Category Archives: Indoor Play

Hang out on the LAWN in the National Building Museum


The National Building Museum’s annual Summer Block Party installation just opened, and it’s one to put on your seasonal To Do list. LAWN transforms the Great Hall into an inviting, expansive green space that encourages recreation and relaxation — whatever your preference — with an aesthetic and activities that evoke a feeling of summer.

Designed by the LAB at Rockwell Group, the studio that built the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit upstairs, LAWN is a sloping, stretch of “grass” (it’s a soy-based, recyclable product) adorned with elements for visitors to enjoy. Adirondack chairs and blankets offer seating. Corn hole and croquet mallets and soft balls welcome play. The gentle hill is fun to run up or roll down. Hammocks invite guests to lay back and relax…and listen to stories of summer.

The hammocks are equipped with speakers above them playing audio of famous people talking about summer experiences. You can listen to Jose Andres, Whoopi Goldberg, Venus Williams, and many more celebrated folks share their memories. It kind of feels like you’re chilling out with a friend on a lazy day, listening to them relay a story.

There are more speakers placed around the exhibit that play sounds of the season — crickets chirping, a thunderstorm, birds calling. A stand at the bottom of the hill sells summer treats, lemonade and ice cream and cookies. And the museum’s fountain is incorporated into the exhibit in an interesting way, reminding me of an inflatable swimming pool in the backyard.

You can get a bird’s eye view of the whole scene from a three-story scaffolding tower at the top of the hill. Walk in and climb the stairs to a platform to watch the action below and get new perspectives of the stunning Great Hall.

There will be special programming like movie night, yoga sessions, and late nights, so be sure to check the calendar to see what’s coming up. And DC residents should be aware of Ward Days, when they can visit LAWN with complimentary admission from 9โ€“11am when the ward they live in is invited: July 23 is Wards 7 and 8, July 30 is Wards 2 and 6, August 6 is Wards 3 and 4, and August 13 is Wards 1 and 5.

Plan a day to play and relax on the LAWN. It’s one that kids of all ages (including us really big kids ๐Ÿ˜‰) will enjoy.

LAWN
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $16/adult, $13/age 3-17, $10/AARP & Blue Star, FREE/members

* Museum members get free admission, so this is a good time to consider a Family Membership


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Exhibit, Indoor Play, Museums, Seasonal, Special Event, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

The National Postal Museum Welcomes All Aboard for a Train Day Celebration!


Train tracks connecting the coasts of the U.S. allowed the Post Office Department to quickly move mail across the entire country. And over time, trains have played an important role in keeping our nation connected. The National Postal Museum recognizes this every May with an event to commemorate the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. This year is extra special as the museum is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad along with the U.S. Postal Service’s new “Golden Spike” stamp!

โ€‹The annual Train Day Celebration will take place this Saturday, May 11, from 10am to 3pm. The museum has all kinds of fun and educational activities planned for all ages, providing opportunities to learn, engage, and play. And it’s all free and open to the public!



Here’s some of what you can enjoy at the celebration:

Model Train Railroad Displays
Enjoy the magical, miniature world of model railroads running throughout the museum thanks to the Rappahannock Model Railroaders; the Washington, Virginia & Maryland Garden Railway Society; and the Northern Virginia NTRAK.

Railway Post Office (RPO) Training School
The tiniest RPO clerks (ages 2-5, up to 45 pounds) can ride on a toy steam train and collect mailbags in between stations. Older kids can learn all about the specialized jargon that was used by RPO clerks and become a certified Junior RPO Lingo Expert.

โ€œMeetโ€ Owney the Dog
Owney was a scruffy mutt who rode with the mailbags on RPO train cars across the country in the late 19th century. The RPO clerks adopted Owney as their unofficial mascot and good luck charm since no train Owney rode was ever in a wreck. โ€œMeetโ€ Owney and hear all about his adventures.

Train Whistles
Crack the secret code of the railroad crews as you learn to communicate by train whistle. After you master the skill, take a train-shaped whistle home with you.

Railway Post Office (RPO) Sorting Challenge
Do you have what it takes to be an RPO mail clerk? Board an authentic train car and see if you can sort the mail before time runs out!

Story Time
Join a special train-themed story time about trains and the brave and perseverant Chinese railroad workers who made the Transcontinental Railroad possible.

Chug on over and join the fun!

Train Day Celebration
Where: National Postal Musuem | 2 Massachusetts Ave NE, WDC
Location: Across from Union Station (Metro Red Line)
When: Saturday, May 11 | 10am – 3pm
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, Annual, DC, Educational, Free, Indoor Play, Museums, Special Event, Spring, Weekend

Super, Awesome, & Amazing Fun at The St. James

Conquering the climbs in the Super, Awesome, & Amazing active entertainment center


If you’re on social media at all, by now you’ve likely seen some kind of advertisement for The St. James. I know they’ve been popping up in my feeds since the sports, wellness, and entertainment facility opened in Springfield, VA, last fall. At that time I thought it was just a huge health and fitness center that would be a nice gym option for people who lived nearby it. Had I realized it was an enormous complex with an active entertainment center, indoor waterpark, sports opportunities galore, even a spa, we definitely would have checked it out awhile ago. But it wasn’t until recently that I became aware of all it had to offer, though once I did, I made a plan to go.

Ready for fun!

On a day off from school back in March, I took Sasha and a few friends for a first visit. It was still winter, during a stretch of cold and rainy weather, and from everything I’d read about the Super, Awesome, & Amazing activity center and interactive waterpark, it seemed like a perfect place to take the fun, adventurous crew of girls.

So many options…

Our first glimpse of the The St. James as we arrived was one of awe. I knew it would be big, but didn’t know just how massive. Once we were inside and started to see more of it, we understood why. After being greeted by the front desk and getting directions to our destination, we made our way there, passing by a humongous gymnasium with at least three full-size basketball courts and a full-scale indoor soccer pitch. (These are only open to members and participants of sports leagues and camps. Later on, we also saw squash courts, Olympic sized swimming pools, batting cages, and an ice rink… they cover the sporting gamut.)

A peek at the hoops

A view from above of the active entertainment

But back to the Super, Awesome, & Amazing activity center. When we got to that area, the girls took one look at the 30,000 square foot space below filled with all kinds of climbing structures, trampolines, and obstacle courses, and could barely contain their excitement. We registered for a one-hour session and bought the special socks they were required wear, then headed downstairs to get the fun started.

Taking the high road

American Ninja Warrior training

Bouncing blurs

They donned harnesses and clipped onto wires to climb, rappel, and navigate walkways 20 feet above the ground. They bounced, flipped, and executed acrobatic moves. They swung from bars and on large platforms and crawled in tunnels to maneuver through obstacle courses. Essentially, they had a blast conquering the different elements around the space and enjoying some active fun. We might have overstayed our session a bit, but no one said anything about it.

Scaling the glass wall

Tunnels and more mazes to navigate

All of that activity worked up appetites, so we headed to Vim & Victor, the restaurant/cafe (yes, there’s one in the complex) for some fuel. You can sit down for table service, or opt for something quick from a cafe line and take it to eat at a high top table or comfy seating area.

Grab an easy bite at the cafe

After lunch we made our way to the aquatics area, where there is a whole interactive waterpark that the public is welcome to enjoy. (There are a couple of pools in that area, too, but for members only.) The waterpark isn’t huge, but it’s pretty impressive for the contained space with plenty of features for a really fun time.

Ready to make a splash!

They loved the slides

There are several slides some with tunnels, a big bucket that dumps water, sprays and splash elements all around, and “bridges” to access the different areas, and of course shallow pools that the slides lead into. There’s a locker room right outside, where the kids were able to change, and the St. James provides towels, which is convenient.

Emerging after a spin in the tunnel

Lots of prays and splash features

Benches are right outside the glass doors and walls of the waterpark, so parents can sit and watch (or read a book or bring a laptop and get some work done — the WiFi works well). Of course, adults can enjoy the water fun, too. Oh, a quick mention about ages… we saw kids from toddler age to early teens enjoying both the waterpark and active area. Obviously, the little ones need to be supervised at all times, but there are features that they can enjoy, too. There are height restrictions for a few climbing structures and the tunnel slides in the waterpark, but children of all ages are welcome.

Always a good rule



Needless to say, it was a pretty great day off from school for Sasha and her friends. Because the cost can add up, this isn’t something we’ll make a frequent thing, but it’s definitely an outing to keep in mind for special splurges. And speaking of cost, admission to the active entertainment area and waterpark are $15/hour each (so $30 total) Monday – Thursday before 3pm. After 3pm and on Friday & Saturday, they are $23/hour. Certifikid currently has a deal on passes for $17. KFDC Tip: I saw that The St. James is offering a Free Day Pass right now, good for a one-time visit, Mondays-Fridays, from 9am -9pm through May 31, 2019, and it gets you access to a lot of different areas.

VR games are also available (though not included with admission)

Of course, you could also consider membership options to The St. James. A friend of mine had signed her son up for a hockey league there and ended up getting a membership, so her family could use the facilities while he was at practices. She’s had all good things to say so far, which isn’t surprising. It’s a pretty incredible place.

Spa! Something for next time… ๐Ÿ™‚

The St. James is located at 6805 Industrial Road in Springfield, VA. Hours for the Active Entertainment Center and Interactive Waterpark are 9am – 9pm Monday – Thursday and 9am – 10pm Friday & Saturday.


This post is NOT sponsored, nor was I invited by The St. James to visit. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Indoor Play, Ongoing, Sports, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Giveaway: Enter to Win a Family 4-Pack of Passes to Awesome Con!


As mentioned last week, Awesome Con, the convention celebrating pop culture and geekdom, is coming to DC this weekend, April 26-28. For three days at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, there will be an amazing assortment of engaging events, comic books, collectibles, toys, games, original art, cosplay, and more, with something for all ages, including a while Awesome Con Jr. area with programming especially for kids.

Even better, I have a Family 4-Pack of passes up for grabs for one lucky KFDC reader and crew ($190 value), good to attend Awesome Con all weekend. Of course, you can go ahead and guarantee yourselves tickets by purchasing online, too.

* * * * *

Giveaway: For a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of passes (2 adult, 2 kids) to attend Awesome Con this weekend, April 26-28, 2019, simply leave a comment below letting me know what your family is most excited for at the event. Get a second chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too! This giveaway will run through Wednesday, April 24 2019, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


This post is sponsored by Awesome Con, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Giveaway, Indoor Play, Special Event, Spring, Ticket Giveaway, Weekend