Tag Archives: Special Events

From City Streets to Country Farms, Fall Celebrations in 2017



Fall is on its way and so are the scores of festivals that come along with it. They celebrate everything from the season to city neighborhoods to cuisine to historic times. Have a blast on a farm, savor local food and culture, go medieval or colonial — all amidst brilliant autumn scenery in the cool, crisp air. This list of celebrations, ordered by start date, will help you plan for it all. Happy Fall!

Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD
When: Weekends through October 22
Admission: Thru 9/10: $19/16 and up, $8/7-15. 9/22-10/23: $25/16 and up, $10/7-15, 6 & under/free

This medieval time trip began in late August and gets a big 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 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.

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Weekends September 2 – November 5
Admission: $12, 2 & under free

Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, and more. 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, I repeat, do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.

Fall Weekends at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
When: Ongoing; Pumpkin patch open September 16 – October 31
Admission: $6, babies 1 and under are free

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 more. On fall weekends, guests can also enjoy special activities like pumpkin coloring and crafts, a teddy bear visit, and gem mining. Face painting and pit beef are also available on Saturdays and Sundays.

Hartland Orchard Fall Festival Weekends
Where: Markham, VA
When: Weekends September 9 – October 29
Admission: $10/ages 3 and up, free for ages 2 and under

Hartland’s long list of opportunities for amusement include hayrides, pumpkin patches, a 60-foot slide, a corn maze, duck and pig races, and pony rides (some activities cost extra). On September 16, be sure to don your coolest accessory for “Cape Day” — everyone who wears a cape, superhero or not, gets $2 off admission. And FYI: The apple picking comes highly recommended.

Adams Morgan Day
Where: Along 18th St & Columbia Ave NW | Adams Morgan, DC
When: September 10, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate one of the city’s most diverse communities at the 39th 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 for kids and adults, bike demos, live entertainment, and tons more. More details and the schedule of performances are available on the website.

H Street Festival
Where: H Street NE, DC
When: September 16, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

The annual festival on northeast DC’s thriving hip corridor is always huge. If you don’t mind crowds, there is tons to see and do. The event features 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 recommended, as parking is guaranteed to be difficult.

Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: September 16-17
Admission: $18/adults, $9/kids 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. More than forty juried artisans from across the nation will demonstrate their trades and sell their wares, while two stages of family entertainment delight audiences with 18th-century amusements. Try your hand at 18th century cricket — demonstrations and cricket games will be played throughout the weekend. General Washington will preside many festivities. And fair fare will be available from the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant concession stands.

Cox Farms Fall Festival
Where: Centreville, VA
When: September 17 – November 8
Admission: $6-20 depending on dates

This festival is enormous! So big that they actually have a Tips & Resources page on the website to help guests prepare and navigate their way around the sprawling site that contains seven slides, swings, games, mazes, pumpkins, picnics, live entertainment, farm animals, and lots 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.

Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: September 16 – November 7
Admission: $12.95/adult, $9.95/ages 2-12, under 2 are free

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. Slides, wagon rides, moon bounces, a maze, pedal carts, and live entertainment are fall additions. And, of course, animals add to the mix of amusement with pony rides, animals to pet and feed, and even camel rides. Get $2 off weekdays by subscribing to their email list (scroll all the way down)!

Taste of Falls Church
Where: Falls Church, VA
When: September 16, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Falls Church’s annual autumn tradition returns, highlighting the area’s popular restaurants and featuring live entertainment, pony rides, children’s amusements, crafters, businesses and civic organizations. Festival goers can sample cuisine from city restaurant kitchens for $3 per “taste” or 10 “tastes” for $25. The children’s activity tent offers face painting and craft projects. Most rides will also require the purchase of tickets.

Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Mill Street in Occoquan, VA
When: September 23-24
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 48th 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.

Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: Opens September 23
Admission: $10, ages 2 and under are free

The whole family can enjoy hours of farm fun for visitors of all ages. Get lost in the corn maze, watch piggies race, pick a pumpkin, visit farm animals and check out the goat walk, whiz down slide, romp in the play yard. Admission covers all of those activities and even more.

Fall Pumpkin Festival
Where: Ticonderoga Farm | Chantilly, VA
When: September 23 – October 31
Admission: $10.95/weekdays, $16.95/holiday and weekends

This festival at one of my favorite farms in the area has all the trappings for a great time on the farm: hayrides, swings, Noah’s Ark playground, hillside slides, s’mores roasting, cornshucking demos, a petting farm, a bamboo maze, antique tractors and firetruck, a pumpkin patch, and much, much more. Some features are available weekends only, but there’s more than plenty to keep kids entertained any day of the week. For a peek at it all, see this post about their Winter Festival and this one about a school field trip there.

Harvest Festival
Where: Belvedere Plantation
When: September 30 – November 4
Admission: $9.25 – $18.95, depending on day/time

The Fredericksburg farm has loads to keep the whole gang entertained for hours. Slides, hayrides, ziplines, pumpkin patch, playground, flower picking, jumping pillow are just some of the attractions that little ones will love. And the Maize Maze, with a rooster path to navigate, is an adventure in itself. Plan to eat there — the Red Rooster Grill offers a variety of grilled favorites to satisfy all appetites.

Harvest Happenings
Where: St. Luke’s School | McLean, VA
When: September 30
Admission: $5

The McLean Community Center welcomes the whole family for a fun and exciting day. Activities include games, live entertainment, a petting zoo, concessions, and arts & crafts. All activities are included in the entrance fee with the exception of the purchase of pumpkins for $3 and food concessions.

Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch
Where: Middletown, MD
When: September 23 – October 31
Admission: Free, $7/corn maze, pay for pumpkins

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. Not all of the activities are available during the week, so check the schedule for details.

Fall Adventures at Summers Farm
Where: Frederick, MD
When: September 23 – October 31
Admission: $10-17, 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.

Barracks Row Fall Festival
Where: 8th Street SE |Capitol Hill, DC
When: September 23
Admission: Free

Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce of 8th Street SE on Capitol Hill, this annual festival is fun for all ages. Enjoy tours of the historic barracks, live entertainment, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids, including the National Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo, back for another round of musical amusement. A Beer Garden for grown-ups is a bonus.

Taste of Georgetown
Where: K Street, Wisconsin to Thomas Jefferson | Georgetown, DC
When: September 24, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but pay per taste

In its 24th year, the Taste of Georgetown will showcase the spectacular cuisine of over 30 of the neighborhood’s premier restaurants, highlighting Georgetown’s culinary personalities and featuring delectable dishes to sample from more than 30 neighborhood restaurants, as well as wine pairings. Bring young foodies for free activities including face painting, balloon art, and more fun for kids of all ages. Tasting tickets can be purchased online or at the event.

Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Weekends September 30 – October 29
Admission: $11, free for children 2 and under

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!

Fall For Fairfax KidsFest
Where: Fairfax County Government Center, VA
When: September 30 – October 1
Admission: Free

This annual event by Celebrate Fairfax, Inc. includes exciting, interactive, and educational programs, entertainment and activities. Especially designed for families with elementary and pre-K aged children, activities include scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, public safety and recycling-themed exhibits, pony rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, model trains, and the KidWay MidWay with more than a dozen rides, bounces, and attractions. And that’s just for the kids. Adults can enjoy more than 75 exhibits, live entertainment, activities, and great festival food. While admission is free, some rides and concessions will require a fee. And be sure to check back on their website – the live entertainment has yet to be announced, and they usually have some pretty big-name acts perform.

Frederick’s Oktoberfest
Where: Great Frederick Fairgrounds, MD
When: September 30 – October 1
Admission: $7/21+, $5/ages 4-20, free for 3 and under

The Frederick Fairgrounds are 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.

Autumn Activities
Where: Larriland Farm | Woodbine, MD
When: Late September & through October
Admission: Free

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 corn maze. Hayrides are only offered on weekends, while the barn and maze are open every day the farm is open.

Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: October 1-31
Admission: $10/adults $8/kids weekdays, $12/adult $10/kids weekends, ages 2 and under are free

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; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area. See a weekend schedule of activities here.

Autumn Harvest
Where: Schlagel Farm | Waldorf, MD
When: Weekends, October 7-29, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $8/ages 2 and up

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.

Taste of DC
Where: RFK Stadium | Northeast, DC
When: October 7-8
Admission: Start at $10

Celebrate the food, wine, and culture of our city during Columbus Day weekend. Along with the obvious — tastings from more than 65 area restaurants — there will be cooking demos, live entertainment, a beer garden, and an area with activities — dancing, games, storytelling, arts & crafts,and more — especially for kids.

Taste of Bethesda
Where: Woodmont Triangle | Bethesda, MD
When: October 7, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but you pay for food samples

According to some stats, Bethesda has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S. Accurate or not, DC’s suburban neighbor definitely has a food scene worth celebrating. The 27th year of Bethesda’s famous food and music festival will bring 60 restaurants and five stages of entertainment to the downtown’s Woodmont Triangle. Along with delicious food samples and live entertainment, there will be a kid’s corner for face painting, arts & crafts, and more fun for young ones. Admission is free, and taste tickets are sold on-site in bundles of four tickets for $5. Food servings cost one to four tickets. Ticket sales end at 3:30pm.

Farm Harvest Days & Carnival Fun
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: October 12-15
Admission: Free, but carnival ride passes are $16-25

Fall is a busy — and fun — time on the farm, and you can be part of it at Frying Pan’s annual festival! Carnival fun and games start on October 12 with rides, games, fair food, and more. On Saturday & Sunday, you can also watch the cider press in action, milk a goat, shell corn, peel apples, meet farm animals, and see traditional farm demonstrations.

18th Century Autumn Market Fair
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: October 20-21
Admission: $8/adult, $4/ages 3-12, under 3 are free

Enjoy the splendor of fall on a living history farm. Warm yourself by the fire while savor crisp local apples, spit roasted chicken, and hearty breads. Watch and participate with period tradesmen like the spinners and blacksmith. Live music, singing and dancing, and games are also among the festivities. And kids will delight in seeing turkeys, pigs, and chickens. Period food, beverages, and wares available for purchase.

Marker-Miller Orchards Festivals
Where: Winchester, VA
When: October 7-8 & 28
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 7-8, offering a weekend of, well, everything apples: 20 varieties of apples, apple cobbler, apple caramel sundaes, plus the wagon rides and cow train for kids. October 28 is their annual Pumpkin Festival, when you can find your own Great Pumpkin and enjoy all the usual festivities at the orchard.

PorchFest
Where: Adams Morgan, DC
When: October 7
Admission: Free

Get the best seats in the house (or on the sidewalk) as the front porches of homes and maybe a few 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 30 bands playing on porches, patios, and stoops in the neighborhood. Music maps will be available at the corner of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW on Porchfest Day.

Art on the Avenue
Where: Del Ray Neighborhood | Alexandria, VA
When: October 7, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the diversity of Alexandria’s Del Ray community at this multicultural arts festival. Over 300 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 – scarecrow stuffing, pumpkin painting, lotus flower design, screen art weaving are just some of the crafts to enjoy. 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.

Oktoberfest
Where: Pavilions at Turkey Run | McLean, VA
When: October 7, 6-9pm
Admission: $35/adults, $12/6-12; free/under 6o (advance purchase only)

Claude Moore Colonial Farm welcomes all to 2017 Oktoberfest to help support the programs and services of the privately operated local National Park and living history working farm. A catered Bavarian menu will include Bratwurst, Knockwurst, marinated grilled chicken, German potato salad, sauerkraut, vegetable sauté, Caesar salad, ice cream sundaes, warm peach cobbler, cash bar, and soft drinks. Live music will feature polkas and other called dances. A silent auction will showcas gift baskets, admissions to local museums, and restaurants as well as other donated goods and services.

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.

Fall Back to Bethesda Festival
Where: Rock Creek Mansion on Cedar Lane | Bethesda, MD
When: October 22, 12-4pm
Admission: $10/child, free for adults

Celebrate fall with the whole family and support the Bethesda Fire Department, NIH Charities, and the metroBethesda Rotary Foundation at the second annual Fall Back to Bethesda Festival organized by metroBethesda Rotary in conjunction with Rock Creek Mansion and Activity Rocket. Join other families from Bethesda, and enjoy games, music, great food and a beautiful setting at Rock Creek Mansion on Cedar Lane. This festival will feature activities for the whole family to enjoy!

DowntownDC Fall Festival
Where: Ronald Reagan Building | Downtown DC
When: October 31, 12-2pm
Admission: Free

Get ready to fall into fun this Halloween with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for the DowntownDC Fall Festival. Bring friends, family, coworkers, and kids to Woodrow Wilson Plaza for some free fun, including a special Halloween DJ set, pumpkin decorating with BLICK art, a mysterious Children’s Story Hour with DC Public Library, lively face painting, candy giveaways and the return of the ghoulish DowntownDC stilt walkers. Wear your Halloween costumes for photo ops! Register in advance here.

The Emporiyum
Where: Union Market Dock 5 | Northeast, DC
When: November 11-12
Admission: Tickets start at $15

Meet, eat, and shop at this two-day market and celebration of everything delicious. Last year over 95 artisans, producers, chefs, and restaurants showcased their wares, works, and culinary creations. It’s a chance to meet the people behind the brands, taste and learn about their products, and shop for unique edible gifts.

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


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Get Set for the 2017 County Fair Season!



Where do you get carnival rides and games, farm animals, the junk food gamut, live entertainment, pony rides, piglet races, and wares for sale all in once place? The County Fair. And the season for them is about to begin. Get the details on this year’s events around the area and get ready to have some FUN!

Howard County Fair
What: The 72nd annual fair begins this coming weekend, and you have through next Saturday to enjoy rides, magic shows, musical entertainment in the evenings, pig races and pony rides, the Kids & Critters barn, Demolition Derby, a pro rodeo, and more. Most of the rides cost extra, and packages are available, so be sure to check out the website to see what’s available if you plan to go.
When: August 5-12, 8am – 11pm daily, though activity times vary, so be sure to check schedules.
Where: 2210 Fairground Road, West Friendship, MD
Cost: Admission is $5/age 10 and up, $2/seniors, free for kids under 10. Rides and games are extra.

Montgomery County Fair
What: This fair is a family fave. (You can get a glimpse of one of our experiences there and read a review from a few years ago), so trust me when I say that there is so much to do, you have to see the schedule on the website for yourself to get the full scope. Highlights include lots of 4-H exhibits and demos, including opportunities to visit with some of the animals; animal races, pony rides, a KidZone with interactive games and activities, tons of carnival and kiddie rides, arts & crafts, monster trucks and a demolition derby, and much more.
When: August 11-19, Times vary by day so check the schedule for specifics.
Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 501 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, MD (Get directions)
Cost: Admission is $10/ages 12 and up, free for kids 11 and under. Tickets for rides cost extra. A one-day all-u-can-ride carnival wristband is available for $25. And note that parking is $10 at the fairgrounds, but FREE parking and shuttle bus service are available from Lakeforest Mall, located at Lost Knife Rd. and Odenhal Ave.

Prince William County Fair
What: Virginia’s largest annual county fair includes 4-H exhibits, rides, contests (think pie eating and water balloon tossing), animal shows, craft demos, the Children’s Barn, Kid’s Zone, live performances, and more. Note that August 11 is Kid’s Night when all admissions are $6. And there are other special days with all kinds of promos, so be sure to check the schedule for details.
When: August 11-19, Hours vary by day, so check the daily schedule on their website (scroll down the page).
Where: Prince William County Fairgrounds, 10624 Dumfries Rd., Manassas, VA.
Cost: Admission is $10/ages 14-59, $5/seniors and ages 5-13, free for ages 4 and under. Be sure to look for daily specials, too.

Arlington County Fair
What: We’ve been and have had a great time. It’s big enough for a fun-filled day, but not so huge that it’s overwhelming, and you feel rushed to get to everything. There are carnival rides for everyone from toddlers to adults, and the kids especially loved the pony rides and piglet races. You can also check out competitive exhibits, enjoy live entertainment, cheer on a variety of racing animals, view outdoor movies, and take the little ones to the Kids’ Court for moon bouncing, face painting, and more.
When: August 16-20, hours vary by day, so check the schedule for specifics.
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 Second St., Arlington, VA. Get parking/shuttle information here.
Cost: Admission is free. Buy tickets to use for rides and other activities: $1/ticket, $20/24 tickets, $40/48 tickets.

Prince George’s County Fair
What: A variety of entertainment and attractions for all ages — 4-H exhibits magic and dance shows, pig and duck races, a horse pull competition, a chain saw artist, a K-9 show, and much more.
When: September 7-10, hours vary by day.
Where: Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Cost: Admission is $6/ages 12 and up, $5/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under. Rides and games are extra.

Anne Arundel County Fair
What: Carnival rides and games, animal exhibits, monster trucks, pony rides, garden tractor pulls, pig races, pie eating contests, a talent show, live music and much more
When: September 13-17, check the website for hours.
Where: Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds at 1450 General’s Highway (Route 178) in Crownsville, MD
Cost: Admission is $6/ages 16 and up, $4/ages 8 – 15, free for ages 7 and under. Rides and games cost extra.

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Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 10-14

Taking in the spectacular bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens





Monday – Visit Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, where the lotus flowers and water lilies in bloom are a stunning sight! The wonderful, annual festival to celebrate it is this coming weekend, but it’s also nice to take in the beauty of it all without the crowds. Meander through the park to see ponds full of giant lily pads and dazzling flora, walk out on the boardwalk to take in views of the acres of marshland, and look out for turtles, great blue herons, frogs, and other wildlife. And did I mention this gorgeous oasis is all right in Northeast DC? Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Take the money tour at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It’s a great outing with kids while they’re on summer break from school, since tours are only offered on weekdays. Tours run every 15 minutes 9am – 6pm. Admission is free, but tickets are required, and you can pick them up at the booth on Raoul Wallenburg Place starting at 8am. Read more about the experience in this KFDC post about one of our outings there.

Wednesday – See art come to life at the National Portrait Gallery through Portraits Alive!, a theatrical tour of the museum’s collections performed by teens from DC’s Summer Youth Employment Program. The journey takes visitors to a variety of portraits as the students perform biographical portrayals of the people represented in the photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints. Tours are at 12-1pm and 1:30-2:30pm, and they’re being offered Tuesday – Friday this week. Admission is free. And if you’re with really little ones who might get antsy on the tour, take them to the museum’s Explore! with the Portrait Gallery activity space especially for young visitors.

Thursday – Watch The Amazing Max perform his extraordinary magic show at Strathmore’s Backyard Theatre for Children. The annual summer entertainment series for kids takes place on Thursdays in July. Performances are at 9:30am and 11:30am. Tickets are $8.

Friday – Join Bonjour Mama to celebrate Bastille Day, Le 14 Juillet, with French stories and songs led by Madame Jackie from the popular French storytime at the Cleveland Park library. The session takes place from 10:30-11:15am at the Bon Jour Mama French Bookstore in Kensington, MD. Admission is free.

For an activity with older kids, go to Great Falls. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you really can’t go wrong. Enjoy scenic views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center — there’s one on each side — to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. Read a bit more about Great Falls Park in this post on the area’s best outdoor spots to spend a beautiful day with the kids.


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Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 3-7

Fort McHenry, the birthplace of The Star Spangled Banner



Monday – Get ready for the holiday with a day trip to Baltimore to visit Fort McHenry, the birthplace of “The Star Spangled Banner” and site of a key battle in the War of 1812. Learn about the history of the national monument through all kinds of interesting exhibits, both in the Visitors Center and throughout the grounds. Children will especially enjoy seeing the cannons, exploring underground spaces, and touring the barracks that now house lots of neat exhibits, including several interactives. Hours are 9am – 6pm. Admission is $10 for ages 16 and up.

Tuesday – Celebrate Independence Day! This round-up of July 4th events will guarantee you have a blast, fireworks or not.

Wednesday – Enjoy free admission for kids to the Newseum while you can! The annual Summer Fun Deal, which runs July 1 – Labor Day, waives the entrance fee for youth with one paid adult admission. The deal benefits kids ages 7 and up most, since children 6 and under always get in free, and much of the Newseum’s collection will be better appreciated by older children. Adult tickets are $24.95. For a museum outing with littler ones, head to National Postal Museum, a fantastic but often overlooked museum full of interactive exhibits that all ages can enjoy. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Thursday – See a reimagined version of Beauty and the Beast under a canopy of trees at Wolf Trap. Enchantment Theatre Company brings their take on the classic tale to the outdoor stage of the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods summer series, and you can catch other exciting acts every Tuesday – Saturday at 10:30am through August 5. Tickets are $8-12.

Friday – Drop in to the National Gallery of Art as the museum’s wonderful program for children ages 4-7 returns — with a new name! Formerly called Stories in Art, Art Investigators introduces kids to art and encourages them to make observations and use their imaginations as they discover different works. During this session, explore the art of Helen Frankenthaler. This program will run Friday – Monday from July 7-31. Read a KFDC review of the program from the early KFDC years (it’s old, but still relevant, as the program is very much the same). Sessions are at 10:30am and 12pm. Sign-in takes place in the East Building Atrium, starting at 10am. Admission is free.

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