Tag Archives: Washington DC

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 20-24

She digs the Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum

She digs the Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum


Monday – Visit the National Arboretum on one of the two weekdays it’s open to the public (it’s closed Tuesday – Thursday). Tour the plant collections, check out the Washington Youth Garden and play in the natural playground, romp at the old Capitol columns, see the details of the bonzais. There are acres upon acres to explore! Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.

Tuesday – Attend Mommy & Me (& Daddy Too!), the Rockville Town Square’s free monthly program for kids. Storytime, interactive movement, arts & crafts, and merchant sponsored activities are part of the active learning and creative play. The session will meet on the Square, and the program runs 10am – 12pm on the third Tuesday of every month. Admission is free, but you are asked to register in advance.

Wednesday – Enjoy a musical morning with the Boogie Babes as they bring kiddie entertainment to Union Market at 10:30am. Admission is $5/child, and siblings 6 months and under are free. Get there early for coffee and a snack or stay after for a bite — the vendors offer plenty of great lunch options! (FYI: You can also catch a Boogie Babes show at Eastern Market on Thursdays and the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays.)

Thursday – Take a hike at Turkey Run Park. Located right off the GW Parkway near 495, it contains nearly 700 acres of woods, easy trails that ramble along the Potomac, streams that flow down from the woods to the river, great views from the shoreline, and a variety of wildlife (though sightings aren’t guaranteed). Hours are 6am -10pm. Admission is free.

Friday – Get creative at a National Portrait Gallery Open Studio Friday session. All ages are welcome to explore a different art medium each week with all kinds of fun projects. Drop in anytime from 1-4pm. Admission is free.

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2014 Independence Day Celebrations


Our lovely city is one of the most exciting places to be this time of year, as people from all over the world to celebrate America’s birthday. And from fireworks on the National Mall and concerts at the Capitol to special events at George Washington’s house and the home of the Declaration of Independence to neighborhood parades and ballpark fun, they (and you!) won’t be let down. Here are details on the many ways to celebrate July 4th in DC. Happy Independence Day!

National Independence Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th-17th Streets
When: July 4, 11:45am
Admission: Free

Many national holidays get a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators are expected to line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day make its way from 7th to 17th Streets. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. Stake out your spot along the route early, as this event attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers every year.

Independence Day Celebration on the Mall
Where: National Mall
When: July 4, all day (and evening)
Admission: Free

After the parade (even earlier for some), the National Mall will begin filling up for a day of July 4th festivities — the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Junior Ranger activities, concerts, picnics, and more. And the grand finale of it all: At 9:10pm, the sky above will explode with color when the amazing iconic fireworks display.

A Capitol Fourth
Where: West Lawn on the Capitol
When: July 4, 8pm; gates open at 3pm
Admission: Free

Down past the other end of the Mall, A Capitol Fourth, the annual Independence Day concert that airs live on PBS, will feature even more musical pageantry. Patti LaBelle is headlining the show, and there will also be appearances and performances by Frankie Valli, Phillip Phillips, Jordin Sparks, The Muppets, the National Symphony Orchestra and many more exciting acts. And Tom Bergeron of “Dancing with the Stars” is hosting once again. (KFDC tip: Enjoy the show with less crowds at the dress rehearsal on July 3 – same time and place!)

An American Celebration
Where: Mount Vernon
When: July 4, 8am – 5pm
Admission: $17/adults, $8/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under.

The home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events here.

America’s Pastime
Where: Nationals Park
When: July 4, 11:05am
Admission: Ticket prices vary

A day at the ballpark is about as all-American as it gets when it comes to sports, and you can experience it and celebrate the holiday at Nationals Park. Catch the July 4 game against the Chicago Cubs, which is part of the 2014 Patriotic Series which honors members of the military.

Falls Church 4th of July Celebration
Where: George Mason High School
When: July 4, 7pm
Admission: Free

The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department will present its annual free July 4th Celebration at George Mason High School (7124 Leesburg Pike). Musical entertainment begins at 7pm with a live performance by The Original Moonlights, with fireworks following at 9:20pm. Blankets and flat-based chairs are allowed for seating on the field. Food and drinks will be sold on site.

Neighborhood Parades
Where: Throughout the area
When: Most on July 4, times vary
Admission: Free

Keep it mellow and close to home at a community celebration. You likely are aware of July 4th events taking place in your neighborhood or nearby, but if you’re still looking for a hyperlocal fête, check out this list of parades around town.

Star-Spangled Spectacular
Where: Oregon Ridge State Park
When: July 3 & 4
Admission: $9-18

For something a little different than the usual DC July 4th festivities, head north to Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Md, on Thrusday or Friday. There, you can spread out a blanket or set up chairs on the sloping green lawn amidst a gorgeous setting as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs their Star-Spangled Spectacular, culminating with a magnificent fireworks display. The starbursts in the sky as a live symphony plays is truly magical. The park opens at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm both days. Be sure to note these parking instructions, as on–site parking is $15, but you can park off site and take a shuttle for free.

Reading of the Declaration of Independence
Where: National Archives
When: July 4, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate July 4th at the National Archives Building with a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. There will also be historical guests, patriotic music, and family activities from 11am – 4pm. The full schedule of events is available on the National Archives website.

Rockville 4th of July Celebration
Where: Montgomery College – Rockville Campus
When: July 4, 7-9:45pm
Admission: Free

Rockville’s Independence Day Celebration is hosted by the Mayor and Council of Rockville at Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus located at 51 Mannakee Street. Join in a night of music, entertainment and fireworks. See the website for the lineup of entertainment and parking information.

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The Weekend Round-Up: April 12-13



It’s a peak time to be in DC! The city is beautiful this time of year, and there are loads of ways to enjoy it — Cherry Blossom events, museum programs, live entertainment, spring celebrations, and more. And be sure to check the outdoor and indoor lists for activities beyond this round-up. Happy Weekend!

A Peek at the Peak
Where: Tidal Basin & National Mall
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

You may be able to catch the final days of the cherry blossom peak. The blooms have been spectacular this week and will, hopefully, still wow this weekend. Expect crowds and be prepared — this post has tips for families viewing the blossoms.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: Saturday, April 13, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is, hands-down, 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 through the city. 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 like we’re expected to get on Saturday.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: 12th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10/ages 13 and up

Immediately 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. Stretching down six city blocks from 9th to 14th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, there will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Be prepared for a crowd.

Explore the Universe
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Understand how different cultures see the sky at this annual event at the Museum on the Mall. Learn about telescopes and do some daytime observations (weather permitting). Other hands-on activities around the museum include a chance to make a solar clock and build an astrolab. Go here for the complete schedule of activities.

Lantern Making Family Day
Where: Yards Park
When: Sunday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Capitol Riverfront BID is hosting its 4th Annual Lantern Making Family Day as part of National Cherry Blossom festivities.  Guests are invited to create paper lanterns, and all supplies will be included. There will also be martial arts performances by Hapmudo, a moonbounce, and games for children. Grab a bite to eat at nearby – there’s a Nando’s and everal other restaurants for a family-friendly meal.

Eggcellent Celebrations
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Many places around the area are hosting egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and more spring fun to celebrate Easter and the season. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs that will have the whole family hopping with joy. See this post for a list of them.

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

Spring has arrived! Celebrate D.C.’s famous cherry blossom season at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Craft activities include: tissue paper blossoms, drawing your own cherry blossom tree, coloring sheets, folded Japanese screen painting, and origami! Learn how to “invite” birds into a garden with SI Gardens and make an origami passenger pigeon. Get your face painted and then watch a kimono dressing demonstration on stage. Enjoy performances of traditional Japanese music, dance and taiko drumming, and explore how Japanese art and culture have influenced American artists for decades with a scavenger hunt in the galleries.

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

* Catch a performance of The Jungle Book at Adventure Theatre
* Cinderella: The Remix just opened at Imagination Stage
* Enjoy theatre on strings at The Puppet Co., where Hansel & Gretel is on the main stage and Baby Bear’s Birthday is the featured Tiny Tots show.
* See Once on this Island at Olney Theatre
* TreeHouse Shakers-Hatched, BlackRock Center for the Arts first-ever show for very young children, will be presented at 10am and 1pm on Saturday
* One Mic: Fresh Noise: A Mashup of Youth Voices–Game On! is at the Kennedy Center this weekend only
* Gustafer Yellowgold is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java.
* The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is at Ford’s Theatre through May 17.

World Health Day Family Program
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

If your babe is a budding doctor or scientist, then this Family Program will surely fascinate. In honor of World Health Day, the Museum is hosting a special event to showcase how the Department of Defense is working to combat vector-borne diseases around the world. How do conditions such as malaria, dengue, and yellow fever affect your health? Hands-on activities will demonstrate just that.

Marmalade at House of Sweden
Where: House of Sweden
When: Sunday, 12pm & 2pm
Admission: Free

Marmalade is delicious & sensory performance about meeting, mixing and moving for ages 2 and up. Mira and Viktor taste and feel in poetic movements and circus actions in an exquisite and visual experience together with the audience. Marmelade looks at the world through body, eye, feeling and taste. Upside down, behind and in front of you. Register to attend here.

Enchanted Cherrybration Weekend
Where: Clark’s Elioak Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10a, – 5pm
Admission: $5 (rides cost extra)

Let your little princesses dress up for this visit to the storybook-themed farm (you can read more about it in this list about outdoor outings). Clark’s Elioak will be celebrating Howard County’s “Cherrybration” Days with treats fit for young royalty and plenty of pink pizzazz. Children in a family will get a free hay ride if at least one person in the family is dressed as a pink princess. Kids can also dress up in gowns on hand at the farm for a photo opportunity with “Princess Cherrybella.” A Truly Pink Treasure Hunt in the Enchanted Forest Maze will round out the weekend activities.

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The Weekend Round-Up: April 4-6

The Nats are back!

The Nats are back!

There’s a LOT going on this weekend, from the Nats first home games of the season to a birthday party for Shakespeare to early Easter celebrations to fireworks to museum programs to live entertainment to seasonal markets and even more! If that’s not enough, you can find plenty of other ideas for activities with the kids, including the best of the outdoors around DC, on the Everyday Play page. Happy Weekend!

Ignite Your Natitude
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

It’s the season home opener for the Nats today, and there’s going to be baseball all weekend long – today at 1:05pm, Saturday at 7:05pm, and Sunday at 1:35pm. First opponent up is Braves, and you still might be able to score tickets for all three games. Take advantage of the Harris Teeter Family Pack and enjoy other special promos on Sunday – it’s Kids Opening Day and Screech’s Birthday. And don’t forget you can stay after for Kids Run the Bases when children ages 4-12 can loop the in field after the final out.

Spring Easter Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm weekends
Admission: $11.95, under 2 are free

With giant slides, an awesome jumping pillow, playgrounds, animals, mazes, and more, the farm in Vienna is a blast everyday (it’s open daily), but they take the fun up a notch on weekends for their annual Spring Easter Festival. Along with the permanent amusement, there are egg hunts, face painting, children’s games, 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.

Egg Hunt & Marshmallow Harvest
Where: Great Country Farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 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’more kit to melt away that chocolate craving. The Easter Bunny also hid some eggs, so guests can help find them during multiple 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.

Happy Birthday to the Bard!
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Shakespeare is turning 450, and the Folger Shakespeare Library is celebrating with an Open House on Sunday afternoon. In true Renaissance fashion, there will be song and dance, jesters and jugglers, and opportunities to recite your favorite Shakespeare lines on stage. Especially for children will be fortune telling, shield making, quill writing, arts & crafts, Shakespeare portrait drawing, and a giant birthday cake with the cutting lead by Queen Elizabeth I. The event is free and will take place rain or shine. Some concessions will be available for purchase. The Library is located at 201 East Capitol Street SE.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Where: 600-900 Water Street, SW
When: Saturday, 1-9pm
Admission: Free

The big Cherry Blossom Festival event this weekend 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 some especially for kids – think face painting, arts & crafts, and balloon art – cultural experiences, and all kinds of food. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.

Go Colonial
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: $3/adults, $2/ages 3 and up, free for 2 and under

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm opens for the first weekend of its 2014 season, welcoming visitors to explore family life on a pre-Revolutionary War working farm. There is a tobacco barn, farm house, garden, orchard, and animals. Guests can also interact with a family portraying life as it was back then. Read more about it in this post (ignore the “autumn” part; it’s a great outing in the spring, too).

American Cool Family Day
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Are you “American Cool”? Head to the Portrait Gallery for this special Family Day program and check out some “cool” music, art projects, and docent-led tours of the American Cool exhibition.

Robotics Expo
Where: National Air & Space Musem
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate National Robotics Week at the Air & Space Museum where several schools and organizations will demonstrate the innovative projects they have created. There will also be two sessions in Moving Beyond Earth (Gallery 113) in which each team will formally present their robotic project and will be interviewed by a Museum staff member. These sessions will take place at 11am and 1pm.

Gateway to Health
Where: St. Elizabeths East Gateway Pavilion
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

Where there was an ice slide less than two months ago, will be a spring festival focused on health. Discover new foods, tastes, and ideas for healthy eating at the Whole Foods Market @ Gateway DC, shop DC’s finest food & retail vendors, see cooking demonstrations, and enjoy and fun activities for kids of all ages. And this is just the kick-off of a monthly market running the first Saturday of each month through spring and summer.

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

* Catch an opening weekend performance of The Jungle Book at Advneture Theatre
* Inside Out, theatre aimed at the toddler and preschool crowd is on the Imagination Stage.
* Enjoy theatre on strings at The Puppet Co., where Hansel & Gretel is on the main stage and Snow Show is the featured Tiny Tots show.
* Mr. Gabe and the Circle Time All-Stars are playing at Ebenezers Coffeehouse on Capitol hill at 10:30am on Saturday.
* The Adventures of Robin Hood is in its second and final weekend at the Kennedy Center.
* Mr. Knick Knack will entertain the kiddie crowd at the Old Town Theatre on Saturday at 11am.
* Curtis Blues: Delta Blues is this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance.
* The Diggity Dudes are playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java.
* The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is at Ford’s Theatre through May 17.

Cherry Blossom Yoga
Where: Washington Monument grounds
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

Join lululemon athletica on Saturday for the 5th Annual Cherry Blossom Yoga – a complimentary yoga class for all to enjoy in DC! Bring your mat, family, and friends to the Washington Monument to share an hour-long vinyasa yoga practice led by Mimi Rieger, lululemon athletica Ambassador, with assistance from some of DC’s finest yoga instructors. All ages and levels are welcome and the event is complimentary. Day-of registration begins at 9am and the yoga class begins at 10am, rain or shine. Avoid long lines on Saturday morning and register online here.

Au Pair in America Cultural Fair
Where: Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Are you curious about au pairs as a childcare option? On Saturday, Au Pair in America invites families to their Cultural Fair at Glen Echo Park to learn more about their programs.  It’s a family affair with an afternoon of fun activities for all ages, including children’s activities, performances, visual displays, and a cultural parade.

Where: Logan Circle, 15th & P St NW
When: Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

It’s Opening Day at the market in the heart of Logan Circle on Saturday. DC MEETMarket is a monthly outdoor community market held on the first Saturday of every month April through November. It’s a community event with local music, educational crafts and activities where individuals of all ages can enjoy themselves. To celebrate their first day of the new season, there will be a live painting & free raffle by No Kings Collective and Kelly Towles; live musical performances by America Hearts, Light Arms, and DJ vANNIEty Kills, hosted by Rock-n-Romp!; an interactive photo booth for all ages; and over 40 local vendors selling their goods. And as always, the market is free, open to the public, and always family and pet-friendly.

Kids’ Open House
Where: Alliance Française
When: Saturday, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Bienvenue! The Alliance Française invites families to discover their programs for children 1 to 18 years old. Along with the opportunity to visit the classrooms and meet the teachers, guests can listen to stories in the library , watch a special performance created and presented by children in a Shadow Puppetry Workshop, and hear poems read by FREF students. Children can also attend a mini-class to get a taste for French language at the Alliance. And for those who are interested in registering, placement tests will be available for classes beginning in April.

Where: Union Market
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: Free

Head to Union Market for Thread, a carefully curated collection of both nationally recognized brands and emerging, independent designers from around the country who embody an inventive and original spirit. This might be more exciting for adults most of the weekend, but you can do a little shopping, then grab a bite to eat at one of the many eateries. And if you go on Friday, you can enjoy a special FREE Boogies Babes happy hour show – at 4:30pm, Uno, Dos, Tres con Andres will entertain the kiddie crowd outside in the rear of the building, and word has it the scene will be super hip with lounge furniture, turf, and fun games for kids to enjoy.

Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting
Where: Tidal Basin NW Corner (17th & Independence Ave)
When: Sunday, 2:30-4pm
Admission: Free

The traditional Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony, one of the highlights of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, will be held on Sunday at the newly restored plaza surrounding the historic lantern. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 360-year-old Japanese Stone Lantern, along with its grove of original cherry trees gifted from Japan 101 years ago, is a cherished symbol commemorating the friendship between the United States and Japan. Now the lantern, located at the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin, features a granite plaza with natural stone boulders and a memorial plaque commemorating the 1912 gift of cherry trees.

Art Jamz
Where: Crystal City Shops
When: Sunday, 12-2pm
Admission: $10

ArtJamz, America’s original public art studio and lounge, is headed back to Crystal City Shops to kick off Spring with a blast of creativity. There will be family-friendly sessions on Sunday for ages 3 and up. Enjoy pizza, 2 hours of studio time, a medium 16×20 canvas, unlimited to access to supplies and guidance from art-trained creative enablers.

Easter Basket Crafting
Where: 529 Kids Consign – Hollin Hall
When: Sunday, 12-1pm & 2-3pm
Admission: $20/child

The high-end consignment shop 529 Kids Consign is hosting a special Easter basket crafting workshop with Little Pincushion Studio in partnership with Little Choux Kidgoods. During the event, boys and girls ages 4 and older will have the opportunity to design and decorate Easter baskets with author, Little Pincushion shop owner and crafting extraordinaire, Annabel Wrigley. Parents will also enjoy 25% off a fabulous selection of full-price Easter attire.

Sugarloaf Crafts Festival
Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $8, 12 and under are free

Do some shopping for arts, crafts, and more while you enjoy a family day out. The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival showcases works by more than 250 top artisans. Pottery, sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, home and garden décor, furniture and home accessories, and photography will be on display — and for sale! Even more, children can dress up in costumes and watch live demonstrations of copper spinning, papermaking, pottery wheel-throwing, jewelry making, and other media by the master craftspeople themselves. 

Thank you, NPG, thank you very much
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Sunday, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery for Portrait Story Days and listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, Elvis Presley is the king of the program.

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The Weekend Round-Up: March 29-30

A sky full of sails at last year's Blossom Kite Festival

A sky full of sails at last year’s Blossom Kite Festival

The weather may dictate activities this weekend, but no matter what the conditions outside, you’ve got plenty of options for a good time with the kids. And for ideas beyond this round-up, check out the Everyday Play page with a lengthy list of mainstay fun around the DC-Metro. Happy Weekend!

Go Fly a Kite!
Where: Washington Monument Grounds
When: Sunday, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

The annual Blossom Kite Festival is, in my humble 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 one 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. (Note: This was originally scheduled for Saturday, but will now take place Sunday due to weather.)

Make Your Mark
Where: National Archives
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Head to the National Archives and explore the many ways people have placed their signature on history, from developing a signature style to signing groundbreaking policy into law. To celebrate the opening of the new exhibit, “Making Their Mark,” this special Family Day welcomes all ages for hands-on activities in the Boeing Learning Center. Guests can write with a quill pen, make signature hats: pillbox hat, Lincoln hat, tri-corner hat, take a tour of the exhibit, enjoy story time, mock curate an exhibit, and much more.

Opening Weekend on the Farm
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $9.95 (under age 2 are free)

With spring comes a host of seasonal activities at Ticonderoga Farm! You can visit with the spring farm animals, do some bird watching and animal tracking, aalong with their myriad other attractions – think swings, hayrides, a maze, and much more. Be sure to check the website for timing of any specific activities. And this Saturday & Sunday is Spring Scout Weekend at the farm, so boy and girls can bring their troop# identification for FREE admission. For an idea of what’s at Ticonderoga, see this post about their Winter Festival and this one about a field trip there.

Garden Party
Where: Community Forklift
When: Saturday, 9am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Now in its fifth year, Community Forklift’s Garden Party has become a local tradition, drawing gardeners, hipsters, farmers, and families from around the DC area. Get low-cost garden supplies and seedlings, enjoy live music, participate in hands-on activities like barrel painting and seed planting, and join several free workshops for gardeners young and old. Concessions will be for sale starting at 11am. And adults, children, and (leashed) pets will earn discounts and possibly prizes for sporting their best garden party attire. Last year, the nonprofit reuse center celebrated the arrival of spring with over 1,200 visitors, and this year’s free event is expected to be even bigger! It will take place at their large warehouse at 4671 Tanglewood Drive in Edmonston, MD.

Environmental Film Fest
Where: Various locations
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Varies by film

Over 200 diverse films from 38 countries will be screened at 65 venues around the DC-Metro area during the 22nd annual Environmental Film Festival. And there are a few family-oriented flicks among them this weekend. Nature Unfolds – Animated Shorts will be at the National Gallery of Art. And Africa: Kalahari and A Year in the Wild: Snowdonia will be screened at the Natural History Museum. Be sure to check the film festival website for showtimes and details on films.

Tree Fest
Where: Tudor Place
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Salute Tudor Place’s “witness trees” and other gifts of the natural world found in the city with a free festival in the Garden. Games, puppets, storytelling, a tree tour, and an artisanal Market Fair offering sustainable merchandise will be part of the festivities. You can also see a new white oak just planted in the North Garden to replace the towering sentinel lost last year.

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

* Inside Out, theatre aimed at the toddler and preschool crowd is on the Imagination Stage.
* Enjoy theatre on strings at The Puppet Co., where Hansel & Gretel just opened on the main stage and Animal Crackers and Old McDonald’s Farm are the featured Tiny Tots show.
* The Adventures of Robin Hood is opening at the Kennedy Center.
* Strathmore presents Saturday Morning at the National performance.
* Rainbow Rockis playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java.
* See Ballet Hispanico Family Matinee at the BlackRock Center for the Arts.
* The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is at Ford’s Theatre through May 17.

Domo Origato, Mr. Roboto
Where: The Patriot Center
When: Through Saturday
Admission: Free

The FIRST Robotics Competition is the culmination of six weeks of work by teams of high school students from around the region. Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology, they work with with hundreds of components, including engineering mainstays such as programmable radio controllers, motors, electrical circuitry and mechanical parts to build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. And the public is invited to check out the innovative creations that result from the contest!

Baby Love Disco
Where: The Fillmore in Silver Spring
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: $15

The family dance party is back in the area, but this time in Silver Spring. The fun will feature BLD’s signature DJ and MC, along with other kids activities and snacks. The MC will pump up the crowd, and the DJ will spin G-rated dance tunes, while kids and parents groove along and enjoy the disco.

Are you Q?rius
Where: Natural History Museum
When: Friday 2-5pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

With rain in the forecast, Q?rius is a great place to take shelter: The new interactive and experiential learning space at the Natural History Museum is, in a word, AWESOME. Visitors can view up close – and in many cases handle – real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. Microscopes let young guests feel like real scientists, and drawers full of everything from animals species to cultural relics are accessible for examination. And even though it’s been promoted as a space for teens and tweens, younger children definitely can appreciate it, too.

Portrait Story Days
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 1-4pm & Sunday, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Drop in to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta.


Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend