The dog days of summer may be known for being some of the hottest of the season, but at Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, they’re some of the coolest all year. This is when the museum celebrates their famed four-legged friend Owney the Dog with the annual Dog Days of Summer Family Festival. And this year’s program will take place throughout the museum on Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29, from 10am – 3pm both days.
Why celebrate Owney? He’s got quite a story!
Owney was a scruffy mutt taken in by the clerks at the Albany, NY, post office in the late 1800s. Fond of sleeping and sitting atop mail bags, Owney began to accompany the mail carriers on their routes—by foot, on wagons and carriages, and eventually on trains all across North America. Lovable Owney became a national celebrity, delighting the public with stories of his adventures and, if they were lucky, a visit by Owney himself! In 1895, Owney even made a four-month, around-the-world trip aboard a mail steamship. The United States Postal Service commemorated Owney with his own postage stamp in 2011, celebrating this most fascinating postal pup in a most postal way.
Inspired by Owney’s remarkable life, the Dog Days of Summer Family Festival will highlight his travels and explore the unique role that animals have played in the postal system. The museum is teaming up with Amtrak Police for demonstrations throughout the day, showcasing the work of the intelligent and hardworking K-9 units. They’re also proud to host local animal welfare organizations such as Homeward Trails Animal Rescue for an Adoption Fair on Saturday. Join this fun weekend of educational and hands-on activities — all free and open to all ages. Read more about what will be there below!
K-9 Demonstration with Amtrak Police
While U.S. mail is mainly moved by trucks and planes these days, there are still some courier companies using trains to transport packages and other items. USPS worked with Amtrak for many years and benefited from the diligent work of law enforcement and K-9 units as they not only protected people on board, but also cargo and mail. Sergeant Micah Jones from the Amtrak Police Department and his partner, Summer the Labrador, will demonstrate their patrol routine at 11am – 1pm both Saturday and Sunday.
Owney the Dog made the Albany, NY, post office his home, but not every pup is as lucky. From 10am – 2pm on Saturday, program partners will be outside on the museum Terrace with rescue dogs and cats in need of their forever homes. Even if you’re not looking to adopt, say hi to some furry friends, who will certainly appreciate your affection and attention!
Embark on a topical Scavenger Hunt throughout the entire museum, locating objects relating to dogs and other animals, planes, trains, automobiles, and more! Participants will receive a medal of completion after finishing their journey.
Tracking Paws: Map Owney’s Travels
Cities and townships often presented Owney with a small tag to remember them by. Owney’s widespread travels left him with almost 400 tokens and tags from all the different places he visited. Track Owney’s paws by examining these tags and identifying the cities and towns on a big map!
Make an Owney Puppet
Owney often followed postal clerks on their travels. Create your own Owney puppet to accompany you through the festival! Design your paper puppet however you want and adorn your dog’s collar with tags marking his travels, just like the real Owney!
Mule Mail Challenge
In Supai, Arizona, mules deliver mail to a small village located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. See if you are up for the challenge by trying our agility course which simulates the mule mail route. Compete with your friends or family members to see which one of you can deliver mail the fastest to the bottom of the Canyon!
Join a special story time about Owney the Dog and other animals that also help carry mail. Story time begins every half hour in the Atrium. Readings will include Owney, the Mail-Pouch Pooch by Mona Kerby and Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings.
Owney the Dog Mo-‘woof’-vie Theater
In the temporary Mo’woof’vie Theater, watch the true story of Owney come to life with beautiful animation, a fun (and historically accurate) story, and the grandfatherly baritone of Trace Adkins! Sing along to a catchy theme song, “The Owney Song.”
Ice Pops Give Away
Beat the heat with a refreshing ice pop! Claim your frosty treat as you take a break from activities, or to wrap up your time at the museum. Ice pops are available while supplies last; limit one per person.
Monday – Play the day away at Clemyjontri. The brilliantly colored, sprawling playground in McLean, VA, accommodates kids of all abilities with all kinds of climbing structures, swings, and other apparatuses that encourage activity and imagination. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.
Tuesday – Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first regularly scheduled airmail flights at the National Postal Museum! Join them for the launch of a new exhibition, Postmen of the Skies, and special activities, including a first-day-of-issue ceremony for two new stamps at 11am. Kids can also enjoy a scavenger hunt and air mail themed board games. Admission is free!
Wednesday – Spend the nice day at The Wharf in Southwest DC. The in-ground fountain will keep kids cool on the 80+ degree day, plus there are scoot toys, swinging benches, and more fun they’ll enjoy. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many eateries there (Shake Shack, Taylor Gourmet, and Dolcezza Gelato are good pick with kids). And be sure to stroll all around to take in the pretty waterfront views.
Thursday – Visit the animals, roam the lovely grounds, check out exhibits of old farm machinery and local history, and enjoy activities in the Visitors Center at Oxon Hill Farm near National Harbor in Maryland. Hours are 8am – 4:30pm, and admission is free.
Friday – Spend the day at Flower Mart, the annual spring festival presented by the All Hallow’s Guild of the National Cathedral. Don’t let the name fool ya — along with plant sales and floral and horticultural displays, there is tons of fun for all ages. Music and entertainment, games and rides, tasty foods, the All Hallows Guild antique carousel, and other activities will delight the younger set. Admission is free, though concessions and some activities will cost a fee. Read about one of our experiences at the fair. (KFDC tip: The Beauvoir Playground will be open to the public that day since The Cathedral School is closed, so take advantage of weekday play there!) And May the 4th be with you. 🙂
We hear all the cool gnomes will be at Annmarie Sculpture Garden on Sunday
Earth Day celebrations, a fairy and gnome fest, free admission to national parks, Shakespeare’s birthday, live entertainment, lots of spring fun… and a nice dose of sunshine (we hope), to boot. Happy Weekend!
Earth Optimism Day
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Celebrate conservation success stories at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in honor of Earth Day. This year’s event features family-friendly activities, hands-on learning opportunities, and interactive demonstrations — all in the name of conservation. Hear first-hand from Zoo experts about some of the innovative solutions being used in the fight to save species, and learn how you can take action to help protect the planet.
Where: Heurich House Museum | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Welcome spring at Frühlingsfest! Translated as ‘Spring Festival,’ the occasion is know as ‘Oktoberfest’s little sister’ in Germany and celebrates the end of a cold winter and beginning of the new season. Heurich House Museum is partnering with local artisans and businesses to present the garden festival. Enjoy German sausages, art, gardening, crafts, museum tours, and an afternoon beer.
Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks in Fairfax, 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. On Friday evening, join an animal pajama party at Hidden Oaks or hear a Symphony of Frogs at Huntley Meadows. On Saturday, Build Your Own Beehouse and see bluebells at Riverbend Park. On Sunday, celebrate Earth Day at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Get more details on these activities and see what else is going on here.
Sensory-Friendly Movie Screening
Where: Regal Rockville Center Stadium 13 | Rockville, MD
When: Saturday, 10:30am
Join Regal for the latest My Way Matinee movie, Ready Player One. Adventurous movie fans can enjoy the fun, action-packed universe of the film. My Way Matinee gives everyone the opportunity to experience a movie once a month with the sound turned down and the lights turned up. Watch the Ready Player One trailer here.
Wild Kratts LIVE!
Where: DAR Constitution Hall | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 1pm & 4:30pm
Animated Kratt Brothers Martin and Chris “come to real life” in a classically Wild Kratts story. The Emmy nominated duo will activate some fan favorite Creature Power Suits to confront a comic villain. Through hilarious pratfalls and amazing animal “wow facts,” the Wild Kratts team rescues their favorite invention from Zach’s clutches so the animals of the creature world are safe once again.
Weekend Tots: Welcome Spring
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 10-11am
Admission: $5/child, free for adults
It’s a special weekend session of the (usually) Tuesday program for little ones to celebrate spring. Read, sing, and play as Tudor Place celebrates spring in the picturesque gardens. Tots will take home a craft they’ve made themselves. Register in advance.
Eloise Greenfield Day
Where: Sankofa Video & Books | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday, 2pm
Join the celebration that honors author Eloise Greenfield Day’s lifelong efforts to portray positive, realistic images of African American communities in literature. The program begins with a selection of poems read by local elementary school students; a live jazz rendition of Honey, I Love , inspired by the 1982 recording by Mrs. Greenfield and Byron Morris; a tribute from renowned illustrator and longtime collaborator, Jan Spivey Gilchrist; a conversation between Mrs. Greenfield and her daughter, Monica; a presentation by Mrs. Greenfield entitled, “Words and Music,” and a signing of Ms. Greenfield’s forthcoming book, “PAR-TAY!: Dance of the Veggies And Their Friends.”
Earth Day Plogging and Fun Run
Where: Starts at New Hampshire & Kennedy St. NW | Northwest DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
DC Parks & Recreation and Uptown Main Street are celebrating Earth Day with a Plogging event! Plogging is a combination of jogging with picking up litter. It started as an organized activity in Sweden around 2016 and spread to other countries in 2018, following increased concern about plastic pollution. A warm up and stretch will be facilitated by Twist and Turns Fitness. After plogging, help with trash and plantings at the small park on 14th & Kennedy St NW enjoying food, games, and fellowship!
Happy Birthday to the Bard!
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 12pm
‘Tis Shakespeare’s 454th birthday, and the Folger Shakespeare Library is celebrating with its annual Open House on Sunday afternoon. In true Renaissance fashion, there will be song and dance, Elizabethan crafts, and theatrical performances, sword fighting demos, special tours, a giant birthday cake, and appearances by Emily Jordan Folger and Queen Elizabeth I. The free event takes place rain or shine. Food trucks will be stationed in Puck’s Circle. The Folger Shakespeare Library is located at 201 East Capitol Street SE. Read more about the Folger in this KFDC post.
Fairy & Gnome Home Festival
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: $7, free for member and under 2 A
This annual festival at one of the most enchanting places will delight the whole family — and we know from experience. Festivities are scattered throughout the beautiful grounds, creating a charming journey of discovery for young (and old) guests. Search for hidden fairy and gnome homes and use them as inspiration to create your own special pieces. Climb, explore, build, and dream in the lovely Fairy Lolly. Get faces painting, and enjoy music, dancing, games, crafts, food, drink, and more. Oh, and don’t let little ones miss the unicorn (yes, unicorn!) rides and a petting zoo. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post and this one.
Earth Day Celebration
Where: Brookside Gardens | Wheaton, MD
When: Sunday, 12pm
Our planet is priceless! Head to Brookside Gardens and learn ways to keep it healthy. This event offers something for everyone: a green craft fair, native plant sale, community art project, family activities and games, environmental educational alley, live music, and more. Discover how small changes in your everyday habits can make a big impact on improving our environment. While you’re there, check out the Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit, which just opened the season – read about it here!
Where: Frager’s Hardware | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Join Frager’s at their new garden center at 1123 Pennsylvania Ave SE for their biggest gardening event & sale of the year! Get 20% off all things gardening (Saturday, too) including pottery, plants, soil & mulch, gardening supplies, and patio furniture grilling accessories. There will be a potting station, a seed starting workshop, cheese and meat samples, a DIT terrarium workshop, opps to chat with gardening pros, giveaways, and more.
Kite Fly Day & Air Play
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: Sunday, 1pm
All are invited to spend the day on Strathmore’s rolling campus flying kites, picnicking, playing yard games, and watching flight demos from members of Wings Over Washington and the Maryland Kite Society. At 4pm, enjoy Air Play (see below).
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: Sunday, 4pm
A whimsical, modern spectacle perfect for families, nothing is as it seems in Air Play’s fantastical stage show—the creation of husband and wife team Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone that merges circus and street theater performance art. Flying umbrellas, larger-than-life balloons, giant kites, and an enormous snow globe captivate in this circus-style adventure that tells the story of two siblings journeying through a surreal land of air, transforming the ordinary into objects of uncommon beauty. Fabrics dance in the wind, balloons have a mind of their own, confetti become the night sky, and an enormous canopy of hovering silk forever alters the future of this sibling pair.
Spring in the Valley
Where: Spring Valley Pediatrics | Spring Valley, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 2pm
Join Stork Childbirth Education, the Spring Valley Neighborhood Association, Children’s National Medical Center, and Safe Kids DC for a family fun day. There will be food trucks, face painting, local businesses, giveaways, and festivities for the whole family.
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 2pm
There’s all kinds of fun for little ones at the Hirshhorn this weekend. On Saturday, join a STORYTIME session (10am) then celebrate spring with a Maker Morning (10am & 11am). After that, enjoy the Library + Art Pop-Up and find a cart in the galleries and check out a fun kit full of our favorite finds for kids. On Sunday, STORYTIME will feature The Lorax by Dr. Seuss at the Wish Tree in the Sculpture Garden.
Hop on the Eye Spy Trains
Where: Montgomery County Parks | Cabin John & Wheaton, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Montgomery Parks recently started offering Spring Eye Spy Train rides at Cabin John and Wheaton Regional Parks ! (The mini trains run during summer, too, but the Eye Spy fun is usually reserved for Halloween.) Hope on board and look for hidden figures in the woods as you ride around the park. Of course, stay to play at the park, too. Read KFDC write-ups about the Cabin John playground and the Wheaton playground.
***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW*** * Gymboree Play & Music of Washington, DC, just shared some news — and a business opportunity. *No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man at the Renwick Gallery is an exhibit the whole family will dig. * If you’re into true crime, check out this book. * The new Amy Schumer movie, I Feel Pretty, opens this weekend, and it’s a perfect flick for a mom’s night out (cocktails after, of course).
It finally looks and feels like spring, and you’ve got your pick of ways to savor it over the next few days. Happy Weekend!
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Ave, 7th – 17th St. NW | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
The annual parade just may be the pinnacle of cherry blossom season. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel down the street. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $20, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially on a pretty spring day.
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10/ages 13+, free/12 & under
Following the Cherry Blossom parade, head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. There will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Be prepared for a crowd.
Bluebells at the Bend
Where: Riverbend Park | Great Falls, VA
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: $7/advance, $9/at event
The cherry blossoms aren’t the only pretty flowers to enjoy around the area. Celebrate the Virginia Bluebells as they blanket the banks of the Potomac River at Riverbend Park. Bring the whole family for fun including games, music, wildflower walks, puppet shows, wagon rides, live animals, and more. Read more about Riverbend in this KFDC post. And to see what else is going on at other Fairfax County Parks, go here.
10th Anniversary Celebration
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill,MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free (some activities require fees)
National Harbor has been around 10 years, and they’re celebrating with a weekend of fun festivities! It kicks off on Saturday morning with a Potomac River Cleanup (8am – 12pm). On Saturday, there will be free carousel rides, a Beer Garden, a ticketed kid’s silent disco, an adult silent disco, and fireworks. Sunday features free Capital Wheel rides, a kids’ corner, a community parade, and live music. See the schedule and more details here.
Where: National Museum of the America Indian | National Mall
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Celebrate Cherokee culture at the fifth annual Cherokee Days. The festival showcases the shared history and cultural lifeways of three Cherokee tribes with an exhibition, storytelling, traditional flute music, weaponry, woodcarving, beadwork, traditional games, basket weaving, pottery demonstrations, and dance performances.
Living Through the Ages
Where: Patuxent River Park | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am-5pm
See, touch, feel and participate in two millennia of history, as hundreds of reenactors portray 2,000 years of the past in one weekend! Roman Legionaries, Charlemagne’s Army, ancient Irish warriors; 15th century English knights; 16th century German mercenaries; 17th century English Civil War soldiers; 18th century Highland Jacobites, American Rev War, Napoleonic forces; 19th century marines and militia from the War of 1812, American Civil War and British soldiers from the far flung Victorian Empire; 20th century combatants from WWI, WWII, Palestine, and Vietnam. Discover the soldiers’ lives and that of the civilians who followed their warriors. This year there are 35 camps of living historians to portray and demonstrate the real history!
Celebrate Central Asia
Where: The Textile Museum | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Join the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum to celebrate the art and cultures of Central Asia. Enjoy performances by the Silk Road Dance Company featuring traditional dances from Uzbekistan, beautiful costumes, and an appearance by the ikat dragon. Try your hand at watercolor painting, and create your own Ikat designs with paper. Take the opportunity to visit our galleries to see colorful Ikat fabrics in the exhibition Binding the Clouds: The Art of Central Asian Ikat. It’s a great opportunity for all ages to enjoy a museum that’s usually a bit sophisticated for young children.
Dog Days Bloom Fest
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
This adventure for dogs and their people has something for every member of the family, but canines especially will have a blast at the festivities. Bring your 4-legged friend for a day of fun on the farm with a Frisbee competition, obstacle course, tips, and training. Plus, enjoy Bluemont Wine and Dirt Farm Brews at the event this season. And the rest of the farm, which is essentially a sprawling playground, is open for all to enjoy. Explore the many acres, and opt for a wagon ride to see the orchards and farm in bloom!
DC Emancipation Day Celebration
Where: Pennsylvania Ave., 10th-14th St. | Downtown, DC
When: Saturday, 2-8:30pm
On April 16, 1862, the DC Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 ended slavery in Washington, DC, freed 3,100 individuals, reimbursed those who had legally owned them, and offered the newly freed women and men money to emigrate. Join Mayor Bowser to commemorate the day at the 2018 DC Emancipation Day celebration with a parade, concert, and fireworks.
Spring Open House
Where: My Gym Potomac & Bethesda | Potomac & Bethesda, MD
When: Saturday, 12-3pm
Check out My Gym’s facilities and learn about their programs as you enjoy fun and games — at both the Bethesda and Potomac locations! Expect lots of play time, plus get great discounts on spring classes, summer camps, and parties!From 12-1pm, tackle the Ninja Warrior obstacle courses (best for ages 3-10) and have free pizza. From 1-3pm, there will be free face painting and fun for all ages. Grown-ups wear socks, please!
Nats vs. Rockies
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary
Root for the home team as the Nats host the Rockies this weekend. Be sure to check out special promos — Friday is the Sean Doolittle Bobhead giveaway (first 25,000 fans), and Sunday is Jackie Robinson and Black Heritage Day, not to mention little fans can run the bases after the game. Don’t forget to sign up ages 4-12 for the Jr. Nationals Kids Club, and check these tips on how to save at the ballpark.
Where: Dumbarton Oaks Park | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 2pm
Join the 77th anniversary celebration of Dumbarton Oaks Park. There are volunteer clean-up opportunities in the morning, and the afternoon will feature even more, including children’s activities, interactive exhibits, strolling tours, art in the park, and music. Enter at the top of Lover’s Lane near 3060 R Street NW. (Note: This is not the Dumbarton Gardens; the park is located just behind them.)
Where: Inner Harbor | Baltimore, MD
When: Through April 21
See Baltimore transformed with large-scale light installations, performances, music, and innovation. Central to Light City is the BGE Light Art Walk along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, featuring more than 50 attractions including illuminated sculptures, projections, interactive technologies, performances, concerts, food vendors and a children’s area. Light City’s innovation programming generates an ecosystem of ideas and learning during the day – while lights, performances, and live music re-imagine Baltimore at night.
Where: Peirce Mill | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Every April, the mighty herring make their way upstream to lay their eggs—and swim up a “fish ladder” beside Peirce Mill. Come learn about the herring run, and test your stamina in a special obstacle course for young children. Read more about Peirce Mill in this KFDC post.
Model Trains and Thomas
Where: Historic Depot of the W&OD Railroad | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free (donations welcome)
Take a trip down to Vienna to visit 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 great family activity for the young and young at heart! The Station is at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna.
DC Youth Orchestra Open House
Where: Eastern High School | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 4:30pm
The DC Youth Orchestra Program will open its doors to the public with a day of free musical events for the entire family. Prospective young musicians (ages 4-18) can try out orchestral instruments in musical instrument petting zoos. At 12:30pm, the Youth Orchestra will give a pop-up concert, and at 3:30pm, the String Queens, a classically trained trio including DCYOP alumna and conductor Elise Cuffy, will perform pop, gospel, jazz, and R&B arrangements. Between the concerts will be a performance of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, as well as a string instrument care workshop, chamber music performances, yoga classes with One Breath at a Time, and face painting. Food trucks and other vendors will also be at the event.
The Great British Fly-In
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15
The British are coming to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center! Join the Air & Space Museum to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the oldest air force in the world — Great Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) — with a fly-in, presentations, and hands-on activities.
To Hill Tobacco
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/child
Help the colonial farm family and neighbors prepare the fields for this season’s crop. Tobacco was used as currency or commodity money in 18th century Virginia and vital to sustain the Claude Moore Colonial Farm family. Weather permitting — call ahead.
Where: Green Acres School | North Bethesda, MD
When: Sunday, 1-3pm
Discover progressive education at its best at our experiential open house for parents and students. Tour Green Acre’s 15-acre campus, meet teachers, parents, students and staff, and find out how they learn through teacher-led activities and lessons. Registration is required to attend. To reserve your space, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park | Anacostia, DC
When: Sunday, 1-5pm
Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Anacostia Park and the Year of the Anacostia! Festival-goers will enjoy canoeing, fishing lessons, boating, lawn games and more. The festival will feature a community bike parade, special live performance of The Wiz, family friendly arts and crafts, storytelling, and live music and performances. Line up by the bike valet at 2:30pm to join a 3pm bike parade. River activities will be first-come, first-serve, sign up at tent #1.
Where: National Arboretum | Northeast DC
When: April 15, 1-2pm
Children can learn the centuries-old tradition of Japanese flower arranging at an ikebana workshop at the National Arboretum. The hour-long workshop is for children ages 10-13. You can also visit an ikebana demonstration and see the Ikebana International exhibit at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum Exhibits Gallery. Registration required.
A Wild Symphony
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: Sunday, 1pm & 3pm
Admission: Free, but passes required
Enjoy a free family concert by members of the National Symphony Orchestra at the Zoo on Sunday. This animal-themed show features engaging and fun musical performances for all ages. Following both concerts, there will be an “instrument petting zoo” where visitors can learn about and interact with a variety of musical instruments. Same-day passes are free, but required for entry and will be distributed beginning at 11am for both concerts. Passes are not needed for the instrument petting zoo.
A Family Celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC | Downtown, DC
When: Sunday, 10:30am – 12pm
Join the DCJCC as they celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday by recognizing the range and diversity of its people and landscape. Through reading and activities, we’ll bring to life the charming and colorful world created by author Leslie Kimmelman in her book Everybody Says Shalom. This program is best for ages 3-7, but the whole family is welcome! Cost is $15/family. Register here.
***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW*** * You have a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to see Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt at Adventure Theatre. * There is also an opportunity to win a Day Out with Thomas at the B&O Railroad Museum. *Pearachute is a great way to check out kids classes and events with committing to a full session, plus you can save on costs! * This coming week Bright Horizons is hosting Open Houses at all of their Early Childhood Education Centers around the area! * Watson Adventures’ next Wizard School Scavenger Hunt for Harry Potter Fans is on May 13 (Mother’s Day!), and these always sell out, so book soon — and read more about it here. *This article is a must-read if you want to know more about what Facebook has on you. (Warning: It’s kind of creepy.)
A scramble for Easter eggs at a past Eggstravaganza
Don’t put your eggs all in one basket when it comes to Easter celebrations around the DC area! Numerous places host egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and much more spring fun this time of year. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions and activities beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs that will have the whole family hopping with joy. Here’s where you can find them, listed in order of start date. (And if I’ve left out any good ones, feel free to let me know in the comments.) Happy Spring!
Spring Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Ticonderoga Farm | Chantilly, VA
When: Weekends through April 8
Admission: $14.95/chid, 12.95/adult
With giant slides, awesome jumping pillows, playgrounds, animals, mazes, and more, the farm in Chantilly is a blast, and they take the fun up a notch on come spring. Along with the permanent amusement, there are egg hunts and visits from the Easter Bunny. Be sure to check the website for timing of specific activities. For an idea of what’s there, see this post about their Winter Festival, which is much of the same, but with Easter instead of Christmas festivities. And this post about a class field trip has info and pics, too.
Egg Hunt & Marshmallow Harvest
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: March 24-25, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $10/child, $12/adult at the gate
After a long cold winter, nothing chases away the chill like a visit to the farm. Head to Great Country for the first “crop” of the spring– Marshmallow Picking! Do marshmallow peeps grow on trees? Be sure to check it out and harvest a few to roast on the bonfire with Farmer Bob. You can even purchase a s’mores kit to melt away that chocolate craving. Guests can also help find Easter Bunny eggs during egg hunts (by age – see the schedule) with over 20,000 treat-filled eggs. Plan to visit spring chicks and baby animals, check out the spring plantings in the greenhouse, take a hayride and rejoice in the new season. Don’t forget to bring your camera for photo ops with the Easter Bunny. Buy advance tickets online for only $10/adult — visit the website to purchase, and look for the schedule of events there, too.
Where: Butler’s Orchard
When: March 24-25, 29-31 & April 2, 7-8
Admission: $9/child, $7/adult
One of the more popular spring festivals in the area, Butler’s has all the trappings for seasonal fun: bunnies, eggs, and other Easter-related treats to get young guests in the holiday spirit. Attractions include hayrides down the Bunny Trail, egg hunts, the Rubber Ducky Derby, giant slides, a new jumping pad, and a small petting zoo. Face painting and pony rides are also usually offered for an extra fee. Concessions are available, and there are also plenty of picnic tables if you prefer to pack a lunch.
NoVa Parks Egg Hunts
Where: Parks throughout Northern Virginia
When: Various dates
Several parks in Northern Virginia are hosting all kinds of Easter fun to celebrate the holiday and the season. Easter bunny visits and photo ops, egg hunts, crafts, and more activities will be part of the festivities. Registration is required. Go here to see where and when you can jump in on the fun!
Bunny Train Ride
Where: Walkersville Southern Railroad | Walkersville, MD
When: March 24, 25, 31
Admission: $16/adult, $13/senior, $13/age 1-12
All aboard for a trip back in time with the Easter Bunny! Travel over track that the Pennsylvania Railroad originally built in 1872. See Walkersville Southern’s turn-of-the- century railroad station and tool house, then visit with the Bunny on the train (who will also give each child an Easter gift!). Ride in vintage 1920s passenger cars or on an open flatcar as your rail excursion runs past a 100-year-old lime kiln, and then out into picturesque Maryland farm country. Enjoy juice and Uncle Ralph’s cookies in the museum after your ride. Reservations Required!
Easter Egg Decorating
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange | Hyattsville, MD
When: March 24, 2pm
Fun! Glitter! Eggs! The Brentwood Arts Exchange promise all three at this free family-friendly workshop. Create beautiful decorated eggs that will impress friends and even the Easter Bunny. Children will receive their first two eggs for free. Additional eggs will be available to purchase 2 for $1.
10th Annual Eggstravaganza
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: March 24 & 30, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $10/child, $8/child member, $5/adult
This is already sold out to non-members, but if you’re a member, read on… Rolling green lawns, bright spring blooms, and the elegant mansion on a hill serve as backdrop for this festive annual attraction. Join the Easter Bunny as children of all ages enjoy an Egg Hunt and thrilling Egg Roll Contest down the grand South Lawn. Crafts include paper chick “pets” and colorful butterflies, plus there will be games for all ages. Plan to take a self-guided tour of Tudor Place’s 5½ acres of glorious gardens, and be sure to bring a camera!
Easter Eggstravaganza & Wagon Rides
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Herndon, VA
When: March 24
Hunt for eggs and visit animals outdoors at the Visitor Center. Sign up for a hunt throughout the day — they start promptly at your registered times. Add a wagon ride for only $2, and take a jaunt around the crop fields and back to the Visitor Center. Children must be accompanied by a paid adult. Pre-registration required.
Breakfast with the Bunny
Where: Thomas Farm Community Center | Rockville, MD
When: March 24
The bunny is making a special trip to Thomas Farm Community Center. Activities include a magic show, spring crafts, games, an opportunity to meet, greet and pose with the Bunny and an egg hunt. A light continental breakfast will be served. Bring your camera. Fee applies to each person attending.
Where: Various locations around the DMV
When: March 24 & 31
These festivals held in several neighborhoods around the area offer all kinds of Easter fun – egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, face painting, yummy treats, games, prizes, and more. They’ll take place in Northeast DC, Capitol Hill, Springfield, Gainesville, and Alexandria.
Dinosaur Egg Hunt
Where: Hidden Oaks Nature Center | Annandale, VA
When: March 25, 30-31
Stomp over to Hidden Oaks, where children ages 2-8 can enjoy a dinosaur-themed program and outdoor egg hunt while visiting dinoland in Nature Playce and make a dino craft. Pre-registration is required. Programs run several times throughout the day for 45-minute sessions. Canceled if there is rain.
Fabergé Egg Family Festival
Where: Hillwood Estate and Gardens | Northwest DC
When: March 25
Admission: $18/adult, $5/ages 6-18, free/5 & under
Celebrate spring’s arrival in traditional Russian style! Hillwood’s annual festival has programs, music, art, and activities for all ages. Happenstance Theatre will present stories of Russian Easter traditions in a fun family play. A favorite for all ages is the “Fabergé’s Workshop” to create a Fabergé-inspired egg. Samovar Russian Folk Music Ensemble takes visitors back to Old Russia as they play traditional instruments, and the Kalinka Dance Ensemble performs Russian folk dances. And centuries-old Russian springtime games like egg-rolling and egg and spoon racing will entertain children of all ages.
Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Upton Hill Park | Arlington, VA
When: March 28, 11am
Admission: $10/advance, $15/walk-up
Enjoy a fun filled afternoon with the Easter Bunny on a weekday! Activities will include coloring, games, a moon bounce, and pictures with the Easter Bunny. Check-in and activities begin at 11am, and the Egg Hunt begins at 11:30am. Add on a mini-golf and food voucher for $7 more and get a great deal on lunch (pizza, chips, and choice of drink) and two hours of mini-golf from 12-2pm.
Egg Hunt Weekend
Where: Clark’s Elioak Farm | Clarkesburg, MD
When: March 30 – April 1
Little ones (ages 1 to 3 and 4 to 6) will have a chance to hunt for eggs throughout the day at this Maryland Farm that looks like something out of a story book! After hunting, they get to turn the eggs in for a goodie bag. The petting farm, rides, and play areas will be open for all to enjoy, too, along with gem mining and geode cracking. Be sure to take a look at the website for a heads-up on how the egg hunts will run, so you can make the most of your day there. Read more about Clarks Elioak in the KFDC post about the best outdoor places in the area.
Where: Meadowside Mature Center | Rockville, Maryland
When: March 30
Search for real eggs in our meadow, then dye and decorate the eggs you find using natural dyes. Enjoy other spring-themed activities throughout the event as well. Fun for the entire family! Don’t forget to bring a basket to collect your eggs. Reservations are required (we want to be sure we have enough eggs for all!). If sessions are full, they do not accept walk-ins.
Falls Church Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Cherry Hill Park | Falls Church, VA
When: March 31, 10am – 12pm
Join this annual family celebration hosted by the city’s Recreation and Parks Department. Children dressed in their spring finest can hunt for candy and special eggs in Cherry Hill Park and have their photo taken with a special guest, the Easter Bunny! BYO basket — they’ll supply the candy, fun, and happy springtime memories. In addition to scrambling for eggs and photo ops, children ages 11 and younger can participate in a make-your-own-candy-bag craft project.
13th Annual Community Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Stead Park | Northwest DC
When: March 31, 10:30am – 12:30p
Hop to it and join Friends of Stead Park for their annual Community Easter Egg Hunt! Enjoy selfies with the Easter Bunny, crafts and snacks after your little ones have filled their baskets with eggs. BYO basket and register here.
Where: Buzz Bakeshop | Georgetown, DC
When: March 31, 11am – 1pm
Go see the Easter Bunny at Buzz Bakeshop and get a photo and a surprise! Join them fun and take home a basket with a homemade chocolate Easter animal, decorated shortbread cookie, toys, candies, and eggs!
Where: Joselito | Capitol Hill, DC
When: April 1
Admission: The cost of your meal
Easter is a very special occasion in homes throughout Spain. To celebrate Easter at Joselito, they are offering their bottomless brunch menu and regular menu, as well as featuring quintessential Spanish Easter dishes as specials. They include: Potaje de vigilia – chickpeas and spinach stew with saffron, hard boiled egg garnish, Buñuelos de bacalao – codfish brandade “Spanish hush puppies,” Carré de cordero asado con patatas panaderas -roasted rack of lamb with baked potatoes and bell peppers, and Torrijas – Andalusian style bread pudding.
Easter Sunday Brunch
Where: The Ritz Carlton | Georgetown, DC
When: April 1
Admission: $105-125/adult, $40/child
The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC, is hosting an up-scale Easter Sunday brunch perfect for families of all ages! In addition to the gourmet brunch, they’re offering family-friendly activities, including an Easter egg hunt, Easter egg decorating, Easter movie screenings, and a visit from the Easter bunny for a fun photo opp. The hotel’s restaurant, Westend Bistro, will have an impressive menu featuring more than 10 stations, including a smoked seafood and raw bar, a full gourmet cheese and bread station and regionally-inspired dishes such as herb-roasted leg of lamb and oxtail osso bucco.
Easter Monday: A Washington Family Tradition
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: April 2, 10am – 2pm
Celebrate Easter on Monday at the Zoo! Join them for special family-focused activities and live entertainment. A traditional Easter Egg Hunt and animal demonstrations as well as visits from the Easter Panda will be part of the festivities! This event will be held rain or shine.
White House Easter Egg Roll
Where: White House Lawn | Downtown DC
When: April 2
Admission: Free, tickets required
The annual White House Easter Egg Roll requires tickets won through lottery for admission. If you entered, you should have found out by now if you were “successful” in scoring them or not; but if you don’t, you can check your status on recreation.gov. Unofficial tip: I’ve heard in the past that people have been at the entrance giving away extra tickets they may have. While I can’t confirm that’s always the case, if you’re going to be in that area and really want to go, it wouldn’t hurt to stop by and see if someone might have tickets for you. Note that entries are timed, so while it goes all day, guests only stay for their designated amount of time.