Tag Archives: December 2017

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 25-29

Enjoy winter in DC this week!



Last week I posted the Winter Break Guide, a big mix of ideas for activities and adventures with the kids during the winter break from school, so be sure to check it out! Below is a suggested itinerary that you can easily switch up with the recs from the guide. Have fun & Happy Holidays!

Monday – Have a very merry Christmas… and enjoy some activities out of the house, too! The U.S. Botanic Garden and Mount Vernon are open. You can bundle up and get out for a hike. Or do what’s a tradition for many who don’t celebrate Christmas and go out for Chinese food and a movie.

Tuesday – Bundle up the kids (and yourself) and take advantage of The Beauvoir School’s Winter Break. Their fantastic playground is open to the public when class is not in session. Open all day. Admission is free. (If it’s just way too cold, see the round-up of Indoor Playgrounds, for where to be active inside.)

Wednesday – Get Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History. During winter break, the interactive and experiential learning space opens earlier at 10am (instead of 2pm). Visitors can view up close —
and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. It’s recommended for ages 11 and up, but some younger ages could also enjoy it. 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. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

Thursday – Stay warm, cozy, and entertained at a performance of Charlotte’s Web at Imagination Stage. Showtimes are 11am and 1:30pm. Tickets are $17-32.

Friday – Add some color to what’s forecast to be a gray, snowy day at the National Gallery of Art. The East Building is full of contemporary works with bold colors and captivating designs. Be sure to stop in the Alexander Calder room on the 4th floor, where mobiles of all shapes and sizes will dazzle, and head to the roof to at least have a peek at the giant blue rooster and some great city views. The West Building houses more classical pieces, including the current Vermeer exhibit, collections featuring many of the masters, and the only Leonardo da Vinci painting on public view in the U.S. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Art, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Playground, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 18-22

Wading through a sea of paper at the Hirshhorn



Monday – Go over the rainbow and beyond at Watkins Regional Park. It’s a great place for indoor-outdoor explorations and fun! The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will have little ones frolicking for hours. If you start to feel a chill, spend time inside at Watkins Nature Center to view some cool creatures and birds. Old Maryland Farm is closed Monday, but stop by if you go another day to visit the animals. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 8:30am – 5:30pm at the Nature Center, 9am – 4pm at the Farm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Take advantage of warmer temps and enjoy some time outdoors at Great Falls. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you can’t go wrong. Take in spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center — there’s one on each side — to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife.

Wednesday – Experiment with hands-on fun at the Children’s Science Center Lab at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Kids of all ages can explore a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging interactive exhibits and activities. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $13 (under 2 are free).

Thursday – Celebrate the winter solstice at museums on the National Mall. Catch a performance of Seasons of Light, a production about the traditions of winter holidays around the world, at Discovery Theater located in the Ripley Center. Showtimes are 10:15am and 11:05am, and tickets are $3-8. At 12pm, see the Peacock Room at the Freer Sackler Gallery in a whole new light, as the shutters of Whistler’s “harmony in blue and gold” are open, and a flood of natural light turns the exhibit into a glowing jewel of blue, green, and gold tones. From there, head over to the Hirshhorn Museum to explore modern works of art. The exhibit What Absence is Made Of includes of room full of blank white sheets of paper that have floated down from machines near the ceiling — and visitors are welcome to immerse in it.

Friday – Get hyped for the holidays! Pick one of many activities that happen this time of year: Check out a train display, catch a holiday show, ride trolleys, meet Santa, see an evening light display, and enjoy loads of other seasonal delights. The KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season in DC has all the details on where to go and what to do.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: December 15-17

Holidays aglow-glow



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This round-up is heavy on holiday-inspired events, but you’ll find other activities sprinkled in, too. For even more, the Everyday Play page is loaded with all kinds of ideas for getting out and about around DC. Happy Weekend!

Wreaths Across America
Where: Arlington National Cemetery | Arlington, VA
When: Saturday, opens 7am, wreath placing 9:15am
Admission: Free

This is a chance for the whole family to volunteer. Help place Veterans’ Remembrance Wreaths on the graves of American heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There is no sign-up or age requirement — families are encouraged to volunteer together. Be sure to visit the website for details, including schedule and meeting location. Read about more family-friendly volunteer opportunities around the DC area.

Nationals Winterfest
Where: Washington Convention Center | Mount Vernon Square, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am – 4pm
Admission: $39/adult, $29/child

The annual festival is full of interactive holiday and baseball activities for fans of all ages. Join clinics with Nationals players and coaches, watch a Homerun Derby featuring the Nationals mascots, make a snow fort, take batting practice, hear a winter or baseball themed story read by a Nationals player, ride down The Slider – a giant slide reminiscent of a sledding hill, and more. Guests can also meet and greet their favorite Nationals players and mascots, take a photo with Santa, strike a pose at the life-size snow globe photo station, and donate a toy to a child in need.

Rocknocerous Holiday Singalong
Where: Jammin Java | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 11am & 2pm
Admission: $10

Local kids fave Rocknocerous will be playing two shows on Saturday, and kids (and parents) can jam and sing along with them as they rock the holiday tunes. The full lunch and drink menu will be available, so plan on eating there, too. Doors open at 10:30am, and seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Holiday Ornament-Making Workshop
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange | Brentwood, MD
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

Take advantage of a fun, free opportunity to create paper ornaments for the holiday season at this family-friendly workshop. All materials are provided, but if you have special paper you’d like to use, feel free to bring it the day of the event.

Santa Arrives on 8th Street
Where: Barracks Row | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Santa Claus’ sleigh will be touching down on 8th St SEon Saturday! He’ll be holding court at Taoti Creative at 530 8th St SE . He’s available for photo ops and will answer any questions children have about the North Pole. To keep this event FREE, instead of Barracks Row taking photos and giving them to you, parents and caregivers can use their own cameras to capture the holiday cheer. If you are able, bring an unwrapped toy to donate to TOYS FOR TOTS. Snacks and cocoa will be served throughout the day by Ted’s Bulletin. There will also be free face painting and songs performed by the Capitol Hill Chorale.

Hot Chocolate Happy Hour
Where: Hamilton Hotel | Downtown DC
When: Daily through December 22, 4-6pm
Admission: Free!

Hamilton Hotel hosts happy hour for all ages this holiday season! Savor two special kinds of hot chocolate for free in the evening during the 12 Days of Christmas celebration. Sip on the classically decadent Creamy Hot Chocolate or indulge in a cup of Caribbean Hot Chocolate, inspired by Alexander Hamilton’s hometown of Charlestown.

More Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Get into the holiday spirit the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. Enjoy Chiristmas at Mount Vernon with fireworks and more. Ride the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2017 Holiday Guide.

From Our Happy Home Holiday Craft
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the American Art Museum and step into the 19th century world of Louisa May Alcott in this craft program for the entire family. Construct paper house lanterns and handmade books as you explore some of the ways people have created feelings of comfort and warmth in the cold winter months. Join Little Women story time to hear how Alcott’s heroines the March sisters celebrated the holidays, bringing literature and music together to light their home. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

A Circus Carol
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $25/adult, $15/child

It’s holiday pageant time at W.T. Dickens High School! Chaos reigns supreme throughout the school halls as teachers, administrators and students try to get it together in time for their annual holiday production. Watch as the circus atmosphere comes to life in A Circus Carol, as incredible aerial performances dazzle and bring our characters together to rise above (sometimes, literally!) the holiday madness. Appropriate for all ages.

Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker    
Where:  Woodrow Wilson High School | Woodley Park, DC
When: Friday, 7:30pm, Saturday, 3pm and 7:30pm, & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $20-30/adult, $14-18/under 10

Capitol Hill’s Momentum Dance Theatre presents its 19th annual Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker.  The show is a unique, high-energy twist to the typical Nutcracker, set to music from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite plus contemporary and classic pop, funk, and salsa.  Momentum’s professional performers are joined by students as young as age 5. (Owen & Sasha’s besties will be part of the crew showing off their sweet dance moves!)

More Holiday Entertainment
Where: Theatres around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Much of the live entertainment on local stages right now is holiday-inspired.
Enjoy The Little Prince, A Holiday Family Opera at the Kennedy Center. Have fun at Adventure Theatre with Frosty the Snowman. See the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at the Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Get details on these shows and others in the 2017 Holiday Guide.

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

For live entertainment without all the seasonal trimmings, Hansel & Gretel is a lovely wordless show for all ages at Synetic Theatre. Charlotte’s Web is on the Imagination Stage. Kids’ fave Annie is at Olney Theatre. Nina Simone: Four Women at Arena Stage is a moving and powerful show that teens and up will appreciate. And you can make it a grown-up night for Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Twelfth Night.

Race to the Moon
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Smithsonian TechQuest: Race to the Moon is a FREE alternate reality game at the Chantilly arm of Air & Space. Set in the thrilling era of early spaceflight, the game explores the exciting race to space by the first American astronauts. Your mission in this installment: Develop a rocket to launch into space, travel over 200,000 miles to the Moon, and land safely. It is 1969 and national pride and prestige are on the line. The United States is in a tight race with the Soviet Union to see who can be the first to land humans on the Moon and return them safely to Earth. NASA needs engineers and scientists with real problem-solving skills.

GLOW with It
Where: Around Georgetown, DC
When: Nightly through January 1, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light — literally. Georgetown GLOW has the neighborhood sparkling with modern light art installations, some of them interactive, on display throughout the bustling community, which is extra lively and festive this time of year. The works are illuminated all around the neighborhood, and finding them is part of the adventure. Take the family to dinner or skating at Washington Harbour, then go for a stroll to check them all out. Read more about Georgetown GLOW and see pics from last year in this KFDC post.

Shakespeare Theatre, Family-Style
Where: Sidney Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through Sunday
Admission: Varies by activity

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Family Week offers free and low-cost programs for all ages celebrating the themes, story, and artists of their current production, Twelfth Night. Workshops, events, and a Mini-summer Night’s Dream run through this weekend. And families can also get a special discount on tickets during this time — see the website for details.

Model Train Open House
Where: Historic Vienna Depot | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Chug on down to Vienna to watch model train and trolley activities that realistically depict an actual railroad that existed in North Carolina in the 1950′s, the Western North Carolina (WNC). As described in Model Railroader magazine, every hill, town, building, locomotive, rail car, and industry in this layout is modeled after those places and things as they looked in that era. Well, almost everything. To satisfy popular demand, expect an occasional sighting of Thomas the Tank Engine (and a few of his friends) chugging around among the bigger steam and diesel locomotives. The Vienna Depot is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, VA.

Holiday Photos with Your Pet
Where: Wet Dog Tavern | Near U Street Corridor, DC
When: Saturday, 12-3pm
Admission: $20 donation

The Wet dog Tavern’s annual Holiday Photos with your Pet is back! Be sure to stop by to visit with Santa and have your holiday photo taken with the whole family, fur babies and all!  Photos are by Pooch Portrait Studios, and your $20 donation includes a printed photo in magnet frame and digital copy.

Earth Harp
Where: The Plaza at CityCenter | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 4-6pm
Admission: Free

See the world’s largest harp played right here in DC! William Close, renowned for affixing 1,000-foot strings to skyscrapers, mountain peaks, and canyon walls, will fill CityCenterDC with the magical musical stylings of his Earth Harp. Join for this surreal holiday musical performance in The Plaza at CityCenter.

A Gift For Andrés / Un Regalo Para Andrés
Where: Kreeger Auditorium, Bender JCC | Rockville, MD
When: Sunday, 11am & 2pm
Tickets: $20-40

Join 123 Andrés, Christina, and the full band for a magical holiday story! Sing and dance at their last concert of 2017 and support a wonderful, important cause — the Greater DC Diaper Bank. The organization provides over 100,000 free diapers a month to over 3,600 low-income families in the DC metro area. In the past 8 years they have donated nearly 5 million diapers, and the number keeps growing. The goal: Donate $5,000 for diapers (that’s over 40,000 diapers)!

Open Studio & Ceramics Sale
Where: Hollow Works Studio
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Shop for one-of-a-kind ceramics in the artist’s studio! Kate Hardy of Hollow Works Ceramics creates and sells beautiful, unique work — bowls, mugs, vases, and more — that would make perfect holiday presents. In addition to a bunch of new work, she’ll be clearing her studio of a year’s worth of seconds. Seconds are pieces with minor flaws, like glaze imperfections or warping. Seconds are also leftovers from commissions or experiments that just don’t fit in with the rest of her work that she sells for heavily discounted prices. There will be some serious deals to be had! The studio is located in the alley right off of 7th and H Streets NE.

Family Afternoon: From Our Happy Home
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the Building Museum to construct paper house lanterns and handmade books as you explore some of the ways people in the past and today create feelings of home in the cold winter months. Investigate objects from the Museum’s House & Home exhibition for examples of interior lighting. Step into the 19th century world of author Louisa May Alcott and discover how music and literature were brought together to light her homes during the winter season. Designed in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, this is a variation of the program taking place there on Saturday.

The Nutcracker on the Big Screen
Where: Select Movie Theaters in the DMV
When: Sunday, various time
Admission: Varies by theater

The unparalleled Bolshoi Ballet brings the holiday spirit to audiences with a magical performance of the timeless seasonal tale, “The Nutcracker,” in cinemas nationwide. Captured live from Moscow’s legendary Bolshoi Theatre, it’s a festive treat for the entire family. The fairytale enchants as Marie and her Nutcracker Prince embark on a dreamy adventure full of wonder.

Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas
Where: Hooray for Books | Alexandria, VA
When: Sunday, 3:30-5pm
Admission: $25/up to 3 people, $5/additional person

Register online: shalomdc.org/chanukahdosas/
Head to Hooray for Book to meet Pamela Ehrenberg, author of the new PJ Library® book, Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas. A book reading and signing will be followed by crafts and vegetarian Indian snacks from Namaste King Street. Admission includes a signed, hardcover copy of the book, too! Best for ages 3 and up. Register in advance here.

Holiday Bazaar and Ghana Send-Off Party
Where: Hands Off Drums
When: Sunday, 11am – 8pm
Admission: Free, but plan to shop!

Celebrate with Hands On Drums and sed off their Ghana trip crew with style! Enjoy a day of activigties for all ages including entertainment, drumming, and items for sale. They leave January 1 and will venture to Senya Beraku to see the Drumming Up From Poverty program in action, including performances by the DUFP youth drummers and dancers. They will also be seeing, for the first time, the nearly completed Artists Home they’ve been working on for the past 3 years, to serve as a home for our craftworkers whose workshops and homes are being displaced by development in Accra.

Holiday Shop
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

If you’re still working through your gift list, there are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents by local vendors and then some. Head to Penn Quarter, National Harbor, or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about all of them is available in the 2017 Holiday Guide. And if you need some gift ideas, be sure check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide!

DC, Inside & Out
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, 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


***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* Want a fun, educational gift idea for kids? Check out Surprise Ride. The DC-based company delivers hands-on, educational activity kits to kids to help them unplug and create in the real world.
* Workafrolic, a coworking space with flexible child care on-site, will be opening in early 2018 in DC’s Eckington neighborhood.
* Imaginary World of the Nutcracker at ARTECHOUSE is sold out for the weekend, but you can get tickets for weekday admission. Snag yours efore those sell out, too!
* There are a few KFDC contests going on right now. Go to the Giveaways Page for chances to win a sewing class with Three Little Birds Sewing Co., a toy from Red Jellies, and a 4-Pack of Tickets to see Michael Carbonaro…Live! on New Year’s Eve.
* Plan for a grown-up night out this week to see The Santaland Diaries! The show, which I hear is hilarious, runs through December 23 at Drafthouse Comedy Theater in DC.
* The New York Times just started publishing “The Week in Good News,” a Friday feature that focuses on positive, uplifting things happening around the world. 🙂

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Art, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Holidays, Hotel, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Shop, Special Event, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Giveaway: Join Nats Players & Coaches for a Homerun Holiday at Nationals Winterfest!

Winterfest, the Nationals’ event of the offseason, will again feature two days of baseball and holiday fun at the Washington Convention Center on December 16 and 17! Open to fans of all ages, guests can enjoy holiday and baseball-themed activities and interactive events, meet and greet their favorite Nationals player and coaches, take a photo with Santa and the Racing Presidents, enjoy their favorite ballpark concession, tackle any last-minute holiday shopping, and much more!

Activities for younger fans include:
· Clinics with Nationals players and coaches
· Home Run Derby viewing, featuring the Nationals mascots
· Snow fort building
· The steal home challenge and batting practice
· A winter or baseball-themed story read by a Nationals player
· Kids Press Conferences
· Sign ups for 2018 season Jr. Nats Kids Club memberships
· Rides down The Slider, a giant slide reminiscent of a sledding hill
· The “Video Pitch,” where fans can give virtual batters their best pitch

2016 Nationals Winterfest

Tickets may be purchased in advance ($39/adult, $25/child, free for children 2 and under) with prices increasing at the door. Once inside, all attractions are free of charge (except purchasing items such as merchandise, food, and beverage). Tickets must be purchased separately to each individual day. You can also try to win tickets for the whole family through the giveaway below!

* * * * *

Giveaway: For a chance to win five tickets (2 adult, 3 children) to Nationals Winterfest for Saturday, December 16, 2017, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite Nats player. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too! This giveaway will run through December, 12, 2017, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, DC, Giveaway, Special Event, Sports, Weekend, Winter