Category Archives: Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: May 20-24

Dig some beach time at Flag Ponds on Friday


Monday – Get a glimpse of the past on the Potomac at Fort Washington Park. Kids (and adults) will love seeing the cannons and historic remnants of the old fort within the grounds along the river. Hours are 8am – sunset. Admission is $10/vehicle.

Tuesday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden, where there is so much for all ages to dig (literally, in one area) indoors and out. Let little ones flex their green thumbs in the Children’s Garden — they can water and plant, and play with lots of neat features. Explore the different plant collections, too — walk amid tropical rainforest, desert, and woodland flora. Then take a stroll through the lovely National Garden outside. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here.

Wednesday – Enjoy mountains of indoor adventures at Badlands Play Space. From active fun to creative explorations to learning experiences to relaxation options, including a cafe, the enormous facility in Rockville has it all! Hours are 9am – 6pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Admission is $20/child, $12.50/toddler, $5/adult.

Thursday – Explore the local environment at Buddie Ford Nature Center. The facility in Alexandria houses fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. If weather permits, take the fun outdoors afterwards with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm (Wednesday – Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday). Admission is free.

Friday – Kick off Memorial Day weekend and get into the swing of “summer” with some beach fun at Flag Ponds Nature Park. Swim in the Chesapeake (or just dip the toes if it’s too cold or jellyfishy), build sandcastles on the shore, have a picnic, spot wildlife in the woods, and definitely do some fossil hunting — the park is one of several places in that area where you can search for shark teeth and other prehistoric remnants. Hours are 9am – 4pm, and admission is $8/car. Get more info and logistics in this post. And PS: After Memorial Day, the park will be open daily! (Until then it’s open Friday-Monday.)

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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Maryland, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays

Take a (Time) Trip to Colonial Williamsburg

A colonial time-out? 😂


Given the proximity, my penchant for adventures that recall the past, and the small fact that I publish a blog all about family activities, you’d think we would have visited Colonial Williamsburg ages ago. But, no. It wasn’t until the recent Spring Break that the kids and I finally took a little time trip south to explore 18th-century life at the living history museum (the largest in the world!). And I would say it was worth the wait, but we had such a great time, I’m actually a little mad at myself for not getting there sooner.

In front of the Governor’s Palace

Colonial Williamsburg isn’t just a museum, but a living history experience — essentially, a whole town that recreates life almost exactly the way it was 300 years ago. Structures from that time have been preserved and restored, people work in trades and engage in activities they did back then, products and food from the era are available to view and purchase, and visitors are welcome to enjoy, observe, and be a part of it all.

Horses and buggies are the main mode of transport

The kids and I spent two days there (Levi had to stay back for work), though our whole trip to Williamsburg was longer. I booked a package that included a stay at one of several official CW properties and seven-consecutive-day passes to both Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens (even though we only used them for three days, it was still a good deal). We stayed at the Woodlands Hotel & Suites, which offered the lowest rate, breakfast daily, and came recommended as a good resort for families.

A stroll through the streets of the historic zone

We arrived late afternoon on Monday, just in time to pick up our passes at the Visitors Center, which took about 30 minutes even though I reserved in advance. Most of the buildings in the historic zone close at 5pm, but the area is open 24/7, so after a dip in the hotel pool, we took the free shuttle over to get the lay of the land and book a Haunted Williamsburg tour for the next evening. (We lucked out and got the last three spots, so I recommend doing this in advance of your trip!) There are other evening programs available, including the Official Ghost Walk Junior geared toward families with kids ages 4-7. From there we walked to Berret’s Seafood Restaurant & Taphouse Grill for dinner, which was quite good. We were able to get a table outside easily since it was a chilly night, but indoor seating there and most other places was a long wait, so I recommend making reservations.

Walk a path of historical facts

The next day (as well as the third; we went to Busch Garden in between) was all about exploring Colonial Williamsburg. The weather was great, so we opted for the 10-minute walk there over the shuttle — a good choice, as some interesting sights along the way included in-ground plaques with dates and historical facts, an old windmill; and a reconstructed 18th-century farm.

In the lovely manicured gardens around the Palace

Catching some entertainment at the Playbooth Theatre

Once we arrived at the historic zone, it was almost hard to choose where to begin — looking at the map, there were interesting sights and activities everywhere. But that’s also what I loved about it. You can go at your pace, just wander around, and see what you happen upon. It’s free-flowing and relaxed, no fast passes or structured agendas (essentially, it’s totally up my alley). We explored the grounds of the Governor’s Palace, then stopped in shops to watch demonstrations by cabinetmakers, printers, tailors, shoemakers, blacksmiths, bookbinders, and so many more trades people.

Guess what this guy does?

An early Dior?

The best part of this is that the folks who do this work are as authentically colonial as you can get in this modern time. They are skilled in the labor and create products in the colonial environment, using the same tools and techniques as they did three centuries ago, even sourcing many materials the same ways. Even more, the people you meet in these roles aren’t just employees; they’re enthusiasts and historians who are very knowledgable and zealous about their work — and about colonial times in Williamsburg. And they are more than happy to talk about their trades and life during the 1700’s. We found that most didn’t act like they were from the past (think, Ren Fest), rather they described that time from a modern POV.

A “Wood” sweatshirt in the cabinet making demonstration – what are the chances?

Making lanterns in the Tin Shop

Other historic sights included the Capitol, Courthouse, Burton Parish Church, several taverns, and homes of notable people. Tours are offered at just about all of them and some also have special programs like talks, concerts, and tours for children — daily schedules are available with details. We really enjoyed tours of Wetherburn’s Tavern and Randolph House (especially the latter after spending part of our Haunted Williamsburg tour there). The enthusiasm of our guides was evident as we got more than a look at the places, but also a glimpse into society and domestic life of that time, too.

Guests at Wetherburn Tavern could rent space in a bed (with a stranger)

A colonial kitchen

Let there be light… candles were pretty important during pre-electricity times

The kids also had an opportunity to be part of the festivities as they joined the ranks of soldiers enlisting in the army and got into formation with other young visitors. We also spent time at the Market Square checking out colonial-style games and products for sale.

“Soldiers” getting into formation

Playing a ring toss game at Market Square

Baby in a bonnet 😂

Colonial inspired dining is available, too. We had one meal at Shields Tavern, though I think we all enjoyed the “reconstructed 18th-century tavern” part more than the fare. There are several other family-friendly eateries right next to the historic zone — we really enjoyed Berret’s (noted above), Mellow Mushroom, and The Hound’s Tale. I recommend making reservations, especially during busy travel seasons when there could be long waits for walk-ins.

Sharing stories over a meal at Shields Tavern


For a close-to-home getaway for DC families, Colonial Williamsburg is kind of perfect Not only is it an easy 2.5-hour drive away, it’s fun, educational (in a fun way), and throughly enjoyable for all ages. Two full days wasn’t enough to experience it all, and we’ll definitely be going back. (Plus, Levi needs to check it out, too.)

Hearing stories about hauntings at Randolph House

Of course we had to go see it during the day


Ready for a time trip to Colonial Williamsburg? Here are some KFDC tips:
* Look for special packages and promos
* Book special tours, such as Haunted Williamsburg, in advance as they fill up
* Pick up a schedule of daily programs to help plan your days
* Consider pairing it with a Great Wolf Lodge getaway (a couple of days at each)
* Throw in a day at Busch Gardens like we did (another post on that soon)
* Extend your historic explorations with a visit to Jamestown

One of the best parts of the getaway: sibling bonding 😊


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Filed under All ages, DC, Destination from DC, Educational, Exhibit, Getaway, Museums, Outdoor, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: May 13-17

Stop and smell the roses at Dumbarton Oaks on a nice spring day later this week



Monday – Rise + Rhyme at Busboys and Poets. The weekly series welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Catch a show at any of three loations: Mr. Jon will be in Brookland, Marsha Goodman Wood in Takoma Park, and Oh! Susannah in Hyattsvill. Admission is $5. Plan on breakfast, too — full service will be available while the little ones are grooving.

Tuesday – Spend the day at the National Building Museum. Little ones can enjoy a free story time with DC Public Library (10:30am) and engage in all kinds of interactive play in the Building Zone. The PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit upstairs is also super fun for kids. You can also hang out in the Great Hall and take in the grandeur of the stunning space. Museum hours are 10am – 5pm. Exhibit admission, including Building Zone, is $10/adult, $7/child, free for members.

Wednesday – Join a Mommy & Me session at Tanger Outlets National Harbor, where kids music fave 123 Andrés will bring the entertainment. Children will enjoy singing and dancing, while moms can relax in the lounge and enjoy exclusive store discounts and prize giveaways! Refreshments will be provided by Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Perfect/Planet Smoothie and Starbucks Coffee. (Make time to do some shopping, too!) The fun starts at 11am, and will take place in the Community Room behind Polo Ralph Lauren. Admission is free.

Thursday – Enjoy the spring day roaming the enchanting gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm, but you can play at nearby Montrose Park or grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand. I promise, it’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit. Admission is $10/adult, $5/child to the gardens, but there’s never an entry fee at Montrose.

Friday – Have some fun on the farm at Frying Pan Park. Get a glimpse of 20th-century farm life as you visit animals, take a wagon ride, play on kid-sized tractors and playgrounds, and much more. The locale in Herndon is a guaranteed hit with little ones. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk, the farm is open 9am – 5pm, wagon rides 10am – 4pm. Admission is free, though the wagon rides cost $3.50.


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

Where to Play on the Weekdays:
May 6-10

Explore Asian art in the Freer|Sackler Gallery after a show at Discovery Theater!



Monday – Go for a walk in the woods and explore the grounds of Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, MD. The home of the Audubon Naturalist Society is perfect for hiking with little ones. The trails are mellow, there are several small exhibits like bird feeding areas, and wildlife sightings are practically guaranteed. Open dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Play in the sprays at Canal Park. The recreational space in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood in southeast DC has both a gentle, shallow fountain that is perfect for really little ones, plus a bigger area for more enthusiastic fun where the ice rink is in the winter. Admission is free. Grab a bite to eat at Wiseguy Pizza on premises or at another nearby eatery — there are options right across the street, food trucks are often parked right there, or walk a couple of block to The Yards. Of course, you can also pack lunch for a picnic in the park.

Later on at 4pm, join the “Not a Box” Play Party at Southeast Library on Capitol Hill. Children 5 and under along with their caregivers are invited to unleash their imaginations and create their own “cardboard kingdoms” using a wide variety of simple supplies. Admission is free.

Wednesday –Catch a performance of Tigers, Dragons, and Other Wise ‘Tails’ at Discovery Theater. From ancient to modern, these tales come alive with the culture of the Asian countryside. Tickets are $3-8 and still available for the 11:30am show (it’s also running Wednesday – Friday). Plan to explore the Freer|Sackler Gallery while you’re there, spend some time in the lovely Haupt Garden right behind it, and go for a spin on the Carousel located nearby on the National Mall.

Thursday – Join Author Laura Gehl at Scrawl Books’ Storytime Social, where she’ll share her new board books for budding scientists: Baby Oceanographr and Baby Astronaut. There will be coffee for adults, and stories and songs for little ones. The fun begins at 11am, and admission is free. Scrawl Books is located at Reston Town Center.

Friday – Take the kids to The St. James for a day of active fun! The Super, Awesome, and Amazing activity center is full of climbing structures, obstacle courses, and bouncy areas for all ages, and the indoor interactive waterpark is a blast for everyone from toddlers to teens to adults, too! Admission to each is $15 before 3pm, $23 after 3pm (though you can look for a $17 deal on CertifiKID). Hours are 9am – 10pm Friday & Saturday (9am – 9pm Sunday – Thursday).


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