After this difficult week, I think we’re all looking forward to some good quality time with our children this long weekend. As always, our city provides plenty of opportunities for that. Celebrate President’s Day, Black History Month, and the Chinese New Year. Be an engineer for a day. See a live show. Enjoy an artsy adventure. And keep the Great Indoors list and round-up of best outdoor places handy because the weather will be conducive to both. And hug your kiddos extra, extra tight. Happy Weekend!
Party at George’s Place
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission: $20/adult, $11/age 6-11, free/5 & under (discount below)
Every Presidents Day weekend, George Washington’s former estate hosts special festivities in celebration of the first POTUS’ big day. Sample his favorite breakfast, mingle with costumed characters from the old days, create a birthday card for George, and enjoy some dancing with the 18th-century. Of course, take time to explore the grounds, mansion, and Education Center exhibits, including the just debuted Be Washington, a great interactive experience that lets you step into his boots and make the tough decisions he faced. On Monday, there will be a special marching drill and dance demos along with ceremonial wreathlayings to honor Washington. Bonus: Admission is free on Monday, but I can tell you from experience that a lot of folks show up to take advantage of the complimentary entry. But, good news: KFDC readers can get 20% off admission using the code BWASHKFDC. This can be used for up to 4 adults or youth through May 31, 2018.
Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Birthday
Where: Frederick Douglass National Historic Site | Anascostia, DC
When: Saturday 10am – 5pm & Sunday, 12-4pm
Celebrate 200 years of the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass! February 2018 makes it 200 years since Frederick Douglass was born into this world. Born as a slave, he escaped to his freedom and against all odds, rose to a life of honor by becoming a statesman, journalist, activist, hero and so much more. Join the National Park Service for a yearlong commemoration as we honor the history of Douglass’s life, his connection to the community and his commitment to social justice. There will be all kids of activities for all ages at the historic site and nearby venues (see the puppet show below) to celebrate the occasion.
Discover Engineering Family Day
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Celebrate National Engineers Week with a fun-filled day designed to introduce students ages 4-12 to the wonder of engineering and the importance of technological literacy. Guests can try out exciting, hands-on engineering experiences and talk with professional engineers of all kinds. Nearly 30 Family Day exhibitors present basic engineering principles through hands-on and mind-challenging activities and special demonstrations will be sprinkled throughout the day. We know from experience that it’s a fun, engaging time for all!
Black History Month Celebrations
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity
February is Black History Month, and there are events and activities throughout the DC area to celebrate it. Museum programs (including an entire museum!), special tours and exhibits, story time sessions, and more will be enlightening and fun for all ages. See where they’re all happening here.
Chinese New Year Family Day
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday, 9am
All ages are welcome to the Kennedy Center’s annual Lunar New Year festivities, this year celebrating the Year of the Dog with three days of special events, including this fun-filled day of activities and entertainment. Video footage of and letters to Bao Bao the panda, traditional Chinese dress-up and crafts, folk dancing, acrobatic, and shadow puppetry performances, and much more will be part of the festivities. See the website for more details.
Presidential Family Fun Day
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Celebrate President’s Day and fifty years of the Portrait Gallery’s hallmark exhibition America’s Presidents with live music, art activities, tours with historians, and a special appearance by the Washington Nationals’ Running Presidents. And be sure to stop and see the just unveiled portraits of President and Mrs. Obama while you’re there! Read more about the museum in this recent post and this one from a past experience there.
Frederick Douglass Puppet Show
Where: Anacostia Arts Center | Anacostia, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1pm & 3pm
The Frederick Douglass bicentennial birthday celebration will include entertainment at the Anacostia Arts Center, too. Double Nickels Theatre Company is presenting a Frederick Douglass puppet show on both Saturday & Sunday. All performances are free!
Legends & Legacies Jubilee 2018
Where: Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Park | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
In honor of Black History Month and the 200th celebration of Frederick Douglass’ birth, join many of Baltimore’s most exciting attractions for an afternoon of FREE performances and interactive family-friendly activities. Experience exhibits from world-class institutions like the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, the National Aquarium, the Maryland Zoo, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, and more.
Where: Theatres around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
* See Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Adventure Theatre
* Digging up Dessa, recommended for ages 10+ is at the Kennedy Center
* The Prince and the Pauper – A Bollywood Tale is on the Imagination Stage
*It’s opening weekend for Beauty and the Beast at The Puppet Co.
* And Dragon Babies is the Tiny Tots performance for littles on Saturday
* Enjoy an NSO Family Concert Let’s Remix the Classix! at the Kennedy center on Sunday (and the link gets you a discount!)
* Make it a date night or take older kids to Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Hamlet or Sovereignty at Arena Stage
Adventures in Exploration: Birds of a Feather
Where: National Geographic Museum | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $15/adult, $7/age 7-12, free/6 & under
Take the family on an epic adventure to discover why birds matter. Hear amazing stories from National Geographic Explorers Washington Wachira and Anusha Shankar, experience the wild beats of explorer and wildlife sound artist Ben Mirin, watch National Geographic WILD’s new film Planet of the Birds, and play an interactive game called Beastbox. This is part of the new Adventures in Exploration series from Nat Geo that takes place on the third Saturday of every month.
Stop by Abe’s
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage | Petworth, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15/adult, $6/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under
There’s no special event, but this seems like a good way to honor our 16th POTUS for President’s Day. Located on the Armed Forces Retirement Home campus in northwest DC, the cottage was Abraham Lincoln’s country home and workplace, where he spent one quarter of his presidency. Admission includes the Cottage tour, an innovative small group tour in which a professional guide uses “historical voices” and images through multimedia technology to bring the stories of Abraham Lincoln and his family to life. It’s recommended for ages 6 and up.
Washington Dollar Days
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: Friday/Saturday/Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Don’t miss your chance to practice the frugality our founding father approved of: George Washington was born in February, and Tudor Place is celebrating him all month through artifacts, furnishings, and stories, all for just one “Washington dollar!” Tours begin hourly, and it’s recommended you book ahead.
Hamiltunes: An American Singalong
Where: Arlington Public Library | Arlington, VA
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Do not throw away your shot and miss this one-of-a-kind event! Kids in grades 6 and up and adults are invited to sing along to the story of Alexander Hamilton! They’ll play the full instrumental album from “Hamilton: An American Musical” as you sing along at our officially licensed Hamiltunes event. Wear your best revolutionary get-up for a costume contest during intermission. Register here.
Bonsai or a Big Tree
Where: National Arboretum | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $25 per child/adult pair
Every tree seedling has its fate, and in this workshop, you can learn how that fate is determined. One adult and one child will have a special day together as they work as lab partners, using “scientist eyes” to observe details and make comparisons. Learn about plant physiology, ecosystems, and bonsai history. At the close of class, each research team will receive a seedling and decide its fate — will the tree go through the rigorous training to become a bonsai, or will you plant it outdoors in spring to grow up wild, big, and free? Dress for weather — you’ll be in an open exhibit area for part of the workshop. This activity is recommended for ages 8+, geared to kids in 3rd and 4th grades. Due to limited classroom space, strollers can’t be accommodated. Registration is required – sign up here.
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Drop in for the museum’s wonderful program for children ages 4-7. Art Investigators introduces kids to art and encourages them to make observations and use their imaginations as they discover different works. During this weekend’s sessions, they’ll explore the Quilts of Gee’s Bend. Read a KFDC review of the program from the early KFDC years (it’s old, but still relevant, as the program is very much the same, although the name has changed). Sessions are at 10:30, 11:30, and 12:30 on Saturday and Monday, and at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 on Sunday. Sign-in takes place in the East Building Atrium, starting at 10am on Saturday and Monday and 11am on Sunday.
Room for Children
Where: House of Sweden | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12-5pm
Visit the space for family fun at the Swedish Embassy on Georgetown’s waterfront. This library and arts studio for the young is designed to stimulate children’s interest in books, music, storytelling, and self-expression. Room for Children pushes the boundaries of what a library can be. Parents are encouraged to engage in it all with kids and share the experience! It’s open on weekends through December, and every Saturday, there is a storytime session at 2pm.
Celebrate the Year of the Dog (& Shop!)
Where: Leesburg Premium Outlets | Leesburg, VA
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Welcome the Year of the Dog with a traditional dragon dance, fashion show, music, calligraphy demonstrations and more! Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets is ringing in the Lunar New Year with a variety of free, family-friendly activities. Lunar New Year is honored in many countries and celebrates the beginning of the lunisolar calendar. On Saturday, shoppers can expect a traditional dragon dance, Chinese Hanfu fashion show, customary music and dancing from a variety of cultures, calligraphy demonstrations, crafts and more, Families can also look forward to exclusive savings at select retailers.
Model Train Open House
Where: Historic Vienna Depot | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Visit the historical Vienna Stain station to watch model train and trolley activities that realistically depict an actual railroad that existed in North Carolina in the 1950′s, the Western North Carolina (WNC). Locomotive, rail car, and towns industry in this layout is modeled after those places and things as they looked in that era. Thomas the Tank Engine (and a few of his friends) are chugging around among the bigger steam and diesel locomotives. The Vienna Depot is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, Virginia just down the street from the red caboose. Check out the virtual tour here.
Chinese New Year Parade
Where: Throughout Chinatown, DC
When: Sunday, 2pm
Welcome, Year of the Dog! On Sunday, the annual Chinese New Year Parade brings vibrant tradition to downtown DC. Festivities kick off at 6th & I Streets NW at 2pm and will wind through the streets of Chinatown celebrating Chinese culture in a brilliant procession that includes traditional dance, music, and, of course, the iconic dragons. Kids always love seeing the show and having trinkets and treats given to them by parade participants passing by (mine really dig this!). The parade lasts about two hours, and spectating is free. Get there a little early to stake out your curbside spot — folks come out for this one, especially if it’s a nice day.
Frozen Day of Play
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/age 6-17, free/5 & under
Drop in for a family day of play and creativity and explore the wonders of winter and ice through a variety of art projects, pretend play, investigations, and more! From frosty face painting, to a frozen treasure hunt, to guided winter walks, kids of all ages will delight in this sensory seasonal experience. They can even play in the snow flurries outside! Read more about Annmarie here and here.
George Washington Birthday Parade
Where: Throughout Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: Monday, 1-3pm
Alexandria hosts the largest parade in the country celebrating George Washington’s birthday with marching bands, historic re-enactment troops, and more. Bundle up to watch the procession as it travels through Old Town. See the website for more info and route details.
President’s Day Tour
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine | Silver Spring, MD
When: Monday, 1pm
This free, docent-led introductory tour highlights the remarkable changes in American medicine over the past 150 years, with a special focus on military medicine. FYI: I recommend this for older kids! This KFDC post explains why.
***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* Join the movement to end gun violence: Text ACT to 644-33 or BRADY to 877877 (or both)
* Get a chance to win a week of summer camp with RDUTennis!
* CityDance is signing up for summer camp now, too.
* These tweets about the Winter Olympics are fantastic. #curlingiscoolfool
* This interview with Quincy Jones is…interesting, to say the least.
* Sunday apparently is National Drink Wine Day, so be sure to celebrate. Clink!