Tag Archives: Things to do with kids in Northern Virginia

Where to Play on Thanksgiving Day

Hang out at Hains Point for playground fun -- and great riverside views

Hang out at Hains Point for playground fun — and great riverside views



How about a side of recreation to go with your Thanksgiving turkey? If you’re going to be in town for the holiday and looking for pre- or post-feast activities, here are some ways to complement the main event of the day. Happy Thanksgiving!

*Visit a Smithsonian museum or the National Zoo. They are all open on Thanksgiving 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 (which is not part of the Smithsonian, just a neighbor on the Mall) is open, too, from 10am – 5pm.

*Experience Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden on opening day! Get an idea of what to expect in this post from a past visit to the annual holiday exhibit.

*Spend Thanksgiving morning with The Great Zucchini at Jammin’ Java. Showtime is 10:30am, general admission is $5.

*Hang out at a playground. Hains Point, Clemyjontri, Cabin John Regional Park, Wheaton Regional Park, plus loads of DC Parks and Rec locations, and many more in NoVa and Maryland are great places to play while you’re waiting for the feast.

*Get gliding and enjoy some active fun. You can skate under the sky at one of several ice rinks in the area that are open on the holiday. Find info for them here.

*Enjoy a holiday hike. Rock Creek, Great Falls, Roosevelt Island, Huntley Meadows, Prince William Forest, and Turkey Run are all great parks for family tramping. This post has details on all of them along with even more recs for local walks in the woods.

*Go bowling. Pinstripes in Georgetown hosts Kids Bowling from 10am – 12pm, when ages 12 and under bowl for just $3 (plus $3 shoe rental). You can also hit the lanes at Lucky Strike in Penn Quarter, Bowlmor in Bethesda or Rockville, or Bowl America in several NoVa locations.

*Get into the holiday spirit at Christmas on the Potomac, the Gaylord National Resort’s spectacular seasonal attraction.

*Dance off the turkey dinner at the Kennedy Center. The evening’s free Millennium Stage performance features their annual Thanksgiving Day Swing Dance Party with music by the Phat Cat Swingers and swing lessons by Jean Veloz. The dancing and show is 7-9pm, but lessons start at 6p.

*Take an evening drive or stroll through a holiday light display — several in the area have started dazzling visitors with twinkling designs.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays

Ticket Giveaway: Disney on Ice Presents Follow Your Heart

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Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart is bringing a host of Disney•Pixar favorites to EagleBank Arena in Fairfax October 19 – 23, for nine performances. The live production ice-skating extravaganza produced by Feld Entertainment will feature Inside Out, Frozen and other beloved Disney stories, including Finding Dory on the ice for the first time. Even more, I have a 4-Pack of tickets for the Wednesday, October 19 show up for grabs for one lucky KFDC reader to win!

Follow your heart straight to adventure at Disney On Ice! Just keep swimming with Dory, Nemo, Marlin and new pal Hank from Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory as they embark on a life-changing excursion to find her parents and discover the true meaning of family. Cheer with the Emotions from Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust – as they help Riley find the confidence to win the hockey championship and experience the emotional rollercoaster of growing up. Venture to wintery world of Arendelle where Olaf and Kristoff help reunite royal sisters Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen and learn love is the most powerful magic of all. See Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana, and the Disney Princesses make their dreams come true through their virtues of bravery, kindness and perseverance. And celebrate true friendship with Buzz Lightyear, Woody and The Toy Story gang. Make unforgettable memories with Mickey, Minnie and all your Disney friends when Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart skates into Fairfax, VA!

Disney on Ice presents Follow Your Heart will be at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax for nine performances from October 19-23. Tickets start at $20. The show is recommended for all ages.

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Giveaway: For a chance to win a 4-Pack of tickets to see Disney on Ice presents Follow Your Heart at EagleBank Arena on October 19 at 7pm, simply leave a comment below or on the KidFriendly DC Facebook page. This giveaway will run through Wednesday October 12, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good Luck!

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to Disney on Ice in exchange for this post, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under All ages, Giveaway, Live Entertainment, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

PYOP: Pick Your Own Produce at These Local Farms

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The pick-your-own produce season starts with strawberries in the spring, then continues with more delicious fruits and veggies in the summer and fall. Heading out to the farm to do some picking is among my favorite seasonal activities with the kids. It’s a nice break from the urban bustle and a great chance to show them that food doesn’t magically appear on a plate or shelf at Trader Joe’s. Even better, the enjoyment continues with a basketful of fresh produce at home. The time is ripe for planning your own PYOP outing. Here are some great places around the area to reap some of the best treats of spring, summer, and fall. Happy Picking!

Shlagel Farms
Less than 20 miles from DC in Waldorf, MD, Shlagel Farms is one of the more popular pick-your-own strawberry places in the area, their season always beginning before other area farms, and because that’s the only PYO they offer. The fields will open the weekend of April 29-30 and should yield berries until early June. While there, you can also purchase bedded plants grown in their greenhouse, romp on the playground, and treat the kids (and yourself) to ice cream. You can also pick up something up to cook for dinner — Shlagel now also offers farm raised beef, pork, and chicken! Shlagel’s will be open for picking from 8am – 6pm seven days a week. Follow them on Facebook to stay updated on their pickings.

Westmoreland Berry Farm
The farm in Virginia’s historic Northern Neck opens for the season on April 26, and the PYO opportunities begin soon after in their strawberry fields, welcoming visitors daily. Come June, the rest of the berries (black, blue, rasp, and cherries) will become ready for picking, and peaches, nectarines, and plums won’t be far behind (see their approximate schedule here). Along with PYO, there are goats to visit and play areas for kids. Picking hours are 10am – 4pm, and the farm is open 9am – 5pm.

Great Country Farms
At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Great Country offers much more than just pick-your-own opportunities. The farm is well known for its big seasonal festivals and fun farm-themed attractions. A hayride takes you out to the picking fields, and kids might spy an emu or goat on the way. Visitors also have access to the barnyard, mazes, a cow train, and jumping pillow. Their u-pick strawberry fields open mid-late May, and you can get updates on them via Facebook and Twitter. Asparagus is available at the same time, and more berries, plums, tomatoes, okra, green beans, and hot peppers will follow in late spring and summer. The weekends of May 6-7 and 13-14 are the annual Strawberry Jubilee with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, tasty food, and more. Babies 9-12 months can compete in the diaper derby, a crawl to the finish line, to compete for great prizes. Admission to Great Country is $8/child $10/adult on weekdays, and $10/child $12/adult on festival weekends. Open daily 9am- 6pm.

Wegmeyer Farms
With three locations in Northern Virginia, Wegmeyer offers varying strawberry picking experiences as the settings differ at each. PYO at a historic homestead in Hamilton, then set up lunch at a picnic table (BYO) and let the kids play on a John Deere tractor slide and playground. At Oatlands, the patch and era-themed attire at the historic mansion will whisk you back to the 1800’s, and while visiting the patch is free, you can purchase tour passes for the garden and/or mansion. And at Gilbert’s Corner, enjoy strawberry picking in its most natural state; the no-fuss location is perfect for a simple outing. PYO started in early May and should last into June. Go to any of the locations on a weekday and mention KidFriendly DC for 25% off your berries! Check the website for updates, hours, and directions.

Mackintosh Fruit Farm
The family-owned farm in the Shenandoah Valley will open to the public in May (check the website or call for an update) with access to their strawberry fields, then blueberries, peaches, brambles, apples, and paw paw. Plan on lunch while you’re there — along with fruits and veggies, the farm also offers a variety of menu items prepared fresh every day from their own produce. Walk it all off afterward along a trail that winds through the fields and woods of the farm and let the kids play it off on the playground. This year’s hours have yet to be confirmed, but last year they were open Wednesday through Sunday from 8am – 6pm, plus Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

Homestead Farm
Strawberry season in the popular pick-your-own locale should open in late May (exact date still TBD). More berries, peaches, apples, and pumpkins come later. Along with PYO, there are animals to visit (goats, pigs, and chickens), and watching the goats clamber along the goat-walk is always a trip for kids. Homestead also scores high on scenery — the lovely pastoral setting in Montgomery County makes you feel like you’re way more than 20 miles from the city. When open, the farm operates seven days a week, and PYO hours are 9am – 5pm. You can sign up to receive weekly updates by email to stay up to date on their crops.

Larriland Farm
About an hour’s drive from DC in Howard County, Larriland Farms always gets great reviews for both it’s produce and beauty. The pick-your-own season opens in late May, and they’ll have the full spectrum of berries following soon after, just about every variety of peaches, and loads of veggies available from June – October, too. (See the list and view schedules on the website.) Larriland employs Integrated Pest Management, meaning pesticides are a last resort, to keep pests below an acceptable level with minimum harmful impact on the environment. Summer hours are Tuesdays 9am – 8pm, Wednesday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 5pm.

Butler’s Orchard
The farm might be best known for it’s Halloween and Easter extravaganzas, but they have a bounty of great crops, too. Strawberry fields will be open to visitors everyday, expecting to start in late May. Following soon after are more berries and sugar snap and English peas. Potatoes, apples, and pumpkins come later. Picnic there and let the kids play on the slides and playground. You can also take a Strawberry Blossom Tour from late April through mid-May ($9/person). In past strawberry seasons their hours have been 8:30am – 6pm during the week, and 8:30am – 5pm on weekends. Admission is $3. Stay updated on their status by following on Facebook and Twitter.

Hollin Farms
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms will kick off its strawberry picking season in late May, and it should last several weeks after that. Hours are 9am – 4pm Wednesday through Sunday, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open. But, wait, the PYO doesn’t stop with strawberries! Other spring crops that you’re welcome to gather include lettuce, peas, arugula, bok choy, radishes, Swiss chard. Come summer, peaches, plums, blackberries, red raspberries, sour cherries, and summer veggies are available. Fall brings apples, home-grown Pumpkin Patch, fall vegetables, potatoes, and dig-your-own peanuts. And a special P.S. to meat lovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef.

Green Truck Farm/Hartland Farm
Green Truck and Hartland Farms are located out I-66 less than an hour from DC (Green Truck is situated at the entrance to Hartland). According to the Green Truck Facebook page, strawberries should be ready for picking very soon! The rest of their PYO offerings run the berry gamut along with tomatoes, winter squash, and pumpkins. And at Hartland, you can get berries, then peaches, apples, and pumpkins later in the year.

Do you have a favorite PYO farm that you don’t see here? Feel free to share in the comments, if so!

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Fall, Farm, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend