Tag Archives: Washington DC Kids Activities

Wicked Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween Around DC

Elsa, Frida, & Oliver ready to hit the Halloween scene last year

Elsa, Frida, & Oliver ready to hit the Halloween scene last year

Why wait until the actual day to celebrate one of the best holidays of the year? Besides the bonus of getting extra mileage out of costumes and having more excuses to indulge in sweets, Halloween festivities are a treat any day. And there are loads of ways to get into the spirit during the days leading up to the grand event. From no-fright fun to cool and creepy thrills, this annual KFDC round-up has all of the details on where and when you and the kids can have a wicked good time around DC and even a bit…beyond. Happy Halloween!

“Eye Spy” Halloween Train
Where: Cabin John Regional Park
When: October 8-9, 14-16, 21-23, & 28-30
Admission: $6 and a can of food

Hop on board the Halloween Train! Cabin John’s “Eye Spy” features just enough “boo” power for kids age 8 and under. Along the ride through the woods on the train, kids can try to find Halloween friends hiding along the way and mark them off their “Eye Spy” game cards that they receive with admission. Guests can also enjoy Halloween movies every night, face painting on Saturdays and Sundays, and light refreshments for sale. The “Eye Spy” train runs 1-6pm on Fridays and 11-6pm on weekends. Purchase tickets online starting October 1 here.

Haunted Train & Creepy Carousel
Where: Wheaton Regional Park
When: October 8-9, 14-16, 21-23, & 28-30
Admission: $6

Wheaton Regional Park’s Haunted Train and Creepy Carousel are back and scarier than ever! This annual Halloween attraction is best for guests ages 8 and up, because they “aim to scare” (and this is part of the website description, so take their word for it). Admission includes one ride each on the train and carousel, plus entrance to the Hall of Jack o’ Lanterns movie theater presenting scary films every night. The train and carousel run 6:30-9:30pm each night. Purchase tickets online starting October 1 here. Plan to bring canned food, too, to help neighbors in need.

Costume Drive to Help Families in Need
Where: Hilton McLean Tyson Corner
When: Through October 14
Admission: n/a

Steph Snaps Photos, Hilton McLean, and Harth have yet again joined forces for their 2nd annual costume drive, aiming to secure gently used or new costume donations for local families. The collected costumes and funds will benefit a diverse number of non-profit organizations in our community that will provide costumes for children and families. New or gently used costumes of any size can be dropped off at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner any day. Cash donations are also accepted at www.gofundme.com/costumedrive2016 — the money collected will help purchase additional costumes with size requirements that have not been fulfilled through the donation process.

Howl-o-Scream Package
Where: Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, VA
When: Weekends in October
Admission: Rates start at $339/night

Fiery foliage, Halloween-themed spooky events, and mild temperatures will greet you at Kingsmill Resort when you check in this fall. While there are those that believe the waterfront condo-style resort has its share of paranormal activity, there is plenty of room for lively, younger spirits of all ages. (The old spirits are behind the bar.) For those looking to elevate the fear factor, the resort offers the Howl-O-Scream Package, which includes accommodations for two nights, daily breakfast, complimentary parking, Wi-Fi, and shuttle service to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg. Guests also get access to Busch Gardens with two Fun Cards.

Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: October 13, 6-7pm & 7-8pm
Admission: $10/child

Children ages 3-8 are invited to come to the Indoor Arena Barn dressed in their favorite costumes anytime between from 6-8pm. Enjoy fun, games, and a wagon ride. Finish the evening with treats and a small pumpkin. Reservations are required, and space is limited, so sign up soon!

Cirque de la Symphonie: Halloween Extravaganza
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 13-16
Tickets: $24-99

Cirque de la Symphonie brings its trademark brand of awe-inspiring feats and thrills, including jugglers, aerialists, contortionists, strongmen, and more, to a program set to classic spooky music, such as Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Saint-Saëns’s Danse macabre, and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, among other familiar tunes. The Sunday matinee performance is part of the NSO Family Concert Series, designed for young audiences. Beginning one hour before the performance, children and families can enjoy the “Haunted Hall” activities, which include games and activities, an instrument petting zoo, and spook-tacular decorations. Audiences are encouraged to come in costume for all for performances.

The Best Haunted House Ever
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: October 14-23
Tickets: $15/adults, $10/children

Encore Stage & Studio presents a Halloween-inspired show this season: When students from two different high schools sneak into a local haunted house to scare their classmates, utter chaos ensues. At first it seems like the students are just pulling Halloween pranks, but when a spooky zombie and mysterious ghost don’t fit into the students’ haunting plans it can only mean one thing–they are not alone in the house! Happy haunting! Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Spooky SPY Family Night
Where: International Spy Museum
When: October 14, 6-9pm
Admission: $14

Ditch your Halloween costume and change your while identity at the Spy Museum’s annual Halloween event! Has your brother been spying on you? Is grandma really a secret agent? Does dad really have lethal ninja skills? Now’s your chance to find out as your family of spies gains exclusive after-hours access to the Museum. Test your family’s spy skills as you run top secret missions, go deep undercover and transform your appearance with the help of professional make-up artists, challenge yourself in Code Cracker competitions, and enjoy SPY snacks and a chance to explore all forms of spy tradecraft. Go in disguise as your favorite spy! For ages 5 and up, includes exclusive after-hours admission, SPY snacks, scavenger hunt, prize competitions, and more! Space is limited — advance registration required. (One adult required for every five KidSpy agents.)

http://www.atlasarts.org/event/2016-10-17/“>Goulishly Good Music
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: October 16

Capital City Symphony’s Family Concerts are always fun, interactive, and educational. This year’s program is inspired by the spookiness and fantasy of Halloween, so don costumes to join in the fun! Face the ghosts and ghouls of Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre and Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, or enter the fairy tale world of Stravinsky’s The Firebird. Along the way you’ll learn how the instruments of the orchestra combine to bring these amazing stories to life. Go 30 minutes before show time to meet the musicians at the Instrument Petting Zoo — kids just might discover their new favorite instrument.

Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo
When: October 21-23, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $30/non-members

Join the National Zoo for their annual not-so-spooky Halloween haunt, one of DC’s most popular events for the kiddie crowd. With more than 40 treat stations, animal demonstrations, keeper chats, live entertainment, and decorated trails, this frightfully fun evening is a treat for the whole family. Costumes encouraged!

Soul Strolls
Where: Congressional Cemetery
When: October 21-22 & 28-29
Admission: $20/adult, $10/child

Congressman, carpenters, suffragists, and bootleggers are among the graveyard residents on Capitol Hill, and they all have a unique tale to tell. Congressional Cemetery’s annual Soul Strolls explore these stories through guided tours and costumed interpreters. Typically only open from dawn to dusk, this special event allows nighttime access to the public. Hour-long walks depart every 15 minutes between 6 -9pm, with beer, wine, and cider will be for sale (to put you at ease among the spirits).

Monster Mash
Where: Center at Leesburg
When: October 22
Admission: Free

Join the the Village at Leesburg for a frighteningly good time the 7th Annual Monster Mash! There will be center-wide trick-or-treating starting while supplies last, live music, street performers, a costume contest for children and pets, a Halloween parade, and as seen on Food Network’s Halloween Wars, Extreme Pumpkin Carving by James Hall, pastry design by Al Dibartolo, and chocolate sculpture with our very own Santosh Tiptur.

Air and Scare
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum
When: October 22, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15 until 6pm

See the spooky side of air and space at the Udvar-Hazy Center’s 11th Annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Bring the tiniest visitors by the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. Fun for the whole family!

Haunted Museum Historic Ghost Tour
Where: National Building Museum
When: October 23, 29, & 31, 8pm & 9pm
Admission: $22/members, $25/non-members

Ghost tours at the National Building Museum combine history, humor, and several hair-raising tales into a fun evening. The Museum houses many artifacts related to the building — plans, drawings, and tools — as well as some objects that defy easy explanation, including a collection of shoes found underneath the foundation, believed to have been buried to ward off evil spirits, and a plaster mask, thought to be a death mask dated from the late 1800s. The building is spectacular — and eerie — with the lights out! This tour is recommended for ages 10 and up. Tickets are limited.

Harbor Halloween
Where: National Harbor
When: October 23, 12-2:30
Admission: Free

It’s a spooktacular family event that will include activities for everyone. Join the fun at The Black Dog’s Howl-loween. Trick or treat around the shops at the Harbor. Enjoy a showing of Hocus Pocus on the Plaza Big Screen (movie will begin at 12:30am). Watch a chef pumpking carving contest. Plus, enjoy special activities, including pumpkin decorating, a Halloween coloring station, and a fabulous family fall themed photo station.

Where: Market Common Clarendon
When: October 22, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Market Common Clarendon’s fourth annual Falloween Festival celebrates the season and the October holiday with a day of delights for the whole fam. Highlights include live children’s entertainment by Rainbow Rock and Mr. Knick Knack, a petting zoo, face painting, pumpkin decorating + crafts for kids, and a trick-or-treat session throughout the property. This follows the annual Howl-O-Ween Dog Walk, in partnership with Homeward Trails and Doorways For Women and Families, which starts and ends on The Loop at Market Common Clarendon beginning at 10am, stopping through local businesses to support both partners with a costume contest taking place at the end of the event.

A Spooktacular Halloween Party
Where: Carluccio’s in Old Town
When: October 27, 6-8pm
Admission: $20

Join Carluccio’s in Old Town Alexandria for a spooktacular evening! The restaurant will be hosting a children’s Halloween party with cookie decorating and a costume contest. Kids ages and up will receive a free pasta meal, with ticket purchase, and accompanying adults can enjoy happy hour specials. Children and accompanying adults encouraged to dress up!

Paranormal Mansion Tours
Where: Oatlands Estate & Gardens
When: October 27-29, 7pm & 8pm
Admission: $30/adult, $12/child

Get a “different” look at Oatlands on this after dark tour of the old mansion. Hear ghost stories and accounts of unexplained occurrences on the property. Advance reservations are required and non-refundable.

Where: 7th Street SE in front of Eastern Market
When: October 28, 5:30-7:30pm
Admission: Free

Capitol Hill’s annual neighborhood event is legendary for little ones. The block of 7th Street SE next to Eastern Market will be closed to traffic for one of the best community Halloween celebrations in the city. Hayrides, moon bounces, goody giveaways, and even a mini carousel add to the excitement. The best part is seeing the masses of jubilant kids in all kinds of costumes indulging in the extravaganza.

Haunted Hangar
Where: College Park Aviation Museum
When: October 28, 7-9pm
Admission: $5

Wear your costume and enjoy fun fall themed activities. Explore the museum’s gallery and all of its hidden haunts. Arts, crafts, hayrides, and spooky fun await kids and families at the museum where old aircraft and other aviation displays wow visitors.

Spirits of the Past
Where: Bradley Farm in Herndon
When: October 28-29
Admission: $5

The Bradley Farm Haunted House promises everyone a ghoulishly fun time, and for a good cause — proceeds from the community fundraising event help Herndon-Reston FISH bring emergency help to folks in our community. This year’s “Spirits of the Past” theme promises fright and fun! On Friday and Saturday evening from 6-10pm, it offers a dark and scary adventure that’s perfect for tweens, teenagers, and adults. For the younger crowd, there’s a kids haunt with a milder scare on Saturday from 1-5pm that includes trick-or-treating inside the haunted house for children 10 and under, as well as face painting, balloon art, carnival-style games, live entertainment, and costumed characters.

Spooktacular Halloween Bash
Where: St. Paul’s Center
When: October 28, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

You’re invited to attend St. Paul’s Rock Creek Parish annual Spooktacular Halloween Bash! Join the fun in the Great Hall at St. Paul’s Center (201 Allison St NW) for an evening filled with treats, spooky crafts, pumpkin decoration, cemetery hayrides, and more! The main entrance is on the corner of Rock Creek Church and Webster St NW. In the spirit of treats, please bring a canned food item for the Capital Area Food Bank.

Mr. Jon & Friends Halloween Party
Where: Jammin Java
When: October 29, 10:30am
Admission: $8

Kids musical performer Mr. Jon and playing a Halloween Party concert at Jammin Java. His silly interactive show includes classics like “Wheels On The Bus” along with originals, and his my puppet friend George the Monkey will join the fun, too. All ages can enjoy it, but the 1-6 crowd will dig it most.

Halloween in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: October 29, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $1

Dress the whole family and enjoy a day of trick-or-treating, art activities, lunch and more! The 17th Annual Halloween in the Garden will feature more than 70 community organizations and businesses donning costumes and handing out candy and treats to all the children. Free ooky, spooky crafts will be provided and devilishly delicious food vendors will be present. Admission fees will benefit local charities. Don’t forget to bring your camera — there are always unique photo opportunities with the boo-tiful decorations. New this year, purchase a line-hopper pass for $3/person, on sale at the admission gate from 10:30-11am, and jump to the front of the trick-or-treating line!

Trick or Treat at Tudor Place
Where: Tudor Place
When: October 29
Admission: $10/non-member, $5/member, $3/accompanying adult

Halloween is “spooktacular” at Tudor Place! Wear your costumes (optional) and follow meandering paths to find treats (not tricks!) in every corner of the enchanting North Garden. Enjoy pumpkin-decorating and other crafts, face painting, and outdoor games amid lovely autumn color.

Glen Echo Fall Frolic
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: October 29, 1-4pm
Admission: Free, but small cost for some activities

It’s a safe and fun Halloween event with something for everyone! Daytime activities for families will include pumpkin decorating, arts & crafts, face painting, trick-or-treating, and a costume parade around the Park.

Halloween Carnival
Where: Falls Church
When: October 29, 6-8:30pm
Admission: $2/children ages 2 and up (adults free)

The City of Falls Church has been hosting the annual Halloween Carnival for over 30 years! Infants through fifth graders are invited to enjoy carnival games, a moon bounce, face painting, crafts, a haunted house, movies, candy, and a live creepy creature show featuring the spookiest reptiles in nature. The first hour is best for children up to 2nd grade, and 3rd – 6th graders will enjoy the second hour.

Fall-O-Ween Country Fair
Where: Port Discovery
When: October 29, 10am – 3:30pm
Admission: $13.95/ages 2 and up

Dress up the little ones in their favorite costumes and join Port Discovery’s annual festival. Enjoy not-so-scary, family friendly programs and performances including science-themed activities, crafts, live entertainment, arts & crafts, and more!

Spooky Science
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: October 29, 12-4pm
Admission: $20.95/adult, $16.95/ages 3-12

Celebrate the chills and thrills of Halloween at the MSC’s 8th annual event, where creepy chemistry and mysterious science combine to provide a hauntingly good time. Spend the afternoon with making gooey, glowing slime, decorating pumpkins, exploring spooky sensory bins, and even watch pumpkins being launched off of the roof!

Pumpin Rock ‘n Roll
Where: Warner Circle Park in Kensington, MD
When: October 29, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Join Headfirst Camps this Halloween for a spooky afternoon of music, games, food, and fun at the first ever Pumpkin Rock N’ Roll! Warner Circle Park will be transformed into a full-blown Halloween extravaganza. Kids can participate in a fun costume contest and parade, and enjoy family-friendly attractions including festival-style musical performances, food trucks, inflatable rides and slides, and a rock wall. Don’t miss the main event: The Pumpkin Roll, a derby race of Halloween pumpkins-turned-boxcars.

Halloween-Themed Storytime
Where: Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supplu
When: October 29, 11am
Admission: Free

Join 826DC at Tivoli’s Astounding Magic Supply Company for a scary (but not too scary) storytime. Join for age-appropriate readings of Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart” or one of their favorites, “The Hairy Toe,” while you shop for last minute Halloween costumes at the store full of magically fun items. Recommended for ages 6-12.

Halloween Scavenger Hunt
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
When: October 29, 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Halloween at the library! Join staff at MLK Library in the Children’s Room for a spooky scavenger hunt and see what treats await! Costumes are encouraged. Recommended for ages 5-12.

Halloween Fun in Occoquan
Where: Occoquan, VA
When: October 29
Admission: Free

Join the town of Occoquan for a day of Halloween fun! Enjoy life-size Halloween characters found on shop benches, porches, and doorways. Hunt for six Halloween characters pictured on the entry form (available at any participating shop) and be entered into a drawing to win a life-sized Venetian Victorian Halloween figure!

Dia de los Muertos
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: October 29-30
Admission: Free

Join the National Museum of the American Indian for its annual Día de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”), a celebration originating in Latin America, particularly in Mexico and Central America, to commemorate the lives of the dearly departed and welcome the return of their spirits. Learn and take part in this centuries-old tradition, which includes pre-Hispanic and Spanish customs alike.

Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
When: October 29 & 31, 3:30-6:30pm
Admission: $12/adult, $6/child

Trick-or-treat at Mount Vernon as George Washington’s estate open its gates for Halloween fun and spook-tacular activities. Join a special scavenger hunt, take a wagon ride on the 12-acre field, and create a boo-tiful Halloween craft. Guests can also check out wool carding, spinning, and fish net making in the historic area before greeting “Martha Washington” on the piazza of the Mansion. Historic chocolate-making demos and tastings will take place. Burn off all the extra excitement (and calories!) with 18th-century dancing. A children’s costume parade around the Mansion will begins at 5pm, and prizes will be awarded for most fang-tastic “George” and “Martha” costumes!

Pumpkin Parade Parties
Where: Gymboree of DC
When: October 29 & 31
Admission: $20/non-members, $15/members ($5/sibling)

Dress up and join the Halloween fun at one of two Gymboree parties! Pumpkin activities, seasonal craft projects, music, snacks, dancing, and parades will be part of the festivities. Newborns – 5-year-olds are invited October 29 3:30-5:30pm, and newborns – 2-year-olds can party October 31, 2-3:30pm. Reservations required: Call 202.627.2450 or email wdc@gymboreeclasses.com. Gymboree DC is located at 2639 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 113.

Trick or Treat in the Boo-tiques
Where: Old Town Boutique District in Alexandria
When: October 31, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Bring your little ghosts and goblins to the Old Town Boutique District’s annual event to start their trick-or-treating early. Stop by the dozens of shops, where they’ll be dishing out treats and some maybe some family-friendly tricks. Halloween costumes are encouraged.

Spy Fright
Where: International Spy Museum Store
When: October 31, 2-6pm
Admission: Free

Go deep undercover this Halloween at the Spy Museum where spooks of every kind will be on the prowl. Spend the scariest night of the year at the place where disguises aren’t just for Halloween! Everyone is invited to arrive in disguise in the Spy Museum Store, where acclaimed professional make-up and disguise artist, Roger Riggle, will be on hand to teach the tools-of-the-trade necessary to transform guests in preparation for a night of tricks and treats. Demonstrations are free-of-charge and include quick disguise applications meant to help guests create their own undercover masterpieces.

Halloween Trick or Treating
Where: Fashion Centre at Pentgaon City
When: October 31, 5-7pm
Admission: Free

Pumpkins, superheroes and wizards are invited to showcase this year’s frightfully-festive Halloween ensembles in Pentagon City during mall-wide trick-or-treating on Halloween evening. Spooky characters can find candy treats from participating retailers displaying a sign in the window.

Trick-or-Treating & Photo Ops
Where: Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets
When: October 31, 5-7pm
Admission: Free

It’s not a trick, but there will be treats! Little shoppers are encouraged to participate in the Leesburg Outlets’ mall-wide trick-or-treating event this spooky season for a chance to show off costumes and collect tasty snacks from the center’s participating retailers. And Halloween’s favorite black cat, Jinx, will be strolling through the center, available for photo opportunities!

Day of the Dead Art Workshop
Where: Arlington Arts Center
When: November 4
Admission: $25

Get ready for AAC’s annual Day of the Dead Celebration at these sessions where students can create works of art inspired by the Latin American holiday. There are two classes, one for ages 7-10 and one for ages 11-14.

Fall Festivals
Where: Around the area
When: Through early November
Admission: Varies by locale

Many of the fall festivals around the area incorporate Halloween fun into their offerings. Pick out potential jack-o-lanterns, do Halloween-themed crafts, go on rides, and more. See a list of seasonal celebrations here.

Did I leave out any good ones? Let me know in the comments!

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Walk in the Woods at Woodend Nature Sanctuary


The second week of summer break was Sasha’s week. Owen had just left for his first sleep away camp adventure (a whole wonderful experience I’ll hopefully touch on more sometime), and I wanted to have a week of quality time with my girl before she started a session of Adventure Theatre’s acting camp (a whole other wonderful experience that I highly recommend).


It was a nice week of both planned and spontaneous activities, as well as some low key hanging out. We caught a performance of Jumanji, got pedicures, went on bike rides, hit the pool, lunched at Shake Shack, visited the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, popped into the Postal Museum… mostly things we’d done and enjoyed before.


But one new adventure we had was a trip to Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. I’d been there for a wedding years ago, but had never visited with the kids. Which is kind of a shame, because it’s a great place to get in touch with nature and do some outdoor exploring close in to the city.



The 40-acre property is home to the Audubon Naturalist Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation and education. The grounds are open to the public and free to roam daily.




Stop in the gift shop to pick up a map before you begin your hike, or just park in the lot and wander — it’s not so big that you won’t find your way. And if you want to get guided tour, you can join a Family Nature Walk with a Master Naturalist the first Saturday of the month from 9-10am.


Woodend Nature Sanctuary is located at 8940 Jones Mill Road in Chevy Chase, MD. The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Weekdays, Weekend

Showtime Around DC this Summer

"Jumanji" will play on the Adventure Theatre stage all summer long

“Jumanji” will play on the Adventure Theatre stage all summer long

Summer brings a whole new lineup of shows to local stages. And the timing couldn’t be better — it’s a perfect way to keep cool during long hot days and, at some venues, enjoy the outdoors on nice ones. Here’s where you catch all the live entertainment coming to the area over the next few months.

Outdoor Summer Concert Series
Where: Throughout the area
When: Various day and times
Tickets: Almost always FREE

Free music in the fresh air has become a staple of the season, and there are opportunities to enjoy just about every genre regularly at outdoor venues all around the DC-Metro. From Jazz on the National Mall to riverside entertainment to music amid the nature of local parks to shows in local shopping centers, the 2016 Summer Guide has a round-up of where and when you can enjoy the sounds of summer.

Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods
Where: Wolf Trap
When: June 21 – August 6
Tickets: $8-10

From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10:30am Tuesdays through Saturdays. Amidst 117 rolling wooded acres and nestled in a shady grove, the stage is set for lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. The productions welcome all ages, though most are geared toward younger children. The full schedule of shows is available on the Wolf Trap website. And you can read a KFDC review of the series from a previous summer here.

Little Red Riding Hood & the 3 Little Pigs
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Through July 17
Tickets: $10

What’s so bad about the Big Bad Wolf? At last B.B. (Big Bad) Wolfe tells his side of the story, in rap, no less. Has the notorious pork poacher and grandma impersonator gotten a bum rap, or is he truly deserving of his moniker? You be the judge! This is one of our funniest productions and includes lots of audience participation. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Through August 28
Admission: $19.50 (look for a discount)

When Judy and Peter find a mysterious old board game, they play it, hoping to alleviate their boredom. One live lion, an erupting volcano, and a dozen destructive monkeys later, the children are no longer bored. Will they ever finish this mysterious magic game and claim Jumanji?! Recommended for ages 4 and up.

The Little Mermaid
Where: Imagination Stage
When: June 22 – August 15
Tickets: $17-35

In this faithful re-telling of the Hans Christian Andersen original, the Little Mermaid falls in love with a human Prince, and longs to join him in his world above the waves. Despite the warnings of her Mer-family, the Little Mermaid seeks out the Enchantress who trades her pair of legs for the mermaid’s beautiful singing voice. A follow-up to the highly acclaimed The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe(2012), this collaboration between Imagination Stage and The Washington Ballet features dance, puppets, music, and singing in a highly theatrical and epic style of performance. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Gravedigger’s Tale
Where: Folger Theatre
When: Through June 26
Tickets: Free

Based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this one man interactive play is a family friendly production featuring the comedic actor Louis Butelli. Devised by director Robert Richmond (Richard III and Henry V), the Gravedigger, who appears to have much more knowledge about court life in Elsinore than originally thought, arrives with a trunk and a book and responds to questions from the audience using the text from Hamlet.

Where: Wolf Trap
When: June 23-26
Tickets: $20-75 (look for a discount)

The international Irish dance phenomenon is back in Riverdance—The 20th Anniversary World Tour featuring a new number, costumes, and lighting! Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music, and song. Of all the performances to emerge from Ireland—in rock, music, theatre, and film—nothing has carried the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of Riverdance.

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: Angelika Pop-Up, Eastern Market, & The Atlas
When: Wednesdays & Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at the Angelika Pop-Up (behind Union Market) on Wednesdays and in Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday over the summer. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the Markets.

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.

The Three Musketeers
Where: PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City, MD
When: June 24 – July 24
Tickets: $38-42/adult, free for kids (2 with paid adult)

All for one, one for all! Swashbuckling heroes seek fortune, love, and danger in Alexandre Dumas’ adventure tale, The Three Musketeers. With its themes of loyalty and honor and its exciting stage combat, this high-energy play is perfect for our summer stage at the PFI Historic Park in Ellicott City. Bring a picnic, your friends, and your whole family. Gates will open 90 minutes before the performance for picnicking.

Inside Out
Where: Imagination Stage
When: June 25 – July 31
Tickets: $14

It’s bedtime! But instead of getting ready, two children use their imaginations to turn their room into a wonderland of mess! While playing dress-up, a glove becomes a dancing fish, a shirt becomes a fantastic creature, and a sock dance rocks the closet. In this interactive show, discover the joy of turning things inside out! Recommended for ages 1-5.

Robert Post Comedy Theatre for Kids
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 25
Tickets: $20

Robert Post’s one-man variety show serves up a delightful entertainment feast. Hilarious, poignant, and physically dazzling, his meticulously crafted sketches fill the stage with bumblers, dreamers, and cartoonish heroes of every stripe.

American Acoustic: Family Show with Chris Thile
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 25
Tickets: $20

n a matinee show in the Family Theater geared toward young people, Chris Thile plays a solo set full of traditional and original music while also answering questions from the audience. This is your chance to get up-close-and-personal with the virtuoso musician.

Best of Serenade!
Where: Strathmore
When: June 26
Tickets: $5-10

The largest international choral gathering in Washington, DC, Best of Serenade! is the grand finale of Serenade!, a 5-day summer festival and the largest international choral gathering. Choirs from across the world perform a repertoire that spans the ages and genres in this annual concert.

The Bridges of Madison County
Where: Kennedy Center
When: June 28- July 17
Tickets: $49-129 (look for a discount)

One of the most romantic stories ever written is now an irresistible, two-time Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Based on the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County tells the story of Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson and her life-changing, four-day whirlwind romance with traveling photographer Robert Kincaid. It’s an unforgettable story of two people caught between decision and desire, as a chance encounter becomes a second chance at so much more. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Rainforest Alive!
Where: Discovery Theater
When: June 29 – July 1
Tickets: $3-8

Discover the dynamic world of tropical rainforests while you meet beautiful jungle animals. Live animals from each layer of the forest will be featured along with stories of survival in this fascinating and endangered environment. Featured animals may include an iguana, boa constrictor, turtle and other rainforest creatures. Recommended for ages 4-12

UniverSoul Circus
Where: National Harbor at the Plateau
When: June 29 – July 31
Tickets: $16

A big top spectacle of global proportions, the 2016 production of UniverSoul Circus takes fans of all ages on an unforgettable journey of light, sound and soul. Get ready for electrifying, edge-of-your-seat performances, including extreme motorsports, back-flipping canines, twirling bicycles, disco-dancing pachyderms, free-flying aerial acts and much much more.

DreamWorks Animation in Concert
Where: Wolf Trap
When: June 30
Tickets: $25-45

Experience the thrilling music from Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, and more, as DreamWorks Animation’s great stories and beloved characters inspire and delight audiences of all ages in this world premiere performance! We celebrate 20+ years of visually stunning footage projected in HD onto the big screen while iconic music scores by Hans Zimmer, John Powell, Alexandre Desplat, Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman, and others are performed live by symphony orchestra.

Born for This: The Bebe Winans Story
Where: Arena Stage
When: July 1 – August 28
Tickets: $50-99

Detroit natives BeBe and CeCe Winans, youngest siblings of the Winans family dynasty, experience the ultimate in culture shocks when invited to join Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Praise the Lord television show. The Winans teenagers have the opportunity to become more than just television celebrities, but to integrate TV evangelism. As BeBe and CeCe encounter fame, fortune and even a young Whitney Houston, BeBe must learn to balance his desire for success with his true calling. Combining classic Winans hits with brand new songs, this inspirational musical features Juan and Deborah Joy Winans in their Arena Stage debuts as BeBe and CeCe Winans.

Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: July 2, 6pm
Tickets: Free

Toss the blankies, kiddos! Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players return to BlackRock this summer for the Center’s first, free outdoor summer concert designed specifically with little ones and their families in mind. These GRAMMY-nominated all-stars of the indie family music scene will take the stage on BlackRock’s lawn for an hour-long performance that’ll get kids and their parents alike springing to their feet; jumping, dancing and bouncing off each other like bumper cars.

Taratibu Youth Association
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 6-8
Tickets: $3-8

This sensational ensemble of young artists represents the performing arts of the African diaspora. With eclectic and diverse musical influences, TYA performs percussive dance styles from stepping to traditional South African Gumboot to modern dance and hip hop. Singing in Zulu and Sotho from South Africa, Kiswahili from Tanzania, Creole from Haiti, and Yoruba from Cuba, their performances are educational and inspirational; telling stories of empowerment and cultural history from several different countries. You may learn a song in Zulu, steps from Taratibu; a Pan African drill or learn the history of ‘Ti Zwezo,’ the traditional song of Haiti. Recommended for ages 5-16.

Backyard Theater for Children
Where: Strathmore
When: July 7-28
Tickets: $18, free for under 2

Strathmore’s summer theater series brings live music and fun to kids — all outdoors under a big tent. Weekly performances take place every Thursday at 9:30am and 11:30 from July 7-28.

Capital Fringe Festival
Where: Various DC theatres
When: July 7-31
Tickets: Varies by show

Filling the city with non-stop theater, dance, music, visual art, and everything in-between, the annual Fringe Festival presents an eclectic mix of performances — from all genres, for all ages. Family-friendly shows are always among the lineup; other acts would make for a great date night or adult evening out. Check out the calendar to plan your Fringe experience.

Cirque Italia
Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds
When: July 8-10
Tickets: $10-50

Dive into the magical world of acrobats, aerialists, contortionists and more exciting acts and experience Cirque Italia! A show like no other, the first traveling water circus in the US features an extraordinary stage that holds 35,000 gallons of water with a dynamic lid that lifts 35 feet into the air, allowing water to fall like rain from above as fountains dazzle below! This incredible show takes place under a majestic white and blue big top tent which came all the way from Italy. Inside is such a theatrical and intimate setup, you just might forget you are under a circus tent!

The Magic of Science
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 12-15
Tickets: $3-8

Educating entertainer Robert Pirtle is ready to show you the ‘magic of science!’ He’ll use chemistry, mathematics, optical illusions and more to reveal the magical essence behind the science you’ve learned in the classroom. Everyone, both in the audience and on stage, will become a magician! Everything done will look and act like a real magic trick — the real trick being that it’s actually science at work. Come with us on a journey of exploration into the science behind the magic! Recommended for ages 5-12.

Phantom of the Opera
Where: Kennedy Center
When: July 13 – August 20
Tickets: $25-149

This spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera comes to DC as part of a brand-new North American tour. Critics are raving that this breathtaking production is “bigger and better than ever before.” The production boasts many exciting special effects including the show’s legendary chandelier. The beloved story and thrilling score, with songs like “Music of the Night,” “All I Ask of You,” and “Masquerade,” is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions now on tour. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Twelfth Night (KidFree Recommendation!)
Where: Synetic Theatre
When: July 13- August 7
Tickets: $20-60

After garnering 11 Helen Hayes Award nominations, Synetic’s 2014 hit is back by popular demand! Set in the Roaring ’20s and inspired by the silent comedy of Keaton and Chaplin, Twelfth Night tells the tale of fraternal twins, Viola and Sebastian, separated in a strange new land. Having survived a shipwreck and believing her brother Sebastian has been lost, Viola falls hopelessly in love with Duke Orsino and disguises herself as a man to enter his services. This production will not have dialogue.

Mary Poppins
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: July 15-24
Tickets: $15/adult, $12/child (look for a discount)

Encore Stage & Studio presents this classic in their signature by kids, for kids style: Mary Poppins is a practically perfect, spoonful of sugar nanny that unexpectedly arrives in the Banks household one blustery day. Using lessons disguised as games, she helps to teach the Banks children how to be their best selves. But, is Mary Poppins’ magic enough to save this family from drifting apart? Enjoy your favorite Disney melodies and watch Mary Poppins soar across the TJ stage in this Broadway adaptation that won seven TONY awards, including Best Musical. Recommended for ages 6 and older.

Beatboxing with Mr. Max
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 19-22
Tickets: $3-8

Mr. Max takes us with him as he takes the mike to make some crazy- good mouth music. This astounding human beatbox introduces kids to the most powerful musical instrument ever: their own bodies. With lots of audience participation and exciting on-the-spot improvisations, Max covers themes in hip-hop culture, language, math, and music. Get ready to make some truly hip beats! Recommended for ages 5-12.

Peter and the Wolf
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: July 21 – August 28
Tickets: $10

Staged with half life-size marionettes, Peter and the Wolf is one of the Puppet Co.’s best-loved stories. Over a million children and adults have seen this one-man show, based on Prokofiev’s popular tale of good versus evil, performed by Puppet Master Christopher Piper. An introduction to the instruments in the orchestra precedes this story of Peter and his animal friends, and their attempts to capture wily “Old Lupus.” Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Urban Artistry
Where: Discovery Theater
When: July 26-29
Tickets: $3-8

They are guided by the origins of the drum, the energy of the underground dance movement and the art that documents all of our histories. Urban Artistry illuminates the counterculture styles of urban dance (often referred to as hip-hop), and their calling to create a diverse community of people with whom to share the experience. This award-winning dance troupe will inspire you to get up on your feet! Recommended for ages 5-16.

BSO: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone
Where: Strathmore
When: August 5
Tickets: $35-65

The Harry Potter™ film series is one of those once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomena that continues to delight millions of fans around the world. This concert will feature the Baltimore Symphony performing every note from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™. Audiences will be able to relive the magic of the film in high-definition on a giant screen while hearing the orchestra perform John Williams’ unforgettable score.

Uke Summit Evening Concerts
Where: Strathmore
When: August 13-14
Tickets: $15

Enjoy an evening performance of both professional and amateur ukulele players, starting with an open mic for our Uke & Guitar Summit attendees at 6:30pm and followed by an amazing lineup at 7pm.

The Tempest
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: August 16-28
Tickets: Free

The Sheakepeare Theatre Company’s beloved annual Free For All program returns, presenting two weeks of FREE performances of a Shakespearean classic, this year The Tempest. In this glittering production, Prospero’s magical island explodes with life, hosting sprites, goddesses, and fools that hold court and delight all ages. To get tickets: For each performance, a select number of seats are given away to lucky lottery winners. Or, every day STC will make at least 200 tickets available to the public in a ticket line at Sidney Harman Hall beginning two hours prior to curtain – limit is two tickets per person. Get there early, as the line usually starts forming about four hours before curtain up.

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Easter Events Around DC for a Hopping Start to Spring

Easter egg hunting requires fuel

Easter egg hunting requires fuel

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Don’t put your eggs all in one basket when it comes to Easter celebrations. Numerous places around the area are hosting egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and much more spring fun. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions and activities beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs that will have the whole family hopping with joy. Here’s where you can find them, listed in order of start date. And if I’ve left out any good ones, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Spring Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Weekends March 12 – April 3
Admission: $14.95 ages 2 and up

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. And this post about a class field trip has info and pics, too.

Where: Butler’s Orchard
When: March 19, 20, 25, 26, 28 & April 1-3, 9am – 4pm
Admission: $9/child, $7/adult

One of the more popular spring festivals in the area, Butler’s has all the trappings for seasonal fun: bunnies, eggs, and other Easter-related treats to get young guests in the holiday spirit. Attractions include hayrides down the Bunny Trail, egg hunts, the Rubber Ducky Derby, giant slides, and a small petting zoo. Face painting and pony rides are also usually offered for an extra fee. Concessions are available, and there are also plenty of picnic tables if you prefer to pack a lunch.

Nova Parks Egg Hunts
Where: Parks throughout Northern Virginia
When: Various dates
Admission: $10

Several parks in Northern Virginia are hosting all kinds of Easter fun to celebrate the holiday and the season. Easter bunny visits and photo ops, egg hunts, crafts, and more activities will be part of the festivities. Registration is required. Go here to see where and when you can jump in on the fun!

Egg Hunt
Where: Meadowside Nature Center
When: March 25, 10am – 3pm
Admission: $8

Search for real eggs in othe meadow, then dye and decorate the eggs you find. Enjoy other spring-themed activities throughout the event as well. Fun for the entire family! Don’t forget to bring a basket to collect your eggs. Egg hunts are scheduled for every half-hour throughout the day. Reservations are required.

Easter Egg Decorating
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange
When: March 26, 1pm
Admission: Free

Fun! Glitter! Eggs! The Brentwood Arts Exchange promise all three at this free family-friendly workshop. Create beautiful decorated eggs that will impress friends and even the Easter Bunny. Children will receive their first two eggs for free. Additional eggs will be available to purchase 2 for $1.

9th Annual Eggstravaganza
Where: Tudor Place
When: March 19 & 26, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10/child, $8/child member, $5/adult

Rolling green lawns, bright spring blooms, and the elegant mansion on a hill serve as backdrop for this festive annual attraction. Join the Easter Bunny as children of all ages enjoy an Egg Hunt and thrilling Egg Roll Contest down the grand South Lawn. Crafts include paper chick “pets” and colorful butterflies, plus there will be games for all ages. Plan to take a self-guided tour of Tudor Place’s 5½ acres of glorious gardens, and be sure to bring a camera!

Fabergé Egg Family Festival
Where: Hillwood Estate and Gardens
When: March 19-20, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $18/adult, $5/ages 6-18, free for 5 and under

Celebrate spring’s arrival in traditional Russian style! Hillwood’s annual festival has programs, music, art, and activities for all ages. Happenstance Theatre will present stories of Russian Easter traditions in a fun family play. A favorite for all ages is the “Fabergé’s Workshop” to create a Fabergé-inspired egg. Samovar Russian Folk Music Ensemble takes visitors back to Old Russia as they play traditional instruments, and the Kalinka Dance Ensemble performs Russian folk dances. And centuries-old Russian springtime games like egg-rolling and egg and spoon racing will entertain children of all ages.

Dinosaur Egg Hunt
Where: Hidden Oaks Nature Center
When: March 19-20 & 26-27
Admission: $7-9/child

Stomp over to Hidden Oaks, where children ages 2-8 can enjoy a dinosaur-themed program and outdoor egg hunt while visiting dinoland in Nature Playce and make a dino craft. Pre-registration is required. Programs run several time throughout the day for 45-minute sessions.

Easter Weekend Itinerary
Where: Lansdowne Resort
When: March 25-27
Admission: Varies by activity

The resort, spa, and golf club in Northern Virginia has curated the perfect Easter Weekend Itinerary for local residents, traveling guests, and families alike. Activities include Build-A-Bunny workshops, a Flick & Float screening of the movie Hop while floating in the indoor pool, Easter Day Brunch, and an Eater Egg Hunt. Details and prices are on the website.

Bird Egg-stravaganza
Where: Woodend Nature Sanctuary
When: March 26, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10/child

Join the Audubon Naturalist Society for a nature-themed egg hunt at their Bethesda headquarters. Children can search for eggs along the Woodend Nature Sanctuary trails. Afterwards, they can cash in their eggs for prizes, participate in crafts, and enjoy other nature themed activities

Easter Eggstravaganzas
Where: Various locations around the DC-Metro
When: March 26
Admission: Free

These festivals held in several neighborhoods around the area offer all kinds of Easter fun – egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, face painting, yummy treats, games, prizes, and more. They’ll take place in Northwest DC, Capitol Hill, Springfield, Gainesville, and Alexandria.

5th Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Madame Tussauds
When: March 26, 8am, 8:30am, & 9am
Admission: $25/adult and three children

If your kids are early risers, then keep this event in mind: A fun and educational “eggs-ploration” through American History at the wax museum! Tons of eggs will be hidden throughout the Presidents Gallery, and once children have collected the empty eggs, they can then trade them in at the end of the hunt for an Easter gift bag full of goodies. Guests can also enjoy a meet & greet with the Easter Bunny, an on site petting zoo, plus Easter crafts and face painting! All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be purchased online.

Falls Church Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Cherry Hill Park
When: March 26, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Join this annual family celebration hosted by the city’s Recreation and Parks Department. Children dressed in their spring finest can hunt for candy and special eggs in Cherry Hill Park and have their photo taken with our special guest, the Easter Bunny! BYO basket — they’ll supply the candy, fun, and happy springtime memories. In addition to scrambling for eggs, children ages 11 and younger can participate in a make-your-own-candy-bag craft project and have a chance to meet and take pictures with the Easter Bunny.

Spring Fest
Where: McLean Community Center
When: March 26, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $5, free for 2 and under

Spring Fest is a special event that includes self-guided arts and crafts projects, entertainment and the opportunity for your children to get a professional photo with Bunny. Remember to bring your Easter basket for our parent/child Easter egg hunt. Registration is required for all participants, and sign up soon, as space is limited. Recommended for ages 3-8.

11th Annual Stead Park Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Stead Park
When: March 26, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Hop to it and join Friends of Stead Park and Foundry United Methodist Church for their annual Community Easter Egg Hunt! In addition to the egg hunts, there will be special “golden eggs” filled with a prize for each age group to find; crafts and snacks; selfies with the Easter Bunny, and twice as many eggs as last year. Bring your own basket and register in advance.

Champagne Easter Brunch & Egg Hunt
Where: Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC
When: March 27
Admission: $74/adult, $35/child

If you want to get fancy for the holiday, celebrate Easter with an extravagant Champagne brunch and a waterfront egg hunt on a beautiful sprawling garden, plus visits from the Easter Bunny at one of the city’s swankiest hotels. Enjoy a lavish buffet-style meal at Muze with multiple live cooking stations spread throughout the restaurant. Children can hunt for eggs hidden throughout the hotel’s stunning garden overlooking the Tidal Basin, accompanied by the Easter Bunny. There will also be fun-filled activities in the hotel’s supervised Little Fans Clubroom.

Easter Monday: A Washington Family Tradition
Where: National Zoo
When: March 28
Admission: Free

Celebrate Easter on Monday at the Zoo! Join them for special family-focused activities and live entertainment. A traditional Easter Egg Hunt and animal demonstrations as well as visits from the Easter Panda will be part of the festivities! This event will be held rain or shine.

White House Easter Egg Roll
Where: White House Lawn
When: March 28, 8am – 5pm
Admission: Free, tickets required

The mac daddy of Easter events in DC, the annual White House Easter Egg Roll requires tickets won through lottery for admission. You should know by now if you were “successful” in scoring them or not; but if you don’t, you can check your status on recreation.gov. Unofficial tip: I heard from a friend who was lucky enough to go one year that people were giving away extra tickets at the entrance. While I can’t confirm that’s always the case, if you’re going to be in that area and really want to go, it wouldn’t hurt to stop by and see if folks are being so generous. Note that entries are timed, so while it goes all day, guests only stay for their designated amount of time.

Egg Hunt & Marshmallow Harvest
Where: Great Country Farms
When: April 2-3, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10/child $12/adult at the gate

After a long cold winter, nothing chases away the chill like a visit to the farm. Head to Great Country for the first “crop” of the spring– Marshmallow Picking! Do marshmallow peeps grow on trees? Be sure to check it out and harvest a few to roast on the bonfire with Farmer Bob. You can even purchase a s’mores kit to melt away that chocolate craving. Guests can also help find Easter Bunny eggs during egg hunts (by age – see the schedule) with over 18,000 treat-filled eggs. Plan to visit spring chicks and baby animals, check out the spring plantings in the greenhouse, take a hayride and rejoice in the new season. Don’t forget to bring your camera for photo ops with the Easter Bunny. Buy advance tickets online for only $10/adult — visit the website to purchase, and look for the schedule of events there, too.

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Make Some Family Plans for the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival


With the National Park Service’s recent announcement of the predicted cherry blossom peak (March 31 – April 3) and the Capital Weather Gang’s declaration that winter is over and spring is on, it’s time to talk celebration. And the National Cherry Blossom Festival, along with a couple of museums, have it all figured out for us with several weeks of events and activities to enjoy during the prettiest time of year in DC. Here are the best of them for families to help you have a peak blossom experience. Happy spring! (Update: The National Park Service revised their prediction, and the peak is now expected March 18-23.)

Asia Heritage Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: March 19, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Get ready for the Blossom Kite Festival and celebrate spring and Asian Heritage! 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! This year’s Kites of Asia Heritage Family Day will have a special focus on Nepal and India.

Make an Okinawan Textile Craft
Where: GW Museum & Textile Museum
When: March 18-20
Admission: Free

Discover Okinawa at this three-day celebration for all ages! Try your hand at origami, traditional bingata painting, and other art activities. Enjoy children’s stories, dance performances, and karate demonstrations. Learn about the geography and natural environment of the island, sample Okinawan treats, and take home a local souvenir. Check the website to see the schedule of events each day.

Family Day at the Building Museum
Where: National Building Museum
When: March 26
Admission: Free

The National Building Museum is hosting their annual event to kick off the cherry blossoms celebration family-style. And they’re doing it with a nod to the National Park Service’s Centennial Anniversary. The day will feature hands-on fun and games focused on parks, planning, landscape design, and architecture. Activities will include folding origami masterpieces, designing a memorial for the National Mall, constructing a tatebanko diorama, meeting DuAro (Kawasaki’s robot), trying on traditional Japanese clothing, and learning more about the National Park Service’s milestone celebration.

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: April 2, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Go fly a kite! Seriously. The Kite Festival is, in my opinion, the best event during cherry blossom season (when the weather cooperates, anyway). 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 absolutely magical for my 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 intricate works of art actually outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so be sure to bring one. 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.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: Southwest Waterfront, 600 Water Street SW
When: April 9, 1-9pm
Admission: Free

A fun family event happening along the water is the annual fireworks show at the Southwest Waterfront. It’s an all-day 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.

Family Workshop: Paper Trails
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: April 10 & 16, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, explore the importance of paper across Asian artmaking traditions. With educators from the Freer|Sackler and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, use traditional Japanese papers and bookmaking tools and techniques to create your own artist’s book. This program is designed for children ages 6–12 and adults to enjoy together.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: April 16, 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 16, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head right 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.

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