Tag Archives: Fun with Children in Northern Virginia

Enjoy the Views from the Observation Deck at CEB Tower

A monumental view of DC



Washington, DC, is a pretty cool city to view from high up. Unfortunately, due to building height regulations that limit structures to about 13 stories high, there are very few places in the District that offer a good bird’s eye perspective of the area.

But, now, just across the river in Northern Virginia you can enjoy incredible, sweeping vistas of DC and VA — and then some. The Observation Deck at CEB Tower in Rosslyn was designed just for this purpose. The 12,000-square-foot space on the 31st and 32nd floors of the building offers 360° panoramas of the capital region.

The Observation Deck opened last June, but without very much buzz (that I’d heard, anyway). So, it wasn’t until this past weekend that I finally checked it out with Sasha after seeing a great Certifikid deal on admission. It wasn’t just the discount that reeled me in, though. It sounded like a really neat experience, kind of like flying into or out of DCA when the wind is in your favor, you’ve got a window seat on the right side of the plane, and you can gaze upon the memorials, the green stretch of National Mall, and the flowing rivers below. But even better here, we could take it all in for as long as we wanted, not just the fleeting seconds it takes soar over it.

Getting started on the glass elevator

Our adventure at CEB Tower actually began in the elevator. With glass on two sides, we watched the bustling streets of Rosslyn retreat below us and got a glimpse of Georgetown and Northern Virginia in the distance as we zipped up 30-plus floors. I have to admit it gave me a bit of jelly knees, but it also made us excited for what was to come — which was awesome.

A first look at the space

Walking out of the elevator, the spacious room with floor-to-ceiling windows, sunlight spilling through them, and long shadows streaking across the floor was a sight in itself. We were greeted by friendly staff who got us oriented by pointing out a water tower in the distance near the CIA Headquarters in Langley, explained how the interactive displays worked, and generally gave us the lay of the land, both in the tower and the landscape around it.

A guide along the rail helps you locate landmarks

Sasha and I first approached the windows carefully — it’s very high up! — but once we were comfortable, we started making our way around the circular space. The views really are incredible. We could see for miles, and it was fun to pick out major landmarks, try to find our house (or the general area), and see some of the places we frequent regularly from that vantage point. I loved seeing how the Potomac meandered through the scene and the shape of Roosevelt Island. And the Washington Monument with the Kennedy Center in the foreground and U.S. Capitol beyond it was a sight we lingered on for awhile.

Potomac, Roosevelt Island, Kennedy Center, Monument, Capitol — all in one scene

Interactive digital kiosks placed next to the windows offer an in depth look at what you see beyond them. We scrolled through timelines depicting the development of places, learned about people connected to them, and pondered various issues of historic times and now. A fun and interesting element of the displays was the chance to cast votes on different issues that were later tallied for a “Collective Perspectives” display.

Learning about the scenes beyond the window

A group gets the HoverDC experience

Another interactive element is HoverDC, an immersive adventure that “flies” you through restricted airspace over the nation’s capital, offering 10,000-foot high views of iconic landmarks like the Jefferson Memorial, breathtaking nature like Great Falls, and concealed places like the courtyard within the Pentagon. Essentially, you’re standing on the edge of a large screen as video plays at your feet, “wind” blows in your face, and you listen to the captain talk about the sights below through headphones.

“Flying” over Great Falls

Head upstairs — and outside

If you want to literally take your experience to another level, a stairway leads to the 32nd floor, where there is an outdoor terrace. Loungy seating is available if you want to hang out, relax, and take in the views from a comfortable distance, or you can walk to the edge where the only thing separating you and a 380-foot drop are tall panels of thick glass. (Of course, they are securely in place, but I wasn’t about to go anywhere near them. Sasha, however, was much braver.)

Just watching her near the edge made my knees weak

I’ll enjoy the view from back here, thank you 🙂



There is also a champagne bar on the upper level, as well as small cafe/bar on the main concourse below. It would be great to take advantage of them on an evening out — and enjoy what are surely stunning views of the skyline at night.

The Observation Deck at CEB Tower is located 1201 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn (the official address is Arlington, VA). The box office is located at Central Place Plaza, on the 1700 block of North Moore Street, across from the Rosslyn Metro Station.

Tickets purchased online are $21/adult, $11/age 5-13, $16/seniors & military, free for children under 5 (they are $1 more at the box office). Be sure to check CertifiKid for a discount. And if you live in Arlington, put away your wallet — residents get in FREE! Hours are 10am – 8pm Monday – Friday, and 9am – 8pm Saturday – Sunday.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Ice It at These Skating Rinks Around the DMV

Skating under the stars at Washington Harbour in Georgetown



As the weather cools down, ice skating rinks throughout the DC area open up! A few start welcoming skaters in October, and the rest will follow suit by mid-November. Going for a glide on ice is a quintessential way to enjoy some active fun outdoors during the cold months. Of course, it can be a great activity indoors, too! So, lace up your skates and get out there — this list has the scoop on where and when to ice skate around the DMV!

Outdoor

DC

Canal Park Ice Rink
Where: 220 M Street SE | Capitol Riverfront, DC
Open: November 6 – mid-March
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 12-10pm, Fri 12-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm
Cost: $9/adult, $8/child, $5/rental
Bonus: They offer skating aids for beginners to push around the rink. And after you work up an appetite from all the skating, you’ve got your pick of eateries in the Navy Yard neighborhood where you can grab a bite and warm up.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink
Where: 3050 K Street NW | Georgetown, DC
Open: November 18 – March 15
Hours: Mon–Tues 12-7pm, Weds-Thurs 12-9pm, Fri 12-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-7pm
Cost: $10/adult, $9/child, seniors, military, $6/skate rental
Bonus: Location, location, location. Not only do you get a lovely view of the Potomac, you’re right in Georgetown, where there’s great shopping and places to eat, so you can really make a day and/or night of it. Also, with push penguins available, it’s a good rink for newbie skaters. Be sure to check the website for special on certain days/times!

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Where: 7th St. & Constitution Ave. NW
Open: November 15 – March 15
Hours: Mon–Thurs 10am–9pm, Fri 10am-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am–9pm
Cost: $9/adult, $8/child, $4/skate rental (ID required)
Bonus: You can check out some art on your outing — the rink is literally in the middle of the Sculpture Garden that showcases many big, bold works of art. You can also plan to visit a museum before or after your skating session; it’s easy enough to pop in to one of the free Smithsonian galleries. For some fuel, the Pavilion Cafe is also located within the Sculpture Garden and offers light fare, including warm beverages. (NOTE: This location is closed during the government shutdown.)

Enchant Ice Skating Trail
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: November 22 – December 29
Admission: $20-34/adult, $17-27/age 14-17, $15-25/4-13

Find enchantment at every bend as you glide on a river of silvery ice through spectacular, larger-than-life light displays. (Ice skate rentals are available on-site and come in all sizes – elf to adult.) Then warm up with a cup of hot cocoa or mulled wine, watch a film at the Enchant Cinema, take in some live music or a show, then meet the jolliest elf of them all, Santa.
Bonus: The Ice Skating Trail is part of the larger Enchant holiday attraction, which includes the world’s largest Christmas light maze and market.

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District Wharf Ice Rink
Where: Transit Pier, Water Street Southwest
When: November 26 – Late February
Hours: Mon-Tues 12–7pm, Weds-Thursday 12–9pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 11am–11pm, Sunday: 11am–7pm
Cost: $10/adult, $8/12 & under, $6/skate rental
Bonus: The rink at The Wharf is located on the Transit Pier, so you’re practically skating over the water. When you’re done zipping around on blades, warm up by the cozy fire pit, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, browse the shops, or hang out and enjoy the views of the Anacostia River.

Maryland

Silver Spring Veteran’s Plaza Ice Rink
Where: 8523 Fenton Street | Silver Spring, MD
When: Mid-October – Mid-March
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12am–10pm, Fri 12pm-12am, Sat 10am–12am, Sun 10am–10pm
Cost: $9/adult, $8/child, $5/skate rental
Bonus: The rink is right in downtown Silver Spring, surrounded by restaurants, shops, and plenty of parking. It’s also an easy walk from the Metro.

Rockville Town Square Ice Rink
Where: 131 Gibbs Street | Rockville, MD
When: November – Mid-March
Hours: Mon-Thur 12-10pm, Fri 12-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-7pm or 10pm
Cost: $9/age 13 and up, $8/age 12 and under, $4/skate rentals
Bonus: Skate in the largest outdoor ice skating rink — 7,200 square feet! — between Baltimore and Washington DC. While you’re at the Town Square, take advantage of the selection of restaurants and shops, or spend some downtime at the Rockville Library or VisArts Center.

Pandora Ice Rink
Where: 201 E. Pratt Street | Baltimore, MD
When: November 1 – January 20
Hours: Mon-Thurs 12-10pm, Fri 12-11pm, Sat 10am – 11pm, Sun 10am – 8pm
Cost: $10/adult, $9/child, $4/skate rentals
Bonus: Located at the Inner Harbor, where there are several great attractions for kiddos — Port Discovery, Maryland Science Center National Aquarium, and more — you could easily add this to a whole day or even weekend spent in Charm City. Head to the Little Italy area, too, for a delicious post-skate meal!

Virginia

Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
Where: 1201 South Joyce Street | Arlington,VA
When: Late October – Mid-March
Cost: $10/age 13+, $9/$12 & under, $5/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–10pm
Bonus: Recently renovated and expanded, it’s a good choice for kiddos learning to skate — Penguin Skating aids are available at the rink kiosk. Also located amid many shopping and dining options. Skate in the snow December 7 – January 1, when “snow” falls nightly on the ice rink. And be sure to check the calendar for occasional special events.

Reston Town Center Ice Skating
Where: 11900 Market Street | Reston, VA
Cost: $10/age 12+, $9/11 & under, $7/skate rentals
Hours: Sun-Tues 11am-7pm, Weds-Thurs 11am – 10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Open: November 8 – March 15
Bonus: The Town Center is like a mini downtown, so you can do some shopping, have a bite to eat, check off some errands, even see a movie along with your skating excursion.

Making the rounds at Fort Dupont Ice Arena

Indoor

DC

Fort Dupont Ice Arena
Where: 3779 Ely Place SE | Anacostia, DC
Cost: $5/adults, $4/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Fri 12-2pm, Sat 1-3pm, Sun 2:30-4:30pm

Maryland

Herbert Wells Ice Rink
Where: 5211 Paint Branch Parkway | College Park, MD
Cost: $6/adult, $5/child ($1 off for PG County Residents), $2/skate rental
Hours: Weds 12-2pm, Fri 3:15-5:15pm, Sat 2:30-4:30pm & 8-10pm, Sun 2-4pm
Open: Late October through mid-March

Cabin John Ice Rink
Where: 10610 Westlake Drive | Rockville, MD
Cost: $8/age 11+, $5/age 3-4, $7/age 5-10 $4/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, view the current schedule here
Open: Daily, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas

The Gardens Ice House
Where: 13800 Old Gunpowder Road | Laurel, MD
Cost: $7.70/adult, $6.60/student, $4.15/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, see the schedule here

Wheaton Ice Arena
Where: 11717 Orebaugh Avenue | Wheaton, MD
Cost: $8/age 11+, $5/age 3-4, $7/age 5-10 $4/skate rental
Hours: Vary, see calendars here

Virginia

MedStar Capitals Iceplex
Where: 627 N. Glebe Road | Arlington, VA (8th Level of Ballston Parking Garage)
Cost: $9/adults, $8/children, $5/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, view the current public skate schedule here.


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Filed under 2018, 2019, All ages, DC, Fall, Indoor Play, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Outdoor Recreation at Pohick Bay Regional Park



It might seem a bit counterintuitive to be posting about a great outdoor spot with the frigid temps and foul weather we’ve had lately. Part of my justification for the timing: Maybe thinking about future fun we’ll have outside will help us tolerate the winter conditions. The other part: I want to get this post up while our outing there isn’t so far behind us that I forget about it. (Plus, we’re about to have a couple of warmer, sunnier days, so this recommendation could come in handy sooner than later.)

We visited Pohick Bay Regional Park in November, when the foliage was at its peak, and the weather was a tad warmer (and by a tad, I mean about 30 degrees). We had a couple of motivations for choosing the spot for that afternoon’s outing: 1) We wanted to get out for a nice hike at a new (to us) place 2) We wanted said place to be convenient to The Block, an Asian street food hall in Annandale that we were keen on checking out. (KFDC Tip: Including fun food stops in the mix always seems to get kids — mine, anyway — more excited for new adventures.)

Pohick Bay Regional Park is located in Lorton, VA, about a 40 minute drive from DC. We went to do a little hiking, but there is actually much more to do there, though mostly from spring through early fall. Along with eight and half miles of hiking trails that traverse the wooded area and offer lovely views of the Bay, other year-round features include a disc golf course, a nearby regular golf course, fishing (license required in VA), equestrian trails, and a playground. During warmer seasons, there is mini golf, camping & cabins, paddling opportunities, and outdoor programs. And in the summer, Pirate’s Cove Waterpark looks like a super fun way to stay cool on hot days.

Since the gate house was closed when we went, there was no admission fee, but from mid-March to mid-October, entry is $8/car ($15/week). We followed signs to a parking area, then began our hike at a trailhead just off it. The trees were brilliant colors and the ground was covered with leaves, making for a lovely autumn walk. We only hiked in the woods for a couple of miles before coming out on a road and walking back to the playground not far from our car and just off the Bay. The kids played there for awhile — a perfect way to work up an appetite before hitting our next destination, The Block. Which, btw, I highly recommend!



Pohick Bay Regional Park
Where: 6501 Pohick Bay Drive | Lorton, VA
Hours: Daily, dawn – dusk
Admission: $8/car ($15/week) mid-March – mid-October / Free in winter

The Block
Where: 4221 John Marr Drive | Annandale, VA
Hours: Mon-Weds, Sun 11am – Midnight, Tues-Sat 11am – 2am
Admission: Free, but plan to spend on food!

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Filed under All ages, DC, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Sports, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Recreation on Ice: The 2017-18 Skating Season Around the DMV

Skating under the stars at Washington Harbour in Georgetown



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The weather may not be an indicator, but outdoor ice skating season around the area has begun! A couple of local rinks have already opened, and more will welcome skaters over the next few weeks. As long as the surface isn’t melting beneath your blades it’s a super cool way to enjoy some active fun, especially during the cold months. So, lace up your skates and get out there — this list has details on where to glide under the sky (and indoors, too) around the DMV!

Outdoor

DC

Canal Park Ice Rink
Where: 220 M Street SE
Cost: $9/adult, $8/child, $5/rental
Hours: Mon-Tues: 12-7pm, Weds-Fri 12-9pm, Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-7pm
Open: November 17 – mid-March
Bonus: They just started offering skating aids for beginners to push around the rink. The Park Tavern restaurant is closed until later in December, but will be reopening as a pizzeria. There are also several eateries and a Starbucks across the street and even more restaurants at the nearby Yards Park.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink
Where: 3050 K Street NW
Cost: $10/adult, $9/child, seniors, military, $5/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Tues 12-7pm, Weds-Thurs 12-9pm, Fri 12-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-7pm
Open: November 18 – March 11
Bonus: Location, location, location. Not only do you get a lovely view of the Potomac, you’re right in Georgetown, where there’s great shopping and places to eat, so you can really make a day and/or night of it. Also, with push penguins available, it’s a good rink for newbie skaters.

National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Where: 7th St. & Constitution Ave. NW
Cost: $8/adult, $7/child, $3/skate rental (ID required)
Hours: Mon–Thurs 10am–9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sunday 11am–9pm
Open: Mid-November – Mid-March, except December 25 and January 1
Bonus: You can check out some art on your outing — the rink is literally in the middle of the Sculpture Garden that showcases many big, bold works of art. You can also plan to visit a museum before or after your skating session; it’s easy enough to pop in to one of the free Smithsonian galleries. For some fuel, the Pavilion Cafe is also located within the Sculpture Garden and offers light fare, including warm beverages.

Top of the Skate Ice Rink
Where: Watergate Hotel Rooftop, 2650 Virginia Ave. NW
Cost: $20/adult, $10/12 & under (includes skate rental)
Hours: Wed-Fri 5-10pm, Sat-Sun 1-10pm
Open: November 16 – Mid-March
Bonus: There the obvious: The views, which are unmatched by any other rinks in the area. And adults can skate right up to a bar and order a cocktail!

Where: District Wharf Ice Rink
Transit Pier, Water Street Southwest
Cost: $10/adult, $8/12 & under
Hours: Mon-Tues 12–7pm, Weds-Thursday 12–9pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 11am–11pm, Sunday: 11am–7pm
Open: Early December – Late February
Bonus: The rink at the just opened Wharf is located on the Transit Pier, so you’re practically skating over the water. When you’re done zipping around on blades, warm up by the cozy fire pit, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, browse the shops, or hang out and enjoy the views of the Anacostia River.

Maryland

Silver Spring Veteran’s Plaza Ice Rink
Where: 8523 Fenton Street, Silver Spring
Cost: $9/adult, $8/child, $5/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri-Sat 10am–12am, Sun 10am–10pm
Open: Mid-October – Mid-March
Bonus: The rink is right in downtown Silver Spring, surrounded by restaurants, shops, and plenty of parking. It’s also an easy walk from the Metro.

Rockville Town Square Ice Rink
Where: 131 Gibbs Street, Rockville
Cost: $9/age 13 and up, $8/age 12 and under, $4/skate rentals
Hours: Mon-Thur 12-10pm, Fri 12-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm
Open: Mid-October – Mid-March
Bonus: Skate in the largest outdoor ice skating rink — 7,200 square feet! — between Baltimore and Washington DC. While you’re at the Town Square, take advantage of the selection of restaurants and shops, or spend some downtime at the Rockville Library or VisArts Center.

Pandora Ice Rink
Where: 201 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore Inner Harbor
When: Late October – Mid-March
Cost: $9/adult, $7/child, $/skate rentals
Open: Mon-Thurs 3-8pm, Fri 3-11pm, Sat 11am – 11pm, Sun 11am – 8pm
Bonus: Located at the Inner Harbor, where there are several great attractions for kiddos — Port Discovery, Maryland Science Center National Aquarium, and more — you could easily add this to a whole day or even weekend spent in Charm City. Head to the Little Italy area after for a yummy bite!

Virginia

Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
Where: 1201 South Joyce Street, Arlington
Cost: $8/adult, $7/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Mon–Thurs 12–10pm, Fri 12–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am–7pm
Open: Mid-November – Mid-March
Bonus: Recently renovated and expanded, it’s a good choice for kiddos learning to skate — Penguin Skating aids are available at the rink kiosk. Also located amid many shopping and dining options. Skate in the snow December 7 – January 1, when “snow” falls nightly on the ice rink. And be sure to check the calendar for occasional special events.

Reston Town Center Ice Skating
Where: 11900 Market Street, Reston
Cost: $10/adults, $9/children, $5/skate rentals
Hours: Sun-Tues 11am-7pm, Weds-Thurs 11am – 10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Open: Early November – Mid-March
Bonus: The Town Center is like a mini downtown, so you can do some shopping, have a bite to eat, check off some errands, even see a movie along with your skating excursion.

Tysons Corner Center Ice Rink
Where: 1961 Chain Bridge Road, McLean
Cost: $10/adults, $9/children, $6/skate rentals
Hours: Mon-Tues: 3-7pm, Wed-Thurs: 3-9pm, Fri: 1-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-7pm
Open: November through Mid-March
Bonus: Tack on a skating session to some shopping at the mall — or vice versa.

 

Indoor

DC

Fort Dupont Ice Arena
Where: 3779 Ely Place, SE
Cost: $5/adults, $4/children, $3/skate rental
Hours: Fri 12-2pm, Sat 12:45-1:45pm

Maryland

Herbert Wells Ice Rink
Where: 5211 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, Md
Cost: $6/adult, $5/child ($1 off for PG County Residents), $2/skate rental
Hours: Friday 12-2pm, Saturday 1-3pm, Sunday 2:30-4:30pm
Open: Late October through mid-March

Cabin John Ice Rink
Where: 10610 Westlake Drive, Cabin John Regional Park
Cost: $7/age 11+, $4/age 3-4, $6/age 5-10 $3.50/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, view the current schedule here
Open: Daily, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas

The Gardens Ice House
Where: 13800 Old Gunpowder Road, Laurel
Cost: $7.70/adult, $6.60/student, $4.15/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, see the schedule here

Wheaton Ice Arena
Where: 11717 Orebaugh Avenue, Wheaton
Cost: $7/age 11+, $4/age 3-4, $6/age 5-10 $3.50/skate rental
Hours: Vary, see the schedules here

Virginia

Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Where: 627 N. Glebe Road, Arlington – 8th Level of Ballston Parking Garage
Cost: $9/adults, $8/children, $5/skate rental
Hours: Vary by day, view the current public skate schedule here.


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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Fall, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter