Tag Archives: Nationals Park

Enchant Christmas at Nationals Park: What to Expect & Tips for Visiting


If you’re excited about holiday activities, DC is a pretty great place to be this time of year. There are so many fun, festive, and unique things to do around the area to celebrate the season — but not always enough time, energy, and — especially notable at this time of year — money to do everything. Costs add up quickly, especially on top of gifts and other holiday spending.

So, many of us want to be selective about the holiday activities we choose to do. Which is why I’ve been getting lots of inquiries about Enchant Christmas at Nationals Park. DC’s new big holiday attraction apparently is the world’s largest Christmas light maze and market — and somewhat of a splurge for a family of four to visit. A lot of people have been very intrigued, myself included, so of course our family had to go experience it.

I should start by mentioning that 1) I am a sucker for holiday light displays. I always find them kind of magical, whether walking through illuminated grounds or driving along roads lined by twinkling installations. 2) My family received complimentary admission to Enchant, which does alter the perspective since I could just enjoy without wondering if we wasted our money. (That said, I did keep in mind that I would be reviewing it for paying visitors.)

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Enchant and tried to go in with an open mind, despite being underwhelmed by other popular holiday spectacles in past years. Things started off well as we walked through the Center Field gate to see a tall, white lit-up tree with smaller light formations nearby. The vibe was warm and festive with lots of people walking by looking relaxed and smiling. And there were dogs — it was a Paws & Claus night, so many people brought their pups along. But it was the scene just beyond it all that took my breath away (remember, I am an absolute cornball about this kind of thing).

The field has been transformed into a beautiful illuminated wonderland, a towering bright white tree the centerpiece of it all with blue, gold, and purple light installations and walls of sparkling holly surrounding it. An icy trail meanders through a section, skaters gliding along. And more people can be seen walking through the glowing landscape below.

We were eager to be part of it all, so after a quick peek at some of the vendor stands, we made our way down to the maze entrance, where we were handed a postcard with scratch off circles. Enchant includes a little adventure to find all of the reindeer within the maze, and you scratch off a circle each time you encounter one. Sasha was very into this, and Owen helped her out (though he was a bit more into Snapping pics — it’s a very social-media-share-worthy event).

Once inside, we wandered around, taking in the sparkling scenes. Some installations are just really pretty to view, others are interactive offering some fun and play as well as great photo ops. And while there are plenty of other people there, it never felt too crowded or chaotic, a benefit of ticketed entry. We spent well over an hour walking around it all — looking for reindeer, getting intentionally lost, and making sure we’d been down every path (that was me, anyway… I didn’t want to miss any neat light displays).

From there, we headed to the rink, though the kids passed on ice skating since they’d done a lot it over Thanksgiving break. But it looked like a lot of fun, the ice trail circling an illuminated “forest” under arches of glittering holly. Skating is included with admission, but rentals are $5/kids & $10/adults, a fee you can avoid if you BYO skates.

A couple of drink stands are on the field area, including the Ice Bar & Lounge, plus roaming hot chocolate vendors for warming up. There are even more food and drink options on the concourse upstairs, Ben’s Chili Bowl and local food vendors among them, so you can grab a bite there (or head to one of several nearby restaurants afterwards like we did).

Also on the concourse is a stage with live entertainment, plus the Christmas Market with over 40 local artisans selling everything from jewelry to art to edible treats to wearable accessories. You can do some holiday shopping, to boot!

Okay, the big question: Is Enchant worth it? My opinion: Yes! It is a splurge, but if you want to do something special with the family, this is a good one. The light displays are quite dazzling, there are multiple activities to enjoy, you can spend a good amount of time there, and it really captures the spirit of the holidays. And maybe not as important, but something about being at Nationals Park during the off-season after the big World Series win adds some extra allure to the experience. 🙂

Enchant Christmas is running at Nationals Park every evening, Christmas included, through December 29. Admission varies by date, time, and age, so check the website for details and see tips below for getting the best deal.

KFDC Tips to help plan for your Enchant experience:

* There is a Family 4-Pack ticket that offers 20% off admission, and you can add on guests as needed.

* Rates vary by date and time, so check out a few different ones if you have flexibility.

* Goldstar is offering ticket discounts, so be sure to check those, too.

* If you have ice skates, bring them to avoid a rental fee (and skate free!).

* Dress warmly — Enchant is all outdoors.

* And since it is all outdoors, it’s worth checking the forecast for the date you want to go.

* Tickets have been selling out, especially on weekends, so don’t wait until the last minute to get them.

* Strollers are not allowed in the maze, only up on the concourse. However, there is a stroller valet.

* There are Paws & Claus nights when dogs are welcome, so if you want to bring your pup or just like seeing them (some in festive wear), check the calendar for those dates.

* Garage parking is available for an extra charge (up to $22), but you can look for street parking in the area — I recommend trying on the other side of M Street and walking a couple of blocks.

* How could I forget? Santa is also there and available for photo ops. Pay for a professional photo, or snap your own for free.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Outdoor, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

A Day at Nationals Park is a Hit for Families



Surely, you guys know by now that we are fans of the Nats — and Nationals Park. I discussed it in a very early KFDC post, include ballgames in Weekend Round-Ups whenever they play at home, have endorsed the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for years, and know it all well enough to have plenty of tips for spending less on a day at the ballpark.

For us, catching a game at Nationals Park is an excellent way to spend a family day out. Not only is it a blast to watch the action on the field and enjoy fun in the stands, there are all kinds of programs and ballpark amenities that cater to kids. And even though we’re halfway through the season, and I mention these from time to time, here’s a round-up of all the features especially for families to help plan a day at Nats Park.

Giveaways
Nationals Park was designed for fans of all ages, and there are a few upcoming giveaways that young baseball fans will particularly enjoy:
* Sunday, July 30 | Nationals vs. Rockies at 1:35pm – Coloring Book presented by the Potomac Nationals (first 10,000 fans 12 & under)
* Tuesday, August 29 | Nationals vs. Marlins at 7:05pm – Bryce Harper Starting Lineup Action Figure presented by SAIC (first 25,000 fans)

Kids Run the Bases
All kids ages 4 through 12 have the opportunity to run the bases after Sunday home games – throughout the season. Jr. Nationals MVP members have access to an exclusive line that will go onto the field first (more info below). Weather permitting, subject to change.

Little Owen runs the bases after a Sunday Nats game

Tickets: Harris Teeter Family Fun Pack
Available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season, the pack includes a game ticket, hot dog, chips, Coca-Cola/Dasani beverage, and fans save up to 36% on a meal and game ticket!

Jr. Nats Kids Club
For all kids ages 12 and younger, the Jr. Nationals Kids Club, presented by Harris Teeter, is a great way to enjoy Nationals baseball. The Jr. Nats MVP Membership is just $20 for all fans ages 4-12! Benefits include:
* Membership Card and Lanyard, Coupon Book and Passport, MVP Book Bag, Exclusive Jr. Nats Baseball Cap, MVP Baseball Seam Bracelet
* Three Nationals Team Store Coupons
* One Welcome/Birthday Scoreboard Message
* One Promotional Item
* One FREE Meal at any NatsDog Stand
The Jr. Nats Rookie Membership is FREE for all fans ages 4-12! Benefits include a Membership Card and Lanyard, Special Meet and Greet Opportunities, and Exclusive Email Offers.

Family Fun Area
Children are invited to visit this kids-oriented play area inside Nationals Park, located inside the Right Field Gate, adjacent to the Team Store. Here guests will find a jungle gym and other activities suitable for kids.

Nationals Main Team Store
The Nationals recently modernized the Main Team Store in Center Field Plaza to create a better shopping experience for fans. The Nationals expanded the collection of available merchandise, including the Kids Section, which now includes products from Majestic Kids.

Concessions
At Rookie’s (Food for the Little Slugger), the younger generation of Nat’s fans can get Jr. Nats Dogs, Uncrustables™, and Kids Meals. Located in Section 142.

Birthdays & Tours
Did you know that kids can celebrate their birthday at Nationals Park? Read more about what that entails in this post with ideas for parties in the DC area. Also, fans of all ages will root for a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark!

So, are you ready to take the kids out to the ballgame? If this doesn’t cover all the bases, the Washington Nationals website has more information.



Disclosure: I received free game tickets from the Washington Nationals, however, I only promote places, programs, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Fall, Outdoor, Seasonal, Sports, Spring, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Take the Kids out to the Ballgame — for Less

Happy Nats fans

Happy Nats fans



Baseball season is in full swing, and catching a game at Nationals Park makes for a super fun and entertaining outing with the kids. However, one complaint I often hear about taking the whole fam out to the ballgame is the cost. Tickets alone can put a dent in the wallet; tack on concessions and parking, and it’s an all-out splurge. Luckily, there are some easy ways to save on the family ballpark experience and still have a great time. Here are some tips for doing a Nats game without breaking the bank.

Comparison Shop
Before you purchase tickets through the Nationals website, do some comparison shopping. Discount seats are almost always available through online ticket outlets, especially if you buy far enough in advance and have some flexibility with dates and seating preferences. These are a few of my go-to sites for ticket deals:
StubHub is a popular one, conveniently listing the ticket price, seating section, and number of seats still available.
Goldstar often has Nats tickets among its discounts on live entertainment and events.
SeatGeek uses its Deal Score to tell you how good of a deal you’re getting.
– Other local deals sites are also worth checking out — you can find on list of them here.

Packages & Promos
There are often special ticket packages and deals to take advantage of when you do purchase through the Nationals website. One of the best for families is the Harris Teeter Family Fun Pack. Available for Saturday & Sunday home games, tickets start at $20 and include a ticket, hot dog, bag of chips, and bottle of water. Other specials, like the Bud & Baseball and Military & Government Employee Discount might appeal and/or apply to you and are worth checking out along with all of the deals available to fans.

Just about every home game has a promo going on, usually some kind of swag giveaway, but every once in a while there are $1 hot dogs or ice cream. If you’re familiar with the ballpark food prices, then you know this is a great deal.

Also, a friend told me she just Googles “Nats ticket promos” and often finds some great ones.

Hi, $5!
Take your chances and try to get really cheap seats the day of. Two and a half hours before every home game, you can get $5 tickets at the Box Office. You won’t be sitting behind home plate, but, hey, you’re in for five bucks! It’s not a guarantee since a limited amount are available, so have a back-up plan — be prepared to pay more for other available tickets or do something else altogether. (Yards Park and Canal Park boasting fountains that welcome kids to play are nearby, as are many eateries that show the game on TV.)

BYO
Ballpark fare is part of the whole baseball experience, but eating and drinking at a game adds up quickly. (Where else do you pay $9 for a Miller Lite? (2016 Update: Nats Park is now a Bud Lite ballpark.) But while you can’t BYOB, you can BYO snacks and water. Food must be brought in single serving bags, and one unopened bottle of water per person is permitted. So, while it might not be easy to pack up freshly grilled hot dogs (though you can certainly try), you can bring your own peanuts and cracker jacks to keep the kiddos snack-happy. Get more details on the outside food policy in the Nationals Park Information Guide.

Join the Club
If you anticipate bringing the kids to at least a few games, then signing them up for the Jr. Nationals Kids Club is practically a no-brainer. The $20 membership gets them all kinds of great benefits: a free meal at the ballpark, an opportunity to watch batting practice from the field, meet and greets, a special line for Kids Run the Bases, a coupon for buy one get one free tickets, Nats swag, and even more. Between the BOGO tickets and comp meal, it pretty much pays for itself — and it helps you save (to pay for the pricey beers). Read more about the club here. Summer 2019 Update: There is also a free version of the club, and kids who join get a comp meal (hot dog, chips or applesauce, and soda or water) at every home game through September 2!

Ride On
Don’t drive if you don’t have to. It’s difficult to find street parking near Nationals Park, and parking in the garage or a nearby lot can be expensive. Ride bikes if you can — not only is cycling there fun, an awesome bike valet makes it easy to stash your ride once there. It’s free to leave your bike, but plan to tip the guys running it — they deserve it. Metro is also a great cheaper option. The Navy Yard station on the Green Line is just a block from the ballpark. Or you can ride the Blue/Orange Line to Capitol South, then take the shoe leather express from there.

For other transportation alternatives, see The Way to Go to Nationals Park.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Deal, Discount, Eats, Sports, Spring, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

A Fall Full of Family Entertainment

A new season doesn’t just mean a change in weather; it also brings a whole new line-up of family entertainment. And this fall is no exception. From puppet shows and plays to opera at Nationals Park to kids rock concerts to shows about science, there is something to indulge all ages and interests. Here’s the scoop on performances coming to our local stages and, in at least one case, the ball park.

Tales of Beatrix Potter
Where: The Puppet Co. Playhouse
When: September 16 – October 9
Tickets: $10 (Get a $5 discount on tickets to shows on 9/16-18 by using the code BK2S online)
Applause Unlimited’s puppeteer/storyteller Christopher Hudert explores the fantasy world of one of Victorian England’s best-known authors and illustrators. Set in an old-fashioned nursery, this performance includes three favorite Beatrix Potter stories as seen through the eyes of a young English girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century. As she pursues the everyday activities of playing and learning, the tales of “Two Bad Mice”, “Jeremy Fisher”, and “Jemima Puddleduck” seem to grow from her imagination. This 45-minute show incorporates hand, rod, and shadow puppets in a style that is sure to please young and old alike.

Opera in the Outfield
Where: Nationals Park
When: September 22, 7:30pm
Tickets: FREE! Reservations are encouraged, but not required.
Join Washington National Opera for the 4th annual Opera in the Outfield, a free, live opera broadcast of Puccini’s Tosca at Nationals Park. Arrive early to the ballpark — gates open at 5:30pm — to enjoy entertainment and activities including: Performances by community youth groups including the Greenbelt S.I.T.Y. Stars double-dutch team of Greenbelt, MD, the award-winning Yorktown High School Marching Band from Arlington, VA, and the DC-based Taratibu Pan-African Step Team; a screening of the Warner Bros.cartoon “What’s Opera, Doc?,” starring Bugs Bunny and his nemesis Elmer Fudd; chances to win prizes, including a VIP suite for a Nationals Game and tickets to Kennedy Center performances.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Ongoing – Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5
The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Boogie Babes
Where: North Hall of Eastern Market & The Atlas
When: Thursdays & Fridays at 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for siblings 6 months and under
The Boogie Babes have doubled the fun! Little ones can now boogie along with their favorite local musicians in Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday morning AND at The Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the Market and stay to play, or hit one of the many eateries on the H Street Corridor. Check out the schedule to find out who’s playing when.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends
Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local groups perform every Monday through Friday and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Various Performances for Children
Where: Discovery Theater
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $3 – $6
Songs and stories in English and Spanish, a puppet show about Amelia Earhart, talking drums, and kitchen science are all on the entertainment line-up at Discovery Theatre this fall. Most performances take place at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center. See the complete schedule of shows on the theater’s website for more info and to purchase tickets online.

Big Apple Circus
Where: Dulles Town Center
When: September 22 – October 10
Tickets: $15-49
See the world’s greatest circus artists presented under an intimate big top, where no seat is more than 50 feet from the ring. Let your imagination soar and summon the most amazing acts – a juggler with a suit to fit his sweet feats of fancy handiwork; a mechanical doll who comes alive in a sinuous balancing act; spirited horses, frolicsome dogs, and a capybara and porcupine to perk up the sawdust party; audacious acrobats who astound with athletic grace; comical conjurors with magical moments of grand illusion; the aerial daring of the trapeze flyers; a singing ringmistress and the Big Apple Circus Band, creating the ringing melodies of memories to last. And Grandma, apogee of comical aspiration and mirthful joy! Your dreams will inspire a Big Apple Circus of living thrills and marvelous delight — a celebration of the imagination — an astonishing circus world of wonder.

Lilly’s Plastic Purse
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: September 23 – October 31
Tickets: $17
Lilly loves all sorts of things. She loves school, she loves dressing up, and she even grows to love her “stinky baby brother,” Julius. In fact, Lilly loves everything! At least, she loves everything most of the time. Even Lilly has some bad days, but when you have movie star sunglasses and a purple plastic purse, how bad can it be? Recommended for all ages.

Alladin’s Luck
Where: Imagination Stage
When: September 23 – October 30
Tickets: $10-22
A clever street urchin called Aladdin falls madly for the Princess Leilah when they meet by chance at the bazaar. Determined to impress the Princess, he embarks on a search for fortune and instead finds a dingy oil lamp. But this is no ordinary lamp; it houses a magical genie who helps Aladdin masquerade as a grand emir to win Leilah’s hand. Leilah, however, fell for the street urchin, not the grand emir. Frustrated that Aladdin won’t admit who he really is, Leilah gives the lamp to an unscrupulous magician and ends up his prisoner. Now Aladdin must travel across the desert to rescue Leilah by doing the thing that scares him the most…being himself. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Yo Gabba Gabba Live!
Where: Patriot Center
When: September 30
Tickets: $25-52
Yo Gabba Gabba Live! is going on the road again! The “It’s Time To Dance!” Tour is traveling to more than 50 cities with an all-new show. See all your favorites, like DJ Lance Rock, Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex, and Toodee, with special guests Hip Hop Legend Biz Markie and Razzle Dazzle Superstar Leslie Hall. You won’t want to miss it!

Snow White
Where: Alden Theatre
When: October 1
Tickets: $10/McLean residents, $15/non-residents
This musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale features both live actors and wonderful puppets. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Taste of DC Family Stage
Where: Pennsylvania Avenue NW
When: October 8-9
Tickets: FREE!
Rocknoceros, The Great Zucchini, and Hope Harris and the Cousins Jamboree will be part of the entertainment at this year’s Taste of DC, the annual festival celebrating food, wine, and culture in the city. See the schedule to find out when your favorite acts are playing during the multi-day event.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co. Playhouse
When: October 13 – November 18
Tickets: $10
“The 3 Billy Goats Gruff” is a marionette romp in which three brothers get the goat af a hen-pecked troll, in their attempts to trip-trop-tromp to where the grass is greener. Performed on a unique round stage, the goats literally travel in three-dimensional space in a way that is unprecedented on the Playhouse or any other stage. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry.

The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 15-29
Tickets: $18
There are no puzzles in space, right? Wrong! Space is one giant puzzle waiting to be put together by physicists, astronomers, and a brainy girl who goes by the name Dr. Wonderful. Fly through the solar system with Dr. Wonderful and her amazing adventure team of Newton (the dog) and Ben (the human) in this all-new musical! Saving a super star from disappearing is no small task, especially when the star is 1.3 million times the size of Earth and 93 million miles away. But when Dr. Wonderful receives the call, her team leaps into action from their laboratory/bedroom into outer space. With a couple of butterscotch candies and a rock song from Mom in the mix, the mystery solvers are amazed by their final discovery. Girl-detective-noir meets science-geek-chic in this super cool astronomical event! Recommended for ages 6 and up.

NSO Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf Live
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 16
Tickets: $15-18
Here’s a puzzle: which instrument sounds most like a wolf and which can play the part of a little boy? Find out when the NSO fuses a fantastic film with magical music in the fun multimedia event Peter and the Wolf Live! Audiences will be introduced to the story’s characters and the instruments that play them in Prokofiev’s beloved score. Then they will delight in hearing the work performed live while watching the action play out on the big screen in Suzie Templeton’s Oscar(r)-winning stop-motion animated film that The Times of London praises for being “beautifully made and very funny.” Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Robin Hood
Where: Artisphere’s Spectrum Theatre
When: November 4-13
Tickets: $12/adults, $10/children
Encore Stage & Studio’s fall production presents the dashing outlaw Robin Hood and his Merry Men dwelling happily in Sherwood Forest, defending the people of England from the wicked Prince John. Until one day, when Robin uncovers an evil plot — it’s up to him to save the kingdom from the devious Lady Merle and rescue the fair Maid Marian! Don’t miss this rousing tale! Recommended for ages 4 and up.

NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Tunes ‘n’ (Pig) Tales
Where: Kennedy Center
When: November 5
Tickets: $18
Music and stories go together like pieces of a puzzle – together they help create a better picture. Enjoy stories and music all about animals in this Teddy Bear Concert featuring The Three Pigs, Teddy Bear Rag, The Swan, and Baby Elephant Walk. Performed with a very unusual combination of instruments, NSO principal musicians Marissa Regni on violin and Dotian Levalier on harp join with Marissa’s father Albert Regni on four different saxophones to give each animal its own unique voice. And as a “little” surprise, along with full-sized instruments, the musicians perform on their miniature counterparts–a toy piano, a sopranino saxophone, and a tiny violin! Recommended for ages 3 to 5.

The Rough-Faced Girl
Where: Synetic Family Theatre
When: November 11 – December 28
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door
This tale, well known among the multicultural versions of the Cinderella story, skillfully invites the audience to look past the surface and into the soul. Cast aside by her family and tribe, the Rough Face Girl survives scorns and scars to follow her heart past vision and belief. Through a blend of music, dance, acrobatics, and Native American storytelling traditions, Synetic Family Theater actors help young theater goers celebrate Native American History Month and understand that beauty lies within.

Dangerous Encounters
Where: National Geographic Live
When: November 12
Tickets: $16/adults, $12/children 12 and under, $40/family 4-pack
Take a thrilling ride through the world of wildlife with Brady Barr, reptile expert and host of the National Geographic Channel series “Dangerous Encounters”. The first person to capture all 23 species of wild crocodiles, Brady has risked his life to preserve some of the world’s most amazing animals. Go behind the scenes with Brady, meet some live animals, and hear about his most exciting adventures.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Fall, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Theatre