Tag Archives: Maryland Science Center

New Year’s Eve Celebrations for the Whole Family

Noon Yards Eve features balloon art and tons more fun for kids

Noon Yards Eve features balloon art and tons more fun for kids



As we’re counting down the days to 2016, start making some plans to ring in the new year with the kids. There are several family-friendly ways to celebrate around the area, including events happening during the day as well as an easy overnight getaway. Here’s where 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 2016! The third 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 trains, face painters, kids crafts, and of course the big balloon drop at 12pm.

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town
When: Starting at 1pm
Admission: $20, 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.

The Celebration of Centuries
Where: Medieval Times
When: 3:30pm
Admission: $39.95/adult, $29.95/child (look for a deal)

Experience an epic afternoon of fun and celebration as you countdown to 2016. Along with a four-course feast and thrilling jousting action, there will be special activities for the occasion — knight training, face painting, and princess story time will make the day extra exciting a for young revelers.

Rocknoceros New Year’s Eve Party
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: 10:30am & 1:30pm
Admission: $10

For the 9th 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. Doors open half-hour before the show and general admission seating is on a first come, first served basis.

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 8th 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!

Noontime New Year
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 2016 with juice and cookies and enjoy a fun day of programs and performances! Be sure to check the schedule for timing of specific events.

Family Yoga NYE Party
Where: lil omm
When: 4-5pm
Admission: $25/family

Start the count down for a new year together, family yoga style! In this special homage to the new year, participants will move together in partner poses, shared laughter and breath, and meditate on what you would like to nurture in the new year. Babies are welcome to enjoy the music and company, though the practice — movement, meditation, and breathing — will be geared for children ages 3 and up and their parents/caregivers. Registration closes December 29, so be sure to sign up in advance!

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 restaurants with Walking Watch Night Menus, a children’s scavenger hunt, a wide variety of inflatables, free balloons, karaoke, face painting, caricaturist drawings, free popcorn and more. 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 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 2016? 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.

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Count Down to 2015 with the Kids this New Year’s Eve

The colorful balloon drop at last year's Noon Yards Eve

The colorful balloon drop at last year’s 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 2015 around the area that don’t just welcome, but focus on 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 hosting its second annual Noon Yards Eve festival to ring in 2015! The event will transform the park into a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with interactive fun for both kids and adults. Activities will include inflatable moon bounces, game, crafting stations, balloon artists, face painters, temporary tattoo artists, stilt-walkers and magicians, live entertainment, and a count down and balloon drop at 12pm.

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town
When: Starting at 1pm
Admission: $20, 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 by blue grass musicians, honky-tonk bands, clowns, magicians, and classical musicians. Among the many kids activities will be live entertainment, face painting, nail art, balloon sculptures, interactive art activities, and a scavenger hunt through the streets of Old Town. 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 8th year in a row, 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. Doors open half-hour before the show and general admission seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Midnight Noon
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: 10am – 2pm
Admission: $18.95/adult, $15.95/3-12, free for 2 and under

The Maryland Science Center’s annual New Year’s Eve family extravaganza will transform the midnight tradition into a rockin’ and rollin’, science-filled, craft-happy daytime delight. The 7th 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 make glittery snow globes. And the rest of the Science Center will be open for exploration, too!

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

Join the children’s museum in Baltimore for a Holiday Hoedown at its annual Noontime New Year Celebration. Dress up in cowboy attire or your favorite costume and help them count down to the New Year at 12 noon with Eric Energy and Curious George! Toast the New Year with milk and cookies and enjoy a fun day of programs and performances! Be sure to check the schedule for timing of specific events.

New Year’s Eve Yoga Party
Where: lil omm
When: 4-7pm
Admission: $30/family

Say “namaste” alog with Happy New Year. lil omm is hosting two parties for families to ring in 2015. The first is for families with children 0-3 years from 4-5pm — enjoy age appropriate family yoga for all levels, music, snacks, and refreshments (cost: $30/family). Then from 5:30-7pm families with children 3 and up are invited to a rockin’ New Year’s Eve class complete with pizza dinner (cost: $50/family)!

Midnight at 7
Where: Symphony of Lights in Columbia
When: 5pm
Admission: $20/individual, $40/group of 3, $50/group of 4

The New Year’s fireworks start early at the Symphony of Lights in Columbia, Md, where their annual drive-through light show has been dazzling oglers throughout the holiday season. You can enjoy it on foot on Wednesday, along with a toasty bonfire, food vendors, music, party favors, face painting and more. It all begins at 5pm when gates open, then watch the fireworks at 7pm. Register here.

Watch Night: The City of Falls Church 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 restaurants with Walking Watch Night Menus, a children’s scavenger hunt, a wide variety of inflatables, free balloons, karaoke, face painting, caricaturist drawings, free popcorn and more. 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.

First Night Klezmer Concert
Where: Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum
When: 3pm
Admission: $15 or $40/family of four

Join the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington for a family-friendly afternoon as they usher in the New Year with a special Klezmer concert with acclaimed band, Machaya. European Jewish immigrants in the late 19th century brought Klezmer, a style of Jewish music that includes Yiddish verses, with them to Washington. Our historic 1876 synagogue, founded by mostly German-Jewish immigrants, once housed services, prayer, and music in Yiddish. Help the Society bring Yiddish back into their building. Refreshments and a sparkling cider toast included. The museum is located at 701 3rd Street NW.

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New Year’s Eve, Family-Style

Yards Park is hosting its first-ever Noon Year's Eve for families

Yards Park is hosting its first-ever Noon Year’s Eve for families



Looking for family-friendly ways to ring in 2014? Here are some events happening around the area that not only welcome kids, but in many cases, center around them. (And while you’re out enjoying them, chill the bubbly so it’s all ready to pop open for your evening celebration.) Happy New Year!

Noon Year’s Eve at the Yards
Where: Yards Park
When: 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

The Yards Park is hosting a family celebration to kick off the New Year. “Noon Year’s Eve” will feature music and activities, including moon bounces, trackless train rides through the park, face painting, stilt walkers, magic, and performances by The Guitar Man, John Henry England, Justin Trawick, and the hula hoop lady, Shannon ShapeShifter. And no New Year’s celebration would be complete with a countdown & ball (or balloon) drop…only this one will take place at 12pm!

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town
When: Starting at 1pm
Admission: $20, 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 by blue grass musicians, honky-tonk bands, clowns, magicians, and classical musicians. Among the many kids activities will be live entertainment, model sail boat building and sailing, face painting, cookie decorating, nail art, moon bouncing, and interactive carnival games (for ages 10 and under). New this year is the ThinkFun game room and the Fun Hunt, a scavenger hunt through the streets of Old Town where you follow clues. 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 7th year in a row, 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 drink menu while you’re there. Doors open half-hour before the show and general admission seating in on a first come, first served basis.

Noon Year’s Eve
Where: National Children’s Museum
When: 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10

The NCM will be ringing in 2014 all day with special activities and programs, including a performance by Culture Kingdom Kids from 12-1pm! Three “official” New Year’s Eve countdowns in the Map Zone will take place at 12pm, 1pm, and 2pm, and childen (and parents) will be able to decorate hats and create noisemakers for the festivities all day!

Midnight Noon
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: 10am – 2pm
Admission: $16.95/adult, $13.95/3-12, free for 2 and under

The Maryland Science Center’s annual New Year’s Eve family extravaganza will transform the midnight tradition into daytime delight. The 6th annual Midnight Noon will be bursting with fun as families celebrate a very Happy Noon Year! Baltimore’s own Grammy-nominated kid’s band Milkshake will light up the stage starting at 11:30am and will continue rockin’ and rollin’ right into the year “2014,” even leading the ball drop at noon. Visitors will also enjoy hands-on holiday arts & crafts, projects and interactive science activities. Special crafts will be available from 10am-2pm while supplies last. Guests can decorate party hats, make noisemakers and create wintry snow globes. There will be even more fun when Blue Sky Puppet Theatre performes Pig Tales, a story about friendship and sharing, at 10:30am and 1pm. And the rest of the Science Center will be open for exploration, too!

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

The children’s museum in Baltimore is hosting its annual Noontime New Year Celebration as they celebrate Kings and Queens, Knights and Jokers. Dress up in your favorite costume to decorate numbers and make sound makers for the noon countdown with Eric Energy, complete with a juice and cookie toast! There will also be tons of performances, activities, and more, including mask and fairy wand making, jousting, dancing, theater and music shows, and science spectaculars. Be sure to check the schedule for timing of specific events.

Family New Year’s Eve Yoga Party
Where: lil omm
When: 4-6pm
Admission: $30/family

Ring in the New Year with family filled fun at lil omm! From 5-7pm, families with children of all ages are invited to dance the night away and explore a variety of playful partner poses. Family Yoga includes postures for the whole family, including appropriate variations to accommodate everyone (prenatal welcome). Pizza dinner is included.

Midnight at 7
Where: Symphony of Lights in Columbia
When: 5pm
Admission: $20/individual, $40/group of 3, $50/group of 4

The New Year’s fireworks start early at the Symphony of Lights in Columbia, Md, where their annual drive-through light show has been dazzling oglers throughout the holiday season. You can enjoy it on foot on Saturday, along with a toasty bonfire, food vendors, music, party favors, face painting and more. It all begins at 5pm when gates open, then watch the fireworks at 7pm. Register here.

Watch Night: The City of Falls Church 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 restaurants with Walking Watch Night Menus, a children’s scavenger hunt, a wide variety of inflatables, free balloons, karaoke, face painting, caricaturist drawings, free popcorn and more. 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.

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Hands-On at the Maryland Science Center

Solving "Dinosaur Mysteries" in one of the most popular exhibits

Solving “Dinosaur Mysteries” in one of the most popular exhibits



Even with all the wonderful, free museums and other offerings for kids right in our backyards here in DC, it’s nice to have a change of scenery — and activity — now and then. We usually find it just 45 minutes away in Baltimore, where there are several places to experience play, learning, culture, and more, much of it in environments created especially for children.

In-your-face models of dino skeletons

In-your-face models of dino skeletons

One of those places is the Maryland Science Center, located right on the Inner Harbor. And while I’ve previously covered it on the blog, I’ve never given it a proper general overview. There’s really nothing like it here in DC — on such a large scale, anyway. MSC presents various topics of science through an array of exhibits, just about all of them hands-on and appealing to young visitors. It’s not a museum with collections of artifacts and tangible history; rather, there are models, demos, and interactive displays that encourage learning through engagement. (For the record, I believe both have great value, they just offer different experiences.)

"The Body" covers everything from germs to stress reactions to poop.

“The Body” covers everything from germs to stress reactions to poop.


Space exploraton

Space exploraton

A close look at the Maryland blue crab (yum)

A close look at the Maryland blue crab (yum)

Dinosaurs, the earth, physics, the body, energy, and space are some of the main areas on exhibit. There is also a Kids Room full of all kinds of hands-on fun for children in a safe enclosed space, including a special area for the under-2 set.

Playing in Newton's Alley

Playing in Newton’s Alley

Wild winds in the hurricane simulator

Wild winds in the hurricane simulator

So many ways to learn through play

So many ways to learn through play

IMAX movies, planetarium shows, and activities offered by museum staff round out the offerings. You can easily spend an entire day exploring and playing and not even see/do everything. But that just gives you good reason to go back!

In the Kids Room: Little doctors get an inside look

In the Kids Room: Little doctors get an inside look

Digital interactives for all ages

Digital interactives for all ages

Face to face with fish

Face to face with fish

The Maryland Science Center is open Tuesday through Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 6pm, and Sunday 11am – 5pm. Hours change in the spring, so be sure to check the schedule. Admission is $20.95/adult, $15.95/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under. If you think you’d go often, membership is worth checking out.

A few things to note:

Beakers Cafe offers lunch and snacks — hotdogs, sandwiches, salads. Prices aren’t terrible, but after paying relatively steep admission (we’re so used to everything being free), you might want to save a few bucks and BYO.

– The Science Center validates parking at nearby garages. Street parking is also available, but it’s a two-hour limit in most areas and, chances are, you’ll be there longer than that.

– The MSC can get very crowded, especially on weekends and holidays off from school, so be prepared.

– IMAX movies and a few activities, like the hurricane simulator, cost extra. Credit cards accepted.


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New Year’s Eve Events for the Family

Old Town rings in 2012 at last year's First night Alexandria

Old Town Rings in 2012 at last year’s First night Alexandria


Looking for family-friendly ways to ring in 2013? Here are some events happening around the area that not only welcome kids, but in many cases, center around them. (And while you’re out enjoying them, chill the bubbly so it’s all ready to pop open when you get back home.) Happy New Year!

Noon Year’s Eve
Where: National Children’s Museum
When: 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10

The brand new museum at National Harbor welcomes the public to ring in 2013 at this event that will include parades led by some of the museum’s favorite characters, as well as theatre performances and programs involving New Year’s-themed crafts. Timed tickets will be issued for 10am-12pm, 12-2pm, and 2-4pm. For guaranteed admission, visitors may purchase timed tickets in advance for the next available admission time (on the same day at the Museum’s box office), and will receive a wristband to return to the Museum at the designated time. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town
When: Starting at 1pm
Admission: $20, 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 by blue grass musicians, honky-tonk bands, clowns, magicians, and classical musicians. Among the kids activities will be story time, games, moon bouncing, face painting, magic shows, crafts, and 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: 2pm
Admission: $10

The widely popular band that always gets kids rockin’ will be playing a special New Year’s Eve gig at Jammin’ Java, and tickets are still available for the 2pm show. Sing a long to some of your favorite tunes and hear songs from their latest album “Colonel Purple Turtle.”

Midnight Noon
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: 10am – 2pm
Admission: $16.95/adult, $13.95/3-12, free for 2 and under

Head to Baltimore for the Maryland Science Center’s 5th annual Midnight Noon, where children can enjoy the ball drop before bed time. Special crafts will be available from 10am-2pm while supplies last. Guests can decorate party hats, make noisemakers and create wintry snow globes. Festivities will continue with the sounds of popular kids band Milkshake as they take the stage at 11:30am. There will be even more fun when Blue Sky Puppet Theatre performes Pig Tales, a story about friendship and sharing, at 10:30am and 1pm. And the rest of the Science Center will be open for exploration, too!

Noon Year’s Eve Jump
Where: Pump it Up in Lanham
When: 10am – 12pm & 12-2pm
Admission: $12/child, free for parents

Celebrate 2013 with some bouncing, sliding, and climbing in Pump it Up’s large rooms full of giant inflatables. Admission also includes two slices of pizza and a drink, plus there will be a big countdown to the new year at noon.

Family Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Yoga
Where: lil omm
When: 4-6pm
Admission: $40/family

Get a spiritual start to 2013, as you ring in the New Year with family-filled fun at lil omm — a Family Yoga class from 4-6pm. It’s open to kids of all ages, so bring the entire family to practice together! Yoga is a wonderful way to cultivate emotional, physical, and spiritual bonding, and the Family Yoga class includes postures for the whole family, including appropriate variations to accommodate everyone. This class will have some fun music and allow everyone to explore their own inner rock-star! Register in advance online.

Midnight at 7
Where: Symphony of Lights in Columbia
When: 5pm
Admission: $20/individual, $40/group of 3, $50/group of 4

The New Year’s fireworks start early at the Symphony of Lights in Columbia, where their annual drive-through light show has been dazzling oglers throughout the holiday season. You can enjoy it on foot on Saturday, along with a toasty bonfire, food vendors, music, party favors, face painting and more.  It all begins at 5pm when gates open, then watch the fireworks at 7pm. Register here.

Watch Night: The City of Falls Church New Year’s Eve Celebration
Where: Broad (Rt. 7) & Washington (Rt. 29) Streets 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 restaurants with Walking Watch Night Menus, a children’s scavenger hunt, a wide variety of inflatables, free balloons, karaoke, face painting, caricaturist drawings, free popcorn and more. The evening concludes at midnight with the traditional countdown and lowering of the City of Falls Church Star. All events take place within three blocks of the intersection of Broad Street and Washington 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.  

Ceremonial Bell Ringing
Where: National Archives
When: 11:30pm
Admission: Free

Recall times past as we celebrate time passing at the National Archives — if you can make it to the final hours of 2012. Festivities begin at 11:30 with a performance by the Washington Revels Heritage Voices, followed by a ceremonial bell ringing by a historical re-enactor portraying Harriet Tubman.

Celebrate at Home – Daily Candy has a bunch of cute ideas to help you and the kids ring in 2013 at home.

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