Tag Archives: Summer 2018

Where to Play on the Weekdays: September 17-21

Have fun exploring the plant collections at the National Arboretum!



Monday – Celebrate Constitution Day at the National Archives, where they’ll have special activities to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. You can also see the actual Constitution there! The event runs 1-4pm, and museum hours are 11:30am – 5:30pm (regularly 10am – 5:30pm). Admission is free.

Tuesday – Experiment with hands-on fun at the Children’s Science Center Lab at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Kids of all ages can explore a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging interactive exhibits and activities. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $13 (under 2 are free).

Wednesday – See a show especially for little ones at The Puppet Co. The lights stay on, and doors remain open during Tiny Tots performances for the youngest audiences — Magic Toyshop is this week’s production. Showtime is 10am, and tickets are $6 for everyone, including babies. Plan to stay after to picnic (BYO or buy from the Praline Cafe on premises) and romp on the Glen Echo Park playground.

Thursday – Spend the day at the National Arboretum. There are so many ways to enjoy one of the prettiest places in the city. Explore the plant collections on nature walks, view the bonsai exhibit, visit the Washington Youth Garden and romp on the natural playground, see the old Capitol columns, picnic in the Grove of State Trees, and so much more. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free. Read even more about the Arboretum in the round-up of the best places to spend a day outdoors — it tops the list!

Later on, check out the Brookland Exchange Makers Market, a NEW handmade pop-up market in DC promoting cultural expression, community interaction, and creative commerce. Over 40 independent business, live music, and kids activities will be there. Find locally made art, fashion, gifts for new baby, beer, and tacos all this Third Thursday 5-9pm on the Arts Walk Brookland at Monroe Street Market.

Friday – Head to the National Zoo for a wild time. Weekdays are a great time to go, as there’s barely a crowd. Check the Daily Programs schedule before you go to help plan your outing — you can chat with a bear keeper, watch a seal or sea lion training demo, visit the shocking new Electric Fishes Demonstration Lab, and more! You can also just stroll and pick your animal visits as you go. This time of year, grounds are open 8am – 7pm, exhibit building hours are 9am – 6pm, and the Visitor Center 8am – 6pm. Admission is free, though parking in the Zoo lot for non-members is $22-25 (free for members). You can also try parking on Connecticut Avenue or a side street, or take Metro to Woodley Park or Cleveland Park stations then walk a few blocks.


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Where to Play on the Weekdays: September 10-14

See Wings of Fancy at Brookside Gardens before it closes!



Monday – Discover the history of flight at the College Park Aviation Museum. It’s a great place for young visitors, with eye-popping displays and lots of hands-on fun. They can view early airplanes up close, dress up like aviators, create flight-inspired art, and much more. Keep an eye on the runway right outside the floor-to-ceiling windows — you might see planes take off and land at the College Park Airport, the oldest continuously operating airport in the world! Open daily 10am – 5pm. Admission is $5/adults, $2/children, free for ages 1 and under.

Tuesday – Visit the National Museum of African American History & Culture, where museum educators will lead engaging drop-in activities for children ages 0-5 every Tuesday and Thursday in September! On Tuesdays from 11am – 1pm, drop by the pop-up Little Leaders Library on the 4th floor to read children’s books inspired by the museum collection. (On Thursdays, join for a colorful craft activity in the Cultural Expressions gallery from 11am – 1pm!.) Both programs are part of Walk-up Weekdays, which allows admission without passes Monday through Friday during the month of September, so take advantage! Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Wednesday – Experience Wings of Fancy at Brookside Gardens while you still can! The wonderful exhibit featuring live caterpillars and butterflies from all over the world closes after September 16. Hours are 10am – 4pm. Admission is $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2. Stay to explore the rest of Brookside’s beautiful grounds! The gardens are open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free. See more about the exhibit and Brookside here and here.

Thursday – Pick out some new reads at the Beatley Central Library’s Fall Book Sale! Over 20,000 books, plus CDs, DVDs, and audio books will be available for anywhere from 50 cents to $3. Plan to join a storytime session, too — there are several for children throughout the day. The sale runs Tuesday through Sunday, and hours vary by day, so be sure to check the schedule when you plan to go. The Library is located at 5005 Duke Street in Alexandria, VA.

Friday – Go to the National Portrait Gallery for some creative fun. Take little ones to play in the Explore! activity space for children 18 months to 8 years and enjoy Story Time at 11:45am. And all ages can join the Open Studio Friday session in the Education Center, where guests are welcome to drop in anytime from 1-5pm and explore a different art medium with all kinds of neat projects — this week is painting clouds. Of course, make time to tour the collections (in the American Art Museum section, too!) and hang out in the beautiful Kogod Courtyard. Museum hours are 11:30am – 7pm. Admission is free. Read more about the Penn Quarter galleries in this KFDC post and this one.

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Scenes from a Day at the 2018 Maryland Renaissance Festival

Ready for a day of merriment!



Just in case you’ve missed the other 8,693 times I’ve mentioned it on the blog, the Maryland Renaissance Festival is, hands down, my favorite annual event in the DC area. It begins in late August and runs on weekends through late October, producing a whole 16th-century village teeming with merriment every year.

It doesn’t have to be May for a maypole in Revel Grove

We made our first excursion of the season there this past weekend. We try to go at least twice each year, as one day never feels like enough to enjoy the many, many festivities, plus there are pros (and cons) to going at different times. Early in the season, crowds are smaller (because it’s usually hot), and the admission fee is lower. Later in the season, the cool, crisp weather and autumn foliage adds some extra splendor to the visit (but also draws the masses).

A woodsy setting makes for nice shade early on and great foliage later!

It has become somewhat of a tradition to go with friends who we know enjoy it as much as we do, in the same way we do. We have a fairly laid back approach… we like to casually stroll around and take it all in, stop and watch performances as we happen upon them (generally, anyway), grab lot of bites to eat throughout the day, sip on snakebites as we wander, and let the kids enjoy lots of games and activities. Yes, this does mean we’re paying beyond admission, but costs for concessions and activities are quite reasonable, and we plan ahead to spend on them.

He’s been riding this slide since he was a baby (though we went tandem back then)

Medieval bowling?

Two shows we usually make a point of catching are the jousting matches and Wheel of Death. The former is a fantastic display of medieval pageantry as knights on horses battle it out, and the latter showcases a man performing amazing acrobatic feats on a towering contraption that looks like a hybrid of a windmill and hampster wheel. Unfortunately, we decided to skip the joust on Sunday because of the blazing heat and lack of shaded seats. The Wheel of Death, however, takes place under a lovely canopy of trees, so there was no missing that!

The Wheel of Death is a can’t-miss

I’ve written about Ren Fest a lot, including pretty recently, so I’ll just get to the scenes from our day. It really is a fantastic time, in my opinion, and I’d love to hear what all of you think about it if/when you go. Huzzah!


A festively adorned village



Dress like a Ren Fester — costumes for rent and to puchase!



Running in circles 😀



Funny things are everywhere…



Just $1 per slide!



Kids gather round for a hilarious puppet show



Watch a glass blowing demo and maybe even buy a freshly made piece



Food options galore!



You can’t go wrong with a turkey leg



A “No Holds Bard” wrestling match



An attempt to climb Jacob’s Ladder



Take home a new pet!



Or a dagger!



One last shot of the Wheel Walker… Huzzah!




Maryland Renaissance Festival
Where: Revel Grove | Crownsville, MD ( get directions)
When: Weekends August 25 – October 21, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $19-26/adult, $17-22/senior, $8-11/age 7-15, free/6 & under


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Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: September 4-7

Check out an old train caboose at Bladensburg Waterfront Park



Tuesday – Take tots to story hour at East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill — the weekly book readings are perfect for ages 1-4. The session starts at 11am, and admission is free. After, stay to browse the inventory, then head next door to Labyrinth to check out their great selection of games and puzzles or grab a bite at one of many nearby eateries.

Wednesday – Explore the local environment at Buddie Ford Nature Center. The facility in Alexandria houses fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. Afterwards, take the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm (Wednesday – Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday). Admission is free.

Thursday – Romp on the playground and in an old train car, discover some history of the area, and take a pontoon boat tour at Bladensburg Waterfront Park. The free rides on the water are offered Thursday & Friday from 12-12:45pm through October. Admission to the park is also free.

Friday – Visit the National Portrait Gallery for some creative fun. Take little ones to play in the Explore! activity space for children 18 months to 8 years and enjoy Story Time at 11:45am. And all ages can join the Open Studio Friday session in the Education Center, where guests are welcome to drop in anytime from 1-6pm and explore a different art medium with all kinds of neat projects, this week a fruits still life. Of course, make time to tour the collections (in the American Art Museum section, too!) and hang out in the beautiful Kogod Courtyard. Museum hours are 11:30am – 7pm. Admission is free. Read more about the Penn Quarter galleries in this KFDC post and this one.


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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Weekdays