Happy Long Weekend!
Quick links to loads of ideas for ongoing fun:
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
* The Great Indoors
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Ice Skating
* Baltimore with Kids
* Stunning Spaces
* Peaceful Places
* Bike Rides
Hang Out at George’s Place
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission: $26/adult, $13/age 6-11, free/5 & under
What better place to visit over Presidents Day weekend than our first POTUS’ former home? While Mount Vernon is neat to explore anytime, George’s 291st birthday is a good occasion to go. Tour the expansive grounds with original buildings, the mansion where he lived, and the Education Center full of interesting exhibits about Washington’s life and colonial times. Enjoy the sunny weather outside as you take in views of the Potomac River from the backyard. To celebrate the holiday, admission is free on Monday, and tickets will be distributed on-site upon arrival (though limited). And FYI: There is also free admission on Wednesday (for George’s bday), if you can swing a weekday visit. Read more about Mount Vernon here.
Where: US Botanic Garden | US Capitol Grounds, DC
When: Opens Friday through April 30
The USBG & Smithsonian Garden’s annual orchid exhibit is back, and it’s always so lovely to see. Thousands of orchid blooms showcase the collections, and not only can you take in the beauty, the exhibit shares stories of the diversity of orchids and how technology advances their conservation. See them in the Tropics house at ground level and suspended in the air, plus two 9-foot-tall tree sculptures covered with hundreds of epiphytic orchids will be a colorful photo opportunity. They’ll be on display in other areas as well.
Learn about Lincoln’s Last Days
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Daily, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free – $3
Ford’s Theatre isn’t just a place to catch live entertainment. The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination highlights its historic significance through exhibits about the president, the circumstances surrounding his assassination, and that fateful night at the theatre. The National Historic Site features a museum, theatre walk-throughs and a presentation, and guests are welcome to explore it all. Best for about ages 8 and up. Reserve tickets online in advance for $3 or get them at the Box Office for free.
A Monumental Experience
Where: Washington Monument | National Mall, DC
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
For a “presidential” pursuit this holiday weekend, the Washington Monument is super fun to tour. You can go up inside to check out interesting exhibits and take in DC views. Advance reservation tickets for the next day are available online for a nominal processing fee. Same-day, free tickets are also be available on a first-come, first-served basis daily starting at 8:30am at the Washington Monument Lodge, located on 15th Street NW, between Madison Drive NW. Get a glimpse from the inside here.
Black History Month Family Day
Where: Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park | Sandy Spring, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Stop in the Woodlawn Manor Visitors Center to pick up take-home activities for kids as well as a trail map to explore the Underground Railroad Experience Trail. The hike is a great outing with kids during Black History Month (or anytime), offering insight into the experience of enslaved peoples’ escape to freedom. The walk through woods and along edges of fields (with a map and explanation of the hike) is interesting and enlightening as well as an active way to spend time outdoors.
Mardi Gras Celebration
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 3-7pm
Enjoy the spirit of New Orleans in DC at The Wharf’s Mardi Gras celebration. Festivities include a lively mile-long parade down Wharf Street with stilt walkers, decorated floats, the King and Queen of Mardi Gras, and special performances by Batalá Washington and the Eastern High School Marching Band. After the parade, enjoy live music from Naptown Brass Band on District Pier and a fireworks salute closing out the night with a dazzling display over the water.
Presidential Family Fun Day
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
The Portrait Gallery is celebrating President’s Day with a day of family fun. Along with crafts, music, games, and the Nets Racing Presidents, there will be spotlight tours of “America’s Presidents” and a newly installed 9-foot-tall portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Visitors can also experience what it was like to shake hands with the 16th president with a new 3-D tactile reproduction of the plaster face masks and hand casts on view. Reserve a spot in advance!
Family Day at DAR
Where: DAR Museum | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 12-3pm
The DAR Museum celebrates Presidents Day with a Saturday full of activities for all ages. The museum will be open to all, and activities and games will be out for children of all ages.
Stop by Abe’s Old Digs
Where: President Lincoln’s Cottage | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday – Monday, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: $12-15/adult, $4-5/ages 6-12, free for 5 and under
A great way to honor our 16th prez is with a visit to his “summer” house. Located on the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) campus in Petworth, 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.
Great Backyard Bird Count
Where: Outdoors around the DC Area (or anywhere)
When: Through Monday
Admission: Depends on where you go
Each February, for four days, the world comes together for the love of birds. Over these days, people are invited to spend time in their favorite places watching and counting as many birds as they can find and report them to the Great Backyard Bird Count. The observations help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations. Participating is easy — learn more about it here.
Celebrate Black History
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Throughout February (and beyond)
Admission: Varies by activity
February is Black History Month, and there are many great events and activities throughout the DC area to celebrate it. Museum programs, guided and self-guided tours, visits to significant sites, story time sessions, special exhibits, and more will be enlightening, enriching, and entertaining for all.
Model Trains & Thomas
Where: Historic Vienna Train Station | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Stop by the Historic Vienna Train Station where you can see and hear HO scale model trolleys and trains including Thomas and some of his friends on display and in operation. It’s a great family activity for the young and young at heart. Hosted by the Northern Virginia Model Railroaders, the station is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, VA.
Take a Hike
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
The recommendation to hit the trail is a staple in these round-ups. And it looks this weekend will be a great time to do it. Enjoy the sunshine, take in the winter scenery, maybe explore local history or spy some wildlife. You can even work in some geocaching! This post has a a bunch of recommendations for places to tramp with kids. Some specific recs for right now: The National Arboretum in Northeast DC has lots of little trails and beautiful plant collections; head out to Harpers Ferry for hiking and history; include some Black History in your outing on the Underground Railroad Experience Trail; walk in the woods at Pohick Bay Regional Park.
(Geo)Cache in on Fun
Where: Around the Area
Take kids on a “treasure” hunt and have a little adventure along the way. Geocaching is a perfect way to be active and enjoy a day outdoors. Whether you search in the city or seek out a destination that requires a hike in the woods, locating the hidden cache will be a thrill for everyone. See this post about our first foray into the pursuit awhile back.
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4:30pm
Get creative at the studio within The REACH at the Kennedy Center. All ages are welcome and encouraged to partake in various art projects and activities. Drop in to build your own instrument, try your hand at animation, and explore the intersection of music, motion, and visual art. Plan for time to stroll the lovely outdoor areas as well.
Where: Roundhouse Theatre | Bethesda, MD
When: Friday – Sunday
Take teens to this show by the Round House Theatre Teen Performance Company… A patch of land beneath an abandoned overpass serves as a common, yet sacred, ground for a group of teenage girls as they navigate adolescence. Identity, sexuality, and their unique upbringings all play a part in how they transition from childhood to young adulthood and figure out what comes next. Girlhood explores the dreams, fears, humor, and heartache of coming of age in an intimate series of vignettes. Students age 13+ can request free tickets through their Free Play program.
Laurie Berkner Band
Where: Gordon Center for Performing Arts | Owings Mills, MD
When: Sunday, 11am & 3pm
Best selling children’s music artist Laurie Berkner is returning to the DC area for two shows. A true pioneer in children’s music, beloved by generations of children and parents for over twenty years, she’ll be playing well-loved hits like “Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)” and “We Are the Dinosaurs” along with newer songs. Kids should plan to bring their dancing shoes and a stuffed animal (for their heads). FYI: We took a toddler Owen to one of Laurie’s shows years ago, and it was a blast!
Where: Hylton Performing Arts Center | Masassas, VA
When: Sunday, 3pm
Virginia National Ballet’s popular production of Aladdin!
VNB is reviving the extremely popular ballet “Aladdin” which was first premiered in 2018! Follow Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar, and the magic carpet on their adventures, with a fantastic orchestral score, gorgeous costumes and scenery, and great dancing!
Main Reading Room Open House
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Monday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but reserve timed-entry tickets
Where you can usually only glimpse from a window above, you can visit on one of just two days per year it’s open to the public! The beautiful Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress is holding its semi-annual Open House on Presidents’ Day. Marvel at the magnificent architecture and design from within, check out the old card catalogs (remember those?), and explore more while you’re there. This is a really neat event for all ages — I highly recommend it! Read more about the LOC in this KFDC post.
George Washington’s Birthday Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria, Kind & Royal Streets
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. Watch the procession as it travel through Old Town Alexandria. See the website for more info and route details.
Where: Ice skating rinks around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink
Enjoy some quintessential seasonal fun: Ice skating! Get your skate and art on at the Sculpture Garden. Glide over the Potomac on The Wharf’s awesome rink. Circle around Washington Harbour as you enjoy river views. Meander along the Figure 8 path at Canal Park. Do some shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. Or head to an ice arena for some skating out of the elements. Check out this post with info for ice rinks — outdoors and in — around the area.
Where: All Around Charm City | Baltimore, MD
When: All Weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
The long weekend is a great time for a day trip (or even overnight) to Baltimore — there are so many great family-friendly attractions there, you may want an extra day to enjoy a few. Explore the exhibits at Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Play the day away at Port Discovery. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. View history in the works at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. And even more! This KFDC guide has the scoop.
Where: Around the DC area
Admission: Varies by locale
Take advantage of the nice weather and get outdoors this weekend! This post, written during the height of Covid, is full of recs for activities that take place in the fresh air, from hikes to art experiences to seasonal sports to garden explorations to all-season fun. (Note that none of the light shows are running now.)
***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* I just visited the new(ish) Museum of Illusions and really enjoyed it — post to come soon!
* DC Way is offering February Break Soccer Camp this coming week, Feb 21-24.
* Tickets for The Dr. Seuss Experience, coming to the DC area starting April 7, are now on sale.
* Great Wolf Lodge has a great promo going on this Saturday and Sunday, February 18-19: Save up to 48% with promo code: A48HOUR.Read more about the family resort in this KFDC post.
* Hanna Andersson has a sale going on February 17-21: 25% off everything with code WKND25.
* More good Prez Day Wknd sales: Athleta (this pretty tank), J.Crew (this gauze top) Target (this fun patio set), Pottery Barn (this simple but unique carafe), Best Buy (these wireless earbuds).
* Just starting reading this new novel and really into it so far.
* Paul Rudd in the Post.
* Been there. 😂