Category Archives: All ages

“District Shabbat for Tots” Coming to Southwest

For more than a century, Washington’s Jewish community thrived in the heart of the city. Since 1995, however, there hasn’t been a Jewish synagogue in Southwest. For Jewish families in this part of the District, this meant traveling to other areas engage in Jewish life.
That’s about to change.

On Friday, October 19, Washington Hebrew Congregation (WHC) will debut District Shabbat for Tots, an amazingly joyful and musical Shabbat experience right at the Southwest Waterfront at 555 Water Street.

Q: What is District Shabbat for Tots?
A: Much more than a Shabbat service, this is a full-blown Shabbat “experience” for families with young children. It’s led by WHC’s clergy and internationally acclaimed folk-rock musicians Dan Nichols and Alan Goodis who bring some new and exciting features to Reform Judaism’s Friday night service.

Q: Who is it for?
A: Short answer: Families! The service is geared toward toddlers through kindergartners (and their favorite grown-ups) — and it’s open to the whole community at no cost. You do not need to be a WHC member to attend!

Q: What can I expect?
A: Come at 5:30 pm on Friday, October 19 for a fun, engaging, musical Shabbat service that’s perfect for the little ones — and will get you on your feet too. The service lasts about a half-hour (a time-frame that’s also perfect for the little ones!), and it’s followed by a free family-friendly dinner catered by CAVA (RSVP required), so both tummies and hearts will be full at the end of your evening.

Q: Where is it?
A: St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church – 555 Water Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 — right across the street from Arena Stage. Looking for public transportation options? In addition to Metro’s Green Line Waterfront stop and the M-74 bus, which stops one block from St. Augustine’s, check out the free Wharf shuttle from L’Enfant Plaza and the Circulator’s SW Waterfront Route that runs from Eastern Market to L’Enfant Plaza.

Q: How do we sign up?
A: You can RSVP for the October 19 District Shabbat for Tots here.

Q: I have a night without the kiddos, is there something with more “adult” appeal?
A: Yes! Come for “District Shabbat.” It starts at 6:15 pm with a “Shot of Torah,” where drinks and appetizers are the opening to a spirited discussion with WHC’s dynamic rabbis about the week’s Torah portion. That’s followed by a high-energy service at 7:00 pm, led by the rabbis and musicians Dan Nichols and Alan Goodis.

You can also make it a complete night and sign up for one of their optional dinners:
Community Dinner — Catered by Mediterranean favorite CAVA, it’s $18 and held right at St. Augustine’s.

    – The Rabbi’s Table – This prix fixe dinner WHC’s Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig at the Wharf’s Canopy by Hilton is $50 and limited to just 20 people.
    – If you can’t stay for dinner, that’s fine too! There’s no charge for Shot of Torah and the service, but you need to RSVP either way.

Q: We can’t make it on October 19th. Will District Shabbat and District Shabbat for Tots be held another time?
A: Both District Shabbat and District Shabbat for Tots will be held monthly on the third Friday of the month at St. Augustine’s. Want to see the complete calendar, learn more, or RSVP? Click here.

This post is sponsored by Washington Hebrew Congregation, however, I only promote programs, services, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Preschoolers, Sponsored Post, Toddlers

The Weekend Round-Up: October 12-14

Celebrate Capitol Hill Day at several iconic DC destinations!

Spooky SPY Family Night
Where: International Spy Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Friday, 6-9pm
Admission: $15

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
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Free

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.

Art Safari
Where: The Torpedo Factory | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Free

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.

New Nature
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
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Free

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
Admission: $6.50

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.

Show Time
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.

Wicked Fun
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
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Free

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!

OPUS Merriweather
Where: Merriweather-Post Pavilion | Columbia, MD
When: Saturday, 5-11pm
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Free

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!

Community Day
Where: Frederick Douglass National Historic Site | Anacostia, DC
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

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!

* 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.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Fall, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend

Scenes from a Visit to the Dumbarton Oaks Garden

Recently, when I put together the round-up of 10 Great Places to to Enjoy Autumn in the DC Area (that are not Farm Festivals), I realized that it had been a little while since we’d been to some of those spots — many since last fall, go figure. One of them was the garden at Dumbarton Oaks, the beautiful grounds of the historic estate in Georgetown that is now a museum and research library.

Part of the reason we hadn’t been there in so long was because the garden was closed all last spring and half of summer while it was undergoing renovations. The other parts were the weather, which seemed to be either too hot or too rainy for what felt like forever, and the hours (2-6pm Tuesday – Sunday), which are hard to fit into our schedule.

Every path leads somewhere lovely

But last weekend we found ourselves with a wide open afternoon on a gorgeous early fall day, so Sasha and I headed across town to enjoy the botanical oasis and some quality time together. As with all our visits there, we just wandered and picked our paths as we went. A couple of new sightings this time: 1) A bunny! 2) A woman picking a pear off a tree and eating it right there. (For the record, I don’t think that’s actually allowed, so don’t go picking and eating fruit and saying you heard it was cool on KFDC!)

I’ve written about the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks a couple of times before, so you can click here and here for more insight. You can also get an idea of just how lovely it is in the images below.

Dumbarton Oaks Gardens
Where: Georgetown, DC
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 2-6pm (2-5pm November 1 – March 14)
Admission: $10/adult, $5/child | FREE November thru mid-March

Checking out a “natural” sculpture on the south lawn


A lovely place to wander

Pan, mid-dab

Pears are ripe (but not for the picking!)

A peek in the Arbor Terrace

Who else hearts elephant ears?

Light & shadows in a vine covered walkway

Cherry Hill glows with pink blossoms come spring

Teepee-like sculptures decorate this expanse

The Catalogue House contains images that depict recent renovations

Cartwheels on the Ellipse

Lots of monarch sightings — it’s time for their migration to Mexico

My favorite, the Pebble Garden

A view from above

And another…

Pomegranates (again, no picking!)

An extra pop of color


Check out this bonehead 😉

The north lawn is a great spot for slo-mo videos of kids running (if you get those requests, too)

Quod Severis Metes – As you sow, so shall you reap

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Nature, Outdoor, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 8-12

Explore a viking ship at The Wharf!

Monday – Take a tour of the Draken Harald Hårfagre, the world’s largest Norwegian Viking ship, that will be docked at The Wharf through October 15 as part of its Expedition America. You’ll be guided around the deck and offered a look at a day-in-the-life of the crew and the historic craftsmanship used to build it. Admission is $12/adult, $6/child, $30/family — look for a deal before you go. Timed entry tours start at 10:30am and are offered every 30 minutes until 7pm. And they only take about 20-25 minutes, so plan to hang out longer at The Wharf — there is even more for all ages to enjoy there!

Tuesday – Go for a walk in the woods and explore the grounds of Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, MD. The home of the Audubon Naturalist Society is perfect for hiking with little ones. The trails are mellow, there are several small exhibits like bird feeding areas, and wildlife sightings are practically guaranteed. Open dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Join a class especially for preschoolers (ages 2-5) at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens, where they discover a world of adventure through make believe, art projects, and imaginative play. During this three-session Spectacular Statues-themed series, look for animals and other fanciful creatures in the sculptures throughout the gardens. The whole series is $30 per child with one accompanying adult ($25 member; $18 additional adults), or you can pay $12 per class ($10/members). Classes are 10:30-11:15am on October 10, 17, and 24.

Thursday – Play, learn, and discover at the National Museum of American History. Take little ones to Wegmans Wonderplace, the activity center designed especially for ages 0-6 years old — it’s full of fun and interesting features that cater to curious young visitors. If you’re with older kids, go to the Spark!Lab right next door. Of course, the rest of the museum is great to explore, too! Hours at Wegmans Wonderplace and Spark!Lab are 10am – 4pm, and free admission is on a first come, first served basis. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm.

Friday – Embrace the season at a fall festival! Weekdays are a great time to go, when crowds thin out, and admission prices are often lower. Take a hayride, pick out a pumpkin, PYO apples, jump and slide, visit farm animals, and lots more. This post has details on farms around the area offering seasonal fun.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Fall, Maryland, Virginia, Weekdays