The Natural History Museum’s Butterfly Pavilion – admission is FREE on Tuesdays!
Take a tour of the Capitol
! If you can’t get on a tour day-of, there still are exhibits and statues to see in the Visitor’s Center
, which is open 8:30am – 4:30pm. Both admission to the Center and tours are free. And something fun to do after (or before): Walk the tunnels between the Capitol and Library of Congress — you can take shelter from the elements, while you show the kids a “secret” way to get from building to building.
Tuesday – Head to one of DC’s most tried and true for kids: The National Museum of Natural History. With exhibits to indulge all kinds of interests, you really can’t go wrong. Gawk at the dinos and mammals, hold live creatures in the Insect Zoo, learn about early humans, see Nature’s Best photography, watch an IMAX movie, and much more. Be sure to take advantage of FREE entry on Tuesdays to the Butterfly Pavilion! Admission to the museum is free, but films are $9. The museum is open 10am – 5:30pm.
Wednesday – Catch a midweek matinee at Publick Playhouse in Riverdale, Md. Season’s Greetings features a levitating elf, a dancing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, toy soldiers, and real white doves. Recommended for all ages, showtimes are 10:15am and 12pm. Admission is $5.
Thursday – Do some shopping, enjoy a little live entertainment, and treat yourselves to some tasty eats at the Downtown Holiday Market. It’s like a little village in the heart of the city, where you can find all kinds of unique gifts, plus there will be live music from 12-2pm and 5-7pm. Make the most of your outing and pop into the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum, which is practically a backdrop for the market. For more holiday markets around the DC-Metro, see this post from this past weekend.
Friday – Visit Santa on the Ellipse. His charming little workshop, where guests can take a photo with him, is open 12:30-4:30pm and 7-9:30pm on Fridays (4-6:30pm and 7-9:30pm Mon-Thurs, 11am – 3pm Sundays). You can read about one of our experiences there in this old KFDC post.
Filed under All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Shop, Theatre, Weekdays
You never know what – or who – you’ll encounter out and about in DC
Go play at Clemyjontri
, the brilliantly colored, sprawling playground in McLean that accommodates kids of all abilities. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.
Tuesday – Enjoy storytime at the National Building Museum’s Book of the Month program. Readings of Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett will begin at 10:30am & 11:30am. Get there early for play time in the Building Zone — entry is on the hour ($3/person). After, stay to romp in the Great Hall or check out the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit upstairs ($8/adult, $5/child). Later on, head to the Capitol for the Christmas tree lighting. You don’t need tickets to go; good views of the festivities can be had from right across the street by the Reflecting Pool.
Wednesday – Visit ponies, cows, peacocks, chickens, bunnies, and llamas at Old Maryland Farm in Watkins Regional Park. When you’re done, head over to the nearby playground to let the kids climb and swing. Admission is free to both. The farm is open 9am – 4pm Tuesday – Friday (9am – 4:30pm on Saturdays, 11:30am – 4:30pm on Sundays and holidays).
Thursday – Experience the Holiday Festival of Toys & Trains at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. The annual event features festive model train displays along with Mile One Express trains rides on weekdays at 11:30am, carousel rides, ornament decorating, and other fun for kids. Admission is $16/adults, $10/ages 2-12 (extra for train and carousel rides). Hours are 10am – 4pm Monday – Saturday (11am -4pm Sunday).
Friday – See a holiday stage favorite on strings as The Puppet Co. presents The Nutcracker. Showtimes are 10am and 11:30am. Tickets are $10.
Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays
Exhibits at the Rock Creek Nature Center
Start thinking turkey at Discovery Theater! Ooey Gooey Thanksgiving with Barefoot Puppets
will be performed at 10:15am and 11:30am. Recommended for ages 4-8, tickets are $3-8. (Note: There are also performances on Tuesday and Friday.)
Tuesday – Book it to Potomac Yard in Alexandria for Children’s Storytime at Barnes & Noble. The free, weekly readings start at 11am around the charming little “stage” area in the kids’ section at the back of the store. Arrive early or linger after for train play on the Thomas table and to browse the books and toys for potential holiday gifts. (Note: Storytime sessions take place at B&N stores all around the DC area on various days of the week. – find more times and locations.
Wednesday – Learn about the area’s wildlife and enjoy hands-on activities at the Rock Creek Nature Center. With all kinds of animal and plant exhibits, plus a Discovery Room full of books and toys, there is plenty to keep kids engaged. If weather permits, hike a trail on the grounds around the center, too. Open Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.
Thursday – Experience Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden on opening day! Go while the turkey is cooking at home (with someone staying behind to watch it, of course) or head over for some post-feast holiday cheer. Get an idea of what to expect from this post about last year’s exhibit.
Friday – Glide in the fresh air at an outdoor ice skating rink or practice your spins and axels at an indoor venue. This post has all you need to know to get started.
Filed under All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Sports, Weekdays
Take a hike... and enjoy some outdoor time on Turkey Day.
Looking for some pre- or post-feast activities today? Here are some ways to build up an appetite, keep the kids busy while the bird cooks at home (with someone staying behind to watch it, of course), and/or walk and play off all the turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!
– Visit a Smithsonian museum or the National Zoo. They are all open today from 10am – 5:30pm, except for the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery which are open 11:30am – 7pm. The National Gallery of Art is open today, too, from 10am – 5pm.
– Experience Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden on opening day!
– Glide in the fresh air at the new Canal Park Ice Rink (open 11am – 9pm), the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink (open 10am – 5pm), the Pentagon Row Ice Rink (open 10am – 11pm), the Silver Spring Outdoor Ice Rink (open 12-10pm), or the Reston Town Center Ice Rink (open 10am -10pm). Links to all of them can be found here.
– Take a hike and do some late fall leaf-peeping. Rock Creek Park, Great Falls, Roosevelt Island, and the National Arboretum are great places to hit the trail and enjoy the last of autumn colors around DC.
– Get into the holiday spirit at Christmas on the Potomac, the Gaylord National Resort’s spectacular seasonal attraction. (Read a review of a past experience there.)
– Dance off the turkey at the Kennedy Center. This evening’s free Millennium Stage performance features a swing dance party with Doc Scantlin’s Palmettos. The show begins at 6pm, but free swing lessons are at 5pm!
– Enjoy an evening light display at one of several in the area that are already welcome guests to view them.
Filed under All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Fall, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays