Tag Archives: Fun Things to do with Kids in the Washington DC Area

Five Things for Today: September 21, 2021

Plan a visit to Dumbarton Oaks Gardens this fall

 

1. Fall officially begins tomorrow, so it’s a perfect time to (re)share 10 Great Places to Enjoy Autumn in the DC Area (that are not Farm Festivals).

 

2. Did you know the Washington Spirit, our women’s pro soccer team, has a Kids Club?  Members get all kinds of benefits and goodies, depending on which option you choose.  Join for free to get the newsletter, entry in a monthly raffle, printable activities, and a welcome letter from the Coach.  Pay $25 to get even more, including a free match ticket, a gift bag, and a Spirit Shop discount!  (PS: The Spirit are doing a Food Drive to support the Capital Area Food Bank. Fans who donate four non-perishable food items at this Sunday’s match at Segra Field in Leesburg will receive two free tickets for the Spirit vs. Racing Louisville FC match on October 9 at Audi Field.)

 

3. Washingtonian’s Best of Washington 2021 is so good.  I especially loved “The 10 Best Things We Learned About Washington During the Pandemic” (even though some of them we already knew):

1. We believe in science.
2. We follow rules.
3. We look out for one another.
4. We creatively pivot on a dime.
5. We’re an easy drive to great getaways.
6. We have a lot of great parks.
7. We’re a bikeable city.
8. We’re a walkable city.
9. We boost small businesses.
10. We confront our history.

 

4.  A couple of really interesting/informative/moving reads:  This piece in the New Yorker (long, but worth it) and this recent essay in the New York Times.

 

5. Happy September 21!

 

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Filed under 2021, DC, Fall, Five Things

Join the Alma Thomas Community Celebration at the National Gallery of Art this Weekend!

 

The National Gallery of Art reopened its doors last spring, and it’s been wonderful to return to one of our favorite museums again.  Even better, it’s open daily, making it a go-to any day of the week.  But this coming weekend, September 24-26, will be an especially great time to visit, as the museum hosts a Community Celebration honoring late pioneering artist Alma Thomas!

The in-person, on-site event will feature a variety of activities and experiences that explore Thomas’s life and her wide range of creative endeavors, all of them self-guided for Covid safety.  Plus, there are extra goodies and discounts to enjoy while you’re there!  The weekend offerings and festivities include:

·    Free art kits with a coloring book of National Gallery works by local artists, coloring materials, and a cutout doll designed by Brittany Jackson, illustrator of the acclaimed children’s book Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment.

·     A special flower display inspired by Alma Thomas’s Pansies in Washington (1969)  

·     A display showcasing works by local community members, celebrating Alma Thomas’s art and legacy 

·     50% discount on Alma Thomas-inspired gelato at the Espresso & Gelato Bar  

·     15% discount on shops purchases with the code ALMA15 (onsite and online) 

·     A pop-up performance from Howard University Bands at 4pm on Sunday 

 

Thomas’ painting, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, inspired by sights, sounds, & smells of DC

 

The event is part of a larger citywide celebration featuring a symposium with virtual sessions September 22-23. Geared toward adults, it will bring together noted scholars, artists, and curators to discuss Alma Thomas’s life and legacy, including an introduction by Michelle Obama.

The National Gallery of Art’s Community Celebration will take place in the East Building from 1-5pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Admission is free.

Alma Thomas Community Celebration
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Friday – Sunday, September 24-26, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

 

This post is sponsored by the National Gallery of Art, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Art, DC, Fall, Free, Museums, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: September 17-19

Riding the trails at Cosco Regional Park in PG County

 

Happy Weekend!

Bookmark-worthy posts full of ideas and info for ongoing activities:
Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Pick-Your-Own Ops
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Indoor Outings
* Bike Rides
* On the Water
* Swim Spots
* Peaceful Places
* Baltimore with Kids

“Fall” Fun
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

It’s almost officially fall (September 22!), and there are so many great ways to get into the spirit of the season, from city streets to country farms. Cox, Great Country, Montpelier, Clark’s Elioak, and several more farms around the area are welcoming visitors for all kinds of autumn-inspired fun. The annual H Street Festival is back to celebrate the thriving corridor in northeast DC. Ren Fest gets medieval every weekend through October. And there are even more autumn fests happening. Details on all of them are in the 2021 KFDC Guide to the Fall Festival Season.

National Dance Day
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: Free

Break out those dancing shoes for fun in-person activities for National Dance Day! Presented through a partnership between the Kennedy Center, American Dance Movement (formally the Dizzy Feet Foundation), and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), this annual event invites people of all ages and abilities, from the littlest dancers to professionals, to participate in a free celebration of the joy of dance and movement. See the website for specfics!

In America: Remember
Where: 14th St. & Constitution Ave. | National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

There’s another (temporary) memorial on the National Mall.  This one honors all Americans who have died from COVID-19 with a small, white flag planted for every life lost. A similar installation by artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg was on display last fall just outside of RFK Stadium. Over 260,000 flags were planted then. Less than a year later, more than 660,000 will blanket the grounds of the Mall next to the Washington Monument. The public is welcome to walk among the flags… it’s a powerful, heartbreaking sight to see.

Downtown DC on Wheels
Where: F St btwn 7th & 8th NW | Downtown DC
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Admission: Free

Lace up your skates and show off your moves at Downtown DC’s premier roller skating event. Join for free skating and performances, movie screenings with silent disco headphones, food offerings by Shake Shack, and live DJs. Sign up in advance! Skates provided on a limited basis, but BYO skates is encouraged. Be sure to arrive within 15 mins of your scheduled registration or your spot will be released.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, DC
When: September 18, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving hip corridor is returning! This one is always huge — so beware that there could be a crowd — and there is tons to see and do.  In past years, the event has featured loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; cool art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and children’s activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. Public transportation is highly recommended, as parking is always difficult.

Ride On
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

There’s a quick link to bike routes above, but this is a stronger recommendation to get out for a family ride — it should be great weather for it! And you’ve got your pick of good rides around the area. Take in the almost-fall scenery, get some exercise, and have fun, all while easily social distancing. This post has a bunch of pedal-worthy recs, with something for riders of all levels, and this route is particularly ideal with kids.

Bike+
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free
Add some extra adventure to a bike ride and go mountain biking. There are several MTB trails to ride around the area, a few miles even right here in the District at Fort Dupont Park in Anacostia — a good place for newer mountain bikers. Cosco Regional Park in PG County and  Schaffer Farms in Gaithersburg are also great for those just starting. And for even more recs, the post about biking around the DC area includes a list of places to hit the mountain biking trails (scroll down).  [Note: This activity is better for older kids with more experience riding.]

Take a Hike
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

The nice weather this weekend also makes it a great time to hit the trail on foot. Enjoy the not-blazing-hot temps, walk in places with scenic views, see the start of fall foliage, and savor a sunny day outdoors. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for places to walk in the woods with the kids. Some specific recs for right now:  Great Falls, Patapsco Valey State Park, Huntley Meadows, Sky Meadows State Park, and Calvert Cliffs State Park.

Luchadora!
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo Park, MD
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $20.50
It’s opening weekend of Adventure Theatre’s newest production!The discovery of a worn pink wrestling mask prompts Nana Lupita, a Wisconsin grandmother, to share her tale about growing up in 1960s Texas. As her tale unfolds, Lupita’s life as a teen tomboy comes alive — bike riding with her friends Leopold and Liesl, working at her father’s flower stand and lucha libre. When a World Championship match is announced, Lupita anticipates seeing it until she discovers her ailing father is one of the wrestlers. With the help of a magical mask maker, Lupita secretly trains to take her father’s place. She soon finds it difficult keeping her secret from her friends and, most importantly, her father. This production will take place outdoors in the grassy field next to ATMTC and the Irish Inn (BYO blanket!).

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
Where: Museums Around the DC Area
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

There are some museums in the DC area that actually charge admission. But on Saturday, Smithsonian Magazine is hosting its annual Museum Day, when those that require us to open our wallets to visit are free. Take advantage at the College Park Aviation Museum, Dumbarton House, Baltimore Museum of Industry, and many more fantastic museums in the area.  KFDC Tip: Some already-free museums are also participating, including the National Museum of African American History & Culture, where you usually have to get passes well in advance!  You must reserve a free ticket —  and it’s good for admission for two people.

Ren Fest
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $28/age 16+, $13/age 7-15, free/6 & under

Enjoy the bounty of merriment at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. The annual faire recalls medieval times with a village full of fun and entertainment for the whole family. This is one of my very favorite events in the DC area, and it could very well become one of yours, too. Read more about Ren Fest here. (PS: Admission prices go up after this weekend.)

Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $26/adult, $13/age 6-11, free/5 & under

At George Washington’s old stomping grounds, they re-create a lively early-American marketplace with demonstrations, crafts, and entertainment. Take in the sights and sounds of it all on Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field and chat with colonial artisans selling traditional handcrafted food and wares. Colonial music transports you back to the 18th century as experts demonstrate period crafting techniques. And you can see General Washington in the General’s Tent. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family!

Artsfest ’21
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $10, free/age 11 & under

Enjoy a fabulous weekend of the visual and performing arts with 160+ artists booths, 35 performers on four stages, activities for kids, great food, wine & beer, and much more. Set amidst the spectacular backdrop of the 30 acre sculpture garden, explore the excitement of the Tent Circle and the Arts Building, then wander the shady Wooded Path to find artists and activities nestled in the beautiful woods. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden here and here.

Homecoming at Abe’s Place
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Admission: Free for Family Day, $35-40 for the 5k

Lincoln’s Cottage is once again combining their two popular events, the Freedom 5K and Family Day, into one full day of racing and family fun: Homecoming! During the Civil War the Lincoln family called the Cottage home. This year they welcome everyone back “home” to join in a full day of activities where you can run, walk, and play like Lincoln. There will be arts and crafts, pony rides, hands-on activities for young learners, cottage tours, and picnic ops. Go for just the race, just Family Day activities, or stick around to enjoy both!

Nats vs. Rockies
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Tickets prices vary

The Nats are hosting the Rockies all weekend and there are some extras to enjoy along with the baseball action. Friday night’s game will be followed by firework. Saturday is Pups in the Park, and while those tickets are sold out, you’ll get to see lots of pooches (ie, cuteness) at the ballpark, too. And at Sunday’s afternoon game, there will be Nats blanket giveaway.

NSO in Your Neighborhood
Where: Several communities in DC & MD
When: September 3-22
Tickets: Free

For another weekend, NSO musicians will perform free concerts within the uptown DC neighborhoods of Ward 4, Takoma Park, and downtown Silver Spring. This year’s IYN has 17 events, including two full NSO performances. Events will be offered both indoors and outdoors — at parks, coffee shops, taverns, schools, and more local venues. All concerts and events are free to the public with first-come, first-served seating. See the website for the full schedule.

Olympic Village
Where: Czech Embassy |
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Czech Embassy is hosting a fun-filled day of activities for kids and adults, all in the spirit of the Olympics. Learn about the Czech Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team and its individual athletes’ medals. And in the true spirit of games, join in sport activities such as soccer darts, basketball shootouts, racket battles, moon bounce, and more on the Embassy’s grounds. There will also be live music, a beer garden, and food. Cash only for beer & food. RSVP required.

Theatre Open House
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

BlackRock Center for the Arts, is hosting a day of celebration as they reopen their doors! Enjoy free family programming that includes a variety of free performances, demonstrations, workshops, and exhibits — plus a showing of Shrek The Musical at 8pm. No tickets are necessary for the events, but registration is required for all educational opportunities — visit he website to see the schedule of activities and to sign up. All persons regardless of age must be masked when entering our facility, and all persons ages 12+ entering our facility must show proof of vaccination status.

Model Trains + Thomas
Where: Historic Vienna Train Station | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 2-7pm
Admission: Free (donations accepted)

Chug on down to the Historic Vienna Train Station for their first Open House since the pandemic  began. See and hear HO scale model trolleys and trains, including Thomas and some of his friends on display and in operation. It’s a great family fun and activity for the young and young at heart. The Station is at 231 Dominion Road NE, Vienna, VA along the W&OD trail just past the Caboose. Masks are optional if fully vaccinated but recommended. Please wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated. Hand sanitizer will be available.

Rosslyn Jazz Fest
Where: Locales around Rosslyn, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm

Admission: Free
Jazz is back in Rosslyn with local artists, food trucks, drinks, merch ,and more! Enjoy three local acts on the Gateway Park stage, plus an afternoon of food, music, and fun. Entertainment will feature Three Man Soul Machine, Aaron Myers and Sin Miedo.

Blairs Mural Festival
Where: The Blairs District | Silver Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate public art in Silver Spring! With eight new murals to explore in the Blairs District. You can also enjoy art activities especially for kids, concessions from foods trucks, live music, hula hoops, corn hole, face painting, garden tours, and more. This all takes place at Sonny’s Green Park at The Blairs (180 High Park Lane, Silver Spring).

Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day
Where: Waterfront Park | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 11am – 7pm
Admission: Free

The Ballyshaners are back, live and in person with the 2021 version of their Irish Festival, the Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Celebration! All kinds f vendors, food, beer, and the best Irish music and dancers in town will make up the day’s fun and craic! See the website for details and the entertainment line-up. Waterfront Park is located on the Potomac River between King and Prince Streets.

Sukkah City x DC: Community Day
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free, but registration requested

Meet the architects and explore the public display of creative sukkahs on view outdoors at the National Building Museum’s west lawn while you learn about Sukkot and participate in an arts workshop, holiday activities, family story time, and a letter-writing campaign in support of eradicating homelessness in our city. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Register here, and be automatically entered into a drawing for museum swag and four complimentary club tickets for Nats vs Red Sox on Oct 3.

Children’s Day
Where: Brookside Gardens | Wheaton, MD
When: Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Gardening is a form of art, and Brookside Gardens is the perfect place to see some outdoor art and get creative! Children and families will be inspired as they explore Art in the Gardens and make some art too! Small groups will rotate through four outdoor stations where the children will participate in fun garden activities, artful crafts, kids’ yoga, and more. Registration is required for all children age 3 and up.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks in Fairfax, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages.Learn what happens in Nature at Night at Riverbend Park. Gather around the Campfire Saturday at Burke Lake Park. Catch a Critter at Huntley Meadows Park on Sunday. Get more details on these activities and see what else is going on here.

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* In case you hadn’t heard, there will be a right-wing rally in DC on Saturday. Best to stay clear, even if it’s small. Fencing has already gone back up at the Capitol.
* A new post with info and scenes from a pop-in at the National Postal Museum is a great reminder to visit the just-reopened, beloved Smithsonian venue.
* Washingtonian’s round-up of where to celebrate Oktoberfest around DC. (Note: Some are more for sans kids.)
* Potomac Overlook Park has a lot of fun programming for kids coming up — read about the Arlington park here.
* Found a perfect gift for my bird (& puzzle) loving friend!
* 20 new works of fiction coming out this fall.
* Disturbing but not surprising news of the week.
* One of the best.

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Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Fall, Maryland, Virginia, Weekend

Five Things for Today: September 13, 2021

A view of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge from Yards Park

 

1. This coming Saturday, September 18, Smithsonian Magazine is hosting its 17th annual Museum Day, when you can visit many museums around the country for free.  (I know… a regular thing for a lot of DC’s local museums, but there are some that require an admission fee.)   Take advantage at the College Park Aviation Museum, Baltimore Museum of Industry, Dumbarton House, DAR Museums, and a bunch more fantastic museums around the area.   KFDC Tip: Some already-free museums are also participating, including the National Museum of African American History & Culture, where you usually have to get passes well in advance!  You must reserve a free ticket —  and it’s good for admission for two people.

 

2. The new, beautiful Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is now open to traffic.  And not only can you drive across it, you can walk and roll over it, too!   Take in views as you stroll or bike (or skate or scoot) along the broad pedestrian path on the southbound side — it would make a fun little jaunt from The Yards area.  Start at South Capitol Street right by Audi Field and Nationals Park.

 

3. The  Kids’ Indie Next List has reading recommendations from booksellers around the country that include everything from picture books for babes to YA for teens.  (FYI, local shop Solid State Books always shares the lists in their newsletter.)

 

4. The latest Ted Lasso episode might be my favorite one yet, and that is saying a lot since they are all brilliant.  And if you’re not watching the show yet, I very highly recommend it — worth the subscription to Apple TV!  (Plus, there are some other great series, including The Morning Show, which debuts its second season on Friday.)

 

5. The sweetest.

 

 

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Filed under 2021, DC, Five Things, Maryland, Virginia