Monday – Have a wild time at the National Zoo! Check the Daily Programs schedule before you go to help plan your outing — you can see an elephant training demo, meet a farm animal, watch feedings, and more — or pick your animal visits as you go. This time of year, grounds are open 8am – 7pm, exhibit building hours are 9am – 6pm, and the Visitor Center runs 9am – 6pm. Admission is free, though parking in the Zoo lot for non-members is $22 (free for members). You can also try parking on Connecticut Avenue or a side street, or take Metro to Woodley Park or Cleveland Park stations then walk a few blocks.
Tuesday – Visit the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress, to explore children’s books, see interesting exhibits, and marvel at one of DC’s most beautiful buildings. The Young Readers Center is open 9am – 4pm and welcomes visitors to read books, do a Garden Maker activity, and hang out in the cozy space. And be sure to spend time checking out the rest of the LOC, too — it’s truly magnificent! Hours are 9am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.
Wednesday – Experience Summer Magic with Dave Thomen. Performances that amuse and astound take place Tuesday – Friday this week at Discovery Theater in the Smithsonian Ripley Center. Recommended for ages 5-12, showtimes are 10:30am and 12pm, plus 2pm on July 20. Admission is $8/adult, $6/child, $3/under 2. For a live show with littler ones, catch Art on the Horizon’s By the Seashore at The Lab at Convergence in Alexandria. Showtime is 10:30am, and tickets are $6.
Thursday – Spend the hot day in the cool underground world of Luray Caverns. Take a day trip to behold the amazing stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system. There’s even more to explore there above ground: Check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum, stop in the Luray Valley Museum, and make your way through the Garden Maze. Hours are 9am – 7pm. Admission for the caverns is $27/adults, $14/ages 6-12, free for ages 5 and under. Some of the other attractions cost extra.
Friday – Join author, performing artist, and educator MiMi Zannino for Books Alive!, a new program for preschoolers in Gaithersburg, MD, featuring theater, storytelling, music, and crafts that celebrate literacy. Explore Constitution Gardens Park with a treasure hunt and storytelling, then make a butterfly craft, sing and dance to ukulele music, and end the adventure with an interactive nature walk through the Garden.