Chicken of the Sea, best known by many for its canned tuna, is celebrating its 100th anniversary as an iconic American brand. And they are marking the milestone with the first-ever Chicken of the Sea Great American Gratitude Tour, a six-month, 56-city journey that brings the brand’s iconic Mermaid and Centennial celebration to seafood lovers across the country, while also honoring local heroes and nonprofits that are bringing good to their communities.
Washington, DC, is the next stop on the tour, giving residents the chance to join in the celebration — and the chance to win $10,000 instantly. On Thursday, July 24, from 10:30am – 6:30pm, a brightly-wrapped Great American Gratitude truck and vintage Airstream, both created specifically for the tour, will be stopping at Union Station, and the public is invited to join the festivities.
Visitors can have their pictures or video taken with the Mermaid, relive Chicken of the Sea history, and take home Mermaid-themed giveaways. One lucky participant receiving the winning commemorative coin in the Mermaid’s Treasure Chest promotion will instantly win $10,000 to use for the community service project of his or her choice!
For more information on Chicken of the Sea: 100 Years of Good, including the latest Great American Gratitude Tour schedule, go to www.chickenofthesea.com/100.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Chicken of the Sea, however, I only promote events, services, and activities that I truly believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.
DC doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the holidays. There are options galore for celebrating the season, many of them annual events that quickly become family traditions. See model trains wind through miniature Christmas villages, drive through dazzling light displays in the woods, have a cool experience (literally) with interactive sculptures in ice. Some of the fun begins as soon as this weekend, so bookmark this page (along with this one featuring live entertainment) and start making some holiday plans.
Season’s Greenings Where:U.S. Botanic Garden When: November 24 – January 2 Admission: FREE
If my blog stats are any indication, this is easily DC’s most popular holiday attraction; searches for the Botanic Garden’s seasonal exhibit exceeded all other topics last year. And I can’t say I’m surprised. Season’s Greenings is an annual delight for all ages. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials and one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year, try to guess “Who Lives Here” in the whimsical animal houses along the mini-train route. For even more holiday magic at the garden, there are concerts most Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December, when the USBG stays open until 8pm. For more on the seasonal favorite, read this KFDC review from last year.
Holiday on the Ellipse Where: The Ellipse, President’s Park When: December 1 – January 1 Admission: FREE
This should have a permanent spot on everyone’s DC holiday repertoire. The National Christmas Tree, the National Menorah, Santa’s Workshop, plus trains and displays representing all 50 states are a must-see during the season. Kids will especially love visiting Santa in his adorable little cottage for a peek at his operations and a photo op on his lap (read about our experience there last year), which is open at select times, usually through Christmas Eve. And the rest of it lit up at night with the White House and Washington Monument glowing in the distance makes for a dazzling holiday scene.
Trains loop the National Christmas Tree
Christmas on the Potomac Where: National Harbor When: November 18 – January 8 Admission: FREE, though some activities cost extra
National Harbor goes all out during the holidays. ICE! might be the big attraction, but there’s way more to do there to warrant a visit without the frozen entertainment. Most of it takes place in the Gaylord National Resort, which is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with a spectacular glass Christmas tree, nightly tree lightings starting November 25, the Potomac Express train offering rides for guests, photo ops with Santa, indoor snowfalls, fountain shows, and more. (Read about our experience there last year.) Afterward, shop the holiday market on American Way (open Saturdays & Sundays November 26 – December 18 or grab a bite at one of the Harbor’s many restaurants.
ICE! Where: National Harbor When: November 18 – January 8 Admission: Mon-Thurs $25/adult, $20/kids; Fri-Sun $35/adults, $25/kids; 3 and under are free.Get 50% off with this LivingSocial deal while it lasts!
Technically, this is part of Christmas on the Potomac, but it’s supposedly such a huge spectacle in itself, that it deserves its own write-up. And since I have yet to experience it myself (as explained in this post last year), here’s the description from the website: “Gaylord National’s popular ICE! winter holiday attraction returns with an all-new, hilarious theme: ICE! featuring DreamWorks’ Merry Madagascar. From Nov. 18 to Jan. 8, the DreamWorks Animation holiday TV special will be brought to life in an interactive world of colorful ice sculptures carved entirely from TWO-MILLION pounds of ice. Relive the story as you stroll through this amazing attraction featuring scenes such as how Santa and his reindeer crash-landed onto the island of Madagascar, and why Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman and the wacky penguins must figure out how to save Christmas by delivering all the presents themselves. Even the mischievous lemur King Julien learns the true meaning of the holiday and manages to get himself off the “naughty list” once and for all. Tickets can be purchased in advance online, and there are timed entries are every half-hour. Hours vary by day, so be sure to check the schedule when you plan to go.
National Menorah Lighting Where: The National Ellipse When: December 20, 4pm Admission: FREE, but you must request tickets
As I noted in this post from last year, it’s tough to find family Chanukah events open to the public in the area. But they do happen, and this is a nice one. Along with the lighting, there will be entertainment by the U.S. Marine Band as well as Dreidelman and the Macabees. If you don’t mind waiting in line afterward, stay for latkes and donuts. Tickets are free, but you need to request them in advance. Go here to get yours.
Come light the National Menorah
Christmas at Mount Vernon Where: Mount Vernon Estate, Museum, & Gardens When: November 25 – January 6 Admission: $15/adults, $7/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under
The special daytime holiday program at George Washington’s homestead includes 12 Christmas trees, a gingerbread Mount Vernon, historical chocolate-making demonstrations (and tastings!), and more. Guests will also have the chance to tour the rarely opened third floor of the mansion to learn how the first First Family celebrated Christmas. And outside, Alladin the camel will be on view to recall the camel ol’ George himself bought for 18 shillings in 1787 for his guests’ enjoyment at Christmas.
Holiday Train Show Where: Union Station When: November 22 – January 2 Admission: FREE
The Holiday Train Show located in the Main & West Halls features a new model train display for the first time at Union Station in 15 years. MTH Electric Trains, a leading model train manufacturer in Columbia, Md., is providing the locomotive exhibit that consists of model trains from every railroad era and includes trains from Europe and other parts of the world.
Holiday Festival of Trains & Toys Where: B&O Railroad Museum When: November 25 – December 31 Admission: $14/adults, $12/seniors (60+), $8/ages 2-12 free for B&O members
This is a venue dedicated to locomotives, so you know the holiday model train exhibit is going to be special. So much so, it changes throughout its run featuring new displays from various Model Railroad Exhibitors every few days. The exhibit opens the day after Thanksgiving with the arrival of Santa in the Roundhouse at 10:30am. On weekends through December 18, guests can enjoy train rides with Santa and Frosty the Snowman along with crafts and choral performances. Train rides are $2/adults, $1/children, free for B&O Members.
Holly Trolley Fest Where: National Capitol Trolley Museum When: November 26 – December 18, Saturdays & Sundays only Admission: $7/adults, $5/ages 2-17 (includes unlimited rides)
Guests can ride with Santa on the street cars and enjoy the model garden railway and holiday village inside the museum. Of course the est of the museum, offering a glimpse into the history of street cars, including a Hall displaying different cars from around the region and Europe. Visit the website for directions museum.
ZooLights Where: National Zoo When: November 25 – December 11, December 16 – January 1 Admission: FREE
Every year, thousands of environmentally-friendly light and animal exhibits transform the Zoo into a holiday wonderland. The highlights are dozens of animal light displays, and this year there will be an “iceless” skating rink (made of an eco-friendly synthetic skating surface) in the Picnic Pavilion Guests can also enjoy entertainment and a special train ride for children, special talks by animal keepers, Zoo-themed model trains displays, and the gingerbread habitat contest entries on display in the auditorium. The Small Mammal House, Great Ape House, Reptile Discovery Center, Think Tank, and Kids’ Farm will be open every night. Skating and train rides cost extra: $5 to skate, $2 skate rentals, $3 train rides.
Watkins' drive-thru light show
Festival of Lights Where: Watkins Regional Park When: November 25 – January 1, 5-9:30pm nightly Admission: $5/car, FREE on December 25
This spectacular holiday drive-through event of more than one million twinkling lights has been dazzling holiday-goers for 25 years. This is great way to get into the holiday spirit from the comfort of your car – pop some holiday music into the CD player, turn on the seat warmers, and take in the illuminated scenes. New festival features include Santa flying a helicopter and driving a fire truck.
Symphony of Lights Where: Symphony Woods, Merriweather Post Pavilion When: November 21 – January 1, 6-10pm nightly Admission: $20/car
Called a “woodland wonderland,” this beautiful display of more than 70 larger-than-life, animated and stationary light creations is a local holiday tradition for many. Cruise along the 1.4-mile route through the Symphony Woods in downtown Columbia and enjoy the twinkling lights as you go.
Garden of Lights Where: Brookside Gardens When: November 25 – January 8, with noted exceptions Admission: $20/car Mon-Thurs, $25/car Fri-Sun
Visualize close to one million twinkling colorful lights shaped in imaginative displays throughout the gardens. Enjoy the four seasons illuminated as giant summer sunflowers, autumn leaves, winter snowflakes, spring flowers, rain showers, and more. Walk along the easily accessible paths and you’ll see what sets this light show apart from others; it’s the hundreds of wrapped trees and shrubs, beautifully lighted gazebos, cascading fountains, and the individually formed displays in the shapes of blooming flowers and wild animals. Look for moving displays such as a flock of geese, or an 11-foot giraffe covered with 9,000 lights. Open weekdays 5:30-9pm, with last car admitted at 8:30pm, weekends (Friday – Sunday) 5:30-10pm, with last car admitted at 9:30pm. Closed December 24 & 25, and January 2-5.
Alexandria Boat Parade of Lights Where: Alexandria City Marina When: December 3 Admission: FREE
Alexandria’s harbor lights up when more than 50 illuminated boats cruise the Washington Channel to the historic waterfront. Pre-parade festivities at the Alexandria City Marina begin at 4pm with Santa arriving by fireboat at 4:15pm. The boat parade begins at 6pm. The Marina is located at Cameron Street in Old Town.
Winter Lights Festival Where: Seneca Creeek State Park When: November 25-26, then nightly December 2-31 Admission: $12/car Tues-Thurs, $15/car Fri- Sun
The 16th Annual Winter Lights Festival will feature more than 380 illuminated vignettes and 65 animated displays in a 3.5 mile drive through beautiful Seneca Creek State Park. Theme areas include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, North Pole, Toyland, and Penguin Cove. Proceeds Benefit Local Charities.
Holiday Trains and Planes Where: College Park Aviation Museum When: December 17 – December 23 Admission: 4/adults, $3/seniors, $2/ages 2-18, under 2 are free
During the holiday season the College Park Aviation Museum gets ready for the festivities as miniature trains, villages, tunnels, and depots spark the imagination and bring history to life. The National Capital Trackers bring a fascinating and constantly moving display of model railroads.
Take your pick of The Nutcracker productions, see Ebenezer Scrooge on stage, rock out or sing along to holiday tunes, discover celebrations around the world — there are shows to suit all theater preferences, ages, and wallets. See this recent KFDC post has details on live entertainment to be enjoyed this holiday season.
If you’re still making plans for this weekend’s honoree and looking for fun activities for the kids, this round-up has you covered. There are several events happening over the next few days that will have the whole family feeling like it’s their special day. But the best gift we moms can ask for are happy kids (and spa packages are always awesome, too). Happy Weekend! And a very Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!
All Aboard for National Train Day – If you’ve got a young train enthusiast in your midst, then head to Union Station on Saturday for the 4th Annual National Train Day. From 11am – 4pm, guests of all ages can enjoy and experience a variety of train-related fun, including live entertainment, interactive and educational exhibits, kids’ activities, model train displays and tours of Amtrak equipment, freight and commuter trains, and notable private railroad cars. Read more about it in this post from earlier this week.
Go Postal for Trains – For some extra locomotive fun, chug on over to the National Postal Museum, where even more National Train Day activities will take place, also from 11am – 4pm. Relating to its “Moving the Mail” exhibit, the celebration will include hands-on fun for the whole family. Guests can speed-sort mail, watch model trains, toot a train whistle, make a stamp collection, and more. The National Postal Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue NW, and the event will take place in the Museum Atrium.
Cheverly Truck Touch – Over 20 vehicles will be on display this Saturday from 10am – 2pm for young motorists-in-the-making to explore. Children can sit in the driver’s seat of a cement truck, honk the horn of a dump truck, run around inside the trailer of an 18-wheeler, check out a race car, stand on the back of a garbage truck, blare a police car siren the siren, “drive” a fire truck, and much more. And the fun doesn’t end with the wheels—there will also be a small ride-on train, games geared just for little ones, face painting, concessions, balloons, and T-shirts for sale. Admission is just $5 for ages 1-12 (under 1 and over 12 are free!) and includes 4 game. The event will be held in the Cheverly United Methodist Church parking lot. Read this post for more information.
Flowermart – The annual spring festival at the National Cathedral will take place on Friday 10am – 6pm and 10am – 5pm. While plant sales, floral and horticultural displays, and boutique booths will be of more interest to grown-ups, there will also be tasty foods, music and entertainment, rides on the antique carousel, and other fun activities to delight kids as well. Admission is free. Proceeds from other sales benefit the Cathedral’s gardens, grounds and woodlands.
Garden Fest – The Kaupt Garden at the Smithsonian Castle will be buzzing on Friday from 11am – 1pm and Saturday from 11am – 3pm as Garden Fest connects people and plants through educational demonstrations and engaging hands-on fun. Kids will dig plant-inspired art activities, a stilt walker, tattoo station, and live music by Cuttin’ Grass. Adults can enjoy the same, plus floricultural demos, gardening book sales and signings, orchid displays, and many other plant and gardening exhibits. The event is from 10am – 4pm. Admission is free.
Shortcut to Europe – Avoid the steep airfare and jet lag, and explore The Continent from this side of the pond. Passport DC invites you to join European Union embassies and the EU Delegation for a day of international food, dancing, kids entertainment, exhibitions, vacation planning, and more. Get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the embassies, some of which are among Washington’s historic and architectural treasures. This all takes place this Saturday from 10am – 4pm. Free shuttle bus service will be available throughout the day, and many embassies are convenient to Metro for walking. Admission is free, but bring identification, as some embassies will conduct security checks.
Mother’s Day at Mount Vernon – Join the “Mother of Our Country,” Martha Washington, and her granddaughter “Nelly” as they celebrate this special weekend with visitors. On Saturday and Sunday from 8am – 5pm, enjoy “Lady Washington’s” reminiscences of motherhood and her sage advice to her youngest granddaughter. The event is included with admission—$15/adults, $14/seniors, $7/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under.
Potomac Bonsai Festival – Celebrate the tiny trees at oneof the prettiest places in the city Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9am – 5pm. There will be bonsai activities to entertain everyone, from the interested observer to the accomplished artist. Each day features demonstrations, exhibits, children’s activities, Asian food vendors, and the renowned collections of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum.
Ride & Putt at Watkins – The antique carousel, train, and mini golf course at Watkins Regional Park open for the season starting Saturday. Hours through Memorial Day will be 10am-3pm Thursday and Fridays, and 12-5pm on weekends. After that, it will be open every day but Monday (with the exception of Memorial Day) with longer hours. For more about Watkins, read this post from last year, which ironically is about the closing of the park’s rides for the season.
Space Day – Have some out-of-this-world fun at the Air & Space Museum on the Mall on Saturday. Guests will have the chance to meet astronauts and space experts, communicate with the International Space Station, learn how to build a flyable model rocket, build a mock space station out of recycled materials, create an astronaut paper doll, design a mission patch, and enjoy more cool astro-related activities. The free event runs from 10am – 3pm.
Joanie Leeds on the Millennium Stage – Join the artist of the 2010 Parents’ Choice® Gold Award-winning album, I’m a Rock Star, as she celebrate the releae of her new album, What a Zoo!, with a performance on the Kennedy Center’s Milliennum Stageon Saturday at 6pm. Joanie Leeds and her band, The Nightlights, will make their Washington, DC, debut with a FREE rocking family show. If you haven’t heard Joanie’s music, go take a listen on her website—it’s easy to see why her poppy sound and fun lyrics strike a chord with kids. The concert is part of The Kennedy Center’s daily Free Performance series.
Let Them Entertain You – A variety of performances will be on local stages this weekend, from puppet shows at Glen Echo to plays at Ford’s and Adventure Theatres to concerts at Jammin’ Java and the Kennedy Center. For details on what and who is playing where, see this post from a couple months ago and this one from a few days ago.
Savor the Sunshine – It looks like we’re in for some perfect spring weather for at least part of the weekend. Go indulge in it with the help of this list of the best places in the DC area to enjoy a beautiful day outdoors with the kids.
Do the names Thomas, Percy, and Topham have special meaning in your household? Does your child go loco for locomotives? If you’ve got a young train enthusiast in your midst, then take note: This Saturday, May 7, is the 4th Annual National Train Day, a coast-to-coast celebration of America’s love of trains and the 40th anniversary of Amtrak service in the U.S.
Locally, the main festivities will take place at the obvious venue — Union Station. From 11am – 4pm, guests of all ages can enjoy and experience a variety of train-related fun. Live entertainment, interactive and educational exhibits, kids’ activities, model train displays and tours of Amtrak equipment, freight and commuter trains, and notable private railroad cars.
Young engineers are also invited to help Amtrak celebrate its birthday at the AmtraKids Depot, where non-stop fun will include creating party decorations, engaging in cool arts and crafts, and decorating cookies. Kids can also rock out with the Diggity Dudes, a group that performs “hip music for hip kids.”
From there, you can chug on over to the National Postal Museum, where even more National Train Day activities will take place, also from 11am – 4pm. Relating to its “Moving the Mail” exhibit, the celebration will include hands-on fun for the whole family. Guests can speed-sort mail, watch model trains, toot a train whistle, make a souvenir stamp, and more. The National Postal Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue NW, and the event will take place in the Museum Atrium.