Tag Archives: Summer Activites

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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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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Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 27-31

Get to the Fun House before it closes in a week!


Monday – Go to a special summer exhibit or museum program while you can! Several around the area will come to an end after Labor Day. Explore the Fun House at the National Building Museum. Enjoy free admission for kids to the Newseum thanks to the Summer Fun Deal (and get a deal on adult admission here). Look for fairy houses and enjoy more artistic delights at Annmarie Sculpture Garden. Visit Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree for Washington, DC, at the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden. Find details on these and even more soon-to-be over activities in the 2018 Summer Guide.

Tuesday – Head up to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to tour the historic ships. There are four vessels that welcome visitors to explore: The USS Constellation, USS Torsk, USCGC Taney, and LV116 Chesapeake. Admission to tour two ships is $15/adult, $7/ages 6-14, free for ages 5 and under, and you can add on for just a few dollars more per ship. Read more about the experience in this KFDC post.

Wednesday – Get artsy at All Fired Up, where you can walk-in and paint your own pottery. Right now on Mondays & Wednesdays, you can get 15% off select pieces from 12-3pm, and regular pottery prices range from $6-60. Locations are in Cleveland Park and Bethesda. All ages are welcome!

You can also play outside and get a taste of Tinkergarten! The program provides wonderful, outdoor, play-based early childhood classes for children 18 months – 8 years old and their parents/caregivers to come together weekly in local parks to play, discover, and learn together. Join a FREE trial class at Belle Haven Park in Alexandria, VA, from 9:30am-10:45am. Trial classes are a great opportunity to see what Tinkergarten is all about! Register in advance here. (Note: This was originally the Thursday listing, but I had the date wrong — oops! There will also be free trial classes this Friday, August 31, and next week, September 5 and 7.)

Thursday – Stay cool on the hot day at a public outdoor pool, which will only remain open daily through Labor Day. 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 2018 Summer Guide for links to public pools in the area and be sure to note open swim times, as they may vary from pool to pool.

Friday – Spend what’s one of the last days of summer break for many local kids at the beach! Several places within day trip-distance from DC are great for sand and surf. Enjoy picturesque views of the Bay Bridge along with beach fun at Sandy Point State Park. Head out to Calvert County for a day at Flag Ponds Nature Park, including some fossil hunting. Head a little further out to North Beach or Brownies Beach (Bayfront Park). You can also play paleontologist and look for prehistoric fragments along the Potomac at Purse State Park in Charles County, MD.


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Filed under 2018, All ages, Art, DC, Exhibit, Free, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays