Tag Archives: Family Fun

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 9-13

Take little ones to see the little trains at Union Station


Monday – Go see the holiday model train display at Union Station. Located smack in the middle of the grand lobby next to the Christmas tree, it’s a delight for kids to view. Pair that with a visit to the National Postal Museum right across the street — you can join a storytime at 10:30am & 11am, or just go to explore the exhibits that are great for all ages. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post. And plan to have lunch at Union Station, where there are several eateries children will enjoy.

Tuesday – Join Social Studies for Little Learners at Lincoln’s Cottage. The program aims to nurture social and emotional intelligence through interactive storytelling, games, and hands-on lessons that help foster self-awareness, self-management, relationships, and responsible decision-making skills. The session runs 10-11am, and admission is $5. (Note: This will also run on December 14 & 17.)

Wednesday – On what’s forecast to be a snowy day, catch a special holiday movie screening of The Snowy Day at Discovery Theater. Tickets are still available for the 12pm showing and cost $3-8. (Note: It’s also showing Thursday and Friday, December 12-13 and Tuesday and Wednesday, December 17-18.)

Thursday – Spend a musical morning with Boogie Babes at the Miracle Theater. King Bullfrog will bring the entertainment to the Barracks Row venue on Capitol Hill this week. The high-energy acoustic duo plays folk, blues, world, and original music for children and their grown-ups. The fun starts at 10:30am (doors open at 10am), and admission is $6/child, free for siblings 6 months and under. Plan on lunch after at one of the many nearby eateries or head over to Eastern Market for a bite. (Note: King Bullfrog is also performing at Big Bear Cafe on Monday, December 16, 10-11:30am — admission is $15.)

Friday – Learn about the area’s wildlife, enjoy hands-on activities in the Nature Center, take a hike, and visit horses at Rock Creek Park. The Nature Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm, and admission is free. There are nearby trails for walks in the woods if weather permits. You can also visit the residents at the nearby Horse Center — guests are welcome to stop by the stables, though pony rides are not offered this time of year.


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

Scenes from AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights at ARTECHOUSE


As the seasons change, so do the exhibits at ARTECHOUSE, all of them a reflection of the time of year in some way. This winter, AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights celebrates the season with digital art installations and activations inspired by the natural phenomenon that is most prominent during the darker, colder months.

Like other exhibits at the Southwest DC gallery, this one consists of a large-scale light installation in the main room along with several smaller ones. They are all interactive and beautiful, the icy blue, purple, green, and occasionally soft yellow colors giving everything an ethereal feel.

On the walls of the main room, guests can grow leafless winter trees, guide snowballs, and make snowflakes with their own movements detected by sensors. Other areas have been transformed into arctic oases — an ice cavern twinkles with light as you move about, ice patterns form on the walls of frosted forests as you stand nearby, and you can immerse in colorful light projections of dancing skies. As Sasha said, “It makes me feel like I have powers!”

Visitors of all ages can have fun with this one. And along with the illuminated art installations, there are treats for everyone, too. The bar will be open during the day (12pm on Tues/Wed, 11am Thurs-Mon) and in the evenings, serving both delicious, exhibit-inspired cocktails and mocktails. They plan to have hot chocolate for warming up, too.


AURORA: The Spirit of Northern Lights is running at ARTECHOUSE December 7 – January 5. Family-friendly hours are 10am – 5pm, and 21+ hours are 5-10pm Sunday – Thursday, and 5-11pm Friday and Saturday. Admission is $16-20/adult, $13-15/senior, $8-10/child (cheaper if you purchase in advance online). They are offering a 20% discount package for 2 adults + 2 children, Sundays through Thursdays. You can also get a deal through CertifiKid.

UPDATE on the 20% off: The deal will auto-populate when tickets are requested for Sunday-Thursday daytime entries within bar hours – as the deal comes with a holiday drink for all (hot chocolate)! This deal should be in effect on the following schedule: Sunday/Monday/Thursday 11am through 4pm entries, Tuesday/Wednesday 12-4pm entries.







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Filed under 2019, 2020, All ages, Art, DC, Exhibit, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Enchant Christmas at Nationals Park: What to Expect & Tips for Visiting


If you’re excited about holiday activities, DC is a pretty great place to be this time of year. There are so many fun, festive, and unique things to do around the area to celebrate the season — but not always enough time, energy, and — especially notable at this time of year — money to do everything. Costs add up quickly, especially on top of gifts and other holiday spending.

So, many of us want to be selective about the holiday activities we choose to do. Which is why I’ve been getting lots of inquiries about Enchant Christmas at Nationals Park. DC’s new big holiday attraction apparently is the world’s largest Christmas light maze and market — and somewhat of a splurge for a family of four to visit. A lot of people have been very intrigued, myself included, so of course our family had to go experience it.

I should start by mentioning that 1) I am a sucker for holiday light displays. I always find them kind of magical, whether walking through illuminated grounds or driving along roads lined by twinkling installations. 2) My family received complimentary admission to Enchant, which does alter the perspective since I could just enjoy without wondering if we wasted our money. (That said, I did keep in mind that I would be reviewing it for paying visitors.)

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Enchant and tried to go in with an open mind, despite being underwhelmed by other popular holiday spectacles in past years. Things started off well as we walked through the Center Field gate to see a tall, white lit-up tree with smaller light formations nearby. The vibe was warm and festive with lots of people walking by looking relaxed and smiling. And there were dogs — it was a Paws & Claus night, so many people brought their pups along. But it was the scene just beyond it all that took my breath away (remember, I am an absolute cornball about this kind of thing).

The field has been transformed into a beautiful illuminated wonderland, a towering bright white tree the centerpiece of it all with blue, gold, and purple light installations and walls of sparkling holly surrounding it. An icy trail meanders through a section, skaters gliding along. And more people can be seen walking through the glowing landscape below.

We were eager to be part of it all, so after a quick peek at some of the vendor stands, we made our way down to the maze entrance, where we were handed a postcard with scratch off circles. Enchant includes a little adventure to find all of the reindeer within the maze, and you scratch off a circle each time you encounter one. Sasha was very into this, and Owen helped her out (though he was a bit more into Snapping pics — it’s a very social-media-share-worthy event).

Once inside, we wandered around, taking in the sparkling scenes. Some installations are just really pretty to view, others are interactive offering some fun and play as well as great photo ops. And while there are plenty of other people there, it never felt too crowded or chaotic, a benefit of ticketed entry. We spent well over an hour walking around it all — looking for reindeer, getting intentionally lost, and making sure we’d been down every path (that was me, anyway… I didn’t want to miss any neat light displays).

From there, we headed to the rink, though the kids passed on ice skating since they’d done a lot it over Thanksgiving break. But it looked like a lot of fun, the ice trail circling an illuminated “forest” under arches of glittering holly. Skating is included with admission, but rentals are $5/kids & $10/adults, a fee you can avoid if you BYO skates.

A couple of drink stands are on the field area, including the Ice Bar & Lounge, plus roaming hot chocolate vendors for warming up. There are even more food and drink options on the concourse upstairs, Ben’s Chili Bowl and local food vendors among them, so you can grab a bite there (or head to one of several nearby restaurants afterwards like we did).

Also on the concourse is a stage with live entertainment, plus the Christmas Market with over 40 local artisans selling everything from jewelry to art to edible treats to wearable accessories. You can do some holiday shopping, to boot!

Okay, the big question: Is Enchant worth it? My opinion: Yes! It is a splurge, but if you want to do something special with the family, this is a good one. The light displays are quite dazzling, there are multiple activities to enjoy, you can spend a good amount of time there, and it really captures the spirit of the holidays. And maybe not as important, but something about being at Nationals Park during the off-season after the big World Series win adds some extra allure to the experience. 🙂

Enchant Christmas is running at Nationals Park every evening, Christmas included, through December 29. Admission varies by date, time, and age, so check the website for details and see tips below for getting the best deal.

KFDC Tips to help plan for your Enchant experience:

* There is a Family 4-Pack ticket that offers 20% off admission, and you can add on guests as needed.

* Rates vary by date and time, so check out a few different ones if you have flexibility.

* Goldstar is offering ticket discounts, so be sure to check those, too.

* If you have ice skates, bring them to avoid a rental fee (and skate free!).

* Dress warmly — Enchant is all outdoors.

* And since it is all outdoors, it’s worth checking the forecast for the date you want to go.

* Tickets have been selling out, especially on weekends, so don’t wait until the last minute to get them.

* Strollers are not allowed in the maze, only up on the concourse. However, there is a stroller valet.

* There are Paws & Claus nights when dogs are welcome, so if you want to bring your pup or just like seeing them (some in festive wear), check the calendar for those dates.

* Garage parking is available for an extra charge (up to $22), but you can look for street parking in the area — I recommend trying on the other side of M Street and walking a couple of blocks.

* How could I forget? Santa is also there and available for photo ops. Pay for a professional photo, or snap your own for free.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Outdoor, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 2-6

A walk in the woods at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve



Monday – Indulge in an unseasonal activity: Swimming! There are a bunch of public indoor pools around the area where you can take a dip on a cold day. Wilson Aquatic Center in NW is popular, Rumsey on Capitol Hill and Turkey Thicket in Brookland have kiddie pools, and Deanwood in NE even has a slide. In Maryland, Rollingcrest in PG County has a special preschool area, and there are several indoor aquatic facilities in Montgomery County. In Northern Virginia, Arlington County has a few indoor public pools, and there’s one in Alexandria, too. Be sure to check schedules for open swim hours and make sure there are no random closings, which happen occasionally.

Tuesday – Enjoy a late fall hike at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve. The locale in Great Falls offers a nice dose of nature in a short drive from the city, with trails that meander through the woods, peaceful spots to hang out by the river (including a waterfall), and pretty views of the Potomac. Open from just before sunrise to just after sunset. Admission is free. For a shorter hike with young children, park in the second lot (further away from 495) and follow the fire road next to the creek that leads to the river. The first lot leads to trails that wind through the woods, some that might be tough for little legs to navigate.

Wednesday – 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. Explore the collections, and be sure to stop in the fantastic “How Things Fly” gallery with loads of cool interactive stations that kids always dig. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.

In the evening, attend the Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting! The ceremony will take place on the West Lawn at 5pm as the tree is lit by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. It’s fairly short, so arrive on time if you hope to catch it.

Thursday – Explore the world and do some holiday shopping at Winternational. This lively midday festival in the Ronald Reagan Building is a celebration of international culture, travel, tourism and trade. It has the atmosphere of an international bazaar with each country showcasing their culture and traditions via visual arts displays, foods, handcrafts, as well as travel and tourism information. Hours are 11am – 3pm, and admission is free.

Friday – See a performance of The Nutcracker — on strings! The Puppet Co. presents its delightful version of the holiday classic through December 29. Showtime is 11am, and tickets are $12. Plan for some time on the Glen Echo Park playground afterwards and grab lunch at Praline, the café on premises.


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