Everyone else on the Web seems to have a “Best of” list to end the year, so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon with my 12 (plus a bonus!) for 2012. A list of our favorite adventures and experiences here at KFDC. And, really, it could have been much longer, but I’m a busy mama and didn’t have time to include them all. These are the 12 (plus a bonus) that stand out.
1. Mary Pope Osborne at National Book Festival
Any avid reader knows what an amazing experience it is to meet their favorite authors. Well, how about getting to interview them, too? Owen had the incredible opportunity to ask Mary Pope Osborne, author of the popular Magic Treehouse series, a few questions at the National Book Festival in September. What a thrill for him as a huge fan — and for me as a proud mama.
2. Georgetown Waterfront Park
The opening of this recreational space along the Potomac River in Georgetown kind of transformed our summer. We spent many a hot day running through the sprays, sitting by the water, and just hanging out. It was even more enjoyable after riding our bikes there, like the two-wheel journey there earned us that good time.
3. Birthday Party at Watkins Nature Center
We couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate Owen and Sasha’s birthday together. The space at Watkins was large enough to accommodate both kids’ friends and parents, the weather was unusually nice, so we got to enjoy nature both indoors and out, and a fabulous time was had by all.
4. Look Both Ways: Street Art Across America
This weeklong series of pop-up performances around the city last spring was such a treat. We caught a wacky marching band show at Eastern Market and attended the big finale, the Street Arts in the Park festival at Yards Park. The best part was seeing Owen volunteer to be part of The Red Trouser Show, an acrobatic duo wielding flaming juggling batons and knives. It’s not often you hear a crowd of 200 people chant your kid’s name as he hoists a big dagger in the air. :-/
5. Sandy Spring Adventure Park
This adventure in the trees as a last hurrah with Owen before school started back up was SO MUCH FUN. If Sasha was old enough to go, we definitely would have been back there for more by now.
6. Renn Fest
Y’all probably know by now how much I LOVE the Maryland Renaissance Festival — I think I recommended it more than any other special event this year. It was especially wonderful to hear how many readers and friends went for the first time this fall and discovered why it’s one of my absolute faves. Huzzah!
7. The Kojo Show
I may have tried to play it cool, but…GAH!!! I was on the Kojo Show!!! He’s easily my favorite radio personality, and it was such an honor to be invited to join the guest panel recently to discuss Winter Fun for Kids. If you didn’t get to tune in, you can listen to it here.
8. Wings of Fancy at Brookside Gardens
This was just a really great day with the kids this summer. We’d been to Brookside plenty of times, and to many other butterfly gardens, including in Costa Rica, but never to this annual exhibit. The conservatory where it’s hosted is lovely, and it indulged huge interests for both kids — Sash is a butterfly fiend, and Owen really digs insects (and science and nature) in general. They talked about it for weeks after and still bring it up whenever the subject of Brookside or butterflies comes up.
9. Yards Park Summer Friday Concert Series
We love Yards Park. We love summer. We love to chill out with music and friends and the fountains and wine. Some of my favorite family outings were these evenings when we brought our blankets, food & drinks, and the kids’ swimsuits and just relaxed on the lawn as the band played on the boardwalk and the kids danced or frolicked in the fountains. The ultimate summer in the city experience… for me, anyway.
10. Titanic at National Geographic
This exhibit at the National Geographic Museum was one of the most fascinating I’ve experienced there or at any museum, for that matter. It also solidified Owen’s status as one of the obsessed — he saw it last spring, and talked about the Titanic during one of his class share sessions this year (yikes!?). Titanic has come and gone, but Nat Geo has a couple of other great exhibits going on now.
11. Suprasensorial at the Hirshhorn
Not only was this a super fun, unique exhibit, it also helped me rediscover the Hirshhorn with the kids. Before Suprasensorial, I didn’t really think about taking them there, since much of the art seemed over their heads. But being at the Hirshhorn for this exhibit reminded me that, like beauty, art is in the eye of the beholder. That exhibit is gone, but another interesting one, Ai Weiwei: According to What?, is currently on view.
12. U.S. Navy Museum
A very recent discovery and true hidden gem, the Navy Museum is one of those I-can’t-believe-we’d-never-been-before places. It’s literally blocks from my house, but located on the Navy base in southeast DC, it’s just not very obvious. But now that we’ve been, I know we’ll be going back… again and again.
Oh, and one more for good luck (and because I thought of it after I made the above… lucky 13 for 2013):
What were some of your favorite adventures and experiences of 2012?