Category Archives: DC

The Weekend Round-Up: February 15-18

Huntley Meadows park is a great place to savor a bit of sunshine

Happy President’s Day Weekend!

Art Investigators
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: Free

Drop in for the museum’s wonderful program for children ages 4-7. Art Investigators introduces kids to art and encourages them to make observations and use their imaginations as they discover different works. During this weekend’s sessions, they’ll explore works of Alma Thomas. Read a KFDC review of the program from the early KFDC years (it’s old, but still relevant, as the program is very much the same, although the name has changed). Sessions are at 10:30, 11:30, and 12:30 on Saturday and Monday, and at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 on Sunday. Sign-in takes place in the East Building Atrium, starting at 10am on Saturday and Monday and 11am on Sunday.

Discover Engineering Family Day
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Join a fun-filled day designed to introduce kids ages 4-12 to the wonder of engineering and the importance of technological literacy. The event attracts thousands of people and kicks off DiscoverE Engineers Week activities in the national capital area. Meet professional engineers of all kinds. And try out exciting, hands-on engineering experiences! Construct a building that can withstand high winds, design a motorized bot to walk across a table, mix slime and learn about different chemical reactions, meet an astronaut, create a zoetrope movie, cypher secret messages with coding, and much more!

Make Your Own Abe Hat
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday, various times
Admission: $15/adult, $6/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under

In honor of President’s Day, President Lincoln’s Cottage is offering an opportunity for children and their families to answer the question, “What do you do with a chance?” As President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln took many chances in the hopes of unifying the country. At times, Lincoln felt his ideas were just out of his reach and worried that he might fail. With some courage and support, he developed his brave ideas by taking notes and keeping them safe in his signature stovepipe hat. Join an interactive program (45 minutes) on taking chances and create your own Lincoln hat to hold your brave ideas. Recommended for ages 4-9, but all are welcome! Register in advance.

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.

Washington Dollar Days
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: Throughout February, 10am – 3pm
Admission: $1

Practice frugality our founding father would approve of: Pay just $1 per person for any regular tour in February, the month of George Washington’s birth. Tudor Place is the only historic house museum in the District with family ties to Martha and George Washington. Highlights of the Washington Collection will be on display as part of all house tours. See it all for one “Washington dollar!” Tours begin hourly, and it’s recommended you book ahead.

HBD, Frederick Douglass!
Where: Frederick Douglass Historic Site | Anacostia, DC
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Park Service as they end the bicentennial year of Frederick Douglass’s birth and continue a celebration of the man, his legacy and his impact to the world. Enjoy a commemorative ceremony D.C. Prep Academy (1409 V Street, SE) from 1-2:30pm. Take a walking tour of the neighborhood surrounding Douglass Cedar Hill estate titled “Douglass Anacostia” and enjoy ranger led house tours on the quarter of every hour from 1-4pm. Registration required at the visitor center.

Black History Month Celebrations
Where: Around the DMV
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 where they’re all happening here.

Cool Hikes
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

It might be chilly, but it looks like there will be some sunshine after the snow this weekend, so get out and soak it up and get some exercise. Tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids.

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

* Journey Down Huckleberry Finn’s Big River at Adventure Theatre!
* She a Gem at the Kennedy Center is recommended for ages 12+
* Dicken’s Davy Copperfield is opening at Imagination Stage
* See Anatole: Mouse Magnifique at the Bethesda theatre, too
* It’s opening weekend for Rapunzel at The Puppet Co.
* And Snow Show is the featured Tiny Tots performance there on Sunday
* Catch a President’s Day concert as Rocknocerous plays at Jammin Java on Monday
* Take teens to see the stage adaptation of Once at Olney Theatre (look for discount tickets)
* The Virginia National Ballet performs Aladdin at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Friday – Sunday
Tickets: $39-139

In this adaptation of the best-selling novel by Rick Riordan, the Greek gods are real, and they’re ruining Percy Jackson’s life. As a son of Poseidon, Percy has newly discovered powers he can’t control, monsters on his trail, and is on an epic quest to find Zeus’s lightning bolt to prevent a war between the gods. Recommended for ages 8+.

BSO Music Box Concert
Where: AMP at Pike & Rose | North Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 10am & 11:30am
Admission: $12

Families can introduce little ones to classical music during the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s BSO Music Box concerts with a repertoire inspired by travel and discovery. These take place at Strathmore’s club-style venue, AMP at Pike & Rose. Concerts are recommended for children ages 6 months to 3 years.

President’s Day with a View
Where: Observation Deck at CEB Tower | Rosslyn, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $17.76/adult (with code), $11/age 5-13

Gaze out of floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a new perspective of DC. The 30+ story high space in Rosslyn offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramic vistas plus neat interactive and immerse experiences to enjoy them A perfect history lesson on President’s Day and they are offering a discount for the occasion — use the code PRESIDENTS for a reduced ticket rate of $17.76. Read more about the experience 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.

Annual Summer Camp Fair
Where: McLean High School | McLean, VA
When: Saturday, 3-5:30pm
Admission: Free

The Fairfax County Association for the Gifted is hosting its annual Summer Camp Fair on Saturday. Meet representatives from summer programs of all varieties, from adventure day camps to rigorous academic programs at prestigious campuses. Explore camps and programs for STEM, visual and performing arts, computer technology, environmental science, math enrichment, nature, science, sports, and leadership. Find the camp that is just right for your elementary, middle or high school student. All are welcome to attend this free event.

Saturday Morning with Rocknocerous

Where: Dangerously Delicious Pies | H Street NE, DC

When: Saturday, 11am – 12:30pm

Admission: $6.90

Catch a concert with local kids fave Rocknocerous! The band of three guys — Coach, Williebob, and Boogie Bennie — are celebrating their 10th year together with a brand new album. With the pending release of Plymouth Rockers, the band’s fifth record, Rocknoceros have hit their creative peak. The new batch of songs entertain and educate in equal measure, and you can groove along to them on Saturday morning! Doors open at 11am, and the show starts at 11:30am.

President’s Day Celebration
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: $5

Hours on President’s Day Weekend: Friday: 10 AM – 4PM, Saturday: 10 AM – 5 PM, Sunday: Noon – 5 PM, Monday: 10 AM – 5PM| Location: The Construction Zone in the Atrium at Port Discovery (located directly next door to the main Museum at 35 Market Place, Baltimore, MD 21202)
Admission is included in entry to The Construction Zone in the Atrium at Port Discovery, which is $5 per person for individuals two and over. Members and children under two enter for free.

Great Backyard Bird Count
Where: Kingman and Heritage Islands | Northeast DC
When: Sunday, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Join Living Classrooms for a local Great Backyard Bird Count! They’ll lead group monitoring sessions at Kingman Lake and the Main meadow, but you are also encouraged to conduct your own counts through out the islands. Binoculars and checklists will be available to borrow. Meet at the Bridge platform between Kingman and Heritage islands. Register in advance here.

Wild Love
Where: City Wildlife | Northeast DC
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

Take advantage of this rare occasion to visit City Wildlife, the animal rescue and rehabilitation center, as it’s the only time of the year they open their doors to the public. At the 5th Annual Valentine’s Day Open House, get a behind-the-scenes tour of the rehabilitation facility, enjoy some goodies, and get a gift for your Valentine. Free-will donations will be collected to ensure that the Center can help its animal patients.

Open Explore
Where: KID Museum | Bethesda, MD
When: Monday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $12 (includes one child, two adults)

School’s out, KID’s open with a special day of Open Explore activities and Maker Studio workshops! Drop in anytime for Open Explore, featuring unique hands-on learning experiences designed by our professional Maker Educators. Activities include: Stop-Motion Animation using the power of green screen technology, Coding Corner with KIBO robotics (designed for younger makers), Service Project involving knitting with textiles to create a blanket for those in-need, and much more!

Party at George’s Place
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Monday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $20/adult, $11/age 6-11, free/5 & under

Every Presidents Day weekend, George Washington’s former estate hosts special festivities in celebration of the first POTUS’ big day. Sample syrups, enjoy a musical to the President, and hear stories about his past birthday celebrations. Of course, take time to explore the grounds, mansion, and Education Center exhibits, including Be Washington, a great interactive experience that lets you step into his boots and make the tough decisions he faced. There will also be a special marching drill and dance demos along with ceremonial wreathlayings to honor Washington. Be prepared for a crowd — I can tell you from experience that a lot of folks show up to take advantage of the complimentary entry.

George Washington Birthday Parade
Where: Throughout Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: Monday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

Alexandria hosts the largest parade in the country celebrating George Washington’s birthday with marching bands, historic re-enactment troops, and more. Bundle up to watch the procession as it travels through Old Town. See the website for more info and route details.

The Great Indoors
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Word has it there is some snow on the way, so this go-to post listing over 100 suggestions for things to do inside — just about all of them tried and tested by yours truly and co. — will be a good one to keep in your back pocket. And if you’re looking specifically for places where kids can burn energy and be active, check out this round-up of Indoor Playgrounds.

* Just in time for wet and snowy weather on the way, this brand new post highlights seven stunning spaces in DC where you can hang out with kids.
* Imperfect Produce, a delivery service on a mission to reduce food waste by delivering “ugly” produce to people’s doorsteps, is launching in DC.
* Love this Wapo piece about how being a parent helped shape Nancy Pelosi as a politician.
* The National Geographic Museum will be closed through February 28 as installation of the Queens of Egypt exhibition, opening March 1, is underway.
* Russian Doll on Netflix — whoa! Don’t give up after one or two episodes thinking it’s just a Groundhog Day/Happy Death Day ripoff. I promise, you’ll be glad you stuck with it. (PS: Not for kids!)

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Seven Stunning Spaces in DC Where You Can Hang Out with Kids

The Kogod Courtyard, one of the prettiest indoor spots in the city

The inspiration for this post came from our visit to the National Postal Museum this past weekend. Even though we’ve been there countless times, as we were riding the escalator down to the main level, I still got that jolt of thrill mixed with delight when the vintage biplane came into view from the lofty, light-filled atrium below. And hanging out there as we made Valentines, I found myself looking up at the spectacular area around me as much as I did down at the cards I was working on.

There are some spaces that, no matter how many times you visit, take your breath away the moment you walk into them — and keep you enthralled while you’re there. Whether they awe with beautiful grand interiors, impress with unique architectural details, or amaze with eye-popping displays, the spaces themselves are as much a part of the allure of a place as the purpose of it and programs within. Even better, there are many of them around DC that make for fantastic outings with kids. Here are seven of those local stunners that should be on every parent’s radar.

National Building Museum Great Hall

It should come as no surprise that the museum dedicated to architecture and design boasts one of the most magnificent spaces in DC. The National Building Museum’s vast Great Hall is mostly an open space when it’s not hosting or being prepped for a big event or housing the annual Summer Block Party installation. This makes the gorgeous 75-foot tall marble Corinthian columns stand out even more. A fountain at the center adds to the mix, and is often a big draw for kids to toss in a coins. Four levels of galleries, classrooms, and offices surround it all, with striking archways lining the walkways of the first two. It’s a pretty spectacular place to go if you’re seeking an indoor place to hang out with kids. Soft pieces to build arches and giant Legos are often available for use if there’s a wait to get into the Building Zone, the play space for young children, and Firehook Bakery is right on premises for lunch or a snack. The exhibits are great to check out, too, especially PLAY WORK BUILD for kids. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Entry to the Great Hall is free, but admission to exhibits is $10/adult, $7/child (free for members).

Library of Congress Great Hall

Another Great Hall that induces dropped jaws is at the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. The magnificent architecture and stunning design alone will wow visitors young and old. You could spend a lot of time there gazing up at the ornate ceilings, reading inscriptions on walls, examining sculptures and paintings and even the beautiful floors, and just wandering around marveling at it all. There are interactives where you can get information about the significance, history, and artistry of the various features. And two very popular displays are a Giant Bible of Mainz and an original Gutenberg Bible. While there is a lot to explore in the Hall, you can’t really park yourselves there. For that, though, head to the Library’s Young Readers Center, a cozy area especially for kids full of books and occasionally crafts just for them. The Library of Congress is open Monday through Saturday, 8:30am – 4:30pm. Admission is free. Read more about it in this KFDC post.

The Kogod Courtyard

Connecting the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum, the Kogod Courtyard is practically a work of art itself. The roof, a wavy grid of steel and glass, not only lets in lovely light, it seems to undulate overhead, creating a breezy, mellow vibe. Small trees and one-inch deep water scrims bring the outdoors in a bit (kiddos also love stomping around in them). And on a nice day, the shadows cast on the wall from sun pouring through the canopy of windows above make for a gorgeous scene. The Kogod is a must-stop on any visit to the Penn Quarter museums. It’s also a great lunch spot — grab a bite at the cafe there, pick up food from another eatery nearby, or BYO indoor picnic. Of course, you can also just go to hang out and enjoy the vibe. Hours are 11:30am – 7pm. Admission is free. Read a little more about the Kogod Courtyard and its surrounding museums here and here.

The Tropics at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Walking into the jungle area of the U.S. Botanic Garden is like experiencing a whole new destination. The large atrium, full of lush tropical flora — elephant ear plants, lofty palm trees, and orchids among them — along with warm temps and humidity to simulate a real jungle environment, makes you feel like you’ve been transported to the rainforest. Natural light floods through windows above and around, and a stream of water flows beneath a foot bridge. You can wander around it all at ground level or head upstairs (elevator available, too) to the Canopy Walk, a 24-foot high path that runs along the perimeter, for a bird’s eye view of the green goodness below. There are also benches around if you just want to sit and savor it all. It’s a perfect place to go on a cold or rainy day — I like to say it’s kind of like cheating the weather gods — but, really, it’s pretty awesome to visit any day. Hours at the US Botanic Garden are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. This KFDC post has more about offerings at the USBG.

National Postal Museum Atrium

Part of what makes this space in the National Postal Museum so fantastic is the element of surprise. Located on the lower level of the Postal Square Building, you just don’t expect to see this gorgeous sunlit area with the propeller of a vintage airplane practically staring you down as you descend on the escalator to it. (I mean, it’s below ground in the middle of the building!) Needless to say, it’s an unexpected delight, especially the first time you see it, and it gets even better once you’re within. Four floors of office windows lead up to the glass-paneled roof, the sky visible beyond. Three old airmail planes hang above, and more modes of mail transport — mail truck, horse & buggy, train car, and the trailer of a semi — are showcased on the ground. And you can do more than gawk, as a couple of them even welcome guests on board. Once you’re done taking it all in, be sure to explore the rest of the museum with lots of interesting, interactive exhibits that appeal to all ages. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free. Read more about the National Postal Museum in this KFDC post.

Union Station

Even in DC’s bustling train station, you almost can’t help but be awestruck by the beautiful, opulent design of the Main Hall. The cavernous space in Union Station with soaring arched ceilings and gold-leaf patterns gets even busy travelers to stop and take it all in. There are a few kid-friendly places to get a bite to eat right next to that area. Even more restaurants and eateries, plus lots of stores for shopping are located throughout the rest of the station. While you can’t go out on the train platforms unless you’re a ticketed passenger, with 100,000 people passing through Union Station everyday, it can be fun to roam around amid the hubub or just hang out in the pretty space and people-watch. Hours for retail and restaurants vary — see the schedule here. Admission is free.

The Mansion on O Street

This one is quite different from the rest of the places mentioned here — and most places in DC, for that matter — but that’s a huge and wonderful part of its stun-factor. The decor of the Mansion on O Street consists entirely of secondhand treasures, and its four floors are filled, literally, floor to ceiling with all kinds of fabulous collectibles. You really have to see it to believe how much stuff is there. Books, art, musical instruments, housewares, clothing, and games are just some of the items you’ll find and can purchase — because all of it for sale! Even more interesting is that much of it is stored in themed rooms that also serve as quarters for guests at the Mansion, which is an inn as well as a museum and event space. Oh, and there are secret doors to search for, too, 70 of them! It all makes for one stunning space and super fun experience. Tours are available daily, starting at $25 for a self-guided secret doors hunt — book in advance online. Read more about the Mansion on O Street in this KFDC post and this one.

What’s your favorite stunning space in DC? Let us know in the comments!


Filed under All ages, DC, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 11-15

Scenic views + interactive exhibits at the Observation Deck at CEB Tower

Monday – Rise + Rhyme with Culture Queen at the Anthony Bowden YMCA (2021 14th St NW). Presented by Busboys & Poets, this is a special offsite addition to their weekly series that welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Admission is $5/child.

Tuesday – Make a day of it at the National Museum of American History, where you can catch a screening of Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and a sweet discount — tickets are just $5 on Tuesdays! While you’re there, stop by the Superhero’s exhibit complete with George Reeves’s Superman costume from Adventures of Superman and Halle Berry’s Storm costume from X-Men. And don’t miss The BatMobile from Tim Burton’s film “Batman” parked right outside the Warner Bros. Theater. Of course, the rest of the museum is always fantastic to explore — hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Wednesday – Join a class especially for preschoolers (ages 2-5) at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens, where they’ll explore a mansion room through make believe, art projects, and imaginative play. During this session of the three-part Treasure Quest-themed series, they’ll hunt for hidden gems and magnificent treasures that glitter and sparkle. 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 February 13, 20, and 27.

Thursday – Celebrate the day by making Nature Valentines at Brookside Nature Center. You’ll go on a short walk in search of nuts, sticks, and other natural items to decorate with, and then head inside and get to work. The program is from 10:30-11:30am, and admission is $6 — register in advance! For more activities that kids will love, see this post about Valentine’s Day-inspired fun around the DMV.

Friday – Get a bird’s eye view of the DC area from the Observation Deck at CEB Towers. The 30+ story high space in Rosslyn offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramic vistas plus neat interactive and immerse experiences to enjoy them even more. Hours are 10am – 8pm, and admission is $21/adult, $11/age 5-13, $16/seniors & military, free for children under 5 (they are $1 more at the box office). But if you’re an Arlington resident, admission is FREE!

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

DC Way is Offering February Break Soccer Camp!

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2019, Camp, DC, Indoor Play, Professional Service, Sponsored Post, Sports, Weekdays, Winter