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

Bike the Anacostia River Trail to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (to see the big bloom!)

On the way to see the bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens


I always make a point of going to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this time of year to see the lotus flowers and water lilies in bloom. It’s absolutely stunning, and definitely my favorite of all the big blooms in the area (yep, I even love it more than the cherry blossoms). As I’ve noted before, that partly has to do with its location in Northeast DC, next to a residential neighborhood and not far from 295. You just don’t expect a fairyland of a park full of ponds covered in lily pads and with gorgeous white and pink flowers sprouting from them to be there.

This year, I decided to bike to KAG for the bloom. It’s not too far from where we live, about a five-mile ride from our house on Capitol Hill, and the Anacostia River Trail leads right to it. I’d never ridden on that stretch of the bike path, and it turned out to be a nice little jaunt. Owen and Sasha are away at camp for a couple of weeks, so this was a solo adventure, but I know they would enjoy it, too. I’d also recommend the ride for younger kids who are comfortable biking several miles at a time (accompanied by adults, of course).

The ride mapped out

The first stretch of the ride

I caught the trail at Benning Road, just past RFK Stadium, then rode along the Anacostia River for a scenic mile or so. That section ends at Lee Street, then you ride on the street for a bit until signs lead you back onto the trail that runs through the Mayfair and Eastland Gardens neighborhoods.

Following the path through a residential area

The turn into the Aquatic Gardens area

Another mile or so on that, and you come to the area of the trail that leads to the Aquatic Gardens. The paved path lined by black-eyed Susans (Maryland’s state flower, for a bit of trivia) and other wildflowers traverses a meadow before winding into the woods, the KAG marshland visible through breaks in the trees.

The trail flanked by wildflowers

There are a few small areas with benches where you can stop and take in the sights. I saw several great blue herons wading, turtles swimming, and what looked like many cardinals flying by. It’s lovely and peaceful, though the trail is somewhat isolated so be sure to stay aware of your surroundings.

Into the woods

Stop and sit for a bit

A heron sighting

Of course, this ride can be done anytime you want to visit Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. The locale makes for a nice outing all year round, it’s just especially pretty now during the bloom. However, it does get hot and buggy during the summer, so a water bottle, hat, sunscreen, and insect repellant are recommended!


After crossing a couple of small bridges, there is a dirt path to the right that leads to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens entrance. Sign posts are at the trailhead so you can’t miss it. From there, it’s less than a quarter mile to the bike racks. Lock up, make your way to the ponds, and be ready to be dazzled.

A first look at the bloom

For more about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, see this post. For more about the lotus flower and water lily bloom, see this one. And note that the annual festival celebrating them will take place July 13-14 this year, and it’s a fantastic event for families. In the meantime, here are more scenes from the ride and bloom — I can’t let photos that capture the beauty of it all go to waste!

From here to there and there to here…


Lotus flower close-up


Stop and take in the marsh views along the way


The plants from another perspective


Pinks!


A lily pad laden pond


Another view from below


A lotus beginning to open


Taking it all in from a footbridge


A pretty and peaceful part of the Anacostia River Trail



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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Nature, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Live Entertainment Around DC Through Summer

The wonderful Synetic Theatre presents “Treasure Island” this summer


Summer is here and so is a whole new lineup of live entertainment. Here are details on what’s coming to local stages, listed in order of start date, with discounts noted where available. Happy Viewing!

Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna Virginia
When: June 18 – August 3
Tickets: $8-12

From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10:30am Tuesday through Saturday. 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. The productions welcome all ages, though most are geared toward younger children. The full schedule of shows is available on the Wolf Trap website. And you can read a KFDC review of the series from a previous summer here.

Outdoor Summer Concert Series
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: Various day and times
Tickets: Almost always FREE

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. From Jazz on the National Mall to riverside entertainment to music amid the nature of local parks to shows in local shopping centers, the 2019 KFDC Summer Guide has a round-up of where and when you can enjoy the sounds of summer.

UniverSoul Circus
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Through July 28
Tickets: $18+ (look for a ticket deal)

The world-class, live entertainment attraction that has captured the hearts and imaginations of a new generation of families is celebrating its 24th year of FUN. UniverSoul connects with progressive, upwardly mobile, urban pop cultures from around the world, embracing and celebrating the unique and familiar aspects of global cultures and ethnicities into a stellar production that blends circus arts, theater and music. A fresh, cool, and hip approach to live family entertainment!

The Cat in the Hat
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Through August 18
Tickets: $20

From the moment his tall, red-and-white-striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that the cat in the hat is the funniest, most mischievous cat they have ever met. With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he is certainly fun to play with. And he turns a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure. But what will mom find when she gets home…? Recommended for all ages.

Matilda the Musical
Where: Olney Theater | Olney, MD
When: Through July 21
Tickets: $54-99 (look for a ticket discount)

From the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory comes another unlikely hero: Matilda Wormwood. Born to parents who prize their own ignorance and disdain books, learning, and any information they can’t get from television, Matilda somehow manages to emerge…a genius. Maybe even a magical one. However, she and the rest of the school are under the tyrannical rule of a deliciously devious villain, principal Agatha Trunchbull. Matilda embraces the fearful and terrifying moments of childhood with humor, hard-earned optimism, and astoundingly witty musical numbers. Songs like “Miracle,” “Naughty,” and “Revolting Children” will ring true to adults and belong in the survival kit of any child making their way through pre-adolescence and beyond.

Byhalia, Mississippi
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through July 7
Tickets: $25-89 (look for a ticket discount)

Don’t miss this new Kennedy Center production of Evan Linder’s heartfelt comedy. Winner of Chicago’s prestigious Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work in 2016, the play centers on Jim and Laurel—they are broke, young, and deeply in love. They are also about to become new parents. When Laurel gives birth to their overdue child, the biracial baby is a surprise to everyone, especially her husband Jim, igniting a firestorm in their small southern town. Recommended for age 14+.

Justin Roberts
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Manassas, VA
When: June 25, 11am
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

Navigate the adventures of childhood and parenthood with this three-time Grammy nominee and indie music family favorite! The show is part of Hylton’s 2019 Summer Performances for Young Audiences, an entertaining, affordable series of three lighthearted performances in June and July.

The Ballad of Mulan
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: June 26 – August 11
Tickets: $17-35
Courage, honor, and country! When China is forced to war with the invading Xi Xia, each family must send one man into battle. In her quest to protect her baba, our young heroine proves girls can do anything- including saving a nation. Inspired by Peking Opera, this partnership production with the Honolulu Theatre for Youth is full of music, pageantry, and humor. Recommended for ages 4+.

Kuumba Kids
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: June 26-28, July 2-3
Tickets: $3-6

The smash-hit show is back! Gather round the iconic tree of life for traditional, songs, stories, and dances from “Iya” Bashea Imana and her talented troupe of Kuumba Kids. This high energy, interactive show features puppets, movement, and motivational music that rouses the spirit and moves the heart. Recommended for ages 4-8.

L’homme Cirque The One Man Circus
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: June 27 – July 7
Tickets: $30-33/adult, $20-23/youth

Enter the magical world of David Dimitri. Lauded “Lord of the Wire” by The New York Times, this world-famous high wire dancer and veteran of Cirque du Soleil and Big Apple Circus epitomizes innovation as he alone performs an entire circus. Creating what he calls “a unique magic” in the intimate setting of a one-of-a-kind tent, his L’homme Cirque—or one-man circus—balances dramatic feats like high wire flips and a human cannon launch with humor, poetry, and an accordion serenade. It’s as gripping as it is charming—and with grand flourish, you will be awestruck as he exits the tent on his high wire, crossing above at 150 feet and into the sky.

Circus!
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: June 28 – August 4
Tickets: $12

In grand circus tradition, the “Greatest Show on Strings” features a collection of clowns, death-defying acrobats, and an amazing menagerie of fauna from the farthest reaches of the globe. Many of the acts were built more than 50 years ago by Christopher’s parents for “Len Piper’s International Marionette Circus.” Recommended for all ages.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java | Vienna, VA
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Boogie Babes
Where: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at Eastern Market’s North Hall on Thursday mornings. Even better, proceeds from all shows benefit DC Diaper Bank! Go for the entertainment, then grab lunch in the market or at one of many nearby eateries after.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

Rise+Rhyme
Where: BusBoys & Poets | Brookland, DC & Hyattsville/Takoma Park, MD
When: Mondays
Tickets: $5

The weekly series welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Go to one of three locations: Brookland in DC or Takoma Park or Hyattsville in MD. Plan on breakfast, too — full service is available while the little ones are grooving.

Children’s Arts & Entertainment
Where: BloomBars | Columbia Heights, DC
When: Ongoing
Tickets: Varies by show/activity

The arts center in Columbia Heights offers a variety of enriching, entertaining, and cultural activities and performances for children. From Harambe sessions to puppet shows to musical theatre to sing-a-longs, there’s something going on for little ones just about every day of the week.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: Most Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

Capital Fringe Festival
Where: Various venues in DC
When: July 5-28
Tickets: Varies by show

Filling the city with non-stop theater, dance, music, visual art, and everything in-between, the annual Fringe Festival presents an eclectic mix of performances — from all genres, for all ages. Family-friendly shows are always among the lineup; other acts would make for a great date night or adult evening out. Check out the calendar to plan your Fringe experience.

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire in Concert
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: July 5-6
Tickets: $35-60

The Harry Potter™ film series is a once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomenon that delights millions of fans around the world. This concert will feature the NSO performing every note from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™. Audiences will be able to relive the magic of the film in high-definition on a giant HD screen while hearing the orchestra perform Patrick Doyle’s unforgettable score live to picture.

Balloonacy!
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: July 6 – August 3
Tickets: $12

Nothing can go right for the character of the old man, whose days are gray and dreary until he is visited by a friendly red balloon. Reminiscent of the silent films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, the playwright has imagined the man as an older version of the boy in the movie The Red Balloon, now grown up and grown old, having forgotten his youthful adventure. That is until the red balloon returns to the rescue! Recommended for ages 1-5.

The Amazing Max
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Manassas, VA
When: July 9, 11am
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

Bring your imagination and sense of wonder for magic tricks, humor, and a show filled with boundless energy! The show is part of Hylton’s 2019 Summer Performances for Young Audiences, an entertaining, affordable series of three lighthearted performances in June and July.

Sprit of South Africa with Lesole’s Dance Project
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 9–12
Tickets: $3-6

South African-born Lesole Maine invites you to discover the vibrant dance heritage of his homeland. Experience the energy, customs, and cultures of South Africa as reflected in three distinctive regional dances: indlamu, a traditional Zulu village dance; a gumboot dance slapped out on gold miner’s rubber boots; and the upbeat urban pantsula. And don’t miss the chance to try out some steps! Recommended for ages 5-16.

The Band’s Visit
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: July 13
Tickets: $49-149 (look for a ticket discount)

In this joyously offbeat story, set in a town that’s way off the beaten path, a band of musicians arrive lost, out of the blue. Under the spell of the desert sky, and with beautiful music perfuming the air, the band brings the town to life in unexpected and tantalizing ways. Even the briefest visit can stay with you forever. The cast of world-class performers is led by award-winning Israeli actor Sasson Gabay, star of the original film and the Broadway production, and Chilina Kennedy, known best for her historic run as Carole King in Broadway’s Beautiful–The Carole King Musical. Recommended for age 10+.

Free For All: Hamlet
Where: Sidney Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: July 10-21
Tickets: FREE!

Shakespeare Theatre’s Company’s annual program that brings free performances to the public is featuring a favorite. Shakespeare’s classic revenge tragedy, is kinetic, shocking and “a play for now” (Theatermania). Set in a modern surveillance state Denmark, the characters spy and report on one another, even in their most intimate and vulnerable moments of grief, agony and despair. After his father’s abrupt death, Hamlet returns home from university to find his mother remarried, his uncle on the throne and a world seemingly gone insane. When his father’s ghost appears demanding vengeance, the increasingly desperate Danish prince must decide: Submit or Resist. Accept or Avenge. Live or Die.

Backyard Theater for Children
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: Thursdays, July 11-25
Tickets: $8-10, free/under 2

Enrich your little ones’ summer mornings with sunshine, music, and laughter at Strathmore’s Backyard Theater for Kids. This eclectic program is the perfect summer escape for busy families. Pack a picnic and enjoy live performances by highly esteemed and innovative family-friendly entertainers. From folk and jazz to the amazing sounds of the steelpan, Backyard Theater makes it easy to engage kids at every stage. They promise to keep both kids and parents entertained, so bring your family for a morning of inspiration and celebration!

Don’t Let the Pigeons Do Storytime
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: July 13
Tickets: $20-35

Join a Concert Hall Storytime like you’ve never experienced before, featuring your favorite performers from TV, movies, and stand-up. Presenting Mo Willems’s books as sketch comedy, these hilarious performers invite the audience to laugh, sing, and draw along! This hysterical concert variety show is an expanded, fancy-dress version of sold-out performances at the 2018 San Francisco Sketchfest, and not to be missed by fans of comedy, books, or pigeons desperate to do Storytime! Recommended for ages 5+.

Out of this World: The Science of Space
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 16–19
Tickets: $3-6

Live demonstrations, fun factoids, and space stuff with the Science Guys of Baltimore! Join us on a mission to investigate the physics and chemistry that govern the rotation and orbit of planets, how astronauts live in space, and power the spacecraft that hurtle among the stars. Recommended for ages 5-12.

Treasure Island
Where: Synetic Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: July 17
Tickets: $19-60

This classic coming-of-age tale follows Jane Hawkins, an orphan who longs for adventure, as she is swept up on a wild hunt for buried treasure with a ruthless band of buccaneers. Along the way, Jane’s bravery, morality, and sense of self are put to the test as she learns about her past and the path she wants to follow. Synetic’s athletic artists will bring their signature brand of bold theatricality to sword fights and high-seas battles with notorious pirates in a daring and modern adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of “buccaneers and buried gold.” Recommended for ages 8+.

Disney’s Aladdin
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: July 18 – September 7
Tickets: $39-179 (look for a ticket discount)

Discover a whole new world at Disney’s Aladdin, the hit Broadway musical! From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy, and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite. Recommended for age 6+.

Earthrise
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: July 18 – August 4
Tickets: $20 (look for a ticket discount)

While the world waits for the launch of Apollo 11 in 1969, three children of key NASA employees watch from different perspectives: a mathematician’s daughter, an astronaut’s son, and an engineer’s daughter. By dreaming a collective dream of landing on the moon together, the kids learn to understand the historic mission—not fear it. Recommended fo ages 5+.

Newsies
Where: Kenmore Middle School Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: July 19-28
Tickets: $15/adult, $12/child

Encore Stage & Studio presents its signature By Kids for Kids theatre in this production. Set in turn-of-the century New York City, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a band of teenaged “newsies.” When titans of publishing raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack rallies newsies from across the city to strike against the unfair conditions and fight for what’s right!

Jabali African Acrobats
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Manassas, VA
When: July 9, 11am
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

Experience the athleticism and grace of African circus performance in this high-octane show through percussive music, dancing, and acrobatic stunts. The show is part of Hylton’s 2019 Summer Performances for Young Audiences, an entertaining, affordable series of three lighthearted performances in June and July.

Summer VIBEZ with SOLE Defined
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 23–26
Tickets: $3-6

The excitement of the hip-hop revolution used music as Afrocentric expression, social protest, and a celebration of life. Rewind to its golden age in a DJ-spun 90’s music and high-energy percussive tap and stepping show. For more information, visit their website. Recommended for ages 5-12.

Cirque de Soleil: Volta
Where: Under the Bog Top| Tysons II, VA
When: July 26 – September 6
Tickets: $49+ (look for a ticket discount)

Energetic, urban and contemporary, VOLTA is a captivating voyage of discovery that showcases never-before-seen under the Big Top acrobatics in a visually striking world. Driven by a stirring melodic score and inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of street sports, VOLTA is about finding yourself and unveiling your personal powers. VOLTA is a story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and recognizing one’s own power to make it possible. Ultimate freedom comes with self-acceptance, and with the liberation of the judgement of others.

Coco the Movie in Concert
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: July 27
Tickets: $40-65

Disney Pixar’s Coco In Concert Live to Film is a family-friendly, live-to-picture concert event featuring Michael Giacchino’s beautiful musical score and the 2017 two-time Academy Award®-winning film for Best Original Song as well as Best Animated Feature Film. Produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures, audience members will follow the story of a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who travels to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family.

Beatboxing with Max
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 30 – August 2
Tickets: $3-6

Max picks up the mic to make some crazy-good mouth music—and wants everyone to join in! This astounding human beatbox introduces kids to the most powerful musical instrument ever: their own body. With lots of audience participation and exciting on-the-spot improvisations, Max covers themes in hip-hop culture, language, math, and music. Get ready to make some truly hip beats! Recommended for ages 5-12.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in Concert
Where: Wolf Trap | August 2
Tickets: $40-60

Director Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming masterpiece is one of the brightest stars in motion picture history. Filled with unparalleled magic and imagination, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial follows the moving story of a lost little alien who befriends a 10-year-old boy named Elliott. Experience all the mystery and fun of their unforgettable adventure in the beloved movie that captivated audiences around the world, complete with John Williams’ Academy Award-winning score performed live by a full symphony orchestra in sync to the film projected on huge HD screens!

Legally Blonde
Where: Keegan Theatre | Dupont Circle, DC
When: August 3-25
Tickets:

Elle Woods appears to have it all, but her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend Warner dumps her so he can attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle geniously charms her way into the prestigious law school. While there, she struggles with peers, professors and her ex. With the support of some new friends, though, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world.

Dear Evan Hansen
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: August 6 – September 8
Tickets: $79-175

A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Dear Evan Hansen is the deeply personal and profoundly contemporary musical about life and the way we live it. (Ths is one of my favorite shows of all time. REcommended for age 12+. Read a KFDC review from when it debuted at Arena Stage several years ago.)

The 3 Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: August 8 – September 4
Tickets: $12

“The 3 Billy Goats Gruff” is a marionette romp in which three brothers get the goat of a hen-pecked troll, in their attempts to trip-trap-tromp to where the grass is greener. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry. Recommended for ages 3.5-9.

Sound of Music Sing-a-long
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: August 24
Tickets: $25-45

Celebrating over 50 years, the classic family film returns to the screen in Technicolor…with a twist! Sing-a-long with the movie using on-screen lyrics and become the star of the show. Lederhosen and veils welcome! A costume contest precedes the performance.

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Is there a great show running soon that you don’t see listed here? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The Dinosaurs Have Returned to DC

A diplodocus is one of the many dinos featured in the Hall of Fossils


Back in 2014, when it was announced that the Hall of Fossils at the National Museum of Natural History would be closing for five years to undergo a major renovation, one of my first thoughts was of Owen. He was eight years old then, in second grade, and still digging dinosaurs. At that time, he wanted to be paleontologist when he grew up (with a side gig as a hip hop dancer, of course) and loved visits to the “Dino Museum.” I remember thinking that when it finally opened again, he would be 13 years old, in seventh grade, and probably not so into the prehistoric beasts anymore. But it seemed like such a long time away that I couldn’t really even fathom what he would be like at that age — my little boy, a teenager!?

Checking out the old Hall of Fossils when they were little people


Well, that time has come. The new David H. Koch Hall of Fossils-—Deep Time is complete, which means the dinosaurs are back — along with a whole new presentation of 3.7 billion years of life on Earth and how the past informs the present and shapes the future.

A first look at the space

The Nation’s T.rex (the real deal!) devouring a triceratops

Stop and see the Centrosaurus

The 31,0000-square-foot exhibition is nothing short of impressive. Featuring everything from an authentic Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (read the story of its discovery) to replicas of other large prehistoric species to displays of smaller fossils to all kinds of installations and displays about the history of our planet and the climatic, geological, and human impact on it. Carts with related hands-on activities for all ages are also set up throughout the exhibit. You can experience it all as a journey through time, starting billions of years back and following it into the future.

Smaller fossils on display are just as interesting as the giants

A mechanical pterodactyl

An activity cart about dino tracks

The exhibition was produced with some messages in mind: That all life — past, present, and future is connected and is continually changing over time. Geological processes and global cycles cause ecosystem and evolutionary changes, and mass extinctions have at times devastated life on Earth. There is also a call to us humans to recognize the impact we have and consider our role in shaping the future and the fate of life on Earth.

This all opens to the public on Saturday, June 8, with an Opening Ceremony at 10:15am — the first 300 visitors to the National Mall-side entrance can participate in it. After that, all are welcome to explore, though crowds are expected, and there will be lines. But the museum will be open late, until 7:30pm, both Saturday and Sunday. Costumes are encouraged, so come as your favorite dino or as a paleontologist (but be sure to note safety instructions on this page)! There will be even more events to celebrate the opening of Deep Time on several other weekends. Admission to most of them is free.


As for Owen… my teen is now a rising eighth grader. And while he no longer seeks out books about dinosaurs or requests Dinosaur Planet on Discovery Channel, he is still into science (and basketball and soccer and history and indie rock music, and if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he’ll wisely answer something along the lines of, “How can I know now? There are so many possibilities.”). When I told him about the new Hall of Fossils after attending a preview, I remarked that it was kind of bummer it had closed when he at peak dino. His response, “Yeah, but the new one sounds really cool…when can we go?”


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Museums, Special Event, Weekdays, Weekend

Giveaway: Put a Little STOMP in Your Spring!



STOMP, the hit musical production of choreographed percussion, is returning to DC April 23-28, and one lucky KFDC reader can win a pair of tickets to see it on opening night!

The explosive, provocative, sophisticated, utterly unique show appeals to audiences of all ages. The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments — matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps — to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. The return of the percussive hit also brings some new surprises, with some sections of the show now updated and restructured, utilizing props like tractor tire inner tubes and paint cans. As USA Today says, “STOMP finds beautiful noises in the strangest places.” See what all the noise is about!

STOMP is running at National Theatre April 23-28. Tickets are $55-75 and can be purchased online. (KFDC tip: Look for a deal here.) Run time is approximately 95 minutes with no intermission. Children under the age of four are not permitted to attend the show.

Read a KFDC review of STOMP from a few year’s back, and get a peek at it in the video below.

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Giveaway: For a chance to win a pair of tickets to STOMP at National Theatre on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at 7:30pm, simply leave a comment below telling me your family’s favorite spring activity. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run through April 14, 2019, then a winner will be drawn at random and announced shortly thereafter. Good luck!


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Giveaway, Live Entertainment, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend