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

2020 Vision: 10 Awesome Things Families Can Look Forward to in DC this Year

To infinity and beyond… Yayoi Kusama’s art will return to DC this year


Some people make New Year’s resolutions, I make new… plans. (Well, mental notes for plans, anyway.) I like to take a look ahead at the coming year, see what new and exciting things are on the horizon, and put them on my radar to, hopefully, enjoy at some point — and, of course, share with the KFDC community. Which is just what I’ve done here. With this new year, comes many opportunities for awesome experiences. Here are 10 that I think will be especially appealing to DC families. Happy 2020!

1. National Children’s Museum | Late January
The much anticipated reopening of the redesigned and newly-located museum especially for children is slated for the end of January. And if the sneak peek back in the fall is a good indicator of what’s to come, it sounds like the wait will be worth it. There will be STEAM-focused exhibits and creative play spaces, with the Dream Machine, a three-story climber and slide, as the centerpiece. This will all be easily accessible right downtown at Woodrow Wilson Plaza, next to the Ronald Reagan Building. I’ll, of course, keep you posted on opening specifics as more details are released.

2. The Lane | February
How I wish something like this existed when my kids were younger! Opening in February, The Lane Social Club will be a place where families — kids and parents — can hang. And by hang, I mean engage in active play, partake in special programming, throw birthday parties, enjoy good food or a drink, and make new friends. This is all the brainchild of two local moms, Rachel and Molly, who decided to make their yearning for a venue like this a reality. I’ve had a chance to spend some time with them, and can tell you that 1) They have thought of all the details 2) You’ll want to include them among those new friends. The location is in Ivy City near the new Target. Look for more info about the opening soon!

Get ready to welcome back the World Series Champions!

3. Nationals Baseball Season | March – October
Rooting for our home team isn’t a new thing, but cheering them on as the World Series Champions is — and it definitely adds some extra excitement to the anticipation of the Nats baseball season. Sure, the roster has changed a bit (we miss you, Tony!) but most of the squad is returning, and there are a couple of new players to watch out for. Plus, I’ve always recommended a day at the ballpark as a fun way to enjoy family time together. While Opening Day is March 26, the first home game this year isn’t until April 2. You can view the whole schedule here, and as you’re planning for game days, be sure to check out these KFDC tips first.

4. Yayoi Kusama Returns to the Hirshhorn | April 4 – September 20
Three years ago, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibition at the Hirshhorn was the hot ticket to score. The presentation of five infinity rooms — immersive installations that transformed small rooms into boundless wonderlands with brilliant, imaginative sculptures and mirror-lined walls — caused quite a frenzy among art enthusiasts, Instagram fiends, and what seemed like everyone else, for that matter. I, personally, had mixed feelings about it — I loved the art, but wasn’t super keen on the viewing experience. This spring, some of Kusama’s works, including two infinity rooms, are coming back to the museum for an exhibit called One with Eternity. This time, there will be no advance tickets, just same-day passes. Fingers crossed it will be easier to get them!

5. Planet Word Museum | May 31
I am so intrigued by and excited for this opening! With a mission to “inspire a love of words and language,” the museum promises immersive exhibits and magical experiences to demonstrate how words and language help shape our lives. According to the website, there will be all kinds of word play opportunities (that go well beyond your crosswords and Scrabble) — create a marketing campaign, give a famous speech and watch it, hear authors read from their books, join songwriting and storytelling classes, and more. Details for visiting aren’t yet available, but I’ll be sure to share when they are!

6. Hamilton Revisits the Kennedy Center | June 16 – September 20
If you missed seeing the award winning Broadway smash when it was here in 2018 (like I did) and still have yet to see it anywhere else (like me), you have another chance this summer. Hamilton will be back at the Kennedy Center for a three-month run. Tickets will go on sale in the spring, and tip: Kennedy Center members always get first dibs at a selection of tickets (though this didn’t do me much good last time, as there was an online glitch and I got booted out of the system before finishing my purchase… but I’m not throwin’ away my shot to try for them again). It’s recommended for kids ages 10 and up, so be sure to take that into consideration and get some feedback if you’re hoping to bring children younger than that.

7. The Bard at the Building Museum
This year’s Summer Block Party at the National Building Museum is presented as a partnership with the Folger Shakespeare Library. Shakespeare’s Playhouse will feature an Elizabethan-inspired outdoor stage, designed by a team from the University of South Carolina, in the cool comfort of the museum’s Great Hall. Guests will be able to engage in Shakespearean activities, like stage combat, during the day, and in the evenings, there will be performances of the enchanting A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (PS: If you think Shakespeare and kids don’t mix, think again! Read about some of our experiences with it here and here.)

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival brings international art and culture to DC every summer

8. Smithsonian Folklife Festival | June 24-28, July 1-5
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is far from a new event to DC, but I’m including it here because after being shortened to a weekend last year, it will return to its regular, longer 10-day run. I always recommend checking out the festivities on the National Mall during that time, because they’re always a fantastic celebration of living cultural heritage, showcasing different regions around the world through hands-on activities, performances, demonstrations, and exhibits for all ages to enjoy. And the great thing about the return to the long run is more opportunities to go. This summer, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates will be highlighted as well as the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon and Smithsonian Conservation Commons. Admission to all of it is free. Read about and get a glimpse of the 2018 festival here.

9. MLK Jr. Library Reopening | Fall
DC’s flagship public library closed in early 2017 to undergo a major renovation, and it will reopen this fall with loads of modernized features. Newly designed spaces include an transparent entryway, large auditorium and conference center, creative spaces for the arts, a ground level café with a patio, an interactive children’s space, and more. And like all of our public libraries, there will be programming to go along with it, with plenty of it especially for kids. MLK Jr. Library is located in Penn Quarter at 9th and G Streets NW.

10. Presidential Election | November 3
So, this is more an ongoing event for 2020 even though the actual election isn’t until November. It also reaches well beyond DC, but it’s always especially interesting and exciting (and stressful) to be here during the race for the White House. Kids all over the country learn about our government and politics, but here in DC ours practically have front row seats for it. For a related activity, take a tour of the U.S. Capitol. And as we head into the election year, note these important dates: DC primaries are June 2, Maryland primaries are April 28, and Virginia primaries are March 3. Be sure to vote — and bring your kiddos along!

What are you looking forward to most in the coming year? Leave a comment and let us know!


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Filed under 2020, All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Museums, Outdoor, Special Event, Sports, Spring, Summer, Theatre, Winter

Family Celebrations to Ring in 2020

The 12pm balloon drop at Noon Yards Eve


The year is winding down, and the countdown to 2020 is on! If you’re looking for ways to ring in the new decade with young revelers, you have some great options! There are a bunch of family-friendly ways to celebrate around the area, from organized events to plan-it-yourself activities. Here are details and inspiration for your crew to get in on the fun. Happy New Year!

Rumpus Room (Almost) NYE Family Dance Party
Where: Black Cat | 14th Street NW, DC
When: December 29, 2-4:30pm
Admission: $12-15

Celebrate a trip around the sun in style with DC’s best (and only) family dance party! Get the fun started early (and practice your moves for the actual day) at this event that caters to tiny dancers and their fams. Tunes are played at a kid-friendly volume and all ages are welcome to groove on the dance floor together. Rumpus Room is designed for kids 10 and under and their caregivers, but older siblings are welcome.

Family Paint Countdown Party
Where: ArtJamz | Dupont Circle, DC
When: December 29, 11:30am – 1pm
Admission: $22

Start the countdown a couple of days early at ArtJamz with creative and kid-friendly afternoon New Year’s celebration. Admission includes 1.5 hours of studio time, plus access to paints, brushes, art tools, pens, glitter and more to decorate and paint the jamming studio walls with resolutions and goals. Kids can enjoy festive decorations, a noon countdown and non-alcoholic toast, family-friendly party tunes, and tips, guidance and encouragement from jamming local artists. For adults, the bar will be open! While kids paint downstairs, the lounge upstairs will be serving creative cocktails, wine, mimosas, and beer.

Noon Yards Eve
Where: The Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: December 31, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

The Yards is once again hosting its Noon Yards Eve festival to ring in 2020! The seventh annual event will transform the park into a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration with fun for both kids and adults. Activities will include trackless train rides through the park, inflatable moon bounces, glitter tattoo artists, balloon artistry, music, and a countdown and big balloon drop at noon.

First Night Alexandria
Where: Old Town | Alexandria, VA
When: December 31, 6pm – 1am
Admission: $30-35/adult, free/age 12 & under

It’s the 25th anniversary of the area’s largest family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, so the fun and entertainment will be in abundance. Enjoy Kids Karnivals in four locations, with loads of activities for young revelers — face painting, story time, balloon sculptures, interactive games, and much more ($5). And numerous performances on multiple indoor stages throughout Old Town Alexandria will feature live entertainment from a wide variety of genres. The evening will conclude with a spectacular fireworks display on the Potomac River at the foot of King Street. For details on where shows will take place, see the schedule on the website.

Rocknoceros New Year’s Eve Party
Where: Jammin Java | Vienna, VA
When: December 31, 11am & 2pm
Admission: $10

For the 13th straight year, the widely popular band that always gets kids rockin’ will be playing a special New Year’s Eve gig at Jammin Java. Sing along to some of your favorite tunes and enjoy the full menu of food and drinks while you’re there. Opt for the lunchtime show at 11am, or go in the afternoon at 2pm. Doors open half-hour before the show and general admission seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Show Time
Where: Around the DMV
When: December 31
Admission: Varies by venue

Let some live entertainment take you into the new decade! There are several shows running that the whole family can enjoy…here’s what’s on stage at local theatres with tickets still available for December 31:
* The Velveteen Rabbit at Adventure Theatre (use code 5OFF to save!)
* Squeakers & Mr. Gumdrop at the Atlas Performing Arts Center
* Singin’ in the Rain at Olney Theatre
* Jersey Boys at National Theatre (find discount)
* My Fair Lady at the Kennedy Center (find discount)
* The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Imagination Stage

Noon Year’s Eve
Where: Badlands | Rockville, MD
When: December 31, 9am – 2pm
Admission: $20/age 3+, $12.50/2 & under, $5/adult

Dance, play, and craft it up all day with an amazing balloon drop goin’ down at noon. They’ll have their egular Toddler Time but all ages are welcome to join in on the festivities and to run, jump, play, and ring in the new year!

Noon Year’s Eve
Where: The St. James | Springfield, VA
When: December 31, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $37/non-members, $15/under 4, free/adults

Ring in the new year with a New Year’s Eve kids party in the active entertainment center. Super, Awesome & Amazing will feature a magician, DJ, photo booth, face painting and a balloon drop at noon. We’ll have a few light bites, desserts, snacks and juice and water for the kids in case they get hungry. Parents do not need to purchase tickets but will have access to a cash bar. Tickets are limited and may sell out prior to the event. If available, ticket prices will increase and be available for purchase at the door.

Midnight Noon
Where: Maryland Science Center | Baltimore, MD
When: December 31, 10am – 2pm
Admission: $24.95/adult, $18.95/3-12, free/2 & under

Join the MSC for their annual New Year’s Eve celebration, Midnight Noon, where children can enjoy the ball drop before bedtime. There will be fun New Year’s festivities throughout the day, including a live concert by popular kids band Milkshake — their Grammy-nominated tunes will keep everyone dancing throughout the day. And, of course, the rest of the museum will be open to explore! All activities are free with paid admission (and completely free to members).

New Years at Noon
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: December 31, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $15.95 ages 2+

Countdown to the new year at this family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration! Help Port Discovery welcome 2020 with a celebration that includes a magical noontime countdown, a juice and cookie toast, festive tunes, and more. Other special activities along with the whole multi-level children’s museum include noisemaker and party popper making, a photo ops corner, and a wishing tree to spread your hopes for the new year.

Get Medieval on NYE
Where: Medieval Times | Hanover, MD
When: December 31, 3:30pm (doors open at 2pm)
Admission: $37.95/adult, $30.95/child

Experience an epic afternoon of fun and celebration as you countdown to 2020. Along with a four-course feast and thrilling jousting action, young guests can get free knight training (space limited, arrive early), a free activity book, and story time with Lord Cedric. Be sure to use the code NYE20 for the ticket discount!

Watch Night New Year’s Eve Celebration
Where: Intersection of Broad & Washington St. | Falls Church, VA
When: December 31, 7pm – Midnight
Admission: Free

Ring in the New Year with free, family-friendly festivities at Falls Church’s 22nd annual New Year’s Eve celebration. Enjoy food, music, singing, dancing, entertainment, performances and interactive festivities that appeal to all ages. Highlights for kids include an Extreme Air Jumper, rock climbing wall, mechanical bull, obstacle course, inflatable slides, bungee jump, Velcro wall, puppet shows, face painting, caricaturist, balloon sculptor, and more. Plus, restaurants will have special Walking Watch Night Menus at local restaurants. The evening concludes at midnight with the traditional countdown and lowering of the City of Falls Church Star. All events take place around the intersection of Broad and Washington Streets. A free shuttle bus with 11 stops runs from the East Falls Church Metro throughout the evening.

Midnight at 7
Where: Merriweather Post Pavilion | Columbia, MD
When: December 31, 5-7:30
Admission: $15-20, $50/family 4-pack, free/3 & under

Head to the Merriweather in Columbia for early fireworks on New Year’s Eve surrounded by the twinkling Lights. The event will feature food, activities, music, and fireworks at 7pm, as well as the last chance to walk through the lovely Symphony of Lights course.

Swoosh into 2020
Where: Ski Liberty | Carroll Valley, PA
When: 5pm – 1am
Admission: Lift tickets start at $24/child (free/5 & under)

Hit the slopes to ring in the new year! Ski Liberty’s celebration will include late-night skiing and snowboarding until 1am, fireworks at midnight, and a variety of special events happening around the resort. There is also a special, by reservations only, party at Boulder Ridge with Snow Tubing from 10pm to 1am. Find something for everyone and every age!

Glide into 2020
Where: Ice rinks around the DMV
When: Throughout the day & evening
Admission: Varies by rink

Skate under the stars to celebrate the start of the new decade. Gliding on ice surrounded by twinkling lights, art sculptures, and/or the hubbub of people in festive spirits is a fun, active way to revel. Join a special event like Rock & Skate at Washington Harbour or just do your own thang. Be sure to check times for each rink, as hours may change for the holiday.

New Year’s Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: After dark
Admission: Varies by locale

Start your own family New Year’s Eve tradition with a seasonal treat: Bundle up for a stroll or take a drive through one of several spectacular light displays! Most of the light shows that dazzle this time of year are open on New Year’s Eve. If you’re enjoying it from the comfort of a car, pack a thermos of hot chocolate, yummy snacks, and prepare a festive playlist for the ride.

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Filed under 2019, 2020, All ages, Annual, DC, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Seasonal, Special Event, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Live Entertainment for Families Around DC this Winter

The set of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s “Peter Pan and Wendy” is as magical and creative as the classic story


As it gets cold outside, plan to warm up with some entertainment indoors. There are all kinds of shows and performances to enjoy through the season. Here are details on what you can see on area stages, starting with currently running shows, then listed by start date, with most production descriptions coming straight from the sources. (KFDC Tip: Tickets to these could make for great holiday gifts!) . Happy Viewing!

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Around the DMV
When: Through the holiday season
Tickets: Vary by show

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit of the season, there’s plenty of it! There are several versions of The Nutcracker, storybook classics like The Velveteen Rabbit at Adventure Theatre and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Imagination Stage. You can stomp along with Step Akrika!, catch An Irish Carol at Keegan Theatre, and enjoy a Candlelight Christmas at the Kennedy Center. Get details on these shows and many, many more in the 2019 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical)
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through January 5
Tickets: $20

Whatever you do, don’t let the Pigeon star in his own musical production! Starring an innovative mix of actors, puppets, songs, and feathers, this world premiere Kennedy Center commission features a script by Mo Willems, creator of the best-selling “Pigeon” picture books, along with Muppet Babies executive producer Mr. Warburton, plus music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, the composer of Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! Recommended for ages 5+.

Singin’ in the Rain
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: Through January 5
Tickets: $54-$99 (find discounts)

The greatest movie musical of all time comes to life on the Mainstage and for once, rain during the holidays is guaranteed to make you smile. Comden and Green’s ingenious tale of Hollywood’s transition from the silent era is buoyed by the thrill of live singing and dancing to some of the greatest songs in the American canon including “Good Mornin’,” “Make ‘em Laugh,” and “Moses Supposes.” Our biggest production of the year is certain to impress Broadway regulars and enchant kids meeting this musical for the first time. If this were a film it would be rated G.

Newsies
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through December 29
Tickets: Start at $66

In the summer of 1899, the newsboys of New York City took on two of the most powerful men in the country — Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst — and won. Inspired by true events, the Broadway smash hit is a testament to the power of standing up and speaking out. The Tony Award-winning musical features fan-favorites like “Carrying the Banner,” “King of New York” and “Seize the Day.” Newsies is “a winning, high-energy musical” (Entertainment Weekly) just in time for the holidays and perfect for the whole family.

Peter Pan and Wendy
Where: Sidney Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through January 11
Tickets: $35-120/adult, $35/14 & under (find discounts)

Bold, budding scientist Wendy Darling dreams of earning a Nobel Prize. When Peter Pan arrives at her bedroom window, she takes a leap and leaves finishing school behind, chasing adventure among the stars. Facing down fairies, mermaids, and the dastardly Captain Hook, Wendy, Peter, and their friends discover the power of standing up together for what’s right. J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan is reimagined for a new generation of theatregoers.
This beloved tale of adventure and wonder is sure to delight adults and children alike this holiday season. Recommended for ages 5+.

Squeakers & Mr. Gumdrop
Where: Lab at Convergence | Alexandria, VA
When: December 5-21
Tickets: $10

Arts on the Horizon’s show is recommended for ages 2-5… One snowy winter morning, Mr. Gumdrop prepares for his annual holiday party! When an unexpected and curious mouse appears, Mr. Gumdrop’s routine is thrown for a loop. Can these two wildly different characters work together to get the holiday preparations done in time? This nonverbal, imaginative production captures the magic of making new friends and sharing ideas to accomplish big goals.​

Jersey Boys
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: December 17 – January 5
Tickets: $39-99 (find discounts)

They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard… and the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story — a story that has made them an international sensation all over again. Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony and Grammy Award®-winning true-life musical phenomenon, Jersey Boys. From the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is the musical that’s just too good to be true. Recommended for ages 12+.

My Fair Lady
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: December 17 – January 19
Tickets: $39-159 (find discounts)

From Lincoln Center Theater comes “a sumptuous new production of the most perfect musical of all time” (Entertainment Weekly), Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady. Director Bartlett Sher’s glowing production is “thrilling, glorious and better than it ever was” (The New York Times). Boasting such classic songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” My Fair Lady tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a young Cockney flower seller, and Henry Higgins, a linguistics professor who is determined to transform her into his idea of a “proper lady.” But who is really being transformed?

Squeakers & Mr. Gumdrop
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE
When: December 27-31
Tickets: $15

Atlas presents Arts on the Horizon’s show… One snowy winter morning, Mr. Gumdrop prepares for his annual holiday party! When an unexpected and curious mouse appears, Mr. Gumdrop’s routine is thrown for a loop. Can these two wildly different characters work together to get the holiday preparations done in time? This nonverbal, imaginative production captures the magic of making new friends and sharing ideas to accomplish big goals.​ Recommended for ages 2-5.

Pete the Cat
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: January 11-12
Tickets: $20

For Pete the Cat, life is an adventure no matter where you wind up. So the minute the groovy blue cat meets The Biddles, he gets the whole family rocking. That is, except for young Jimmy Biddle, the most organized second grader on planet Earth. But when Jimmy draws a blank in art class during the last week of school, it turns out Pete is the perfect pal to help him out. Recommended for K – 5th grade.

Narnia
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: January 10-19
Tickets: $15/adult, $12/child (find discounts)

Encore Stage & Studio presents its signature theatre By Kids For Kids… When the four Pevensie children stumble upon an old wardrobe, little do they know they will discover the magical world of Narnia. Full of mystical creatures, talking animals, and great escapes, this action-packed story by C.S. Lewis depicts the triumph of Aslan, the great lion and ruler of Narnia, over the White Witch. Join the adventure as four brave kids, one great lion, and an entire kingdom fight for what is right. We recommend this musical for ages 4 and older.

Mouse on the Move
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: January 11 – February 16
Tickets: $12

Nellie and Amelia are two adventurous mice ready to explore the world beyond their little mouse-hole. They decide to go to the moon, since it is cat-free and made entirely of delicious, mouth-watering cheese (so they have heard). In this interactive play, the audience becomes part of the story through multi-sensory activities. Join us as we all try to reach beyond the stars. Recommended for ages 1-5.

Step Afrika! Step Xplosion
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: January 12
Tickets: $35-75

Strathmore is proud to welcome back Step Afrika!, the first professional organization dedicated to the African American tradition of stepping. This performance begins with a showcase of the region’s finest step squads featuring lightning-fast footwork, percussive chants, and incredible synchronicity. In addition to Step Xplosion, Step Afrika! showcase a portion of their new work, Drumfolk, commissioned by Strathmore. Drumfolk honors the heritage of step and places the evolution of this vibrant art form in its historical context. Tracing step’s roots to the African American percussive traditions of patting juba, hambone, ring shout, and tap, Drumfolk reflects on the harsh realities of the American South and celebrates the fortitude of enslaved Africans who practiced these transcendent musical forms. Recommended for ages 8+.

The Merry Wives of Windsor (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Folger Theatre | Capitol Hill, DC
When: January 14 – March 1
Tickets: $27-85

Some appetites never go out of style. The pursuit of money is bound to backfire when the targets are smarter than their gold-digging schemer. Falstaff’s dubious plan to woo Windsor’s wealthy housewives is met with hilarious retaliation, when the ladies devise a plot to teach him a lesson he won’t soon forget. The comedic comeuppance is an absolute treat in Shakespeare’s delightful comedy on love, money, deception, and the power of women.

Once Upon a Moon at Udvar-Hazy
Where: Udvay-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: January 16-17
Tickets: $3-9

Let’s go to the moon! Celebrate the spirit of the Apollo landing in this exciting, interactive show for our youngest audiences. Performers and exquisite puppets spin new and old stories about the moon’s magic, create a “living exhibit” of its phases, and introduce the amazing science that brought us to its surface. You might even get the chance to be a moonwalking astronaut. Recommended for ages 3-7.

Rapunzel
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: January 17 – February 16
Tickets: $12

A “bewitching” tale by Duane T. Bowers, adapted from the Brothers Grimm fairytale. Witch Wartsmith wants a baby, and after bargaining for little Rapunzel, must go to great lengths to keep her out of the hands of a handsome prince. The Puppet Co. uses “coloring- book” charm and the simplicity of hand puppets in a production designed to delight its younger audiences. Recommended for ages 3.5-9.

The Pied Piper
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: January 18,
Tickets: $32 (find discount)

American Pop Orchestra’s The Pied Piper will add a musical element to the classic story by placing the Piper in a town where music and dancing aren’t allowed. Piper, reimagined as a woman in this production, will have a tricky time convincing the locals that music can solve their rat problem, but if they keep their promise of a hefty reward, things just might work out!

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Where: Warner Theatre | Downtown DC
When: January 19, 2pm & 5:30pm
Tickets:

Daniel Tiger and all his friends from the beloved Emmy Award winning PBS KIDS television series are hopping back aboard Trolley for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Neighbor Day. Daniel Tiger and his family along with O the Owl, Miss Elaina, Katerina Kittycat, Prince Wednesday, and more familiar friends will take audiences on an interactive adventure to the Neighborhood of Make Believe, sharing stories of friendship, helping others and celebrating new experiences. The live show features new songs and fan favorites series, including the beloved Wont You Be My Neighbor? The live theatrical production is filled with music, dancing, and wonderful surprises.

Here We Go, Team!
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: January 22-23
Tickets: $3-9

This Discovery Theater original scores big with a musical play about sharing and taking turns, the importance of personal space, and the awesome power of teamwork. Five-year-old Bobby and Casey are aspiring soccer stars and best friends—but they’ve ended up on separate teams! Through a mishap on the field, they discover that helping people is cool, thanks to another kind of team—their favorite teacher and coach who make it all OK.

Monster Jam
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: January 25-26
Tickets: $29-110

The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC. Alien Invasion, El Toro Loco, Grave Digger, Max-D, Megalodon, Monster Mutt, Soldier Fortune, and Zombie are among the vehicular beasts you’ll see tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Happy Theater: Five Spoons
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: January 25 – February 2
Tickets: $15-20

Interactive community building theater piece for adults and children alike. Five miniature stories are creatively told and woven together into a greater story about our personal connection to the world and to each other. Through physical theater, storytelling, audience interaction and object-based theater we meet five people who live next to us – people who may be living without vision, or hearing, who have movement limitations, or are lonely, angry, sad…. How do they see, hear or feel the world, and how do we see, hear or feel them? Recommended for ages 10+.

Capital City Symphony’s Symphonic Dancing
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: January 26
Tickets: $15-20

This fun, interactive family concert will have every family member on their feet! The program explores the expressive, dance-like melodies of William Grant Still’s Danzas de Panama, and Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer and Maple Leaf Rag. Come enjoy this energetic concert for all ages! Join 30 minutes before the performance for an Instrument Petting Zoo!

Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: February 8 – March 22
Tickets: $25-35

Zomo — one hip-hoppity rabbit — is taking on Washington, DC. When Zomo is dissed and dismissed by the other tricksters in town, he turns to the Sky God for more power. The Sky God sends him on an impossible quest taking him from the breakdancing fish on the DC Waterfront, to the graffiti artist cow at the National Zoo, and finally to the DJ Leopard in Adams Morgan. Will Zomo find the power he’s seeking? Or will he wise up? This high-energy hip-hop adaptation of a Nigerian folktale, originally commissioned by Imagination Stage in 2009 (Helen Hayes-Nominated Outstanding Production- Theatre for Young Audiences), puts a local spin and lots of silly humor on the global tradition of trickster tales. Recommended for ages 4+.

Glimpse
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: January 11-12
Tickets: $20

What do colors sound like? Who can understand the moon? How do you sing a tree? This concert presented by Dutch music company Oorkaan transports young audiences to an enchanted world in which music, artists, images, and technology interact with one another. Jazzy melodies mix with bright visuals, forming a captivating new way to relate to music and sounds. Recommended for ages 2–4.

A Thousand Splendid Suns (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: January 17 – March 1
Tickets: $56+

Adapted from the New York Times bestselling novel by Khaled Hosseini (Kite Runner), the lives of two Afghan women are inextricably bound together. In the war-ravaged Kabul, Miriam and Laila become unlikely allies in the face of the insurmountable odds of a brutal and oppressive way of life. Hopes of a new life lead to an unselfish and shocking decision, changing the course of their futures forever. Called “emotionally stirring” (Los Angeles Times), this gripping and heart-rending fight for survival will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Beauty and the Beat
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: January 18-26
Tickets: $20

See NSO principal second violinist Marissa Regni and NSO principal percussionist Eric Shin in an exciting new program exploring the magic created when the violin and percussion join together. Eric may have a vast array of percussion instruments, but Marissa shows how versatile the violin can be. This melodic and rhythmic ride for families proves that no matter how different the instruments are, they can come together to make some beautiful music. Recommended for ages 3+.

The Big Meow
Where: Theatre on the Run | Arlington, VA
When: January 25, February 1 & 8
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child, $45/family of 4 (find discount)
Presented by the Jane Franklin Dance Company… Little Cat is an ever-hopeful fluff ball who desperately wants to belong to the band of neighborhood cats. The Big Meow is a story of a Little Cat’s hope, disappointment, courage and need for belonging. These simple themes are part of every neighborhood, but in this wonderful tale told through the experiences of Little Cat, a potential weakness is a unique strength. The performance incorporates spoken word, movement, music, and an interactive participatory introduction for young children.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: January 31 – February 1
Tickets: $59-99

This immersive concert-style theater show chronicles the amazing journey shared by folk-rock duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. It tells the story from their humble beginnings as Tom & Jerry to their incredible success as one of the best-selling music groups of the ‘60s to their dramatic split in 1970. It culminates with the famous “The Concert in Central Park” reunion in 1981 with more than half a million fans in attendance. Using huge projection photos and original film footage, the show also features a full live band performing all of their hits, including “Mrs. Robinson,” “Cecilia,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Homeward Bound,” and many more. Recommended for ages 4+.

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 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.

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.

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

This weekly sessions of musical fun were started by two friends of mine back when all our our babes were, well, babes. While it’s changed hands since then, it still brings entertainment especially for little ones to Capitol Hill, and children can boogie along with their favorite local musicians. Plan on grabbing lunch after at one of the many nearby eateries or Eastern Market.

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.

Phantom of the Opera
Where: Synetic Theatre | Crystal City, VA
When: February 5 – March 1
Tickets: $35+, $15-25/under 30

Gaston Leroux’s timeless supernatural classic gets a fresh update as Irina Tsikurishvili brings her captivating presence and virtuosic skill sets to the title character of The Phantom of the Opera. When tragedy strikes, a talented but now scarred ballerina takes refuge deep beneath the Paris Opera House. Years later, she becomes enraptured with the ingenue Christine in the corp de ballet. Known only as the Phantom, she terrorizes the opera house and manipulates Christine, cultivating her talent and demanding she be cast in more prominent roles. Synetic’s adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera will honor the pathos and beauty of this classic French tale while examining longing, legacy, and the tragedy of unrealized dreams.

The ABC’s of Percussion with Uncle Devin
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: February 6-7
Tickets: $3-9

Join Uncle Devin on a musical journey through the wide, wonderful, and boisterous world of percussion instruments. From West African agogo bells to a Chinese lithophone (made of stone!) to Brazil’s zabumba drum, learn how each unique instrument brings global beats to vibrant life. Uncle Devin makes the sounds and rhythms of percussion the perfect way to reinforce the alphabet for the youngest learners.

Into the Great Unknown: African American Adventurers and Explorers
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: February 11-13
Tickets: $3-9

Leadership, courage, and adventure take center stage in this inspiring Discovery Theater original. From Matthew Henson, co-discoverer of the North Pole, to astronaut Mae Jemison, meet a century’s worth of bold men and women who challenged the Western frontier, the highest of mountains, and the vastness of outer space—and triumphed. In the histories and heroism of these explorers and adventurers, young audiences find models to help them reach their own highest goals. Recommended for ages 6-12.

The King’s Speech
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: February 11-16
Tickets: $54-114 (find discounts)

The King’s Speech is based on the true story of King George VI’s struggle with a speech impediment and the friendship he formed with his unconventional speech therapist, Lionel Logue. With the Nazi threat looming and civil unrest at home, royal secrets explode around the King as he’s thrust onto the world stage. David Seidler’s original play – which inspired the 2010 Oscar-winning film starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush – will make its long-awaited U.S. debut in a production The Mail proclaims “A right royal treat.” Recommended for ages 13+.

Disney on Ice: Celebrate Memories
Where: Capitol One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: February 13-17
Tickets: Start at $15 (find discounts)

Your favorite Disney stories come to life at Disney On Ice presents Celebrate Memories. Sail along with Moana on her high-seas adventure and dance with Woody, Buzz and all the Toy Story friends. Feel inspired when love wins in Frozen and dreams come true for the Disney Princesses. Share the excitement and make new memories the whole family will treasure forever!

The Snowy Day & Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: February 14 – April 1
Tickets: $23

This beautiful show follows the character of Peter and his friend Archie around the neighborhood in four of Ezra Jack Keats’ beloved tales, The Snowy Day, Whistle for Willie, Goggles!, and A Letter to Amy. Renowned for his tender personality, the character of Peter faces relatable everyday challenges to which children of all ages will find delightfully entertaining. Recommended for all ages.

NSO Family Concert: Girl Power! Celebrating Women in Music
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: February 16
Tickets: $15-18 (find discounts)

Don’t miss a special showcase of female composers, conductors, and performers to mark 100 years since the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. The program is to include works by Florence Price, Joan Tower, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Jessie Montgomery. Recommended for ages 5+.

Going the Distance
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: February 20-21 & 26-28
Tickets: $3-9

Race to the finish line with two black Olympians who changed history! Soaring music and the exhilaration of world-class sorts motivate us to greatness in this vivid portrayal of the lives of Jesse Owens and Wilma Rudolph. Join them as they them overcome childhood illness, infirmity, and poverty to become the world’s fastest man and woman, winning the greatest honor in all athletics: the Olympic gold medal. The John Cornelius II score speaks to the heart and soul of the winner in all of us.

Beauty and the Beast
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, DC
When: February 20 – March 29
Tickets: $12

A romantic tale of a handsome prince, and his love, Beauty, set in a great forest in old Russia. There are curses, conflicts, hopes, wishes, dreams, and exciting adventures, all the things that make a happy ending that much sweeter. Imaginative settings and beautiful costumes support this large-scale marionette version of the classic love story. Winner of a Citation of Excellence from the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionette, it has played successfully to children and families nationwide. Recommended for ages 5+.

Imagination Stage’s Mouse on the Move
Where:Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: February 21 – March 1
Tickets: $15

Nellie and Amelia are two adventurous mice ready to explore the world beyond their little mouse-hole. They decide to go to the moon since it is cat-free and made entirely of delicious, mouth-watering cheese (so they have heard). In this interactive play, the audience becomes part of the story through multi-sensory activities. Join us as we all try to reach beyond the stars.

Mark Nizer 4D
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: February 22
Tickets: $20

The only live 3D show in the world! Okay, technically any on-stage performance is a live 3D show, but this world-champion juggler uses lights, music, special effects and his own incredible skill to put on a dazzling performance with thrills and outrageous laughs. Special 3D glasses available to the audience give a surreal sensation of depth that take this family-friendly show beyond anything you’ve ever seen on stage before!

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NSO Music for Young Audiences: Mozart Mash-Up
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: February 22-23
Tickets: $20

Share the magic and music of Mozart in a special family concert! A string quartet featuring members of the National Symphony Orchestra plays its favorites from the prolific composer. At age 3, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart could be found observing his big sister Nannerl at the keyboard. By 4 or 5, he had written his first compositions, and by age 7 his first symphony. Mozart continues to inspire audiences and performers today—some of whom experienced his music when they were just as young as the composer! Recommended for ages 7+.

Celia and Fidel (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: February 28 – April 12
Tickets: $72+

Can one woman change the mind of a man and the fate of a nation? Fidel Castro’s most trusted confidant and political partner, Celia Sánchez, is never far from his side as he grapples with how to move his country forward. It’s 1980 and a failing economy has led 10,000 Cuban citizens to seek asylum at the Peruvian Embassy in Cuba. Castro must decide what kind of a leader he wants to be: merciful or mighty. Imbued with magical realism, Arena Stage’s seventh Power Play imagines a conversation between Cuba’s most influential female revolutionary and its most notorious political leader in a contest between morality and power.

YAO YAO
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: February 29 – March 1
Tickets: $20

Yao is a mischievous little girl who loves to play, but hates when her Daddy picks up his briefcase and goes off to work. One day, Yao grabs Daddy’s overcoat and accidentally pulls a thread that leads to the start of a magical world. South Korea’s Brush Theatre uses interactive screen art technology and live music to capture the whimsical adventure that follows. What Yao finds at the end of the thread playfully blurs reality and imagination. Recommended for ages 3-7.

Laurie Berkner Band
Where: Gordon Center for Performing Arts | Owings Mills, MD
When: March 1, 11am & 3pm
Tickets: $36-65

Best selling children’s music artist Laurie Berkner is returning to the DC area for two shows. A true pioneer in children’s music, beloved by generations of children and parents for over twenty years, she’ll be playing well-loved hits like “Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)” and “We Are the Dinosaurs” along with newer songs. Kids should plan to bring their dancing shoes and a stuffed animal (for their heads). FYI: We took a toddler Owen to one of Laurie’s shows years ago, and it was a blast!

Hot Peas ‘N Butter
Where: Center for the Arts | George Mason University, VA
When: March 1, 1pm & 4pm
Tickets:$15/adult, $10/child

Praised by the Los Angeles Times for their “hot and mellow multicultural groove,” Hot Peas ‘n Butter will have you and your whole family on their feet dancing with their infectiously fun global music celebration. This Parent Choice Award-winning, family music ensemble blends together traditional Latin music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, jazz, bluegrass, country, and rock to create a “rainbow of color and sound.” (NY 1 TV). Singing in English, Spanish, French, Korean and Hebrew, Hot Peas ‘n Butter aims to show multi-cultural interconnectedness. Their repertoire of songs like “Number 1” and their signature Latin beat tracks “Somos Familia,” “Amistad,” “Que Llueva,” and “Round the World” enjoy radio play nationwide. Recommended for ages 2-6.

The Magic of Bill Blagg Live!
Where: Center for the Arts | George Mason University, VA
When: March 1, 1pm & 4pm
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

Witness the impossible with top illusionist Bill Blagg in his new mind-bending and hilarious magic show The Magic of Bill Blagg Live! “Unbelievable!” raves USA Today, and “Absolutely Incredible!” echoes The Chicago Tribune. The whole family will rub their eyes in disbelief as the “Houdini Times Ten” (NBC), makes objects disappear, teleports across the theater, levitates in mid-air, and so much more. Don’t miss your chance to experience this thrilling, action-packed, and interactive show that will leave you and your family breathless. Bill Blagg is changing reality one city at a time, and Fairfax is next! Recommended ages 8+.

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: March 4-6
Tickets: $3-9

Meet the grocer, the baker, the pizza-dough maker, and all of the friendly people who make our neighborhoods terrific places to live every day. Recycled crafting, interactive songs, literacy and numeracy elements make this community day the perfect blend of learning and just plain fun.

Story Tapestries: The Fastest Plane
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: March 5-7
Tickets: $10-15

Travel the World with Story Tapestries’ Family Artists and The Giggling, Wiggling Bookworm. Dive into the ocean, soar above the mountains and fly through the jungle. Leave the program swinging like a monkey, singing like a bird and eager to celebrate stories from around the world!

NSO Music for Young Audiences: 123 Andrés
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: March 7-8
Tickets: $20

Andrés and Christina are Latin Grammy Award®–winning teaching artists who get kids and families excited about learning and moving together in Spanish and English! Join Andrés on an exciting cultural exploration of Latin America through an introduction of language, music, and dance. Families sing, shake, and sound out. Children can use their imaginations to ride an imaginary airplane and join in singing and dancing while practicing new vocabulary. Recommended for ages 3-6.

Science Tellers: Escape from Earth
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: March 12-13
Tickets: $3-9

Two curious kids venture into the forest to investigate a meteor shower and find themselves mixed up with a family of visitors from another planet. They risk everything to rescue their new friends and get them to their spaceship before it’s too late. Audiences get to learn the science behind the show’s out-of-this-world special effects.

Arts on the Horizon’s Drumming with Dishes
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: March 11-15
Tickets: $15

What happens when you invite someone very different from you to come over to play? Such an adventure awaits an energetic child when she introduces her shy imaginary friend to a very special kitchen. But instead of food, they’ll cook up beautiful music! This gentle, whimsical adventure celebrates friendship and turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. Join us and discover what wonders can be accomplished through friendship! Recommended for ages 2-5.

Jazz Doodle Jam! Jason Moran & Bandwagon + Mo Willems
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: March 13-14
Tickets: $20

Jazz Doodle Jam! is an intimate jazz concert where you collaborate with the band! Sit down at a table covered with paper, grab a marker or crayon, and join host Mo Willems for a new kind of participatory musical experience. Kids and grown-ups doodle to music played onstage by Jason Moran and The Bandwagon. The band reacts and improvises to the audience’s explorations, jamming together with pictures and music, blurring the lines between artists and audience. All ages welcome!

St. Paddy’s Day with Pete Moss and the Bog Band
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: March 12-13
Tickets: $3-9

Join Pete (aka Mitch Fanning) and his troupe of talented young musicians as they pick up their fiddles and bodhran drums to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Spirited music, lively step dancing, and a dash of Irish musical history guarantee “a rattlin’ good time!” Recommended for ages 5-12.

Happy Theater: Nest
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts | Gaithersburg, MD
When: March 14, 21, & 28
Tickets: $25-45

An interactive, multi-sensory show about the life cycle of a bird for families with children from 6 months to 4 years old… In a nest in a tree, an egg is kept warm. Then a Baby Bird hatches! The Baby is fed and nurtured by the Tree Fairy, and both the Baby and the Fairy begin to explore what it means to grow up, and to learn how to fly, and what it means to be a parent. They feel sunshine and rain, smell flowers, taste berries, and see butterflies. There are surprises. One day, the Baby learns to spread its wings and fly. Where will it go? Will it leave the Tree Fairy?

Once Upon a Moon
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: March 19-20
Tickets: $3-9

Let’s go to the moon! Celebrate the spirit of the Apollo landing in this exciting, interactive show for our youngest audiences. Performers and exquisite puppets spin new and old stories about the moon’s magic, create a “living exhibit” of its phases, and introduce the amazing science that brought us to its surface. You might even get the chance to be a moonwalking astronaut.

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 21
Tickets: $25 and up (find discounts)

The Original Harlem Globetrotters are on the road for their action packed tour! A star-studded roster will have fans on the edge of their seats to witness the ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that thrills fans of all ages. There will be new high-flying dunks, hilarious stunts, a new record-breaking attempt and unforgettable family moments.

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, 2020, All ages, Date Night, DC, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Seasonal, Special Event, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Scenes from the 2019 Season’s Greening Exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Up close and personal with a model of a topiary flamingo


The U.S. Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to visit any time of year, but it gets the most attention during the holidays when its annual Season’s Greenings exhibit is on display — and for good reason. Featuring the most delightful train display, models of DC landmarks in the festively decorated conservatory, plus concerts and extended hours, it’s one of the best ways to enjoy some holiday fun around DC.

The highlight, especially for kids (and the kid in all of us adults) is the garden railway, which is always beautiful, whimsical, and uniquely crafted from plant materials. This year’s theme is America’s Gardens with recreations of structures — conservatories, fountains, and sculptures — from botanical gardens around the country. See the Canopy Cathedral Treehouse from Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania (random fact: I worked there when I was in high school), the Science Pyramid from the Denver Botanic Gardens, the World’s Largest Concrete Garden Gnome from Iowa’s Reiman Gardens, the USBG’s own Bartholdi Fountain, the Biltmore Conservatory, Topiary Flamingos from Ohio, and many, many more fantastically imaginative works. The model trains zipping through it all adds another layer of whimsy and delight.

Try to get a close look to see how the individual leaves, seed pods, stems, and other plant parts are placed to create the works — it really is impressive. Stand back, too, to take it all in and appreciate the mini botanical wonderland.

Once again, in the main Garden Court you can also view Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials as well as poinsettias and other vibrant flora. And be sure to stop in the West Gallery where there is a 26-foot Christmas tree with its own model train whizzing by recreations of DC row houses — all made of plant materials and based on real homes on Capitol Hill and Georgetown.

For more holiday magic at the Botanic Garden, there are concerts Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December, when hours are extended until 8pm. This is my favorite time to go. The music adds extra spirit and it’s lovely to see the exhibit and plant collections illuminated by colorful lights. Plus, there’s usually no wait to get in then.

Be aware that lines to get in do get long, especially on weekends and when kids are on Winter Break from school. Your best bet for avoiding a wait is to go on a weekday before they’re off for the holidays (think after school activity) or on one of the Tuesday or Thursday evenings in December.

And if you get there and the line is just too long, there is more than just the Seasons Greenings exhibit to enjoy. Explore the plant collections, both inside and out, and pick up a Plant Hunt guide, so the kids can search for specific species. And be sure to check out Patrick Doherty’s amazing Stickwork Sculpture Installation in the National Garden. Bartholdi Garden, also part of the USBG right across Independence Avenue, will also be festively decorated this year.

Season’s Greenings opens on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, and runs through January 5, 2020, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Hours are 10am – 5pm daily (and noted 8pm closings on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December). Admission is free. Get more of a glimpse in the photos below, but definitely plan a visit there to enjoy it all in person!















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Filed under 2019, 2020, All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Seasonal, Special Event, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter