Tag Archives: Great Falls Park

Weekend Picks

The museums are heavy on special family activities this weekend, but with the glorious weather forecast for the next few days, I’ve got several suggestions to get you outdoors, too.   Happy Weekend!

Family Day: Kites of AsiaGo fly a kite! And make one, too. This free event at the National Air & Space Museum on Saturday welcomes guests to discover the artistry of kites from across Asia. Indoor kite flying, story telling, and hands-on art activities, kite-making included, are on the day’s agenda.  The event runs from 10am – 3pm.

Take a Hike – It’s going to be excellent weather for tramping in the woods, though be choosy about where you go — I heard the line of cars waiting to get into the Maryland side of Great Falls last weekend was all the way out to MacArthur Boulevard.  For more suggestions on where to walk in the woods, including several that don’t attract large crowds, check out this post about good area hikes with kids.

Goya: Awakened in a DreamThe National Gallery of Art’s Film Program for Children and Teens presents a movie about the artist Goya this week. Recommended for ages 7 and up, the screening will take place in the East Building Concourse auditorium at 10:30am on Saturday and 11:30am on Sunday.  The program is free, and seating is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Everyone’s PlaygroundEnjoy the sunshine and one of the best playgrounds in the area. If you have young children, and you haven’t been to Clemyjontri Park, I highly recommend taking them there.  The play possibilities will seem endless to little ones.  The carousel doesn’t open for another couple of weeks, but kids will be so enchanted with other parts of the park, they won’t miss riding the wooden horses.

Mail FemalesDiscover the history of women who have played important roles in the nation’s mail service.  The National Postal Museum is hosting Women’s History Month Family Day from 11am – 3pm on Saturday.  Guests can hear stories about postal women and try their hand at some of the jobs they performed.

DC United Opening DayKick off the start of the soccer season at RFK on Saturday evening.  Tickets are still available for the 7:30pm game, including a couple of packages that come with freebies when you buy at least four tickets.  For more information, see this post from a couple of days ago.

Reptile & Amphibian DayLearn about reptiles and their important role in the ecosystem at this annual event at the National Aquarium. On Sunday from 10am – 4pm, guests can enjoy a variety of activities, including storytime and fun crafts.  Aquarium staff will be on hand to answer questions and give talks throughout the day. Special highlights: The alligator exhibit and a shark feeding at 2pm. The event is free with admission – $9.95/ages 11 and up, 4.95/ages 3-11, children under 3 are free.

Picnic, Play, & PlanesHave you been to Gravelly Point, the small park along the GW Parkway next to Ronald Reagan Airport?  The beautiful spot along the river is nice place to spread out a picnic, people watch, and kick around a soccer ball  — if you really like airplanes.  I have to warn about this one:  it’s hit or miss with kids (and adults, for that matter).  The park is located just beyond the airport runway, so planes take off or land (depending on which way they are going that day) literally right overhead. That’s the hit or miss part.  It’s loud and potentially scary for those who don’t like the looks of a plane coming right at them, but quite exciting for those that love a thrill.

Portrait Story DaysDrop in at the National Portrait Gallery anytime from 1-4pm on Sunday to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. Rachel Carson, founder of the modern environmental movement, will be the subject this weekend.

CHAW Artday Concert – Catch a free Singing Lizard concert on Saturday morning at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. The Singing Lizard’s live shows are fast-paced, fun, and full of exciting songs that both kids and adults enjoy. The concert is from 10-11am in CHAW’s Black Box Theater.

On the Big Screen – Rain or shine, an IMAX film is great entertainment. Both the Johnson IMAX Theater at the Natural History Museum and Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at the Air & Space Museum have several movies playing all weekend.  For a couple of reviews, see my post about Arabia 3D and another one about Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk 3D.

Live Entertainment – A few new theater and musical shows recently opened on local stages.  This post about spring entertainment from last week has info on what and who’s playing and where.  Also be sure to check this post from a couple of months ago listing winter productions, several of which are still running.

Stories in ArtSculptor David Smith is again the subject for this week’s children’s program at the National Gallery of Art. The workshop will start with a reading of “Half of the Elephant,” about an elephant on a humorous journey to find his missing half.. From there, the group will explore the work of David Smith, then build a sculpture with wood and metal. Hour-long sessions begin at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm on Sunday. Sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am that day and will continue until all spaces are filled.  No admission fee required.

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Free, Live Entertainment, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Play, Weekend

A Grand Welcome to the Weekend

It’s time to say sayonara to the cherry blossoms, and it feels like they just arrived. But as we wind down the festival that welcomes spring, the seasonal fun is just getting started.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is coming to an end, but not before its grand finale, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. The procession of giant balloon characters, marching bands, and a mix of performers traveling through the city is easily a highlight of the weekend. On Saturday from 10am – 12pm, catch the spectacle on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets. Word has it that Elmo and Kermit will be floating overhead along with air-filled cherry blossoms and Japanese lanterns. On ground, catch entertainment by the cast of Ford Theatre’s “Little Shop of Horrors,” Justin Guarini (from American Idol Season 1), The All-Star Tap Team, high school marching bands, Irish danceers, and Japanese drummers. More than 100,000 spectators show up for the parade each year, so get there early to stake out your spot along the route if you don’t have tickets for grandstand seats.

After the parade, head over to 12th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW for Sakura Matsuri. Part of the Cherry Blossom Festival, this annual Japanese street festival is a celebration of Japanese culture, with everything from traditonal food and drink to martial arts and samurai swordsmen. There will be arts and crafts, live performances, karate and sumo demos, and more. At the Children’s Corner, kids can take part in activities like origami, storytelling, and traditional games. The festival runs from 11am – 6pm. Admission is free.

If your kids like their entertainment in the form of sports, the Harlem Globetrotters will score big with them. The comical hoopsters are playing/performing at the Verizon Center this Saturday at 1pm. Ticket prices vary depending on seat location. Check the Ticketmaster website for availability.

We can’t discuss weekend activities without mentioning museums, and there are several cool events happening in the coming days. On Saturday, the National Air & Space Museum presents “Explore the Universe” as part of its Hertiage Series Family Day. From 10am – 3pm throughout the museum on the National Mall, visitors can check out the sky through telescopes, build an astrolabe and pocket solar clock, learn about different cultural significances of the sky, and enjoy stories and astronomy-related activities. Admission to both the museum and event is free.

Young sleuths will love the KidSpy Festival, part of the annual Spy Fest at the International Spy Museum on Sunday. Here’s their chance to see if they have the chops to be the next James Bond or Mata Hari. Experts will be on hand to demo tricks of the trade like cracking codes and secret writing. Participants can then put their spy skills to the test during mini-missions. Program times are 11am and 12:30pm. Tickets are $10. Recommended for children ages 7 and up.

In other museum event news, the Newseum is hosting Junior Journalist Family Day on Sunday. Children ages 6 and up can learn tips from the pros through a variety of journalistic activities that incorporate everything from reporting and broadcasting to cartooning and editing. And the event coincides with the Newseum’s 2nd birthday when tickets are buy-one-get-one-free (be sure to mention the “Second Birthday Deal” to get in on it).

Finally, if you just want to go at your own pace and enjoy the spring weather, Great Falls Park, about 20 minutes of outside of the city, is always good bet. With miles of trails and spectacular views of the Potomac’s waterfals and churning rapids, the park is great place for hikes, picnics, and family bonding time. On the Maryland side, the Billy Goat Trail guarantees a good workout and great scenery. The Virginia side has more open space to run and play and more tables to eat al fresco. Great Falls is open from 7am until dark. Admission is $5 per vehicle, $3 per individual on foot, bike, or horse.

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Filed under All ages, Educational, Festival, Live Entertainment, Museums, Outdoor, Weekend