Quick link ups to ideas for family fun:
* Local Hikes with Kids
* The Great Indoors
* Off-the-Beaten-Path Museums
* Best Outdoors in the DC Area
* Baltimore with Kids
* Bike Rides
* Stunning Spaces
* Peaceful Places
Where: National Cathedral | Glover Park, DC
When: Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm
The annual festival, running for over 80 years at the National Cathedral, is a wonderful way to spend a spring day. While plant sales, floral and horticultural displays, and boutique booths will likely be of more interest to grown-ups, there is also music and entertainment, games and carnival rides, tasty foods, the All Hallows Guild antique carousel, and many more fun activities to delight kids. While you’re there, be sure to visit the awesome Beauvoir playground. Admission is free, though concessions and some activities will cost a fee. Read about one of our experiences at the event.
C&O Canal Boat Tours
Where: C&O Canal | Georgetown, DC
When: Starting Friday
Admission: $15/adult, $10/senior, $8/child
Public boat rides are back along the C&O in Georgetown! Starting this weekend, they will be available throughout the day, Wednesday – Sunday through October, offering one-hour guided historical tours along the first mile of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Learn about the fascinating history, technology, and culture of the Canal, and the surprising stories of the people who lived, worked and played nearby over the past two centuries, while you enjoy a cruise on the water and the surrounding scenery.
Around the World Embassy Tour
Where: Multiple Embassies | Embassy Row & Dupont Circle, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 4:30pm
Journey from Indonesia to Peru to Ethiopia to Egypt — all in one day! Cultural Tourism DC presents its annual Around the World Embassy Tour, an open house to embassies from Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. The free event showcases art, music, traditional dress, and culinary delights from nations across the globe. (It’s also your chance to check out the interiors of those mansions along Mass Ave & International Drive that you usually just admire from the street.) A heads-up that there could be lines to get in some embassies, so be prepared to exercise patience. Admission is free, but bring identification, as some embassies might conduct security checks. Read about one of our globetrotting-in-DC experiences and get a glimpse of what to expect.
Where: Natural History Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12:30pm
Celebrate Amphibian Week with Natural History Museums’s family program, The World & Me! Learn about amphibians with friends and resources from the USDA Forest Service, USGS, Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service! All ages are welcome to explore different stations and learn through play, art, and collections. Learn all about these remarkable vertebrates that spend their lives in both land and water and discover how a healthy ecosystem supports frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders, and why we need to preserve their habitats.
Where: Around the Inner Harbour | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday, 9am – 7pm
You might see giant pink poodles and other outrageous works of art “race” down Baltimore streets at the American Visionary Art Museum’s annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. Kinetinauts (the pilots of the moving sculptures) will compete for the Grand East Coast National Mediocre Champion, awarded to the competitor who finishes exactly in the middle (that is the BEST). Vehicles are wacky and whimsical, straight from a lunatic genius imagination and constructed out of all kinds of materials. They may be a small one-person machine or a 50-foot feat of engineering navigated by many. This is one of those spectacles you just have to see for yourself. Read more about the race presenter, the American Visionary Art Museum here.
Where: National Museum of Asian Art | National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free
The National Museum of Asian Art is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a two-week long Centennial Festival. All kinds of events and cultural opportunities will be presented every day through May 14, including concerts, culinary adventures, special museum tours, dance performances and classes, a children’s book reading and signing, and more. This weekend, you can enjoy special museum tours every day and a family dance class on Sunday. Visit the website for details.
Where: National Arboretum | Northeast DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
See the tiny trees at one of the prettiest places in the city this weekend. Each day features demonstrations, exhibits, vendors, and the renowned collection of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. While you’re at the Arboretum, be sure to see the beautiful, blooming azaleas, too! Read more about the Arboretum here and here.
Where: River Park Nursery School | 212 East Capitol Street NE
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Are you searching for a preschool for your child for next year? Do you want your child and your family to be part of a small warm welcoming community? River Park Nursery School is the quintessential nursery school experience. It is a part-time program on the Hill for 3 to 5-year-old children with a small teacher to student ratio. Join the open house with your child on Saturday May 6th to talk with current and alumni families, meet our amazing Lead Teacher and Director, Ms. Erin, and see the learning space. RPNS is located at 212 East Capitol Street NE.
Arts & Crafts Workshop
Where: House of Sweden | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
The Swedish Embassy is hosting this free event especially for kids. Get creative and join the drop-in arts & crafts workshop. A weekend guide will lead children ages 2-10 in expressing themselves through art! Attendees are set up with everything they need to participate. And FYI: The Embassy is open to the public every weekend from 12-5pm. Stop in to tour the exhibits, including the Children,’s Library and take in scenic views from its waterfront location in Georgetown!
Culture Queen Kids Hour: Manners Matter
Where: Anacostia Community Museum | Anacostia, DC
When: Saturday, 12-1pm
Join Grammy-nominated teaching artist Culture Queen with your children to explore their royal powers (innate abilities). Learn how to use them to help peers, family, and community through fun, interactive, and engaging music, movement, storytelling, and craft activities. Register in advance!
Acton Children’s Business Fair of Washington, DC
Where: 1521 20th Street NW | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12:30pm
At this outdoor market in Dupont Circle, over 80 young entrepreneurs ages 6-14 will be selling handmade products including rainbow bookmarks, chocolate art, colorful quicksand, origami earrings, and more. It’s a fun event for the whole family! Please note that many of the children entrepreneurs will only be accepting cash, so stop by the ATM first because their products will be hard to resist!
We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do!
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 1pm
Admission: Tickets start at $15
Washington Spirit, our local women’s pro soccer team, are playing at Audi Field on Saturday against San Diego. Enjoy some amazing soccer play while supporting our home team and women in sports — and see the much-touted match-up of Trinity Rodman vs Alex Morgan! Plan for a pre-match lunch nearby — El Bebe, All Purpose Pizza, The Salt Line, and Dacha are conveniently located and my top recs for family-friendly spots to eat in that area.
Running of the Chihuahuas
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 2-5pm
It’s DC’s cutest and funniest Cinco de Mayo celebration as The Wharf hosts the 11th Annual Running of the Chihuahuas! The day will include live music, family fun, cold Pacifico beer, and of course, the highlight of the afternoon, chihuahuas racing for fame and fun! The event benefits Rural Dog Rescue, a non-profit dedicated to saving the lives of dogs in shelters who are often overlooked for adoption or rescue. And it’s family and pet-friendly event — all dogs are welcome, though only chihuahuas can race. If you don’t have a dog yet, keep an eye out for your forever furry friend during the Adoptable Dog Parade that takes place between the Chihuahua races. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.
Take Your Pick
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
Strawberries are ripe and ready for harvest at a few area farms, and guests are welcome to pick their own. Be sure to check websites/Facebook or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.
Jack & the Beanstalk
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo Park, MD
When: Through May 21
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 55 minutes.
Fabulous Family Fun with Michael Hearst!
Where: Hill Center | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 3-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $10/child age 2+
Join Michael Hearst, a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and writer, for this show geared for curious families, extraordinary children, and their unusual friends! Drawing from his books, albums, and PBS series, it’s an unusually-geeky A/V presentation (like a TED talk for kids!) of some of the most bizarre animals that roam the planet, odd and daring characters, vehicles you never knew existed, and buildings sometimes stranger than the Brooklyn Bridge – using such odd-ball instruments as theremin, claviola, and stylophone. Sounds like a blast for kids and adults! Beer, wine, juice, and snacks will be available for purchase.
Caring for Our Treasures: Family Time with the Hampton Throne
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday, 1-2pm
Join the American Art Museum for a family-friendly look at James Hampton’s Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly with Lunder Conservation Fellow Objects Conservator Katya Zinsli. Explore what this piece is made of, its history, and how the museum cares for it. This program is recommended for 5-12. Register in advance – space is limited!
International Family Equality Day
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: Sunday, 9:30am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free, but Zoo entry passes are required
Celebrate the beauty and importance of family diversity with fun activities and rainbow-themed decor. View the day’s schedule here. Read more about the National Zoo here and reserve free passes to the Zoo, go here.
Classic Car Show
Where: National Museum of the Marine Corps | Triangle, VA
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Classic car enthusiasts can see some sweet rides at the National Museum of the Marine Corps on Sunday as the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation hosts its first classic car show. Stay until the end — the show will conclude with a free outdoor performance by the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble the US Navy Band Commodores who have performed across America for more than 50 years. It’s all free and open to the public.
Where: Takoma Park Library | Takoma Park, MD
When: Sunday, 11am
Admission: Free, but register in advance
Tweens, teens, and adults who like to move and breathe are invited to join Ms. Elisa, RYT 200, for a free yoga class at Takoma Park Library. This is the second in a series of three that will take place this Sunday and May 7. All levels are welcome, and mats are available. Be sure to register in advance as space is limited.
Wonderful World of Watkins
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Sunday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free (but rides are a fee)
The Antique Carousel and Mini Golf at Watkins Regional Park open for the season on Sunday! (The train is not running this season due to track renovations.) Plus, there are Old Maryland Farm, the Nature Center, Wizard of Oz Playground. and hiking trails. It all makes for a fantastic place to spend a day with the fam. The carousel costs $2/PG County resident, $2.50/non-resident, and mini golf per round is $5/PG resident, $6.50/non-resident.
***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* In case you missed it, there’s a new round-up of ideas for celebrating Mother’s Day, with something sure to make it special for every mom.
* Cinco de Mayo celebrations around the DC area.
* Discover the Navy Yard through fun DC Scavenger clues!
* Watson Adventures has a new yummy-sounding Union Market Scavenger Hunt coming up.
* How to watch King Charles III’s coronation on Saturday.
* A round-up of options for a great summer dress style.
* New children’s book coming soon.(Pre-order here.)
* Over a week old, but this is so good.