Remember how I mentioned last week that I’m a bit behind on posting about some of the fun things we’ve done this summer? Well, I’m crossing another off my list with one that we enjoyed way back on Father’s Day. And just in time for Labor Day, because this would make for a great family outing over the holiday weekend.
It became our tradition to celebrate Levi every June with a crab feast worked into the plan. We usually do something active, either a hike or bike ride, or Levi does a long ride on his own, then we all go out for crabs after or pick them up at the Fish Market at The Wharf and have a feast at home. It’s a fun, tasty, and seasonal way to celebrate the day, and one that he really likes.
However, this year we happened to have crab feasted not long before and weren’t really up for it again so soon. So, when a friend asked if we wanted to join their family for a Father’s Day hike, we were into it. But we still wanted to make it special for the dads with a post-hike meal and fun, so my friend suggested going to Waredaca Brewing Company in Laytonsville, MD.
I’d heard good things about it, but she had actually been there and gave it a big thumbs up. With that part of the day planned, we just needed to find a hike. We did a little research on trails nearby, and decided on Patuxent River State Park in Gaithersburg, MD, just a few minutes’ drive from Waredaca. (KFDC Tip: Sometimes it’s better to plan a hike around the après-hike destination!)
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Patuxent River State Park
The park is fairly large, spanning nearly 7,000 acres in Montgomery and Howard counties. There are generally three areas of the park — the North End, the Wildlands, and the South End. We explored the south section, where there are marked trails; we read the other areas tend to have more social (unmarked) trails that are popular with hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hunters during the season.
As mentioned, we chose our area based on post-hike plan, and it was a good call, both for its proximity to Waredaca and the hike itself. We weren’t looking for anything hardcore that would take a long time; we just wanted to do something active outdoors before heading to the brewery.
There are only two trail options in the South End, one about a mile and a half, and the other two miles, and they conveniently connected for a nice walk in the woods. While there wasn’t anything unique about the hike, it was very pleasant. The trails were well maintained with some twists and turns and a few slight uphills, but nothing too strenuous. We could easily walk, talk, and keep track of our dogs who were along for the day. The path winds through an area of tall trees and plants blanketing the grounds, and it was all that bright saturated green of early summer. Blues skies and lovely mid 70s-degree temps rounded it all out perfectly.
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Waredaca Brewing Company
Where there used to be a camp for kids is now the beautiful Waredaca Farm that is the site of Waredaca Brewing Company. Located in a serene pastoral setting along with equestrian facilities, it was a great place for the “special” part of our Father’s Day outing. There is a beer truck near the entrance, where you check in (and get a brew or lemonade), and just beyond are picnic tables with umbrellas spread out around the grassy orchard. There is more seating inside the Tap Room and right outside it on a patio, where there was also a bluegrass band playing when we were there.
My friend knew to make a reservation, as it gets crowded on nice days, especially one when many people are celebrating. You can walk in, though availability is limited, and it’s on a first-come, first served basis. Waredaca is very family-friendly, welcoming kids and dogs, with some large in-ground tires to climb on and open space for running around and playing lawn games. They also occasionally have “Pet a Pony” days!
As for the house specialty, there is a wide selection of beer on the menu along with bar snacks like pretzels and charcuterie boxes. A food truck is also on site, but it varies by day. You can also bring your own food and just enjoy the brews. Our crew did a mix of everything — some of our own snacks, bites from the bar, burgers from Boxcar Burgers, and, of course, beers for the adults.
Cheers to a super fun Father’s Day (and finally getting this post done)!
We’ve gotten so used to most annual events being canceled, it may come as a surprise (and delight) to learn that a bunch of fall festivals are still taking place this season. The locales — outdoors with lots of space — make it possible, and all of them are taking extra precautions to keep guests safe (follow links to websites for specifics about each place). With capacity limited at just about all of the festivals listed for safe social distancing, advanced reservations are recommended if not required. So, put on those sweaters (and masks), grab a basket for apples (and a bottle of hand sanitizer), and go have some autumn fun. Happy Fall, y’all!
Apple Gala & Cider Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Through September 30
Admission: $12-16/adult $10-14/child, free/2 & under
Celebrate everything apple at Great Country with apple picking, apple cider donuts, and a romp in the 12-acre play area. On Saturdays & Sundays there’s also live music, marshmallow roasting, cider pressing demos and fresh cider samples.
Fall at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Where: Ellicott City, MD
When: Tuesday – Sunday through November 3
This fairytale of a farm doesn’t have a special fall festival per se, but with so many activities, including seasonal delights like pumpkins, cider, and Halloween fun, it’s like a celebration all the time. And it all takes place on the sprawling grounds adorned with installations practically straight out of a storybook (they were actually salvaged from The Enchanted Forest, an old Ellicott City amusement park). See Humpty Dumpty, the Three Bears, Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, the Old Woman’s shoe, and more. If that’s not enough, there are hayrides, cow train rides, slides, farm animals to pet, a pumpkin patch, the pine tree maze, and even more. See the website for hours by day. Closed Mondays.
Fall Fun Festival
Where: Gaver Farm | Mt. Airy, MD
When: Through November 3
Admission: $9/weekdays, $13.50/weekends, free/2 & under
Celebrate the arrival of fall in Frederick, MD with farm activities for the whole family family and other great seasonal traditions. Conquer twists and turns of the corn maze, jump on the giant pillow, pet and feed farm animals, and cruise down giant slides. There are over 50 attractions appropriate for any age including mini mazes, playgrounds, duck races, ball games, photo centers, and much more.
Where: Belvedere Plantation | Fredericksburg, VA
When: Through November 8
Admission: $9.95 – $16.95, depending on day/time
This heritage farm has loads to keep the whole gang entertained for hours. The Maize maze, slides, hayrides, ziplines, pumpkin patch, playground, flower picking, jumping pillow are just some of the attractions that little ones will love. New this year is the Sunflower September Spectacular, a pick-your-own sunflowers field open September 21-22, 24-26, and 27-29. Plan to eat there — the Red Rooster Grill offers a variety of grilled favorites to satisfy all appetites.
Corn Maze & Fall Festival
Where: Winterbrook Farms | Thurmont, MD
When: Through November 1
The farm in Frederick County claims the largest corn maze in Maryland, and it comes with loads of other farm fun, including slides, a pumpkin patch, animals, the moo choo train, cornhole, zip lines pedal karts, apple cannons, a tractor tire mountain, and lots more. Their first annual Sunflower Festival will be happening the weekend of September 19-20.
Colonial Market & Fair
Where: Mount Vernon, VA
When: September 19-20
Admission: $18-20/adult, $10/age 6-11, free/5 & under
At George Washington’s old stomping grounds, they re-create a lively early-American marketplace with demonstrations, crafts and entertainment. Take in the sights and sounds of it all on Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field and chat with colonial artisans selling traditional handcrafted food and wares. Colonial music transports you back to the 18th century as expert artisans demonstrate period crafting techniques. Learn how the Washingtons enjoyed ice cream and watch as interpreters showcase the process. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family!
Montpelier Farms Fall Festival
Where: Upper Marlboro, MD
When: September 19 – November 8
Admission: $12, free/2 & under
Enjoy all of the staples of a fall festival on the farm — pumpkins, hayrides, animals, hill slides, farm-themed games and rides, and much more. This year, it’s open on weekdays, too. And a tip based on our experience there: Do not miss the corn maze. It’s EPIC.
Pumpkin Village Fall Fest
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: September 19 – November 3
Admission: $16-18/adult, $14-15/child & senior, free/2 & under
The animals are usually the main draw at the park, but this time of year, there are activities galore that bring visitors to enjoy some seasonal fun. Guests can spend a crisp fall day enjoying loads of great activities such as giant hill slides, hay rides, moon bounces, pedal carts, and more.
Where: Summers Farm | Frederick, MD
When: September 19 – November 8
Admission: $10-17, depending on time/day
With so much farm fun, there undoubtedly will be something to excite every kid. A pumpkin patch, giant jumping pillows, live entertainment, hay rides, hay slides, pig races, rubber ducks races, straw mountains, a mini obstacle course, even a campfire area if you want to “chill” out.
Reston Farm Garden Market Fall Fest Where: Reston, VA When: September 25 – November 1 Admission: $20/child + 1 adult, $5/add’l adult
This annual Fall Fest is on! Families will enjoy a pumpkin moon bounce and bouncy slides, inflatable corn maze, train rides and farm animals. There is also their talented balloon artist, face painter and caricature portrait artist, along with food, pumpkins and more for additional on-site purchases.
Wayside Farm Fall Fun
Where: Berryville, VA
When: September 26 – November 3
Admission: $12, free/2 & under (see discount below!)
There is farm fun for visitors of all ages. This year the 10-acre corn maze theme is Everyday Heroes to honor first responders — there is an an easy route and a challenging route depending on interest level. Families can make a reservation to pick pumpkins in the u-pick fields where they come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors. There are also have pig races, slides, a John Deere playground, apple cider donuts, and lots more. KFDC readers can get $2 off the ticket price on Fridays and Mondays — use the code “Weekday” at check out!
Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival
Where: Germantown, MD
When: Weekends September 28 – October 27
Admission: $13-15, free/2 & under
Enjoy a country outing and join Butler’s in celebrating the harvest with traditional autumn activities. Take a hayride, jump in the hay loft, visit Barnyard Buddies, navigate through a couple of mazes, play corn hole, and more! Make advance reservations.
Fall 2020 Activities
Where: Cox Farms | Centreville, VA
When: Through November 2
Admission: $15/drive-thru hayride
In normal times, the fall fest at Cox is massive, but out of lot of caution, they are greatly limiting activities. A self-drive “hayride” lets visitors will drive their cars through the traditional hayride route to pick a pumpkin. You can also load up on apple cider donuts and kettle corn from the farm market to enjoy on the ride.
Where: Larriland Farm | Woodbine, MD
When: Late September thru October
Admission: Free (fee for some activities)
Larriland is best known for their PYO fields, but in the fall, they offer a little more for farm-goers. Take a hayride out to the pumpkin patch to find a potential Jack-o-lantern, then play in the Boo Barn or make your way through the straw maze. Apple fritters and food trucks are available on Saturdays and Sunday’s.
Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: September 28 – October 31
Admission: $10-12/adult $8-10/child, free/2 & under
Great Country is known for its awesome festivals, and the Pumpkin Harvest is no exception. Thrills for little people (and grown-ups, too) include P-Rex, the pumpkin eating dinosaur; Rubber Ridge, the tractor tire mountain; the Pumpkin Princess in the pumpkin patch, a giant Pumpkin’ Jumpin’ Pillow; five mazes; 60-foot slides, rope swings, tractor rides, and even more fun in the country. Find a future jack o’ lantern in the pumpkin patch, the largest u-pick patch in the area.
Homestead Farm Fall Festival
Where: Poolesville, MD
When: Daily through October, 9am – 5pm
While Homestead doesn’t have an official festival, the farm embraces the spirit of autumn every year. There are no hayrides out to the pumpkin patches this year, but you can still select a pumpkin, pick apples while they have them, enjoy hot cider, see farm animals and scarecrows, and enjoy the season with the family at this scenic locale.
UPDATE: Due to the coronavirus, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and just about all other events have been canceled. You can still try view them, but use good judgement doing so.
Cherry blossom season is almost upon us, and it’s time to start getting ready for it! Because not only is the city at its prettiest when the beloved flowers are in bloom, there also are loads of special events and activities to celebrate it all. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, running March 20 – April 12 this year, presents all kinds of fun and enriching activities over a few weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festivities. I’ve picked the best of them for families to help you plan for a peak experience. Happy Spring!
Cherry Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the DMV
When: Late March
Viewing the cherry blossoms may just be the top thing to do during the season — and lots of people agree. The scenery really can’t get more iconic DC than the flowering trees around the Tidal Basin at their peak pink and white brilliance with our grand memorials in the background. However, viewing the famous blooms can be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things, so be sure to check out these KFDC tips before you go to see them. And view scenes from last year’s bloom here.
STORYTIME: Under the Cherry Blossom Tree CANCELLED!
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: March 11, 10-11am & March 15 & 22, 11am – 12pm
In celebration of cherry blossoms, join the Hirhshorn for a read aloud of Under the Cherry Blossom Tree by Allen Say. Take a close look at the museum’s lobby’s tables, created by artist Hiroshi Sugimoto using a 700-year-old nutmeg tree, then create your own tree- and blossom-inspired works.
Hanami: Beyond the Blooms
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: March 13 – May 25
Admission: $16-20/adult, $8-10/child
ARTECHOUSE introduces a new exhibit every season, and it’s only apropos that its spring offering highlights the cherry blossoms. Hanami: Beyond the Blooms “pushes the limits of the cherry blossom experience, inviting visitors to enter an immersive world of spring re-imagined. Now an annual tradition, ARTECHOUSE’s cherry blossom-inspired installation continues to celebrate springtime and women in the arts and tech.” Look for a KFDC review of it soon!
Cultural Performances CANCELLED!
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: Weekends, March 21 – April 12
Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! On weekends during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area. A highlight will be the Miyako Takio Takeover Saturday on March 28 from 11am to 6pm.
Cherry Blossom Celebration CANCELLED!
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 21, 11:30am – 3pm
Join SAAM and the National Cherry Blossom Festival for a celebration of Japanese culture. A taiko drumming performance kicks off the day, followed by Les The DJ spinning Japanese pop, funk, and boogie beats and the Koto Ensemble performing traditional Japanese dance. Enjoy face painting, make cherry blossom crafts, and go on an art scavenger hunt throughout the exhibition Chiura Obata: American Modern in the first-floor galleries.
Japanese Fashion Family Day CANCELLED!
Where: GWU & Textile Museum | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: March 21, 10am – 3pm
Celebrate Japanese fashion during cherry blossom season this spring. Join the Textile Museum & George Washington University museum for a family day featuring kimono, happi coats, accessories, and the creative shapes of contemporary Japanese fashion designers. Enjoy dance performances of Eisaa and Ryubu traditional dances from Okinawa. See a demonstration for how to dress in a kimono and take the opportunity to design one of your own. Make a cherry blossom pendant to take home. And enjoy family-friendly tours of the Japanese artwork on display in Delight in Discovery: The Global Collections of Lloyd Cotsen. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience a museum that usually may be a bit sophisticated for little ones!
Go with the Flow
Where: Local waterways
When: Starting mid-March
Admission: Rates vary
Get a new perspective of the blossom and enjoy a fun activity on a paddling excursion. Many boathouses will open around the same time the National Cherry Blossom Festival begins, offering canoe, kayak, and other rentals to take you out on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Tidal Bason, where you can see the blooming cherry trees from the water. This KFDC post has more information on where to go with the flow around DC.
Last year’s cherry blossom inspired exhibit at ARTECHOUSE
STORYTIME: The Tiny Seed CANCELLED!
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: March 25, 10-11am
Join the Hirshhorn for a special STORYTIME, their regular program for littles, and join them to celebrate spring with the journey of a tiny seed. Take a close look at the round bronze sculptures of Spatial Concept: Nature by Lucio Fontana, and read-aloud The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Then, explore how plants move and change throughout their life cycle. Following the story, children will participate in a hands-on art activity.
Cherry Blossom Night with the Washington Wizards CANCELLED!
Where: Capitol One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 25, 7pm
Admission: Tickets start at $19
Celebrate the cherry blossom season with the Wizards and some basketball as they take on the Phoenix Suns! Each ticket purchased through this link comes with a limited edition Wizards Cherry Blossom t-shirt. In addition first 10,000 fans entering the arena will receive a Rui Hachimura Cherry Blossom inspired bobblehead!
Blossom Kite Festival CANCELLED!
Where: Washington Monument Grounds | National Mall, DC
When: March 28, 10am – 4:30pm
The annual Blossom Kite Festival is a favorite for many during the blossom season. The sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument truly is a sight to behold. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so BYO or make one there at an activity station. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.
Cherry Blossom Celebration CANCELLED!
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: March 28, 12-4pm
Celebrate the season at the museum dedicated to Asian art! At this special event, explore Japanese art and culture through musical performances, making art, and taking a tour of Hokusai: Mad about Painting and Meeting Tessai. Try Japanese bookmaking, listen to taiko drumming, and then join the kite festival right outside on the National Mall. Japanese-inspired food and drink will be available for purchase.
Into the Woods
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Centreville, VA
When: March 28, 11am – 1:30pm
Celebrate the cherry blossoms at the farm park! Hike the nature trail to experience the changes of spring. Visit stations peppered throughout the trail to build a fairy house, help tally migratory and year round resident birds, and search for critters in the soil and water. Enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Frying Pan Meeting House, too. Stop by the Indoor Arena first for a map and instructions.
Cherry Blossom STEM Day
Where: Children’s Science Center Lab | Fairfax, VA
When: March 29, 10am – 6pm
Celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival with a twist of STEM! Visitors can learn more about the special flower and festival through hands-on activities and experiments inspired by the cherry blossom throughout the entire Lab. Read more about the Children’s Science Center Lab in this KFDC post.
Cuenta-Cuentos: STORYTIME in Spanish CANCELLED!
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: March 29, 11am – 12pm
Join a special STORYTIME in Spanish and inspired the season! Celebrate spring with a close look at the round bronze sculptures Spatial Concept: Nature by Lucio Fontana, and a reading of The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. Then, explore how plants move and change throughout their life cycle. Following the story, children will participate in a hands-on art activity.
Cherry Blossom Night at DC United
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: April 3, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary
Support local sports and be a part of the Cherry Blossom Festival at once! DC United’s home match against New York City FC will include cherry blossom-themed activations, activities, and celebrations for fans along with the action on the pitch. Score tickets here.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade CANCELLED!
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 4, 10am – 12pm
The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities just might be the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the procession of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers roll through the city. 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 if it’s a pretty spring day.
See Racing Presidents rolling down Constitution Ave at the annual parade
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 4, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10/ages 13+, free/12 & under
Following the Cherry Blossom parade, many folks head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. The 60th annual event will feature live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Be prepared for a crowd.
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: April 4, 2-9pm
Join The Wharf for Bloomaroo, their local version of Bonaroo, where they’ll be celebrating the cherry blossoms with a full day of art, music, and family-friendly fun along the waterfront! If you want to make this a special adult experience with food and drinks included, VIP tickets are available for $55. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.
Art Blooms at Mosaic
Where: Mosaic District | McLean, VA
When: April 4 & 5, 11am – 5pm
The 2nd annual Art Blooms at Mosaic is celebratory weekend with fun for all ages. Do some shopping at the market, catch live entertainment and art exhibits, do some kids activities, enjoy a pop-up beer garden & wine patio, snap pics at selfie stations, join a free yoga session, and much more!
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: April 5, 11am – 8pm
National Harbor’s Sakura Sunday is an official event of the 2020 National Cherry Blossom Festival — and a taste of the traditional Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan! The day’s activities include a traditional Japanese picnic, unique Japanese market, foods of Japan, Japanese music & entertainment, and a sake, beer & rose garden!
Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park | Southeast DC
When: April 5, 1-5pm
The 6th annual Anacostia River Festival is a premier event of the 2020 National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year will feature an artist market, special performances, and activities that include boating, hands-on art projects, musical performances, and other unique programs engaging families with the river, its history, and ecology.
Blossoms & Baseball
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 6
Admission: Ticket price vary
The Nats are getting in on the Cherry Blossom festivities again this year with a petal-packed, pink takeover of Nationals Park as they host the Marlins. A portion of ticket proceeds from the game will also benefit the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: April 11, 10am – 3pm
Children of all ages and their families can learn about Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals. Japanese-related books will be on display, and a special highlight of the day is “Japan-In-A-Suitcase,” an inspiring program about Japanese life and culture. Other activities include Japanese drum music and dance performances, instructions on the art of tiara-making by former Cherry Blossom princesses, origami artwork lessons, decorative Konobori coloring, and the kimono dress-up experience. Children can also explore the Library’s Young Readers Center, which is full of current and classic children’s literature — read more about it here.
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 11, 12-9:30pm
Join the Capitol Riverfront community for Petalpalooza! It’s the first time the event will be held in neighborhood, and it should be a blast. The event will celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with live music, art installations, a beer garden, and lots of family-friendly activities. Plan to go for awhile, or just stop by for a bit. The day will cap off with a fireworks show over the Anacostia River.
Where: National Arboretum | Northeast DC
When: April 11 & 12, 10am – 1:30pm
Enjoy spring flowers with a Japanese twist! The Washington DC Chapter of Ikebana International is co-hosting four different Ikebana masters. Each master represents a different school and and will highlight the characteristics of their school. Demonstrations will be held in the Auditorium of the Visitor Center and are free to attend.
Make-your-own Valentines at the National Postal Museum’s annual workshop
Do you ❤️ celebrating Valentine’s Day with your little (and big) sweeties? If you’re looking for ways to celebrate and prep for the day, here’s an array of activities happening around the area over the next couple of weeks — with something for everyone to love. Happy V-Day!
Chocolate Lovers Festival
Where: Several locations in the City of Fairfax, VA
When: January 31 – February 2
Admission: Varies by activity
Valentine’s Day and chocolate go hand-in-hand, and you can savor it and then some at this sweetevent. 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.
Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids & Cookies for Caregivers
Where: Your location in the DMV
When: Through February 14
Admission: Your time and card making/baking efforts
Celebrate the Valentine’s Day by giving back with Eliana’s Light. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to make cards for children who have to be in a DC, MD, or VA pediatric hospital over the holiday and cookies for the caregivers who support them. During this community service activity, participating adults and young people discuss topics such as empathy, kindness, helping others, volunteering, friendship, respect for diversity, and making a positive impact in life. The card and cookie recipients have reflected they’re touched and moved to know members of their community really care about them, and are sending them positive uplifts during their challenging times. This small act of kindness can have a big impact. More details about this volunteering program are here.
Heart String Art DIY Project
Where: Home Depot locations around the DMV
When: February 1, 9am – 12pm
Create a loving memory with your child at this Heart String Art Workshop. As you help your child piece together the symbol of Valentine’s Day, they will develop hands-on skills by sanding, nailing, painting and more. Celebrate the moment as your child makes a unique keepsake. All kids’ workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last. Register in advance — visit the website to find a store near you offering the class.
Kids Handmade Valentines Workshop
Where: The Paper Source | Various stores in the DMV
When: February 1, 1-3pm & February 5, 2-4pm
Grab your BFF 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. Buy two seats at the same time and save 10% off each seat. For kids ages 6 and up. Area Paper Source locations are in Georgetown, Bethesda, Alexandria, and Reston.
Valentine’s Day Card Workshop
Where: National Postal Museum | Union Station Area, DC
When: February 8-9, 10am – 4pm
Homemade love is in the air at the National Postal Museum’s annual Valentine’s Day Card Workshop! We’ve attended this event many times, so I can tell you firsthand it’s one you’ll adore. They provide pretty papers, stamps, and all kinds of Valentine-themed supplies for making cards; all you need to bring is your creativity and readiness for a good time. For more about the museum, see this KFDC post.
Open Studio: Love in Every Language
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: February 8-9, 12–4 pm
Head to the ImaginAsia Studio in the Sackler Gallery for an afternoon all about love and art. Enjoy a digital slideshow of images of love in Asian art, then create Valentine’s Day cards using woodblock prints that say “love” in more than a dozen Asian languages, and fold heart-shaped origami.
Love Note Holder Workshop
Where: Lowe’s locations around the DMV
When: February 8, 9am – 12pm
This monthly DIY workshop for kids has a focus on love…love notes, anyway. The project is perfect for holding all your child’s Valentine’s cards and treats. Workshops take 15-30 minutes, and children must be accompanied by parent/guardian. Check-in by 11am. Space is limited, so sign up in advance!
Unshrink My Heart
Where: Gateway Arts Center | Brentwood, MD
When: February 8, 2-4pm
This annual Valentine’s workshop with an 80’s twist is back! Create handmade Valentine keepsakes for your loved ones using Shrinky Dinks amazing, shrinkable sheets. Craft your own jewelry, key chains, and any other Valentine’s Day gift you can imagine. Children will receive their first two sheets of blank Shrinky Dinks free, additional sheets will be available for purchase for 50 cents each.
Animal Sweethearts Dance
Where: Hidden Pond Nature Center | Springfield, VA
When: February 8, 10am – 12pm
The social event of Hidden Pond’s winter season is back! There will be dancing, refreshments, crafts, and live animals to entertain. Recommended for children ages 3-5. Register in advance.
Valentine’s Party for Little Luv Bugs
Where: Foundry United Methodist Church | Downtown DC
When: February 8, 10:30–11:30am
Admission: Free, but please RSVP
Join Friends of Stead Park and Treehouse Atelier for a SWEET time making valentines and other fun crafts. Your family will also enjoy treats and hot chocolate. They also collaborating with Eliana’s Light (see above!) and asking kids to make additional valentines that will go to a child who will be in the hospital on Valentine’s Day. The church is located at 1500 16th St NW.
Where: Hidden Pond Nature Center | Springfield, VA
When: February 9, 1:30-2:15pm
Play musical valentines and critter sweetheart games as you learn how animals find a mate. Meet live animals and make an animal valentine craft. Recommended for ages 4-8. Sign up in advance online.
Where: DC Public Libraries | Around DC
When: Various dates
Join story times, craft sessions, and sing-alongs at some of the city’s libraries; Valentine’s Day-themed activities are taking places on several dates over the next couple of weeks. Find one that your child will love here.
Where: Brookside Nature Center | Wheaton, MD
When: February 11, 1-2pm
Everyone loves homemade Valentines and none are sweeter than those made by your preschooler! We’ll go on a short walk in search of nuts, sticks, and other natural items to decorate with, and then come inside and get to work! Recommended for ages 3-5.
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: February 12, 10-11am
Can an artwork depict love? Join the Hirhshorn for a special Valentine’s Day program. Look at the large photo print Untitled (for Jeff) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and read the book Love by Matt de la Peña. Following the story, little artists will create their own works for a friend or loved one.
Valentine’s Afternoon Tea
Where: Willard Continental | Downtown DC
When: February 14, 1-4pm
Admission: $68-75/adult, $30/age5-12
Enjoy a broad selection of the finest estate and boutique blended loose leaf tea, savory finger sandwiches, decadent pastries and The Willard’s famous freshly baked scones at this specialty tea service offered on Valentine’s Day. Reservations required — book on OpenTable. (PS: For a couple more Valentine offerings for adults, see the Willard calendar here.)
Woo at the Zoo (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: February 14, 7-10pm
Admission: $50/FONZ members, $60/non-members
Bring a special someone, grab a cocktail, learn about animal mating and dance the night away at a throwback ‘80s prom. Tickets include complimentary desserts. Guests will be given one drink ticket each for a specialty cocktail, beer, or wine. The ‘80s prom dance party will feature a DJ in a heated tent, plus there will be trivia and an Instagram-friendly photo station. When purchasing tickets, guests can add an exclusive Valentine’s Day gift to their ticket—a mini Adopt a Species package to pick up at the Zoo the night of the event.
Seeing Deeper: Cathedral Prom (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Washington National Cathedral
When: February 14, 7:30-10:30pm
Dive into a magical underwater experience at this Second Chance Prom, where everyone gets a do-over on the high school dances they want to relive, forget, or experience for the first time. They provide the crepe-paper seaweed, bubbles, and snacks for an evening of Enchantment Under the Sea, and all you need to bring is your sweetie, bestie, or just yourself to the this Valentine’s dance party. Flashback to your childhood and add bricks to a LEGO model to help reach the goal of 100,000 bricks by March 1.
Valentine’s Day Cookie Decorating Class for Kids
Where: Willard Continental | Downtown DC
When: February 15
Sweeten your Valentine’s Day weekend for your littlest ones at the Willard InterContinental. Led by Executive Pastry Chef Jason Jimenez, junior bakers will receive hands-on instruction to cookie decorating using a variety of techniques and decorating tools. Ideal for children ages 4-12 years old, and they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian (2 parents or guardians max per ticketed child).
Naked Scavenger Hunts (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: National Gallery of Art & American Art Museum, DC
When: February 15
No, you don’t get naked on these scavenger hunts with Watson Adventures! Rather, you search for nude artworks throughout the museums by tracking down tricky clues and answer quirky questions to uncover alluring and amusing pieces. The National Gallery of Art hunt is at 1pm. The American Art Museum hunt is at 4pm. Follow links for more details about both.
Where: City Wildlife | Northeast DC
When: February 16, 12-5pm
Admission: Suggested donation $20/person, $40/family
Take advantage of this rare occasion to visit City Wildlife, the animal rescue and rehabilitation center, as it’s the only time of the year they open their doors to the public. At the 6th Annual Valentine’s Day Open House, get a behind-the-scenes tour of the rehabilitation facility, enjoy some goodies, and get a gift for your Valentine. Free-will donations are collected to ensure that the Center can help its animal patients.
Rumpus Room Family Valentine’s Day Dance Party
Where: Black Cat | 14th Street NW, DC
When: February 16, 2-4:30
They choo choo choose you…to join them with your entire family on the dance floor! (They get all the credit for the great Simpsons reference.) DC’s only family dance party is back with a special groove session to celebrate the holiday on Valentine’s Day weekend. Practice those sweet moves and get ready to have fun!
All You Need Is Love 8: A Tribute to The Beatles & Love Songs (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Jammin Java
When: February 16, 7pm
Are you in love, looking for love, or scorning love? Either way, this is how love songs are meant to be heard — intimate and stripped down. Jammin Java’s official Valentine’s tradition is back by popular demand. Anthony Fiacco, Todd Wright and Luke Brindley pay homage to the group that influenced every musician out there with covers of your favorite Beatles love songs as well as originals of their own. Three singer/songwriters sharing the stage, telling stories, and playing songs, it’s like seeing the best local musicians singing your favorite songs in your living room.
From our Nats family to yours… Happy World Series Watching!
I’m a little excited about our beloved Nationals making it to the World Series. You know, like, OMFG-THE-NATS-ARE-IN-THE-WORLD-SERIES!!! excited. (Yeah, just a liiitttttle.) I know a lot of you are on the same exact page, too. So, of course, it’s of utmost importance that I produce a post of where to watch the World Series games with kids.
This round-up includes both special watch parties as well as places we like that are very kid-friendly and will be showing the games. Be sure to note that all of the games start a few minutes after 8pm, so they could run way too late for some kiddos. (I have been and will be letting my young Nats fans stay up to watch — granted, they are tween and teenage — and just hope their teachers will take into consideration the historic significance of this series.) Anyway, if you’re hoping to get out to watch the World Series with sister and fellow fans and want the kids to be part of the experience, or even if you want to watch KidFree, here are some ideas for where to root for our home team to #FinishTheFight.
Happy Nats Viewing!
Perhaps the ultimate place to watch the games if you can’t be at them, the Nats’ home field will be hosting watch parties on Tuesday, October 22, and Wednesday, October 23, for the first two match-ups of the series. This is ticketed, but it’s free to get them! The garage opens at 6:30pm, and gates open at 7pm. Wear red! Side note: I have friends who took their kids to the NLDS Game 5 Watch Party there (the one when Howie hit the grand slam), and even though they did not get home until waaay past midnight and the kids were tired, maybe even late, for school, they do not regret it, because it was one day, but they will have that amazing memory forever. UPDATE: There will also be Watch Parties at Nationals Park on Tuesday, October 29, and Wednesday, October 30, same timing as last week. We went to the Game 2 watch, and it was a blast! There is a max of 4 tickets/person, and FYI they “sold out” for the first two games.
Head just minutes away from Nats Park to the Southwest Waterfront to cheer on our team! The Wharf will be showing all the games on a giant 17-foot LED screen on the floating stage at Transit Pier. Along with the viewing there will be great giveaways, beer and wine bars for grown-ups, and sound up for every play. Grab a pizza from Union Pie or head up to Cantina Bambina to cozy up to the firepits. Patio seating at the Brighton gets a great view, too. You can also have a bite before the game at one of the many eateries in the area. Admission is free!
The Plaza at Tysons Corner Center
Cheer on the Nationals in Game 1 on October 22 at The Plaza located just outside the mall (the one with Nordstrom…I know people get confused about which Tysons mall is which). Watch the game live on the big screen and plan on having dinner at one of the eateries there beforehand or maybe even do some shopping — retail therapy to ease any World Series anxiety! 😉
Vim & Victor
The restaurant in the St. James, the sports complex in Springfield, VA, will have cocktail specials during Game 1 on October 22. This could be a good opportunity to take the kids to the Super, Awesome, & Amazing Activity Center, then enjoy a meal and baseball together after.
All Purpose Pizza
The location in the Navy Yard across from Nationals Park is one of our favorite family-friendly eateries in the Capitol Riverfront area, and it’s going into “Extra Innings” for all three home games. There will be extended kitchen and bar hours plus special World Series pies and sandwiches and a DC Brau Watch Party with specials on Full Count Lager and Joint Resolution. Make a reservation.
The Salt Line
Also across the street from Nationals Park right next to All Purpose, this restaurant is always popular with Nats fans on game days. With lots of tables to sit down for a meal, it’s a good place to go with kids, and they also have yummy food with options that will satisfy the whole fam. And if anyone needs a break from the excitement inside, you can head out for a walk by the water. Take advantage of specials: half-price oysters, $3 Narragansett, $5 DC Brau or wine, and $7 draft cocktails during away games. Make a reservation.
Not only is the pizza chain with locations all around the area a go-to for many families any time, they have several TVs at the bar and will be showing all of the Nats vs. Astros match-ups. You may not be able to bring kids barside, but adults take note: patrons wearing Nats gear at the bar on game days will get food and drinks at happy hour prices. If kids can’t be in that area, try to get seated with a good view of TVs. Make a reservation.
Ivy City Smokehouse
This restaurant in Northeast DC has become somewhat of a family go-to for us. We all love the food and relaxed, upbeat vibe. I don’t know if it’s considered a baseball-watching place per se, but they have a few TVs above the bar that you can see from just about every table in the restaurant, and surely they’ll have the World Series on. We watched an NLDS game there while we enjoyed a tasty meal. Make a reservation. Update:Ivy City is a baseball place is will be celebrating the Nats with World Series specials: Wear your Nats gear and receive happy hour prices all day!
Buffalo Wild Wings
A friend recommended this one for this post. With its huge TVs, fare that seems to satisfy big and little palates (who doesn’t like wings?), and location just a block away from Nationals Park, it’ll be a good place to watch the baseball action. And while I’m not sure of specials specifically for the World Series, they do offer $5 Gameday specials Thursday – Monday and buy one get one free traditional wings on Tuesdays (Game 1!).
The restaurant in Brookland is known for its family-friendliness and they show sports games on a couple of TVs, so I’m including as a spot to catch a little World Series action. The food and drinks are always good, and staff very friendly to diners of all ages.
Quincy’s South Bar & Grill
A late addition recommended by a KFDC reader, she said it’s “kid friendly and has a great kids menu! There’s a changing table in the bathroom and they have high chairs. Family-owned! They also have a fun World Series themed menu during the games!” And it’s located in North Bethesda/Rockville — convenient for MoCo Nats fans.
Another late addition, the Southwest DC event space in the former Friendship Baptist Church known for its bright multi-colored exterior (surely, you’ve seen it on Instagram) is hosting an all-ages community watch party for Game 1 and Game 2 of the World Series. Enjoy small bites from &Pizza and a hosted bar (while supplies last). The games will be shown on two 70″ LED TV’s in the lounge and a 10′ x 20′ large format projector screen upstairs in the Performance Space.
There are all kinds of World Series happenings going on at the recreational area in the Capitol Riverfront practically within baseball throwing distance of Nationals Park. Enjoy specials at restaurants and eateries at The Yards — Agua 301, Blue Jacket, and Willies are all places you could bring kids for a meal and catch the games. And Ice Cream Jubilee and Cosmopolitan Nail Lounge have World Series inspired specials, too.
On Friday evening at The Yards Park, Watch Party Weekend kicks off at 6pm with a celebratory pep rally featuring the Eastern High School March Band, live music, a fireboat show on the Anacostia, and curly W tattoos & lawn games. And at 8pm, watch Game 3 on a massive LED screen.
Watch Party Weekend will continue at The Yards Lot (M Street SE & New Jersey Avenue SE) on Saturday and Sunday starting at 2pm with live music, ballpark fare and drinks, games and activities. Airings of Games 4 and 5 will start at 8pm.
Clyde’sI saw this recommendation on DC Urban Moms in a thread that link to this post in response to someone asking about places to watch the game in the Tenleytown/Friendship Heights area. Apparently, the basement of the Clyde’s in that location has lots of TVs and a projection screen, and kids are allowed in that area. The location in Gallery place would make for good game viewing as well. Clyde’s has fare to satisfy all eaters and they are always welcoming to kids in our experience.
If you want to get out to watch sans kids, there are several round-ups of World Series viewing spots circulating. Here are a few to check out: Thrillist Washingtonian Washington Post
*Do you have recommendations for other places to view the World Series with kids? Please share if so (especially spots in Maryland and Virginia as I know this round-up is short on those)!