Monday – Discover history through art at the National Portrait Gallery. Children up to age 5 are invited to become Young Portrait Explorers and learn about George Washington as they view his portrait, hear a story about our first president, and participate in a related hands-on activity. The program runs from 10:30-11:30am. Admission is free, but registration is required — go here to sign up. In the evening, head to The Coupe in Columbia Heights for a special Back to School Family Night. Kids can enjoy craft activities, a screening of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, and the $4 kids’ dinner menu, while grown-ups will appreciate a chance to dine while their children are occupied by the activities. It all starts around 6pm.
Tuesday – Visit the animals, take a tractor-pulled wagon ride, play on kid-sized tractors, romp on the playgrounds, and much more at Frying Pan Farm Park. The locale in Herndon is a guaranteed hit with kids, and parents always rave about it, too. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk, the farm is open 9am – 5pm, wagon rides 10am – 4pm. Admission is free, though the wagon rides cost a little extra.
Wednesday – Cool off on what’s forecast to be a hot day at a DC spray park. The Department of Parks and Recreation has extended the season for a few parks with water features until September 29. Go here to see which parks are still welcoming visitors.
Thursday – Get a glimpse of the underwater world at DC’s National Aquarium while you still can; the small but interesting showcase of marine life will close it’s doors for good after September 30. Located in the lower level of the Department of Commerce building, it’s a great place for small children to see colorful fish, sharks, turtles, and more. Admission is $9.95/ages 11 and up, $4.95/ages 3-11, free for 2 and under. Open 9am – 5pm.
Friday – Hike along the Potomac, see nature indoors and out, have a picnic, and hang out and relax at Riverbend Park. The Fairfax County locale makes for an ideal outing with little ones — easy trails, great nature viewing, and never a big crowd. Free admission, and the Visitor Center is open 9am – 5pm on weekdays.