The Weekend Round-Up: July 29-31

At the US Botanic Garden, where the stinky plant is about to bloom

At the US Botanic Garden, where the stinky plant is about to bloom

The return of a certain wizard is adding some extra magic to the weekend that might justify keeping the kids up well past their bedtimes to celebrate. There’s all kinds of awesome daytime fun to be had, too. And if you want to plan based on the weather, check out the round-up of outdoor places and the big indoor list for tons of ideas for area adventures. Happy Weekend!

Rockin’ on the Riverfront
Where: Yards Park
When: Friday, 6:30pm
Admission: Free

Kick off the weekend with free music in the fresh air. Sly 45 will be performing on the Yards Park boardwalk this evening. Catch the show along with great views of the Anacostia River from the comfort of a blanket spread out on the grass. Pack a picnic or purchase food there from nearby eateries and food truck vendors.

Seize the Summer Days
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Summer is zooming by, so enjoy the season while you can with activities that only occur this time of year. Start off the weekend with a free outdoor concert this evening, then continue the fun on Saturday and Sunday with water play at a pool or spray park. Or take it indoors at special summer program like ICEBERGS at the Building Museum or free admission for kids to the Newseum. Complete it all with a family movie under the stars at National Harbor on Sunday night. Get details about all of these summer diversions and even more in the 2016 Summer Guide.

National Dance Day
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, 1-11pm
Admission: Free

This celebration of the art of dance began a few years ago (read more background along with my ode from a few years ago to an associated shows) and has become an annual happening. This year’s events in DC will take place on the Kennedy Center’s outdoor North plaza along the Potomac River and Grand Foyer with performances and dance lessons all afternoon and a free social dance party going into the night with “Dancing Under the Stars.” There will be performances and appearances by Alex Wong (from this amazing SYTYCD performance), tap dancer and singer song-writer Evan Ruggiero, and many local artists — see the website for the full line-up.

Stop & Smell
Where: US Botanic Garden
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Follow your nose to the Botanic Garden to catch a whiff of the stinky plant! After much anticipation, the titan arum (aka corpse flower) is expected to bloom this weekend. The USBG will have extended hours until 8pm, so visitors have extra time to “enjoy” the stench. Of course, tour the rest of the lovely gardens while you’re there.

All Ages Dueling Pianos
Where: Bobby McKey’s at National Harbor
When: Saturday, 1-3:30pm
Admission: $18

The whole crew can enjoy an afternoon of music and fun at this dueling piano shows. The two hours of all-request live music paired with a lunch buffet is a great way to stay cool on a hot summer day. And this is a performance where kids are encouraged to wiggle in their seats, dance in the aisles, and sing along!

Show Time
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Dive into the magical world of Cirque Italia!
* Go on a wild journey to Jumanji at Adventure Theatre
* See the Maryland Youth Ballet perform at Children’s Theatre in the Woods at Wolf Trap
* The UniverSoul Circus is wowing audiences at National Harbor (look for discount tickets)
* Imagination Stage and The Washington Ballet bring you The Little Mermaid
* Peter and the Wolf is running at The Puppet Co.
* And Magic Toyshop is the featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theater
* Last chance for ages 1-5 to enjoy Inside Out at Imagination Stage
* Born for This: The Bebe Winans Story is playing at Arena Stage this summer
* Enjoy a KidFree evening out at a performance of Tweflth Knight at Synetic Theatre
* The Phantom of the Opera is on stage at the Kennedy Center, and its recommended for ages 6 and up (look for discount tickets)

That’s My Girl Bike Ride
Where: Capitol Hill
When: Saturday
Admission: $30-40

Calling all tough little girls and the grown ups who support them! Recess Outings is debuting a new series this Saturday afternoon, called That’s My Girl! The bike ride is a celebration of brave and resilient women, young and old, and riders will pedal past several monuments and landmarks devoted to inspirational women. Regular rides are on the weekend schedule too, so join in for a bike ride! Register in advance.

Stories in Art
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Step inside a music concert and then listen to a live lute performance during this session of the National Gallery’s summer program for children. Designed for ages 4-7, the series explores Dutch art through stories and activities inspired by works in the museum, with a focus on music this weekend. There are several time slots available — 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, and 1:30pm. Sign-in takes place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 10am and will continue until all spaces are filled. And they do often fill up, so plan to get there early to register.

Harry Potter Parties
Where: East City Bookshop
When: Saturday, 10pm & Sunday, 1pm
Admission: Free

Our favorite wizard is coming back in a new book, and East City Bookshop is celebrating his return! The store will remain open late on Saturday, so that you can buy your copy of the newest installment in the Harry Potter series, The Cursed Child, the instant it goes on sale at midnight! Get there at 10pm for an evening of wizarding festivities, including HP-themed cocktails and snacks, movie screenings, and fun activities for all ages, including Harry Potter trivia and a costume contest. Register for the event here. On Sunday, there will be a Harry Potter birthday celebration for kids and families. A sorting ceremony, refreshments, a costume contest, and book read-along will be part of the festivities. RSVP here.

Harry Potter Midnight Release Party
Where: Child’s Play Locations
When: Saturday, 10:30pm
Admission: Free

Whether you’re a Muggle, witch, or wizard, join fans of all ages at a Hogwarts-themed party at any Child’s Play location. The countdown begins at 10:30pm, with the official release of the new book at 12:01am. Activities will include a photo station, wand-making and tie-decorating inspired by the four Hogwarts houses, a sorting hat station, Harry Potter trivia games, a scavenger hunt, snacks, Quidditch games, and a visit by an owl (on loan from Potomac Overlook Park). Note that activities may vary by location.

Book it to Old Town
Where: Hooray for Books
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The children’s book store in Old Town Alexandria is hosting several family events this weekend. Take little ones to a story time and sing-a-long on Saturday at 2pm as picture book author Liz Starin presents her new books Splashdance. Join a Harry Potter book release party at midnight. And celebrate Where’s Waldo in Alexandria, the conclusion of a month-long scavenger hunt on Sunday 2-3pm.

Game On
Where: Labyrinth Game Shop
When: Saturday, 1-6pm & Sunday, 11am – 6pm
Admission: Free (but be ready to buy!)

Stock up on your board games and puzzles! Labyrinth’s 5th annual Used Game Sale will have more than 1,000 amazing games that will be sold for great prices! There will also be both live and silent auctions for the hotter ticket items (register to bid here), and Sunday will be the rummage sale. As always, all funds raised by the event will be used to buy local teachers games for their classrooms, to support Labyrinth’s after school game clubs, and to buy new demos for our game library (this store really rocks!).

Brookside Nature Challenge
Where: Brookside Nature Center
When: Saturday, 2-3pm
Admission: Free

Play, discover, and connect at Brookside Nature Center! The activities vary from week to week at this program – you might search for native wildlife or track the motion of the sun — but they’re all designed for having fun in nature. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

The Magical Brunch
Where: 1606 K Street NW
When: Saturday, 12pm & 4pm
Admission: Tickets starts at $19.99

Enjoy action packed entertaiment for the entire family as Clown ‘n Around Live presents two shows on Saturday. Enjoy with over 20 of your child’s favorite characters, brunch buffett, face painting, balloon animals, a dj, raffles, and much more! Get your tickets here.

Under the Sea at the Library
Where: MLK Library
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Learn about the ocean’s most feared and misunderstood creatures, and how sharks, stingrays & skates are important to marine ecosystems. This is a great introduction program for participation in the Library’s Science in the Summer Program focusing on oceanography. Recommended for ages 5 – 12.

Kick it with Spirit
Where: Maureen Hendricks Field at the Maryland SoccerPlex
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission: Tickets start at $25

The United aren’t the only soccer game in town. Women’s pro soccer team, Washington Spirit, plays in Germantown, and this weekend they’re hosting the Sky Blue FC at home. Per a KFDC reader: “You get affordable tickets and concessions, picnic seating behind the goal, a really intimate, family-friendly environment and top-level soccer.”

Discover Rembrant
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

The National Gallery’s film program for young guests presents three animated short films based on children’s books. The series introduces audiences to the works of Rembrant and the imaginative world of art. Combine it with the Stories in Art program, and you’ve got quite an art lesson for kids! Recommended for ages 4 and up. Read more about the films on the NGA website.

Creature Feature
Where: Brookside Nature Center
When: Sunday, 1:30-2pm
Admission: Free

Join a naturalist at this weekly program to learn about the animals who live in and around Wheaton Regional Park. Discover the amazing adaptations and features of the different animals on display in the nature center. Afterwards, stay at at Brookside to explore the rest of the grounds. For ages 1 and up.

Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5/adults, $4/child, free for 4 and under

Buzz on down to Solomons, MD as Annmarie celebrates and investigates insects through games, art activities, bug hunts, and show & tell fun. And be sure to explore the rest of the gardens and art center while you’re there – artistic delights and play abound!

Nature & Recreation in Annapolis
Where: Quiet Waters Park
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $6/car

Head east to explore a new park. A couple of months ago we discovered Quiet Waters, kind of by accident, and it made for a fantastic outdoorsy Mother’s Day. Hike in the woods under a leafy canopy, paddle the South River, take in scenic vistas, and even view some art.

Mission Good Time
Where: International Spy Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $21.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-11, free for 6 and under (discount here)

Devise a plan to visit the International Spy Museum and go undercover to explore the intriguing world of espionage. See the largest collection of espionage-related artifacts ever placed on public display and learn about the lives of secret agents through lots interactive exhibits. Head to Shake Shack for a bite (or treat) before or after — it’s conveniently located right next door.

Disc Golfin’
Where: Calvert Road or Seneca Creek State Parks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Hit the links, the chain links, that is! Disc golf is a great way to enjoy a day outdoors with the family. Read about one of our outings enjoying the Frisbe-golf combo here. We’ve also enjoyed it at Seneca Creek State Park. Not only is it fun and challenging, the courses are set up in pretty parks with opportunities for more recreation at both.

Go with the Flow
Where: Potomac, Anacostia, & Patuxent Rivers
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by boathouse

Enjoy the weekend on the water, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and pontoons. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, and you can also row from the Ballpark Boathouse next to Yards Park. Bladensburg Waterfront Park also has vessels for rent along with free pontoon boat tours on weekends from 5-5:45. And if you’re up for a bigger excursion, you can rent your own pontoon at Solomons Island.

DC United vs. Montreal Impact
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Sunday, 6:30pm
Admission: Tickets

Wind down the weekend with some fútbol action. The DC United are hosting the Montreal Impact on Sunday evening. Be sure to stop by the Fan Zone in section 222 for a variety of kids activities.

Plan Ahead for Adventure!
Where: Solomons, MD
When: Future Weekends
Admission: Prices vary by package

Some outings take advanced planning, especially ones that are particularly cool. Ruddy Duck Adventures offers all-inclusive day trips around the Solomons, MD, area. They devise itineraries that include awesome activities and great dining, plus all the instruction and gear needed; all guests have to do is drive. Opt for a fossil and shark teeth hunt, a paddling excursion, or a wine and art adventure. And you can make it a family outing or a day date sans kids. Bonus: Use the code KFDC at check out to get a discount! And for some inside scoop, read about our experience on the fossil hunt.

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