Tag Archives: Spring 2017

The Weekend Round-Up: March 24-26

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is open for the season!

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is open for the season!



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This first weekend of spring is full of seasonal fun and then some! Enjoy a cherry blossom-inspired event, celebrate Maryland’s birthday, zip through the treetops, catch a live show, have fun on the farm, learn to make slime….plus, the blossoms should be in full bloom anytime now, so plan get out and see the DC in peak mode. Happy Weekend!

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join SAAM and the National Cherry Blossom Festival for a celebration of Japanese culture! A taiko drumming performance kicks off the day, followed by Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, and cherry blossom themed crafts. Make your own tatebanko (a Japanese paper diorama) with our friends from the Smithsonian’s Freer Sackler Asian art museums. Go on a scavenger hunt to find spring-themed artworks and more!

Maryland Day
Where: Annapolis and Southern Anne Arundel County
When: Friday – Sunday, times vary by activity
Admission: Activities are free or just $1

Celebrate Maryland’s birthday and rediscover the state’s history during fun-filled annual festival highlighting the uniqueness of the Four Rivers Heritage Area, as local cultural and heritage sites offer special activities and tours. Stroll through downtown Annapolis or visit Historic London Town and the Annapolis countryside to enjoy educational tours, costumed re-enactors, art exhibits, kids’ activities, and more. Visit the website for more details ad schedule of events.

Kites of Asia Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian heritage! At the Air & Space Museum’s annual event, you can talk to kite experts, see pan-Asian kite displays, marvel at indoor kite flying, make your own kite, and maybe even take a dance lesson!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress Young Readers Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Learn about Japanese culture as you create origami artwork creation, try on kimonos, and enjoy more other activities. Cherry Blossom princesses from the last few years will instruct children in the art of tiara-making. At 11am and 1:30pm, the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, will present “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” a program about Japanese life and culture. Following each of these presentations, there will be a karate demonstration along with other attractions. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature – read more about it here.

Friendship Between Nations Family Day
Where: National Archives
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship. Investigate treaties, learn about some of the crazy gifts countries have given, and participate in interactive activities designed for the entire family to enjoy.

Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The kick of warmth starting today should give the cherry blossoms the final nudge needed to get to full bloom, so get out and view the splendor of it all. The Tidal Basin is the most iconic spot to see them, but other places in the area also showcase the famous flowers. This post suggests some spots and offers tips on making the most of your viewing experience.

Adventure in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by age

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring recently opened for the season! Kids as young as 5-years-old can experience thrills on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial adventure forest, the largest in North America. Children ages 5-6 and an accompanying adult have access to two of the easier courses. Older kids can do much more. It may seem like a pricey venture, but it’s so worth it. Trust me. Read more about the park in this KFDC post.

Composting Workshop
Where: National Arboretum
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10

Join Washington Youth Garden for a family-friendly Urban Composting workshop lead by Compost Cab. Join them at the demonstration garden to learn about indoor and outdoor home composting and leave with the knowledge to make your own soil for your garden. Wear clothing that can get dirty — compost can get messy!

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

* Reserve free tickets to see Bilbo’s Journey presented by Traveling Lantern Theatre Company, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* Jack and the Beanstalk in on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Magic Toyshop is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Paper Dreams at Imagination Stage will delight young audiences
* Older youth audiences will enjoy The Manhattan Project’s production of Alice in Wonderland at the Bethesda theatre
* From the Mouths of Monsters is a Frankenstein-inspired show at the Kennedy Center
* Justin Roberts is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin Java
* See To Sail Around the Sun at the Kennedy Center
* Go KidFree at a performance of The Select (The Sun Also Rises) at the Lansburgh Theatre

Spring Farm Fun
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $14.95 ages 2 and up

Start celebrating Easter as soon as this weekend at Ticonderoga’s annual spring festival! With giant slides, awesome jumping pillows, playgrounds, animals, mazes, and more, the farm in Chantilly is a blast everyday (it’s open daily), but they take the fun up a notch on weekends in early spring. Along with the permanent amusement, there are egg hunts and visits from the Easter Bunny. Be sure to check the website for timing of specific activities. For an idea of what’s there, see this post about their Winter Festival, which is much of the same, but with Easter instead of Christmas festivities.

Going Wild Weekend
Where: Port Discovery
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $$14.95/ages 2 and up

Spring is finally here – and it’s time to “Go Wild” at Port Discovery! Join Wildlife Adventures and programs all about wildlife: Interact with live animals, learn about wildlife with fun programs like Living WILD, Wild Tales, and UnWrap, UnRoll and UnWind, and enjoy animal-themed art projects where you can create Fire Breathing Dragons and Going Wild Masks. Plus, take part in interactive plays and theater performances, yoga for kids, and enjoy roaming music throughout the day!

Environmental Film Fest
Where: Several locations around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by film

Films from across the globe are being screened around the DC-Metro area for the the 25th annual Environmental Film Festival. And there are a few family-oriented flicks among them. This weekend, Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale is the one family-friendly film showing on Sunday. There are even more films that older kids will likely enjoy and learn from and others to consider for a grown-up outing. View the website to watch trailers and get showtimes and details.

Cántale a Tu Bebé (Sing To Your Baby)
Where: The Mansion at Strathmore
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: $10

Join a bilingual music party celebrating the release of Cántale a Tu Bebé, the Spanish-language version of the award-winning book/CD Sing To Your Baby by Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. Sonia De Los Santos (solo musician and Dan Zanes Band) and Jorge Anaya (Dc-area Latino vocalist) join Cathy & Marcy for this intimate event. Learn how to use music for fun, skill development and as an ongoing expression of love in both Spanish and English. It’s never too early (or too late!) to sing with family!

DC Youth Orchestra SpringFest
Where: Easter High School
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

The DC Youth orchestra Program is celebrating Spring with the community!  It’ll begin with a prelude concert featuring DCYOP chamber groups and faculty. The Orchestra Idol competition concert will follow — think Battle of the Bands meets DC youth! Over 200 students from 80 different schools will be assigned to one of three hybrid orchestras. Each orchestra will have one hour to prepare a piece which will then be performed in front of a panel of celebrity judges and community audience. The winner will be determined by the combined votes of the celebrity panel and audience texts score. Join to enjoy the music and chip in with your vote! 

Museum Movie: The Eagle Huntress
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

Among the isolated Kazakh tribe in the mountains of northwest Mongolia, the long tradition of eagle hunting has only been practiced by men. This documentary follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her family to become an eagle hunter. Her decision causes controversy amongst older members of the community, but Aisholpan boldly embarks on a strict program of training. This inspiring film captures her courage. English narration, and Kazakh with English subtitles. Recommended for ages 11 and up.

Make Slime to Fight Cancer
Where: Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in Fairfax
When: Sunday, 2-3pm
Admission: $20

Local 9-year-old, Hannah, has been making slime since last summer, and with the recent with slime craze many kids have asked to buy it as well as how to make their own. So, her mom thought it would be fun have her teach a class for kids in the area — and this Sunday Hannah will be doing just that. (How cool is that?!) Even better, part of the proceeds will go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which helps fight childhood cancer. All supplies are included in the fee, and you can use the code HANNAH to get a $5 discount.

Make Room for Matzah
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Sunday, 10:30am -12pm
Admission: $10/family by 3/24, $15/family after

Join for hands-on Passover workshop to get ready for Passover and learn more about this tradition for your interfaith or Jewish family. Your child will make a beautiful Miriam’s Cup to enhance your seder and do a mitzvah for seniors celebrating Passover. Then we will have a Seder Plate Taste Test, as you delve into why we have the things on the Seder plate that we do. Best for ages 3 and up.

Walks in the Woods
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Enjoy the season and some active fun. See flowers that are popping up with warmer temps, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and savor the time outdoors. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for places to walk in the woods with the kids.

The Ins and Outs of DC
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

If you’re looking for things to do outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
The Great Indoors


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Babies, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Library of Congress, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Live Entertainment on Local Stages this Spring

The interactive TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched at BlackRock Center for the Arts

The interactive “TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched” at BlackRock Center for the Arts



With the new season comes a whole new lineup of live entertainment. There are shows for all ages and interests — plays, puppet theatre, musicals, concerts, dance performances, and more to enjoy at venues around the area. Here’s what you and the kids can see on local stages this spring, listed in order of opening date.

Paper Dreams
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through April 9
Tickets: $14

In a brand-new collaboration with Mons Dansa Dance Company Barcelona, Spain, we bring to life our first DANCE performance based show, perfect for ages 1-5 that explores the many facets of creativity. A fun, interactive production that tells the story of two delightful creatures who live inside a wastepaper basket. Can our greatest mistake actually turn out to be the next greatest innovative idea?

Ragtime
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: Through May 20
Tickets: $18-64 (look for a discount)

Based on E.L. Doctorow’s celebrated novel, this epic Tony-winning musical depicts three families striving for the American dream at the turn of the 20th century. As the country balances on the cusp of social change, the lives of a wealthy white family, a daring Harlem musician and a determined Jewish immigrant intersect—and their fates are inextricably bound and profoundly changed. With an expansive musical score, striking relevancy and a who’s who of 20th-century historical characters, “Ragtime” confronts both the unbridled optimism and the stark reality of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

The Select (The Sun Also Rises) (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Lansburgh Theatre
When: Through April 2
Tickets: $44-113 (look for a discount)

A stage littered with liquor bottles and café chairs seamlessly transforms itself from the bistros of Paris to the banks of the Irati River; a long bar table roars to life and charges a champion matador; an out-of-control dance party takes off during a night of nonstop revelry. As the story winds its way through France and Spain and lands in Pamplona where bullfighting and the fiesta rage in the streets, Hemingway’s narrator carries the heavy burdens of a war injury and his inability to have the woman he loves; a woman whose amorous escapades he follows with bemused but painful fatalism.

Monica Becomes a Big Sister
Where: Discovery Theater
When: March 23
Tickets: $3-8

Monica can’t wait for the newest member of the family to arrive. But a broken leg sends her to the emergency room with her mom. In a musical medical adventure, Monica discovers that a hospital isn’t such a scary place—and that a baby brother might join you on the trip back home. Recommended for ages 3-7

To Sail Around the Sun
Where: Kennedy Center
When: March 25-26
Tickets: $20

Set to the timeless music of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, this imaginative world premiere co-commission between the NSO and Company | E uses dance, film, storytelling, and musicians to weave together stories about the changing of the seasons. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Pike St. (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Woolly Mammoth
When: March 27 – April 23
Tickets: $39-49 (look for a discount)

On the Lower East Side, a mother works hard to keep the electricity flowing for her daughter’s respirator while a hurricane looms nearby. As she prepares for disaster, a vibrant host of characters—a decorated war veteran, her ne’er-do-well father, her octogenarian downstairs neighbor—bring new meaning to the phrase “it takes a village.”

Mother Earth & Me
Where: Discovery Theater
When: March 28-31
Tickets: $3-8

The magic of earth science takes center stage in this fun, interactive Discovery Theater original as we explore the origins of our planet, the water cycle, and our important role in the ecosystem, as well as folklore about the “big blue marble” we call home. Kick off Earth Month by pledging to become an Earth Warrior—and find out some great ways to start right away!

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: March 30 – April 30
Tickets: $12

A marionette romp in which three brothers get the goat of a hen-pecked troll, in their attempts to trip-trap-tromp to where the grass is greener. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry.

A Raisin in the Sun
Where: Arena Stage
When: March 31 – May 7
Tickets: $66-111

Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking masterpiece follows the Younger family yearning for a better life far from the cramped confines of their Chicago tenement. Hope arrives in the form of an unexpected financial windfall, but when they realize they have differing definitions of the American dream, which dreams get realized and which deferred? A Raisin in the Sun paints the African-American experience in brilliant and powerful strokes, as vibrant and vital today as they were in 1959.

Water on Mars
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: April 1-2
Tickets: $18-24

Water on Mars is virtuoso juggling gone wild. Take three monstrously skillful young jugglers, six hands and thousands of catches. Add flying chocolate and backflips, 400 rolls of tape and magnetic jump-ropes. Result: better than a roller coaster and as good as the 4th of July. When these three work together on a single project it´s like 3 Jackson Pollock´s sword fighting with paint covered brushes. Designed for spaceships and distant planets, Water on Mars is the future of juggling.

Saturday Family Jazz Sessions
Where: Strathmore
When: Several Saturdays in April, May, & June
Tickets: $10/advance, $12/at door

Junior jazz aficionados can spend Saturday mornings singing, playing, and preparing for a lifetime of music appreciation. Strathmore’s fun, creative, kid-friendly series features music by a different performer each session. These will take place during the spring April 1, April 22, May 6, May 20, June 3, and June 17.

Chicago
Where: Kennedy Center
When: April 4-16
Tickets: $50-159 (look for a discount)

With show-stopping numbers, astonishing dancing, and a healthy dose of razzle dazzle, Chicago is a heart-pounding spectacle of everything that makes Broadway great. Foxy Roxie Hart (portrayed by Grammy winner Brandy Norwood) and Velma Kelly bring down the house in this six-time Tony winner! Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Tot Rock: Alphabet Rockers – Hip Hop for Kids
Where: Discovery Theater
When: April 6-7
Tickets: $3-8

Alphabet Rockers is the “modern day De La Soul for the 21st century (all-natural) juice box crowd” (Cooper & Kid). This is an intergenerational dance party where the performers’ infectious energy and hip hop grooves get kids jumping and head nodders rocking out – all set to educational lyrics about complex cultural topics and learning goals. Alphabet Rockers make learning come alive through the beats, rhymes, moves and community of hip hop – and you will have confidence this is adding value to your community and life.

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: April 7 – May 21
Tickets: $19.50

This is Aladdin as you’ve never seen it before. Aladdin and his love, the princess Adora, must outsmart an evil Magician who wants to use the genie in Aladdin’s lamp for his nefarious schemes! Will he get away with it? Get ready for love, magic, and mystery in this production for all ages.

Smart People
Where: Arena Stage
When: April 14 – May 22
Tickets:

Do our belief systems stem from our environment, or are some prejudices hard-wired into us? With barbed wit, Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly) explores the unavoidable nature of cultural bias and other sticky subjects in the controversial and fiercely funny new play Smart People. Four intellectuals — a doctor, an actress, a psychologist, and a neurobiologist studying the human brain’s response to race — search for love, acceptance and identity in a complex world where political correctness comes face-to-face with cold hard data.

Fun Home (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Theatre
When: April 18 – May 13
Tickets: $48-98 (look for a discount)

Every once in a while a Broadway musical comes along that surprises, moves and excites audiences in ways only a truly landmark musical can. The groundbreaking, life-affirming and exquisite new musical FUN HOME was the event of the Broadway season, receiving raves from critics and audiences alike, winning five 2015 Tony Awards including BEST MUSICAL and making history along the way. Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, FUN HOME introduces us to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood. A refreshingly honest musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, FUN HOME is extraordinary, a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway. (New York Times)

Ecosystems Alive
Where: Discovery Theater
When: April 20-21
Tickets: $3-8

From tropical forests to tundras, deserts to wetlands, our planet’s ecosystems display a rich diversity. Be introduced to live reptiles from a variety of habitats and discover why healthy ecosystems are so important to all life. You might get to meet a boa constrictor, box turtle, bearded dragon, or other creatures from around the world. Recommended for ages 6-11.

In the Heights – En Español!
Where: Gala Hispanic Theatre
When: April 20 – May 21
Tickets: $40-60

New York’s Washington Heights is a vibrant community on the brink of change, where the biggest struggle can be which traditions you take with you and which you leave behind. With its gripping tale of hopes and dreams, this groundbreaking musical is the next chapter in the multicultural American story. Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Where: Strathmore
When: April 21
Tickets: $20-60

The world-renowned all-singing, all-plucking superstars return with their toe-tapping music, hilarious banter, and sheer superlative entertainment. Last year they celebrated “30 Plucking Years” of ukulele action, this year they will have been active for “One Billion Seconds.” See for yourself why the Ukes of GB (the original Ukulele Orchestra, the oldest and the best) and their entertaining, witty, shopping trolley dash through all genres of music has led to sold-out shows all over the world. Critics, trying to encapsulate the group’s indefinable magic and joy, have heralded the group as “the best musical entertainment.”

The Jungle Book
Where: Imagination Stage
When: April 22 – May 28
Tickets: $15-30

Mowgli is a human child brought up in the jungles of India by a family of wolves. The embittered tiger Shere Kahn may be stalking him, but Mowgli is a quick learner. His friends, Baloo the goofy bear, and Bagheera, the savvy Jaguar, teach him how to gain the trust of the four-footed hunters, the birds, and the snakes so that he will never be friendless. He falls into a bad crowd of silly monkeys who lead him astray and play a mean trick on him. How will Mowgli escape from the deep, dark well? And, how will he save himself when Shere Kahn turns the wolf pack against him? Kipling’s timeless classic deals with very timely issues in this lively new version. Mowgli learns to respect his environment and the wisdom of the animals. And he realizes that, as a grown man, it’s his responsibility to protect them. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

TreeHouse Shakers: Hatched
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: April 23, 2pm & 4pm
Tickets: $18

After an extraordinarily popular performance at BlackRock in 2014, the TreeHouse Shaker’s Hatched returns to BlackRock. With movement, music, handcrafted puppets, and very little human dialogue, this show is set on a family farm, a newborn chick emerges from her shell at sunrise to a strange and busy world. Audience members interact and play with the characters on stage; they give the chicks their feed, milk bottles to the lamb and are licked by the cow. A beautiful introduction to theater, Hatched will charm and engage babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Macbeth (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: April 25 – May 8
Tickets: $44-102 (look for a discount)

In a world beset by civil war and invasion, Macbeth and his artful lady begin a series of murders, plunging us into the darkest night of the soul. Storms rage, fires burn and night blankets the earth in this tale of sound and fury, accompanied by Shakespeare’s richest poetry.

Paper Dreams
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: April 27-30
Tickets: $6-10

Imagination Stage partners with Mons Dansa from Barcelona, Spain for a delightful movement performance. A fun, interactive production that tells the story of two delightful creatures who live inside a wastepaper basket. Can our greatest mistake actually turn out to be the next greatest innovative idea? Recommended for ages 1-5.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre
When: Most Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Boogie Babes
Where: Eastern Market
When: Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday morning. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the market or at one of many nearby eateries after.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

Shear Madness
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $50-54 (look for a discount)

Set today in the Shear Madness hairstyling salon, this record-breaking comedy is Washington’s hilarious whodunit. After more than 13,000 performances, the show has stayed in great shape. Recommended for kids middle school ages and up.

Peppa Pig Live!
Where: Strathmore
When: May 3
Tickets: $29-59

Peppa Pig’s Big Splash is an action-packed live show featuring your favorite characters as life size puppets and costume characters! Come join Peppa, George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and more in an all singing, all-dancing adventure full of songs, games and muddy puddles!

Cinderella
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: May 4 – June 11
Tickets: $12

The elegance of 17th-century France, combining elaborate costumes of the Comédie-Française and Offenbach’s “Gaiety Parisian” to adorn the tale of the cinder girl who captures the heart of the handsome prince. The production was acclaimed at the 1997 National Puppet Festival, and performed by invitation at the Center for Puppetry Arts, in Atlanta.

Jojo’s Puppy Adventure
Where: Discovery Theater
When: May 4-5
Tickets: $3-8

Jojo has always wanted a pet of his own. But when he discovers an injured puppy, he knows he must reunite it with its owner. Join Jojo on an interactive musical search to find the puppy’s home—and a happy ending for both of them. Recommended for ages 3-7.

Snow White
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center
When: May 5
Tickets: $17-35

Virginia National Ballet’s Snow White is a charming, family friendly neo-classical ballet with hilarious appearances by the Seven Dwarfs, thrilling, bravura dancing from the Evil Queen, and gorgeous dancing by Snow White and the Prince, supported by students of Gainesville Ballet School as the adorable forest animals. Managing Director Elysabeth Muscat Hegab says that this will be Virginia National Ballet’s first “Fairy Tale” ballet with slapstick comedy, and the first time the company is including younger dancers in a performance. This production is perfect for all age groups, as the story is very easy to follow, the dancing and choreography are brilliant, and the gorgeous sets and costumes include four different scenic backdrops, original sets, and colorful costumes, on stage at the Hylton Performing Arts Cente

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Where: Synetic Theater
When: May 10 – June 11
Tickets: $20-60

Synetic’s visionary Founding Artistic Director Paata Tsikurishvili brings his mind-bending, cinematic style to Victor Hugo’s gothic, heartbreaking epic of inner beauty and undying loyalty. When the beguiling dancer Esmerelda captures the heart of the deformed bell-ringer Quasimodo, his adoptive father, the priest Frollo, decides he wants her for himself – plunging all of Paris into a spiral of riots, revolution, and murder. This production will not have dialogue. Recommended for ages 13+ for violence.

Nearly Lear
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 12-14
Tickets: $20

What if King Lear was told by his closest companion? In this one-woman tour-de-force, Susanna Hamnett plays the Fool–and every other character–to tell a very personal and poignant story borrowing from Shakespeare’s words. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Shakespeare for the Young: Midsummer Magic
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: May 17-21
Tickets: $6-10

Shakespeare’s delightful story of tricks and magic spells comes to life for the very young through puppets, movement and music. Recommended for ages 2-7.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: E.T. The Extraterrestrial In Concert
Where: Strathmore
When: May 18
Tickets: $35-92

Soar through the stars with Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece as you’ve never seen or heard it before! Jack Everly conducts John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score live as the classic film is projected on a giant HD screen. Bring the whole family to experience the magic of Elliott and his friend from far, far away.

Titus
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 20-21
Tickets: $20

Young Titus is in a situation that seems hopeless… he can either give up or fight. This exciting and challenging journey examines the obstacles faced by young people in our modern world and how we learn to find courage within ourselves as we confront those obstacles. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

Mouth Open, Story Jump Out
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 20-28
Tickets: $20

Don’t miss a one-man show from Polarbear, one of the UK’s most exciting spoken-word artists. International assassins, secret codes, dog-eating boa constrictors, and more come to life when a boy tries to make sense of his father’s disappearance. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

NSO Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 21
Tickets: $20

Critically acclaimed Brooklyn-based production company Giants Are Small offers an invigorating new perspective on Prokofiev’s classic, with a narrator and the musicians of the NSO creating all of the sound effects on stage. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Under the Baobab Tree with Iya
Where: Discovery Theater
When: May 4-5
Tickets: $3-8

Gather beneath the iconic tree of life as master educator Iya Bashea Imana shares captivating folktales. Music and movement, puppets, and eco-friendly crafts combine with timeless stories that offer an introduction to African traditions and wisdom. REcommended for ages 3-7

Hip Hop Culture: /peh-LO-tah/
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 9-11
Tickets: $20

Marc Bamuthi Joseph explores soccer by layering poetry, movement, visuals, and music into a fresh theatrical form based on Hip Hop aesthetics. This world premiere co-commission features verbally and physically energetic performances.

Strathmore Children’s Chorus: Celtic Sounds
Where: Strathmore
When: June 11
Tickets: $20-25

The Strathmore Children’s Chorus focuses their 5th anniversary spring concert on all things Celtic. Celtic Sounds celebrates the traditional music of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, bringing to life classics such as “Loch Lomond,” “Danny Boy,” and more. Celtic Sounds also includes a world premiere from composer Mandy Miller, plus guest artists from the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance and the A. Mario Loiderman Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts Choirs.

*Know of a great upcoming production not listed here? Let me know in the comments below!


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The Best Events of the 2017 Cherry Blossom Season for Families

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There’s much more to cherry blossom season in DC than just the famous flowers. The National Cherry Blossom Festival makes it a great celebration with all kinds of events over several weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festival. Here are the best of them for families to help plan for a peak blossom experience. And be sure to check out this post, too, with tips for cherry blossom viewing. Happy spring!

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: March 15 – April 2
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the bloom season and most of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. Enjoy them daily starting March 15 from 12-6pm.

Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Celebration of Japanese culture in the beauitful Kogod Courtyard! A taiko drumming performance will kick off the day, followed by Japanese music and dance performances, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts. Make your own tatebanko (a Japanese paper diorama) with friends from the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler Gallery, go on a scavenger hunt to find spring themed artworks, and more!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress Young Readers Center
When: March 25
Admission: Free

Learn about Japanese culture as you create origami artwork creation, try on kimonos, and enjoy more other activities. Cherry Blossom princesses from the last few years will instruct children in the art of tiara-making. At 11am and 1:30pm, the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC, will present “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” a program about Japanese life and culture. Following each of these presentations, there will be a karate demonstration along with other attractions. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature – read more about it here.

Friendship Between Nations Family Day
Where: National Archives
When: March 25, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Archives for a fun, activity filled day exploring the many ways countries show their friendship, such as the gift of the cherry blossoms from Japan to the US. Investigate treaties, learn about some of the crazy gifts countries have given, and participate in interactive activities designed for the entire family to enjoy.

Kites of Asia Heritage Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian heritage! At the Air & Space Museum’s annual event, you can talk to kite experts, see pan-Asian kite displays, marvel at indoor kite flying, make your own kite, and maybe even take a dance lesson!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: April 1, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is probably my favorite event of the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument is truly a sight to behold. It’s magical for kids — and even for me as a jaded adult! The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 8, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is easily the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: M Street & New Jersey Ave. SE
When: April 8, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. There will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. All at a new location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Be prepared for a crowd.

Family Workshop: Japanese Woodblock Printing
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: April 8-9, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, join the Sackler for opening weekend of Inventing Utamaro and free family activities! In this Open Studio, witness firsthand the beauty and complexity of Japanese woodblock prints. Take a family-friendly tour (offered at 12:30pm and 2:30pm) of the exhibition, then explore traditional tools and papers. A teaching artist demonstrates transferring designs to a block, carving, and basic printing techniques. Come prepared to get your hands inky. All ages welcome!

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park
When: April 9
Admission: Free

The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park present the 3rd annual Anacostia River Festival, also a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival! Celebrate the Anacostia River with some fun outdoor recreation! Explore the river by canoe, ride in a bike parade, play lawn games with your family, and experience Southeast DC’s local arts scene. This year they’re celebrating biking in the District with trail rides, safety classes, quick bike tune ups, and special bike activities for all ages.

Family Afternoon: Design with Nature
Where: National Building Museum
When: April 9, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

All ages can drop in for creative hands-on activities, a community garden design project, and opportunities to learn about Japanese art and design. See how nature is intentionally integrated into the built world, different ways people design with nature, and how nature can inspire design in and around built spaces. Learn about symbolism of the natural world across cultures and make connections between springtime symbolism, design, nature, and the built world they live in.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront
When: April 15, 2-9:30pm
Admission: Free

This event that takes place along the District Wharf and the Titanic Memorial on the Southwest Waterfront is one of the last of the festival this year. It’s an afternoon and part-evening affair with free live music and family-friendly festivities, including water-related activities, cultural experiences, and delicious foods. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.


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Giveaway! Go KidFree with FUN HOME at The National Theatre

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Who’s up for a parents’ night out? (Me!) This giveaway is for those looking for a KidFree evening — and some FUN entertainment.

Every once in a while a Broadway musical comes along that surprises, moves and excites audiences in ways only a truly landmark musical can. The groundbreaking, life-affirming, and exquisite new musical FUN HOME was the event of the Broadway season, receiving raves from critics and audiences alike, winning five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical and making history along the way.

Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, FUN HOME introduces us to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood. A refreshingly honest musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, FUN HOME is extraordinary, a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway. (New York Times)

FUN HOME is running at the National Theatre April 18 – May 13. Tickets are $48-98.

* * * * *

Giveaway: For a chance to win tickets to see FUN HOME at the National Theatre on grand opening night, Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30pm, simply leave a comment below naming your all-time favorite musical. To be eligible, you must like KidFriendly DC on Facebook, and you can get an extra entry by entering there, too! This giveaway will run through March 20, 2017, then a winner will be drawn at random and announced shortly thereafter. Good luck!

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Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms (2017)

DC at its peak

DC at its peak

[Note: With the announcement of the predicted cherry blossom peak dates, it’s time to bring back this annual KFDC post. This was originally written in 2011 (hence, the now very outdated Lost reference) and has been updated every year since. But because the tips always apply, I’m re-posting yet again, just with a few minor updates applicable to this year’s bloom.]


Taking the family to the National Mall to see some pretty flowers sounds easy enough. If only it actually was. The cherry blossom peak, predicted to occur March 14-17 19-22 this year, is one of the best times to visit DC. The city is at its most beautiful, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival provides loads of fun activities to help enjoy it all. But viewing the famous blooms can also be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things. Here are seven recommendations to consider if seeing the cherry blossoms is on your family’s March agenda.

1. Don’t drive if you value your sanity. Take the Metro, ride the bus, bike, walk, jet pack. Get here however you can, just leave the car at home. Traffic is beyond frustrating during the cherry blossom peak, and your chances of finding decent parking are about as good as hitting the Powerball with Hurley’s numbers (okay, slight exaggeration, but it is hard). The masses descend on Washington, DC, this time of year, and way too many do so in their vehicles. Besides, kids love riding the Metro—it’s like an urban version of Hogwarts Express. The Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange Line is mere minutes from all of the blossom action, but it’s also guaranteed to be crowded. Consider riding to L’Enfant on Yellow/Green, Federal Center on Blue/Orange, or even a stop downtown or in Penn Quarter and taking a nice stroll to the blossoms. *If you absolutely must drive and need parking you might find a spot at Hains Point, where there is free and metered parking, then walk or take a shuttle ($1/person) to the Tidal Basin. There is also a parking garage at L’Enfant Plaza. Your best bet, though, might be to find a garage in the downtown or Penn Quarter area, then walk or Metro to the National Mall. Update: You can ensure yourself a spot with Parking Panda, an online parking reservation service that let you search for and reserve spaces in advance. Through April 15, use the promo code CherryBlossom17 to get 10% off your first reservation in Washington, DC!

Flying among the flowers

Flying among the flowers

2. Visit on a weekday if you have the flexibility. Crowds are significantly smaller from Monday to Friday, so you can stroll around the Tidal Basin at a nice pace, and public transportation won’t be nearly as packed (though it still will be more crowded than usual). But if the kids are in school or daycare during the week, think about going later in the day. The National Mall and monuments look beautiful at sunset, and the blossoms make it even more sublime. In the same vein, if you can go super early, the morning light on the Mall makes for quite a picturesque setting, too.

Peak time around the National Mall

Peak time around the National Mall

3. Consider using a child carrier instead of a stroller for little ones. This is especially applicable if you take Metro, since elevator lines can be very long and slow-going. I learned my lesson several years ago on a weekday and ended up taking my daughter out of the stroller and carrying both on the escalator, which was probably as unsafe as it was difficult. Even if you don’t take Metro, a carrier is still a wise option. Navigating crowded walkways while pushing a pram takes focus, and you could end up spending more time concentrating on not rolling over others’ heels than enjoying the sights you came to see. It’s a bonus for wee ones, too — perched on your back, your babe will get a better view of the blossoms.

4. Check the National Cherry Blossom Festival schedule, so you can plan your visit accordingly. Some of the city’s most anticipated events are part of the annual celebration, the Blossom Kite Festival, Southwest Waterfront Fireworks, National Cherry Blossom Parade, and Sakura Matsuri among them. Most events take place close by the blossoms or an easy Metro ride away. While peak bloom is expected before the Festival even begins this year, there might still be some flowering trees for the early events, just maybe a bit past their peak. Other events will be a good month beyond the bloom, so expect more green leaves then. This post has details on cherry blossom season celebration, and be sure to visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival website for dates and details on events.

Get a view of the blossoms from the water

Get a view of the blossoms from the water

5. Get a new view of the blossoms and enjoy a fun activity from the comfort of a cruise on the Potomac. Several companies offer boat rides along the river, many of them specifically for the season when the cherry trees are in bloom. Capitol River Cruises, Potomac Riverboat Company, and DC Water Taxi are a few to check out. Though before you go straight to the websites, look for a deal on Goldstar, Groupon, or Certifikid. We’ve gotten great offers that way. You can also opt for a paddle boat excursion on the Tidal Basin and navigate the waters yourself.

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

6. Seek out other spots to see the cherry blossoms if you don’t want to deal with crowds and chaos around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Several places around the DC-Metro area are well known for their annual cherry blossom displays. When I worked in Bethesda many years ago, it was an annual tradition for my colleagues and me to take a drive through Kenwood, a lovely neighborhood between Little Falls Parkway and River Road with cherry tree-lined streets. The National Arboretum also has a nice collection of the trees and offers a beautiful, peaceful environment in which to view them in bloom. Dumbarton Oaks Gardens is one of the prettiest places in DC and its annual blossoms only add to it.

7. Have your camera ready to take advantage of some of the best photo ops DC offers. The peak colors plus the monuments are about as iconic as you can get when photographing Washington. Get your kids to sit still — or even let them run and play for a fun candid — and you’ve got this year’s holiday card.

Can't beat the blossom backdrop for photos

Can’t beat the blossom backdrop for photos


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend