Tag Archives: DC Sports

A Day at Nationals Park is a Hit for Families



Surely, you guys know by now that we are fans of the Nats — and Nationals Park. I discussed it in a very early KFDC post, include ballgames in Weekend Round-Ups whenever they play at home, have endorsed the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for years, and know it all well enough to have plenty of tips for spending less on a day at the ballpark.

For us, catching a game at Nationals Park is an excellent way to spend a family day out. Not only is it a blast to watch the action on the field and enjoy fun in the stands, there are all kinds of programs and ballpark amenities that cater to kids. And even though we’re halfway through the season, and I mention these from time to time, here’s a round-up of all the features especially for families to help plan a day at Nats Park.

Giveaways
Nationals Park was designed for fans of all ages, and there are a few upcoming giveaways that young baseball fans will particularly enjoy:
* Sunday, July 30 | Nationals vs. Rockies at 1:35pm – Coloring Book presented by the Potomac Nationals (first 10,000 fans 12 & under)
* Tuesday, August 29 | Nationals vs. Marlins at 7:05pm – Bryce Harper Starting Lineup Action Figure presented by SAIC (first 25,000 fans)

Kids Run the Bases
All kids ages 4 through 12 have the opportunity to run the bases after Sunday home games – throughout the season. Jr. Nationals MVP members have access to an exclusive line that will go onto the field first (more info below). Weather permitting, subject to change.

Little Owen runs the bases after a Sunday Nats game

Tickets: Harris Teeter Family Fun Pack
Available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season, the pack includes a game ticket, hot dog, chips, Coca-Cola/Dasani beverage, and fans save up to 36% on a meal and game ticket!

Jr. Nats Kids Club
For all kids ages 12 and younger, the Jr. Nationals Kids Club, presented by Harris Teeter, is a great way to enjoy Nationals baseball. The Jr. Nats MVP Membership is just $20 for all fans ages 4-12! Benefits include:
* Membership Card and Lanyard, Coupon Book and Passport, MVP Book Bag, Exclusive Jr. Nats Baseball Cap, MVP Baseball Seam Bracelet
* Three Nationals Team Store Coupons
* One Welcome/Birthday Scoreboard Message
* One Promotional Item
* One FREE Meal at any NatsDog Stand
The Jr. Nats Rookie Membership is FREE for all fans ages 4-12! Benefits include a Membership Card and Lanyard, Special Meet and Greet Opportunities, and Exclusive Email Offers.

Family Fun Area
Children are invited to visit this kids-oriented play area inside Nationals Park, located inside the Right Field Gate, adjacent to the Team Store. Here guests will find a jungle gym and other activities suitable for kids.

Nationals Main Team Store
The Nationals recently modernized the Main Team Store in Center Field Plaza to create a better shopping experience for fans. The Nationals expanded the collection of available merchandise, including the Kids Section, which now includes products from Majestic Kids.

Concessions
At Rookie’s (Food for the Little Slugger), the younger generation of Nat’s fans can get Jr. Nats Dogs, Uncrustables™, and Kids Meals. Located in Section 142.

Birthdays & Tours
Did you know that kids can celebrate their birthday at Nationals Park? Read more about what that entails in this post with ideas for parties in the DC area. Also, fans of all ages will root for a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark!

So, are you ready to take the kids out to the ballgame? If this doesn’t cover all the bases, the Washington Nationals website has more information.



Disclosure: I received free game tickets from the Washington Nationals, however, I only promote places, programs, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Fall, Outdoor, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: May 27-30

A memorial tour is a great way to observe this weekend's holiday and enjoy a day in DC

A memorial tour is a great way to observe this weekend’s holiday and enjoy a day in DC



Gymboree Sale On Now!


Whether you seek events that observe the holiday, are ready to get the summer fun started, or just want to enjoy some quality time with the kids over the long weekend, this round-up of recreation has you covered. Happy Weekend!

“Summer” Fun
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

It may not be official on the calendar, but summer fun is underway Outdoor concerts, water fun, movies under the stars, and more ongoing seasonal treats have begun or are about to begin in DC. Start the weekend with free music this evening at Jazz in the Garden or Rockin’ on the Riverfront, cool off at a public pool or a sprayground during the warm days, see a family flick outdoors at National Harbor on Sunday night… and so much more. The KFDC 2016 Guide to Summer in DC has the scoop on where and when you can experience the joys of summer.

Strawberry Jubilee
Where: Great Country Farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $10/child, $12/adult

The largest U-pick strawberry festival takes place this weekend and next, rain or shine. Get ready for lots of fun activities for all ages, including the popular diaper derby, pie-eating contests, tart toss, strawberry princess, great food, and live music. As if that’s not enough to keep the family entertained for the day, there’s also the five-acre play area, complete with the jumping pillow, slides, rope swings, mazes, a tractor tire mountain, and animal encounters. Whew!

Soak City
Where: Kings Dominion
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Starts at $45

Soak up the fun this holiday weekend at King’s Dominion! Soak City is the park’s 20-acre splash-tacular paradise with water activities for guests of all ages, opens this weekend. Zip down water slides, play in the wave pools, ride a raft with the whole fam, take a thrilling inner tube ride or keep it chill as you meander along the Lazy Rider. There’s even a whole area just for little ones (under 54”). And you can simply relax in the comfort of a private cabana. (Tip: You can often find ticket discounts by doing a simple Google search.)

Memorials on the Mall
Where: National Mall
When: All Weekend
Admission: Free

Tributes to those who have served our country will take place at the many memorials and monuments on the National Mall throughout the weekend. Times vary, but you can look for schedules on the National Park Service website. The Mall will likely be crowded, so plan accordingly.

Art to Save the Sea
Where: National Zoo
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Get a close-up view of a 12-foot shark, 16-foot parrot fish, an 8-foot octopus, and a 20-foot-lcoral reef — all made completely of plastic debris collected from beaches. “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” a collection of colorful and dramatic sculptures of marine animals, represents more than 315 billion pounds of plastic in oceans today, underscoring the need for wildlife conservation. It opens today, May 27, and will be on view at the Zoo through September 5.

Nats vs. Cards
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Nats are playing at home for the holiday weekend, and you can catch games against the Cardinals on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon. Be sure to check out KFDC tips on how to do a Nats game without breaking the bank. And if you go on Sunday, plan to stay after for Kids Run the Bases when children can loop the infield after the last out.

Root for the Baysox
Where: Prince George’s Stadium
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

If you want to see baseball on a smaller scale, check out a Minor League game. The Bowie Baysox are hosting the Altoona Curve all weekend, and there’s extra fun and special promos to enjoy, too — giveaways, post-game fireworks, a helicopter candy drop(!), and more. Read more about Baysox games in this recent KFDC post.

Take the Wheel with Superheroes
Where: National Harbor
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $15/adult, $11.25/child

If you haven’t taken a spin on the Capital Wheel, the Ferris wheel at National Harbor, this weekend is a good time to go while some special guests are there. Captain America and Spider Man will be at the attraction for superhero greetings along with a whirl on the ride. And there’s plenty more to do at National Harbor while you’re there – this KFDC post has details about one of our experiences there.

Beast Coast
Where: Gateway Park
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Starts at $10 for spectators

See some of the world’s best parkour athletes execute their amazing tricks and skills and get in on the action, too! There will be contests, demos, and courses for all levels, plus seminars for those serious about their parkour training. A DJ, giveaways, and other activities will add to the festival fun.

Homefront Street Cars
Where: National Capital Trolley Museum
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: $5/child, $7/adult

Recall the role of the transit industry during wartime in observance of Memorial Day. Enjoy Tilley the Trolley and Billy the Bus, a wartime production of the Capital Transit Company, and Ten Seconds to Go, a wartime production of Kansas City Public Service. The special exhibit, Homefront Street Cars, will also be on view.

The Emperor’s Nightingale
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the weekend
Tickets: $19.50

The sweet song of a Nightingale saves an Empire. Adventure Theatre’s adaptation set in eighteenth century China, brings to light the younger days of Emperor Qianlong, who would become one of the greatest rulers of the Middle Kingdom. It takes a magical bird to help the headstrong and aimless Prince to become a King. Recommended for all ages.

Shows on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $10 & $6

It’s the last chance to see Sleeping Beauty at the puppet theatre in Glen Echo. Told with rod puppets and wonderful special effects, the show is a real treat for princesses and princes, big and small. And little ones will love Sing-a-Long, this weekend’s featured Tiny Tots show — the lights stay on, doors remain open, and performances are short for newbie theatre-goers.

Open Studio: Symbolism in Stories
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Learn how photographs can tell stories about a place during this afternoon of free family-friendly activities. Discover Saudi Arabia through tours of the special exhibition Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater. Experiment with art materials, solve creative challenges, and collaborate with friends and family. All ages are welcome with adult companions.

Take Your Pick
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Strawberries are ripe and ready for harvest, and many area farms welcome guests to come PYO. It’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.

Go with the Flow
Where: Potomac, Anacostia, & Patuxent Rivers
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by boathouse

Enjoy the weekend on the water, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and pontoons. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, and you can also row from the Ballpark Boathouse next to Yards Park. Bladensburg Waterfront Park also has vessels for rent along with free pontoon boat tours on weekends from 5-5:45. And if you’re up for a bigger excursion, you can rent your own pontoon at Solomons Island.

Jump In with Next Reflex Dance Collective
Where: Workhouse Arts Center
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission: $18/adult, $10/child

Take in an evening of fun, family friendly and diverse dance work at Jump In presented by Next Reflex Dance Collective. The one-night dance event at the W-3 Theatre on the campus of the Work House Arts Center in Lorton, VA, features an exciting program of dance works geared towards audience members of all ages.

IRELAND 100
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free (some performances require paid tickets)

The Kennedy Center is celebrating Irish culture and arts through June 5. View exhibits in the Hall of Nations and Hall of States, catch performances by some of Ireland’s best contemporary musicians, dancers, and theater companies, enjoy concerts and concessions on the special outdoor green space, and more. See the website for the schedule of festivities.

National Memorial Day Concert
Where: West lawn of the Capitol
When: Sunday, 8-9:30pm, gates open at 5pm
(or Saturday for the dress rehearsal)
Admission: Free

Why watch on TV when you can be there in person? The 2016 National Memorial Day Concert will take place on the west lawn of the Capitol on Sunday from 8 – 9:30pm. Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna are hosting the event once again, and an all-star line-up of artists will join the National Symphony Orchestra in honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country. If you’re planning to go, the FAQ page on the concert website is worth a read. KFDC Tip: If you can’t make Sunday’s show or don’t want to deal with the crowds, Saturday’s dress rehearsal is also always open to the public — gates open at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm.

Memorial Day Observance
Where: Arlington National Cemetery
When: Monday, 10:30am
Admission: Free

Observe the holiday at one of the most iconic spots to honor those who have served. A prelude concert by the United States Navy Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30am, and a wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 11am followed by an observance program in the amphitheater. Space is limited to standing room only for the wreath-laying ceremony, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the amphitheater. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to ensure access to these events and should plan to be seated no later than 9:30am. Read more about Arlington National Cemetery here.

National Memorial Day Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue NW, 7th to 17th Streets
When: Monday, 2pm
Admission: Free

The annual National Memorial Day Parade celebrates and honors American veterans with a grand procession through the city. Get a curbside view of military units and vehicles, marching bands, flag teams, and hundreds of veterans as they travel up Constitution Avenue.

The Ins & Outs of DC
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

For even more ideas for things to do, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Great Indoors
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Parade, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

The 2016 KFDC Guide to Summer in DC

Summer in the city

Summer in the city



The timing couldn’t be better to bring back this annual guide. The sun is shining brightly, blue has returned to the skies, and the mercury is rising — and we’ve got a nice stretch of this ahead. Quash any doubts that were starting to creep in… DC is going to have a summer!

Ah, summer. The time of year to shift gears — from close-toed shoes to sandals, jeans to shorts, red wine to margaritas. It’s when play dates extend well into the evening, a dip in the pool counts as a bath, and the folks at the neighborhood water ice shop know the kids by name.

It’s also when we can enjoy some of DC’s best activities. Music and movies in the open air, special fests and feasts, water-inspired recreation, and bonus attractions at everyday places are just some of the joys of the season.

And while summer may not officially begin for a few more weeks, Memorial Day weekend is when it kicks off in my mind, and it also marks the start of many seasonal favorites. So, unpack the swimsuits and flip flops, get out the blender for margaritas (smoothies for the kids), and get ready to have some summer fun!

Outdoor Pool Season
Play in the Sprays
Water Parks
Summer Concerts
Festivals
Big Screen Under the Stars
Museum Programs & Seasonal Exhibits
Movies, Storytimes, & More
Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel
Children’s Theatre
Summer Sports
Crab Feasts
Seasonal Experiences


Outdoor Pool Season
Nothing says summer like swimming under the sun, and there are plenty of public pools in the area where you can jump in for free or a small admission fee.

  • DC outdoor public pools will open on Saturday, May 28, from 12 – 6pm and will be open weekends only through June 12, as well as Memorial Day, Monday, May 29. Starting June 18, they will open daily, though all pools are closed one day a week for maintenance, so be sure to check the schedule before you go. And note that they will open earlier on weekdays this year, at 11am! (And some open even earlier than that for lap swim.)
  • For outdoor swimming outside of the city, Montgomery County outdoor public pools will open on May 27 through Labor Day — the Department of Recreation website has locations and hours.
  • In Northern Virginia, Arlington’s Upton Hill has a whole water park for guests to enjoy, and Alexandria has several places where the public is welcome to swim. Be sure to check the website for hours, as they vary from pool to pool.


A refreshing run through the sprays at Georgetown Waterfront Park

A refreshing run through the sprays at Georgetown Waterfront Park


Play in the Sprays
Kids can run through fountains and splash around at many area spraygrounds. Several are within the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, but some of the best are built right into the urban landscape, making the concrete jungle a cool place to hang out during the hottest months.

  • Georgetown Waterfront Park, right next to the Washington Harbour, has a fountain with arcing sprays that makes for a fun, refreshing way to cool off on a hot, summer day. The rest of its pretty green space along the Potomac is a great place to hang out, too.
  • The Yards Park is a favorite for many in the city with two levels of super fun sprays, a wading pool and wall of water (essentially a water fall between the levels), plus a great scenic location on the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard
  • Canal Park in the Navy Yard is great for all ages with both a gentle, shallow fountain that is perfect for really little ones to enjoy, plus a bigger fountain with lots of sprays for more enthusiastic play where the ice rink is in the winter.
  • Starting May 28, DPR Spray Parks will be open for the season, but hours vary by location, so be sure to check the website for hours.
  • Some of the area’s most popular spray parks — Lyon Village Park, Hayes Park, and Drew Park — can be found in Arlington.
  • The interactive fountain in Downtown Silver Spring plaza is open daily from 10am – 8pm. While my kids have never played there, I recall seeing very happy youngsters playing in the sprays on the colorful mosaic design during my lunch breaks when I worked at Discovery. It always looked like a blast.
  • The fountain in the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza located at 14th and Park Road, NW is a great place to cool down on a hot day, with many sprays that surge up from a pretty, circular tiled surface. Do a little shopping while you’re there — Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and many other big retail stores are right there — and plan to grab a bite at one of many kid-friendly eateries around. And don’t miss a chance to stop in the Museum of Unnatural History at 826DC.
  • The Fountain on the Square at Rockville Town Square welcomes kids to splish splash from May to September. It’s open Monday – Saturday 11am to 9pm and Sunday 12-8pm, but it’s turned off for maintenance at certain times during the week, so be sure to check the schedule before you go.
  • One of the newest to the sprayground scene, the fountains in the Mosaic District welcome all to play in the sprays that jet up from concrete. Surrounded by retails and restaurants, you can make a day of it there with some shopping and eating, too. Plan to go on a Tuesday with little ones when you can also enjoy Stories from Strawberry Park at 10-11am.


Water Parks
Giant water slides, wave pools, waterfalls, sprays and splash pads…this is the stuff kids’ summer dreams are made of. There are actually several water parks around the area offering many of these attractions, just about all of them opening Memorial Day weekend for limited hours, until they open daily in a few weeks. Here’s a quick list — visit the websites for more details.


Rockin' on the Riverfront is a great start to a summer weekend

Rockin’ on the Riverfront is a great start to a summer weekend


Summer Concerts
Free music in the fresh air has become a staple of the season, and there are opportunities to enjoy just about every genre regularly at outdoor venues all around the DC-Metro.

  • The Capitol Riverfront Friday Concert Series at Yards Park begins May 20 with the Tour de Fat Festival and will run through September 2, presenting a new band each week on the boardwalk stage overlooking the Anacostia River. Along with the free music, food and beverages are available for purchase. (This year there is, unfortunately, a new NO BYOB policy). I recommend getting there early, so the kids can play in the fountains before the concert starts at 6:30pm. And on a hot summer day, it’s nice to continue the water fun even while the tunes are playing — you can still hear them from across the park!
  • Experience live music amid art at Jazz in the Garden, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s free concert series, every Friday from 5:30–8:30pm. The first performance of the season is May 27, rain or shine, and there will be weekly shows through September 2. Spread out a blanket, pack a picnic dinner or purchase food and drinks there, and enjoy the sounds of a variety of jazz artists. Note: Adult drinks are available from the pavilion; BYO alcohol is not permitted.
  • The U.S. Air Force Band 2016 Summer Concert Series kicks off May 12 with a Chamber Players performance at The Lyceum. After that, you can catch free concerts all summer long at locales around the DC-Metro area, including iconic spots like the Air Force Memorial, Capitol steps, and Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument grounds. Show times vary so be sure to check the U.S. Air Force Band website for the complete summer schedule.
  • All summer long, families can enjoy a variety of free fun at Rockville Town Square. Concerts for all ages on Friday evenings began May 6 and will run through September 30 — enjoy live music, good food, and beverages from 6:30-9:30pm.
  • In Silver Spring, Downtown Live! brings free music every Friday evening to the Fountain Plaza 6:30-8:30pm. Enjoy everything from pop to jazz to R&B to classic rock weekly May 20 through August 26.
  • Rock at the Row returns to Pentagon Row Thursdays through August 25. From 7-9pm, all are invited to the lounge on the new plaza for food samples and craft beer in the VIP section or to gather at one of the outdoor cafés while enjoying live music, giveaways, and merchant specials.
  • The U.S. Botanic Garden is bringing back the American Roots Music Concert Series every Thursday 5-7pm, June 2 – October 20. Celebrate American roots with Americana and folk, country, blues, jazz, and even zydeco outside on the Conservatory Terrace.
  • You can kick-start your weekends at Tysons Corner Center’s Fresh Artists Concert Series, co-hosted by 94.7 Fresh FM and powered by Intelsat. Featuring “Fresh Artists,” the series has a little something for everyone. Grab a blanket and enjoy performances ranging from ballet to blues, folk to funk, poetry to pop. This will run from June 3 – July 26.
  • Get a nice dose of nature as you listen to live tunes at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington on select Saturday evenings June 4 through August 27. The free, family-friendly performances take place on a stage in the woods surrounded by trails to explore. And the nature center — with snakes, turtles, owls, hawks — is open, too.
  • Enjoy music in Northern Virginia parks! The Fairfax County Park Authority presents their Summer Entertainment Series, a summer-long calendar of shows, concerts and movies appropriate families held in local parks. Bring a picnic dinner, blankets, and lawn chairs to enjoy the best local and regional entertainers.
  • Strathmore, the North Bethesda performing arts center, will host free outdoor concerts every Wednesday from July 6 – August 24.
  • Carter Barron Amphitheater’s annual concert series takes place amid the woods of Rock Creek Park. While most shows are free, a few require admission. The 2016 lineup has not yet been announced, but check the website for an update soon!


Ren Fest and all its pageantry begins in late summer

Ren Fest and all its pageantry begins in late summer


Festivals
Several stand-out events are anticipated around the area this time of year, celebrating everything from music to art & culture to neighborhoods to food.

  • Get folksy at Glen Echo Park June 4-5, when the 36th Annual Washington Folk Festival showcases the diversity of traditional music in Washington. All of the artists hail from the DC area, but cultures from around the nation, as well as the world, will be represented through music, dance, crafts, and stories. The public is invited to enjoy the free festival that is renown in the folk community.
  • It sounds like a grown-ups-only event, but the Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival offers plenty of family fun, too. Taking place June 4-5 at Bull Run Park, festivities include wine tasting (of course), chef demos, food truck fare, live music, and a whole family-friendly area with activities especially for kids.
  • Imagination Bethesda, an annual festival occurring in the heart of its namesake city, is all about children. On June 4 from 10am – 3pm, Woodmont & Elm downtown will be lined with activity tents offering tons of fun for kids — arts & crafts, face painting, games, etc. There will also be live entertainment, food from local restaurants, and more. Admission is free.
  • The DC Jazz Festival presents a variety of performers at venues all around the city from June 10-19, but the most family-friendly of them actually precede the main event. Jazz n’ Family Fun Days will take place June 4-5 with free shows for all ages at The Phillips Collection.
  • Attend one of the biggest summer barbeques around June 25-26 as the National Capital Barbeque Battle returns to pit some of the nation’s best barbequers against each other as they compete for big prizes. The reward for attendees: Samples from all the entrants (plus, more food), live music, cooking demos, kids’ fun, and more.
  • Every summer, the National Mall becomes stomping grounds of folks from around the globe to celebrate living cultural heritage and community traditions at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year’s event will run from June 29 – July 4 and July 7-9, celebrating Basque culture and heritage and the Sounds of California.
  • The lotus and water lilies in full bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are such a ravishing sight it calls for a celebration. Along with the spectacular display of flowers, the annual Lotus & Water Lily Festival will feature traditional Asian and African dancing and drumming, gardening workshops, park tours, arts & crafts, face painting, and other family-friendly pursuits on July 16.
  • The annual Del Ray Music Festival is always a popular event. On July 23, count on a celebration of the Alexandria community with a day of food, games, and lots of kids’ activities along with a varied line-up of live entertainment.
  • On July 16, a 1,000-foot slip ‘n’ slide will be the centerpiece of Slide the City, an all-day party in Tyson’s Corner that also offers live music, entertainment, and vendors. Sliders must be 5 years old and 46″ tall. Tickets prices go up as the event gets closer, so reserve yours soon.
  • It might run into fall, but it starts in August, so I’m counting the Maryland Renaissance Festival among the summer fun. Plus, it’s one of my very, very favorite annual events (more confirmation on that here). The merriment begins August 27 and will continue every weekend through October 23. Go. Just go.


Big Screen Under the Stars
Outdoor movies have become a DC summer tradition in the last few years with films al fresco in several neighborhoods. Even better, all of them are FREE! (*Before you make plans to enjoy any of the series, be sure to check schedules, as some movies may not be appropriate for children.)

  • “Choose your Own Adventure” is the theme of this year’s NoMa Summer Screen, so mark your calendars for Raider of the Lost Ark, Princess Bride, Jumanji, E.T., and a bunch of other family-friendly flicks. The series begins June 1 and will run weekly on Wednesdays until August 17. There will also be Family Film Night with movies for littler ones on June 21, July 19, and August 16. Sponsored by REI (coming to the NoMA soon!), the series will take place at NoMa Junction at Storey Park (1005 First Street NE). Get there to picnic at 7pm, and the movie begins at dark. See the list of films on the website.
  • See Your favorite stars beneath the stars at the Capitol Riverfront’s Canal Park Outdoor Movie Series. Catch films every Thursday evening at sundown from June 2 through August 11.
  • National Harbor’s Movies on the Potomac started their Sunday night film series for families on May 1and will runt through September 25. Movies are shown on the plaza screen beginning at sunset, usually around 8:30pm.
  • Bethesda Outdoor Movies will bring five days of flicks al fresco to downtown at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues from July 26-30.
  • Catch Films in the Park at the Mosaic District every Friday from June 3 – August 26 with a lineup of family-friendly films.


Spy fairy houses and more artful delights at Annmarie Sculpture Gardens

Spy fairy houses and more artful delights at Annmarie Sculpture Gardens


Museum Programs & Seasonal Exhibits

  • First there was indoor mini-golf, then it was a giant maze, last year it was the awesome BEACH. This summer, the National Building Museum is riding the seasonal wave and bringing ICEBERGS to the Great Hall. The immersive installation will emphasize current themes of landscape representation, geometry, and construction, as visitors ascend a viewing area inside the tallest berg, traverse an undersea bridge, relax among caves and grottos. Admission is $5/youth member, $10/adult member and $13/youth non-member, $16/adult non-member. Open July 2 through September 5.
  • The National Gallery of Art’s Stories in Art Drop-In Series returns this summer after a hiatus during museum renovations. Geared toward ages 4-7, this fantastic program introduces kids to art and encourages them to use their imaginations as they discover different works. This season will explore the Netherlands as they “meet” Dutch artists and investigate their paintings and sculptures. Read a KFDC review of the program from a few years back (we’ve been since, and it was just as good!).
  • Annmarie Sculpture Garden is enchanting any time of year, but it’s especially so in the summer when the fairy and gnome houses are on display. The adorable collection of little whimsical abodes for sprite-like creatures have all been selected from many submissions in an annual fairy house building contest. And they are just fantastic. Created by all ages, individuals and groups, each one has a different theme, but together they are a brilliant showcase of imagination and craftiness.
  • During the warm months, little ones can flex their green thumbs in the outdoor Children’s Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden — they can dig in dirt, water plants, and explore a cute little Bamboo Forest. The rest of the USBG’s outdoor gardens are great to explore, too!
  • You can walk amid a garden of butterflies at Brookside Garden’s amazing Wings of Fancy exhibit. It’s back after being closed last summer during renovations. The seasonal display featuring live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world opened in April and will welcome visitors through September 25, 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2 (admission to the rest of Brookside is free). Read about a KFDC experience at the exhibit.
  • At Smithsonian’s National Zoo, you can get up close and view a 12-foot-long shark, 16-foot-long parrot fish, an 8-foot-wide octopus, and a 20-foot-long coral reef — all made completely of plastic debris collected from beaches. “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” a collection of colorful and dramatic sculptures of marine animals, represents more than 315 billion pounds of plastic in oceans today and underscore the need for wildlife conservation. It will be on view May 27 through September 5. Admission to the exhibit and the Zoo are free.
  • Every year, the Newseum offers the Summer Fun Deal. From July 1 – September 5, there is no admission fee for kids ages 18 and under. The promotion waives the $12.95 regular entrance charge for youth with one paid adult admission, senior admission, or Newseum membership (a benefit to ages 7 and up, as kids 6 and under are always free). Up to six kids can enter free with the offer. Read a KFDC take on the Newseum and look for a deal on adult admission here.


Movies, Storytimes, & More
Families movies at local theaters are a great way to stay cool and keep kids entertained when the weather heats up. And several seasonal programs keep little ones engaged with storytimes and more interactive fun. Even better, they’re all free or super cheap!

  • The Regal Summer Movie Express presents flicks for kids on many Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am. Admission is just $1. Be sure to check the website for the film schedule and theater locations, as it doesn’t run at all theaters every week.
  • Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Ashburn welcomes families to Kids Camp, a movie series that is inexpensive ($1-3) and benefits local charities, to boot.
  • National Harbor hosts free family activities every Wednesday through September 28. From 10-10:30am enjoy Family Fitness classes. At 10:30am, there will be cartoons on the jumbo screen and a rotation of weekly activities provided by the Prince George’s County Fire & Police Departments and story time by the Urban Pirates.
  • Join Cathedral Commons for Mornings with Mommy & Daddies, Too!, a free interactive program for children of all ages on the second Wednesday of each month from May through September. Meets at Newark Street at Wisconsin Avenue.
  • Mommy and Me (and Daddy, Too!) programs take place each third Tuesday of the month 10am -12pm at Rockville Town Square. Active learning and creative play includes story time, arts and crafts, sing-a-longs, prizes and more.
  • From June 1 – September 28, Kids Corner on The Plaza at CityCenter welcomes little ones for outdoor story time, singing, and fun with DC Public Library.


Go for a spin on the carousel at Watkins Regional Park

Go for a spin on the Antique Carousel at Watkins Regional Park

Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel!
These extra delights bring even more fun to several parks around the area that are already great outdoor places to hang with the kids.

  • Watkins Regional Park opened its attractions on a limited schedule in early May, but come Memorial Day weekend, they can be enjoyed for extended hours almost every day of the week. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am – 7pm; Sundays 12–7 pm, closed Mondays except May 30 (Memorial Day), July 4 (July Fourth Holiday; closes at 4pm) & August 30 (Labor Day).
  • Cabin John Regional Park opened its Miniature Train on weekends only back in April, but as of June 1, it’ll be operating daily 10am – 7pm through August. After that, hours will be limited, so check the schedule.
  • The Miniature Train and Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel at Wheaton Regional Park started taking guests for spins in early April on weekends and will be open daily June 1 through August 28 (limited times after that). Hours are 10am – 6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am – 7pm Saturday & Sunday.
  • The Clemyjontri carousel has been running on weekends since April, but will be offering rides daily starting May 31 on weekdays 9:30am – 1:00pm and weekends 9:30am – 6:30pm.
  • The RIO Express Train and Carousel at RIO Washingtonian are open 3pm – dusk on weekdays, 11am – dusk on weekends through June 19. After that, they’ll open daily 11am – 9pm. Rides are $3.
  • Kind of like a London Eye of the U.S., The Capital Wheel at National Harbor is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of DC. The 42-gondola ride (all closed and climate-controlled with room for 8) soars 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront, offering vistas of the White House and Capitol, the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, and more amazing sites. Ticket prices start at $15. Read more about it here.
  • Burke Lake Park’s Mini Train and Carousel are open April to October, daily from Memorial Day – Labor Day 11:30am – 5:30pm. The park is free to access for Fairfax county residents. For non-county residents, the park is free on weekdays and has a $10 entrance fee on weekends/holidays for a car or large capacity van. Carousel rides are $2-3, and train rides are $3-4.


A setting as great as the entertainment at Children's Theatre in the Woods

A setting as great as the entertainment at Children’s Theatre in the Woods


Children’s Theatre
All the world’s an outdoor stage at these venues that present entertainment especially for children throughout the summer.

  • From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10am Tuesdays through Saturdays. Amidst 117 rolling wooded acres and nestled in a shady grove, the stage is set for lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. All of the productions are recommended for children between Kindergarten and 6th grade, though I think kids even younger can enjoy them, too (mine have). Read a KFDC review of the series from a couple of summers ago.
  • Backyard Theater for Children, Strathmore’s summer theater series brings live music and fun to kids – all outdoors under a big tent. Weekly performances take place every Thursday at 9:30am and 11:30 from July 7-28. Admission is $8, free for ages 2 and under.
  • See a Shakespeare play in the park! The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company presents Shakespeare in thr Ruins at the Picturesque Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City this summer. Romeo and Juliet, running June 10-19., is a unique production that has the audience travel with the actors and the action as the story unfolds outdoors on multiple sets in the ruins at the park — comfy shoes recommended for traveling around with the play. From June 24 – July 24, The Three Mustketeers is a one-stage show, perfect for a picnic performance with the whole fam. Even better, kids are free (two for every adult). Advance reservations are recommended as tickets are limited.


Boys of summer

Boys of summer


Summer Sports
Some of the season’s best action takes place in ballparks, stadiums, and arenas thanks to our local sports teams. Here’s where you can join the fan clubs.

  • A day at Nationals Park is all it takes to understand why baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Catching a Washington Nationals game is one of our family’s preferred ways to enjoy a nice summer (or spring) day (or evening), anyway. The excitement extends well beyond the diamond with games and activities in the park, a playground for kids, the Racing Presidents, fun in the stands, and more. Before you go, check out these tips on doing a Nats game without breaking the bank. And I highly recommend the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for children 12 and under. Just $20 gets them membership, which includes Nats swag, plus a coupon book with offers for free meals, BOGO tickets, a ballpark tour, and all kinds of discounts. Even a few months into the season, it’s still worth it!
  • Tennis, anyone? The Washington Kastles, the DC franchise of World TeamTennis, will bring some on-court thrills to the Smith Center, where Kastles Stadium is located, August 1-13. For some background, see this post and this one from a few years back.
  • Whether you’ve got a little soccer fan in your fam or not, DC United matches are fun experiences for all ages. And since games only last 90 minutes, it’s not too long for antsy young spectators. Be sure to check for any pre- or post-game activities for kids.
  • Can’t stand the heat? Head to the Verizon Center to see the Washington Mystics (w)hoop it up on the basketball court. Tickets start at $19.
  • Swing up to Charm City to see the Baltimore Orioles play. Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark, and you can head to the Inner Harbor before or after to make a day of it up north.
  • If the Nats or O’s aren’t in town, or you want to see baseball on a smaller scale, you’ve got several great options around the area. Take ’em out to the minors at a Bowie Baysox, Potomac Nationals, or Aberdeen Ironbirds game. Summer collegiate team Bethesda Big Train is also very popular for non-majors baseball action.
  • Women’s pro soccer team, Washington Spirit, plays in Germantown. Per a KFDC reader, “you get affordable tickets and concessions, picnic seating behind the goal, a really intimate, family-friendly environment and top-level soccer.”


Blue crabs, one of the best treats of the season

Blue crabs, one of the best treats of the season

Crab Feasts
Easily one of the best activities during summer in Maryland and neighboring areas (this is where I get non-DC-centric because I have to give credit where it’s due). Here are some suggestions for places to get ’em, though the “best” is always a subject for debate.


Explore the river with the Anacostia Watershed Society on a Paddle Night

Explore the river with the Anacostia Watershed Society on a Paddle Night


Seasonal Experiences

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC

The Weekend Round-Up: May 6-8

With my favorites at WONDER...this weekend is the last chance to see the full exhibit!

With my favorites at WONDER…this weekend is the last chance to see the full exhibit!



A fantastic mix of events and activities will brighten things up around here…along with sunshine (fingers crossed!) just in time for the special day. Happy Weekend! And a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!

Flower Mart
Where: National Cathedral
When: Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival, in its 77th year at the National Cathedral, is a wonderful way to spend a nice spring day . While plant sales, floral and horticultural displays, and boutique booths will likely be of more interest to grown-ups, there will also be music and entertainment, games and rides, tasty foods, the All Hallows Guild antique carousel, and other fun activities to delight kids as well. And be sure to visit the awesome Beauvoir School playground while your’re there. Admission is free, though concessions and some activities will cost a fee. Read about our experience there last year.

Around the World Embassy Tour
Where: More than 40 Embassies
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

You might get to hear live music from Albania, sample snacks from Sri Lanka, see a Bolivian dance performance, and enjoy the rich tradition of Nepalese storytelling – all in one day! Cultural Tourism DC presents its annual Around the World Embassy Tour, an open house to embassies from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania. The free event showcases art, music, traditional dress, and culinary delights from nations across the globe. It’s also your chance to check out the interiors of those mansions along Mass Ave & International Drive that you usually just admire from the street. A heads-up that there could be lines to get in some embassies, so be prepared. Admission is free, but bring identification, as some embassies might conduct security checks. For more about the event, read about one of our experiences there.

Last Call for WONDER(full)
Where: Renwick Gallery
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

It’s your last chance to experience the extraordinary WONDER exhibit in its full glory — the galleries on the second floor will close after this weekend. Even if you’ve already seen it, a repeat look is just as enchanting as previous visits. And if it’s your first time, well, you’re in for quite a treat.

Racing Art
Where: Baltimore
When: Saturday, 9am – 7pm
Admission: Free

You might see giant pink poodles and other outrageous works of art “race” down Charm City streets at the American Visionary Art Museum’s 18th annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. Kinetinauts (the pilots of the moving sculptures) will compete for the Grand East Coast National Mediocre Champion, awarded to the competitor who finishes exactly in the middle (that is the BEST). Vehicles are wacky and whimsical, straight from a lunatic genius imagination and constructed out of all kinds of materials. They may be a small one-person machine or a 50-foot feat of engineering navigated by many. This is one of those spectacles you just have to see for yourself.

Cheverly Truck Touch
Where: Cheverly Nursery School
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: $5 (under 18 months are free)

Little ones love Truck Touch events, and you’ve got your pick of two this weekend (see below). Cheverly Weekday Nursery’s annual fundraiser welcomes children to sit in the driver’s seat of a fire truck, honk the horn of a dump truck, run around inside the trailer of an 18-wheeler, check out the a police car interior, stand on the back of a garbage truck, and get behind the wheel of many more cool rides. And the fun doesn’t end there—games geared toward little ones, moon bounces, concessions, balloons, and more will also be available. The event will be held in the Cheverly United Methodist Church parking lot (2801 Cheverly Avenue in Cheverly MD). Read an early KFDC post about our take on these events here.

Silver Spring Truck Touch
Where: Silver Spring Nursery School
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admisison: $5

Kids can all kinds of cool vehicles, including Montgomery County construction trucks, a fire engine, rescue vehicles, a school bus, a Metro bus, and more. Also enjoy live music from local favorite Marsha & the Positrons, as well as yummy food and drinks, arts & crafts, games and face painting. And returning this year is the popular Silent Auction, where you can bid on lots of amazing Park at the CHI Center (10501 New Hampshire Ave. in Silver Spring), then head one block South to SSNS at 10309 New Hampshire Ave.

Fun – & Asparagus!– on the Farm
Where: Great Country Farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $8/child, $10/adult

Why buy mom roses when you can you can give her a bouquet of something as unique and fresh as asparagus? The veggie is at its peak and full of flavor this time of year, and you can get it at Great Country Farms – and have a ton of fun. Let dad take the kids out to the five-acre play area, while mom enjoys shopping in the Farm Market stocked with jams & jellies, honey, local meats, baked goods and great gift ideas! Or just relax over lunch and a strawberry sundae at the Roosteraunt concession stand. They’ll have a Chocolate Dipped Strawberry for each visiting mom to thank her for her love, patience, and nurturing in raising our next generation – now, that is sweet!

Go Colonial
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $8/adult, $3/child, free for 2 and under

Take a little time trip back to 1771 at the living history museum in McLean. At Claude Moore Colonial Farm you can see and experience what life was like in the 18th century. Visitors aren’t just welcome, but encouraged, to join a farm family in their daily farm activities. It’s a fun and educational outing for all ages!

“Perspectives” Family Day
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join the museum and the Ivymount School, a local school serving students with specific learning disabilities, hearing impairment and autism, for this special event. Families can learn about different perspectives in portraits, create their own portraits, and dance to the lively tunes of Sean Lane and Bay Jazz Project.

Root for the Baysox
Where: Prince George’s Stadium
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Just because the Nats aren’t in town, that doesn’t mean you can’t catch some good baseball action. The Bowie Baysox, one of the local minor league teams, are hosting the Erie SeaWolves all weekend, and there’s extra fun and special promos to enjoy, too — post-game fireworks, a Star Trek celebration, and Mother’s Day brunch among them. Read more about Baysox games in this recent KFDC post.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Go on a comic adventure that is fun for the whole family with Air Play at Strathmore on Friday evening
* Follow the yellow brick road to the National Theatre where The Wizard of Oz is running through May 15
* The Emperor’s Nightingale is at Adventure Theatre
* Get your groove on with Groovy Nate at Kinder Haus Toys on Saturday
* Looking for Roberto Clemente is on the Imagination Stage
* See a fairy tale on strings as Sleeping Beauty is performed at The Puppet Co.
* And Kooky Kritters is the featured Tiny Tots show there

Walks in the Woods
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

If weather permits (or if you don’t mind a little rain), spend some time on the trail. 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.

Family Archaeology Day
Where: Needwood Mansion
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: $10/person or $20 per family

See and experience what parks archaeologists do. Event features a 19th century slave quarters dig exhibit, mansion tours, a simulated archaeology dig for children, storytelling, old-time games and crafts. Bring a bag lunch and stay for the day.

Korea Day: A Family Festival
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday, 11 am–4 pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Children’s Day with a full day of free cultural activities for the whole family. Explore the richness of Korean culture through hands-on activities, musical performances, taekwondo demonstrations, and storybook readings by staff of the DC Public Library.

Green Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $13.65, free for ages 16 and under

Go green at the nation’s premier sustainability event. Explore over 250 exhibitors, hear from over 50 inspirational speakers, indulge in delicious vegan or vegetarian food, and learn all you need to know to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Moms get free admission on Mother’s Day!

Community Sing
Where: THEARC
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Levine Music, known for bringing music to numerous communities throughout the DMV, is hosting its most ambitious community sing-along. People of all ages and abilities are invited to raise their voices in song. Levine artist-in-residence Dr. Ysaye Maria Barnwell will lead participants in gorgeous five-part harmonies. Bring the whole family! RSVP requested here.

Solve the Great STEM Mystery
Where: Lord of Life Preschool in Clifton, VA
When: Saturday,
Admission: $5

Join Lord of Life Preschool as they host a day of hands-on STEM fun for preschool and elementary aged kids. Get your Detective Handbook, earn clues, and work your way through interactive exhibits such as Mindcraft Molding, Lego Robotics, Math Crafts, Experiments, and much more. Enjoy some food and entertainment, too — grab lunch or a snack and watch Professor Fizzwiffle’s Magical Science Show!

Rally for Recess
Where: 660 K St. NE
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Join Playworks, a that believes in the power of play, at this free event to support recess in the DMVin the 2016-2017 school year. The day will be full of fun activities for families, including games, an Imagination Playground, healthy food tastings, giveaways, and more!

Savor the Day
Where: Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard
When: Daily, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy a perfect balance of kid and grown-up fun at the Dickerson, MD, locale. Sugarloaf welcomes children to join adults at the winery and even has a designated Play Area where all ages can kick balls, throw Frisbees, and be active. Bring along a picnic, listen to live music, and maybe do some hiking nearby. Be sure to savor the house specialty, of course — I highly recommend the rosé!

Mother’s Day on the Patuxent
Where: Solomons Island
When: Sunday (or anytime)
Admission: Varies

Still making plans for Mother’s Day? We celebrated a couple of years ago with a pontoon boat outing on the Patuxent River, a fun and relaxing time for all — read all about it here. But if you want to stay closer to home, you can turn many of these outdoor ventures into a family outing with some mom celebrating.

Mother’s Day Mezza Menu
Where: Lebanese Taverna
When: Sunday
Admission: $37/adult, $15/child

Take mom to brunch at a local favorite for family dining. Lebanese Taverna has a Mother’s Day Unlimited Mezza Special. It’s a great opportunity to sample many great dishes and, of course, celebrate the special day. Read more about the restaurant here.

The Ins and Out of DC
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure

For things to do outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, or for some great Mother’s Day ideas, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Great Indoors
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Eats, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Moms, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend