Monday – Feel like you’re outdoors while you’re warm and cozy inside at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Walk amid tropical rainforest, desert, and woodland flora, and be sure to go up on the catwalk to get a birds’s eye view of the jungle. If you want some fresh air, take a stroll through the National Garden outside, too. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here. (PS: Even though it’s government operated, the USBG is still open during the shutdown.)
Tuesday – Spend the day at the National Building Museum. Little ones can enjoy a free story time with DC Public Library (10:30am) and engage in all kinds of interactive play in the Building Zone. And the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit upstairs is always fun for kids. Museum hours are 10am – 5pm. Exhibit admission, including Building Zone, is $10/adult, $7/child, free for members. During the shutdown, Federal Employees with ID get in free. (KFDC tip: Check out membership options — if you frequent the museum a few times or more per year, it’s so worth it.)
Wednesday – Join a FREE trial class of Tinkergarten, a program where families meet outdoors to connect and learn through play. During this session, your Tinkergarten Leader will facilitate an expert-designed play scenario, allowing children of various ages and needs to explore, problem solve, communicate, collaborate, create, and have fun together. It takes place at Belle Haven Park in Alexandria, VA, from 9:30-10:45am. Trial classes are a great opportunity to see what Tinkergarten is all about! Register in advance here. (Note: There will also be free trial classes Friday, January 18; Wednesday, January 23; and Friday, January 25.)
Thursday – Get a nature fix indoors at Watkins Nature Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. See birds, snakes, turtles, and other small creatures. Play in activity areas with puppets and other toys. Use binoculars to do some birdwatching through a big window. And check to see if any special programs are running when you plan to go. Hous are 8:30am – 5pm. Admission is free. And if weather permits for outdoor fun, read about even more to do at Watkins Regional Park in this KFDC post.
Friday – Enjoy Songs, Stories & Puppets with Mr. David at BloomBars in Columbia Heights. The 30-minute session of storytelling, dancing, singing, and entertainment for children (with parents or caregivers) begins at 10am, and admission is free.