Category Archives: Seasonal

A Musical Theatre Summer Experience Like No Other with Young Artists of America

 

You may have heard of Young Artists of America before. They’ve been voted as a top summer camp by Washington City Paper and Bethesda Magazine readers for many years in a row. Their productions have won Regional Emmys, and their year-round programming was named “Best Youth Music Program” (Bethesda Magazine’s Best of Bethesda 2020) and “Best Performing Arts Education for Young Artists” (MD Theater Guide 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards).

With the pandemic, they have been pivoting quickly, thinking creatively with safety first – offering virtual classes as well as fully-staged digital musical theatre productions that include filmed, in-person performances and virtual performances edited together. They were recently featured on Fox5 for one of these productions, their upcoming presentation of Sondheim’s INTO THE WOODS, partially performed literally in the woods!

So, if you are looking for a summer program for your performing arts tween or teen, check out what YAA is offering! They have two different programs this summer:

Conservatories is a full-day, on-campus or hybrid model that focuses on the artistic process plus applied training in Acting, Dance and Voice, culminating in a fully-staged digital musical theatre production (RENT, Cabaret, The Little Mermaid, Jr., and Madagascar, Jr.) at the end of each session. They run from June 25 – July 9 and July 9-23

Academies is a half-day, all virtual model called that focuses on the artistic process to educate aspiring young performers of all levels in the many disciplines of musical theatre. Both of these models have programming for students ranging from 5th grade to college freshmen at all levels. Sessions run from June 28 – July 9 and July 12-23.

You can learn more about both programs here.

If your summer is booked, be sure to check out their year-round programming as well. They offer spring and fall semester training for singers, actors, dancers and instrumentalists as well, and even have one-off workshops (sometimes free!). No matter the program, YAA is known for one-of-a-kind opportunities, truly nothing like anything in the area.

Students learn from top teaching faculty as well as teaching artists, oftentimes right from Broadway. Their students have had the opportunity to work directly with such Broadway legends as Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Children of Eden), Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast), Tim Rice (Lion King), and performers the likes of Kristin Chenoweth, Julie Andrews, and Eleasha Gamble, Anthony McGill, and countless others.

In normal times, they produce full-staged, symphonic productions and perform them on state-of-the-art stages like the Music Center at Strathmore and The Clarice. Check out highlights from Les Miserables, one of their last fully-staged productions before the pandemic:

Even more, Young Artists of America has generously offered KFDC readers $100 off registration for new students depending on the program! Use promo code KF100 at check out when you register on their website.

 

This post is sponsored by Young Artists of America, however, I only promote programs, services, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2021, Camp, Maryland, Middle Schoolers, Seasonal, Summer, Teens, Tweens, Virtual Programs, Weekdays

Scenes from the Azalea Bloom at the National Arboretum (2021)

 

 

Even though I recently posted a “Scenes from the National Arboretum” just a few weeks ago at the start of spring, and even though I did one of the azalea bloom a few years ago, here I am with this new set of pics — of azaleas, at the Arboretum.

Because this year’s azalea bloom is just so beautiful.  I mean, it is always gorgeous, but during this time of limited explorations of the world, we (me, anyway) are much more appreciative of close-to-home happenings, making things like annual flower blooms seem more vibrant than ever and feel extra special.

I visited the Arboretum a couple of days before we went out of town for Spring Break, and the bloom was just beginning.  Back yesterday only a week and a half later, and Mount Hamilton where the azalea garden is located was bursting with color.  It’s a dazzling walk through it all on paths traversing the area, azaleas of all colors lining them.  Some areas feel wild, with flowers seeming to grow indiscriminately, while other sections like the walled Morrison Garden are more manicured.

This bloom always attracts a lot of visitors, but the azalea garden, or any part of the Arboretum, didn’t feel crowded at all.  It’s so vast and lovely, there’s plenty of space to relax and enjoy it safely.  And if you were to encounter crowds anywhere, it’s easy to head to another section — there is something amazing about every part of the Arb.  My many recommendations and posts about it are a testament to that — read/see more hereherehere, and here.  A quick recap of spots little ones will love:  The Washington Youth Garden and natural playground, the Asian Collection with its “secret” path leading down to the Anacostia River, the stream in Fern Valley where it’s fun to look for frogs, the gazebo in the Conifer collection, and the fountain full of koi fish by the Visitors Center.

Right now, the R Street entrance off of Bladensburg Road is closed to motorized traffic, so you need to go the to New York Avenue entrance (3501 New York Avenue NE).  [Update:  The Arb is limiting visitors — this bloom is a popular on! — so be aware there may be a wait to get in.] There are signs posted indicating it is okay to park on the side of the road, so I pulled over a short ways in on Valley Road, and walked to the azalea garden from there. The larger parking lots near the R Street Entrance and Grove of State Trees are closest to the azalea garden, but might be full.

The U.S. National Arboretum is located in Northeast DC, off of Bladensburg Road and New York Avenue.  Enter at 3501 New York Avenue NE. Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is free.

And because I can’t help getting snap-happy with my camera, here are more photos of the splendor (and our sweet Teddy)…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: April 16-18

Head to Great Falls for a hike and spectacular scenery — for free!

 

This Weekend Round-Up is somewhat abbreviated as we’re away for Spring Break, but these quick links and listings will lead you to loads of ongoing things to do, seasonal activities, and a few special events.  Happy Weekend!

Find ideas and inspo in these go-to posts:
* Spring Things to Get Excited About
* Local Hikes with Kids
Best Outdoor Spots
* Peaceful Places
* Indoor Outings
* Bike Rides

Free Parking
Where: National Parks
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

National Park Week starts on Saturday, and it’s kicking off with a fee free day, so there’s no entrance fee to national parks that usually charge admission. Take advantage and hit the trail at  Great Falls, ShenandoahPrince William Forest, Harpers Ferry, or head up to Baltimore to explore Fort McHenry. Find even more parks to visit here.

Root for the Home Team
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Starts at $14/ticket

Single game tickets are now available to the public to catch a Nats game in person at the ballpark! That includes this weekend’s series against the Diamondbacks. Tickets will be sold in socially distanced pods of 1 to 6 tickets. Safety measures like assigned entrances, mobile food orders, extra signage, and masks required are in placed for Covid. Let’s go, Nats!

Tulips Galore
Where: Burnside Farm | Nokesville, VA
When: Friday (Saturday & Sunday sold out)
Admission: $20.50/adult, $10.50/child

Experience a bit of Holland in Northern Virginia at Burnside Farms’ annual festival as blooming tulips stretch along acres of fields in an array of colors and varieties. Even more, you can pick your own to bring home. Admission for the event has increased this year, but also includes bouncy fun, a play  area, and five tulips to pick. Purchase timed-entry tickets in advance.  And if you find the entry price steep, know that there are more, great (free) flower blooms on the way —  see what else is coming up around the area.

Drive-In Time
Where: Alexandria Drive-In Movie Theater | Alexandria, VA
When: Friday & Saturday, 8pm
Admission: $40/car

Catch a flick from the comfort of your car — an ideal way to enjoy some entertainment out of the house and social distance. Trolls will be on the big outdoor screen on Friday night, and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on Saturday. Food trucks will be there both nights offering savory and sweet concessions with online ordering through Goodfynd! Purchase movie tickets in advance!

Fairy & Gnome Home Festival
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: Sunday (timed-entry)
Admission: $7/age 2+
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 for young (and young at heart) guests. They’ve reconfigured the outdoor event to accommodate social-distancing and low-touch precautions, providing an an experience for families to imagine, create, and explore! Let kiddos dress in their magical finery and bring some chairs or a picnic blanket. Advance, timed-entry tickets are required for admission and “unicorn” rides. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden and get a glimpse in this KFDC post and this one.

NoVa Parking
Where: Several parks in Northern Virginia
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Not only are many of the locales within the NoVa Parks system great places to go for outdoor recreation, other activities within some of them are now available. Batting cages, mini golf, kayak and canoe rentals, and disc golf are some of them. Find things to do by activity, or check out individual parks and see what they have going on.

Go for a Spin
Where: Cabin John (Bethesda) & Wheaton Regional Park, MD
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $2.50

All aboard! Montgomery Park’s Cabin John Train and Wheaton Train and Carousel are open for the season on weekends. Take kiddos for a spin around the parks on replicas of an 1863 steam locomotive. Or go for whirl on the Carousel (Wheaton only). Plan for time on the playgrounds, too — both offer lots of fun for little ones.  Read more about Cabin John here and Wheaton here.

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

The Fairfax County Park Authority hosts all kinds of events on weekends for guests of all ages. Join a Campfire Friday at Lake Fairfax Park. Create a bird-themed craft at Sully Historic Site.  Take older kids on a nature kayaking adventure. Details and registration for these and more activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

StoryWalk: Rainbow Weaver
Where: Downtown Kensington, MD
When: Starting Saturday through May 15
Admission: Free
The Noyes Library Foundation presents its newest StoryWalk!  Families are invited to read the book Rainbow Weaver by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri, on posted signs on a self-guided stroll through Capitol View-Homewood Local Park (2929 Edgewood Road, Kensington, MD).  The book focuses on a young girl who wants to weave like her mother and the women of her Guatemalan village. A QR code to scan at the StoryWalk will take users to the Foundation’s website for crafts and printable coloring pages related to the book.

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Maryland, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Virginia, Weekend

Quick Links for this Week

     Spring Break 2021

 

It’s Spring Break for most DC students, including ours, so a couple of things:  1) You may be looking for extra things to do around the DC area during the time off from school  and  2) We’re taking advantage with a beach trip, so I won’t be posting much, but I’m also not leaving you hanging — here are quick KFDC links that will come in handy.  Have a great week!

 

Where to Go & What to Do During Spring Break 2021

Spring Things to Get Excited About Around the DC Area

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Inside Info: Indoor Places Open During COVID

Local Hikes with Kids

Bike Routes for Everyone Around the DC Area

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Maryland, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays