. NW
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child, $3/skate rental (ID required)
Hours: Mon–Thurs 10am–9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sunday 11am–9pm
Open: November 14 – March 16, except December 25 and January 1
Bonus: You can check out some art on your outing — the rink is literally in the middle of the Sculpture Garden that showcases many big, bold works of art. You can also plan to visit a museum before or after your skating session; it’s easy enough to pop in to one of the free Smithsonian galleries. For some fuel, the Pavilion Cafe is also located within the Sculpture Garden and offers light fare, including warm beverages.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink
Where: 3050 K Street NW
Cost: $10/adult, $9/child, seniors, military, $5/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Tues 12-7pm, Weds-Thurs 12-9pm, Fri 12-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-7pm
Open: November 14 – mid-March
Bonus: Location, location, location. Not only do you get a lovely view of the Potomac, you’re right in Georgetown, where there’s great shopping and places to eat, so you can really make a day and/or night of it. Also, with push penguins available, it’s a good rink for newbie skaters.

Maryland

Silver Spring Veteran’s Plaza Ice Rink
Where: 8523 Fenton Street, Silver Spring
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child, $3/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–10pm
Open: Now – March 25
Bonus: The rink is right in downtown Silver Spring, surrounded by restaurants, shops, and plenty of parking. It’s also an easy walk from the Metro.

Rockville Town Square Ice Rink
Where: 131 Gibbs Street, Rockville
Cost: $9/age 13 and up, $8/age 12 and under, $3/skate rentals
Hours: Mon-Thur 12-10pm, Fri 12-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm
Open: November 8 through mid-March
Bonus: Skate in the largest outdoor ice skating rink — 7,200 square feet! — between Baltimore and Washington DC. While you’re at the Town Square, take advantage of the selection of restaurants and shops, or spend some downtime at the Rockville Library or VisArts Center.

Virginia

Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
Where: 1201 South Joyce Street, Arlington
Cost: $8/adult, $7/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–10pm
Open: November 1 through mid-March
Bonus: Recently renovated and expanded, it’s a good choice for kiddos learning to skate — Penguin Skating aids are available at the rink kiosk. Also located amid many shopping and dining options.

Reston Town Center Ice Skating
Where: 11900 Market Street, Reston
Cost: $10/adults, $9/children, $5/skate rentals
Hours: Sun-Tues 11am-7pm, Weds-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Open: November 1 through mid-March
Bonus: The Town Center is like a mini downtown, so you can do some shopping, have a bite to eat, check off some errands, even see a movie along with your skating excursion.

Tysons Corner Center Ice Rink
Where: 1961 Chain Bridge Road, McLean
Cost: $10/adults, $9/children, $6/skate rentals (Mention DC KIDS to get half-price admission!)
Hours: Sun 11am-7pm, Mon-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Open: November 28 through March 11
Bonus: Tack on a skating session to some shopping at the mall — or vice versa.

Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets
Where: 241 Fort Evans Road NE, Leesburg
Cost: $6/adults, $5/ages 6-12, $4/ages 5 and under, $3/skate rentals
Hours: Daily
Open: December 15 – January 15
Bonus: Shopping! Hit the outlet stores then chill out at the small, temporary rink. Penguin helpers are also available to help steady little skaters ($4 rental).

 

Indoor

DC

Fort Dupont Ice Arena
Where: 3779 Ely Place, SE
Cost: $5/adults, $4/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Fri 12-1:50 pm, Sat 11:45am-12:45 pm

Maryland

Herbert Wells Ice Rink
Where: 5211 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, Md
Cost: $6/adult, $5/children ($1 off for PG County Residents)
Hours: Vary by day
Open: Through mid-March

Cabin John Ice Rink
Where: 10610 Westlake Drive, Cabin John Regional Park
Cost: $6.50/adult, $5.50/ages 5-10, $3.50/ages 3-4 $3.25/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, view the current schedule here
Open: Daily, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas

The Gardens Ice House
Where: 13800 Old Gunpowder Road, Laurel
Cost: $7.70/adult, $6.60/student, $4.15/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, see the schedule here

Wheaton Ice Arena
Where: 11717 Orebaugh Avenue, Wheaton
Cost: $6.50/age 11+, $5.50/age 5-10, $3.50/age 3-4, $3.25/skate rental
Hours: Vary, see the schedule here

Virginia

Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Where: 627 N. Glebe Road, Arlington – 8th Level of Ballston Parking Garage
Cost: $8/adults, $7/children, $4/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, view the current public skate schedule here.


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Recreation on Ice: Where to Skate During the Cool Season

Skating at Pentagon Row last winter -- they provide buckets to help newbies around the rink

Skating at Pentagon Row last winter — they provide buckets to help newbies around the rink



Don’t let the cold weather stop you from enjoying some active fun outdoors. One of the best ways to take advantage of the cooler season is on skates, on ice. And you’ve got your pick of places where you can get out there and glide, both under the sky and indoors. Just about all of our local rinks are now open and welcoming the public (the one exception is Canal Park, which will open mid-December when maintenance is complete). So, if you’re ready to start showing off those spins and axels or just want to zip around the rink, here’s where you can get skate the day — or night — away.

Outdoor

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Where: 7th St. & Constitution Ave. NW
Cost: $7/adult, $6/child, $3/skate rental (ID required)
Hours: Mon–Thurs 10am–9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sunday 11am–9pm
Open: mid-November – mid-March, except December 25 and January 1

Washington Harbour Ice Rink
Where: 3050 K Street NW
Cost: $10/adult, $8/child,seniors, military, $5/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12-9pm, Fri 12-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-7pm
Open: mid-November – mid-March

Silver Spring Veteran’s Plaza Ice Rink
Where: 8523 Fenton Street, Silver Spring
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child, $3/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–10pm
Open: Through March 25

Canal Park Ice Rink
Where: 220 M Street SE
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child, $3/rental
Hours: Mon-Fri: 12-9pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-7pm
Open: mid-December through mid-March

Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
Where: 1201 South Joyce Street, Arlington
Cost: $8/adult, $7/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–10pm
Open: November 15 through mid-March

Reston Town Center Ice Skating
Where: 11900 Market Street, Reston
Cost: $10/adults, $8/children, $5/skate rentals
Hours: Sun-Tues 11am-7pm, Weds-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Open: November 1 through mid-March

Rockville Town Square Ice Rink
Where: 131 Gibbs Street, Rockville
Cost: $8/age 13 and up, $7/age 12 and under, $3/skate rentals
Hours: Mon-Thur 12-10pm, Fri 12-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm
Open: mid-November through mid-March

 

Indoor

Fort Dupont Ice Arena
Where: 3779 Ely Place, SE
Cost: $5/adults, $4/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Fri 12-1:50 pm, Sat 11:45am-12:45 pm

Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Where: 627 N. Glebe Road, Arlington – 8th Level of Ballston Parking Garage
Cost: $8/adults, $7/children, $4/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, view the current public skate schedule here.

Herbert Wells Ice Rink
Where: 5211 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, Md
Cost: $6/adult, $5/children ($1 off for PG County Residents)
Hours: Vary by day
Open: Through mid-March

Cabin John Ice Rink
Where: 10610 Westlake Drive, Cabin John Regional Park
Cost: $6.50/adult, $5.50/ages 5-10, $3.50/ages 3-4 $3.25/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, view the current schedule here
Open: Daily, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas

The Gardens Ice House
Where: 13800 Old Gunpowder Road, Laurel
Cost: $7.70/adult, $6.60/student, $4.15/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, see the schedule here

Wheaton Ice Arena
Where: 11717 Orebaugh Avenue, Wheaton
Cost: $6.50/age 11+, $5.50/age 5-10, $3.50/age 3-4, $3.25/skate rental
Hours: Vary, see the schedule here

 

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Filed under All ages, DC, Fall, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Sports, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Fun on Ice

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. (Photo: Courtesy Destination DC)

 

Just because the temps are dropping, that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself and the kids to activities indoors.  In fact, some of the season’s best recreation happens outside under the sky, the crisp, cool air rushing by as you glide over a frozen surface.  Yes, it’s time for ice skating!

Sure, you can enjoy the pursuit year-round at indoor rinks, but there’s something about skating al fresco that makes it extra delightful — the sun shining overhead or snow flurries swirling around, the limited time to enjoy it, the chance to show the world those double axels (or maybe not). And this year, there’s one more locale where we can experience it all — Canal Park is about to open, and with it a brand new ice skating rink.

As for the rest, some local rinks are already welcoming skaters and the others will open within the next couple of weeks.  Here’s info for all of them listed by opening date, and I’ve included indoor rinks, too — for when you have the itch to glide on a foul-weather day.

 

Outdoor

Silver Spring Veteran’s Plaza Ice Rink
Where: 8523 Fenton Street, Silver Spring
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child, $3/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–10pm
Open: October 19 through March 13

Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
Where: 1201 South Joyce Street, Arlington
Cost: $8/adult, $7/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–10pm
Open: November 1 through March 13

Reston Town Center Ice Skating
Where: 11900 Market Street, Reston
Cost: $9/adults, $7/children, $5/skate rentals
Hours: Sun-Tues 11am-7pm, Weds-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Open: November 1 through mid-March

Canal Park Ice Rink
Where: 220 M Street SE
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child, $3/rental
Hours: Mon-Fri: 12-9pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-7pm
Open: November 16 through mid-March

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Where: 7th St. & Constitution Ave. NW
Cost: $7/adult, $6/child, $3/skate rental (ID required)
Hours: Mon–Thurs 10am–9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sunday 11am–9pm
Open: November 17 – mid-March, except December 25 and January 1

Washington Harbour Ice Rink
Where: 3050 K Street NW
Cost: $9/adult, $7/child,seniors, military, $5/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12-9pm, Fri 12-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-7pm
Open: November 19 – March

 

Indoor

Fort Dupont Ice Arena
Where: 3779 Ely Place, SE
Cost: $5/adults, $4/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Fri 12-1:50 pm, Sat 11:15am-12:15 pm

Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Where: 627 N. Glebe Road, Arlington – 8th Level of Ballston Parking Garage
Cost: $8/adults, $7/children, $4/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, find a PDF of the schedule here

Herbert Wells Ice Rink
Where: 5211 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park
Cost: $6/adult, $5/children ($1 off for PG County Residents)
Hours: Vary by day, view the schedule here
Open: October 20 – mid-March

Rockville Town Square Ice Rink
Where: 131 Gibbs Street, Rockville
Cost: $8/age 13 and up, $7/age 12 and under, $3/skate rentals
Hours: Mon-Thur 12-10pm, Fri 12-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm
Open: November 9 through mid-March

Cabin John Ice Rink
Where: 10610 Westlake Drive, Cabin John Regional Park
Cost: $6.50/adult, $5.50/ages 5-10, $4.50/ages 3-4 $3.25/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, find a PDF of the schedule here
Open: Daily, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas

The Gardens Ice House
Where: 13800 Old Gunpowder Road, Laurel
Cost: $7.70/adult, $6.60/student, $4.15/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, see the schedule here

Wheaton Ice Arena
Where: 11717 Orebaugh Avenue, Wheaton
Cost: $6.50/age 11+, $5.50/age 5-10, $3.50/age 3-4, $3.25/skate rental
Hours: Vary, see the schedule here

 

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Filed under All ages, DC, Fall, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Sports, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Let’s Party!

The kids' joint party at Watkins Nature Center - double the birthday fun!

 

Every year since starting this blog, I’ve done one big post about birthday parties.  They are kind of a thing for me, and rather than reiterate why, I’ll just direct you to this post and this one, which not only cover the background on my quest for good party venues, but also have a bunch of recommendations for places to host a bash for your child. And in keeping with the once-a-year tradition, here’s another post dedicated to the birthday party, a compilation of potential locales to celebrate our kids’ big days. And if you know of a good one that I have yet to mention, feel free to add it in the comments.

Welcoming another party guest

Watkins Nature Center
I’ve suggested birthday parties at nature centers before, but Watkins now gets individual mention – and huge props – after I hosted my kids’ bash there earlier this year. It couldn’t have worked out better for us.  Since Owen and Sasha’s birthdays are just two weeks apart, we once again took advantage of the opportunity to throw a joint party. However, that meant we needed a venue that could accommodate guests of both kids. It also had to be indoors for their mid-winter party. On top of that, we wanted an activity that both birthday honorees, ages 3 and 6, would enjoy. Watkins came through in spades. Their party room accommodates up to 50 guests – 25 children and 25 adults, which was way more than other nature centers I checked out. We played up the “bringing the outdoors in” concept during what’s usually a cold time of year (it ended up being an unseasonably gorgeous day and the kids got to enjoy the trails, pond, and rescued birds around the center along with the animal and nature exhibits inside). But best of all, both Owen and Sasha were thrilled about the main event, a live animal show, a 30-minute viewing of some of the center’s feathery and reptilian residents. As far as logistics go, you can’t beat it: The cost for a three-hour rental (that includes set up and clean up time) is $155, which is pretty stellar in the DC area. You bring your own food, cake, and supplies, and plenty of tables and chairs are there for you to set up as desired. The party room is cute with big, colorful insect and amphibian paintings on the walls, and there’s much more to awe kids in and around the center. I recommend booking well in advance, as they only have two party time slots per weekend – from 1-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. For reservations, call 301.218.6702 (2016 Update: Rates & options have changed a bit. A Basic Party is $150/PG County residents, $200/non-residents and a Wild Thing Party (with the animal show) is $200/PG County residents, $260/non-residents.)

National Building Museum
The NBM was included in my first birthday party post, but with some new options available, it makes the list again. Craft Activity Birthday Parties are available in a variety of themes: Castle & Crowns and All Aboard! Train Construction are for children 3-6, while Tower Power and Crazy Creations are suitable for 6-11-year-olds. Each two-hour party includes a building orientation, hands-on craft, and party time in a museum classroom. All guests also receive complimentary tickets to view exhibits after. Cost is $250 for 10 guests, $15 for each additional guest. Another option for kids 6-11 is the Brick City Party, a tour of the Lego Architecture exhibit, a chance to construct their own brick buildings and create a Lego city, and a birthday celebration. The two-hour party costs $300 for 10 guests, $15 for each additional guest.  You must be a member at the Family Level or higher to book a party at the NBM, but I highly recommend getting the membership, anyway – at $80/year, it pays for itself if you and the kids visit the Building Zone and exhibits even just a few times.

Ice Skating
A cool way to celebrate a kid’s big day is on ice… make that, at the ice skating rink. And there are several in the area that host parties. Kettler Capital Iceplex has a package for $185 that includes party room rental, admission for 10 kids and 2 adults to the public skate session, skate rentals, food and drinks, party host, and party supplies. More guests can be added for extra cost.  Cabin John Ice Rink in Bethesda rents a party room for $50/hour (you bring food, supplies, etc.) and a studio rink for $185/hour. You can also forego the private rink, and guests can skate during public skate sessions (admission is $3.50/ages 3-4, $5.50/ages 5-10, $6.50/ages 11 and up.) Be sure to book a party room during public skate times.  For an ice skating party under the sky, the Pentagon Row Ice Skating Rink is a great option (though only open November – March).  Their birthday package includes a 25-minute skating lesson, then skate time, and tables can be reserved for party time. Cost is $12/person with a six-person minimum.  These are just three suggestions; for even more ice skating options, check out the venues listed in this post.

Roller Skating
When I was a kid, I probably had at least three birthday parties at the roller skating rink. I can even recall donning a sparkly headband (one that went around my forehead, not on top of my head), scrunching my legwarmers around my ankles, and circling the rink as Xanadu blared in the background. Surely, that’s not completely a thing of the past (Olivia Newton-John is due for a major comeback, right?). At least it’s not at a few area roller rinks. One of them is Wheels Skating Center in Odenton, Md., where birthday party packages for up to 10 skaters are available. Packages include admission and skate rental, pizza and drinks, 45 minutes at a party table, supplies, a free skate pass for each party guest, and special goodies for the birthday kid. Skate Zone in Crofton, Md., is another place to get rolling, with a few party packages starting at $195, are available. The basic includes admission and rentals for 8 guests, food and drinks, game tokens, an hour at a party table, supplies, and goody bags.

Pirate Ship Parties
Buccaneer-obsessed kids can fulfill their pirate dreams on the high Chesapeake “seas”. Two different companies in Baltimore and Annapolis offer party packages for swashbuckling birthday boys and girls. Owen has attended – and had a blast at — parties at both locations. And if his birthday fell at a different time of year, he’d probably opt to celebrate it at one of them. Urban Pirates in Baltimore offer three birthday packages starting at $275 for 15 guests, 30 minutes of boarding activities, 60 minutes of sailing on the Fearless, a special Pirate birthday song and goodies for both the honoree and guests. Cake time costs extra, so you may have to plan for another venue, perhaps a nearby park, for that. Visit the website to see all of their party options. Pirate Adventures in Annapolis has a few packages available, all of them including 30 minutes of face painting and dress-up before a 75-minute cruise aboard the Sea Gypsy, a ride that takes party-goers out on the Bay and includes fun and games of the pirate variety. Depending on the package, there may or may not be time in a party room after, so you might have to figure out another option for cake. Package prices begin at $675 for 45 passengers, and while that sounds steep, you might consider doing what a friend of mine did, and sharing the party with a friend.

Sprinkles Cupcakes
After attending a Mother’s Day cupcake decorating session here, Sasha declared Sprinkles as her next birthday party venue. And I completely understand why: Cupcakes! Ones you get to frost yourself and adorn with all the pretty and fun toppings you like. In an adorable pink-walled (and floored) party room above the shop.  Sprinkles provides the bare cupcakes, then sets out several flavors of frosting along with a variety of cute, edible sugar decorations (including, of course, sprinkles), so that party guests can make their cupcakes look and taste exactly the way they want them. And you’re welcome to bring your own food and drinks for party fare other than the scrumptious treats. The cost for all of this is $500 and includes two hours of rental time, 4 dozen full-sized cupcakes or 6 dozen mini cupcakes , all decorating tools, Sprinkles to-go boxes, and a party coordinator to assist, and set up/clean up by Sprinkles.  The rate might sound steep, but as the room accommodates 20 guests seated and 30 standing, it could possibly be a shared party.

ComedySportz 4 Kids
This improv show at The Comedy Spot in Ballston Common Mall is how Owen wants to celebrate his next party. We’ve never been, but I looked into this option for the kids’ birthdays this year and learned they were too young, as it’s recommended for first graders and up.  The fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants show encourages audience participation and even invites theatre-goers to get in on the act, too.  Afterwards, groups can stay for a party on stage. Rates are $10/person for up to 30 guests, plus $100 for the post-show celebration. You bring all the food and supplies; they’ll help you clean up when it’s over. And if you want to go big for the occasion, you can buy out the entire show and have the place to yourselves for $600 (another joint birthday possibility).

Ballet Petite
A friend claims this is a must on a list of area birthday party recommendations. And by the sound of it, I couldn’t agree more. I would have adored a soiree like this when I was a little girl. Catering to budding ballerinas and young entertainers, two party packages indulge the dance enthusiast’s fancy. For children ages 3 and up, there’s the Ballerina Party that includes a story, dance session in ornate costumes, tea party, and a fairy-dusted birthday cake. Kids 5 and older, can turn their party into a production with the Musical Theatre Birthday that includes a song and dance from a popular Broadway show, “auditions”, then a chance to perform the show for parents. Afterward, the party moves to a disco club where guests relax with music, apple cider, and birthday cake. Rates start at $650 for 16 guests (again, one to possibly share to cut costs). Ballet Petite has locations in both Bethesda and McLean.

The Playseum
The venue full of cute, themed rooms encouraging pretend play and hands-on fun for little ones gets loads of raves from parents as a great place for everyday play (Sasha, for one, loves it there). I’ve heard their birthday parties are fantastic, too.  They offer a few packages at different price points, depending on the number of guests and activities included. The basic ($150) gets you an hour of playtime and cupcake decorating, and story time for 6 children. A more-frills one  ($300) includes an all-day play pass, a private party room for two hours, a themed story time, and Playseum dollars to purchase a toy or activity. For more details and other party options, see the website.


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