The Weekend Round-Up:
March 17-19

Play in the trees on opening weekend of the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring

Happy Weekend!

Link up fast to all kinds of local fun:
Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
* The Great Indoors
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Baltimore with Kids
* Bike Rides
* Stunning Spaces
* Peaceful Places

Cherry Blossom Season
Where: Welcome Area | Tidal Basin, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free

With the cherry blossom peak apparently occurring earlier than predicted, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is starting earlier now, too. The Tidal Basin Welcome Area will open on Saturday, and a variety of entertainment will be presented on the ANA stage. Kids can also enjoy National Park Service activities and earn their Bloomin’ Junior Ranger badge. Note that even though the trees aren’t quite at their peak, they’re already starting to draw lots of people to see them.  So be sure to read my Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms if you plan to go.

Family Happy Hour with King Bullfrog
Where: Hill Center | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, 5-7pm
Admission: $5/adult, $10/child, free/under 2

Bring the family out to enjoy a Friday evening filled with live music perfect for all ages! This concert will be indoors on the 2nd floor (if we get unseasonably warm weather, they might move it outdoors), perfect for little ones to run, dance, laugh, and play to the beat of their favorite songs! Beer, wine, and cheese & pepperoni pizza will be for sale.

Caps vs. Blues
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Friday, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary 

Watch some sports action on ice. The Caps are hosting the St. Louis Blues at home on Friday evening. Plan on a pre-game dinner in Penn Quarter — there are plenty of family-friendly places to go in the neighborhood. Some recs: Jaleo, Carmine’s, Daikaya, Shake Shack, and Hill Country BBQ.

Adventure in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Varies by age

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring reopens for the season on Saturday and tickets are still available for many time slots! Kids as young as 5 years old can experience thrills on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial adventure forest, the largest in North America. Children ages 5-6 and an accompanying adult have access to two of the easier courses. Older kids can do much more. It may seem like a pricey venture, but it’s so worth it. Trust me. See more about the park in this KFDC post.

A Gem of an Event
Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds | Gaithersburg, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 6pm & Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: $6/age 12+, free/11 & under

Kids (and adults!) who like fossils, rocks, and/or gems are in for a treat. The 56th Annual Show of the Gem, Lapidary, and Mineral Society of Montgomery County, MD, will have all that and then some. There will be dealers selling collectibles, demonstrations, exhibits, door prizes, free workshops, free specimens for kids, mini mines, and more

Where: The Palisades Hub | Palisades, DC
When: Saturday, various times
Admission: Depends on class

New sessions for kids’ enrichment activities start this weekend! Aristocrafts, a company started by two local moms, will begin offering classes for ages 5-11.  In Arts and Crafts Workshops on Saturdays 9:30-11am from March 18 – April 8, students will make beautiful creations featuring macramé, block printing, wool felting, clay molding, plaster casting, and much more.  Lego© Club poses exciting activities for little builders based on challenges and STEM experiments with a different project every class for tremendous fun, with classes designed to let children develop their creativity through hands-on activities. These will also be held on Saturdays, March 18 – April 8 — sign up for morning from 11am – 12pm or afternoon from 3:30-4:30pm.

Ireland at the Wharf
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

The Wharf and Kirwan’s Irish Pub are bringing the luck of the Irish to the waterfront with a free festival! Enjoy all the fun of a true Irish festival with  Guinness beer, Irish coffee, whiskey, Irish dancing, rugby on the big screen, bands, and bagpipers. All ages welcome. Slainte!

Environmental Film Fest
Where: Several locations around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by film

Films from across the globe are being screened around the DC-Metro area for the the annual DC Environmental Film Festival. And there are a few flicks among them that kids will likely enjoy. Fashion Reimagined, The Plastic Bag Store, Blueback, and Hollow Tree are a few of them (be sure to read descriptions to determine best ages). There are even more films to consider for a grown-up outing. View the website for more details and to view trailers.

Family Game Day
Where: Grace Covenant Church | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Join Grace Covenant Church for their Family Game Day! The community is invited to this special open house and day of fun that includes face painting, a balloon artist, games, an egg hunt, and more entertainment. The church is located at  417 9th St SE.

Brain Awareness Day
Where: National Museum of Health & Medicine | Silver Spring,MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Explore the exciting world of neuroscience! Join brain scientists, researchers, clinicians, and museum educators to enjoy interactive demonstrations and exhibits about the brain. Learn about prevention and treatment of traumatic brain injury, and discover how your brain works!  (Note: This is museum is incredibly fascinating, but maybe not for young children or the faint of heart. Read more about why here.)

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Capitol One Arena | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 1pm
Tickets: $25+
The Harlem Globetrotters 2023 World Tour is coming with game like never before! Your favorite Globetrotter stars are bringing out their amazing basketball skill, outrageous athleticism, and a non-stop LOL good time. Join the Globetrotters as they go head-to-head against the Washington Generals who will stop at nothing to try and defeat the world’s winningest team!

Model Train Open House
Where: Historic Vienna Depot | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

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.

Rapping about Reptiles
Where: Meadowlark Botanical Garden | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 2-3pm
Admission: $5

Do you love reptiles? Join this program to meet a box turtle, a painted turtle, and a few snakes. Naturalist Matt Felperin will share fascinating information on these natives of Virginia. All ages welcome. And plan to tour the rest of Meadowlark’s gorgeous grounds while you’re there — read more about it in this KFDC post.

The Hula Hoopin’ Queen
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Through April 8
Admission: $12-39 

On the Imagination Stage this weekend… Kameeka is confident that today she will finally beat her rival, Jamara, and become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street in Harlem. But she has to prepare for Miz Adeline’s birthday party, and almost ruins the day. Until Miz Adeline confesses that she’s also got the itch–the hula-hoopin’ itch! Her fingers start snappin’. Her hips start swingin’. Soon everyone’s hips are swinging as the party spills out onto the street.

Beauty and the Beast
Where: Synetic Theater | Rosslyn, VA
When: Through April 3
Admission: $35-65

This fresh adaptation is a sparkling and inspiring Gothic romance full of wonder, mystery and redemption expressed through Synetic’s unique stage effects, expressionistic design, puppetry and movement. No sing-alongs or talking teacups from Disney’s animated film in this piece of theater art. Though just as magnificent, this show’s got bite. Note that this production of Beauty and the Beast contains fantasy violence and may be scary to younger children.

Sleeping Beauty on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo Park, MD
When: Friday, 10:30am | Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am & 1pm
Admission: $15
In the Puppet Co.’s version of Sleeping Beauty, a funny frog storyteller ribbits the tale of offended fairies, silly royalty, and magic spells. Relive this classic fairy tale in this lovely Legacy rod-puppet show. Directed by Elizabeth Dapo. Recommended ages 4+. Run time approximately 45 minutes.

Fitting In
Where: Theatre on the Run | Alexandria, VA
When: Through March 26
Admission: $10

Arts on the Horizon presents this show for littles… Three siblings find themselves in a room full of possibilities and one not so simple task- to put things in their proper place. However, they soon discover that throwing this and that into a box is not the same as finding where it fits in. Through clowning, movement, and original music, three performers will transform everyday objects into something extraordinary. Is a blanket a blanket? Or is it the sail of a boat setting off on an epic voyage? Together, we can find the magic buried in the bottom of every box, and hidden inside the world around us! Recommended for ages 2-5.

The Mortification of Fovea Munson
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: Through Sunday
Admission: $20

Mary Winn Heider brings her uproarious book to musical life in this world premiere Kennedy Center commission. Fovea Munson is stuck working at her parents’ cadaver lab, but she is by no means Dr. Frankenstein’s snuffling assistant, Igor! That is, until three disembodied heads start talking. To her. Out loud. And they need a favor. March 18 at 11am is a sensory-friendly performance. Recommended for ages 10+.

Into the Woods
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through Sunday
Admission: $35-159 (look for discount)

Here’s a reason to be happy ever after…  Into the Woods just opened at the Kennedy Center, and this production is recommended for ages 4 and up.   Bring the whole family for a show that got rave reviews on Broadway! And FYI: $35 Rush tickets will be available for every performance beginning each performance day at 5pm at the Kennedy Center Box Office, except matinee performances when Rush tickets will go on-sale at 12pm. Tickets are subject to availability and have no guaranteed location. Two tickets max per person.

Jagged Little Pill
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When:  Through March 26
Tickets: $55-105

Joy, love, heartache, strength, wisdom, catharsis, LIFE — everything we’ve been waiting to see in a Broadway show — is here in the exhilarating, fearless new musical based on Alanis Morissette’s world-changing music. Recommended for ages 14+.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Where: The Madeira School | McLean, VA
When: Saturday, 1pm & 5pm
Tickets: $22-25

Take an adventure with Alice as she falls down the rabbit hole and embarks on a colorful and whimsical journey through Wonderland. Presented by Festival Ballet Virginia, this ballet is appropriate for audience members of all ages — runtime is approximately 1 hour with no intermission. Lap-sitters under age 2 may attend for free. Concessions and boutique items will be available before and after the show in the lobby.

PIXELBLOOM: Timeless Butterflies
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through June 5
Admission: $20-25/adult, $17/age 4-15, $72/family of 4

The newest exhibition at ARTECHOUSE is a delightful and mesmerizing celebration of spring! Features vivid projections of flowers and the flitting insects on the walls and floors of the main gallery room, you can sit on a bench (or right on the floor) and immerse in the dazzling scenery. Or roam around and play — interactive elements, including beautiful displays that swirl, grow, even chime with your movement are in other areas.  There are also neat augmented reality ops.  Both kids and adults will be enchanted. Get more of a glimpse of it here.

Weekend Workshops
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery to do some art making! All ages are welcome to get creative at Weekend Workshops. Learn about artists and changemakers, then create art inspired by their stories. Of course, explore the whole museum while you’re there. See more about the National Portrait Gallery here.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks throughout Fairfax County, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Discover the forest “underworld” at Lake Accotink Park. Have some wildlife encounters at Hidden Pond Nature Center. Check out animal poop at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Join a free Spring Equinox Celebration at Turner Farm Park Observatory. Details and registration for these plus more activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Celebrate Women’s History
Where: Around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity
March is Women’s History Month, and there are so many great ways to celebrate it around DC, with something for all ages. See some exhibits, tour local landmarks, enjoy live entertainment, attend a festival… all of it showcasing women and their accomplishments. This post has details on where you can do that over the next month — and beyond!

Wizards vs Kings
Where: Capitol One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 8pm
Admission: Tickets prices vary (check for discount)

The Wizards are playing at home on Saturday evening — watch them work some on-court magic against the Sacramento Kings. Get there early to get in on the Caron Butler bobblehead giveaway for the first 10,000 fans.  And plan on a pre-game dinner in Penn Quarter — there are plenty of family-friendly places to go in the neighborhood. Some recs: Jaleo, Carmine’s, Daikaya, Shake Shack, and Hill Country BBQ.

St. Patrick’s Family Festival
Where: Shipgarten | Tysons, VA
When: Sunday, 1-6pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a little late at this family festival hosted by Merida, Darth Vader, & Princess Tiana. There will be lots of fun for kids — they can look for a pot ofgold to win prizes, go on a scavenger hunt, do crafts and make Irish art, and have a four leaf clover painted on their faces.Merida will perform a bow demonstration for the kids, and they can even release a suction cup, ended arrow into the sky. The venue is also dog friendly with a fenced in dog park, so bring pups along, too!

* How to celebrate St. Patricks Day around DC.
* As Cherry Blossom Season begins, see a round-up of the best events and activities for families to celebrate it.
* This Tidal Basin scavenger hunt is another fun way to enjoy the blossoms.
* There are still some spots open for virtual hand cut portrait sessions with Master Silhouette Artist Karl Johnson on March 21.
* March Madness has begun! Washingtonian has a suggestions for where to watch around DC.
* See when spring is beginning in different cities.
* Keep hearing great things about these and finally ordering.
* A great weekend sale.
*A cult for people who love whimsical snacks!


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