Tag Archives: DC in Winter

Valentine’s Day Activities Around DC that Kids (and You!) Will Love

Make-your-own Valentines at the National Postal Museum’s annual workshop


Do you ❤️ celebrating Valentine’s Day with your little (and big) sweeties? If you’re looking for ways to celebrate and prep for the day, here’s an array of activities happening around the area over the next couple of weeks — with something for everyone to love. Happy V-Day!

Chocolate Lovers Festival
Where: Several locations in the City of Fairfax, VA
When: January 31 – February 2
Admission: Varies by activity

Valentine’s Day and chocolate go hand-in-hand, and you can savor it and then some at this sweetevent. The City of Fairfax presents its annual festival centered around one of the most wonderful things in the world: Chocolate! There will be all kinds of activities for all ages throughout the weekend, both chocolate and non-chocolate themed — tastings, story time, puppet shows, face painting, chocolate challenges, a chocolate caper mock trial, and much more. The schedule of events has details.

Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids & Cookies for Caregivers
Where: Your location in the DMV
When: Through February 14
Admission: Your time and card making/baking efforts

Celebrate the Valentine’s Day by giving back with Eliana’s Light. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to make cards for children who have to be in a DC, MD, or VA pediatric hospital over the holiday and cookies for the caregivers who support them. During this community service activity, participating adults and young people discuss topics such as empathy, kindness, helping others, volunteering, friendship, respect for diversity, and making a positive impact in life. The card and cookie recipients have reflected they’re touched and moved to know members of their community really care about them, and are sending them positive uplifts during their challenging times. This small act of kindness can have a big impact. More details about this volunteering program are here.

Heart String Art DIY Project
Where: Home Depot locations around the DMV
When: February 1, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Create a loving memory with your child at this Heart String Art Workshop. As you help your child piece together the symbol of Valentine’s Day, they will develop hands-on skills by sanding, nailing, painting and more. Celebrate the moment as your child makes a unique keepsake. All kids’ workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last. Register in advance — visit the website to find a store near you offering the class.

Kids Handmade Valentines Workshop
Where: The Paper Source | Various stores in the DMV
When: February 1, 1-3pm & February 5, 2-4pm
Admission: $30

Grab your BFF for a workshop that will give you heart eyes! Make 5-6 Valentines for your classmates, friends, and family using your favorite stickers, stamps, washi and more. Buy two seats at the same time and save 10% off each seat. For kids ages 6 and up. Area Paper Source locations are in Georgetown, Bethesda, Alexandria, and Reston.

Valentine’s Day Card Workshop
Where: National Postal Museum | Union Station Area, DC
When: February 8-9, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Homemade love is in the air at the National Postal Museum’s annual Valentine’s Day Card Workshop! We’ve attended this event many times, so I can tell you firsthand it’s one you’ll adore. They provide pretty papers, stamps, and all kinds of Valentine-themed supplies for making cards; all you need to bring is your creativity and readiness for a good time. For more about the museum, see this KFDC post.

Open Studio: Love in Every Language
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: February 8-9, 12–4 pm
Admission: Free

Head to the ImaginAsia Studio in the Sackler Gallery for an afternoon all about love and art. Enjoy a digital slideshow of images of love in Asian art, then create Valentine’s Day cards using woodblock prints that say “love” in more than a dozen Asian languages, and fold heart-shaped origami.

Love Note Holder Workshop
Where: Lowe’s locations around the DMV
When: February 8, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

This monthly DIY workshop for kids has a focus on love…love notes, anyway. The project is perfect for holding all your child’s Valentine’s cards and treats. Workshops take 15-30 minutes, and children must be accompanied by parent/guardian. Check-in by 11am. Space is limited, so sign up in advance!

Unshrink My Heart
Where: Gateway Arts Center | Brentwood, MD
When: February 8, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

This annual Valentine’s workshop with an 80’s twist is back! Create handmade Valentine keepsakes for your loved ones using Shrinky Dinks amazing, shrinkable sheets. Craft your own jewelry, key chains, and any other Valentine’s Day gift you can imagine. Children will receive their first two sheets of blank Shrinky Dinks free, additional sheets will be available for purchase for 50 cents each.

Animal Sweethearts Dance
Where: Hidden Pond Nature Center | Springfield, VA
When: February 8, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10

The social event of Hidden Pond’s winter season is back! There will be dancing, refreshments, crafts, and live animals to entertain. Recommended for children ages 3-5. Register in advance.

Valentine’s Party for Little Luv Bugs
Where: Foundry United Methodist Church | Downtown DC
When: February 8, 10:30–11:30am
Admission: Free, but please RSVP

Join Friends of Stead Park and Treehouse Atelier for a SWEET time making valentines and other fun crafts. Your family will also enjoy treats and hot chocolate. They also collaborating with Eliana’s Light (see above!) and asking kids to make additional valentines that will go to a child who will be in the hospital on Valentine’s Day. The church is located at 1500 16th St NW.

Animal Valentines
Where: Hidden Pond Nature Center | Springfield, VA
When: February 9, 1:30-2:15pm
Admission: $8

Play musical valentines and critter sweetheart games as you learn how animals find a mate. Meet live animals and make an animal valentine craft. Recommended for ages 4-8. Sign up in advance online.

Library Love
Where: DC Public Libraries | Around DC
When: Various dates
Admission: Free

Join story times, craft sessions, and sing-alongs at some of the city’s libraries; Valentine’s Day-themed activities are taking places on several dates over the next couple of weeks. Find one that your child will love here.

Nature Valentines
Where: Brookside Nature Center | Wheaton, MD
When: February 11, 1-2pm
Admission: $7

Everyone loves homemade Valentines and none are sweeter than those made by your preschooler! We’ll go on a short walk in search of nuts, sticks, and other natural items to decorate with, and then come inside and get to work! Recommended for ages 3-5.

Storytime: Love
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: February 12, 10-11am
Admission: Free

Can an artwork depict love? Join the Hirhshorn for a special Valentine’s Day program. Look at the large photo print Untitled (for Jeff) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and read the book Love by Matt de la Peña. Following the story, little artists will create their own works for a friend or loved one.

Valentine’s Afternoon Tea
Where: Willard Continental | Downtown DC
When: February 14, 1-4pm
Admission: $68-75/adult, $30/age5-12

Enjoy a broad selection of the finest estate and boutique blended loose leaf tea, savory finger sandwiches, decadent pastries and The Willard’s famous freshly baked scones at this specialty tea service offered on Valentine’s Day. Reservations required — book on OpenTable. (PS: For a couple more Valentine offerings for adults, see the Willard calendar here.)

Woo at the Zoo (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: February 14, 7-10pm
Admission: $50/FONZ members, $60/non-members

Bring a special someone, grab a cocktail, learn about animal mating and dance the night away at a throwback ‘80s prom. Tickets include complimentary desserts. Guests will be given one drink ticket each for a specialty cocktail, beer, or wine. The ‘80s prom dance party will feature a DJ in a heated tent, plus there will be trivia and an Instagram-friendly photo station. When purchasing tickets, guests can add an exclusive Valentine’s Day gift to their ticket—a mini Adopt a Species package to pick up at the Zoo the night of the event.

Seeing Deeper: Cathedral Prom (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Washington National Cathedral
When: February 14, 7:30-10:30pm
Admission: $20

Dive into a magical underwater experience at this Second Chance Prom, where everyone gets a do-over on the high school dances they want to relive, forget, or experience for the first time. They provide the crepe-paper seaweed, bubbles, and snacks for an evening of Enchantment Under the Sea, and all you need to bring is your sweetie, bestie, or just yourself to the this Valentine’s dance party. Flashback to your childhood and add bricks to a LEGO model to help reach the goal of 100,000 bricks by March 1.

Valentine’s Day Cookie Decorating Class for Kids
Where: Willard Continental | Downtown DC
When: February 15
Admission: $45/child

Sweeten your Valentine’s Day weekend for your littlest ones at the Willard InterContinental. Led by Executive Pastry Chef Jason Jimenez, junior bakers will receive hands-on instruction to cookie decorating using a variety of techniques and decorating tools. Ideal for children ages 4-12 years old, and they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian (2 parents or guardians max per ticketed child).

Naked Scavenger Hunts (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Gallery of Art & American Art Museum, DC
When: February 15
Admission: $24

No, you don’t get naked on these scavenger hunts with Watson Adventures! Rather, you search for nude artworks throughout the museums by tracking down tricky clues and answer quirky questions to uncover alluring and amusing pieces. The National Gallery of Art hunt is at 1pm. The American Art Museum hunt is at 4pm. Follow links for more details about both.

Wild Love
Where: City Wildlife | Northeast DC
When: February 16, 12-5pm
Admission: Suggested donation $20/person, $40/family

Take advantage of this rare occasion to visit City Wildlife, the animal rescue and rehabilitation center, as it’s the only time of the year they open their doors to the public. At the 6th Annual Valentine’s Day Open House, get a behind-the-scenes tour of the rehabilitation facility, enjoy some goodies, and get a gift for your Valentine. Free-will donations are collected to ensure that the Center can help its animal patients.

Rumpus Room Family Valentine’s Day Dance Party
Where: Black Cat | 14th Street NW, DC
When: February 16, 2-4:30
Admission: $12

They choo choo choose you…to join them with your entire family on the dance floor! (They get all the credit for the great Simpsons reference.) DC’s only family dance party is back with a special groove session to celebrate the holiday on Valentine’s Day weekend. Practice those sweet moves and get ready to have fun!

All You Need Is Love 8: A Tribute to The Beatles & Love Songs (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Jammin Java
When: February 16, 7pm
Admission: $16

Are you in love, looking for love, or scorning love? Either way, this is how love songs are meant to be heard — intimate and stripped down. Jammin Java’s official Valentine’s tradition is back by popular demand. Anthony Fiacco, Todd Wright and Luke Brindley pay homage to the group that influenced every musician out there with covers of your favorite Beatles love songs as well as originals of their own. Three singer/songwriters sharing the stage, telling stories, and playing songs, it’s like seeing the best local musicians singing your favorite songs in your living room.


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Exhibits to Experience at the National Geographic Museum

A model of an elephant clock in the "1001 Inventions" exhibit

 

The National Geographic Museum is easily among my favorite museums in DC.  They truly know how to present an exhibit to intrigue and engage visitors of all ages. Owen still talks about all of the cool exhibitions he’s seen there over the years, from the geckos in 2010 to Animal Grossology last year to the recent Titanic display.

What makes them so appealing, especially to kids, is that they aren’t just rooms full of pictures and displays to view.  They are full-on experiences that utilize multimedia and a variety of interactive installations to educate, enrich, amuse, and wow guests.

And I am happy to report that Nat Geo’s two current exhibits, Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution and 1001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization follow suit.  We experienced them this past Monday when the kids were off from school, and everyone — the kids and I, along with friends who joined us — had a great time exploring both.

Incredible images of birds-of-paradise

“Birds of Paradise” is all about the avian creatures for which its titled. Found only in New Guinea and Australia, there are only 39 known species of the birds that are a case study in the evolutionary power of sexual selection, and all are featured in the exhibit.  Their brilliant plumes and funny mating rituals are documented in stunning imagery and amazing footage captured by scientist Edwin Scholes and photographer Tim Laman over eight years and 18 expeditions to the isolated places the birds inhabit.

Jungle scenes projected in screens greet guests

A library area is filled with lots of nooks and crannies containing images, neat facts, and taxidermied birds

But it was the interactives that really drew in the kids. Sasha loved spinning a dial that let her view a male bird’s changing feathers that seemed to reveal a smiley face pattern as he flirted with a female. Both kids had fun pushing buttons on a display to hear all of the different bird calls. Owen and his friend Dylan spent a good amount of time pretending to snap photos of birds, a display that showed the difficulty in getting shots of the birds in the wild. They also enjoyed a digital touch game where they had to match females with males to make a love connection. And perhaps the most fun of all was Dance Dance Evolution, where participants mimic the mating dance of males while other guests spectating can vote by pushing button for their favorite contestant. These are just a few of the fun and fascinating things there.

Bird calls of the wild

A wildlife photog at work

Owen and my friend, Torey, boogie like birds playing Dance Dance Evolution

Since our tickets were good for the whole day and for all of the exhibits, we lunched down the street at Potbelly, then headed back to the museum to tour “1001 Inventions,” a showcase of some of the great discoveries of early Muslim civilization.  That experience began with a short film that has kid appeal and Ben Kingsley as a main character. From there, we headed into the main area of the exhibit, where large installations, many with interactive games and cool displays immediately attracted the kids.

So many fascinating displays and interactives

An overhead view

Sasha takes flight

Through these we learned about the many ways Muslims laid the foundations for many principles of science and technology centuries ago.  A motion-sensing video game has guests flapping their arms to keep an early flying machine aloft.  Number and word games demonstrate early connections to modern mathematics and language. A giant elephant clock and associated displays explain how, 800 years ago, it was one of the first clocks.  A kind of mini-planetarium welcomes guests to explore the stars and learn star names derived from Arabic words.

Having a stellar time

Learning about the earliest rocket launch

Crunching the numbers

There are many, many more interesting facts to discover and displays to explore throughout. And just about all of them are accompanied by videos of the inventors (well, actors playing them) talking about their creations and influence on the modern world. And I had to stifle a laugh when Owen asked me why all them were looking at and talking to him while he was walking around. “How can they see me if they’re inside the TV’s?”  Ah, that was one the Muslims missed, so I had to do a little explaining myself.

Needless to say, I highly recommend the exhibits.  And you can view them in one visit, as admission to the museum gets you access to both. Entry is $8/adults, $6/seniors and students, $4/ages 5-12, free for 4 and under.

1001 Inventions runs through February 3, and Birds of Paradise through May 12, 2013.

 

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Museums, Nature, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter