Spooky SPY Family Night
Where: International Spy Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Friday, 6-9pm
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 — register in advance. (One adult required for every five KidSpy agents.)
Fall Carnival & Fall Harvest Days
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: Free, but carnival ride passes are $16-25
Fall is a busy — and fun — time on the farm, and you can be part of it at Frying Pan’s annual festival! Carnival fun and games start Thursday with rides, games, fair food, and more. On Saturday & Sunday, you can also watch the cider press in action, milk a goat, shell corn, peel apples, meet farm animals, and see traditional farm demonstrations.
Celebrate Capitol Hill Day!
Where: Several Capitol Hill destinations, DC
Join the Capitol Visitors Center, U.S. Botanic Garden, Folger Shakespeare Library, Library of Congress, National Postal Museum, and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument for a celebration of the 225th anniversary of the laying of the U.S. Capitol cornerstone! Bring a picnic lunch and roam the Capitol campus while enjoying the day. Special activities for all ages will also be hosted by all of the destinations. Check their websites and social media for more information on their programs.
The Big Build
Where: National Building Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Any kid (or adult, for that matter) with an interest in building and construction will dig the National Building Museum’s huge annual event celebrating all things, well, building. The Great Hall will be full of different stations where guests aren’t just welcome, but encouraged, to try their hand at all kinds of construction and design techniques alongside experts demonstrating their craft. Discover what it’s like to be a builder and meet plumbers, ironworkers, landscape architects, woodworkers, and experts in many other fields. A special feature this year is author Joshua David Stein who will lead story time with activities around his new book Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture. All ages welcome, but best for kids 5-12.
Where: The Torpedo Factory | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Alexandria’s art-filled tradition for families returns for its 23rd year! Art Safari is a day of hands-on activities for kids and accompanying adults. Artists will lead young visitors in creative projects across a variety of media, including clay, fiber, painting, even bottle caps. All activities are free, most of them appropriate for children ages 5 – 11 and some requiring parental assistance. Children should wear clothing that can get a little dirty.
Suit Up to Clean Up
Where: Kingman Island | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Ocean Conservancy invites DC area residents to #suituptocleanup Kingman Island at its flagship International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). All ages can join the event that hauled in 4,000 pounds of trash last year! And it’s not all garbage collecting; other activities include live music, lawn games, and a “weird finds” contest. Volunteers will receive t-shirts and other giveaways; and gloves, bug spray and sunscreen are all provided, along with a light breakfast and lunch. Go here for more info and registration.
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through January 13
Admission: $15/adult, $8/child
The newest exhibit at ARTECHOUSE invites you to experience nature in a whole new way — through a colorful digital menagerie of nature-inspired creatures and plant life. It’s full of stunning imagery and fun interactives that all ages will find delightful. Even if you don’t plan to go this weekend, plan a visit for later, and snag tickets now.
Gimme an H!
Where: H Street NE | Atlas District, DC
When: Saturday, 1-6pm
The annual festival on Northeast DC’s thriving corridor is always a big one. If you don’t mind huge crowds, there is a lot to see and do. The event features loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and some kids’ activities. I recommend taking public transportation there, since parking is guaranteed to be difficult.
More Fall Fests
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity
Say “huzzah!” to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, pick some pumpkins, get lost in corn mazes, go on and hayrides, whiz down giant slides, bounce around on jumping pillows, and so much more. There are activities galore to you embrace the autumn spirit, and the KFDC guide to fall festivals has details on all of them.
World of Wheels
Where: Dematha High School | Hyattsville, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Explore many forms of transportation in person at this family friendly fundraiser. Touch and climb on a variety of vehicles. Enjoy an assortment of activities for kids of all ages. Pepco’s World of Wheels for CASA, an annual touch-a-truck event and family festival is nirvana for motor obsessed kids. They’ll have a fleet of police, construction, utility and other vehicles for you to see, touch, and sit in. Adding to the excitement will be food, music, and an assortment of activities for kids of all ages. Dematha High School is located at 4313 Madison St. in Hyattsville, MD.
Water Discovery Day
Where: Environmental Center at Alexandria Renew | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Alexandria Renew Enterprises is hosting its annual Water Discovery Day, co-hosted by Virginia American Water. The free, indoor/outdoor community event features food, music, and family-friendly activities to help attendees deepen their understanding of their role in Alexandria’s water system. Build a rain water barrel, take a walking tour of AlexRenew, join a water discovery lab, and enjoy plant giveaways, free yoga, slime making , and more. See the website for the schedule of activities.
Sensory Friendly Screening: Goosebumps 2
Where: Regal Rockville Center Stadium | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Catch a Sensory-Friendly Screening of Goosebumps 2 on Saturday morning. The newest My Way Matinee from Regal gives everyone the opportunity to experience a movie once a month with the sound turned down and the lights turned up. Watch the trailer for the movie here.
Where: Venues around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show
* The children’s book classic Blueberries for Sal comes to life on the Adventure Theatre stage
* Theater Unspeakable recreates the entire American fight for independence in American Revolution at the Kennedy Center
* Sleepy Hollow brings a haunting tale to Synetic Theater
* Hansel & Gretel is the Main Stage production at The Puppet Co.
* Little ones will love Panda-Monium, this week’s featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theatre.
* Take the preschool set to see Blue at Imagination Stage
* Encore Stage & Studio’s Ghostchasers is theatre by kids for kids (get a ticket deal)
* Make it a date night for Turn Me Loose at Arena Stage.
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity
Halloween may not be for a few more weeks, but you can get the party started with activities and events that celebrate the spooky spirit. This post has details on where the tricks and treats are happening.
Visit Viking Ship
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Through October 15
Admission: $12/adult, $6/child, $30/family
The world’s largest Norwegian Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, is at The Wharf for just a few more days. Visitors have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour the deck of the massive ship and interact with the crew. Look for a deal on tickets here).
And tours only last about 20-25 minutes so plan to hang at The Wharf longer.
Grand Opening Community Day
Where: National Law Enforcement Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $21.95/age 12+, $14.95/age 6-11, free/5 & under
This family-friendly Grand Opening event will mark the first time that the National Law Enforcement Museum has opened its doors to the public. It will include activities and entertainment for all to enjoy including K9 demonstrations, a variety of police vehicles and technology, face painting, live entertainment, and more.
Weekend Workers: Paper Airplane Design
Where: Museum of Industry | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: $12/adult, $7/age 7-11, free/6 & under
Join the museum for a Weekend Workers session that is taking paper airplane design to new heights. Joint he fun – it’s open to all ages. Cost is included with museum admission, and you should, of course, plan to tour it while you’re there! Read more about the Museum of Industry in this KFDC post.
Model Trains and Thomas
Where: Historic Vienna Train Station | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free (donations accepted)
Stop by the Historic Vienna Train Station where you can see and hear HO scale model trolleys and trains, including Thomas and some of his friends on display and in operation. It’s a great family fun and activity for the young and young at heart. The Station is at 231 Dominion Road NE, Vienna, VA along the W&OD trail just past the Caboose.
Kalamata’s Kitchen Food Adventureland
Where: 6th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue NW | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 1:30pm
Kalamata’s Kitchen is partnering with the Neighborhood Restaurant Group at its annual Snallygaster Beer Festival to provide fun, family friendly activities that make every guest feel like a VIP – even the kids! Bring your family, appetite, and sense of adventure to the Kalamata’s Kitchen experience featuring activities designed to connect kids and grownups to other cultures through food adventures. Family friendly goodies and adventures include a Taste Bud Membership lanyard, a Food Adventure Passport as you try new cuisines and collect stamps, a chance to purchase a Kalamata’s Kitchen book and have it signed by author Sarah Thomas and illustrator,Jo Edwards, fun photo ops, games, and giveaways.
Family Fun Day | Jazz and Lily Pad Concert
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 3-5pm
Music and fun for all ages! Enjoy live entertainment from Janelia Soul, pumpkin and face painting, games, snacks, and even a booth showcasing live birds of prey. Of course, guests will also be able to marvel at the beauty of the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. For more about DC’s hidden gem, see this KFDC post.
Taste of the Harvest
Where: THEARC | Anacostia, DC
When: Saturday, 4-7pm
Enjoy a beautiful evening at THEARC to celebrate the harvest from the Bridge Park Plots and THEARC Farm. Dine with your family and neighbors at the king’s table. Experience tastings from the gardens that will compliment any meal that you bring yourself. Stay for performances curated by THEARC THEATER and activities that will get you in the fall spirit! reserve your seat at the table!
Where: Merriweather-Post Pavilion | Columbia, MD
When: Saturday, 5-11pm
Imagine what it would be like to stand inside a 75-foot laser cathedral, to jam to DJs on a grass lawn, to experience a 16-foot tall animated owl communicating in film quotes, and to let loose during a meditative dance party. This is OPUS: the boundary-breaking festival that invites families to explore and indulge in discovery. For one night only, OPUS will bring together 25 groundbreaking artists and musicians from all over the world, merging art, music and technology for an enchanting evening in the forest. In addition, OPUS will feature a culinary village with some of the DMV’s best food trucks + restaurants featuring glow in the dark cotton candy by Fluffness and gelato from Dolci Gelati.
Harbor Harvest Children’s Festival
Where: Inner Harbor’s Rash Field | Baltimore, MD
When: Sunday, 10am – 4pm
The 11th annual Harbor Harvest fall family festival is returning to the Inner Harbor’s Rash Field. The free event will feature a petting zoo, hay maze, face painting and more — without having to leave the Waterfront. Guests can also enjoy a variety of food trucks and live interactive musical experience by The Uncle Devin Show and the Sons of Pirates. New this year, the event is extended two hours for an extra dose of fun!
Used Bike Sale
Where: Bike and Roll DC | National Mall, DC & Alexandria, VA
When: Sunday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but plan to buy!
Bike and Roll DC’s famous annual bike sale is back! Each year they sell inventory from their expertly maintained fleet bikes to the public, and the prices cannot be beat. This year they are selling Trek Verve 3 Comfort Hybrids in a variety of sizes, beginning at $220 + tax. (New models retail for close to $699.99.) The sale will take place at both the National Mall and Alexandria Waterfront locations. Arrive early because they often sell out!
Where: Frederick Douglass National Historic Site | Anacostia, DC
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Join the National Park Service as they continue to celebrate 200 years of the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass, the “Lion of Anacostia,” as they host their annual Community Day at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. This year will feature hands-on activities, games, local exhibitors, and live entertainment. Make ice cream with a churner, learn how to drill like a Civil War soldier, play outdoor and board games, make a craft, tour Frederick Douglass’s historic house, and check in with local organizations who serve our community. Fun for the whole family!
***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* DCSchoolHub is hosting its annual Preschool and Private School Fair next Sunday, October 21.
* Tiny Chefs offers parties, classes, and camp for kids who are keen on cooking!
* Throughout October, the National Gallery of Art is hosting Sketching is Seeing, a celebration of drawing with sketchbooks available at Info Desks and special programming for all ages.
* Goldstar is always great to check out for deals on local entertainment and events.
* This is so great.