Tag Archives: DC outdoors

Where to Go & What to Do During Spring Break 2019

Hit the trail, enjoy scenic views, explore the waters, and more this Spring Break!



Spring Break is beginning for many local kids, so you may be in need of some extra reminders of all the great activities there are to do around the area to keep them engaged and entertained over the next week. And if some it sounds familiar, that’s because this has been posted before, but it’s been updated to reflect what’s going on now.

Some of the ideas here are already on the blog, but sometimes a little guidance for what’s best at certain times helps. Among these recommendations are activities being hosted especially for Spring Break, exhibits and shows that are hot tickets right now, outings that take advantage of the great spring weather, and places and experiences that kids who are in school all day can’t get to easily.

And, of course, the rest of this blog is full of suggestions if you want even more options. So, whether you’re enjoying a staycation or visiting from out of town, you should have no problem keeping the kids (and yourself!) happy during the week off — or on, depending how you look at it. Happy Spring Break!

Special Activities

Take the kids out to a weekday afternoon ballgame!

Egg-Cellent Outings
Where: Around the area
When: Through April 20
Admission:; Varies by event

Egg hunts, Bunny visits, and more seasonal activities are happening all around the area. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs for your whole gang. NoVa Parks has events going on during the week, and even more places are offering fun on weekends.

Natitude
Where: Nationals Park
When: April 18, 1:05pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Take the kids out to a weekday afternoon ballgame! How often do they have a chance to catch a Nats game in the middle of the day on a Thursday? Root for the home team as they host the Giants this coming week (Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, too). And before you go, check out these KFDC tips on how to do a Nats game without breaking the bank.

Spring Break in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring
When: April 15-22
Admission: Varies by age

The park that offers a thrilling aerial forest adventure is adding some extra zip to the pursuit with a series of themes and special events. During Spring Break, each day will be themed, and guests who participate will be eligible to play games, win prizes, and receive park discounts.

Learn to Fly
Where: Trapeze School New York DC | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Daily
Admission: $50

If you want to do something unique and special (and super fun!) for your kids during the break, enroll them in a flying trapeze class. In just one session, participants learn how to swing upside down and maybe even catch with an instructor. They also have classes in static trapeze, balancing and acrobatics, trampoline, and more. Be sure to register in advance!

Wild Knights
Where: Medieval Times
When: Through the month of April
Admission: $39.95/adult, $31.95 (use code SB19)

Get discount pricing on Medieval Times’ spectacle and feast during Spring Break. Enjoy watching a two-hour tournament, while you dine on a four course feast. See magnificent pure Spanish horses, and authentic sword fights and jousting.



Special Exhibits

Experience a different kind of peak bloom at ARTECHOUSE

In Peak Bloom
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through May 27
Admission: $16-20/adult, $8-10/child

ARTECHOUSE is celebrating the season with its latest exhibit. In Peak Bloom features interactive and immersive digital art installations inspired by the fragile beauty and ephemeral nature of the cherry blossom. The works are stunning and delightful, unique and profound. They’ll have kids and adults alike smiling and appreciating the gifts of art and nature.

Fairies in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $5/adult, $4/senior, $3/child

Annmarie’s magicalicious exhibit of fairy and gnome houses just opened for the season. As if the sculpture garden near Solomons, MD, wasn’t already wonderful, this annual display adds extra delight to a visit there with more than 75 handmade fairy and gnome homes scattered through the grounds. Visit the Arts Building to borrow a costume (or purchase one in the Gift Shop) to get into the fanciful spirit, grab a guide, and start your journey to locate them all. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post and this one.

Feel the Pulse
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

This exhibit at the Hirshhorn will capture your heart, kind of literally. It’s comprised of three large-scale installations that use heart rate sensors to produce audiovisual experiences from visitors’ own biometric data. It’s beautiful, thought provoking, and unlike any exhibit I’ve experienced before. With interactive elements, cool visuals, and an interesting combination of science and art, kids and adults alike will be wowed.

Queens of Egypt
Where: National Geographic Museum | Downtown DC
When: Through September 2
Admission: $15/adult, $10/child

The current exhibit at Nat Geo is a time trip back to ancient Egypt — one of the world’s greatest civilizations — that highlights its mighty queens. Learn about the hidden role of women in all aspects of Egyptian society and “meet” seven Egyptian queens whose impact helped shape both the ancient and modern worlds.

Q?rius
Where: National Museum of Natural History
When: Daily, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

The interactive and experiential learning space is designed for kids ages 11 and up (though some younger ages could enjoy it, too). Visitors can view up close — and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. For really little ones, there is Q?rius Jr: A Discovery Room for more age-appropriate exploring. And, of course, there’s the whole rest of the museum for everyone. Read more about Q?rius here.

Fancy This
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: Through September 22, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2

Brookside Garden’s wonderful, annual exhibition opens this week! Wings of Fancy showcases live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight all ages! Plan to tour the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds while you’re there, including gorgeous plant collections, a Children’s Garden, turtle pond, and more. View scenes and read more about a couple of our experiences at the exhibit and rest of Brookside.


Get Outdoors

Sun, surf, and shark tooth hunting at Flag Ponds Nature Park

Beachy Keen: Sand, Surf, & Fossils
Where: Around the area
When: Daily
Admission: Varies by beach

Many of us associate Spring Break with beach trips, so why not hit one with the kids? There are several places within day trip-distance from DC that are nice for sand and surf. Head out to Calvert County for a day at Flag Ponds Nature Park, including some fossil hunting (open Fri & Mon 9am – 4pm,
Sat – Sun 9am – 5pm ). Head a little further out to North Beach or Brownies Beach (Bayfront Park). Or go east to Sandy Point State Park. You can also play paleontologist and look for prehistoric fragments along the Potomac at Purse State Park in Charles County, MD (one of our very favorite outings in the area).

Take a Hike
Where: Around the area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

It’s a great time of year to spend some time on the trail as the weather warms up and color returns to the landscape. See flowers in bloom, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids. (Heads up: The bluebells at Riverbend Park should be popping right about now, making the hike from there to Great Falls especially nice!)

Roam a Garden
Where: Around the area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

With flowers blooming and landscapes bursting with color, a visit to a garden is a fantastic outing, especially when there’s often more to do than just look at plants and flowers. Explore and play at the National Arboretum, wander around Green Spring Gardens on a scavenger hunt, enjoy flora and wildlife and the Children’s Garden at Brookside, venture out to the gorgeous Meadowlark Botanical Garden, relish in the peace at the Brookland Monastery, stroll among the many multi-tiered plats at Dumbarton Oaks, romp in the children’s area at River Farm, or stop and smell the roses (and more) at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Update: Burnside Garden announced its annual Festival of Spring has begun — enjoy acres of blooming tulips in a gorgeous array of colors, plus more fun for kids!

Go with the Flow
Where: Waterways around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

Enjoy some recreation on the water, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and stand up paddleboards. It’s a fun, active way to spend time together and get some new views of the city. This post has a round-up of places to help you navigate the local waterways.


Museums & More “DC” Sites

Newsflash:  The Newseum is awesome!

Newsflash: The Newseum is awesome!

Focus on News and Media
Where: Newseum
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $24.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-19, free for 6 and under
(look for a deal)

The museum dedicated to all things news and journalism is fascinating — and one of my personal favorite’s in DC. Much of the collection is better appreciated (and understood) by older children, so while they have off from school is a good time to take advantage of an outing there. Plus, the current location is closing later this year, so now is a good time to get there! Read more about the Newseum in this KFDC post.

African American History & Culture
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

The NMAAC is full of powerful exhibits and a must-see on the National Mall. It’s another one that is great for older children, so the break from school is a great time to take them there. Now that it’s been around for a couple of years and crowds are dying down, tickets are not required in the afternoon. Starting at 1pm, just walk up, head in, and enjoy a visit.

Abe’s Last Days
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: Daily, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: $3-8

Ford’s isn’t just a place to catch live entertainment. The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination highlights its historic significance through tours and exhibits about the president, the Civil War, and that fateful night at the theatre. This is the busy season, so it’s recommended to reserve tickets in advance.

Take in the View
Where: Observation Deck at CEB Tower | Rosslyn, VA
When: Mon – Fri, 10am – 8pm & Sat – Sun, 9am – 8pm
Admission: $21/adult, $11/age 5-13, $16/seniors

Gaze out of floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a new perspective of DC. The 30+ story high space in Rosslyn offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramic vistas plus neat interactive and immerse experiences to enjoy them.

Show Them the Money
Where: Bureau of Engraving & Printing
When: Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: Free

This is a great outing with kids on break from school, since tours are only offered on weekdays. Tours run every 15 minutes 9am – 6pm this time of year. Admission is free, but tickets are required, and you can pick them up at the booth on Raoul Wallenburg Place starting at 8am. Your time slot may be for later in the day, so have some plans in mind just in case.

Day Trips & Overnights

Hike from West Virginia to Maryland at Harpers Ferry

Hike from West Virginia to Maryland at Harpers Ferry

Hiking & History
Where: Harpers Ferry
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free ($10 if you park in lot)

Get some fresh air and exercise as you enjoy spring weather and historic sites. Harpers Ferry is an easy day trip or quick getaway destination from DC, and spring is a great time to go. For more about a visit there, see this KFDC post.

Charm City, Hon!
Where: Baltimore attractions
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Zip up I-95 for some fun in our sister city, where there are lots of great places to spend a day off. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Tour the historic ships moored at the Inner Harbor. Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry.

Go Underground
Where: Luray Caverns
When: Ongoing, 9am – 7pm
Admission: $28/adults, $15/ages 6-12, 5 and under free

Behold the spectacular underground world of stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system at Luray. Afterward, make your way through the Garden Maze or check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum. Admission does not include attractions beyond the cavern. KFDC Tip: Be sure to make a pit stop before going into the caverns, because it can be a long walk out to a restroom, and once you’re out, you may not be able to go back in.

Tramp & Camp
Where: Shenandoah National Park
When: Ongoing
Admission: $25/vehicle, campsites are extra & vary

Whether you go for a day or even several, Shenandoah National Park is a boon for outdoor recreation close to DC. If you can only swing a day, find some good trails to hike or even ride along Skyline Drive and take in the beautiful vistas from the car. If you can stay overnight, it’s a great place for a camping experience with kids. Either way, enjoy being immersed in nature and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings!

Explore Another Capital City
Where: Annapolis
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by activity

Maryland’s capital city is as beautiful as it is fun, and you can easily make a day (or few) of it there. Go on a Pirate Adventure on the Chesapeake, enjoy some outdoor recreation at Quiet Waters Park, feast on crabs, or stroll around town and the Naval Academy grounds. It’s all an easy drive out Rt. 50 from DC.


Live Entertainment

Go Into the Woods at Ford’s Theatre

Winnie the Pooh
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Through May 26
Tickets: $20

With performances scheduled almost every day of the week, you can catch an all-ages show at one of the best children’s theatre around! Winnie the Pooh would spend every day of life humming tunes and stopping frequently to eat “a little something.” But today, Pooh and Piglet have to find the Heffalump, watch Rabbit scheme to rid the forest of Kanga’s dreaded bathtub, and help Eeyore search for his tail. Pooh’s intentions are always the best, but his passion for honey and condensed milk keeps getting him into trouble.

Jack and the Beanstalk
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Through May 5
Tickets: $12

A timely version of the classic children’s tale about the young lad that doesn’t know beans about trading, but still manages to climb his way to the top. Jack finds that happiness lies in helping others rather than mere personal gain. Told with rod puppets and some surprising twists, Jack has long been a favorite of our audience. Recommended for ages 5-9.

Into the Woods
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Downtown DC
When: Through May 22
Tickets: $27-81

In Stephen Sondheim’s imaginative, darkly comical remix of beloved fairy tales, a baker and his wife set out to reverse a witch’s curse in hopes of having a child of their own. The couple’s quest takes them into the woods, where they encounter Little Red Ridinghood, Jack and his beanstalk, a cautious Cinderella, a sequestered Rapunzel and a couple of lovelorn princes. Sondheim’s lush Tony-winning score and James Lapine’s Tony-winning book conjure a world where “giants can be good and witches can be right.” Recommended for ages 12+.



Extra Tips

* If you’re looking specifically for rainy day ideas, see The Great Indoors list or the round-up of Indoor Playgrounds.
* And for where to relish the sublime weather, check out The Best Places in the DC Area to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids.
* The Smithsonian Event Calendar is always worth checking before you head to the museums or the Zoo.
* Look for deals and discounts on Goldstar and CertifiKID.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 25 – March 1

Cartwheels on the East Lawn at Dumbarton Oaks




Monday – Go to a special Black History Month Story Time at theNational Postal Museum. The program includes a book reading and activities for little ones in the museum’s education space. Stay to explore the rest of the museum, which is full of interactive exhibits that all ages can enjoy. Story Time is at 10:30am and repeated at 11am. Admission is free. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Tuesday – Let the kids burn some energy at Dynamite Gymnastics Center. Tumbling mats, a foam pit, floor beams, trampolines, and more equipment will keep them active during Open Gym time. Sessions take place at two different locations on Tuesday: 12-12:50pm and 3-3:50pm in Rockville, and 11:30am – 12:20pm and 2:30-3:20pm in Gaithersburg. Admission is $9/child, $14/participating adult. (Times and locations vary on other days, so see the calendar for those details.)

Wednesday – Catch a performance of Wake Up, Brother Bear at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE. The interactive show recommended for ages 1-5 is also part of the annual INTERSECTIONS Festival. Showtime is 10am, and tickets are $12. Plan to grab lunch at one of many nearby eateries after.

In the evening, head to the Millennium Stage performance at the Kennedy Center, where dancers from the Washington Ballet will perform portions from their upcoming production of The Sleeping Beauty. They’ll also be hosting a free one-hour class for kids ages 6-12, teaching the five feet and arm positions in classical ballet. Space is limited, so you might want to get there early if you hope to join!

Thursday – Roam free while you can at the enchanting gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown — there is no entry fee through mid-March! The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm, but you can play at nearby Montrose Park, where admission is also free) or grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand. I promise, it’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit.

Friday – Enjoy a quintessential winter activity and go ice skating! There are rinks, outdoors and in, located all around the area. Several offer push aids to help newbie skaters, and most are located in places with even more to do beyond the ice. This post has details for all of them.

* A late addition…The NHL and American Legacy Magazine are celebrating Black History Month with a mobile truck experience celebrating over 200 years of black achievements in hockey. You can view a display about black hockey history as far back as 1815, see gear from legendary players, and check out the next generation of young stars and women in the game. This mobile exhibit will be at the Canadian Embassy this Monday – Wednesday, February 25-27, 11am – 7pm. Admission is FREE!

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

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 19-22

Hands-on fun and learning at the Air & Space Museum




Tuesday – Take tots to story hour at East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill — the weekly book readings are perfect for ages 1-4. The session starts at 11am, and admission is free. After, stay to browse the inventory, then head next door to Labyrinth to check out their great selection of games and puzzles or grab a bite at one of many nearby eateries. If you’re with older kids on the break from school, take advantage of their availability and the off-peak season at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. During February and March, passes are not needed for weekday admission, so this is a great time to go! Hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

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 – Head to a local go-to for fun and educational recreation: The National Air & Space Museum! It’s filled literally floor-to-ceiling with fascinating exhibits and amazing artifacts from of flight and space. Stop in the fantastic “How Things Fly” gallery with loads of cool interactive stations. And the Flights of Fancy story time for little ones begins at 11am with a flight-themed reading and hands-on activity. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Friday – Explore and play at Potomac Overlook Nature Center in Arlington. You can see turtles, snakes, and other creatures and learn about the area’s natural environment through exhibits and hands-on activities. If weather permits, head outside to hike the trails and take in views of the Potomac. Hours are 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is free.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Park, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 11-15

Scenic views + interactive exhibits at the Observation Deck at CEB Tower



Monday – Rise + Rhyme with Culture Queen at the Anthony Bowden YMCA (2021 14th St NW). Presented by Busboys & Poets, this is a special offsite addition to their weekly series that welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Admission is $5/child.

Tuesday – Make a day of it at the National Museum of American History, where you can catch a screening of Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and a sweet discount — tickets are just $5 on Tuesdays! While you’re there, stop by the Superhero’s exhibit complete with George Reeves’s Superman costume from Adventures of Superman and Halle Berry’s Storm costume from X-Men. And don’t miss The BatMobile from Tim Burton’s film “Batman” parked right outside the Warner Bros. Theater. Of course, the rest of the museum is always fantastic to explore — hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Wednesday – Join a class especially for preschoolers (ages 2-5) at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens, where they’ll explore a mansion room through make believe, art projects, and imaginative play. During this session of the three-part Treasure Quest-themed series, they’ll hunt for hidden gems and magnificent treasures that glitter and sparkle. The whole series is $30 per child with one accompanying adult ($25 member; $18 additional adults), or you can pay $12 per class ($10/members). Classes are 10:30-11:15am on February 13, 20, and 27.

Thursday – Celebrate the day by making Nature Valentines at Brookside Nature Center. You’ll go on a short walk in search of nuts, sticks, and other natural items to decorate with, and then head inside and get to work. The program is from 10:30-11:30am, and admission is $6 — register in advance! For more activities that kids will love, see this post about Valentine’s Day-inspired fun around the DMV.

Friday – Get a bird’s eye view of the DC area from the Observation Deck at CEB Towers. The 30+ story high space in Rosslyn offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramic vistas plus neat interactive and immerse experiences to enjoy them even more. Hours are 10am – 8pm, and admission is $21/adult, $11/age 5-13, $16/seniors & military, free for children under 5 (they are $1 more at the box office). But if you’re an Arlington resident, admission is FREE!



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