Tag Archives: DC Family Activities

Where to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing with Kids

The LM2 Lunar Module on display at Air & Space, was used for ground testing prior to the first successful Moon-landing mission


It was 50 years ago today that Apollo 11 was launched by the Saturn V rocket into space, beginning its historic mission to the moon, where it landed four days later on July 20, 1969. In just hours, on July 21, Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the moon. Even though many of us Gen Xers weren’t even born yet, we’re all very familiar with the footage and audio of that “…one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Certainly, the half-century anniversary of that landmark event is cause for celebration. Here’s where to do that around DC this week, listed in order of start date.

Apollo Artifacts
Where: National Air & Space Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Ongoing, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

The Air & Space Museum is an obvious (and great) place to visit during this big anniversary. Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit will be on display along with more artifacts from the historic Apollo 11 mission. A special display case on the 1st floor across from the Space Race gallery will feature a replica of the American flag erected on the Moon, plus items in three categories: Packing for the Moon, Learning From the Moon, and Remembering the Moon.

Launch Celebration
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: July 16, 9am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

The Udvar-Hazy Center opens early to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. There will be a broadcast NASA TV’s program celebrating the launch, materials from the Air and Space Museum’s archives, hands-on activities and discovery stations, story times, and more. Artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission, like the Mobile Quarantine Facility and Apollo 11 flotation collar, are on display, too.

A Monumental Sight
Where: Washington Monument | National Mall, DC
When: July 16-18, 9:30-11:30pm
Admission: Free

For three evenings, see the Washington Monument in a whole new light as a 363-foot Saturn V, the rocket that launched the Apollo 11 into orbit, is projected on the east face.

Out of this World: The Science of Space
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 16–19
Tickets: $3-6

Live demonstrations, fun factoids, and space stuff with the Science Guys of Baltimore! Join on a mission to investigate the physics and chemistry that govern the rotation and orbit of planets, how astronauts live in space and power the spacecraft that hurtle among the stars. Recommended for ages 5-12.

See the Space Window
Where: National Cathedral | Northwest DC
When: Ongoing
Admission: $12/adult, $8/age 5-17, free/under 5

There’s a tiny piece of the moon in one of the National Cathedral’s stained glass windows, a relic brought back by the astronauts from the Apollo 11 mission. Now called the “Space Window,” it can be viewed on a self-guided tour or a highlights tour.

Moon Madness STORYTIME
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: July 17, 10am
Admission: Free

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing at the Hirshhorn’s STORYTIME program for littles! Enjoy a reading of “Mooncake” by Frank Ash, then explore lunar inspired artworks, and create your own moon-inspired artworks. Meet in the lobby.

Earthrise
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: July 18 – August 4
Admission: $20

This family show is recommended for age 5+: While the world waits for the launch of Apollo 11 in 1969, three children of key NASA employees watch from different perspectives: a mathematician’s daughter, an astronaut’s son, and an engineer’s daughter. By dreaming a collective dream of landing on the moon together, the kids learn to understand the historic mission — not fear it.

Apollo 50 Festival
Where: 4th – 7th Streets | National Mall, DC
When: July 19-20
Admission: Free

Join the National Air & Space Museum and NASA for the Apollo 50 Festival on the National Mall with all kinds of festivities to celebrate the 50th anniversary. A stage and 20 tents will feature hands-on exhibits and activities from exhibitors like NASA, Boeing, Raytheon, The LEGO Group, and PBS’s Ready Jet Go!; live performances featuring costumed characters; and exciting speakers including Adam Savage, ISS astronauts, authors, and NASA scientists and engineers, with more special guests to be announced.

Discover the Moon Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum | National Mall, DC
When: July 19
Admission: Free

Join the museum for a day of educational and fun family activities in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. At Discover the Moon Day talk to our scientists and learn about lunar science. There will be activities throughout the museum for all ages.

Apollo 50: Go for the Moon
Where: National Mall, DC
When: July 19-20, evenings
Admission: Free

The celebration will continue in the evenings with “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon.” The 17-minute immersive experience with the first moon landing projected onto the Washington Monument and more screens on the National Mall, plus a 40-foot wide recreation of the Kennedy Space Center countdown clock. The free show will run at 9:30pm, 10:30pm and 11:30pm and can be viewed from the area in front of the Smithsonian Castle, btwn 9th & 12th Streets.

First Man
Where: Arlington Mill Community Center| Arlington, VA
When: July 19, 8:30pm
Admission: Free

The theme of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization’s popular Summer Movie Nights is “Heroes and Sheroes: Movies with a Mission.” And this week it focuses on Neil Armstrong as First Man is presented at the Arlington Mill location on Friday night.

A Celebration of African Americans at NASA
Where: NMAAHC | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

The National Museum of African American History & Culture is hosting a celebration of African Americans at NASA, sharing their stories and contributions using engaging activities about space and space travel to enhance the visitors’ experiences and learning. Since the Apollo 11 mission, the US has sent many astronauts into space. Despite being one of the leaders in the space race, it would be nearly 15 years after man’s first steps on the moon until the first African American, Guy Bluford would launch into space. In total, there have been 21 African American Astronauts.

Model Rocket Contest
Where: Goddard Space Flight Center | Greenbelt, MD
When: July 20
Admission: Free

The Goddard Space Flight Center hosts model rocket launches regularly, but this is a special one — a contest — to mark the 50th anniversary. All are welcome to launch and land their model rockets in the competition on Saturday. Registration will take pace there, and the first 200 to sign up will receive a moonlanding commemorative giveaway. Read more about model rocket launches at Goddard here.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Museums, Outdoor, Special Event, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: May 28-31

Experience In Peak Bloom at Artechouse before it closes


Tuesday – Experience In Peak Bloom at Artechouse before it closes after June 2. The digital art exhibit invites visitors to immerse in and interactive with a variety of works that are stunning and delightful, unique and profound. They’ll have kids and adults alike smiling and appreciating the gifts of art and nature. Hours are 10am – 7pm, and admission is $16-20/adult, $8-10/child.

Wednesday – Play, learn, and explore at the National Museum of American History! Wegmans Wonderplace, the activity center designed especially for children 0-6 years old, is full of features that cater to curious young visitors. If you’re with older kids, check out the Spark!Lab right next door. Hours at Wegmans Wonderplace are 10am – 4pm, and free admission is on a first come, first served basis, so there may be a short wait to get in. Of course, the rest of the museum is great to explore, too.

Thursday – Spend a musical morning with Boogie Babes, where King Bullfrog will be entertaining the kiddie crowd in Eastern Market’s North Hall. The show starts at 10:30am, and admission is $6/child, free for siblings 6 months and under. Plan on lunch there after — you can find all kinds of tasty bites at the market — or head to one of the many nearby Capitol Hill eateries.

Friday – Enjoy a “summer” activity and hit a sprayground! There are a bunch open for the season within the DC Department of Parks and Rec that have areas where kids can splash around. (Open at 10am, free admission.) Find a list of even more interactive fountains and splash pads around the area in the 2019 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer in DC.


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

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