Tag Archives: Fun with Kids in Maryland

The KFDC Guide to the 2020 Fall Festival Season (yes, it’s happening!)

In the pumpkin patch back in very pre-COVID times

 

We’ve gotten so used to most annual events being canceled, it may come as a surprise (and delight) to learn that a bunch of fall festivals are still taking place this season.  The locales — outdoors with lots of space — make it possible, and all of them are taking extra precautions to keep guests safe (follow links to websites for specifics about each place).  With capacity limited at just about all of the festivals listed for safe social distancing, advanced reservations are recommended if not required.  So, put on those sweaters (and masks), grab a basket for apples (and a bottle of hand sanitizer), and go have some autumn fun.  Happy Fall, y’all!

 

Apple Gala & Cider Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Through September 30
Admission: $12-16/adult $10-14/child, free/2 & under 

Celebrate everything apple at Great Country with apple picking, apple cider donuts, and a romp in the 12-acre play area. On Saturdays & Sundays there’s also live music, marshmallow roasting, cider pressing demos and fresh cider samples.

 

Fall at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
When: Tuesday – Sunday through November 3
Admission: $8

This fairytale of a farm doesn’t have a special fall festival per se, but with so many activities, including seasonal delights like pumpkins, cider, and Halloween fun, it’s like a celebration all the time. And it all takes place on the sprawling grounds adorned with installations practically straight out of a storybook (they were actually salvaged from The Enchanted Forest, an old Ellicott City amusement park). See Humpty Dumpty, the Three Bears, Cinderella’s pumpkin coach,  the Old Woman’s shoe, and more. If that’s not enough, there are hayrides, cow train rides, slides, farm animals to pet, a pumpkin patch, the pine tree maze, and even more. See the website for hours by day. Closed Mondays.

 

Fall Fun Festival
Where: Gaver Farm | Mt. Airy, MD
When: Through November 3
Admission: $9/weekdays, $13.50/weekends, free/2 & under

Celebrate the arrival of fall in Frederick, MD with farm activities for the whole family family and other great seasonal traditions. Conquer twists and turns of the corn maze, jump on the giant pillow, pet and feed farm animals, and cruise down giant slides. There are over 50 attractions appropriate for any age including mini mazes, playgrounds, duck races, ball games, photo centers, and much more.

 

Harvest Festival
Where: Belvedere Plantation | Fredericksburg, VA
When: Through November 8
Admission: $9.95 – $16.95, depending on day/time

This heritage farm has loads to keep the whole gang entertained for hours. The Maize maze, slides, hayrides, ziplines, pumpkin patch, playground, flower picking, jumping pillow are just some of the attractions that little ones will love. New this year is the Sunflower September Spectacular, a pick-your-own sunflowers field open September 21-22, 24-26, and 27-29. Plan to eat there — the Red Rooster Grill offers a variety of grilled favorites to satisfy all appetites.

 

Corn Maze & Fall Festival
Where: Winterbrook Farms | Thurmont, MD
When: Through November 1
Admission: $12

The farm in Frederick County claims the largest corn maze in Maryland, and it comes with loads of other farm fun, including slides, a pumpkin patch, animals, the moo choo train, cornhole, zip lines pedal karts, apple cannons, a tractor tire mountain, and lots more.  Their first annual Sunflower Festival will be happening the weekend of September 19-20.

 

Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: September 19-20
Admission: $18-20/adult, $10/age 6-11, free/5 & under

At George Washington’s old stomping grounds, they re-create a lively early-American marketplace with demonstrations, crafts and entertainment. Take in the sights and sounds of it all on Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field and chat with colonial artisans selling traditional handcrafted food and wares. Colonial music transports you back to the 18th century as expert artisans demonstrate period crafting techniques. Learn how the Washingtons enjoyed ice cream and watch as interpreters showcase the process. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family!

 

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: September 19 – November 8
Admission: $12, free/2 & under

Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, farm-themed games and rides, and much more. This year, it’s open on weekdays, too.  And a tip based on our experience there: Do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.

 

Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: September 19 – November 3
Admission: $16-18/adult, $14-15/child & senior, free/2 & under

The animals are usually the main draw at the park, but this time of year, there are activities galore that bring visitors to enjoy some seasonal fun. Guests can spend a crisp fall day enjoying loads of great activities such as giant hill slides, hay rides, moon bounces, pedal carts, and more.

 

Fall Festival
Where: Summers Farm | Frederick, MD
When: September 19 – November 8
Admission: $10-17, depending on time/day

With so much farm fun, there undoubtedly will be something to excite every kid. A pumpkin patch, giant jumping pillows, live entertainment, hay rides, hay slides, pig races, rubber ducks races, straw mountains, a mini obstacle course, even a campfire area if you want to “chill” out.

 

Reston Farm Garden Market Fall Fest
Where: Reston, VA
When: September 25 – November 1
Admission: $20/child + 1 adult, $5/add’l adult
This annual Fall Fest is on! Families will enjoy a pumpkin moon bounce and bouncy slides, inflatable corn maze, train rides and farm animals. There is also their talented balloon artist, face painter and caricature portrait artist, along with food, pumpkins and more for additional on-site purchases.

Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: September 26 – November 3
Admission: $12, free/2 & under 

There is farm fun for visitors of all ages. Get lost in the corn maze, watch piggies race, pick out a pumpkin, visit farm animals and check out the goat walk, whiz down slides, romp in the play yard. Admission covers all of those activities and even more. Snacks are available from the Feed Trough, and you can stock up on fresh farm goods from the Food Stall.

 

Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Weekends September 28 – October 27
Admission: $13-15, free/2 & under

Enjoy a country outing and join Butler’s in celebrating the harvest with traditional autumn activities. While specific activities are still TBD, hayrides, cider, and pumpkins definitely will be in the mix.

 

Autumn Activities
Where: Larriland Farm | Woodbine, MD
When: Late September thru October
Admission: Free (fee for some activities)

Larriland is best known for their PYO fields, but in the fall, they offer a little more for farm-goers. Take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch to find a potential Jack-o-lantern, then play in the Boo Barn or make your way through the straw maze. Apple fritters and food trucks are available on Saturdays and Sunday’s.

 

Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: September 28 – October 31
Admission: $10-12/adult $8-10/child, free/2 & under

Great Country is known for its awesome festivals, and the Pumpkin Harvest is no exception. Thrills for little people (and grown-ups, too) include P-Rex, the pumpkin eating dinosaur; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area.

 

Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, MD
When: Dates TBD
Admission: Free, but there are fees for some activities

While Homestead doesn’t have an official festival, the farm embraces the spirit of autumn every year. Tractor rides out to the pumpkin patches, apple picking, hot cider, farm animals, and scarecrows make it a great place to spend a few hours enjoying the season with the family.

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2020, All ages, Annual, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Eats, Fall, Farm, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: March 9-13

Discover Native American culture at the National Museum of the American Indian


Monday – Take advantage of the 70-degree sunny day at River Farm. The American Horticulture Society’s headquarters overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria are as lovely as they are fun. Little ones will have a blast playing in the delightful Children’s Garden, and you’ll all love exploring the grounds. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. And for more places to opt outside, check out The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids.

Tuesday – Discover Native American culture at the National Museum of the American Indian through a variety of exhibits and hands-on activities. Check out kayaks and canoes and totem poles in the stunning atrium, then head upstairs to the imagiNATIONS space especially for kids. Weave a big basket, play in a teepee, do some arts & crafts, hear bird calls of the wild, read kids books in the library, and much more. Plan on lunch or a snack in the Mitsitam Cafe, where you can enjoy the indigenous cuisines of the Americas. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, imagiNATIONs 10am – 4pm. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Learn about the area’s wildlife, enjoy hands-on activities in the Nature Center, take a hike, and visit horses at Rock Creek Park. The Nature Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm, and admission is free. There are nearby trails for walks in the woods. You can also visit the equine residents at the nearby Horse Center — guests are welcome to stop by the stables, though pony rides are not offered this time of year. Read more about Rock Creek Park in this KFDC post.

Thursday – Catch a performance of The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats at Adventure Theatre. Showtimes are at 10am and 12pm, and tickets are $20.50. If weather permits, stay at Glen Eco Park to let the kids romp on the playground after the show.

Friday – Roam free at the enchanting gardens of Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown while you still can — the no entry fee period ends after March 14! The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm, but you can play at nearby Montrose Park, where admission is also free, or grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand. I promise, it’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit.


Leave a Comment

Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: March 2-6

Take advantage of warmer temps on a hike at Huntley Meadows


Monday – Spend the warmer day outdoors at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Look for little creatures — turtles, frogs, fish, and birds are practically guaranteed wildlife sightings — as you hike the woods and wetlands. Be sure to stop in the Visitors Center, where there are several interactive exhibits about the surrounding environment. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Bring little ones for fun early arts enrichment activities with Washington Revels — they can explore some of the parts and pieces that make up Revels traditions in the Revels Play Space. The session runs 10-11am at their studio space located at 531 Dale Drive in Silver Spring. Admission is free, but a Goodwill donation is requested.

Wednesday – Play the nice day away at Clemyjontri. The sprawling, vibrantly colored playground in McLean, VA, accommodates kids of all abilities with all kinds of climbing structures, swings, and other apparatuses that encourage activity and imagination. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.

Thursday – Visit the brand new National Children’s Museum! Located within the Ronald Reagan Building, the venue is full of STEAM-inspired exhibits that are fun, engaging, and educational for kids. It’s geared toward children up to age 12, and there are spaces especially for really little ones. Hours are 9:30am – 4:30pm, and admission is $10.95. Reserve tickets in advance online.

Friday – Take budding scientists to a special story hour with Author Laura Gehl. She’s bringing her latest board books, Baby Paleontologist and Baby Botanist, to Scrawl Books in Reston. The Baby Scientist books introduce scientific concepts to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in an entertaining and accessible way. With props, songs, stories, and games, there will be fun for all future scientists! The session is at 10:30am, and admission is free.


Leave a Comment

Filed under 2020, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Special Event, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: February 24-28


Monday – Enjoy a quintessential winter activity and go ice skating! It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the season, and there are rinks located all around the area. Several offer push aids to help newbie skaters, and most are located in places with even more to do beyond the ice. This post has details for all of them.

Tuesday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden, where it kind of feels like pulling a fast one on the weather gods. Explore the different plant collections as you walk amid tropical rainforest, desert, and woodland flora. Take a stroll through the lovely National Garden outside if it’s not too rainy. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here.

Wednesday – Catch a performance of Mouse on the Move at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE. The interactive show recommended for ages 1-5 is also part of the annual INTERSECTIONS Festival. Showtime is 10am, and tickets are $15. Plan to grab lunch at one of many nearby eateries after.

Thursday – Explore an off-the-beaten path gem: The U.S. Navy Museum. Located on base in the Navy Yard, it’s a trove of fascinating exhibits. See an amazing collection of model ships, peer into a real periscope, sit in the gun seats of old fighter planes, view naval artifacts hundreds of years old, and much more. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free. *Be sure to note requirements for access to the base and museum.

Friday – Head out to Calvert County to Annmarie Sculpture Garden for artsy adventures. Tour beautiful works, both indoors and out, play in the Fairy Lolly, and create some of your own art with inspiration from all you see there. The grounds are lovely all year ’round, just bundle up to roam around. Trust me, it’s worth the drive out there. Hours are 9am – 5pm in the gardens, 10am – 5pm at the arts center. Admission is $5/adult, $3/ages 6-17, free for 5 and under.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2020, All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter