Tag Archives: Fun with Kids in Maryland

The KFDC Guide to the 2021 Fall Festival Season

Autumn delight at Clarke’s Elioak Farm

 

Fall is right around the corner, and so are the many festivals that come along with it. They celebrate everything from the season to city neighborhoods to art to historic times. You can have a blast on a farm, savor local food and culture, go medieval or colonial — all amidst gorgeous autumn scenery in the cool, crisp air. This list of celebrations, ordered by start date (and mostly reprised/updated from previous years — I’ve been posting fall fest round-ups for a decade!), will help you plan for it all. Happy Fall!

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD
When: Weekends through October 24
Admission: Thru 9/12: $21/age 16+, $11/age 7-15
9/14-10/20: $28/age 16+, $13/age 7-15 | free/6 & under

This medieval time trip began in late August and gets a huge endorsement from me as one of the best annual events in the area. You just can’t beat the amazing variety of entertainment — exciting jousting matches, cheeky comedy shows, fire eaters, sword swallowers, tight rope walkers and other balancing acts, jugglers, musical performances, puppetry, plus slides, play areas, and games. And walking among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in Revel Grove, the charming location that resembles a 16th-century tudor village, as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of “mead” is an immensely fun and interesting jaunt back in time that any age can enjoy. Huzzah!

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

September may mean back to school for many, but at Great Country it means back to the farm for freshly pressed cider and apple picking. You can celebrate it with apple picking, award-winning apple cider donuts, a romp in our 12-acre play area, and some educational fun in the What’s Regenerative Agriculture Corn Maze. As you meander the paths, learn about how the deep roots in the soil can keep the farm’s food and environment as healthy as possible. On weekends, there’s live music, marshmallow roasting, pig races,  and cider pressing demos, too!

Fall at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
When: Tuesday – Sunday through November 7
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). Kids can sit on a wall with Humpty, Peek in the Three Bears’ windows, climb aboard Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, explore the Old Woman’s shoe. 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. Hours are 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Friday; 10am – 5:30pm Saturday & Sunday. Closed Mondays.

Fall Fun Festival
Where: Gaver Farm | Mt. Airy, MD
When: September 3 – October 31
Admission: $11/weekdays, $15-17/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. Dates to note: September 11-12: Military and First Responders Appreciation Weekend | September 18-19: Touch a Tractor | September 25-26: Apple Harvest Festival | October 1-31: Pumpkin Harvest Festival.

DC Walls
Where: NoMa, DC
When: September 8-18
Admission: Free

For six days, this international mural festival brings together local, national, international artists for a 10-day outdoor festival to create larger than life works of art. The goal is to “make the city a brighter and more vibrant place, while sharing art and creativity from around the world.” Find wall locations on this Google Map to see works in progress, and plan to join the family-friendly opening event at Alethia Tanner Park (227 Harry Thomas Way NE) on September 12 from 12-4pm.

Falls Church Festival
Where: City Hall Campus | Falls Church, VA
When: September 11, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but tastes and rides are a fee

The 45th Annual Falls Church Festival returns to The Little City with plenty of family fun. It features The Taste of Falls Church, a beer garden, live music, children’s entertainment, plus booths of local crafters, businesses, and civic organizations.  This year’s event also includes a COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic inside the Community Center (223 Little Falls St.). Fairfax Health will offer the first or second dose of the Pfizer Vaccine to anyone ages 12 and up from 11am – 4pm.

Adams Morgan Day
Where: Throughout Adams Morgan, DC
When: September 12, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities at the 41st Annual Adams Morgan Day, offering a day full of music, art, culture, dancing, and more. The family-friendly celebration will have activities for all ages, including free crafts, multiple stages of entertainment, all kinds of demos, a whole Family Fun Zone, and tons more. More details and the schedule of performances are available on the website.

National Dance Day Festival
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: September 16-18
Admission: Free

Celebrate the joy of dance and movement at the Kennedy Center! Head to The REACH plaza for the 12th year of the National Dance Day Festival which includes free performances, interactive dance routines and lessons, live music, and more from local organizations.

National Book Festival
Where: Online
When: September 17-26
Admission: Free

This may be the event that I’m most bummed won’t be back in person this year, but it’s one that definitely warrants inclusion here. The Library of Congress’ wonderful annual National Book Fest will be virtual, but offering an extended 10 days of book-related events and opportunities onlines. Audiences are encouraged to create their own festival experience during the “Open a Book, Open the World”-themed event. Over 100 authors, poets, and illustrators will be participating — view the list of them here.

Harvest Festival
Where: Belvedere Plantation | Fredericksburg, VA
When: September 17 – November 7
Admission: $14.95

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. This year’s Sunflower Spectacular, a pick-your-own sunflowers field will be open September 17-26 (closed Monday). Plan to eat there — the Red Rooster Grill offers a variety of grilled favorites to satisfy all appetites.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, DC
When: September 18, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving hip corridor is returning! This one is always huge — so beware that there could be a crowd — and there is tons to see and do.  In past years, the event has featured loads of live entertainment, including a kids stage; cool art exhibits; food trucks; crafts for sale by local vendors; fashion shows; dancin’ in the street; and children’s activities, including face painting, story telling, and moon bounces. Public transportation is highly recommended, as parking is always difficult.

Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 18-19, September 25 – November 7
Admission: $7-20 depending on dates

This festival is enormous! So big I recommend giving the website a good look to help prepare and navigate your way around the sprawling grounds that contain multiple slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and much more. Expect some lines, especially for the giant slides that take you swooping down several humps over a hillside. There is also a Kiddie Zone just for little ones aged 5 and under. Be prepared for a crowd, especially on weekends.

Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: September 18-19
Admission: $26/adult, $13/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 experts demonstrate period crafting techniques. And you can see General Washington in the General’s Tent. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family!

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Weekends September 18 – November 7
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. Some of the festivities are add-ons, so plan to spend extra.  They also offer field trips and birthday parties, something to keep in mind for autumn-born children. And a tip based on our experience there: Do not miss the big corn maze. It’s EPIC.

Homecoming at Abe’s Place
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage | Petworth, DC
When: September 18, 9am – 3pm
Admission: Free for Family Day, $35-40 for the 5k

Lincoln’s Cottage is once again combining their two popular events, the Freedom 5K and Family Day, into one full day of racing and family fun: Homecoming! During the Civil War the Lincoln family called the Cottage home. This year they welcome everyone back “home” to join in a full day of activities where you can run, walk, and play like Lincoln. There will be arts and crafts, pony rides, hands-on activities for young learners, cottage tours, and picnic ops. Go for just the race, just Family Day activities, or stick around to enjoy both!

Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: September 18 – Ocotber 31
Admission: $15.95-19.95/adult, $13.95-16.95/child, 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. Year after year, families, groups, and schools spend a crisp fall day enjoying loads of great activities such as giant hill slides, hay rides, moon bounces, pedal carts, and more. It’s also a great place for a fall birthday party. Get $2 off Mon-Thurs admission after 2pm by subscribing to their email list!

Fall Adventures at Summers Farm
Where: Frederick, MD
When: September 18 – October 31
Admission: $12.50-$17.50, 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. Be sure to check the calendar for any special events going on.

Artsfest ’21
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: September 18-19
Admission: $10, free/age 11 & under

Enjoy a fabulous weekend of the visual and performing arts with 160+ artists booths, 35 performers on four stages, activities for kids, great food, wine & beer, and much more. Set amidst the spectacular backdrop of the 30 acre sculpture garden, explore the excitement of the Tent Circle and the Arts Building, then wander the shady Wooded Path to find artists and activities nestled in the beautiful woods. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden here and here.

Corn Maze & Fall Festival
Where: Winterbrook Farms | Thurmont, MD
When: Weekends September 24 – October 31
Admission: $10

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! Note: They are now offering Farm Fun Fridays with hours 1-6pm.

Farm Market Fall Fest
Where: Reston Farm Market | Reston, VA
When: September 24 – October 31
Admission: $28/child, $6/adult

Celebrate the season and have fun at the Reston Farm Market. Bring the whole fam for all kinds of activities, including train rides, a petting zoo, a learning maze,  bouncy fun, and more. Get ready to pick a pumpkin, pansies, and mums as well. Seasonal produce will be available for purchase, and food trucks will be there with concessions on weekends. Visits will be offered in 90-minute sessions.

Celebrate Petworth
Where: 800 block of Upshur St. NW | Petworth, DC
When: September 25
Admission: Free

This free neighborhood festival is organized by and for the residents of Petworth, but all are welcome to enjoy. Celebrating the creativity, diversity, culture, and people of Petworth and its surrounding neighborhoods, festivities include Petworth history storytelling, live music and performers, kids activities, tasty food, and a dog show. View the schedule here.

PYO Pumpkins & Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: September 25 – November 7
Admission: $12, free/2 & under

The whole family can enjoy hours of 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. Plan on lunch from the Feed Trough and stock up on fresh farm goods from the Food Stall.

Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch
Where: Middletown, MD
When: September 25 – October 31
Admission: Free/weekdays, $8/Friday, $10/weekends

Pick out a pumpkin and enjoy other fun activities for little ones at this 131-acre farm. A 15-acre corn maze, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, and wagon rides will delight young farm-goers. Concessions and craft shopping are part of the offerings, too. Some activities may cost extra, and note that only pumpkin picking and pony rides are available Monday – Friday.

Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Mill Street in Occoquan, VA
When: September 25-26
Admission: Free

Plan for a day of family fun as the streets of Occoquan come to life with beautiful art, live music and great food! For the 50th year, the historic town will close its streets and host over 300 contemporary and country crafters and artisans from across the US. Find one-of-a-kind, hand crafted items galore! Located just 20 minutes south of Washington, DC, but far from the hustle and bustle of a big city, exhibitors and shoppers alike will enjoy the small town oasis nestled along the Occoquan River.

Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Wednesday – Sunday, September 25 – October 31
Admission: $10-15/weekdays, $12-17/weekends 

Enjoy a country outing and join Butler’s in celebrating the harvest with traditional autumn activities. An area favorite, kids love jumping in the hayloft, heading out on hayrides, the tube slide, a rubber ducky derby, animal petting area, pony rides, pumpkin picking, corn maze, face painting, and much more. Some activities and food cost extra. Purchase there or bring along a picnic, but be sure to treat the kids – and yourself – to a yummy caramel apple!

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 Sundays.

Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: October 1-31
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 (okay, us grown-ups, too) include P-Rex, the pumpkin eating dinosaur; Oinkintucky Derby pig races; a cow train; wagon rides to pick pumpkins; five mazes; big slides; rope swings; tractor rides; and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, one of the largest u-pick patches in the area. See allllll of the many activities here.

Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, MD
When: October – exact 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. And the good thing about the lack of a festival, admission is free! You still pay for pumpkins and cider – and their can’t-miss caramel apples.

Frederick’s Oktoberfest
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds, MD
When: October 1-2
Admission: $8/21+, $5/ages 4-20, free for 3 and under

The Frederick Fairgrounds once again will be transformed into a German village where dancing, live music, children’s events, bratwurst, Oktoberfest bier, German wines, and much more will make for a fun time for all ages. Especially for kids: face painting, pumpkin decorating, scarecrow making, and musical entertainment. Note that Friday night is 21+ only.

Oktoberfest
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: October 2
Admission: Free

It’s that time of yea… put on your dirndl or lederhosen, grab your dachshund, and head to The Wharf to celebrate Oktoberfest! Join a day of German-inspired food and specials at the many riverside restaurants and shops. There will be food and drink specials to enjoy — more deets to come soon!

Oktoberfest: Battle of the Polka Bands
Where: The Boro | Tysons, VA
When: October 2, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Break out your lederhosen and dirndls and head to The Boro to celebrate Oktoberfest featuring a Battle of the Polka Bands! This unique, family-friendly fete will feature a battle of the bands-style competition where traditional and modern polka groups will go head-to-head to be crowned the fan favorite! Guests of all ages are invited to take part in even more themed activities, like photo booths, craft stations, and a variety of outdoor games located all around the park.
Turkish Festival
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: October 3, 11am – 7pm
Admission: Free

The American Turkish Association of Washington, DC, is bringing Aegean Türkiye to the District. Join them on District Pier for the free Turkish Festival with a theme this year of Turkaegean, meaning Coast of Happiness. The free event will include live music, folk dancing performances, fortune telling, cultural events and more. Enjoy authentic Turkish cuisines and shop Turkish ceramic bowls, carpets, and other cultural items from local vendors.

PorchFest
Where: Adams Morgan, DC
When: October 2, 2-6pm
Admission: Free

Get the best seats in the house (or on the sidewalk) as the front porches of homes and store fronts of local businesses are transformed into intimate performance spaces to be enjoyed by anyone who happens to stroll by. Enjoy a variety of music styles from over 60 bands playing on porches, patios, and stoops in the neighborhood. Music maps are usually available at the corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW on Porchfest Day. RSVP if you’re planning on going!

Art on the Avenue
Where:Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray | Alexandria, VA
When: October 2, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the diversity of Alexandria’s Del Ray community at this multicultural arts festival. Numerous artists — jewelers, woodworkers, pottery makers, soap crafters, glass makers, painters, sculptors, fabric artists, and musicians — will have their work on display and for sale. And kids activities have always been a vital part of the festival — there will be crafts especially for young festival-goers to enjoy and take home. Food vendors will also be there offering hot dogs, BBQ, Indian fare, crab cakes, chocolate bananas dipped on a stick, and home made cider donuts.

College Park Day
Where: College Park Aviation Museum | College Park, MD
When: October 9, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Join friends, neighbors, and the entire City of College Park community at the Annual College Park Day Festival. This FREE event is fun for the whole family. Details for 2021 are still to come, but past years have included live music and bands, awesome kids zones, delicious food and drink, a variety of performers, helicopter fly-ins, exhibitors, and much more.

Bethesda Row Arts Festival
Where: Downtown Bethesda, MD
When: October 9-10
Admission: Free

All ages are welcome to join one of the region’s most exciting and esteemed outdoor festivals. Bethesda Row’s Shopping and Entertainment District is transformed into an outdoor art gallery, featuring more than 200 juried fine arts and crafts from artists around the nation. “Art Fair Sourcebook” and “Sunshine Artists” have recognized the event as one the most important in the country, and over 45,000 attendees agree! In the past there has been a Kids’ Tent with art activities especially for them, but it remains to be seen if that will return this year (will share updates!).

Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: October 9-10 & 23
Admission: Free

There’s a variety of fun to be had throughout the season with a couple of different festivals taking place. The Apple Harvest Festival is October 9-10, offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: multiple varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. October 23 is their annual Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.

Kids Euro Festival
Where: Venues around the District
When: October 9 & 16
Admission: Free

You don’t have to cross the pond to enjoy European entertainment! Consider your passport to continental entertainment as the 14th Annual Kids Euro Festival brings art and cultural events right to DC. Musicians, storytellers, dancers, and puppeteers are just a few of the exciting acts that perform, Usually in-person over several weeks, the festival is modified this year due to Covid. There will only be two Family Days on October 9 & 16 featuring live acts and activities hosted by performers from a variety of EU Member States! You can enjoy even more online.

OctROWber Fest
Where: 8th Street SE |Capitol Hill, DC
When: October 23
Admission: Free

There’s no Barracks Row Festival this year; instead, you can support local 8th Street SE businesses this October, Munich-style. Join for a day of live music from a traditional Oompah band and more fun. To keep neighbors safe and adhere to social distancing recommendations, they won’t be closing down the street or having outside vendors.

Autumn Harvest
Where: Schlagel Farm | Waldorf, MD
When: Weekends in October
Admission: TBD

The farm known for it’s strawberry picking in spring also welcomes guests to pick out pumpkins in the fall. Hayrides, farm animals to visit, and small slides, and a straw maze give kids a little extra fun, too. More details available soon!

Have a favorite festival you don’t see listed here? Let us know about it in the comments!

 

An early Cox Farms visit … this little guy now measures up to FARM!

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Fall, Festival, Maryland, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Fun Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day Around the DC Area

 

How about a little trail dancing on a Father’s Day hike?  😉

 

It’s a special day for the dads this coming weekend, and there are a bunch of great ways for the whole fam to celebrate if you’re still looking for ideas. This round-up has a variety of them with something to suit every dad . Happy Father’s Day!

Take Dad Out to the Ballgame
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: June 20, 1:05pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

For Dads who are Nats fans, take them to the ballpark for a game against the Mets. There’s an afternoon game on Sunday (that includes a t-shirt giveaway for kids). Nationals Park is now operating at 100% capacity, so you can cheer the team on with 40,000+ other fans.  Plus, the playground is open again for little ones to have some extra fun.

Take Dad Out to the Minors
Where: Prince George’s Stadium | Bowie, MD
When: Father’s Day Weekend
Admission: Starts at $10

The Nats aren’t the only team in town for some Father’s Day baseball. The Bowie Baysox, one of the local minor league teams, are hosting the Akron Rubber Ducks all weekend, and there’s extra fun and special promos to enjoy — post-game fireworks, Witch & Wizardry Night on Saturday, and giveaways among them. On Sunday, the first 500 dads will get a #1 Dad Baysox T-shirt, plus kids and dads can run the bases and play catch on the field post-game.

Walk in the Woods
Where: Around the DMV
When: All the time
Admission: Varies by locale

Celebrate the day and dad on the trail! Tramp in places with scenic views, walk and explore history at interesting locales, try to spot wild creatures, and enjoy a day of active fun. Bring along a picnic for lunch al fresco, too. This go-to KFDC post has a bunch of recommendations for good places to hit the trail with kids.

Hike+
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

Just mentioned above, but these specific recommendations for hikes are great if you want to extend the day to include a fun meal to celebrate, too.  A few awesome combos for that: Sky Meadows State Park and Barrel Oak Winery. Sugarloaf Mountain and The Comus Inn or Sugarloaf Mountain VineyardGreat Falls (MD side) and The Old Angler’s InnPatapsco Valley State Park and the Guinness Brewery.

Father’s Day Fish-a- Rama
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: June 20
Admission: $15/child, $17/adult

Treat Dad to a fun-filled weekend with BBQ and catch-and-release fishing. Guests can compete in the Fish-a-Rama contest, fishing for catfish, bass, and blue gill in the stocked ponds, and prizes are on the line for the largest fish hooked and the most fish caught during the power hour. Bring your own pole and gear to fish (no drag hooks). GCF has worms for purchase in the country store. The amusement continues on the five-acre farm-style playground featuring the Giant Jumping Pillow, Triple Threat slide, corn bin, animal barnyard and loads more fun for all.

Kids, Eggs & Kegs
Where: City-State Brewing Company | Northeast DC
When: June 19 & 20, 10am
Admission: Free, but plan to purchase food and drinks

City-State brewing is launching family-focused events this weekend — just in time to toast the dads! Kids, Eggs & Kegs will be held every Saturday and Sunday and includes food trucks, games, and toys, plus tasty non-alcoholic beverages. While City-State is always family-friendly, this event is specifically tailored to families with young children. Options for kids include: board games, arcade games, sidewalk chalk, toys for toddlers, DC-themed coloring pages, free Goldfish snacks, and tasty kid-friendly beverages. City-State has changing tables in the restrooms. The fun starts at 10am at the brewery located at 705 Edgewood St NE.

Fun in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring
When: June 20
Admission: Starts at $42, Dads are FREE!

For adventurous dads who love the outdoors, particularly being in the trees, an afternoon in the aerial adventure forest of the Adventure Park at Sandy Springs is the perfect way to spend the day.  There are still some tickets available for Sunday, but if you can’t score them for that day, think Father’s Day gift and reserve for another day! (FYI: This is one of our very favorite adventures in the area — read more about it here.)

BBQ & Bowl (or Bocce)
Where: Pinstripes | Georgetown, DC
When: June 20, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $29/adult

Treat dad to a special barbeque brunch buffet this Father’s Day! Pinstripes’ grand brunch buffet usually includes made-to-order omelets, bottomless mimosas, a waffle bar, carved prime rib, fresh seafood, salad bar, and a chocolate fountain and delectable dessert station. Plus, they grill summer favorites like BBQ ribs, Italian sausage, pesto. Reserve a lane for some bowling or bocce after your meal (extra cost)!

Brunch Time
Where: Around the DMV
When: June 20
Admission: Cost of your meal

You can’t really go wrong with a good meal, and there are a bunch of places around DC to enjoy an especially great one for the big day. Washingtonian has a round-up of places offering special meals just for the day, and there’s something to satisfy all food cravings.

Go With the Flow
Where: Around the DMV
Admission: Varies by locale

Spend quality time with the man of the hour on the water, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and pontoons. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go. Quiet Waters Park showcases beautiful nature in Annapolis that you can view from the South River. Bladensburg Waterfront Park also has vessels for rent for a great all-day deal.  And if you want to go a little bigger, consider a Solomons Island pontoon boat rental.  For even more recommendations, see this round-up of places for recreation on the water.

Disc Golfin’
Where: Parks Around the DMV
When: Father’s Day weekend (or anytime)
Admission: Varies by locale (usually free)

Celebrate the day by hitting the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to savor a day outdoors with the family. We’ve outings at Calvert Road Park in College Park, Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, and Burke Lake Park. Not only is it fun and challenging, the courses are set up in pretty parks with opportunities for more recreation at all of them. Bring along a picnic for lunch in the fresh air, too.

A Grand Feast
Where: Crab houses around the area
When: June 20 (or any day)
Admission: Cost of the meal

Steamed crabs, cold beer, scenic views… that’s a recipe for a great Father’s Day for at least one dad I know. The 2021 Summer Guide has several suggestions on where to feast on Maryland’s best dish. I recommend making reservations if possible — this is always a popular way to celebrate.

 

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Filed under 2021, DC, Holidays, Weekend

The 2021 KFDC Guide to Summer Around the DC Area

 

 

 

 

This annual guide to summer fun around the DC area has always been one of my favorite posts to put together for a couple of reasons:  It reflects that awesome shift from structured days to carefree time.  Plus, it’s a reminder of how much fun summer is around the area.  And even though the guide isn’t quite as robust as previous years — some activities and events are still on hold — the joys of summer are still abundant, from water-inspired fun to movies in the open air to special exhibits to seasonal programs, and so much more.

Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer, so bookmark this post and start making plans. The 2021 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer Around the DC Area has details and inspiration to help you get going.  Happy Summer!

* * * * *

Play in the Sprays
Outdoor Pool Season
Beaches
Waterparks
Big Screen Under the Stars
Summer Concerts
Festivals
Seasonal Exhibits
Entertainment
Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel
Summer Sports
Crab Feasts
Seasonal Experiences

Water features and fun will be back ON at The Yards!

PLAY IN THE SPRAYS
Most spray parks will be back this summer!  Kids can run through fountains and splash around at many of them around the area. Several are within the DC, MD, & VA Departments of Parks and Recreation, but some of the best are built right into the urban landscape, making the concrete jungle a cool place to hang out during the hottest months. Dates are TBD at some, but look for updates soon!

DC DPR Spray Parks will be open for the season daily starting Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 29, through September 6, 10am – 8pm. Find locations and see them all on a map on the DPR website.

The Yards Park in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood is a favorite for water play in the city with two levels featuring Dancing Fountains up top and the Canal Basin and Waterfall below, plus a great scenic location on the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard. (Opening date to come!) Grassy areas for hanging out and lots of nearby eateries make it a perfect place to spend a summer day. Read more about the water features at The Yards here.

Georgetown Waterfront Park, right next to the Washington Harbour, has a fountain with arcing sprays that makes for a fun, refreshing way to cool off on a hot, summer day. It’s run by the National Park Service, but I heard from the Georgetown BID that it’s supposed to open this summer, but still awaiting word on when.  The rest of the park’s pretty green space along the Potomac is a nice, relaxing place to hang out, too.

Canal Park in the Navy Yard is great for kids of varying ages with both a gentle, shallow fountain that is ideal for really little ones to enjoy, plus a bigger fountain with lots of sprays for more enthusiastic play where the ice rink is in the winter.

Lyon Village Park, Hayes Park, Virginia Highlands Park, and Drew Park, some of the area’s most popular spray parks, can be found in Arlington along with Penrose Square, which has an in-ground interactive fountain.

There’s an in-ground fountain on Capitol Hill at the C Street Plaza right across from Eastern Market. On most weekday afternoons, there’s a small crowd of little ones playing in the gentle sprays.

 

That first jump into summer fun

OUTDOOR POOL SEASON
Nothing says summer like swimming under the sun, and there are plenty of public pools in the area where you can jump in for free or a small admission fee.

DC outdoor public pools will reopen at full capacity on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 29. Days and hours vary from pool to pool so be sure to check the schedules before you go.  They will be open weekend  only thorough June 27  10am – 6pm (and on Memorial Day, May 31).  Starting Monday, June 28, pools will open six days a week 10am – 6pm.  Locations and a map are on the linked DPR website. Admission is free for DC residents.

For outdoor swimming outside of the city, Montgomery County outdoor public pools will release pool hours and schedules for the 2021 season on Saturday, May 29. Check the Department of Recreation for those details.

In Northern Virginia, Arlington’s Upton Hill has a whole water park for guests to enjoy, and Alexandria has several places where the public is welcome to swim — check the City of Alexandria website for hours, as they vary by pool. But note that all outdoor public pools will open June 26.

 Swimply, an online service that started last year, lets you search for private pools to rent. You can find pools at residences all over and pay to use them by the hour.

 

Day trip to Cape Henlopen State Park… worth every second of the drive there

BEACHES
Summer and beach trips go hand-in-hand, so why not hit one with the kids? There are a bunch of places where you can get a nice dose of sand and surf that are within day trip-distance from DC.

Calvert Cliffs State Park in Calvert County is well known as a fossil hunting locale — as its cliffs erode, prehistoric remains of marine life are revealed — but it’s even better for beach fun, swimming, and hiking. To access the beach, you have to hike a couple of miles through woods (and there are even more trails if you’re up for it), but the walk is worth it for some quintessential summer fun. Open daily sunrise – sunset, and admission is $8/vehicle.

Also in Calvert County,  Flag Ponds Nature Park has a large sandy beach for playing and nice mellow waters for swimming.  It’s also a great spot for fossil hunting — look for shark teeth and other prehistoric remnants along the shores while you’re there, too.  Hours are 9am – 6pm on weekdays and 9am – 8pm weekends from Memorial to Labor Day. Admission is $8/car. Be sure to read more about Flag Ponds for tips and get a glimpse here and here

Enjoy views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from the beach at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. At nearly 800 acres, it’s a big beach park with lots of recreational opportunities — swimming, picnicking, fishing, crabbing, hiking, and more. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are lifeguards on duty. And snack food and beach and picnic supplies are available. Hours are 6am – sunset. From May 1 through September, admission is $5/Maryland resident, $7/non-resident on weekend, and $4/ Maryland resident, $6/non-resident on weekdays.

The beach is narrow, and you’re on a river, but you still get sand and water at the Purse area within the Nanjemoy Wildlife Management Area in Charles County, MD. This is best if your main purpose is fossil hunting — it’s a great place to go for it — and you want to get in some “beach” time, too. Wear swimsuits, bring a picnic, and be sure to check the tide table so you can make the most of your time there. Open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.

Mayo Beach Park in Anne Arundel County is open for swimming in summer to enjoy some sand and surf. Passes to access the beach park must be reserved in advance.  Be sure to know other beach rules like no grills or dogs allowed. Open Memorial Day – Labor Day on Friday 4-7pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 7pm. Admission is

Cape Henlopen State Park is a little over two hours from DC in Lewes, DE, but still doable as a day trip if you leave early, especially on a weekday when there is less traffic. We’ve done this and have had a fantastic day at the beach — packed up the car with a cooler and beach gear, got on the road early, and we were on the beach by 10:30am. Enjoyed dinner outdoors and ice cream in town before heading back, arrived home at 9:15pm. Totally worth the time in the car. Open daily, 8am – sunset, and admission is $8-10/vehicle.

On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, you can reserve a beach spot at Dirty Dave’s Tiki Bar on Kent Island.  Don’t let the name fool ya, it’s family-friendly and very fun.  The beach is right behind Kentmorr, the excellent crab house,  so if you plan well, you can make a day of it there with some beach time and a crab feast!  Or you can just hang and enjoy fare from Dave’s. Be sure to read details — pricing, hours, rules, etc. — on the website.

They may not all be beaches, but this round-up of swim spots has a bunch more recommendations for places to take a dip around DC and within day trip distance.

 

Make splash at Soak City in Kings Dominion

Make a splash at Soak City in Kings Dominion

WATERPARKS
Giant water slides, wave pools, waterfalls, sprays and splash pads…this is the stuff kids’ summer dreams are made of. There are some great water parks around the area offering many of these attractions, just about all of them opening Memorial Day weekend for limited hours, until they open daily a few weeks later. Here’s a quick list — visit the websites for more details.

* Ocean Dunes Waterpark at Upton Hill in Arlington, VA
* Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, MD
* Great Waves at Cameron Run in Alexandria, VA
* The Water Park at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg, MD
* Atlantis Water Park at Bull Run in Centreville, VA
* Pirate’s Cove Waterpark in Lorton, VA
* Volcano Island Waterpark in Sterling, VA
* Splash Down Water Park in Manassas, VA
* Chesapeake Beach Water Park
* Soak City Water Park at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA
* Water Country USA at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA

 

Sit back, relax, and enjoy a film outdoors at the Union Market Drive-in

BIG SCREEN UNDER THE STARS
Outdoor movies have become a DC summer tradition in the last few years with films al fresco in several neighborhoods. And during the past Covid year, more drive-ins popped up to allow for social distancing, some of the continuing this season.  (*Before you make plans to enjoy any of the series, be sure to check schedules, as some movies may not be appropriate for children.)

The Alexandria Drive-In Movie is a fun way to enjoy some outside entertainment with the fam.  Movies are shown on the big outdoor screen on Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm at least through June. Food trucks are there offering savory and sweet concessions with online ordering through Goodfynd! Purchase movie tickets in advance! Admission if $40/acr

Catch a flick on the big screen from the comfort of your car at the Union Market Drive-In Series, occurring monthly on Fridays throughout the summer, with several family-friendly films in the mix. This year, they are are skipping the dramas in favor of action, comedy and cult classics. Get there as early as 6pm and have a bite to eat in the Market or bring food back to your car. The film starts at 8:30pm. Admission is $10/car, free for walk-ins. Advance purchase is recommended. Runs monthly through October.

Every Tuesday in June at 8:30pm, catch Downtown DC Summer Flicks — Can I Kick It? on the west lawn of the National Building Museum.  With “The Future” as its theme, weekly screenings will travel through time and space.  And each film will be scored with an original music soundtrack of hip-hop, soul, and more mixed by weekly guest DJs, including Shaolin Jazz’s own DJ 2-Tone Jones.

The Bowie Baysox and Prince George County organizations are presenting Drive-In Movies at Prince George’s Stadium. Starting June 4, the program will run Fridays through the month.  Admission is $30/vehicle, and tickets must be purchased in advance.

On Thursdays throughout the summer, Sunset Cinema at The Wharf will feature a variety of classic on the 20′ LED screen on Transit Pier. The series is free, but you must reserve a ticket, which includes seats for up to six people. Each movie starts at 8pm with seating available beginning at 7:30pm.  BYO food from restaurants at The Wharf, but drinks (both hard and soft) must be purchased from Cantina Bambina.

National Harbor’s Movies on the Potomac series will run on Thursdays at 7pm in June.  Pack your chairs, grab food to go from one of the many eateries, and meet at the Plaza’s big screen for a FREE evening of fun and entertainment.

Enjoy Summer in the Parks at the Rock Creek Carter Baron Amphitheater! Join the fun and entertainment on Thursday evenings in June, starting at 5pm, for music from DJ Lance Reynolds, food trucks, and themed activities.

Join the Rosslyn BID this summer for the Rosslyn Cinema Series to enjoy your favorite movies on the lawn in Gateway Park on Fridays in June!

Moonlit Movies: Flashback Fridays, presented by the City of Greenbelt and Old Greenbelt Theatre, feature nostalgic favorites on Braden Field, behind the Youth Center. Reserve a 10-foot circle for up to 5 people for $25.  Pre-order concessions from the movie theater, follow the link above. Contactless pick-up at the movie theater will be available before each showing.

The Library of Congress will host its fourth annual “LOC Summer Movies on the Lawn” outdoor film festival. The series of five movies will be presented on Thursday evenings at sundown from July 8 to August 5 on the north lawn of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, across the street from the U.S. Capitol.

Adams Morgan Movie Nights will present free films every Monday evening from July 12 – August 9. Movies, all with a “Made in DC” theme, are shown about 30 minutes after sunset at the Marie Reed Recreation Center’s soccer field at 18th and California Streets, NW. Restaurants in the neighborhood will be offering special takeout meals that attendees can bring to the field.

 

A past US Air Force Band concert at an iconic DC spot

SUMMER CONCERTS
Free music in the fresh air has become a staple of the season, and there are opportunities to enjoy just about every genre regularly at outdoor venues all around the DC-Metro.

The Kennedy’s Center’s Millennium Stage is back with free outdoor performances on Thursdays – Saturdays from May 27 through October 2.  On The REACH plaza, there will be films, live shows, arts vendors, dance and yoga lessons, plus food and drinks for sale at Victura Park!  Register in advance.

Jammin Java’s 20th Anniversary Outdoor Concert Series includes a variety of free all ages shows. Check the website to see what’s coming up and reserve your complimentary tix.

The U.S. Air Force Band’s Summer Concert Series is returning. Enjoy outdoor concerts on Fridays at the Air Force Memorial at 7:30pm, and Saturdays at National Harbor at 7pm.

Every third Wednesday of the month from June to August at 7pm, catch the U.S. Marine Band playing in Yards Park while you picnic and take in the views of the Anacostia River. Admission is free.

Tysons Corner Center‘s Summer Concert Series doesn’t actually begin until September, but they will have live performers on the Plaza all summer before that on Thursdays and Fridays 4-7pm and Saturdays and Sundays.  As you grab a bite to eat and hang out, enjoy shows from the blues to ballet, funk to folk, pop to poetry 2-7. More family-friendly entertainment will also be there on Saturdays 4-7pm — think caricature and balloon artists, face painters, walking performers.

Glen Echo Park’s 2021 Summer Concerts Series will take place every Thursday at 7:30pm from  July 1  – September 9. Concerts will be held in the historic Bumper Car Pavilion and are free and open to the public, featuring a variety of local bands and musical genres, from country to reggae, swing to Latin jazz, African to Cajun and blues.

Friday Night Concerts at Yards Park will be back for its 11th season from July 9 – August 13! The six-week series will feature performances by popular local artists and cold beverages on the boardwalk from 7-9pm each week.

Olney Theatre Center will present Olney Outdoors on its Root Family Stage from July 2 – August 25, featuring free Shakespeare, an in-person edition of its popular online series “Just Arts: A Celebration of Arts and Activism,” jazz concerts, theatre for young audiences and more.

Enjoy music in Northern Virginia parks! The Fairfax County Park Authority presents their Summer Entertainment Series, a summer-long calendar of family-friendly shows, concerts, and movies held in local parks. Bring a picnic dinner, blankets, and lawn chairs to enjoy the best local and regional entertainers. More details to come!

The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, VA, presents its annual Summer Concert Series, featuring three military bands performing American hits and patriotic classics, each in their own style. The free performances will be held at 7pm on July 8 and 22, and August 26, outdoors on the grand entry plaza, weather permitting.

Huzzah for Ren Fest, which begins in late summer

FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS
Several stand-out events are anticipated around the area this time of year, celebrating everything from music to art & culture to neighborhoods to food (some of them going virtual in 2021).  There are also a few smaller happenings to plan for in advance.

The Yards is hosting its first-ever Garden Party. The event June 4-6 will features socially-distanced floral themed pods designed to accommodate 6-8 guests, each with Instagram-worthy areas with drinks, snacks , and garden-inspired decor in an exclusive section of the Sun Deck. Reservations include garden baskets priced at $50-150 for different drink and snack offerings from local restaurants. Family-friendly reservations are available Saturday and Sunday mornings; it’s 21+ afternoons and evenings. Reserve via Tock or at theyardsdc.com.

Celebrate Capital Pride during Pride Month June.  While the annual, much loved parade and other events aren’t happening in quite the same way, there still are things to do to celebrate and support the LGBTQ community. From June 1-12,  Paint the Town Colorful invites residents and businesses to decorate the public facing space (building fronts, yards, patios, balconies), to express Pride.  On June 12, the Pridemobile Parade will travel around DC, its colorful caravan of cars led by the Pridemobile trolly spreading joy, resilience, and Pride throughout the city.

The National Park Service DC announced that Independence Day will be celebrated with fireworks on the National Mall.  Like previous years, they’ll start shortly after 9pm, though this time they’ll be set off by the Lincoln Memorial.  It remains to be seen what kind of access the public will have to see them, but many folks views them from across the river and rooftops around the city.

It’s not quite as big as previous years, but the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party is back for the season!  This year’s exhibition is very family-friendly, featuring a handful of smaller projects and programs both in the museum and on the West Lawn that are better for the early post-pandemic era of smaller gatherings and social distancing aptly titled Inside Out, the Block Party includes Maze of Knowledge, a wooden maze filled with books; a hand-built cathedral truss; interactive art; outdoor films; and more! And for memories’ sake, have a look at some of the past Summer Block Parties: The Big MazeThe BeachIcebergs, HiveFun HouseLawn. (Whew! I’ve been at this a long time.)

The annual Capitol Hill July 4th Parade will be back, when the neighborhood turns out to view and participate in a fun procession down Barracks Row that showcases many community organizations, schools, and city groups.

It might run into fall, but it starts in August, so the Maryland Renaissance Festival counts among the summer fun. Plus, if you’ve been reading KFDC while then you know it’s one of my very, very favorite annual events. (More confirmation on  that herehere, herehereherehere, here, and here.) I take a lot of pride in the number of people I have turned into Ren Fest believers!  As of now, the faire is ON, and the merriment is scheduled to begin August 28 and will continue every weekend through October 24. Go!  I promise, it is the absolute best.

Virtual this year:

The Washington Folk Festival that usually takes place at Glen Echo Park the first weekend after Memorial Day is not happening IRL this year.  Instead, there will be a free livestream concert and dance from Glen Echo’s Spanish Ballroom on June 6 at 7:30pm.

In late June and early July, the National Mall usually becomes stomping grounds of people from around the globe to celebrate living cultural heritage and community traditions at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. However, this year’s event on June 26-27 will be all digital.

Independence Day in DC is always a pretty big deal, the city being the nation’s capital and all, so the annual July 4th celebrations are significant. This year, though, the National Independence Day Parade will be live streamed, and the Capitol Fourth concert at the U.S. Capitol will not be open to the public.

The lotus and water lilies in full bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are such a ravishing sight it calls for a celebration. Along with the spectacular display of flowers, the annual Lotus & Water Lily Festival  features traditional Asian and African dancing and drumming, gardening workshops, park tours, arts & crafts, and other family-friendly pursuits. This year, however, it’s going virtual.  View scenes from a previous bloom here.

 

A fairy house find in the woods at Annmarie Sculpture Garden

SEASONAL EXHIBITS
Extraordinary installations, lovely annual exhibits, kids’ programs during the school break, and admission deals are some of the special experiences at our museums and galleries to take take advantage of over the summer.

See Georgetown in a whole new, cool light — literally! Georgetown Glow, an exhibition of modern light art installations, runs through June 27.  You can take the fam to dinner, then go for a stroll to check them all out. Artworks will be viewable by day, but obviously much brighter at night. It’s free to tour, and you just go and see them at your leisure.  Special talks and walks are available, too. Get a glimpse of a past Glow here.

Forces of Nature at the Renwick Gallery is a great exhibit to check out with kids.  Striking and intricate works take up entire galleries and make you want to examine them from all angles. Even little ones will dig seeing the big pieces that sparkle, look like giant flowers, resemble a rain storm, and sometimes make you feel like you’re within the art. On view until August 15.  Renwick hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm, and free, timed-entry passes are required for admission.

Annmarie Sculpture Garden is enchanting any time of year, but it’s especially so in the summer when the fairy and gnome houses are on display. The adorable collection of little whimsical abodes for spritely creatures are just fantastic to view and find throughout the grounds. Created by all ages, individuals and groups, each one has a different theme, but together they are a brilliant showcase of imagination and craftiness. Read more about it and view scenes from a past exhibit here and here.

A cascade of 2,000 origami doves makes up Les Colombes (The Doves) at the National Cathedral. The beautiful art installation symbolizing hope looks like it’s suspended in midair in the magnificent space. Tickets for some June dates are available. Plan to spend time in the lovey Bishop’s Garden outside while you’re there.

ARTECHOUSE, the destination in southwest known for fusing art and technology, is dazzling with Renewal 2021. Inspired by DC’s annual cherry blossom bloom, it aims is to promote hope amid the global pandemic and concerns of climate change. Experience it through Sept 6. Admission is $16-20/adult, $8-10/12 & under.

So, it’s not necessarily a special exhibit, but the rest of the Smithsonian Museums will be reopening over the summer. June 18: National Museum of Natural History; July 16: National Museum of African Art & National Museum of Asian Art Freer Gallery; July 30: National Air and Space Museum & Smithsonian Institution Building (Castle); August 6: Anacostia Community Museum; August 20: Hirshhorn Museum; August 27: National Postal Museum. Free timed-entry passes will be required for admission — be sure to snag yours, as they go fast!

 

A setting as great as the entertainment at Children's Theatre in the Woods

Entertainment especially for kids at Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods

SPECIAL ENTERTAIMENT & PROGRAMS
From super cheap movies in local theaters to stay cool on hot days to live theatre at fun places, there are some great ways to keep kiddos entertained all season long.

Wolf Trap is bringing back  Children’s Performances with slight changes this year.  Instead of the theatre-in-the-woods setting, the family-friendly shows will take place at the Filene Center to offer guests more space, with tickets sold in socially-distanced “pods” of 2 to 8 tickets. Enjoy lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, and more. All of the productions are recommended for children between Kindergarten and 6th grade (though I think kids even younger can enjoy them, too — mine did). Tickets are available now!

Starting June 7, enjoy Arts in the Parks, a free children’s entertainment series from Fairfax County Park Authority on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am beginning.  Catch shows at Burke Lake Park, Frying Pan Farm Park, EC Lawrence Amphitheater, Mason District, and Waterfield Park.

The Regal Summer Movie Express presents flicks for kids on many Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am from May 25 – September 8. Admission is just $1. Be sure to check the website for the film schedule and theater locations, as it doesn’t run at all theaters every week.

The Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse is back and offering fun $1 films for kids every Wednesday from June 16 – August 4. Check the schedule to see what’s playing at a theater near you!

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Ashburn welcomes families to Kids Camp, a movie series that is inexpensive ($1-3) and benefits local charities, to boot.

UniverSoul Circus, the world-class, live entertainment attraction is coming back to National Harbor July 1 – August 8.  The production celebrates the unique and familiar aspects of global cultures and ethnicities, blending circus arts, theater, and music — a fresh, cool, and hip approach to live family entertainment!  Tickets start at $27.50.

Olney Theatre Center will present Olney Outdoors on its Root Family Stage from July 2 – August 25, featuring free Shakespeare, an in-person edition of its popular online series “Just Arts: A Celebration of Arts and Activism,” jazz concerts, theatre for young audiences and more.

See a Shakespeare play in the park! The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is bringing back its annual Shakespeare in the Ruins at the picturesque Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City, MD. The Adventures of Pericles will run July 1 – August 2.  Tickets are $19, and one kid is free with every adult.  Bring along a picnic to enjoy as you watch the play — there are no food vendors, but you can BYO fare, beer, and wine.

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Free For All will, hopefully, be back this summer. The Washington tradition offers free performances of a Shakespearean classic to the public, with tickets available through an online lottery or a limited number given out day-of.  Look for more info about it soon!

 

Go for a spin on the carousel at Watkins Regional Park

MINI TRAINS, MINI GOLF, CAROUSELS, & A FERRIS WHEEL!
These extra delights bring even more fun to several parks around the area that are already great outdoor places to hang with the kids.

Watkins Regional Park opened its Antique Carousel and Miniature Train on a limited schedule in early May, but come Memorial Day weekend, they can be enjoyed for extended hours almost every day of the week. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am – 7pm; Sundays 12–5 pm, closed Mondays except May 31 (Memorial Day), July 4 (July Fourth Holiday; closes at 4pm) & September  (Labor Day).  This along with all of the other fun features — Nature Center, Old Maryland Farm, and Wizard of Oz Playground!

Cabin John Regional Park opened its Miniature Train on weekends only back in April, and will run on weekend through September 10am – 6pm. Rides are $2.50. Plan to spend time at the wonderful Cabin John playground, too — read more about it here.

The Miniature Train and Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel at Wheaton Regional Park started taking guests for spins in early April on weekends and will be open through the summer. Hours are 3-7 on Friday, 10am – 7pm on Saturday & Sunday.  Rides are $2.50.  Plan to stay and play at the super fun Wheaton playground — read more about it here.

The beautiful historic Dentzel Carousel is celebrating its 100th season at Glen Echo Park and recently reopened!  Plan to go for a spin through June 13 on Saturday & Sunday, 10am- 6pm.   Then from June – August 29, it will be open Wednesday – Friday, 10am – 4pm  and Saturday-Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm.

The Clemyjontri carousel in McLean, VA, will be offering rides daily starting May 29 on weekdays 9:30am – 1:00pm and weekends 9:30am – 6:30pm. Cost is $3/weekdays, $4/weekends & holidays. Read more about Clemyjontri here.

There are a couple of ways to go for a spin at National Harbor. Kind of like a London Eye of the U.S., The Capital Wheel is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of DC. The 42-gondola ride (all closed and climate-controlled with room for 8) soars 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront, offering vistas of the White House and Capitol, the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, and more amazing sites. Ticket prices start at $15. For an on-ground whirl, the Carousel features a herd of whimsical creatures and the sparkling Potomac as a backdrop. It’s $7 for each rider, and they can ride an unlimited number of times. Read about both rides and more National Harbor fun here.

Burke Lake Park’s Mini Train, Carousel, and Mini Golf are open daily from Memorial Day – Labor Day.  The train 11:20am – 5:40pm, the carousel 11:25am -5:25pm, and mini golf 11am – 8pm (last play 7pm). The park is free to access for Fairfax county residents. For non-county residents, the park is free on weekdays and has a $10 entrance fee on weekends/holidays for a car or large capacity van. Carousel rides are $2-3, train rides are $3-4, mini golf is $7-8.

Play Mini Golf in the District at East Potomac Park.  (Fun fact: It’s on the National Register of Historic Places listed as the oldest continually operating miniature golf course in the country!) Open Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 8pm. Admission is $6/kids and seniors, $7/adults. Read more about hanging out at East Potomac Park’s Hains Point.

Tee up at several NoVa Parks that have mini golf courses. Cameron RunUpton HillPohick Bay, and Algonkian Regional Parks all welcome guests to putt around.  Cost is $5/age 12 & under, $6/13+. Check websites for hours a each park.

Ride the Chesapeake Bay-themed carousel at Lee District Family Rec Area in Alexandria. Open daily through August 29 — hours are 11am – 6pm Monday/Tuesday/Thursday, 11am – 5pm Wednesday, and 9am – 6pm Saturday/Sunday.  Cost is $3 per ride on Fridays, $4 per ride weekends & holidays.

 

Kick up the summer fun at a Washington Spirit match!

SUMMER SPORTS
Some of the season’s best action takes place in ballparks, stadiums, and arenas thanks to our local sports teams. Here’s where you can join the fan clubs.

A day at Nationals Park is all it takes to understand why baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Catching a Nats game is one of our family’s preferred ways to enjoy a nice summer (or spring) day (or evening), anyway. And Nationals Park will open at full capacity again starting June 10!   Before you go, check out tips on doing a Nats game without breaking the bank. And I highly recommend the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for children 12 and under. Just $20 gets them membership (there’s also a free version), which includes Nats swag, plus all kinds of other cool offers. Even a few months into the season, it’s worth it!

Whether or not you’ve got a little soccer fan in your fam, DC United matches are fun experiences for all ages, and Audi Field is a great venue for watching them. Plus, since games only last 90 minutes, they’re not too long if young spectators get antsy.

Women’s pro soccer team, Washington Spirit, will have several matches at Audi Field this season — and they are always very exciting to watch!

Every summer, the Citi Open Tennis Tournament serves up exciting competition along with other fun activities for fans of all ages. See some of the sport’s top players in action and enjoy the thrills on and off the court at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center July 31 – August 8.

Swing up to Charm City to see the Baltimore Orioles play. Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark, and you can head to the Inner Harbor before or after to make a day of it up north.

If the Nats or O’s aren’t in town, or you want to see baseball on a smaller but still fun scale, you’ve got several great options around the area. Take ’em out to the minors to see the Bowie Baysox, Potomac Nationals, or Aberdeen Ironbirds play. Summer collegiate team Bethesda Big Train is also very popular for non-majors baseball action.

The Breeze, DC’s Ultimate Frisbee pro team,  plays at Carlini Field (CUA).  It’s fast paced, fun to watch, and there’s plenty of space to spread out in the bleachers.  Even better, there’s a welcoming family vibe, and kids 12 and under get in free!

The Fish Market at The Wharf has all you need for a DIY crab feast

CRAB FEASTS
Easily one of the best activities during summer in Maryland and neighboring areas (this is where I get non-DC-centric because I have to give credit where it’s due). Here are some suggestions for places to get ’em, though the “best” is always a subject for debate.

* Cantler’s is an Annapolis institution for many.
* Mike’s Crab House in Riva has a great tiki area if there’s a table wait.
* Enjoy great crabs and an awesome beach area at Kentmorr.
* The Jetty on Kent Narrows has crabs, scenic views, and a fun beachy vibe.
* In Baltimore, Bo Brooks on the Canton Waterfront is popular.
* Enjoy a feast in the District at Ivy City Smokehouse.
* Stay close to the city at Quarterdeck in Arlington.
* Eat crabs in the ‘burbs at Bethesda Crab House.
* Make it a day trip to Waterman’s in Rock Hall, MD.
* Pick up your own at The Fish Market at The Wharf. Buy them already steamed or get them while they’re still alive to cook at home.

 

A paddling excursion on the Potomac

 

SEASONAL EXPERIENCES
Some particularly cool activities and offerings are only possible this time of year. Sure, you can say that’s most of this guide, but these experiences that fall into the “other” category shouldn’t be missed.

On Thursday evenings and some Saturdays during late spring and summer, the Anacostia Watershed Society hosts their free Discovery Series, which include boat tours, paddle tours, and wetland walks at a few local parks. Bladensburg Waterfront Park, Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and 11th Street Bridge Park are locations for these jaunts.

For other adventures on the water, a bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and stand up paddleboards. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go and has a great riverside area to hang out and picnic when you’re off the water. You can also row from Ballpark Boathouse near Yards Park. Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis has paddling options along with lots of other outdoor recreation. This post has a whole round-up of even more places to go with the flow on local waterways.

Pick your own produce at local farms. While it starts in the spring with strawberries, it carries on through summer with even more delicious fruits — blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, plus veggies and more produce you can gather yourself. Find out where you can PYO around the DC area.

Join Anacostia Riverkeeper and Earth Conservation Corps on Friday evenings From July 9 – August 27 for Friday Night Fishing, their catch and release fishing program at the dock at Diamond Teague Park (located next to Yards Park). Rods, reels, bait, and instruction are free. No sign up is required.  Dates still to come — will keep you posted!

Aaaaaar, mateys! As the weather warms up and cruising conditions become more comfortable, pirate voyages are offered on local waters. In DC, take a Family Treasure Hunt Cruise on the Boomerang Pirate Ship. Head out to Annapolis for Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake. Or go for a jaunt with Urban Pirates in Baltimore.

Some of the most spectacular flower blooms occur during the summer. View a whole park bursting with pink, white, and peach-hued lotus flowers and water lilies. Fields upon fields of sunflowers are sure to brighten any day. Stop and smell the roses at a favorite National Mall spot (if it’s open again). Get details on all of them in this post about our bloom town.

Get rolling in Southeast! The Anacostia Park Skating Pavilion, the only skating pavilion within a national park will officially welcome skaters daily from 9am – 5pm starting June 17 (but you can roll around there before that). Even better, both admission and skate rentals are FREE! And along with skating, Anacostia Park offers all kinds of recreation, including large fields for sports and running around, tennis, fishing, basketball, biking, running, and three playgrounds. Read more about the park in this KFDC post.

Have I left out anything really good? If you think so, let me know in the comments below!

 

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Filed under 2021, DC, Maryland, Summer, Virginia

Quick Links for this Week

     Spring Break 2021

 

It’s Spring Break for most DC students, including ours, so a couple of things:  1) You may be looking for extra things to do around the DC area during the time off from school  and  2) We’re taking advantage with a beach trip, so I won’t be posting much, but I’m also not leaving you hanging — here are quick KFDC links that will come in handy.  Have a great week!

 

Where to Go & What to Do During Spring Break 2021

Spring Things to Get Excited About Around the DC Area

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Inside Info: Indoor Places Open During COVID

Local Hikes with Kids

Bike Routes for Everyone Around the DC Area

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Maryland, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays