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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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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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Party at George’s Place! (And More Ways to Celebrate Presidents Day in DC)

It’s not surprising that Presidents Day is a big holiday ’round these parts. There are scores of events and activities happening this weekend to celebrate George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. So many that I decided give them their own post.  Here’s where you can pay tribute and have some fun with the kids.

Party at Mount Vernon – Every Presidents Day weekend, George Washington’s former estate hosts special festivities in celebration of our first POTUS’ big day. This always includes his favorite breakfast of “hoecakes swimming in butter and honey” served to guests during the morning hours among other activities that recall his 18th-century life. This year, they are taking it up a notch with four award-winning local chefs presenting cooking demos of the dish. Chef Cathal Armstrong from Restaurant Eve, Chef David Guas from Bayou Bakery, Chef Christophe Poteaux from Bastille Restaurant, and Chef Robert Wiedmaier from BRABO will be cooking their versions of the breakfast over open fire for “George Washington” at 12pm. Later on, guests can join characters from the 18th century as they help visitors surprise General Washington with rousing birthday cheers. At “George Washington’s Surprise Birthday Party”, the first president will be presented with gifts, which he will describe and react to during a speech to his birthday visitors.  All activities on Saturday and Sunday, February 18 & 19, are included in regular Estate admission: $15/adults, $7/kids ages 6-11, children under 5 are free. Hours are 9am – 4pm.

There’s even more on Monday, February 20.  Along with the surprise birthday celebration mentioned above, there will be a traditional wreathlaying ceremony at Washington’s Tomb followed by patriotic music and military performances on the Bowling Green (however, the hoecakes will not be served). And as a special present to visitors, the Estate will open one hour earlier at 8am and admission on Monday is FREE.

Presidential Family Fun Day –  The National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum will celebrate our nation’s presidents on Saturday with a special Family Day.  Guests can explore U.S. history through craft activities, stories, patriotic music, and special guests. Drop in for the free event from 11:30am – 3pm.

Celebrate GW at Tudor Place!The historic estate’s collections include the largest assemblage of Washington artifacts outside of Mount Vernon. On Monday, February 20, visitors can take self-guided tours through the mansion and a special exhibit of rare Washington-related objects, including George Washington’s 1775 letter to his wife, Martha, one of only three such letters known to exist. There will also be 18th-century gaming, dancing, and crafts led by costumed interpreters. Admission is $5/member adults, $10/non-member adults, $5/children. Register in advance online.

Presidents Day Open House at Ford’sOn Monday, February 20, Ford’s Theatre will celebrate Presidents Day with a free open house featuring a variety of programming and activities. Over the course of the day, visitors can enjoy an author discussion, ranger talks, and performances of Papa Day, Tales of the Lincoln with storyteller Jon Spelman and One Destiny. They can also view the exhibits at the new Center for Education and Leadership, participate in workshops with the Education Department, and enjoy scavenger hunts and prize drawings. The Ford’s Theatre Museum will be open for visits on the hour beginning at 9am. Tickets to the event are free and will be available at the box office beginning at 8:30am that day.

George Washington Birthday ParadeOn Monday, Old Town Alexandria hosts the largest parade in the country celebrating George Washington’s birthday with marching bands, historic re-enactment troops and more.  The procession will travel through Old Town from 1 – 3pm.  See the website for more info and route details.

Presidents Day at The Launch Zone–  Little ones will have fun at the National Children’s Museum as they learn about past presidents with finger puppets and other resources. They can also learn how to make their own official Shrinky Dink inaugural badges (while supplies last). This free event runs on Saturday, February 18, from 11am – 4pm.

President Lincoln’s Cottage – There’s no special event, but this seems like a good way to honor Abe for Presidents Day.  Located on the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) campus in northwest DC, the cottage was Abraham Lincoln’s country home and workplace, where he spent one quarter of his presidency. Tickets are $12/adults, $6/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under. Admission includes the Signature Cottage Tour, an innovative small group tour in which a professional guide uses “historical voices” and images through multimedia technology to bring the stories of Abraham Lincoln and his family to life. Hours are Monday – Saturday 930am – 4:30pm, and Sunday 10:30am – 4:30pm.

Wax Presidential Get up close and personal with all 44 POTUS at Madame Tussauds in downtown DC.  The Presidents Gallery, exclusive to that location, is comprised of 14 themed rooms that include interactive exhibits along with the sculptures.  If you plan to go, be sure to get in on one of several deals: Groupon has one for $10, Goldstar is offering discount tickets,  or you can book through the venue online for a 15% discount.

 

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