Tag Archives: Free Things to do in Washington DC

Where to Play on the Weekdays: April 8-12

Hike (or floss) among the bluebells at Riverbend Park


Monday – Take kiddos to Yards Park. The recreational space in the Navy Yard is a perfect place to spend a nice spring day with them. Play in the sprays, hang out in the grassy areas, stroll the boardwalk, take in the views, and have a picnic by the water or go for lunch at one of the many new nearby eateries. Admission to the park is free.

Tuesday – Do some flower peeping at Riverbend Park while the bluebells add a brilliant pop of color to an already lovely place. Make that your starting point for a 2-mile hike to Great Falls, where you can take in magnificent vistas, visit the nature center, and have a picnic. Or just wander around Riverbend and enjoy the Visitor Center and views there. Park hours are 7am to dusk, Visitor Center 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Enjoy A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood at Discovery Theater. Meet the butcher, baker, pizza dough maker, and all of the friendly people who make our neighborhoods terrific places to live every day at this show recommended for children 3-6. Showtime is 10:15am and 11:30am (on Thursday and Friday, too). Tickets are $3-8.

Thursday – Play the day away at Clemyjontri. The vibrantly colored, sprawling playground in McLean, VA, accommodates kids of all abilities with all kinds of climbing structures, swings, and other apparatuses that encourage activity and imagination. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.

Friday – Jet out to the Dulles area to explore Air & Space beyond the National Mall at the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center, the Chantilly arm of the museum. Showcasing even more fascinating artifacts of flight, you can see all kinds of air and space crafts, pretend to pilot in a flight simulator, get hands-on in a discovery station, and much more. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free, but parking is $15.


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

Where to Play on the Weekdays:
April 1-5

The Tidal Basin at sunset


Monday – Go see the cherry blossoms! The famous flowers are peaking this week — and it’s gorgeous. Head to the Tidal Basin and National Mall for quintessential views, and enjoy touring the memorials while you’re there. You can also go to an off the beaten blossom path place for less crowds. These KFDC tips for families has all the info you need for a peak viewing experience.

Tuesday – Head up to Baltimore to see some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. The vibrant, quirky collections — including interactive pieces — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & ages 7 and up, free for 6 and under.

Wednesday – Wander, play, and explore at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria. Be sure to stop in the Horticulture Building and pick up instructions for a kids’ scavenger hunt to add some extra fun to the outing. Grounds are open dawn to dusk, the Horticulture Building 9am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.

Thursday – Take a FREE trial class of Tinkergarten Babies. This unique outdoor class is designed to provide a safe, stimulating playscape in which babies ages 6-18 month can discover the natural world. The class will take place 10-11am at Belle Haven Park in Alexandria. Register in advance. (Trial classes are also available for children 18 months-8 years old, and you can find the schedule here.)

Friday – Join fish and wildlife biologists from the Department of Energy & Environment for Family Matters to explore the diversity of aquatic animal families and groups — including fintastic fathers, brave babies, and mothers willing to give the skin right off their own back — at the Aquatic Resources Education Center (AREC) in Anacostia Park. The program runs 10:30am – to 12pm and will include a Circle of Life aquarium tour with feedings, Ohana Means Family group presentation, and themed crafts and activities. Discover what aquatic animal families look like and which babies can make it all on their own. Advanced registration is required and participants must be accompanied by an adult. Plan for some play time at Anacostia Park after — with three playgrounds, a skating pavilion, large grass fields, tennis and basketball courts, and a walking/biking path along the river, it’s a great place to enjoy outdoor recreation.


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

Where to Play on the Weekdays: March 25-29

The first tinges of spring at the National Arboretum



Monday – Go for a swim! 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 – Take advantage of The Beauvoir School’s Spring Break and head to their fantastic playground. Located on the grounds of the National Cathedral, the school welcomes the public to enjoy its outdoor facilities when class is not in session. Open all day. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Join the Hirshhorn for a special STORYTIME session that’s part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival programs. Take a trip to the depths of the earth and discover what can grow from it. Visit the round bronze sculptures Spatial Concept: Nature by Lucio Fontana, hear a reading of Call Me Tree by Maya Christina González, then do a related hands-on activity. The program runs 10-11am, and admission is free.

Thursday – Get out and enjoy the day at Great Falls Park, which boasts some of the most magnificent nature in the area. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you really 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. For more places to get a dose of nature, see this post about local walks in the woods.

Friday – Enjoy early spring at one of the prettiest places in DC, the National Arboretum. Flowers are just beginning to bloom and the cherry trees are budding in the area around the Ellipse Meadow, where the striking Capitol Columns are located. Be sure to explore the rest of the Arb, too! Take nature walks among the plant collections, view the impressive bonsai exhibit, visit the Washington Youth Garden and romp on the natural playground, picnic in the Grove of State Trees, and so much more. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free. Read even more about the Arboretum in the round-up of the best places to spend a day outdoors — it tops the list!


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

Where to Play on the Weekdays: March 18-22

Checking out a display at the Calvert Marine Museum




Monday – Take a day trip out to Solomons, MD, to visit the Calvert Marine Museum, which highlights the environment and maritime history of the Chesapeake Bay. Fascinating exhibits, including display cases full of fossils and artifacts, live fish and other creatures, and a real lighthouse to tour are interesting and engaging for all ages. There are things to see both indoors and out, including beautiful scenic views. And you can bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy by the water. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $9/adult, $4/ages 5-12, free for 4 and under.

Tuesday – Hear Stories from Strawberry Park at the Mosaic District. The live interactive performances by a group of unique storytellers take place the first and third Tuesdays of each month and are designed for kids 10 and under. The fun starts at 10am, and admission is free. Plan to stay for lunch after at one of the many eateries there.

Wednesday – HAPPY SPRING! Celebrate the start of the season and World Frog Day at the National Zoo during one if its Animal Discovery Days. The new monthly program shines a spotlight on different animals around the Zoo and celebrates what makes them special and unique. During this one, hop on over to the Reptile Discovery Center from 10am – 1pm to meet frogs and their keepers and enjoy special frog-themed activities. The rest of the Zoo is open 8am – 7pm. Admission is free, but be aware that parking now costs $25. You can also try parking on Connecticut Avenue or a side street, or take Metro to Woodley Park or Cleveland Park stations then walk a few blocks.

Thursday – Keep the amphibian-inspired fun going at Boogie Babes, where King Bullfrog will be entertaining the kiddie crowd in Eastern Market’s North Hall. The show starts at 10:30am, and admission is $6/child, free for siblings 6 months and under.

Friday – Enjoy the spring weather at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. As you hike the woods and wetlands, look for little creatures — turtles, frogs, fish, and birds are practically guaranteed wildlife sightings and take in sweeping vistas of the marshland. And be sure to stop in the Visitors Center, where there are several interactive exhibits about the surrounding environment. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays