Spring Break is about to begin for a lot of local and visiting kids, and there are a ton of fun ways to get it started this weekend. Celebrate the cherry blossoms, Easter, or the season. See Charm City in a whole new light. Join a Pirate Adventure. Catch a live performance. Visit a historic site. Take a family hike. These are a just a few of many special events and activities going on. And with the great spring weather on the horizon, be sure to explore this compilation of the best outdoor places around the DC-Metro, too. Happy Weekend!
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th Streets NW
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities is easily the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down Constitution Avenue. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.
Where: M Street & New Jersey Ave. SE
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up in advance, free for 12 and under
Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. There will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. All at a new location in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Be prepared for a crowd.
Easter Celebrations for DC Peeps
Where: Around the Area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by event
Egg hunts, bunny visits, and more spring fun to celebrate Easter and the season are happening all around the area. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs for your whole gang. Find a great nature-themed activity at NoVa Parks. Enjoy loads of festive activities at Ticonderoga Farm or Butler’s Orchard. Take a special Bunny Train Ride. Fill a basket at an Eggstravagnza. Or find another egg-cellent event where you can celebrate here.
Springfest: Crowns, Cowboys & Easter Bunny
Where: B&O Railroad Museum
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $18/adult, $16/senior, $12/child
Enjoy festive activities though April 15 at the museum dedicated to trains! Along with train rides & appearances by Anna, Elsa, the Easter Bunny, and some your favorite royal characters, there will be loads of hands-on fun. See the full schedule of it all here.
Where: Baltimore’s Waterfront
When: Friday & Saturday
See Baltimore transformed with large-scale light installations, performances, music, and innovation. Central to Light City is the BGE Light Art Walk along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, featuring more than 50 attractions including illuminated sculptures, projections, interactive technologies, performances, concerts, food vendors and a children’s area. Light City’s innovation programming generates an ecosystem of ideas and learning during the day – while lights, performances, and live music re-imagine Baltimore at night. Be sure to check out the family-friendly features of the festival.
Where: National Harbor
When: Saturday, 12pm
It’s the second annual PEEPS Day at National Harbor, a celebration of the spring season and the uniqueness of everyone’s favorite marshmallow treat! The day will feature games and activities, a DJ, a movie, and the World PEEPS Eating Championship! Check out the full schedule on the website.
Set Sail on the Chesapeake, Matey!
Where: Annapolis Harbor
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $22, $12/ages 2 and under
It’s opening weekend for Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake, returning for its 15th season! This unique outings promises a fun adventure on the water for kids. Young buccaneers starts by getting faces painted and dressing up as pirates, then they set sail for a treasure hunt on the water. While reading a map to find sunken treasure the crew of children use water cannons in defense against an enemy pirate, discover a secret stash of pirates’ grog, and so much more! The Sea Gypsy sails seven days a week, six times a day (9:30am, 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm 3:30pm, and 5pm) — make a reservation for this weekend! Read about a KFDC experience with Pirate Adventures.
Run of the Mill
Where: Peirce Mill, Rock Creek Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
All ages are welcome to see the 2,000-pound millstone convert corn to cornmeal using good old-fashioned renewable energy of water. Miller Jeanne and Friends of Peirce Mill invite you to see DC’s only gristmill in action. Be sure to stop by Peirce Barn next door to explore the exhibits and enjoy children’s crafts. Read more about Peirce Mill in this KFDC post.
Fairies in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Friday/Saturday/Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $5/adult, $4/senior, $3/child
Annmarie’s magicalicious exhibit of fairy and gnome houses opens this weekend. As if the sculpture garden near Solomons, MD, wasn’t already wonderful, this annual display adds extra delight to a visit there with more than 50 handmade fairy and gnome homes scattered through the grounds. Visit the Arts Building to borrow a costume (or purchase one in the Gift Shop) to get into the fanciful spirit, grab a guide, and start your journey to locate them all. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post.
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show
* Your wish for all-ages entertainment has been granted: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp opens at Adventure Theatre this weekend
* Reserve free tickets to Celebrate America’s Jazz Heritage with Unified Jazz Ensemble, this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* The Three Billy Goats Gruff is on the Main Stage at The Puppet Co.
* And Imaginary Friends is this week’s featured Tiny Tots show
* Paper Dreams at Imagination Stage will delight young audiences
* Ragtime is running at Ford’s Theatre, a historic DC etertainment venue
* The Broadway hit Chicago just opened at the Kennedy Center
* A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage is a good option with older kids or for a date night
* Circus and theater meets onstage cooking as The 7 Fingers of the Hand presents Cuisine & Confessions at George Mason’s Center for the Arts (be sure to read description to see if appropriate for your kid)
Emancipation Day Celebration
Where: Freedom Plaza
When: Saturday, 1-3pm & 9pm
Commemorate the end of slavery in Washington, DC, with a parade, truck touch, and more all-ages festivities. Watch a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue at 1pm, then check out vehicles and enjoy a concert at Freedom Plaza. The event will culminate with fireworks at 9pm.
Hello Kitty Cafe Truck
Where: Bethesda Row
When: Saturday, 10am – 8pm
Admission: Free, but treats range in price
Take the kids to a mobile vehicle of cuteness that offers a delicious array of Hello Kitty sweets and special goodies to fans of all ages. The yummy treats on board the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck will include a 3-piece Hello Kitty cookie set, a rainbow macaron box set that includes a surprise Sanrio character design, a 4-pack of mini cakes, and bow-shaped bottles of water. In addition to the goodies, a Hello Kitty Cafe mug, a supercute pink Hello Kitty Cafe t-shirt and the pop icon’s signature bow headband will also be available to purchase.
Family Literary Fiesta
Where: Highland Elementary School
When: Saturday, 11am – 12pm
Kids and adults can join together in a celebration of books and stories! Ali Oliver-Krueger, playwright/composer, performing artist, and Artistic Director of InterAct Story Theatre, will lead a special interactive performance of Mama-San Stories, weaving tales from her Japanese-American childhood with traditional Japanese mukashibanashi (Long-Ago Stories) in this funny and heart-warming east-meets-west storytelling experience.
Weekend Walk in the Woods
Where: Woodend Nature Sanctuary
When: Saturday, 9-10am
Take a hike — and advantage of the Audubon Naturalist Society’s free monthly family program. On the first Saturday of each month from 9-10am, join Master Naturalists for a nature hike around Woodend Sanctuary. Each outing has a unique and exciting natural history theme that’s appropriate for family members of all ages. Be prepared to hike in sneakers. Meet in the gazebo by the main house. Read a KFDC review of Woodend Nature Sanctuary.
Popovich Comedy Pet Theater
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center
When: Saturday, 11am & 2pm
Admission: $15/adults, $5/children
The whole family will be amused and amazed by the juggling skills of Gregory Popovich and the antics of his furry and feathered friends. This award-winning Moscow Circus veteran has given his loveable troupe of rescue animals — cats, dogs, geese, parrots, a Shetland pony, and others — a new leash on life through this popular show. Clowns, acrobats and jugglers accompany a menagerie of adorable animals that eagerly perform remarkable circus tricks.
Japanese Woodblock Printing
Where: Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-4pm
In celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, all ages are welcome to join the Sackler Gallery for opening weekend of Inventing Utamaro and free family activities. In this Open Studio, witness firsthand the beauty and complexity of Japanese woodblock prints. Take a family-friendly tour (offered at 12:30pm and 2:30pm) of the exhibition, then explore traditional tools and papers. A teaching artist will demonstrate transferring designs to a block, carving, and basic printing techniques. Be prepared to get your hands inky.
Where: Clark’s Elioak Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday
Let little princesses & princes dress up for this visit to the storybook-themed farm (you can read more about it in the list of outdoor outings). Clark’s Elioak will be celebrating Howard County’s “Cherrybration” Days with treats fit for young royalty and plenty of pink pizzazz. Children in a family will get a free hayride if at least one person in the family is dressed as a pink princess. Kids can also dress up in gowns on hand at the farm for a photo opportunity with “Princess Cherrybella.”
Earth Month Scavenger Hunt
Where: Maydale Conservation Park
When: Saturday, 12:30-1:30pm
Celebrate Earth Month at Maydale with a “Who’s Here?” Scavenger Hunt! Learn about the pond, stream and forest and the animals and insects found there and how and why we should protect them. Registration required for all attending!
Spring Light Show
Where: Ticonderoga Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday
Who says lights displays are only for the winter holidays? Not Ticonderoga Farm! Their Spring Walk of Lights welcomes you to enjoy Farm Town as it comes alive. Wander past the notorious pirate ship adventure, stroll through the tunnel of amaze, gaze up at an 18-foot bunny, and take in more delightful illuminated scenes. It’s the kind of event that will become seasonal family tradition! Be sure to check out the website for details on timing.
Family Afternoon: Design with Nature
Where: National Building Museum
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
All ages can drop in for creative hands-on activities, a community garden design project, and opportunities to learn about Japanese art and design. See how nature is intentionally integrated into the built world, different ways people design with nature, and how nature can inspire design in and around built spaces. Learn about symbolism of the natural world across cultures and make connections between springtime symbolism, design, nature, and the built world they live in.
Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park
When: Sunday, 1-5pm
The National Park Service and the 11th Street Bridge Park present the third annual Anacostia River Festival, a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival. For a taste of local D.C., come celebrate the Anacostia River and take a canoe out to explore the River, ride in our bike parade, play lawn games with your family and experience Southeast D.C.’s local arts scene at this special FREE event. This year will be a celebration of biking in the District with trail rides, safety classes, quick bike tune ups, and special bike activities for all ages. Festival location is Good Hope Road & Anacostia Drive SE.
Where: Anacostia Arts Center
When: Sunday, 1-5pm
Enjoy an interactive art installation, art exhibitions, floral arranging classes, workshops, live music, spring fashion. This free, family-friendly event is part of the Anacostia River Festival, a premier event of the 2017 National Cherry Blossom Festival.
DC Way Soccer Festival
Where: Marine Barracks Soccer Field
When: Sunday, 2-4pm
This festival’s goal: To gather children & parents to play soccer, socialize, and have fun! It’s a great chance to introduce kids to the magnificent game of soccer, test your own skills, participate in fun competitions, and ask the coaches questions regarding the game and sports in general. The day will include multiple games and activities, such as soccer tennis, a parents vs. children challenge, best strike contest, and more! The Marine Barracks Soccer Field is located at 7th & I Streets SE.
Where: Tenley-Friendship Library
When: Sunday, 3pm
Looking for some creative fun with the kiddos? Stop by the Tenley Friendship Library on Sunday for a drop-in art activity with Rebecca Green from the blog Not-So-SAHM and author of the book Banish Boredom: Activities to Do with Kids that You’ll Actually Enjoy. Join her to make super fun collage portraits that you can bring home to display!