Category Archives: Museums

Make Your Own Holiday Cards at the National Postal Museum’s Annual Workshop!


Looking for a unique, fun, and meaningful way to bond with your family this holiday season? The National Postal Museum’s Annual Holiday Card Workshop is a perfect opportunity for just that! Visitors of all ages can enjoy the free, open-house event that will be held on Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8, 10am – 4pm.

The museum’s card making workshops are a KFDC favorite, and I highly recommend going if you haven’t yet been to one — or even if you have. They provide a beautiful, bountiful spread of patterned papers, postage and rubber stamps, gems and other 3-D embellishments, special cut-out scissors, washi tape, stickers, markers of every color and more. Guests can follow their own creative instincts, choosing whichever supplies they would like to design one-of-a-kind greetings for any holiday, or even just a wintery “Hello!”


The workshop takes place in the Postal Museum’s lower-level Atrium, which is full of various postal mail transports from over the years, including a real train car, semi-truck (that kids can climb in and pretend to drive), a horse-drawn carriage, and airplanes hanging from the ceiling. It’s quite a stunning space! And thanks to Smithsonian Gardens, the Atrium will be decked out in festive foliage to help get everyone in the holiday spirit.

The layout of the card-making stations and supply tables encourages sharing, friendliness, and a sense of community. We always enjoy meeting and chatting with our table mates, and the fun, creative vibe always has everyone in a good mood. The museum’s pleasant staff and volunteers are also available to answer questions, provide examples of completed cards, or help in any other way.

For many, a handmade gesture can mean much more to a friend or a loved one than a store-bought gift. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than taking the time to express your love and gratitude with a heartfelt greeting?

*As a special treat this year, the U.S. Postal Service’s Operation Santa will be featured at the event. Each year, hundreds of thousands of letters sent to Santa from children and families arrive at Post Offices around the country. Most letters ask for toys and games. Some ask for basic necessities. Some ask for help for themselves and their loved ones. USPS Operation Santa makes it possible for individuals and organizations to adopt these letters and send responses and thoughtful gifts in Santa’s place.

Annual Holiday Card Workshop
Where: National Postal Museum | 2 Massachusetts Ave NE, WDC
When: December 7-8, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free


This post is sponsored by Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, however, I only promote events, places, and programs that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, Art, Christmas, DC, Free, Holidays, Museums, Seasonal, Special Event, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up:
November 8-11

The bonsai exhibit at the National Arboretum is always a delight


Happy Weekend!

Nao Santa María Ship
Where: The Wharf – Market Pier | Southwest DC
When: Through November 17, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $10/adult, $5/child, $25/family (up to 5)

Take a trip back in time with The Wharf! Board the historic Santa María, a faithful replica of the Spanish galleons used in the time of Columbus, docking at Market Pier from through Sunday, November 17. Learn the fascinating history of these ocean crossing vessels. Built in Spain in the tradition of the nao ships of the 16th century, the vessel weighs 200 tons and is nearly 100 feet long. Tours will be conducted daily, and discounts are available for school groups and families. 

2019 Southern Montgomery County Preschool Fair
Where: Wheaton Library & Rec Center | Wheaton, MD
When: Friday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Attend this preschool fair for a one-stop shop to meet a wide range of school representatives, learn about curriculum and tuition, schedule tours, and more. The preschool fair is a free event and open to the community. Kids are always welcome.

Food History Weekend
Where: National Museum of American History | National Mall, DC
When: Friday & Saturday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

With cooking demonstrations, hands-on learning, dynamic conversations, museum collections, and beer history, there’s something for everyone at the fifth annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend: Power Through Food. A special focus will be on migrant and refugee women and organizations this year, exploring how their food-related enterprises are helping create sustainable livelihoods and stronger communities. Enjoy free daytime activities for visitors of all ages, including a kids table, marketplace, book signings, curators’ corner, and more.

The Arctic Refuge Experience
Where: AutoShop | Northeast DC
When: Through Monday
Admission: $10

Experience a year in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at this one-of-a-kind art installation powered by a mix of breathtaking film, 4D technology, and immersive sensations. Prepare to be awed by America’s last great wilderness and get up close and personal with herds of caribou, arctic foxes, migratory birds, and polar bears. With over 66 million pixels of projected video, 20 channels of sound, custom scents, atmospheric elements, and tactile sensations, you’ll be transported to the Arctic Refuge without ever leaving Washington, DC.

New To You Sale
Where: Lake Anne Nursery Kindergarten | Reston, VA
When: Saturday, 7:30am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Stock up for the kids at the biggest children’s yard sale in Reston! There will be thousands of items for babies & children available at unbeatable low prices, including high chairs, clothes from newborn up to size 10, bikes, strollers, kitchen sets, doll houses, trains, toys for all ages, children’s furniture, books, DVDs, and much more. Families in the Lake Anne Nursery Kindergarten community donate a wide variety of gently used items, you don’t want to miss out! All remaining items will be 50% off from 12-1pm. Cash, credit cards and checks all accepted.

Kids’ Market & Seasonal Sale
Where: Hollin Hall | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 8am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Hosted by Fort Hunt Preschool, at this annual market find gently-used, high-quality children’s clothing, shoes, toys, books, furniture, decor, maternity wear, and more — all donated by the families of Fort Hunt Preschool. 

Autumn Bonsai
Where: U.S. National Arboretum | Northeast DC
When: Through Monday
Admission: Free

Take your little people to see the little trees in their brilliant autumnal colors before the leaves fall away to reveal bare winter silhouettes. See red maples, yellow ginkgos, fruited trees, and more in the Bonsai Museum located within the National Arboretum — it’s a fantastic exhibition. Be sure to tour the big trees around the rest of the Arb while you’re there, too. It’s easily one of the best places in the city to do some leaf peeping. Get a glimpse in these scenes from a visits there last fall.

Christmas Bazaar & Thrift Shop
Where: St. Jane de Chantal | Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 9am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Shop “local” with more than 35 vendors at this 14th Annual Christmas Bazaar. Huge thrift shop, bake sale, and raffles, plus free pictures with Santa! This is sponsored by HSA for benefit of St. Jane de Chantal School located at 9525 Old Georgetown Rd.

The Jungle Book
Where: Creative Cauldron | Falls Church, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $14 through TodayTix

Creative Cauldron presents a musical adaptation of one of the most well-loved books in the English language. Danger lurks everywhere for young Mowgli as he learns the “laws of the jungle” from his friends Akela, the wolf, Baloo, the bear, and Bagheera, the panther, who warn him that Shere Khan, the tiger, wants to eat him. But when Mowgli is forced to leave his friends and return to the village from which he came, he soon learns that man is the most dangerous creature of all. With sensitive themes about loyalty, honor, courage, and persistence, the “Jungle Book” stories have an irresistible appeal for audiences of every generation.

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

* Reserve free tickets the The Uncle Devin Show, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* Dutch theater company Maas brings EGG-tion HERO to the Kennedy Center
* Let Newsies entertain you at Arena Stage
* The Kidz Bop tour is stopping at DAR Constitution Hall on Sunday
* It’s opening weekend for Singin’ in the Rain at Olney Theatre
* Little theatre-goers will love Inside Out at Imagination Stage
* Join InterAct Story Theatre for an exciting morning of rhythms, dances, and songs representing a variety of cultures across Africa.
* No lie, Pinocchio is at The Puppet Co.
* And Baby Bear’s Birthday is the featured Tiny Tots show there on Sunday
* Jason Didner & the Jungle Gym are playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin Java
* Source Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors is recommended for tweens and up.
* Enjoy a performance of Amadeus at The Folger

Kids Euro Festival
Where: Around DC
When: Through Sunday
Admission: Free

This weekend is the last to enjoy free artistic adventures of the European variety, thanks to the annual Kids Euro Festival. Musicians, storytellers, dancers, and puppeteers are just a few of the many, many exciting acts that are performing at a variety of venues through Sunday. See what’s on the schedule over the next few days.

The Miraculous Magical Balloon
Where: Synetic Theater | Crystal City, VA
When: Saturday, 12pm
Admission: Free for kids, adults pay what you will

The Miraculous Magical Balloon tells a wonderful story of a traveling actor and his magical trunk of tricks and toys. This family-friendly show is open to everyone! Children get in free and parents are welcome to “pay what you will.” Celebrate joy and imagination with Synetic Theater at this community event! Be sure to get tickets in advance.

Trash to Treasure Green Craft Fair
Where: Watkins Nature Center | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Do some eco-friendly shopping while the kids have fun at this special event featuring vendors selling items made from recycled, organic, or sustainable materials. Along with local artists selling their handmade wares, there will crafts for kids and food for sale. Of course, plan to stay and play at Watkins — read about all there is to do there!

The Emporiyum
Where: Union Market Dock 5 | Northeast, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Tickets start at $15 (find discounts)

Meet, eat, and shop at this two-day market and celebration of everything delicious. Over 95 artisans, producers, chefs, and restaurants showcase their wares, works, and culinary creations. It’s a chance to meet the people behind the brands, taste and learn about their products, and shop for unique edible gifts.

Kidz Graffiti Party
Where: Art Jamz | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Sunday, 12:30-2pm & 2-3:30pm
Admission: $15

Get messy like a street artist at an Art Jamz Kidz Graffiti Party! Children of all ages are invited to paint their very own masterpieces on the ArtJamz walls. The lounge will be open for accompanying parents and we they’ll be playing jamming tunes to inspire all the little artist. Afterwards, your family can purchase additional studio time and canvas and let your vision come to life off the wall.

Tour the Memorials
Where: National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Observe Veterans Day by visiting the sites that honor those who have served. Make the rounds on the Mall at your leisure or attend a special ceremony — one will take place at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 1pm, and the World War II Memorial and the Korean War Memorial are easy walks from there.

National Veterans Day Ceremony
Where: Arlington National Cemetery | Arlington, VA
When: Monday, 11am
Admission: Free

The National Veterans Day Ceremony begins at 11am with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. A prelude by the United States Air Force Band starts in the amphitheater at 10:30am. Free and open to the public, attendees are encouraged to get there by 9:30am. Read more about Arlington National Cemetery in this post about a KFDC experience there.

Mount Vernon Salutes Veterans
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Monday, 9am – 4pm
Admission: Free/military; $20/adult, $12/child, free/under 5

Special activities at George Washington’s former estate include a wreath laying ceremony, a concert by the Harmony Heritage Singers or the United States Air Force Strings before greeting General and Lady Washington. Throughout the day, write a thank you letter to an active duty service member in the Vaughan Lobby. Honored guests are also invited to place a flower at Washington’s Tomb. (Above admission fees are for online; prices are slightly higher on site.)

Free Parking
Where: National Parks around the DMV (and nation)
When: Monday
Admission: FREE

It’s the last fee free day of the year for national parks, which means there’s no entrance fee where they usually charge to get in. Take advantage of complimentary admission and hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, take a ride on Skyline Drive to see the mountains covered in autumn colors, visit Harpers Ferry, or see the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry.

Skaters Gonna Skate
Where: Local ice skating rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

Want to glide under the sky? Many outdoor ice skating rinks are welcoming guests to skate the day away. This post has details on all of them (indoor venues, too), including bonus activities while you’re there.

Awesome Autumn Ideas
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The fall festival season is winding down, but there are plenty of other fantastic ways to enjoy the season around the area. This KFDC post lists 10 great places to for fall adventures.

DC, Inside & Out

Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend

Admission: Varies by adventure


Want even more options for fun things to do with the kids around the area? If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

The Great Indoors

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* One more event to consider for the weekend that might interest many adults.
* Get a glimpse of the new National Children’s Museum opening soon!
* Also opening this winter, The Lane in Ivy City is one to keep on your radar.
* Learn about Fig & Wally, an online service for creating invitations and gift wishlists, and enter a couple of giveaways to win some cool prizes!
* Join Nibble and Squeak DC at A Rake’s Progress for a festive and autumnal “Tykesgiving” feast on November 16!
* The PSAA Snowpass Program is a great ski opportunity for 4th and 5th graders!
* Primary, the children’s clothing brand that parents and kids adore, is having a 25% off sale right now!
* Ready to order holiday cards? Take advantage of this great deal!


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

A Sneak Peek at the New National Children’s Museum

[Note: This post was written by new KFDC contributor Emily Moise, who attended the National Children’s Museum Family Celebration with her daughter for a first look at what’s to come this winter.]

The wait continues for a much-needed and overdue children’s museum in the nation’s capital — but it will be well worth it. Originally slated as the grand opening celebration, this past Saturday’s Family Celebration at the National Children’s Museum was instead a sneak peek at the learning disguised as amusement park-like fun that will be made available to the public this holiday season.

Hundreds were dazzled with modernized, interactive STEAM exhibits in what is positioned as the first children’s museum-slash-science center. Believe it or not, Washington, DC, with its plentitude of museums and culture, is the only major city without either.

The National Children’s Museum is making up for lost time with new-age ideas and social impact-focused goals — plus tons of creative play spaces for even the littlest ones. Kids can learn physics through Nationals-branded pitching and batting exhibits, explore the technology of filmmaking with SpongeBob, and discover their superpower with the Climate Action Heroes roadmap.

The pièce de résistance may be the miniature car race track that teaches kids principles of design and engineering with high-speed excitement. After tweaking and adorning their wooden cars, kids watch as a mechanical lift raises their vehicles to the starting line. Ready, set, go… cars race down the track, lights flashing, and the most aerodynamic one wins. Overhead a screen shows detailed stats from the races. Barring a long waiting line, kids can experience the cycle of design, test, re-design.

There is also a Tinkerers Studio, set up like a 21st century classroom, which will be home to school and group field trips, as well as workshops and unguided open studio hours. Equipped with everything from colored paper for art projects to laptops for creative coding projects, the Studio will allow kids to combine the tools of STEAM to create and learn. Notably, teachers from Title I public and charter schools in Washington, DC can request free field trips, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

And all of this was just the lower concourse level. The main level will boast the Dream Machine entryway, a two-story slide that transports visitors to the wonderland of exhibits, a playzone, café, and gift shop. There appears to be much work left to be done to make all of this visitor-ready, but workshops are already being listed online for early December, which are free with general admission. (Admission will be $10.95 for children over the age of one and adults, and membership packages are expected to range from $75 to $150.)

Due to the Nationals’ World Series parade coinciding with the Family Celebration, another similar sneak peek day may be offered prior to opening. Stay tuned to the National Children’s Museum website for updates on the opening, events, workshops, and more!


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Filed under 2019, 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Indoor Play, Museums, Weekdays, Weekend

Mission: Explore the New Spy Museum at L’Enfant Plaza

You never know who’s watching at the International Spy Museum


The International Spy Museum was pretty stealth about the transition to its new location at L’Enfant Plaza. The former venue in Penn Quarter closed at the start of 2019, then seemingly while we weren’t watching… poof! The beautiful, new building was complete and welcoming visitors in July.

Between summer travels then the start of school and a busy fall schedule, we didn’t make it there to check it out until a recent day off from school. But when we finally did visit, it made for a fun and, of course, intriguing outing for Sasha, her friend, and I for a few hours.

The new Spy Museum is much like the old one in that it showcases the fascinating world of espionage, and visitors discover it all on an “undercover mission.” What’s new and different is the breadth of the exhibits that extend to present times and generally cover much more. Not only is the state-of-the-art space twice as big as the old one, there are many more displays, multimedia installations, and interactives that are engaging for a wide range of ages.

Get a secret agent identity

Learn about spies from past times

Apparently, not all vodkas are what they seem…

Once you get your secret identity and watch a short video about being a secret agent, the museum is open to tour on your own throughout the 4th and 5th floors of the building. It starts on the 5th with “Stealing Secrets,” “Making Sense of Secrets,” and “Covert Operations.” There are large installations featuring several spies during different points in history. Exhibitions focus on tools of the trade and what it takes to be a good spy. Some of the updates include exhibits about the capture of Osama Bin Laden, a comparison of Kennedy and Krushchev, and stories about World War II operations. All of them include interactive elements that enhance the exhibits and let visitors put their spy skills to use.

Create a disguise

Craft secret messages

Be part of Operation Neptune Spear, the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden

On the 4th floor, exhibitions include “Spying that Shaped History” and “Uncertain World.” The former illustrates the impact of intelligence on history through a variety of exhibits including some that recreate spy locales from the past, a theater highlighting films about espionage, and underground operations to escape East Berlin. The latter explores modern responses to threats, from interrogation to surveillance, and how they should be handled. A whole exhibit about cyber security is part of this, including an “infinity room” reminded us all of Artechouse.

Watching vintage hidden camera footage (and videoing it on an iPhone)

Infinite cyber

Some of this might sound sophisticated for young museum-goers, but it’s presented in a way that makes it interesting for them with interactive elements like cracking codes, creating digital disguises, games that test their knowledge, and experiences that put them spy situations. And, yes, they still can crawl through the air duct!

They air duct never gets old

The museum is recommended for ages 9 and up, but I saw children even younger enjoying the hands-on activities with the help of parents. When you go, be sure to exit via the stairway, not the elevator. With glass walls, the atrium-like space offers fantastic views and makes for nice photo ops.



The International Spy Museum is located at L’Enfant Plaza, just south of the Smithsonian Castle, in Southwest DC. Metro is probably the easitest way to get there — the L’Enfant Plaza stop is on the Blue, Orange, Yellow, and Green lines. Hours are 10am – 6pm daily. Admission is $24.95/age 13+, $14.95/7-12, free for ages 6 and under. You can save $2 on adult admission when you purchase online.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Museums, Weekdays, Weekend