Category Archives: Free

A Monumental Reopening on the National Mall

I think my cheesy title of this post says it all: The Washington Monument is reopening after being closed more than three years for renovations and repairs. Along with a new security screening facility, updates to the elevator system have been made as well.

On September 19, 2019, at 9am, the Washington Monument will once again welcome visitors. From opening day to October 18, same-day, free tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30am at the Washington Monument Lodge, located on 15th Street NW, between Madison Drive NW and Jefferson Drive SW.

Starting on October 10 at 10am, advance reservation tickets may be ordered online for tour dates beginning on October 19, 2019 with a nominal processing fee. Same-day, free tickets will also be available on a first-come, first-served basis daily.

At 555 feet, the Washington Monument is the tallest structure in the District. Construction of the memorial to President George Washington began in 1848, but was suspended in 1854 due to lack of funds and the Civil War. It resumed in 1877, and you can actually see where it began again as the stone changes color about a third of the way up. The obelisk was completed in 1884 and started welcoming the public in 1888.

A visit there is really interesting and offers more than great views of the city. You ride an elevator up to the top (and back down), where you can take in vistas in every direction from small windows. Along the way, you can see the interior walls of the Monument and the many commemorative stones from states and cities embedded in them. There’s also a room just a few steps down from the windows at the top with a variety of exhibits about the Monument. Watch a video of what to expect here.

The Washington Monument will be open daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free, though tickets are required, and there will be a small fee for tickets reserved online in advance.

Put it on your DC Must Do list!

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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Educational, Free, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: September 9-13

This week is the last chance to experience “Infinite Space” at ARTECHOUSE

Monday – Check out The REACH, the brand new expansion of arts at the Kennedy Center. The Opening Festival runs through September 22 with all kinds of programs for all ages, including classes and workshops for children and their families by Arts on the Horizon. At Stories on the Horizon: Storybook Adventures (10am & 11am), watch your little one grow and explore in this storybook-inspired class, where music, movement, and puppets will be used to bring stories to life! Best for ages 9 months to 2.5 years. At 2:30pm, take an active role in shaping Arts on the Horizon’s newest show, Off the Page. Families can participate in a series of interactive activities designed to explore how children ages 3-6 want to engage with various objects, images, and stories related to the play’s themes. All programs are free. (And note that there is even more going on every day throughout the festival!)

Tuesday – Hit the playground at Wheaton Regional Park. Two levels of slides, climbing nets, monkey bars, swings, and more fun features will appeal to all ages and abilities. Pack lunch to eat at nearby picnic tables under the lofty trees. Take a ride on the miniature train and carousel if they’re operating. The park is open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.

Wednesday – Head to the Hirshhorn for their weekly STORYTIME program for little ones. During this session, they’ll read the story A Day With No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch. Following the story, participants will create their own artwork using unusual materials.. This takes place 10-11am. Admission is free.

Thursday – Explore and play, indoors and out, at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington. Hike the short trails and let the kids romp on the playground. Then visit the nature center where you can see turtles, snakes, and other creatures and learn about the area’s natural environment. Hours are 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is free.

Friday – Visit Infinite Space at ARTECHOUSE before it closes — the last day for the exhibit is September 15. Six immersive digital art installations will delight and amaze, and some will make you feel like you’re floating in, well, infinite space. Family-friendly hours are 10am -5pm. Admission is $16/adult, $8/age 2+.


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

The 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival is this Saturday!

I have to admit, this one snuck up on me! But if you’re going to be in town this holiday weekend and have some bookworms in your crew, plan for one of DC’s biggest, most anticipated annual events on Saturday: The 19th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival!

Book enthusiasts young and old come from all over for the day of reading-related activities. Works by more than 100 authors, poets, and illustrators will be showcased, and the creators themselves will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for special appearances. It’s always a wonderful event, and I highly recommend going if you can.

All genres are represented on stages throughout the festival — Children, Teens, Contemporary Life, Thrillers & Fantasy, Fiction, History & Biography, Poetry & Prose, Graphic Novels — where readings, presentations, book signings, photo ops with writers (and costumed PBS characters), and more exciting experiences for guests will take place. And a Book Sales area gives guests an opportunity to purchase selected reads — and possibly have them signed by the authors.

Browse the books for sale (and maybe have it signed, too!)

If your kids love books, chances are an author of one of their favorite stories will be there. Jon Scieszka, Holly Black, Jon Klassen, Ngozi Ukazu, Adam Rubin, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. are just a few of them. Young readers will also be able to enjoy an array of fun and exciting activities on the Expo Floor, from the Parade of States where they can learn about each state’s literary heritage and collect a stamp to story times to poetry slams to activities from the soon-to-open Planet Word Museum, and much more.

Of course, there’s bound to be an author — or several — that parents will be excited about, too. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chef José Andrés, David Brooks, Raina Telgemeier, David McCullough, and Michael Beschloss will be featured on the Main Stage. And acclaimed writers Barbara Kingsolver, Joyce Carol Oates, Sigrid Nunez, Richard Powers, and Rebecca Makkai are among the many that will also be presenting.

Have a look for yourself at the complete list and start planning your National Book Festival experience. Most presentations are first come, first served — and people do line up early to get seats, so plan accordingly.

Booking it to last year’s Festival 🙂

The 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival
Where: Walter E. Washington Convention Center | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, August 31, 9am – 8pm
Admission: FREE

* Download the Festival App to help you make the most of the event.

* Information on getting there and parking is available here.

* You can read about one of our past visits when it was still held on the National Mall — including an interview with Magic Treehouse author Mary Pope Osborne! — here.

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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Special Event, Summer, Weekend

Music, Baseball, and More at the National Postal Museum this Weekend

In celebration of the Smithsonian Year of Music (and in sync with baseball season), the National Postal Museum is hosting Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Music and Song at American Baseball Stadiums. This Saturday, August 24, from 3-4:30pm, the public is invited to join the museum for a discussion about music in baseball along with a concert of classic baseball tunes.

The event will feature a panel presentation that explores the intersection of music and baseball. Discussion will include the early origins of organ music in the sport, the instruments used and popularity over time at stadiums, and the ways in which organ music, and music in general, have become inextricably linked with the experience of attending a baseball game. The panel will also explore the fascinating history of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” a song so significant it was memorialized on a stamp in 2008 to commemorate its 100th anniversary.

Following the panel, there will also be a live concert of classic baseball songs performed by Josh Kantor, organist for the Boston Red Sox.

Presenters and discussants will include:
– Daniel Piazza, Head Curator at the National Postal Museum and curator of the upcoming NPM exhibition “Baseball: America’s Homerun”
– Josh Kantor, Organist for Boston Red Sox home games at Fenway Park
– Matthew W. Mihalka, Instructor of Musicology at the University of Arkansas
– Andy Strasberg, former marketer for the San Diego Padres and co-author of Baseball’s Greatest Hit: The Story of Take Me Out to the Ball Game

All ages are welcome! And plan for time to enjoy the National Postal Museum, too — it’s fantastic for families. Read more about it in this KFDC post.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Music & Song at Baseball Stadiums
Where: National Postal Museum | 2 Massachusetts Ave NE, WDC
When: Saturday, August 24, 3-4:30pm
Admission: Free

This post is sponsored by the National Postal Museum, however, I only promote programs, events, and places that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Educational, Free, Museums, Music, Special Event, Weekend