Category Archives: Nature

Scenes from a Kayaking Adventure on the Potomac

Starting our adventure from Fletcher’s Cove


Before the kids left for a few weeks of sleep away camp, I made sure to get in some quality time and fun adventures with them here. It was the first week they were both on summer break from school, so I thought it would be fun to do something that felt quintessentially summer. For me, paddling is one of those activities. Not only is it outdoors and on the water, it’s an activity I automatically associate with the season because my early paddling experiences were at summer camp when I was a kid.

Thus, we decided to go kayaking and began our adventure at Fletcher’s Boathouse, where Boating in DC has one of many locations to rent kayaks, canoes, standup paddleboards, and rowboats. Located off of Canal Road, the C&O Canal and Towpath run right by, so it’s a popular stop for people enjoying outdoor recreation. Concessions are available and there’s seating areas and a nice big field for hanging out.

The stretch of the Potomac River near Fletcher’s is pretty and peaceful, and if you paddle toward Georgetown, the Washington Monument eventually comes into view. Along the way, there are wildlife sightings like birds and turtles and we’ve even seen deer in the woods. On this jaunt, we saw a hawk, great blue heron, ducks, egrets, and several turtles basking in the sun (but would plop in the water as we came near).

Sasha and I shared a double kayak, and Owen paddled on his own. Their early paddling experiences were more of a relaxing boat ride for them, while Levi and I did all of rowing. But both of the kids are pretty strong paddlers now; in fact, Sasha picked canoeing as one of her activities at camp and has really been enjoying it. So next time we hit local waters (which will be soon, as they return this weekend 🤗), canoes it is!

You can read more about Fletcher’s Boathouse here. For more about going with the flow on local waters, this post has all the info you need. The photos below also offer a glimpse.







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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Nature, Outdoor, Sports, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Bike the Anacostia River Trail to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (to see the big bloom!)

On the way to see the bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens


I always make a point of going to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this time of year to see the lotus flowers and water lilies in bloom. It’s absolutely stunning, and definitely my favorite of all the big blooms in the area (yep, I even love it more than the cherry blossoms). As I’ve noted before, that partly has to do with its location in Northeast DC, next to a residential neighborhood and not far from 295. You just don’t expect a fairyland of a park full of ponds covered in lily pads and with gorgeous white and pink flowers sprouting from them to be there.

This year, I decided to bike to KAG for the bloom. It’s not too far from where we live, about a five-mile ride from our house on Capitol Hill, and the Anacostia River Trail leads right to it. I’d never ridden on that stretch of the bike path, and it turned out to be a nice little jaunt. Owen and Sasha are away at camp for a couple of weeks, so this was a solo adventure, but I know they would enjoy it, too. I’d also recommend the ride for younger kids who are comfortable biking several miles at a time (accompanied by adults, of course).

The ride mapped out

The first stretch of the ride

I caught the trail at Benning Road, just past RFK Stadium, then rode along the Anacostia River for a scenic mile or so. That section ends at Lee Street, then you ride on the street for a bit until signs lead you back onto the trail that runs through the Mayfair and Eastland Gardens neighborhoods.

Following the path through a residential area

The turn into the Aquatic Gardens area

Another mile or so on that, and you come to the area of the trail that leads to the Aquatic Gardens. The paved path lined by black-eyed Susans (Maryland’s state flower, for a bit of trivia) and other wildflowers traverses a meadow before winding into the woods, the KAG marshland visible through breaks in the trees.

The trail flanked by wildflowers

There are a few small areas with benches where you can stop and take in the sights. I saw several great blue herons wading, turtles swimming, and what looked like many cardinals flying by. It’s lovely and peaceful, though the trail is somewhat isolated so be sure to stay aware of your surroundings.

Into the woods

Stop and sit for a bit

A heron sighting

Of course, this ride can be done anytime you want to visit Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. The locale makes for a nice outing all year round, it’s just especially pretty now during the bloom. However, it does get hot and buggy during the summer, so a water bottle, hat, sunscreen, and insect repellant are recommended!


After crossing a couple of small bridges, there is a dirt path to the right that leads to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens entrance. Sign posts are at the trailhead so you can’t miss it. From there, it’s less than a quarter mile to the bike racks. Lock up, make your way to the ponds, and be ready to be dazzled.

A first look at the bloom

For more about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, see this post. For more about the lotus flower and water lily bloom, see this one. And note that the annual festival celebrating them will take place July 13-14 this year, and it’s a fantastic event for families. In the meantime, here are more scenes from the ride and bloom — I can’t let photos that capture the beauty of it all go to waste!

From here to there and there to here…


Lotus flower close-up


Stop and take in the marsh views along the way


The plants from another perspective


Pinks!


A lily pad laden pond


Another view from below


A lotus beginning to open


Taking it all in from a footbridge


A pretty and peaceful part of the Anacostia River Trail



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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Nature, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Fun Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day Around the DMV

We’re getting ready to celebrate this doting dad


It’s a special day for the dads this coming weekend, and there are a bunch of great ways for the whole fam to celebrate if you’re still looking for ideas. From made-for-the-day events to DIY pursuits, this round-up has something to suit them all. Happy Father’s Day!

May the Force (& Nats) Be with Dad
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: June 15 & 16
Admission: Ticket prices vary

For Dads who are Nats fans and Star Wars enthusiasts, take them out to the ball game for an early celebration on Saturday when Nationals Park transforms into a galaxy far, far away for Star Wars Day. Characters from Star Wars will pose for photos with fans, stage live combats, and participate in the Presidents Race. Plus, there will be an Obi “Sean” Kenobi bobblehead for the first 10,000 fans. You can also plan to spend actual Father’s Day, Sunday, at the ball park as the Nats play the Arizona Diamondbacks. There won’t be any galactic extras, but straight-up baseball is always a good time.

Father’s Day at Mount Vernon
Where: Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens | Mount Vernon, VA
When: June 15-16, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $20/adult, $12/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under

Spend the day with the Father of our Country! This coming weekend, guests can enjoy a meet-and-greet and photo ops with “General Washington” as well as a special “Father to the First Family” program. You can also celebrate with a special meal at the Mount Vernon Inn. Relax in the sunken garden or restaurant and enjoy a variety of barbecued items.

Free in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring
When: June 16
Admission: Starts at $42, Dads are FREE!

For adventurous dads who love the outdoors, particularly being in the trees, an afternoon in the aerial adventure forest of the Adventure Park at Sandy Springs is the perfect way to spend the day — especially when admission is on them. Get dad’s ticket free when accompanied by a paid climber using the promo code DADS19. (FYI: This is one of our very favorite adventures in the area — read more about it here.)

Jazz it Up
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: June 15-16
Admission: Free

Does dad dig jazz music? DC JazzFest lands at The Wharf on Father’s Day Weekend for two days of world class jazz, music education, beer and wine gardens, and a diverse marketplace experience. Enjoy free concerts on District and Transit Piers starting at 2pm or make a weekend of it with VIP festival passes. On Friday, June 14 and Saturday June 15, the festival also includes ticketed shows at the Anthem — catch Snarky Puppy and Jose James on Friday or Jon Batiste & Stay Human on Saturday. Even more jazz performances will be presented at other venues around DC, see the schedule on the DC JazzFest website.

Soccer Festival
Where: Tyler Elementary School | Capitol Hill, DC
When: June 16, 3-5pm
Admission: Free

Kick it with DC Way on Father’s Day — the goal of this festival is to gather parents and children to play soccer, socialize, and have fun! Festival programs will include multiple games and activities, kids vs. parents games, and obstacle courses. Plus, participants will also get a special gift.

Take Dad Out to the Minors
Where: Prince George’s Stadium | Bowie, MD
When: Father’s Day Weekend
Admission: Starts at $10

The Nats aren’t the only team in town for some Father’s Day baseball. The Bowie Baysox, one of the local minor league teams, are hosting the Trenton Thunder all weekend, and there’s extra fun and special promos to enjoy — post-game fireworks, a Stranger Things-themed game on Saturday, and giveaways among them. On Sunday, take Dad to the ballpark early, collect a Baysox beer glass, and bring a glove and baseball to play catch with Dad on the Baysox field before the game! There’s also a Father’s Day Grill Event to if you want to add a special meal to the fun.

Father’s Day Fish-a- Rama
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: June 16
Admission: $8/child, $10/adult

Treat Dad to a fun-filled weekend with BBQ and catch-and-release fishing. Guests can compete in the Fish-a-Rama contest, fishing for catfish, bass, and blue gill in the stocked ponds, and prizes are on the line for the largest fish hooked and the most fish caught during the power hour. Bring your own pole and gear to fish (no drag hooks). GCF has worms for purchase in the country store. The amusement continues on the five-acre farm-style playground featuring the Giant Jumping Pillow, Triple Threat slide, corn bin, animal barnyard and loads more fun for all.

Investigation: Detective McDevitt
Where: Begins at Ford’s Theater | Downtown DC
When: Father’s Day Weekend
Admission: $18

This walking tour of downtown DC will appeal to dads who like history and intrigue… On the night of April 14, 1865, Detective James McDevitt was on duty at the Washington Metropolitan Police headquarters, a half-block from Ford’s Theatre. Just before 10:30pm, frantic witnesses rushed in with horrifying news: President Lincoln had been shot at the theatre. Join Detective McDevitt as he revisits the sites and reexamines the clues from the investigation into the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy. Part of “History on Foot,” the tour makes eight stops around the downtown area. It does not include entrance into Ford’s Theatre, but you can do that separately — read more about that here. Recommended for ages 8+.

Family Scavenger Hunt Adventure
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: June 16, 2pm
Admission: $19.50/adult, $17.50/child

For dads who love some sleuthing (a penchant for Harry Potter helps, too), the next Wizard School Scavenger Hunt by Watson Adventures happens to fall on Father’s Day. The fun, unique activity for families has you on a mission competing against other teams to find art that echoes characters, places, and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies, with the help of clever Harry Potter-themed clues. And while the website says it’s for ages 10 and up, kids younger than that definitely can partake, too! This KFDC post has more about this awesome adventure.

BBQ & Bowl
Where: Pinstripes | Georgetown, DC
When: June 16, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $40/adult, $15/child, free/5 & under

Treat dad to a special barbeque brunch buffet this Father’s Day! Pinstripes’ grand brunch buffet usually includes made-to-order omelets, bottomless mimosas, a waffle bar, carved prime rib, fresh seafood, salad bar, and a chocolate fountain and delectable dessert station. Plus, they grill summer favorites like BBQ ribs, Italian sausage, pesto. Be sure to reserve a lane for some bowling or bocce after your meal!

Women’s World Cup Watch
Where: Wheaton Sports Pavilion | Wheaton, MD
When: June 16, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Varies

Join Montgomery Parks’ for free a watch party and open house during the FIFA Women’s World Cup match between USA and Chile. Doors open at 11:30am with kick-off slated for 12pm. The powerhouse matchup will be shown on a blow-up big-screen in a family-friendly atmosphere. Food trucks will be on-site offering refreshments for purchase. This WaPo article has suggestions for even more places to watch the big fútbol tourney, some of them family-friendly.

Brunch Time
Where: Around the DMV
When: June 16
Admission: Cost of your meal

You can’t really go wrong with a good meal, and there are a bunch of places around DC to enjoy an especially great one for the big day. This round-up from Bitches Who Brunch has some suggestions that will satisfy all food cravings. I particularly like the All Purpose idea… you can have a meal, then let the kids play in the sprays of the in-ground fountain around the corner.

Walk in the Woods
Where: Around the DMV
When: All the time
Admission: Varies by locale

Celebrate the day and dad on the trail! Tramp in places with scenic views, walk and explore history at interesting locales, try to spot wild cretaures, and enjoy a day of active fun. Bring along a picnic for lunch al fresco, too. This go-to KFDC post has a bunch of recommendations for good places to hit the trail with kids.

Go With the Flow
Where: Around the DMV
Admission: Varies by locale

Spend quality time with the man of the hour on the water, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and pontoons. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, and you can also row from the Ballpark Boathouse next to Yards Park. Quiet Waters Park showcases beautiful nature in Annapolis that you can view from the South River. Bladensburg Waterfront Park also has vessels for rent along with pontoon boat tours on weekends from 5-5:45 ($2-3). See this round-up for even more places to put in and flow.

Disc Golfin’
Where: Parks Around the DMV
When: Father’s Day weekend (or anytime)
Admission: Varies by locale (usually free)

Celebrate the day by hitting the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to enjoy a day outdoors with the family. We’ve enjoyed outings at Calvert Road Park in College Park, Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, and Burke Lake Park. Not only is it fun and challenging, the courses are set up in pretty parks with opportunities for more recreation at all of them. Bring along a picnic for lunch in the fresh air, too.

A Grand Feast
Where: Crab houses around the area
When: June 16 (or any day)
Admission: Cost of the meal

Steamed crabs, cold beer, scenic views… that’s a recipe for a great Father’s Day for at least one dad I know. The 2019 Summer Guide has several suggestions on where to feast on Maryland’s best dish. I recommend making reservations if possible — this is always a popular way to celebrate.

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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Special Event, Sports, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

Get Ready for a Summer of Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap!


Across a meadow, over a bridge, down a path, through the woods, and beneath the trees, lives a small but mighty theater that plays host to some of the best and brightest children’s artists from all over the world.

Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, tucked behind the famous Filene Center and situated in Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, is Northern Virginia’s premier children’s performing arts venue. Whether it’s epic storytelling, eye-popping puppetry, or engaging music and dance, every show is designed to ignite a lifelong love for the performing arts.

This summer, from June 18 – August 3, children of all ages and their families can go to Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods to enjoy a performance from local, national, and even internationally-inspired artists. There is a performance every Tuesday – Saturday at 10:30am, and concertgoers are encouraged to stay after the show, have a picnic, and enjoy free games and activities.

And after select performances at Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, children can experience a free interactive workshop with the artist or enjoy outdoor activities with a National Park Ranger and earn their Junior Ranger Badge! Performances with post-show activities can be found here, and are indicated by special icons.

The 2019 Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods season kicks off June 18 with a crowd favorite: David Engel, with Willy Wonka’s Wondershow! Other highlights include inspirational hip-hop artist SaulPaul, yoga-themed performer Kira Willey, nationally-acclaimed artist and Wolf Trap regular Falu, and many more. Check out the full calendar for the rest of summer lineup.

Hope to see you in the woods!


This post is sponsored by Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Live Entertainment, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend