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

Live Entertainment for All Around the DC Area this Fall

Cirque de Soleil’s Volta is still in town and mesmerizing audiences of all ages


With autumn comes a whole new season of live entertainment. From plays to puppet shows, concerts to comedy, dance performances to Disney on Ice, even a two-week long showcase of European performing arts, there is something to indulge all theatrical interests on DC stages this fall, including several KidFree recommendations. This list, ordered by opening date, has details.

The REACH Opening Festival
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through September 22
Tickets: Free

The REACH, the wonderful expansion of the Kennedy Center where the public is welcome and encouraged to interact with the arts, just opened. The new building and spaces within are stunning, and they will host an array of arts programs for the public to enjoy. The Opening Festival runs through September 22 and features all kinds of performances and more opportunities for creativity in action. See what’s on the schedule and reserve free tickets for events here. And heads-up: Sunday, September 15, is Family Day, so there will be lots of programs especially for kids and families then.

Cirque de Soleil: Volta
Where: Under the Big Top| Tysons II, VA
When: Through September 29
Tickets: $49+ (look for discounts)

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.

What the Constitution Means to Me
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: September 11-22
Tickets: $49-169

Fifteen-year-old Heidi Schreck earned her college tuition money by winning Constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In her boundary-breaking new play, the Obie Award winner resurrects her teenage self in order to trace the profound relationship between four generations of women in her family and the founding document that shaped their lives. This “endearingly funny and deeply affecting” (Washington Post) exploration breathes new life into our constitution and imagines how it might impact the lives of future generations. Recommended for ages 12+.

Jitney
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: September 13 – October 20
Tickets: $56-132

August Wilson’s Jitney opens Arena Stage’s season-long Festival celebrating the Pulitzer Prize-winning giant with Ruben Santiago-Hudson directing his 2017 Broadway production — recipient of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. The dramatic story of a Pittsburgh jitney station, a symbol of stability, struggles against an oppressive lack of opportunity and unnerving neighborhood gentrification that threatens the way they live and work. The drivers resist powerful forces while coming to grips with their pasts to fulfill their own hopes and dreams for the future. Arena Stage’s presentation kicks off the National Tour of one of this great master’s masterpieces. Jitney runs approximately 2 hours & 15 minutes with one 15-minute intermission. Recommended for teens and up.

Cats
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: September 17 – October 6
Tickets: $49-149 (look for discounts)

Cats tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. The Tony Award-winning, record-breaking musical spectacular by Andrew Lloyd Webber is now on tour across North America. Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater, “Memory.”

The Diary of Anne Frank
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: September 17-24
Tickets: Call Box Office

In 1941 Amsterdam, 13-year-old Anne Frank goes into hiding with her family from the Nazis. For the next two years, she never leaves the attic where her family is concealed. With fear of discovery ever present, Anne finds solace writing in her diary, capturing the daily lives of the secret annex’s inhabitants—from the horrors of war to the excitement of first love—with wit, determination, and idealism. With a multicultural cast, National Players brings the true story of this incredibly insightful young girl that is often read in school to the stage in hopes of inspiring the next generation to stand up for justice rather than sit back in apathy.

Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are In A Play!”
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: September 20 – October 27
Admission: $25

The award-winning, best-selling children’s books jumps from page to stage as a musical experience you won’t forget! Gerald and Piggie are “bestus” friends, with Gerald taking care of all the worrying and Piggie living her best life. Piggie’s even happier and more excited than usual. They’re going to a party hosted by the Squirrelles! And so begins a day when anything is possible.

Bobtail Bong Bong: A Monkey’s Tale
Where: Montgomery College Arts Center | Rockville, MD
When: September 20-28
Tickets:

InterAct Story Theatre presents the world premiere of a new play made just for early childhood, and you’re invited! Bob the Monkey is the smartest monkey in the land, and they want everyone to know it! Bob the Monkey wants what they want, and they should be able to get it! But why is everyone mad at Bob? Why is everyone so mean? Bob didn’t do anything! In this interactive theatre forum, children follow Bob’s misadventures and help Bob figure out where they went wrong, and where they could try out Caring, Fairness, and Respect to turn things around. Led by InterAct’s Artistic Director Ali Oliver-Krueger, audience members make suggestions about how Bob could do things differently, and watch Bob roleplay out their suggestions to see if Bob can make things better by making better choices. Does it work? What happens next? Recommended for ages 4+.

The Tempest (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Synetic Theatre | Pentagon City, VA
When: September 20 – October 20
Tickets: $10-60

Synetic’s legendary, cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest returns — with the famed water-filled stage and visual poetry that made the original production an unforgettable sensation when it premiered in 2013- plus a new twist as Synetic co-founder Irina Tsikurishvili steps into the role of “Prospera.” When the magical and powerful Prospera creates a sea storm, she gets more than she bargained for as romantic drama, deception, and quests for vengeance emerge from the depths. Spirits, monsters, witches, drunken fools, and lithe lovers contort and cavort with passion and bravado in one of Shakespeare’s most high-stakes and irreverent comedies.

The 3 Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: September 20 – October 6
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.

Coat of Many Colors: The Music of Dolly Parton
Where: Mead Center, Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: September 21
Tickets: $25-75 (look for discounts)

Join The American Pops Orchestra for a season opener featuring the music of the iconic, country legend, Dolly Parton. Let this timeless American music enchant you with fresh arrangements performed by the best in the biz. From greatest hits to hidden gems, this Dolly tribute is sure to delight. One night only!

Mike Birbiglia’s The New One (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: September 24-29
Tickets: $39-114

He’s made you laugh in Sleepwalk With Me (it was a play presented by Nathan Lane, then a movie, THEN a book), My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and “Thank God for Jokes.” (He was also really funny in that one season of “Orange is the New Black.” And in “Billions.” And “Broad City.”) Now he’s direct from Broadway, telling a new story in a new way with the same heart and humor we’ve come to expect. Lin-Manuel Miranda called The New One “as perfect a night as you’re gonna get.” Recommended for ages 13+, but probably great for a grown-up night out.

Escaped Alone (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Signature Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: September 24 – November 3
Tickets: $40-90

In a serene British garden three old friends are joined by a neighbor to engage in amiable chitchat—with a side of apocalyptic horror. The women’s talk of grandchildren and tv shows breezily intersperses with tales of terror in a quietly teetering world where all is not what it seems.

The Royale
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: September 25 – October 27
Tickets: $54/adult, $49/child

In 1905, Jay “The Sport” Jackson dreams of becoming the first African American boxer to fight for the heavyweight championship. Despite racking up a string of vicious knockouts, racial segregation and his white manager’s own reservations stand in the way. Inspired by the true story of Jack Johnson, The Royale breaks new ground by taking us inside the fighter’s mind where the disciplined brutality of boxing reveals itself in theatrically-unforgettable bouts. At stake is more than wins or losses, but equality and survival. Recommended for tweens and up.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: September 28 – October 27
Tickets: $15-30

Beloved by children for generations, Eric Carle’s children’s books come off the page and onto the stage in an unforgettable theatrical experience. With more than seventy larger-than-life puppets and original music, this special event follows all your favorite characters from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, The Very Lonely Firefly, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, and –of course – The Very Hungry Caterpillar. From a lumbering brown bear, to a curious caterpillar, to a fleet of rubber ducks, to countless other critters, Carle’s beautiful illustrations come to life through theatre magic. Recommended for ages 3+.

Peppa Pig’s Adventure
Where: Warner Theatre | Downtown DC
When: September 28, 12pm & 3:30pm
Tickets: $33+ (look for discounts)

Peppa Pig Live! is coming with the all new action-packed live show featuring favorite characters as life size puppets and costume characters in her new live show, Peppa Pig’s Adventure! Join Peppa on an exciting camping trip to the woods with George and her school friends, including Pedro Pony, Suzy Sheep and Gerald Giraffe. With lunchboxes packed and Daddy Pig driving the bus, Peppa and friends are excited about their outdoor adventure, full of singing, dancing, games and surprises!

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

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians on Barracks Row (8th Street SE) every Thursday morning. Even better, proceeds from all shows benefit DC Diaper Bank! Go for the entertainment, then grab lunch 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.

Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures
Where: EagleBank Arena | Fairfax, VA
When: October 2-6
Tickets: $25+ (look for discounts)

Hit the road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a high-octane ride in Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. Exciting twists and turns await as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and guests of all ages embark on an interactive and memory-rich adventure to iconic Disney destinations. See the world from the rooftops of London with Mary Poppins and Jack and his band of dancing lamplighters. Travel to the sun-soaked Motunui and help Moana restore the heart of Te Fiti. Set off on a safari and snap unforgettable photos of wild cheetahs and monkeys when guests traverse through the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa… Be prepared for a getaway jam-packed with unexpected hijinks and surprise, up-close character interaction as Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures makes a pitstop right in Fairfax!

Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Manassas, VA
When: October 6, 1pm & 4pm
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

Calling all space enthusiasts! Lightwire Theater Company uses glow-in-the dark puppets, electro-luminescent wire, movement, and dance to present a visually stunning theatrical experience that is out of this world. In an imaginative story without words, join Marvin—an outcast mouse who craves acceptance and adventure—on a thrilling space odyssey. With his homemade rocket, Marvin blasts off to the moon where he meets a strange cast of misfit creatures, learns of infinite danger, and views awesome beauty.

Peter Rabbit Tales
Where: GMU Center for the Arts | Fairfax, VA
When: October 6, 1pm & 4pm
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

“Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were—Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter.” For more than 100 years, Beatrix Potter’s famous opening line to The Tale of Peter Rabbit has captivated generations of children, introducing them to a mischievous, little blue-coated rabbit and his escapades in Mr. McGregor’s garden. Experience this beloved classic all over again with your little bunnies in Enchantment Theatre Company’s delightful theatrical adaptation of Peter Rabbit™ Tales. All of the colorful whimsy and wisdom of the original stories will come alive on stage with the help of unforgettable characters, fantastical masks, playful puppets, gorgeous sets, and original music. Recommended for ages 3 to 9.

¡¡CUENTOS!!
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: October 9-10
Tickets: $3-8

Cuentos means stories, and this delightful Discovery Theater original offers a fresh bilingual take on three magical tales. The Little Red Hen asks the question “Who will help?” Jack and the Beanstalk proves that small is mighty. And as for The Gingerbread Man, well, he’s just one bad cookie. Filled with delightful songs, puppets, and audience participation, this story-time spectacular is not to be missed! Recommended for ages 3-7.

Retratos: My People, Myself
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: October 9-10
Tickets: $3-8

Originally created for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and with Young Playwright’s Theater, this joyous theatrical gallery of the many faces of Latin America is rooted in the writings of D.C. school students. Their vibrant words and images infuse this interactive play with intensely personal reflections on themes of identity and heritage—and a new generation’s dreams for America’s future. Portrait Gallery educators are on hand to connect with teachers and students after the performance. Recommended for ages 6-12.

Footloose
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 9-13
Tickets: $59-175 (look for discounts)

The Kennedy Center presents an all-new, semi-staged concert production of everyone’s favorite rock’n’roll musical. When rebellious teenager Ren McCormack moves from Chicago to a small town in Texas where dance and rock music are forbidden, he leads his classmates around the law, and Reverend Shaw Moore, to break free and have a rock’n’roll senior prom.

Pinocchio
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: October 11 – November 22
Tickets: $12

A life-size marionette version of Carlo Collodi’s classic children’s tale, created in the 1960s by the father of the Puppet Co.’s co-founder, Christopher Piper. This production has been completely refurbished and adapted for the Puppet Co. stage. Recommended for ages 5+.

Culture Queen’s Dance Party
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: October 11-12
Admission: $15

Join the Culture Queen as she does “The Locomotion” on a journey through the swinging ’60s. This energetic show introduces young audiences to the music of Dance Hall kings and queens like Chubby Checker, Little Richard, Little Eva, and Dee Dee Sharp. She’ll teach your royal children the hottest dances of the era like “The Twist”, “The Mashed Potato”, “The Bird” and many more through music and storytelling.

The Price is Right
Where: MGM National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: October 11-13
Tickets: $35+

Imagine your name being called to “Come On Down!” The dream comes true for many lucky people every show. Contestants on The Price is Right Live™ are selected entirely at random from among all eligible people who have registered. Registration takes place at the theater or showroom on the day of the show beginning up to three hours before the scheduled start time. Prize winners will be required to present a drivers’ license or other government-issued ID.

Disney’s Frozen Jr.
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: October 11-20
Tickets: $15/adult, $12/child

Encore Stage & Studio presents this”by kids for kids” production: A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen Jr. takes us on a journey with Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with obstacles, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen Jr. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart! Recommended for ages 4+.

Right to Be Forgotten
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: October 11 – November 10
Tickets:

The internet never forgets. A young man’s mistake at 17 haunts him online a decade later. Desperate for a normal life, he goes to extraordinary lengths to erase his indiscretion. But freedom of information is big business, and the tech companies aren’t going down without a fight. Secrets, lies and political backstabbing abound in this riveting new drama about one man’s fierce battle to reclaim his right to privacy. Recommended for teens and up.

Everybody (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Lansburgh Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: October 15 – November 17
Tickets: $49-112

Everybody–a role assigned each night from a small cast of actors by lottery live on stage—is a happy person, a free person, a person who believes nothing but the best lies ahead. Then Death comes calling and Everybody must go on the journey of a lifetime. Obie Award winner and MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon) has created an irreverent, rollicking ride that asks deep questions of all who see it.

Little Shop of Horrors
Where: Source Theater | 14th Street NW, DC
When: October 17 – November 17
Tickets: $19-55 (find discounts)

Deep in the run-down neighborhood of Skid Row, timid floral assistant Seymour Krelborn is skyrocketed to fame when he discovers a strange and unusual plant that he names “Audrey II” after his sweet but self-sacrificing coworker. Soon, Seymour has it all – cash, glory, and the girl of his dreams – but his good fortune takes a deadly turn when the rapidly growing Audrey II develops an appetite for human blood. Recommended for tweens and up.

Kid Prince and Pablo
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 19 – November 3
Tickets: $20

Mark Twain’s classic The Prince and the Pauper is reimagined as a digital age American Hip Hop story by playwright Brian Quijada, with direction by Pirronne Yousefzadeh and music by Marvin Quijada. In the divided Capital City, the ruling class called The Promised has banned rap and dance after an attempted revolution by the progressive New Wave people. Royal Kid Prince is set to inherit the throne—until he meets Pablo, a New Wave drummer who performs for underground rap battles. When the two switch identities, mayhem and confusion follow. But by standing in one another’s shoes, Kid Prince and Pablo unearth discoveries that could start a whole new revolution. Recommended for ages 9+.

NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 20
Tickets: $16-18

An annual tradition! The Concert Hall transforms into a ghostly sight when our ghoulishly attired musicians perform new and old classics to celebrate Halloween. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Recommended for ages 5+.

Darci Lynn & Friends
Where: DAR Constitution Hall | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 20
Tickets: $27-98

On the heels of a record-breaking year, the gifted Singer/Ventriloquist Darci Lynne is sharing her passion for performance and bringing her captivating show which is backed by a live band to fans across America. Darci kicked off 2019 with some of the most memorable AGT contestants from 184 countries becoming the runner up out of the 50 top competitors on the first ever “America’s Got Talent: Champions.”

Kids Euro Festival
Where: Venues throughout DC
When: October 26 – November 10
Tickets: FREE

The 12th annual Kids Euro Festival will present numerous FREE children’s performances all around the DC-Metro area. Mimes, storytellers, dancers, and puppeteers are just a few of the exciting acts on the schedule that take place at a variety of venues, from public libraries to embassies to performing arts centers. Stay tuned for more details and the complete schedule.

Dragons Love Tacos
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: October 26-27
Tickets: $20 (look for discounts)

Taco-loving dragons headline this collection of your child’s favorite books including The Interrupting Chicken, The Dot, Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa Schools Days.

Paw Patrol LIVE!
Where: Hippodrome | Baltimore, MD
When: October 26-27
Tickets: $44-158

It’s the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race between Adventure Bay’s own Mayor Goodway and Foggy Bottom’s dastardly Mayor Humdinger, but Mayor Goodway is missing. Ryder assembles the PAW Patrol to run the race and save the day! Using their unique skills and teamwork, the pups show that “no job is too big, no pup is too small” as they make several heroic rescues as they race to the finish line.

Balancing Bodies
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 31 – November 3
Tickets: $20

Take a seat in a rolling office chair and observe an ordinary space transform into a universe full of surprises and twists. Dance/theater company Woest from the Netherlands brings this interactive show in which the interplay between performer and spectator is the nucleus around which everything orbits. As a world builds from nothing to something, audience members take part in balancing playfulness and organization, young and old, foolishness and seriousness, and more. Recommended for ages 9+.

Hoop of Life with Ty Defoe
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: November 1
Tickets: $3-8

With his vivid presence as a performer, Ty Defoe recounts an eloquent story of life though movement, music, and words rooted in his Oneida and Ojibwe heritage. He uses the athletic form of the ritual Hoop Dance to explore Native American stories framed by traditional and contemporary culture, history, and values. As the colorful interlinked hoops move, they speak of the unity and interdependence of all living things—and offer lessons for our everyday lives. Recommended for ages 5+.

Newsies
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: November 1 – December 22
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.

Inside Out
Where: Imagination stage | Bethesda, MD
When: November 2-24
Tickets: $12

It’s bedtime! But instead of getting ready, two children use their imaginations to turn their room into a wonderland of mess! While playing dress-up, a glove becomes a dancing fish, a shirt becomes a fantastic creature, and a sock dance rocks the closet. In this interactive show, discover the joy of turning things inside out! Recommended for ages 1-5.

GET’M
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 2-3
Tickets: $20

Watch a television show go uproariously wrong. Three television hosts prepare to go live in the studio. The problem? There’s only one microphone! Witness the great lengths these so-called “mature” presenters go to hold the attention. Dutch theater company Bontehond presents this imaginative production in the spirit of Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes, featuring silly misunderstandings, a fantastic puppet show, and some hilarious hide-n-seek. Recommended for ages 3+.

The Jungle Book
Where: Creative Cauldron | Falls Church, VA
When: November 8-24
Tickets: $20/adult, $18/student

A musical adaptation of one of the most well-loved books in the English language in 2015. Danger lurks everywhere for young Mowgli as he learns the “laws of the jungle” from his friends Akela, the wolf, Baloo, the bear, and Bagheera, the panther, who warn him that Shere Khan, the tiger, wants to eat him. But when Mowgli is forced to leave his friends and return to the village from which he came, he soon learns that man is the most dangerous creature of all. With sensitive themes about loyalty, honor, courage, and persistence, the Jungle Book stories have irresistible appeal for audiences of every generation.

Amadeus
Where: Folger Theatre | Capitol Hill, DC
When: November 5 – December 22
Tickets: $27-85 (look for discounts)

Genius and jealousy collide in the opulent salons and opera houses of 18th-century Vienna. When an impulsive and eccentric prodigy outshines an envious, God-fearing composer consumed by bitterness, theatrical fireworks emerge. The mediocre Salieri will do everything in his power to destroy his musical rival. Recommended for tweens and up.

Singin’ in the Rain
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: November 8 – January 5
Tickets: $42-79 (look for 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.

Airness
Where: Keegan Theatre | Northwest DC
When: November 8-30
Tickets: $41-51

When Nina enters her first air guitar competition, she thinks winning will be easy. But as she befriends a group of charismatic nerds all committed to becoming the next champion, she discovers that there’s more to this art form than playing pretend. A hit at the 2017 Humana Festival, AIRNESS is a comedy about competition, completion, and finding the airness inside yourself.

EGG-tion HERO
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 9-10
Tickets: $20

See that egg? The one in the museum gallery guarded by two boring attendants? It’s very expensive and no one is allowed to touch it. But just when the job of these attendants starts to feel extra boring, they’re needed more than ever! Will they succeed at keeping the egg safe? Join Dutch theater/dance company Maas in a charming production for young audiences featuring miming actors, a chase scene, and a hysterically egg-cellent time. Recommended for ages 3+.

KIDZ BOP
Where: DAR Constitution Hall | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 10
Tickets: $25-55

KIDZ BOP, the #1 music brand for kids, is bringing its highly anticipated world tour to DC in November. The show is an interactive experience for the whole family, where the KIDZ BOP Kids will be performing some of today’s biggest hits “sung by kids for kids,” with engaging new set design, exciting choreography, and more.

The Velveteen Rabbit
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: November 15 – January 3
Admission: $20.50

Margery Williams’s classic toy story gets a vibrant retelling in this brand new adaptation. When the Child gets the Rabbit for Christmas, she is at first disappointed in her gift. But as the two quest and adventure through her storybooks, both Rabbit and Child grow and care for each other. And they discover that love is the greatest force in the Universe and can make impossible things Real.

Baby Beats with Max and Root
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: November 15-16
Tickets: $15

Two Beat Boxing Dads making music and songs the whole family can enjoy! Take little ones to the Atlas for some fun and beats with Hip Hop Artist Jamaal Collier and Beatboxer Max Bent. Recommended for ages 0-8.

Circo Comedia
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Manassas, VA
When: November 17, 1pm & 4pm
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

In the tradition of the Quebec Circus, Circo Comedia brings thrills, comedy, stunts, magic, and eccentricity to delight and amaze the whole family. Direct from Montreal, “straight man” Jean Saucier juggles, cycles, balances, and performs magic atop dizzying heights, while Patrick Côté clowns around on skates or while drumming as his (imperfect) assistant.

Disney Junior Holiday Party!
Where: Warner Theatre | Downtown DC
When: November 17
Tickets: Start at $29 (look for discounts)

Disney Junior Holiday Party! is a dazzling musical wonderland where children and their families can sing and dance along to their favorite Disney Junior songs plus holiday classics with their favorite Disney friends, including Mickey & Minnie Mouse, the Puppy Dog Pals, Vampirina and many more, plus a special visit from Santa Claus!

Grandma’s Thanksgiving Visit
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: November 21-26
Tickets: $3-8

Back by popular demand! Grandma has arrived for the holiday—and that can only mean making puppets, cooking together, washing the car, and learning lots of fun new things. This musical play with a great big heart brings the whole audience into the family with singing, finger play, and call-and response as we all give thanks for being together. Recommended for ages 3-6.

Washington National Opera: The Magic Flute
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 2-23
Tickets: $25-299 (look for discounts)

This great adventure starts with an unexpected pair: Tamino, a handsome young prince, and Papageno, his silly bird-catcher sidekick. When the mysterious Queen of the Night enlists the duo to rescue her kidnapped daughter Pamina, a fantastic journey follows. Armed with a magic flute and bells, they’re prepared for whatever trials they may face. However, not all is as it seems—and not everyone can be trusted. Friends will become foes and enemies will become allies in Mozart’s final and beloved opera. A whimsical production designed by children’s author/illustrator Maurice Sendak, known for his rumpus-filled artistry, sets a playful landscape for this enchanting fairy tale. Rich with colorful characters, unforgettable vocal acrobatics, and evocative symbols and allegory, Tamino’s quest for love and truth is fantastical entertainment for all ages.

Family Look-In: The Magic Flute
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 23-24
Tickets: $15-50

In this introduction to opera designed for children and families, audience members will experience excerpts from The Magic Flute along with insight into the behind-the-scenes aspects such as lighting, scene changes, costuming, and more that go into creating stage magic. A whimsical production designed by children’s author/illustrator Maurice Sendak sets a playful landscape for this enchanting fairy tale. Join handsome prince Tamino and his silly sidekick Papageno as they set out on a fantastic journey to rescue the kidnapped Pamina in this special opera exploration. Recommended for ages 5+.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Peter and Friends
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 23-24
Tickets: $20

Inspired by Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, this concert developed specifically for toddlers is sure to have audience members playing like ducks, catching a wicked wolf, and engaging with music all along the way! This wild adventure features actors, puppets, and a quintet of woodwind and brass musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra, presented in collaboration with Atlanta, Georgia’s Teller Productions. Recommended for ages 5+.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical)
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: November 23 – 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+.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Fall, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Seasonal, Special Event, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival is this Saturday!


I have to admit, this one snuck up on me! But if you’re going to be in town this holiday weekend and have some bookworms in your crew, plan for one of DC’s biggest, most anticipated annual events on Saturday: The 19th Annual Library of Congress National Book Festival!

Book enthusiasts young and old come from all over for the day of reading-related activities. Works by more than 100 authors, poets, and illustrators will be showcased, and the creators themselves will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for special appearances. It’s always a wonderful event, and I highly recommend going if you can.

All genres are represented on stages throughout the festival — Children, Teens, Contemporary Life, Thrillers & Fantasy, Fiction, History & Biography, Poetry & Prose, Graphic Novels — where readings, presentations, book signings, photo ops with writers (and costumed PBS characters), and more exciting experiences for guests will take place. And a Book Sales area gives guests an opportunity to purchase selected reads — and possibly have them signed by the authors.

Browse the books for sale (and maybe have it signed, too!)

If your kids love books, chances are an author of one of their favorite stories will be there. Jon Scieszka, Holly Black, Jon Klassen, Ngozi Ukazu, Adam Rubin, and Henry Louis Gates Jr. are just a few of them. Young readers will also be able to enjoy an array of fun and exciting activities on the Expo Floor, from the Parade of States where they can learn about each state’s literary heritage and collect a stamp to story times to poetry slams to activities from the soon-to-open Planet Word Museum, and much more.

Of course, there’s bound to be an author — or several — that parents will be excited about, too. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chef José Andrés, David Brooks, Raina Telgemeier, David McCullough, and Michael Beschloss will be featured on the Main Stage. And acclaimed writers Barbara Kingsolver, Joyce Carol Oates, Sigrid Nunez, Richard Powers, and Rebecca Makkai are among the many that will also be presenting.

Have a look for yourself at the complete list and start planning your National Book Festival experience. Most presentations are first come, first served — and people do line up early to get seats, so plan accordingly.

Booking it to last year’s Festival 🙂



The 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival
Where: Walter E. Washington Convention Center | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, August 31, 9am – 8pm
Admission: FREE

* Download the Festival App to help you make the most of the event.

* Information on getting there and parking is available here.

* You can read about one of our past visits when it was still held on the National Mall — including an interview with Magic Treehouse author Mary Pope Osborne! — here.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Special Event, Summer, Weekend

County Fair Season Around the DC Area



Where do you get carnival rides and games, farm animals, the junk food gamut, live entertainment, pony rides, piglet races, and wares for sale all in once place? Down at the County Fair. The season for them runs from early August through mid-September, and you can get the lowdown on this year’s events around the area below. Happy Fairin’!

Fairfax County 4-H Fair and Carnival
What: Four days of festivities include livestock and dog demos, 4-H exhibits, fair food, carnival rides, games, vendors, live entertainment, and more.
When: August 1-4, see website for daily hours.
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon, VA
Cost: Tickets are $1 each or 24 for $20 (most ride are 3-5 tickets). Unlimited Ride Wristbands for Thursday or Friday are available for $25 — purchase by August 1.

Howard County Fair
What: The 74th annual fair begins this coming weekend, and you have through next Saturday to enjoy rides, magic shows, musical entertainment in the evenings, pig races and pony rides, the Kids & Critters barn, Demolition Derby, a pro rodeo, and more. Most of the rides cost extra, and packages are available, so be sure to check out the website to see what’s available if you plan to go.
When: August 3-10, 8am – 11pm daily, though activity times vary, so be sure to check schedules.
Where: 2210 Fairground Road | West Friendship, MD
Cost: Admission is $5-7/age 10+, $3/seniors, free/under 10. Rides and games are extra.

Montgomery County Fair
What: This fair is a family fave. (You can get a glimpse of one of our experiences there and read a review from a few years ago), so trust me when I say that there is so much to do, you have to see the schedule on the website for yourself to get the full scope. Highlights include lots of 4-H exhibits and demos, including opportunities to visit with some of the animals; animal races, pony rides, a KidZone with interactive games and activities, tons of carnival and kiddie rides, arts & crafts, monster trucks and a demolition derby, and much more.
When: August 9-17, times vary by day so check the schedule for specifics.
Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds | 501 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, MD.
Cost: Admission is $12/advance $15/at gate for age 12+, free/11 & under. Tickets for rides cost extra. A one-day all-u-can-ride carnival wristband is available for $25. And note that parking is $10 at the fairgrounds, but FREE parking and shuttle bus service are available from Lakeforest Mall, located at Lost Knife Rd. and Odenhal Ave.

Prince William County Fair
What: Virginia’s largest annual county fair includes 4-H exhibits, rides, contests (think pie eating and water balloon tossing), animal shows, craft demos, the Children’s Barn, Kid’s Zone, live performances, and more. Note that August 9 is Kid’s Friday when all admissions are $6. And there are other special days with all kinds of promos, so be sure to check the schedule for details.
When: August 9-17, Hours vary by day, so check the daily schedules.
Where: Prince William County Fairgrounds | 10624 Dumfries, Manassas, VA.
Cost: Admission is $12/age 14-59, $6/seniors and age 5-13, free/4 & under. Be sure to look for daily specials, too!

Arlington County Fair
What: We’ve been and have had a great time. It’s big enough for a fun-filled day, but not so huge that it’s overwhelming, and you feel rushed to get to everything. There are carnival rides for everyone from toddlers to adults, and the kids especially loved the pony rides and piglet races. You can also check out competitive exhibits, enjoy live entertainment, cheer on a variety of racing animals, view outdoor movies, and take little ones to the Kids’ Court for moon bouncing, face painting, and more. And new this year: A beer garden and goat yoga!
When: August 14-18, hours vary by day, so check the schedule for specifics.
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Center | 3501 Second St., Arlington, VA. Get parking/shuttle information here.
Cost: Admission is free. Buy tickets to use for rides and other activities: $1/ticket, $20/24 tickets, $40/48 tickets.

Prince George’s County Fair
What: A variety of entertainment and attractions for all ages — 4-H exhibits magic and dance shows, pig and duck races, a horse pull competition, a chain saw artist, a K-9 show, and much more.
When: September 5-8, hours vary by day.
Where: Showplace Arena | Upper Marlboro, MD.
Cost: Admission is $6/age 12+, $5/age 6-11, free/5 & under. Rides and games are extra.

Anne Arundel County Fair
What: Carnival rides and games, animal exhibits, monster trucks, pony rides, garden tractor pulls, pig races, pie eating contests, a talent show, live music and much more
When: September 11-15, check the website for hours.
Where: Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds | 1450 General’s Highway, Crownsville, MD
Cost: Admission is $10/age 9+,free/8 & under. Rides and games cost extra.

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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

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