Tag Archives: Maryland Parks

Where to Play on the Weekdays: June 20-24

Spray fun at Turkey Thicket

Spray fun at Turkey Thicket


Monday – Catch a family-friendly performance at Folger Shakespeare Library. Gravediggers Tale, featuring comedic actor Louis Butelli, is a one-man show based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet that encourages audience participation. Showtime is 10:30am, and tickets are free — reserve yours here.

If you’re with really little ones, Rise + Rhyme at Busboys and Poets in Takoma or Hyattsville, MD. The weekly series welcomes children 5 and under with their caregivers to enjoy a morning of performances and stories from 9:30-11am. Admission is $5. Plan on breakfast, too — full service will be available while the little ones are grooving! (FYI: The series also takes place in Shirlington, VA, the last Tuesday of every month.)

Tuesday – Beat the heat in the cool comfort of a movie, a heavily discounted one!. The Regal Summer Movie Express begins this week, presenting family films for just $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday at participating theaters during the summer. See what’s playing at a theater near you — there are two movie choices every week.

Wednesday – Climb-A-Tree with Montgomery Parks Arborists. Find out how fast, how far, how high you can go when you climb a giant tree at Fairview Urban Park! Arborists will provide safety gear, assistance, and encouragement to help kids put their heads in the clouds and see our parks from a new perspective. Hours are 9am – 12pm, and admission is free. The park is located at 8900 Fairview Road in Silver Spring.

Thursday – Jump in to summer fun at a public pool, which are now open daily! Even better, they’re free (or a small fee if you’re not a resident of the District or county where it’s located). Check out the 2016 Summer Guide for links to public pools in the area and be sure to note open times, as they may vary from pool to pool.

Friday – Take kids ages 4-9 to Walls of Books for Storytime Yoga. Join Sierra Yoga and Wellness as they make stories come alive with games, songs, and yoga poses, encouraging the connection of mind and body and bringing together the best of two worlds: storytelling and yoga! The free 45-minute session starts at 12pm.

For an outing with younger children, head to the Turkey Thicket playground in Brookland, where they can enjoy running through sprays along with slides, swings, climbing equipment, and more. Admission there is free.

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Filed under All ages, Class, DC, Educational, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

Fancy a Butterfly Garden Giveaway and Fall Festivals from Montgomery Parks


While many summer joys in the DC area come to an end on Labor Day, there’s one that will continue well into fall this year: Wings of Fancy, the wonderful butterfly and caterpillar exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD. And one lucky KFDC reader can win a four-pack of tickets to experience it — and I can assure you, it’s pretty fantastic.

Nearly 20 different species of butterflies from North America, Central America, and Asia flutter around the garden full of colorful flowers and plants. There are also cases on display containing cocoons and opportunities for visitors to learn about their amazing metamorphosis. It’s about 10 degrees warmer inside the garden than it is outside, so autumn will be an ideal time to go.

Wings of Fancy will be on display at Brookside Gardens through October 25. Hours are 10am – 4pm daily. Tickets are $8/ages 13 and up, $5/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under — you can also try to win them through the giveaway below!

There’s even more to enjoy at Montgomery County Parks this fall! These festivals and programs happening in September and October are perfect for family outings:


Giveaway: For a chance to win the four-pack of tickets to the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens, simply leave a comment telling me your favorite activity this Labor Day weekend, either that you already experienced or are looking forward to doing. To be eligible, you must like KidFriendly DC on Facebook and be a blog subscriber (see the sign-up on the left sidebar). This giveaway will run through Wednesday, September 9, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Parks, however, I only promote activities, events, and programs that I sincerely enjoy and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.


Filed under All ages, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Festival, Free, Giveaway, Maryland, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend

Dig the Recreation at Purse State Park


You’ve got to love when a recommendation for a great adventure comes straight from an expert. I also appreciate when friends think of KFDC upon finding out about cool places to explore. Those two things combined are exactly what what brought us to Purse State Park in Charles County, MD, a couple of weeks ago.

On a recent visit to the National Museum of Natural History, my friend Jody got into a conversation with a paleontologist about searching for fossilized shark teeth (a random obsession she and I share), and learned that Purse is known for yielding excellent fossil finds. Once she shared that information with me, it wasn’t long before we made a trip out there with our kids for a day of digging, swimming, picnicking, and exploring.


Purse State Park is just over an hour’s drive away from DC along a part of the Potomac River called Wades Bay, where woods meet water. There’s a very small parking lot across the street from the trail head that leads to the pretty and peaceful beach area about a quarter of a mile away.


A narrow strip of sand stretches along the shoreline, tree branches from the woods overhanging in a few spots. But the “jewels” of the locale are hidden among the piles of shells and small rocks at the water’s edge, where you’ll easily find fossils from sharks, fish, shells, even crocodiles, many of them over 30 million and some up to 60 million years old.


It’s important to check the tide table (search Potomac River/Liverpool Point, MD) when you plan a visit, since the already narrow strip of sand thins out even more at high tide. Not only is it easier to sift through the piles of shells and rocks, but the kids have space to play in the sand and spread out a bit. The water is also nice and shallow for swimming (yes, in the Potomac!) at that time.



Having those extra activities for the kids was ideal, since they did their fossil hunting in short spurts, though Sasha found one of the larger shark teeth of our stash. Jody and I, however, were crouched by the river for long stretches of time, plucking all kinds of fossils from handfuls of sand and shells. A small area at the end of a little stream trickling from the woods to the river was a boon for shark teeth of all sizes, dental plate fragments, shellfish molds, fossilized shells, and possibly part of a turtle shell (this website is great for helping identify fossils). We met an Arlington woman there who does a lot of fossil hunting, and she said Purse is by far one of the higher yielding spots for shark and occasionally crocodile teeth.



We both left with nice stashes of fossils, and back home I added our new findings to a collection in a mason jar, save for a few teeth that Sasha included in birthday cards for friends. And I have to confess: I’m already jonesing for a fossil hunting fix — it’s that addicting! — and the nerd in me really, really hopes to score a crocodile tooth next time.

Jody's findings from the day all cleaned and sorted

Jody’s findings from the day all cleaned and sorted

Purse State Park is located in Charles County in Nanjemoy, MD, according to GPS. It’s open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. There are no concessions or facilities, so plan accordingly. (August 2019 Update per a KFDC reader: “…when you’re almost there, 5 miles away, you run into a “ROAD CLOSED” sign and need to u-turn and follow detour signs around the closed road. It was about 15-20 extra minutes. The sign said road closed since June but didn’t seem to have an end date.”)


Filed under All ages, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Over the Rainbow and Beyond at Watkins Regional Park


Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, Md, was one of my early parent discoveries. And by parent discovery, I mean it took having a child to realize the place existed, even though I had lived in the area for years. We first start visiting when Owen began toddling around, not long after his first birthday, and it’s been a constant in our rotation of go-to outings since.


So, the park is far from new to KFDC (as you probably knew if you’ve been reading the blog awhile…I recommend it quite often), but with a new, recently opened Wizard of Oz themed playground, it seems like a perfect time to spotlight one of our favorites.



When I first heard about the playground, which was replacing an older one, I thought it could either be terribly cheesy or super cute. Luckily, it turned out to be the latter, full of vibrantly colored apparatuses that embrace the story of Dorothy and friends: Children can slide down ruby red slippers, swing over the rainbow, play in and on a farm house, romp down the yellow brick road, and so much more.



That’s not all there is to do at Watkins — far from it, in fact. Just across the road from the playground are a the Chesapeake Carousel, Miniature Train, and Mini golf that open from mid-spring through summer. And just beyond that is Old Maryland Farm, where you can visit chickens, peacocks, turkeys, bunnies, llamas, cows, horses, and ducks.



A bit further up the road, but still within walking distance is the Watkins Nature Center, one of the best in the area, in my opinion. Inside, rescued birds and reptilian creatures are on view in caged areas and terrariums, along with a small turtle pond. There are also sweet activity areas for puppet shows and bird watching. Outside, you can visit larger rescued birds like owls and hawks and stop by the frog pond and try to spot them hiding among the lily pads. A small amphitheater, where story time sessions and other programs sometimes take place, is a fun place for performances when it’s not in use. And short trails nearby that loop through the surrounding woods make for nice easy hikes with the kids.




Even more, the park is fantastic for birthday parties! Owen and Sasha had a joint bash at the Nature Center, and it was easily one of the best parties they’ve had. We’ve attended many others there and at Old Maryland Farm (which includes a hayride), and they’ve never disappointed. The Carousel area also offers parties during the season, though we’ve never been to one.


The carousel, train, and golf, which all require a small fee, are only open during the week until early September and weekends through the end of month beyond that. The rest, though, is open year-round, and even better, it’s all free to explore and enjoy. And I highly recommend you do so.


Watkins Regional Park is located at 301 Watkins Park Drive in Upper Marlboro, Md. Park hours are dawn to dusk, and admission is free, but some venues within the park have their own hours and fees:
Old Maryland Farm is open Tuesday – Friday 9am – 4pm, Saturday 9am – 4:30pm, Sunday 11:30am – 4:30pm
Watkins Nature Center is open Monday – Saturday 8:30am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm
– The Carousel, Train, and Golf are open seasonally – see the website for details.


Filed under All ages, Animals, Birthday Parties, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend