The Weekend Round-Up: December 18-20


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We’re kicking off Winter Break with a weekend full of ways to celebrate the season and then some. Holiday events, live entertainment, ice skating, college hoops, outdoor pursuits, and some movie about the force are all among this round-up of recs. Plus, the Everyday Play page has even more ideas for ongoing DC fun. Happy Weekend!

Season’s Greenings
Where: US Botanic Garden
When: Through the weekend
Admission: Free

The Botanic Garden’s annual holiday attraction never disappoints. 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’s theme “Pollination Station ” features oversized flowers, bees, and butterflies in a scenic wonderland. A heads-up that it’ll probably be crowded, but the line usually moves quickly, and it really is a beautiful, fun, unique display to see!

Step Afrika!’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Tickets: $15-38

Put a little stomp in your step for the holidays! DC’s internationally-known percussive dance company invites you to celebrate the season with clapping, stomping, and all around fun for all ages, featuring their furry friends from the Animal Kingdom and a special dance party with DJ Frosty the Snowman! If you’re bringing the whole family, check out the Family Fun Pack: Four tickets, four snacks, four non-alcoholic drinks, all for $100!

Holiday Party & Puppet Show Anniversary
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

The Fairfax County Park Authority is celebrating its 65th anniversary with a family-friendly holiday party that includes puppet show performances, plus treats and visits with farm animals. Showtimes are 10:45am and 12:30pm. Inside the Visitors Center, guests can enjoy hot cocoa, cider, and cookies. Outside, they can visit with furry friends from Kidwell Farm.

Skaters Gonna Skate
Where: Local ice rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

‘Tis the season for outdoor ice skating, so lace up and get gliding. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at Canal Park; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area. And note that both at Canal Park and Washington Harbor are hosting Cartoon Skate on Saturday morning!

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Gaylord National Resort’s annual holiday extravaganza has festivities galore that capture the spirit of the season. And the best part is that there are activities for all ages at varying price points (even free!), from dancing fountains and indoor snowfalls to a tour of amazing “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”-themed ice sculptures. Get details and a glimpse of it all here.

Rocknoceros Holiday Singalong
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Saturday, 11am & 2pm
Admission: $10

Get in the holiday mood and ready to sing as one of the area’s favorite kindie rock bands returns to Jammin’ Java for their 9th year of fun holiday songs and Rockno classics. Belt out the tunes along with them, and enjoy a full lunch and drink menu, too.

More Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Much of the live entertainment on local stages right now is holiday-inspired. See the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at the Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy A Lump of Coal for Christmas at Adventure Theatre or A Year with Frog and Toad at Imagination Stage. Get details on these shows and others in the 2015 Holiday Guide.

Showtime Beyond the Holidays
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

– The Broadway hit Matilda the Musical just opened at the Kennedy Center
– The adorable Elephant and Piggies’s We are in a Play is also running there
Oliver! and Akeelah and the Bee are on the Arena Stage
– Catch a performance of How to Catch a Leprechan at The Keegan Theatre
– Faction of Fools presents Pinocchio is at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
– See Seussical the Musical is at NextStop Theatre
– If you’re looking for a date night idea, Kiss Me, Kate is at Sidney Harman Hall and Bright Star is at the Kennedy Center.
– Little ones will love Wake Up, Brother Bear at Imagination Stage

‘O’pen House Shopping & Tours
Where: Mansion on O Street
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Starts at $15

Take a holiday tour of one of the most wonderfully outrageous places in DC while its halls are bedecked with seasonal trimmings. At this one-of-a-kind mansion in the heart of Dupont Circle, explore fantastically-themed rooms, search for secret doors, and shop — just about everything there is for sale — while enjoying the season with family and friends. Read more about the Mansion on O Street in this KFDC post.

Night Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit the Zoo or one of several parks in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, get ready to be dazzled.

College Hoops
Where: Local colleges
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary

College basketball season begins this weekend, and with so many universities in the area, there’s always some good hoops action going on. The GW men’s team hosts St. Peter’s on Saturday, while the women welcome Iona on Sunday(tickets here). The Hoya men play UNC Asheville at the Verizon Center on Saturday (tickets here). At George Mason, the women play Air Force SAturday afternoon, and the men match up against Longwood Saturday evening (tickets here). Both Maryland teams are away this weekend, but they still get a ‘Go, Terps!’

Welcome to Beynia
Where: Mystic Emporium
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 5pm
Admission: Free (but $5 to play)

Remember Beyblades, the big toy trend a couple of years ago? They’re still a big thing with many who take them to tourney and compete for prizes. If your kid is (or was) an enthusiast, consider checking out this indoor tournament taking place in Silver Spring. Word has it the events are fun, inclusive, and a great bargain. See the website for registration and event times. Mystic Emporium is located at 7896 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring.

Kids’ Fête de Noël
Where: Alliance Francaise
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $8/non-member, $5/member

Celebrate the winter holidays with AFDC! With both French and English spoken, the event will feature an activity hour for kids and families, including a fun craft and caroling in French. Snacks will also be served to guests.

Challah Hootenanny!
Where: The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington
When: Sunday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $15

Join PJ Library, The Jewish Food Experience, and their partners for a celebration at a family-friendly morning of Jewish bluegrass music, crafts, food fun, and more, featuring a performance by Mama Doni and Eric Lindberg. Bring a new pair of adult-size socks or gloves to be distributed through D25: December 25th Day of Service. Location is 6101 Executive Blvd. in North Bethesda.

Holiday Shop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

If you’re still working through your gift list, there are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents by local vendors and then some. Head to Penn Quarter, National Harbor, or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about all of them is available in the 2015 Holiday Guide. And if you need some gift ideas, be sure check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide!

Chill Out(side)
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Just because the temps are dropping, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time outdoors – bundle up and enjoy some time in the fresh air under sunny skies! Roam free at Dumbarton Oaks (no admission fee this time of year). Hit the trail at Riverbend, Cunningham Falls, Rock Creek, and more. Explore the National Arboretum or Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Hang out at Hains Point. Hit the playground at Watkins, Cabin John, or ClemyjontriParks. Find even more ideas in this post about great outdoor pursuits with kids.

See the Force
Where: Local movie theaters
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by theater

So, there’s this movie out that a bunch of people are pretty excited to see… If you’re planning to take the kids to see the new Star Wars film, check out these Washington Post recommendations for the best places in the DC area to see it. And buy your tickets in advance.

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Christmas, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Shop, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

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