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The Weekend Round-Up: November 11-13

The Bright Beneath, an exhibit inspired by bioluminescence, at the Museum of Natural History

 

With Veterans Day conveniently falling on a Friday this year, we get to start the weekend a little early. While most of the activities listed here are happening Saturday and Sunday, they may spark some ideas for things to do today. Or you can check this post from a few days ago for suggestions on where to spend the day off from school. Whatever you and the kids do, enjoy the extra time together. Happy Weekend!

LEGO® Robots!See the classic toys come to life and solve problems of food safety at the Smithsonian American Museum of Art, where the First LEGO® League Tournament is being held on Saturday from 11:30am – 5pm. Cheer on your favorite team and their student-designed robots, built from LEGOS, as they complete various tasks and tackle real-world engineering challenges.  There will also be music, demos, and more activities, all in the museum’s Kogod Courtyard.

Light PaintingOn Saturday from 1-3pm, learn about light in the ocean depths at the National Museum of Natural History’s monthly Second Saturday Arts & Sciences program. Using glow sticks, guests will create a deep-sea organisms as they discover the process of bioluminescence. Afterward, explore the related exhibit, “The Bright Beneath: The Luminous Art of Shih Shieh Huang.”

Stage Time – You have your pick of kids shows this weekend. Encore Studios presents Robin Hood for its second and final weekend at Artisphere’s Sprectrum Theatre. The Rough-Faced Girl: A Native American Cinderella Story opens at Synetic Family Theater. This is the last weekend of The Three Billy Goats Gruff at The Puppet Co. And Imagination Stage presents What Does Red Do on Thursdays?, a new theater experience for ages 3 and up. Visit the websites for more info and to purchase tickets.

Saturday Morning at the National – Trick shot artist Spencer “Spinn” Johnson takes to the Helen Hayes stage at the National Theatre’s weekly series. Kids are invited to step up and participate in dazzling fast-action tricks that teach inspiring lessons in confidence, goal-setting, and self-respect. Performances take place at 9:30am and 11am, and tickets are required for admission. Free tickets are distributed half an hour prior to the start of shows on a first-come first-served basis. Only one ticket per person, and all attendees must be standing in line to receive a ticket. Children must be accompanied by an adult, who remains present for the entire performance. Seating is limited, so get there early!

Georgetown Story TownGet lost in a good book and let the imagination run wild on at Georgetown’s “Social” Safeway as they partner with the Georgetown Library for the first-ever “Georgetown Story Town.” From 10:30-11:30am on Saturday, kids can experience the fun and excitement that books have to offer. Recommended for ages 4-11.  Refreshments from the Georgetown Safeway Bakery will follow.

The Moon & BeyondIt’s Super Science Saturday at the Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. During this session of the monthly program, visitors of all ages will become immersed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics related to aviation and space exploration through demonstrations and hands-on activities. Drop in between 10am and 3pm. Admission is free, though parking is $15.

A Day of Building StoriesVisitors can activate their imaginations at the National Building Museum by creating their own book with author Isabel Hill as she shares her stories, technique, and experience as an architectural photographer. Guests will discover the stories behind our local Judiciary Square buildings and the museum, then sketch and bring out their inner artists. The $15/member, $20/non-member registration fee includes a signed copy of Ms. Hill’s newest book, Building Stories.  Recommended for ages 7 and up, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. The workshops place on Sunday from 10:30am – 12pm.

Free ParkingThere’s no entrance fee to national parks that usually charge admission this weekend, so it’s a good time to hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, take a ride on Skyline Drive to see the mountains covered in autumn colors, or visit Harpers Ferry. See the full list of participating parks here.

Happy Birthday, Pizza Paradiso!The popular pizza place is turning 20, and among the week’s celebration is a Family Day on Sunday at their Alexandria location. From 1-4pm, kids can participate in a Make Your Own Pizza demonstration with Chef Ruth Gresser, and the first 20 kids’ pizzas are free.

And these posts are always chock full of ideas for more family fun, both outdoors and in:

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)

 

 

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Seize the Day off from School

Several people have asked me for ideas of things to do with the kids this Friday when they’re off from school for Veterans Day.  Surely, those several aren’t the only ones in need of activities to keep their broods entertained.  And while the latest Where to Play on the Weekdays post recommends the Boogie Babes show at the Atlas, that’s really more for the sippy cup set than the grade school and older crew. With that in mind, I’ve a compiled some suggestions to help you make the most of the day, including pursuits that acknowledge its significance.

Tour the Memorials – Observe the holiday by visiting the sites that honor our nation’s veterans. Make the rounds on the National Mall — wreath laying ceremonies will take place at the World War II Memorial at 9am and at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 1pm, and the Korean War Memorial is a short walk from both.

Arlington National Cemetery – The National Veterans Day Ceremony begins at 11am with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries.

Mount Vernon Salutes VeteransSpecial activities at George Washington’s former estate include a wreath laying ceremony and patriotic community concerts along with the regular tours and programs.  All active duty, former, and retired military personnel will be admitted free-of-charge. Otherwise, admission is $15/adults, $7/ages 6-11, free for children 5 and under.

imagiNATIONSExplore the new activity center at the National Museum of the American Indian.  Kids of all ages can enjoy activities that include igloo building, basket weaving, Wii skateboarding, and interactive games. Read more about it in this KFDC post.

International Spy MuseumKids about ages 8 and up will likely enjoy exploring the intriguing world of espionage.  Many interactive exhibits that require a good amount of reading might be too much for younger children. Admission is $18/adults, $15/ages 5-11, but Goldstar is currently offering tickets for just $9.

Family Jump Time – Get your bounce on at Pump it Up in Lanham, where they are hosting two hours of open play on their giant, soft, interactive inflatables from 12-2pm.  The $10.95/child includes admission, two slices of pizza, and a drink.  Parents play for free.

Go Glen Echo – Catch a performance of The Three Billy Goats Gruff at The Puppet Co. then stay for lunch and to romp on the playground. Showtimes are 10am and 11:30am.  Tickets are $10.

Take it Outside – You might have to bundle up a bit, but you should be able to enjoy some fun under the sun on Friday. Take a water taxi ride from National Harbor to Old Town (or vice versa), roam the ground at Brookside Gardens, look for turtles and frogs at Huntley Meadows, or enjoy free admission to a National Park during the last fee-free weekend 2011. Read about all of these outdoor pursuits and many more here.

 

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The Weekend Round-Up: November 4-6

A fall frolic on the National Mall.

 

These post-Halloween days are almost as enjoyable as the extravaganza itself. After weeks of costume discussions, trick-or-treat planning, and candy hiding (mostly from myself) so it’s not eaten before the big day, this respite between major holidays is welcome.  It won’t last long, as preparations for winter festivities are about to begin. (And I’ll be posting about them soon, but wanted to give you a chance to untie ghosts from trees and dispose of rotting pumpkins). So, in the meantime, enjoy these next few autumn days. Here are some ideas of where to do it. Happy Weekend!

Think Outside… – These splendid fall days are going to be fewer and farther between soon, so my top recommendation is to get out and enjoy them while you can. Do a quintessential DC outing and tour the memorials on the Mall. Go leaf peeping in the National Arboretum or explore the sprawling grounds of Brookside Gardens.  Hike amid brilliant foliage at Great Falls or Riverbend Park. Play the day away Cabin John Regional Park. The options are abundant, and you can find even more in KFDC’s list of The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids.

Smashing Pumpkins – Now that Halloween is over, you can get rid of those jack-o-lanterns that are starting to cave in on themselves on the front porch. And you can have a good time doing it at Great Country Farms’s Punkin’ Chunkin’.  Do the honors on their Silo Drop or Zip Wire Sploosh, or bring it to their Pumpkin Drop Zone to be added to the “fireworks display” as pumpkins are dropped from a 40-foot lift in the parking lot. And while you’re there, enjoy the rest of the farm’s attractions — cow trains, swings, slides, mazes — before the amusement shuts down for the winter.  Open from 10am – 5pm. Admission is $10/adults, $8/children.

Euro EntertainmentWe’re in the last week of the Kids Euro Festival, the program bringing a month of free continental artistic adventures to venues all over DC. This weekend see “A Cat in Paris” at AFI, “The Seasons of Palina” at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, several performances on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, and much, much more. Check the schedule for times and details.

Rock Out with Recess MonkeySeattle’s celebrated band of teacher-rockers is coming to DC this weekend to perform three shows at two different venues. First, they are playing a free concert on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on Saturday at 6pm.  For shows that might work better with little ones’ schedules, see them on Sunday, November 6, at Jammin’ Java at 11am or 2pm.  Tickets are $10 and available for purchase online.

Happy 90th, Phillips Collection!The museum housing masterpieces from some of the world’s most famous artists probably isn’t exactly a go-to spot for a day out with little ones.  But this Saturday is an exception. It’s the gallery’s 90th birthday/anniversary, and they’re celebrating with an all-day bash that includes free activities, gallery talks, and performances for the whole family. Cupcake favors will be handed out while they last, ballet students will be practicing among Degas paintings, an accordionist and a cappella group will perform for guests, and even more will be happening throughout the day from 10am – 8pm.  See the schedule for times and details.

Celebrate American Indian HeritageAmerican Indian leaders, traditions, and arts are commemorated on U.S. postage stamps, and the National Postal Museum is celebrating them with a day of activities for kids. Learn about American Indians on postage stamps; make a topical stamp collection; and enjoy storytime with a book about Sequoyah, the Cherokee man who gave his people written language. Join in the fun on Saturday from aam – 2pm.

Robin Hood  – Encore Stage’s production of the classic tale opens on Friday at 7:30pm, and there will be several shows to follow this weekend and next. Here’s what’s special about Encore’s performances: They are for children by children. Yes, it’s mostly a youth cast, and if their production of The Wizard of Oz is any indication, these kids will put on quite a show. The play will be performed at Artisphere’s Spectrum Theatre, tickets are $12/adults, $10/children and can be purchased online.

Children’s Flea MarketScore a few bargains and support some entrepreneurial kids at the McLean Community Center on Saturday from 11am – 1pm. Young vendors will have a variety of gently used items for sale.  A donation truck will be on hand after the event to take any unsold items.

NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Tunes ‘n’ (Pig) TalesEnjoy 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.  Tickets are $18.

Theatre on Strings – Take the kids to a puppet show at Glen Echo Park where The Three Billy Goats Gruff is currently being performed on Main Stage. Showtimes are 11:30am and 1pm Saturday and Sunday, recommended for pre-K and up. Tickets are $10 and available for purchase online.

Portrait Story Days – Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery from 1-4pm on Saturday and Sunday to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about Chief Joseph (1840-1904), chief of the Nez Perce.

America’s Got Talent AuditionsIs your child a star in the making? Well, here’s a chance to show the nation. America’s Got Talent is holding their DC auditions Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center, and kids (and adults!) of all ages are invited to try out for the show.  Doors open at 8am and close by 7pm.  Pre-registration and more info is available here.

 

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Weekend Treats, No Tricks

Halloween has already begun, as far as Boba Fett is concerned

 

So, it’s not officially Halloween this weekend, but given all the events going on — and the fact that my kids are practically living in costumes — for all intents and purposes, it’s Halloween. So, I’m going with the theme. If you’re spooked by the idea of celebrating early, there’s still plenty more to do: a family day at the Newseum, theatre performances on local stages, museum exhibits, book readings, and more. And I’m not even going to mention the “s” word that’s supposedly on it’s way tomorrow (ignore it and it’ll go away, right?), but cooler weather is coming. Fingers crossed that it’s of the crisp, sunny fall day variety. Happy Weekend!

Halloween HappeningsYou don’t have to wait until Monday to get the Halloween festivities started. Catch a concert in costume at National Geographic Live; design a pop-up haunted house at the Building Museum; trick or treat at Old Town Boutiques; put some air in your scare at the Udvar-Hazy Center or College Park Aviation Museum; enjoy kids festivities at the MLK Library, Discovery Theater, GW University, and the Crime Museum. Find details for all of these events in this KFDC post about the many Halloween happenings around town.

Go “Around the World” at the NewseumSaturday is a special Family Day at the museum dedicated to all things news and media.  Take a trip across the globe with journalist Nelly Bly through a variety of activities geared especially toward kids, a scavenger hunt, front page news games, a historical enactment of Bly, and a 3-D short film among them. This all starts at 11am – see the schedule for activity times. Admission to the museum is still the regular price (21.95/adults, $12.95/ages 7-18, free for ages 6 and under), but you’ll get to experience the special activities along with all the permanent collections.  And, as mention in this KFDC post about the Newseum a couple of weeks ago, tickets are good for two consecutive days, so you can go back Sunday for even more.

Fall Frolic – Glen Echo Park’s annual Halloween-themed event is a seasonal fave for all ages.  The public is invited to explore the park through hands-on crafts, Halloween activities, and performances. Decorate trick-or-treat bags, make a spooky spider or a friendly ghost, and color Halloween pictures for free.  Pay a small fee $1-2) for pumpkin decorating and face painting. The Park’s studios and galleries will also be open for visitors to view the works of resident artists.  And a costume parade will conclude the fun at the end of the day.  This all happens on Saturday from 1-4pm.

Hansel & Gretel at the NationalThe free Saturday morning theatre fun continues. First up is Barrymore Eagle’s Costume Parade, so bring the kids in their charming or wild Halloween get-ups. Afterwards, kids will revel in the not-too-scary Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Hansel & Gretel, which is brought magically to life by the enchanting marionettes from Baltimore’s Black Cherry Puppet Theater. These performances at National Theatre take place at 9:30am and 11am, and tickets are required for admission. Free tickets are distributed half an hour prior to the start of shows on a first-come first-served basis. Only one ticket per person, and all attendees must be standing in line to receive a ticket. Children must be accompanied by an adult who remains present for the entire performance. Seating is limited, so get there early!

Go Nat Geo – Families can enjoy more than just  the aforementioned Halloween concert going on at the National Geographic Museum this weekend. On Sunday at 1pm, join Dig Deeper, a free archaeology workshop being presented in conjunction with the exhibition Anglo-Saxon Hoard: Gold from England’s Dark Ages. Email [email protected] to register.  And while you’re there, don’t miss Animal Grossology, a new exhibit for kids featuring some of the slimiest, stinkiest, yuckiest creatures on earth.  Admission to the exhibit is $8/adults, $6/ages 5-12, free for children 4 and under and includes the fun Weird But True exhibit as well as entrance to Ocean Soul: Photographs by Brian Skerry, a beautiful collection of images from oceans around the world that will captivate any photography buff or wildlife lover.

Take the FallThis is the last weekend for many area fall festivals, so if you still have yet to pick out pumpkins, zip down lofty slides, bounce on giant pillows, and have fun down on the farm, see this KFDC post to find out where you can go to squeeze it all in.  And if  you have been.. hey, go back for more!

Book it to the JCCEnjoy a morning of crafts, folktales, and fun with children’s book author Vicki Weber. Her award-winning book, It’s Too Crowded in Here!, is a collection of Jewsish folktales and midrashic stories enlivened by colorful illustrations.  The event starts at 10am and is part of the Jewish Literary Festival that runs through November 2. Admission to this Sunday’s family program is $10 and includes a copy of the book. 

Stage Delights – See Gustafer Yellowgold, the small, yellow, cone-headed fellow, who came to the Earth from the Sun, at Jammin’ Java.  Catch the final performances of Alladin’s Luck at Imagination Stage. Watch the Three Billy Goats Gruff on strings. These shows, plus a few more, will entertain audiences at local theatres this weekend.  This KFDC post has more details on all of them.

Potrait Story Days – Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery from 1-4pm on Saturday and Sunday to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about Girl Scouts founder, Juliette Gordon Low.

And as always, these posts are worth checking out once the forecast is firm:

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors With the Kids

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)

 

 

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