Here’s one for the grown-ups! Mike Birbiglia, the stand-up comedian/actor/writer/director is coming to National Theatre next Tuesday, September 24 through Sunday, September 29. And I’ve got a pair of tickets for it to giveaway to one lucky KFDC reader!
He’s made you laugh in Sleepwalk With Me (it was a play presented by Nathan Lane, then a movie, THEN a book), My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and “Thank God for Jokes.” (He was also really funny in that one season of “Orange is the New Black.” And in “Billions.” And “Broad City.”) Now he’s direct from Broadway, telling a new story in a new way with the same heart and humor we’ve come to expect. Lin-Manuel Miranda called THE NEW ONE “as perfect a night as you’re gonna get.” Do not miss THE NEW ONE. Some people say it’s his best one. (It was John Mulaney. Also Vogue.)
Run time is approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes with no intermission. It’s recommended for ages 13 and up, but I recommend making this a date night or evening out with friends. 🙂
Giveaway: For a chance to win a pair of tickets to Mike Birbiglia’s The New One at National Theatre on Tuesday, September 24 at 7:30pm, simply leave a comment below naming the funniest movie you’ve watched in the last six months. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run through 8pm on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, then a winner will be picked at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!
Upon first consideration, giving a group of 12-year-old boys a bunch of axes to throw for fun might sound like a pretty crazy idea. But at a recent birthday party at Bad Axe Throwing, a newish venue that offers opportunities to — you guessed it! — throw axes at targets, it was actually really great.
I first heard about Bad Axe Throwing last spring when a friend told me she’d attended an adult birthday celebration at the venue in northeast DC. Until then, I’d only seen the sport in action at Ren Fest, so of course I was immediately intrigued (because, Ren Fest). However, I didn’t try it myself until a few weeks ago when Owen attended a friend’s birthday party there. His mom (my friend, Torey) invited a few parents to join them for some target practice, too.
The facility where it takes place is fairly bare bones. It looks like an old warehouse or garage with two cavernous rooms with a few axe throwing “cages” on one side and, on the other, some tables and stools where guests can hang out, eat, and drink (all BYO) while they wait their turns to throw. Chain link fencing separates each cage, and plywood goes halfway up the target wall. Two targets hang side by side in each cage, and cork board and rubber matting line the floor in front of them. Concrete blocks or wooden stands about 10 feet back from the wall hold the axes right about where throwers stand.
The session begins with a short overview of the rules and a quick lesson on how to throw. The kids started things off, and after a few thunks against the boards and axes landing on the ground, they started to get in a groove, and the axes began to stick. We adults joined in soon after, and while it took me a couple of turns to really get it, once I did it was quite satisfying to hear that sharp “whomp” and see the hatchet buried in the wood as it hit the target.
After we’d all had some practice rounds, we played a few team games — mostly kids versus adults — similar to cricket, the popular darts game. (Happy to report we old folks beat the youngins! 🙂 ). There were also some one-on-one games, too, as players tried to reach a total score first by hitting rungs on the target with designated point values.
All in all, this was a really good time for all — a great tween birthday party, plus a fun and unique activity for the adults. And you don’t necessarily have to be with a big group to go. While we did see mostly larger parties there, walk-ins are welcome, too. As for ages, I did see some younger kids there with a family group, but I would probably recommend the activity for middle school ages and up.
Rates for groups vary: The Corporate rate is $35/person (minimum of 35) and includes two coaches and four targets for 2.5 hours. The Bad Axe Package is $44.25/person* (minimum of 6) and includes one coach and two targets. Walk-ins are $20/hour. *There is a HEROES rate for Firefighters, Nurses, EMT, Paramedics, Police Officers & Military — they can get the lowest rate of $35/person.
Sometime from now through May 20, plan for a visit to the Kennedy Center to experience Artes de Cuba: From the Island to the World. The festival is a celebration of the Cuba’s “artistic richness,” showcasing it through a variety of live entertainment, art exhibits, hands-on activities for kids, fashion, films, and more.
Performances will include everything from ballet, flamenco, and modern dance to plays reflecting Cuban culture to jazz, orchestra, and a mix of other music by Cuban artists. There are both ticketed and FREE shows — every evening at 6pm, you can enjoy complimentary entertainment on the Millennium Stage as well as acts later in the evening on Thursday and Fridays See the festival schedule for details on all of the upcoming performances.
You don’t need a set time or tickets to enjoy the art exhibits or activity stations on display around the venue. The installations by a few different Cuban artists are fantastic to view, especially in the Hall of Nations and Hall of States, where the works are imaginative, quirky, and beautiful. Who knew old coffee pots, forks, stacked pots, and enormous vats could make for such marvelous art? Ot that giant spheres of bones, beans, bark, and silverware, all created as commentary on issues of today’s society, would be so compelling to examine from varying angles?
Be sure to take kids to the River Terrace, where Hybrid of a Chrysler combines an old automobile and wings of plane. And upstairs in the Nations Gallery, there is a whole family activity area designed in collaboration with the American Natural History Museum in New York. Kids can learn about Cuba’s geologic history through a variety of interactive stations. There are coloring tables, opportunities to get an up-close look at native creatures, dominos, Cuban wildlife games on iPads, and maps featuring Cuba’s national parks and baseball teams. There’s also even more art on that level, like Cuban movie posters and baseball-inspired paintings, and large installations.
One of those installations is the Cubano Club at the Terrace Gallery, designed to capture the spirit of jazz and the Afro-Cuban culture. Plan for a grown-up night out to enjoy free performances and cocktails for purchase in the transformed space — both will be available on Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30pm – midnight during the festival.
ARTECHOUSE, the Southwest DC gallery specializing in creative works that merge art and technology, has been celebrating the seasons through large-scale installations that reflect the time of year with stunning visuals and neat interactives. And it probably comes as no surprise that the newest one, the spring exhibit, features one of DC’s seasonal favorites: Cherry Blossoms.
Sakura Yume // Cherry Blossom Dream offers a new way to experience our city’s famous flowers. They might not be real in this digital environment, but they’re beautiful as they float along the lofty walls of the gallery’s main space along with colorful clouds of light created by your movements. Like past installations there, sensors are carefully placed to let you manipulate the art by waving your arms or walking along the wall where the images are projected.
More activations invite guests to interact with the art. You can virtually feed koi fish and make cherry blossoms bloom on an interactive table. There is a hall with paper lanterns hanging above that light up as you walk under them. Orange dots on a wall can be rearranged as you “move” them.
My favorite element — and the one I think will be a fave of most guests — is an interactive table that projects beautiful blossom and Japanese-inspired images and lets you play with light and color. Hands and fingers become paint brushes as you create big swaths of color or make butterflies appear out of gray backgrounds. It’s mesmerizing and therapeutic and just really delightful to see.
All ages, children and adults, will appreciate this Cherry Blossom Dream. Kids are welcome during daytime hours 10am – 5pm, but evenings 5:30-11pm are for adults only. The bar is open during these hours, serving tasty and gorgeous exhibit-inspired cocktails. And on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 5:30-7pm the Bloom Food Immersive Experience, a bento box style meal will also be available.
Washington Auto Show
Where: Washington Convention Center | Mount Vernon Place, DC
When: Friday, 12-10pm; Saturday, 10am -10pm; Sunday 10am – 7pm
Admission: $12/adults, $5/ages 6-12, free/5 & under
The annual Washington Auto Show is parked at the Washington Convention Center for one more weekend. And if there’s any “grown-up” event that is equally fun for all ages, this is it. The Auto Show is like a Truck Touch, but with automobiles — more than 600 of them! — on display for guests to check out. Other activities, like Ride ‘n Drives and celeb appearances, give guests even more to do and see. There is also a Family Fun Zone for kids with craft activities and PBS characters, plus fun photo ops and neat interactives throughout the expo. Get more info and check out scenes from our visit last weekend. And see this post about one of our experiences at a past show.
Be a Shakespearean Actor
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday, 10-11am & 11am – 12pm
Shake up your Saturday with a workshop especially for kids at the Folger Shakespeare Library! These programs occurring on the first Saturday of every month, encourage families to experience Shakespeare’s language together. This session, develop your acting skills, 1800’s style, in a “How to Be a Shakespearean Actor” workshop. The 10am class is for ages 5-7, the 11am class for ages 8-14. Register here.
Crêpe Day: Celebrate La Chandeleur!
Where: Hillwood Museum | Upper Northwest, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $18/adult, $12/member, $5/child, free/ under 3
We’re just about midway through winter, and Hillwood is celebrating with their annual La Chandeleur, also known as Crêpe Day, marking the halfway point between winter and spring. In France, families celebrate by eating crêpes, which are round and golden, like the springtime sun. Hillwood and Alliance Française de Washington invite families to celebrate the holiday in festive French fashion amidst Hillwood’s spectacular gardens, magnificent mansion, and exquisite French treasures. There will also be activities for all ages, with story times and crafts especially for children.
Valentine DIY Workshop
Where: Home Depot locations around the DMV
When: February 3
At this free hands-on workshop, build a Valentine bean bag toss and score points with your loved ones. Children with and adult can construct and decorate a fun bean bag toss game the whole family will love. All participants get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times and they must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron, and pin. Register in advance — visit the website to find a store near you offering the class.
Maple Sugaring Days
Where: Brookside Nature Center | Wheaton, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Be a part of the maple sugaring process and help collect the sap from trees, watch as its boiled down into sweet maple syrup, and enjoy a taste! This program takes place every Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday in February at select times. Sessions fill up, so register now! This event is also offered in Spanish.
Chocolate Lovers Festival
Where: Several locations in the City of Fairfax, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Varies by activity
Valentine’s Day and chocolate go hand-in-hand, and you can savor it and then some at this sweet event. The City of Fairfax presents its annual festival centered around one of the most wonderful things in the world: Chocolate! There will be all kinds of activities for all ages throughout the weekend, both chocolate and non-chocolate themed — tastings, story time, puppet shows, face painting, chocolate challenges, a chocolate caper mock trial, and much more. The schedule of events has details.
DPR Puppy Bowl
Where: Columbia Heights Rec Center | Columbia Heights, DC
When: Saturday, 2pm
The Department of Parks and Rec is celebrating the Super Bowl early with its own version of the popular Animal Planet show “Puppy Bowl, “ the action-packed live event where puppy owners get to put their puppies inside the game, while an audience watches.There will be two fields of play — one for adult dog free play and one special turf field for official DPR Puppy Bowl play. The event will include a referee and analysis from some of DPR’s most respected voices in local sports. RSVP in advance!
Portrait Stories & Discoveries
Where: National Portrait Gallery | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1-4pm
Drop in at the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Duke Ellington, and complete a hands-on activity. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum (and the American Art Museum housed in the same building). For more about the program, see this post about a past experience and this one with scenes from a very recent visit.
Race to the Moon
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15
Join this free alternate reality game at the Chantilly arm of Air & Space. Set in the thrilling era of early spaceflight, the game explores the exciting race to space by the first American astronauts. Your mission in this installment: Develop a rocket to launch into space, travel over 200,000 miles to the Moon, and land safely. It is 1969 and national pride and prestige are on the line. The United States is in a tight race with the Soviet Union to see who can be the first to land humans on the Moon and return them safely to Earth. NASA needs engineers and scientists with real problem-solving skills.
Date Night Theatre
Where: Sidney Harman Hall & Arena Stage | Penn Quarter & Southwest, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Ticket prices vary
If you’re looking for entertainment sans kids, here are a couple of recommendations: Hamlet is Shakespeare Theatre Company’s current production, and this modern version puts an interesting spin on the classic. At Arena Stage, Sovereignty highlights the history, struggles, and truths of the Cherokee Nation in this play that’s also part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival. (PS: Both shows could be enjoyed by older kids, too, about middle school ages and up,just be aware that Hamlet runs nearly three hours.)
Where: Rock Creek Nature Center | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1pm & 4pm
Explore the night sky while the sun shines outside! The Rock Creek Park Planetarium has two shows running on weekends in February. In Winter Night Sky at 1m, discover tonight’s brighter stars, planets, and constellations, and learn their stories. At 4pm, discover African star stories while exploring constellations in the Southern Hemisphere. While you’re there, check out the rest of the Nature Center, enjoy time outside, and visit the stables at the Horse Center nearby. Read more about Rock Creek Park in this KFDC post.
Tween Valentine Card Making Workshop
Where: The Paper Source | Georgetown, DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 1pm
Grab your BFF and some glitter for a workshop that will give you heart eyes! Make 5 – 6 Valentines for your classmates, friends, and family using your favorite stickers, stamps, washi and more! This class is intended for ages 8-14.
Valentine Makers Market
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Solomons, MD
When: Saturday, 9am – 2pm
Shop for your Valentine at this indoor market with over 45 vendors. Find something special with great variety of handmade and homemade goods. While you’re there, plan to explore and enjoy the rest of Annmarie’s artsy offerings! Read more about the artsy wonderland here.
1-2-3 Andrés Concert
Where: Naval Lodge | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: $20/adult, $10/child
Enjoy a family concert featuring Latin Grammy Winner 1-2-3 Andrés and have even more fun to support Gan Shalom, an inclusive, cooperative preschool in Capitol Hill. Tickets include music, lunch, drinks , and a silent auction. The Naval Lodge is located at 330 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.
Revenge of the Space Pandas
Where: Mount Olivet United Methodist Church | Arlington, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $13/adults, $7 children
Enjoy Play-Ka-Rah, Keegan Theatre’s program that presents theatrical experiences for families! The Mount Olivet Players, in conjunction with Keegan Theatre, are performing Revenge of the Space Pandas or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock by David Mamet. This sci-fi fantasy about two 12 year-olds and a sheep hurtling through space to a panda-policed outer dimension serves up wry grown-up humor and fun for the whole family. Proceeds support the Mount Olivet Youth Summer Mission Trips.
***PLAN AHEAD*** Valentine’s Day Card Workshop
Where: National Postal Museum | NoMa, DC
When: February 10-11, 10am – 4pm
Love is in the air at the Postal Museum’s annual Valentine’s Day Card Workshop. We’ve attended this event several times, so I can tell you firsthand it’s one all ages will love. They’ll have pretty papers and neat Valentine-themed supplies — rubber stamps, gems and other 3-D embellishments, special cut-out scissors, washi tape, stickers, and more. All guests need to bring is their creativity to make one-of-a-kind cards!
***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW*** * Feel the love around DC over the next couple of weeks — there are lots of great Valentine’s Day inspired events coming up! *KidPass, a membership program that gives children access to all kinds of classes, just launched in DC. * Need kid coverage on the DCPS day off from school February 16? Register your student for a DPR Fun Day, a free, single-day program offering fun and enriching activities for ages 6-12. Sign up starts February 2 at 12pm. * If screen time is a struggle in your household, you’ll appreciate this honest and witty (and possibly helpful) read about The Seven Day Screen Free Challenge by a local dad. (And I feel compelled to add that I do not judge screen time for kids in any way — mine enjoy it, and so do I, for that matter!) * This is Us fans (and I know there are lots of you), there is a special Superbowl episode on Sunday evening after the game, and it looks one that will require lots of tissues — even more than the other episodes. * There’s still time to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Adventure Theatre!