The Weekend Round-Up:
February 22-24

Big Apple Circus brings entertainment under the Big Top

Happy Weekend!

Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Varies by show–see the website

The Atlas is kicking off its annual INTERSECTIONS festival that presents tons of fantastic performances in music, theatre, dance, film, and spoken word with several exhibitions especially for families. Most take place on Saturday, which is a Family Fun Day with free and ticketed shows for young audiences plus a Creation Station by Makeshift, where you can stop by to do a kid-friendly craft for a community art installation. On stage for kids: Shakespeare for the Young: Adventures in Arden, Wake Up, Brother Bear, a free show by Culture Queen, a couple of beat boxing dads, and more. These are just the most family-friendly shows — the whole line-up throughout the Festival is worth checking out by adults.

NSO Pops: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Thursday – Sunday
Admission: $34-149

Star Wars fans can get a cultural and pop culture fix all in one outing to the theatre. The National Symphony Orchestra presents John Williams’s iconic Oscar-nominated score from The Force Awakens — performed live along with the full feature film on screen.

Giant Panda Housewarming Party
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Zoo’s new visitor exhibit in the panda house is finished and the public is invited to experience it at a giant panda housewarming party! The day will be filled with fun activities for pandas and panda enthusiasts alike. Attend the ribbon cutting ceremony, enjoy special treats, talk with panda scientists and keepers, snag a giveaway (while they last), and be among the first visitors to check out the new exhibit in the panda house.

Big Apple Circus
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Through March 24
Tickets: $20-25 (look for a discount)

The Big Apple Circus is in town and celebrating its 41st season, featuring amazing stunts under the big top. Known for its one-ring, artistic, European-style, no seat is more than 50 feet from the performers. That’s perfect for viewing some first-ever feats for the Circus along with fan favorites. Hire wire acts, contortionists, bicycle acrobatics, hilarious clowns, and doggie dances are some of thrills and fun you can expect. Read a review of one of our past experiences at a Big Apple Circus show.

Mer-Magic Con
Where: The Freedom Center | Manassas, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $20-310

Mer-Magic Con is the Nation’s Capital Mermaid Convention. Programming includes content for every level of mermaid-enthusiast, from kids, to the curious, to the seasoned professional. Specialty speakers include celebrity mermaids, marine scientists, scuba experts, free-diving champions, filmmakers, photographers, authors, artists and business coaches. Through workshops, swims, photoshoots, and activities for the whole family, these specialists will introduce attendees to the rich underwater world of mermaiding, help increase the skills of hobbyists, and empower those who are pursuing mermaiding as a business to take their businesses to the next level. Sculpt your own ocean accessory, learn water safety fundamentals, discover scuba and freediving, model for aquatic photo shoots, audition to become a professional mermaid with the mid-Atlantic’s most popular water artists, peruse artisanal vendors, and enjoy a lavish and unforgettable evening Gala.

Kid Flicks One
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Catch a movie shorts screening at the museum! This compilation of short films featuring innovative animation from the New York International Children’s Film Festival. The lively international lineup of fun offers short films from Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. See the website for descriptions of all of them. Recommended for ages 4+.

Show Time
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

* Journey Down Huckleberry Finn’s Big River at Adventure Theatre!
* See theatre by kids for kids as Encore Stage & Studio presents Robin Hood
* She a Gem at the Kennedy Center is recommended for ages 12+
* Dicken’s Davy Copperfield on the Imagination Stage
* See Anatole: Mouse Magnifique at the Bethesda theatre, too
* Watch Rapunzel let down her hair at The Puppet Co.
* And Baby Bear’s Birthday is the featured Tiny Tots performance there on Saturday
* Catch a concert by the Okee Dokee Brothers at McLean Community Center on Saturday
* Take teens to see the stage adaptation of Once at Olney Theatre (look for discount tickets)

Meet Dr. King
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 9:30am & 11am
Admission: Free

Spend Saturday Morning at the National, the theatre’s free weekly series for kids, as they present this performance from Bright Star Theater. The story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of both triumph and tragedy. In this dramatic show, audiences come to see that the rights won during the American Civil Rights Movement came with a heavy price. Showtimes are 9:30am and 11a. Reserve free tickets in advance online to guarantee seats.

Black History Month Winter Walking Tour
Where: Woodlawn Manor Park | Sandy Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: $3-8

Take a guided tour of the grounds and buildings of Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park and discover the role enslaved labor played on this 19th century farm. Explore how the enslaved could have nature for escape and evasion while seeking freedom. This guided tour includes exterior space and a natural trail. Participants are recommended to dress to be in the elements. Best for ages 8+. Register in advance.

More Ways to Celebrate Black History
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

February is Black History Month, and there are events and activities throughout the DC area to celebrate it. Museum programs (including an entire museum!), special tours and exhibits, story time sessions, and more will be enlightening and fun for all ages. See a full round-up of them here.

Sensory Friendly Screening
Where: Regal Rockville Center Stadium | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Admission: $6.50

Catch a Sensory-Friendly Screening of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 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.

Shake Shack Rattle & Roll Sing-a-long
Where: Union Station | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Join a free, fun sing-along for children 0+ sponsored by Shake Shack. Enjoy live music and get ready to shake, rattle, and roll! In addition, receive $5 off any Shake Shack order of $15 or more with offer code BABYJAM any day, now through February 28. And join the event for another special food offer.

Maple Sugaring Days

Where: Brookside Nature Center | Wheaton, MD

When: Saturday & Sunday

Admission: $7

February is Maple Sugaring Month at Brookside Nature Center, and you can be a part of the maple sugaring process. Help collect the sap from trees, watch as its boiled down into sweet maple syrup, and enjoy a taste! This is the last weekend to take part in this program, and sessions fill up fast, so register now!

The Sandlot Screening
Where: Old Greenbelt Theatre | Greenbelt, MD
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Catch a free screening of an early 90’s classic. The Sandlot is a coming-of-age story about a group of young boys growing up in California in 1962. A new, shy boy moves into the neighborhood, where he is initially rejected by the local boys because he doesn’t know how to play baseball. Soon, he learns the sport and joins the group of boys who play ball in a local sandlot, and with his new friends, he has a variety of adventures.

Portrait Stories & Discoveries
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Michelle Obama, and complete a hands-on activity. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum (and the American Art Museum housed in the same building). For more about the program, see this post about a past experience and this one with more scenes and info.

Wizard School Scavenger Hunt
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: $17.50/ages 10-17, $19.50/adult

Join Watson Adventures on a unique Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt that kids and adults will love! Follow in the footsteps of young wizards on a field trip to the National Gallery in search of art that echoes characters, places and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies. The hunt is not an addition to or variation on Harry’s adventures, but instead references to the books will provide a surprising bridge to many strange and wonderful works of art. This hunt is designed for kids and adults to do together (but all-adult teams are allowed to compete separately) Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Read about this super fun adventure in this KFDC post.

Dance Your Socks Off
Where: River Park Nursery School | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 4-7:00pm
Admission: $40/family (+5 at door), $15/individual

River Park Nursery School’s annual Sock Hop is always a fun-filled, family-friendly event. Featuring entertainment by local musical celebrity Mr. Skip, food, games, and a silent auction, enjoy activities for all ages and an opportunity to support preschool education on Capitol Hill. And if you are interested in the school for your 3, 4, or 5 year old, the event is a great way to meet current and alumni families and get to know the wonderful teachers.

NSO Family Concert: Let’s Go to the Moon!
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Sunday
Tickets: $20

The unknown frontiers of the universe have captivated composers for centuries. As the 50th anniversary of the moon landing draws near, join the NSO for a fun-filled concert of interstellar proportions. Tap into your imagination and be transported from the Concert Hall to outer space. Recommended for ages 5+.

Laurie Berkner Band
Where: Gordon Center for Performing Arts | Owings Mills, MD
When: Sunday, 11am & 3pm
Tickets: $15/child, $25/adult advance; $20/child $30/adult at door

Children’s music fave Laurie Berkner is bringing her Greatest Hits Solo Tour to the DC area for two shows on Sunday. A true pioneer in children’s music, beloved by generations of children and parents for over twenty years, she’ll be playing well-loved hits like “Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)” and “We Are the Dinosaurs” along with newer songs. Kids should plan to bring their dancing shoes and a stuffed animal (for their heads). FYI: We took a toddler Owen to one of Laurie’s shows years ago, and it was a blast!

Nature Explorations, Inside & Out
Where: Rock Creek Park | Northwest DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Spend a day exploring at Rock Creek! Visit the Nature Center and catch a planetarium show on Saturday at 1pm and 4pm. If weather permits, hike from there to Peirce Mill, where you can check out its inner workings. Visit horses at the Horse Center (though pony rides are not offered this time of year). Or just wander along the trails in the woods and enjoy the nature around you.

Purim Mask Making
Where: Northeast Neighborhood Library | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 3-4pm
Admission: Free

Join Chabad Washington, DC, at the Northeast Neighborhood Library for some Pre-Purim fun! Make masks using all different mixed-media — fill and take home your own Mishloach Manot. Register in advance for this free event.

The Ins and Outs of DC
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

These go-to posts that are chock full of evergreen pursuits are always great to have on hand:
The Great Indoors
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

* Tuesday, February 26, is Family Night at Finding Neverland, and tickets are buy one get one free with code PAN1.
* Also on Tuesday, Moms Demand Action-DC is hosting a happy hour fundraiser at Roofers Union from 6-8pm to benefit the TraRon Center, which provides art therapy, counseling, and community engagement for children who are survivors of gun violence in DC. Tickets are $50.
* In case you haven’t heard, the Newseum is closing its amazing location at the end of 2019 (the new site is still TBD), so go enjoy it while you can — and get an admission discount here.
* I loved this game as a kid, and love playing with my kids now.
* This psychological thriller is an absorbing, suspenseful page turner.
* Broad City nailed it, as usual. (And for the record, I love Bruce.)

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