Category Archives: Play

Where to Play on the Weekdays: April 30 – May 4

Kids love the animal encounters at Oxon Hill Farm

Monday – Play the day away at Clemyjontri. The brilliantly colored, sprawling playground in McLean, VA, accommodates kids of all abilities with all kinds of climbing structures, swings, and other apparatuses that encourage activity and imagination. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.

Tuesday – Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first regularly scheduled airmail flights at the National Postal Museum! Join them for the launch of a new exhibition, Postmen of the Skies, and special activities, including a first-day-of-issue ceremony for two new stamps at 11am. Kids can also enjoy a scavenger hunt and air mail themed board games. Admission is free!

Wednesday – Spend the nice day at The Wharf in Southwest DC. The in-ground fountain will keep kids cool on the 80+ degree day, plus there are scoot toys, swinging benches, and more fun they’ll enjoy. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many eateries there (Shake Shack, Taylor Gourmet, and Dolcezza Gelato are good pick with kids). And be sure to stroll all around to take in the pretty waterfront views.

Thursday – Visit the animals, roam the lovely grounds, check out exhibits of old farm machinery and local history, and enjoy activities in the Visitors Center at Oxon Hill Farm near National Harbor in Maryland. Hours are 8am – 4:30pm, and admission is free.

Friday – Spend the day at Flower Mart, the annual spring festival presented by the All Hallow’s Guild of the National Cathedral. Don’t let the name fool ya — along with plant sales and floral and horticultural displays, there is tons of fun for all ages. Music and entertainment, games and rides, tasty foods, the All Hallows Guild antique carousel, and other activities will delight the younger set. Admission is free, though concessions and some activities will cost a fee. Read about one of our experiences at the fair. (KFDC tip: The Beauvoir Playground will be open to the public that day since The Cathedral School is closed, so take advantage of weekday play there!) And May the 4th be with you. 🙂

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Filed under 2018, All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Park, Play, Special Event, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays

Badlands Play Space Offers Mountains of Indoor Adventures

Having go-to places for indoor recreation is essential, in my opinion. And when one offers everything from active play to creative explorations to learning experiences to relaxation, you definitely want it among your picks.

This is Badlands Play Space. The brand new facility in Rockville, MD, is a one-stop shop for adventures that take place inside. Nature-inspired and full of interactive pursuits for children 2-13 years old, it’s a place where kids can exercise both their bodies and minds in a variety of ways.

Designed to look like the outdoors, a mountain of faux boulders and “grassy” hillside are the centerpiece of the space with a green turf-covered floor. This is where kids can be active. They can climb up rocks to the peak or ascend using ropes, then whiz down slides. They can run up slopes, then roll down them or slide through a tunnel. Little spelunkers can crawl through a cave and emerge on the opposite side.

A path made to look like a dusty trail loops the mountain, and when we visited, a few kids were giving each other rides in a double wagon they fashioned together in the building area (more on that below). Real birch trees line a section of the path, with another small play area on the other side. Guests can walk across a footbridge, hop among tree stumps, and balance on “fallen” tree branches. A little rock garden adds to the outdoor aesthetic.

Beyond the mountain is the Workshop, a spacious room filled with all kinds of stations for creative and constructive activities. Kids can craft parachutes to fly in a wind tunnel, build marble runs, mold clay, play in a giant bin of LEGOs, and design with a variety of materials supplied. Staff are there to help and encourage innovation. And a nature film playing on one wall offers inspiration, too.

Right on the other side of a glass wall from the Workshop is the exhibit area, which will change out periodically. Right now it’s a lovely butterfly garden filled with plants and flowers, chrysalises on view, and, of course, butterflies.

There is also a building room where kids can do even more tinkering. There are wooden parts that fit together, crates to stack, and other materials to create everything from forts to those double wagons. And right next to that room is a theater with comfy seating and a large screen, where kids can chill out as educational programming is shown.

They keep accompanying adults in mind, too! A cafe is located right next to the mountain, so parents and caregivers can hang out while they watch the children play. It’s also convenient for a snack break or lunch.

Badlands isn’t just a destination for everyday play, it’s also a place for special celebrations. There are four fantastic, spacious pavilions available for parties, and they’ll take care of everything from the food to decor to leading the kids in play. For further information about birthdays email [email protected]

Ready to play the day away? Badlands is located at 5200 Randolph Road in Rockville, MD. Admission is $22.50/child and $12.50/toddler per day, and they offer memberships and monthly rates which make for big discounts! Hours are 9am – 6pm Tuesday through Sunday.

Disclosure: Badlands hosted us for a play session, so we could experience the play space, however, all opinions expressed here and any decisions to write a review are entirely my own.

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Filed under Eats, Educational, Indoor Play, Maryland, Ongoing, Party, Play, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: May 8-12

Hains Point has play options for all ages

Hains Point has play options for all ages


Monday – Hang out at Hains Point! Play, picnic, and enjoy the surrounding scenery at locale where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers converge. Head all the way down, almost to the tip of the park, to reach the playgrounds. They’re set amid a large grassy area with picnic tables and restrooms right there, too. And the spot offers great views of the rivers and airplanes taking off and landing at DCA. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Visit the animals, roam the lovely grounds, check out exhibits of old farm machinery and local history, and enjoy activities in the Visitors Center at Oxon Hill Farm in Maryland. Hours are 8am – 4:30pm, and admission is free.

Wednesday – Explore contemporary art through stories and movement at STORYTIME+, the Hirshhorn Museum’s weekly program for little ones. This session will celebrate Mother’s Day as museum staff read Ann Herbert Scott’s On Mother’s Lap to the children, then introduce them to the sculpture Evocation of a Form: Human, Lunar, Spectral by Jean Arp. After that, they’ll create art for mom’s special day ahead.

Thursday – Shake those sillies out with the Boogie Babes as they bring kiddie entertainment to Eastern Market at 10:30am. Mr. Skip will get little ones dancing along as he strums fun tunes. Admission is $6/child, and siblings 6 months and under are free. Plan on lunch after the show — there are lots of options at the market or nearby for a tasty bite.

Friday – Wander around the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. Stop by the art center’s many galleries to view all kinds of works in a variety of mediums — you may even see the artists, too! Plan to grab lunch in the area at one of the many dining options nearby. Take a stroll by the waterfront for scenic views and boat watching, then head to Armory Tot Lot a few blocks away, for some playground fun.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Play, Playground, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: April 24-28

Butterflies return to Brookside Gardens this week

Butterflies return to Brookside Gardens this week

Monday – Rise + Rhyme at Busboys and Poets in Takoma or Hyattsville, MD. The weekly series welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Admission is $5. Plan on breakfast, too — full service will be available while the little ones are grooving. (The series also takes place in Shirlington, VA, the last Tuesday of every month, which is this week!)

Tuesday – Let little ones bounce, climb, swing, tumble, and slide at the PG Sports & Learning Complex Gymnastics Center in Landover, MD. The hour-long weekly open play session begins at 11:30am, and admission is $7/child. (This also takes place on Wednesdays at 11:30am, Fridays at 4:30pm, and Saturdays at 1:30pm.)

Wednesday – Learn about the area’s wildlife, enjoy hands-on activities in the Nature Center, view the night sky, take a hike, and visit horses at Rock Creek Park. The Nature Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm, and admission is free. If you’re keen on seeing stars, there’s a planetarium show at 4pm. You can also visit the equine residents at the nearby Horse Center. (Pony rides are not offered on weekdays this time of year, but guests are welcome to stop by the stables.)

Thursday – Experience the wonderful Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens! Walk amid a garden of butterflies in the annual display of live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world. It’s a guaranteed delight for all ages. The exhibit opens April 26 and runs through September 17. Hours are 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2. Stay to explore the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds and be sure make time to play in the adorable Children’s Garden. The gardens are open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. Read about one of our experiences at the exhibit and Brookside.

Friday – Play the day away at Clemyjontri, the brilliantly colored, sprawling playground in McLean that accommodates kids of all abilities. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Play, Playground, Seasonal, Spring, Story Time, Virginia, Weekdays