Tag Archives: Smithsonian

Where to Play on the Weekdays: January 9-13

Taking in the view at Kenilworth Aquatic Garden

Taking in the view at Kenilworth Aquatic Garden





Monday – Jump with joy at Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield, VA. This bouncy nirvana hosts Kid Flight sessions, when the whole park is open only to children under the age of 6, from 10am – 2pm Monday through Friday. Special pricing starts at $8/30 minutes ($10/hour), and an accompanying adult jumps free! I recommend buying tickets and submitting waivers online in advance to save time when you get there.

Tuesday – Take your toddlers to story hour at East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. The children’s book readings are perfect for future readers ages 0-4. The session starts at 11am, and admission is free. After, browse the inventory then grab a lunch at one of many nearby eateries.

Wednesday – Join wacky citizen-scientist Professor Wingnut and his friend Seymour Seagull as they explore the amazing science of flight! This show presented by Discovery Theater fittingly takes places at the National Air & Space Museum. Tickets are still available for the 1pm performance (on Thursday, too!) and cost $3-8, depending on age. If they sell out, you can catch a different kind of show at the museum’s Albert Einstein Planetarium or just explore the amazing space 😉 . Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Thursday – Enjoy what will hopefully be a warmer, sunnier day at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Go on a nature walk among the ponds filled with giant lily pads and other interesting marsh plants and look for geese, great blue herons, turtles, frogs, and tiny fish on the way. Open 8am – 4pm this time of year, and at 2pm you can join a Garden Walk with a park ranger. Admission is free.

Friday – Explore the local environment from the comfort of the indoors at Buddie Ford Nature Center, which I just posted about last week. The facility in Alexandria boasts fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. And if weather permits, continue the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.


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

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 24-28

Talk about a crappy photo... a lesson in animal poop at Nat Geo's latest exhibit for kids

 

Another weekend has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop.  Here’s where kiddos (and parents!) can stay entertained all week long.

Monday – If you still haven’t made it to a fall festival, weekdays are a great time to go, when crowds thin out and admission prices are often lower. Take a hayride, pick out a pumpkin, jump and slide, visit farm animals, and more.  This KFDC post has details on where you can find the seasonal fun.

Tuesday – Journey “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with the National Children’s Museum as they host Toddler Tuesday, a free weekly drop-in program for children ages  2-4.  Guests can take a make-believe jaunt to the land of Oz and discover real and imaginary parts of The Wizard of Oz through stories, games, art, and movement. Drop in anytime from 10:30am – 2:30pm.

Wednesday – Take the kids to one of DC’s most tried and true for family fun: The National Museum of Natural History (or Dinosaur Museum, as my kids like to call it).  Tour roomfuls of skeletons of prehistoric beasts, visit the Hall of Mammals, and head upstairs to the Insect Zoo, where guests often have the opportunity to hold giant caterpillars, cockroaches, beetles, and other creepy crawlies.  Later in the day, enjoy Halloween Happy Hour with the Boogie Babes as they host BB2 Boo!, a costume and dance party at the Atlas Performing Arts Center ($10/family).

Thursday – The forecast isn’t looking too hot for this part of the week, so explore nature indoors at a nature center. Most have live animals to visit, interactive exhibits, and hands-on activities for kids. And if weather does permit, there are miles of outdoor areas to roam, too. The Natural Capital blog has a list of area nature centers along with a map depicting their locations.

Friday – Have fun learning about some of the ickiest parts of the animal world at the National Geographic Museum’s latest exhibit for kids, “Animal Grossology.”  Through several creative, interactive installments, the exhibit explains all you’ll ever need to now about animal poop and their other, um, natural processes.  It’s presented along with “Weird But True,” a collection of odd facts about the wild world.  Admission to both exhibits is $8/adults, $6/ages 5-12, free for children 4 and under.

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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Educational, Fall, Farm, Festival, Free, Halloween, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Weekdays

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)

The Building Zone at the National Building Museum is a great rainy day play option for little ones

 

Note: This list has been updated. Find a bigger, better version here.

Looking for activities for the kids on a foul-weather day?  Here are some ideas…

1.  Let them burn some energy at an indoor gymThis is a good list to get you started.

2.  Take in a show at Glen Echo Park — see what’s currently on stages at The Puppet Co. and Adventure Theatre.

3.  Head to the National Building Museum for some play time in the Building Zone or other activities in the Great Hall. (Note: linked post contains info about past events, as well as a description of what’s currently there).

4.  Check out your local library.

5.  Catch an IMAX like Born to Be Wild 3D or one of several other great films currently playing at the Smithsonian IMAX Theaters.  See the Smithsonian website for details.

6.  Visit a Smithsonian museum on the National Mall (or elsewhere in the city). They are free, fantastic places to stay dry.

7.   Take a tour of Tudor Place, and be sure to check the calendar for special events.

8.  See an exhibit or a few at the National Geographic Museum.

9.  Go ice skating at the Kettler Iceplex, in College Park, or at Cabin John Ice Rink.

10.  Shake your thang with the Boogie Babes. They bring children’s musicians to Eastern Market every Thursday morning and to the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays.

11.  Let imaginations run wild with pretend play at the Playseum. Locations are in Capitol Hill and Bethesda.

12.  Explore space at a planetarium. The Albert Einstein Planetarium at the Air & Space is open every day.  The Rock Creek Park Planetarium has free shows on weekends and Wednesdays at 4pm.  And the David M. Brown Planetarium is in Arlington, though open only during the school year.

13.  Jump in at an indoor pool. (Note: DC DPR closes aquatic centers if there is thunder).

14.  Romp in the play area and ride the Express Train at Tysons Corner Center.

15.  Wing it at the College Park Aviation Museum.

16.  Paint some pottery at Color Me Mine, All Fired Up, or Clay Cafe.

17.  Rock out at a Jammin’ Java kids show.

18.  Get in touch with nature at the U.S. Botanic Garden, where many of the plant collections make you feel like you’re not just outdoors, but in a whole other region altogether.

19.  Nuture the next 007 at the International Spy Museum. (Best for about ages 6 and up.)

20.  Go below the surface, literally and figuratively, at the National Aquarium in DC, located in the lower level of the Department of Commerce Building.

21.  Have a blast at Port Discovery in Baltimore.

22.  And speaking of Baltimore and aquariums, the National Aquarium in Fells Point gets its own spot on this list.

23.  As does the Maryland Science Center, also on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Visit the new traveling bug exhibit along with a host of cool permanent collections.

24.  Deliver on fun at the National Postal Museum, where lots of interactive exhibits and an easy-to-explore space make it a perfect outing for little ones.

25.  Watch a movie screening especially for kids or parents with brand new ones. Read about special movie series in the area.

26.  Explore imagiNATIONS, the family activity center at that National Museum of the American Indian.

27.  Enjoy Theatre for the Very Young, the new program for little audiences at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

28.  Get your game on at Labyrinth, the Capitol Hill shop specializing in games and puzzles for all ages. Demo a few at tables set up in back for just that purpose.

29. Experience the outdoors inside at a nature center. Find one near you with the help of  The Natural Capital blog.

30. Frolic in the new 1,200-square-foot play area at Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge, Va. (And while you’re there, do a little outlet shopping, too!)


REI Outlet Just Reduced!

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Educational, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Play, Theatre, Weekend

Have Fun, Stay Warm

The snowstorm may have been a bust, but the cold and wind over the next couple of days will still have many of us seeking indoor activities for the kids.  Here are some ideas for having fun and staying warm.

The Nutcracker on Strings – Tickets are still available for The Puppet Co’s production of the holiday classic.  Showtimes are 11:30am and 1pm daily through December 31. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online.

Nature Indoors – Just because it’s too cold to be out in nature doesn’t mean kids can’t still enjoy it.  A couple of area parks are offering programs at their nature centers. On Tuesday, December 28, Meadowside Nature Center invites presents Spider Time! from 9:30 – 10:30am.  Recommended for ages 3 -7, guests learn about spiders through a story and meet Meadowside’s own Rose Haired tarantula, then create a craft to take home.   Cost is $5, and space is limited.  On Wednesday from 1:30 – 2:15pm, Brookside Nature Center will hold Under the Ice where kids of all ages can discover what animlas and plants do under the ice all winter.  Limited space, cost is $4.

Indoor Play Spaces If the kids have energy to burn from being cooped up, head to an indoor gym where they can run, tumble, and get their bounce on.  See this post for a list of places in the area.  For indoor play that’s less physical and more imaginative, both Great Kids Village (locations in Silver Spring and Columbia) and the Playseum in Bethesda welcome drop-ins.

IMAX Movies – Feel like you’re roaming with dinos, soaring through the sky, rafting through the Grand Canyon, hanging with Buzz and Woody, or performing wizardry with Harry.  The Smithonian IMAX theatres — at the Natural History and Air & Space Museums – have schedules full of daily entertainment.  Make a day of it and explore some exhibits, too – many of the museums have special extended holiday hours this week.  See the Smithsonian website for details.

Tudor Place There is still space in some of the special holiday programs taking place at the historic Georgetown mansion Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, December 28 – 30.  For details on Story Time with Ms. Peter and the Gingerbread House Workshop, see this post from last week.

Holiday Exhibits – Christmas may be over, but many of the associated displays around the area are still running.  Check out this post to see what going on, and for a few specifics, read about Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden and Christmas on the Potomac at the National Harbor.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Indoor Play, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Winter