Category Archives: Social Distancing

The Weekend Round-Up: May 14-16

Biking by Constitution Gardens on the National Mall

 

Quick links for activities galore around the DC area:
Spring Things to Get Excited About
Best Outdoor Spots in the DC Area
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Peaceful Places
* Indoor Outings
* On the Water
* Bike Rides

DC Reopenings
Where: Around DC
When: Staring this weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Several DC museums and other beloved places are opening their doors to visitors again starting this weekend after being closed for many months due to Covid. You’ll once again be able to visit the National Museum of African American History & Culture, National Portrait Gallery & American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, National Gallery of Art, and Dumbarton Oaks Garden. Ford’s Theatre also opened earlier this week, and the Udvar-Hazy Center reopened last week. Timed-entry passes are required for all of them, and they’re going fast. If you can’t get them for this weekend, reserve for a later date! Click links to get yours.

Open Play
Where: The Lane Social Club | Ivy City, DC
When: Timed-entry on Sunday
Admission: $15/person (adults, too)

Snag a block of time for Open Play at the family hang out spot in Ivy City. With super cool play elements that kids will dig and lots of thoughtful details that parents will appreciate, it’s a place where you’ll all enjoy spending time. Covid safety measures are in place, and note that they are not offering food or drinks right now, but you can BYO small snack.

Spring Drive-In Movie Series
Where: The Stack at Buzzard Point | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 8pm
Admission: $20/car

Remember the Titans will be on the big outdoor screen in the Capitol Riverfront this weekend.  The neighborhood BID’s drive-in movie series is a fun, contact-free experience for all ages at an appropriate social distance.  Even more, all funds are donated to local charities — this weekend proceeds benefit Unity Health Care.

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

You can also catch a flick from the comfort of your car in Virginia. The Secret Life of Pets will be screened on Friday night, and Jaws on Saturday (dun-dun, dun-dun…). Food trucks will be there both nights offering savory and sweet concessions with online ordering through Goodfynd. Purchase movie tickets in advance!

A Fairytale of a Farm
Where: Clarks Elioak Farm | Clarksville, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $8

Enjoy all kinds of farm fun — with a side fairytale charm, to boot. Clark’s Elioak delights with its old storybook park installations and mini rides for kids. There are also animals to visit and pony rides. A bonus: JoAnn Hill, author of the book Secret Washington, DC, which features Clark Elioak, will be there signing books and happy to chat about obscure and interesting things to see and do around the area.

Arrrgh, Mateys!
Where: Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake | Annapolis, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $22, $12/ages 2 and under

Set sail on the high seas in Annapolis for a jolly good adventure. Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake has reopened for the season, taking little buccaneers on a search for buried treasure. Several time slots are available throughout the day, and safety measures are in place for Covid. Read more about the adventure in this KFDC post, but note that it’s from pre-Covid days.

Ride On
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

There’s a quick link to bike routes above, but here’s a stronger recommendation to get out for a family ride. Last weekend, we had a great time biking the National Mall, stopping at the memorials and Constitution Garden, then making our way to West Potomac Park and over to The Wharf, where we grabbed an easy, delicious bite at Falafel Inc. You can find even more recs for good two-wheel trips here.

Day Out with Thomas
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: $26-30

All aboard, little engineers! Thomas the Tank Engine is rolling into town with the Party Train Tour! Take a train ride behind him, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy a full day of activities and family fun!

More Charm City Fun, Hon
Where: Baltimore, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

Have even more fun in our sister city, just 45 minutes up I-95. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. Play the day away at Port Discovery. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Tour historic ships at the Inner Harbor.  Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry.  All of these places require advance reservations, so be sure to book ahead.

Lambdapalooza
Where: National Colonial Farm | Accokeek Park, VA
When: Saturday
Admission: Depends on activities

Head to the park for Lattes with Lambs: Lambapalooza festival — they’re going out with a baa-ng. Enjoy music, hayrides, DIY activities, sheep shearing demonstrations, and a special book signing. This is a hybrid event that also takes place online — visit the website for details.

Secret Agent Scavenger Hunt
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15-25
Join Imagination Stage for an outdoor adventure perfect for families. Complete missions, take pictures and video, and enhance spy skills as you explore your local park, neighborhood, or even a guided walk of downtown Bethesda. You can participate right on your phone through the Goose Chase app, which comes complete with everything you need for this COVID-safe adventure. If you enjoyed Imagination Stage’s Spy Academy, you’ll be sure to enjoy the Secret Agent Scavenger Adventure.

Quarterfest Crawl
Where: Around Ballston, VA
When: Saturday, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

Savor, sip, and seek at this street festival around Ballston! The 2021 Quarterfest Crawl that benefits Homeward Trails Animal Rescue combines safe and socially-distanced activities with specials on food and drinks from many neighborhood restaurants. Enjoy a pup-friendly scavenger hunt, live music from local artists, giant-size games, and a fun day outdoors in the community.

Fiesta de Chihuahua
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 3pm
Admission: $30 for up to 6 people

The Wharf can’t bring back their annual Chihuahua races yet, but they’re still hosting a day of Chihuahua fun. See little pooches dressed up for a costume contest and get a look back at prior years’ races on the 20 foot LED movie screen, followed by a special screening of the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua. All ticket sales and raffle proceeds benefit Rural Dog Rescue. Each ticket is good for up to six people.

Strawberry Fields
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Strawberries are ripe and ready for harvest, and several area farms are now welcoming guests to pick their own. It’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.

Victura Park Pop-Up
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Friday 4-9pm, Saturday & Sunday, 12-9pm
Admission: Free

The weekend wine garden at The REACH, the Kennedy Center’s immersive extension, is family-friendly and a lovely spot to hang out.  The cafe offers snacks and sips that you can enjoy at socially distanced tables or in other areas. Explore the beautiful grounds, including the large plaza (we’ve seen skates and scooters there) and the  Kennedy Center terrace, where you can enjoy sweeping Potomac River views. PS: Victura Park is now there on Thursdays, too!

A Cicada Inspired StoryWalk
Where: Downtown Kensington, MD
When: Starting Saturday through June 6
Admission: Free
The fifth Noyes StoryWalk spotlights cicada season in the DC area. Families are invited to read Cecily Cicada by Kita Helmetag Murdock and Patsy Helmetag posted signs on a self-guided stroll through Clum-Kennedy Park (10298 Frederick Ave., Kensington, MD).  It will be on view from this Saturday through June 6. The event is likely to coincide with swarms of 17-year cicadas in the D.C. region

Vamos United!
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: Sunday, 8pm
Admission: Tickets start at $6

DC United is home this weekend, and there’s a match against Orlando City SC on Sunday evening. Safety measures for Covid are in place, including limited capacity, which is 5,000 fans right now. But FYI: It will be increased to 36% next weekend and to full capacity starting June 11!

We Can…Write! Workshop
Where: Rosie Riveters Online
When: Saturday, 9-10m
Admission: Free

Children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade are invited to this virtual young writers workshop on Saturday morning! Participants will meet Fabian Ferguson, author of Jackie Wins Them All, and learn about the creative process that goes into writing a children’s book. Then, Rosie Riveters instructors will explore the five parts of a story with participants, encourage them to write their own children’s book, and engage in an interactive book binding demo so participants can bind the books they wrote at home! Register here.

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* Vaccinations are now available for kids ages 12-15– and very easy to get in DC! (And go to vaccines.gov to find them everywhere.)
* Get a glimpse of the fantastic Forces of Nature exhibit at the Renwick, which reopens this weekend. A new post with has scenes from our visit there in the fall.
* Tickets for Great Country Farm’s annual Strawberry Jubilee Festival taking place May 22-23 and May 29-31 are now available.
* Who else is so excited for the Friends reunion on May 27?
* An impressive, beautiful essay.

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

The Weekend Round-Up: May 7-9

 

Happy Weekend!  And Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!

Go-to posts for all kinds of ongoing local fun:
Spring Things to Get Excited About
* Local Hikes with Kids
Best Outdoor Spots
* Peaceful Places
* Indoor Outings
* On the Water
* Bike Rides

Mom’s the Word
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

If you’re still in need of plans to celebrate Mother’s Day, there are lots of last-minute ways to make the occasion special. This round-up has ideas ranging from fairly mellow to very active, totally free to a total splurge. So there’s sure to be something to make every mom’s day.

Wonderful World of Watkins
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper Marlboro, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free (but rides are a fee)

I just recommended this last weekend, and it’s back because there’s even more to enjoy now. The Antique Carousel and Train are now open along with Old Maryland Farm, the Nature Center, and Wizard of Oz Playground. Hiking trails are accessible, too. And it all makes for a fantastic place to spend a day with the fam. Note that you need to make advance reservations for the Nature Center (go here to book), there may be a wait for the Farm as capacity is limited, and carousel and train hours are 12-5pm Friday- Sunday right now. The train and carousel each cost $2/PG County resident, $2.50/non-resident.

More Places to Go for a Spin
Where: Several locations in the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Other area carousels and trains have reopened for the season. Montgomery Park’s Cabin John Train and Wheaton Train and Carousel offer rides on weekends. The Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park is whirling once again. Kids can also go for a spin on the Americana-themed carousel at National Harbor (the Capital Wheel is open, too!).  Read more about Cabin John here , Wheaton here, and National Harbor here.

Spring Drive-In Movie Series
Where: The Stack at Buzzard Point | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 8pm
Admission: $20/car

Catch a movie on the big outdoor screen. This week’s featured film in the Capitol Riverfront BID’s drive-in movie series is Ocean’s Eight. It will be a fun, contact-free experience for all ages at an appropriate social distance. And all funds are donated to local charities — this weekend proceeds will benefit DC Central Kitchen.

Fishing In The District
Where: Tidal Basin, West Potomac Park | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 8:30-10:30am
Admission: Free

This free, outdoor, and socially distanced event brings families and communities together through learning the basics of fishing. With equipment, bait and tackle provided, Fishing In The District will offer DC residents of all ages the chance to experience fishing hands-on, guided by expert volunteers from the Aquatic Resources Education Center. All participants will be required to wear a face mask at the event, and a DC fishing license is required for all participants ages 16 to 64. Located at 2912 Independence Ave. SW.

Meet the Author & Book Signing
Where: Steadfast Supply | The Yards, DC
When: Saturday, 1-3pm
Admission: Free

There have been some great guests posts recently from JoAnn Hill, local author of Secret Washington, DC, about some off-the-beaten path places for families (here and here). This weekend, you can meet her, have your book signed, and get a little more insight into the DC area’s rich history, hidden stories, mysterious relics, forgotten about and abandoned buildings, and controversial scandals. She’ll be at Steadfast Supply at The Yards to talk about and sign her book. Plan to do even more shopping while you’re there — the store has a fantastic selection of unique, fun, and beautiful items (many that would make for perfect gifts for a certain special day on Sunday).

Art Hop
Where: Monroe Street Market | Brookland, DC
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Join the Monroe Street Market on the Arts Walk for an Art Hop just in time for Mother’s Day! The Arts Walk is home to 27 art studios producing a diverse range of art and crafts, including fine art, photography, sculpture, furniture, pottery, jewelry, candles, beauty goods, art prints, paper goods, and more. Along with browsing to find the most unique Mother’s Day gifts this year, you can enjoy a dance performance, maker pop-ups, specials, and more. Monroe Street Market is located at 716b Monroe Street NE.

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. Listen to myths and legends celebrating Mother Earth at Green Spring Gardens. Go on a Pooh-inspired hike at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Details and registration for these and more activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Fiesta de Chihuahua
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 3pm
Admission: $30 for up to 6 people

The Wharf can’t bring back their annual Chihuahua races yet, but they’re still hosting a day of Chihuahua fun. See little pooches dressed up for a costume contest and get a look back at prior years’ races on the 20 foot LED movie screen, followed by a special screening of the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua. All ticket sales and raffle proceeds benefit Rural Dog Rescue. Each ticket is good for up to six people.

Open Play
Where: The lane Social Club | Ivy City, DC
When: Timed-entry on Sunday
Admission: $15/person (adults, too)

The family hang out spot in Ivy City has some Open Play spots left for Sunday. With super cool play elements and lots of thoughtful details, it’s a place where kids and parents alike enjoy hanging out. Covid safety measures are in place, and note that they are not offering food or drinks right now, but you can BYO small snack.

empowerHER Luminaria
Where: Lincoln Memorial | National Mall, DC
When: Sunday, 6:30-9pm
Admission: Free

empowerHER is on a mission to support, connect + empower girls who’ve lost their mothers. This Mother’s Day, empowerHER LUMINARIA will illuminate the night with a whimsical display of personalized bags in honor of and in memory of loved ones, with 100% of proceeds to benefit empowerHER programs. Join empowerHER at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool on Mother’s Day – Sunday at sunset! Purchase your bag before bag sales close Friday!
 

Recreation Galore
Where: Anacostia Park | Anacostia, DC
When: Ongoing, dawn to duck
Admission: Free

Play the day away at Anacostia Park! Stretching along the river for which it’s named in southeast DC, the park is full of opportunities for recreation with a pirate-themed playground; two other playgrounds; a skating pavilion; tennis courts; and fields for playing ball or tossing a Frisbee. Plus, you can walk, run, scoot, or bike along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail or just find a table or nice spot in the grass to relax, have a picnic, and take in the views. Admission is free.

Charm City Fun, Hon!
Where: Baltimore, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

Have some fun in our sister city, just 45 minutes up I-95. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. Play the day away at Port Discovery. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Tour historic ships at the Inner Harbor.  Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry.  All of these places require advance reservations, so be sure to book ahead.

Remake Learning Days Festival
Where: Online
When: Through May 22
Admission: Varies by event, but mostly free

Happening across the country in 17 different regions, the Remake Learning Festival highlights innovative experiences and opportunities for youth to develop their sense of creativity, perseverance, and curiosity. Across DC, Maryland and Virginia, a wide range of organizations — schools, libraries, nonprofits, businesses and other community centers — are coming together to provide youth and families with high-quality learning experiences. Events are designed to be hands-on, relevant, and engaging educational experiences, and the majority of them are free and open to learners of all ages.  The Remake Learning Days-DMV Festival is led by the Professional Development Collaborative at Washington International School and the KID Museum.

KidStory Theater Festival @Home
Where: InterAct Story Theatre | Online
When: Through May
Admission: Free

InterAct’s KidStory Theatre Festival, a theatrical celebration of stories written by kids, for kids, is going virtual this year. Since it’s not possible to gather, they invited professional theatre artists to choose a favorite story written by kids, dreamed up their own interpretation, and create videos showcasing their version of the story. No fancy props, costumes, or equipment–just artists using what we have at home and our imaginations to celebrate our favorite writers: kids! Every Saturday starting this weekend, a new video will be released for all to enjoy! Stream them on InterAct’s Facebook Page or our YouTube page pages at 10am. And stories will stay up all month long for folks who’d like to view later.

***MORE GOOD STUFF***
* 10 Happy Things for May (Thank you, Darcy!)
* Dumbarton Oaks Garden, one of the prettiest places in the city, has reopened, and there’s a new KFDC post with scenes and good-to-know info for visiting.
* Some great summer programs featured on KFDC this week: Boolean Girl Camps and Young Artists of America Musical Theatre Camp.
* Today, you can start reserving timed-entry tickets for a few museums getting ready to reopen.
* Not all no-longer-wanted items should go to Goodwill.
* Kid90, the new documentary from Soleil Moon Fry, is a compelling watch, especially for us Gen Xers.
* We just finished watching the series Life in Pieces — such a fun, feel good show.
* A great last minute Mother’s Day gift: Make a donation in her honor to the Greater DC Diaper Bank!
* This poem from the amazing Kate Baer ❤️

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Maryland, Social Distancing, Spring, Virginia, Weekend

Scenes from the Finally Reopened, Very Much Missed Dumbarton Oaks Garden

 

Of the many re-openings happening over the next month, the Dumbarton Oaks Garden may just be the one I am happiest about, mostly because it’s the first time visitors can return since it closed last spring.  While many places welcomed the public for a brief period last summer and fall, the Garden’s gates remained closed — and I, for one, really missed being able to visit.

Dumbarton is one of my go-to places for peace and calm, when I just want to stroll around and relax in a beautiful setting.  (So, it’s probably understandable why I missed it so much over the last year.)  The Garden’s 16 acres are a horticultural haven, with countless varieties of flowers, plants, and trees throughout the many plats of the terraced grounds.  It’s breathtaking year-round, but especially vibrant right now with spring blooms and bright, fresh foliage.  Pre-Covid, Dumbarton was a regular recommendation from me, and I’ve written about it several times —  you can read more here, here, and here.

 

The hardscapes are just as lovely as the landscapes. There are several fountains (that look freshly cleaned!), benches and other lovely spots to sit, and many garden sculptures.  And the Pebble Garden, probably my favorite area, is a patterned pebble mosaic with a fountain at one end and encircling walls covered in wisteria.  It’s absolutely enchanting… though, really, the whole garden feels like it’s out of a fairytale,.

 

Dumbarton isn’t just a place I love; our whole family enjoys visiting together.  We’ve been there many times over the last decade.  When the kids were younger, we’d take them to play next door at Montrose Park or go for a short hike on the Dumbarton Oaks Park trail (located behind the estate), maybe have a little picnic, then head to the garden for its afternoon open time (note that picnics are not allowed at Dumbarton).  They always loved walking around, exploring, and seeing what delights awaited around every corner.

As the kids have gotten older, we usually pair a visit to the Garden with a meal in Georgetown.   If we want something quick, we walk down to Jaco Juice and Taco Bar a few blocks away on Wisconsin Avenue and sit outside.  We might also walk a little farther to Martin’s Tavern (a DC institution), Peacock Cafe, or Cafe Milano.

Right now, the Garden is only open to those with season passes, which are available for purchase and start at $75 for one person (and you still need to get timed-entry tickets).  Beginning May 15, it will be open to all with $7 timed-entry tickets to control capacity.  Masks are also required as a safety precaution, and the bathrooms are not open, so prepare for that.

 

Dumbarton Oaks Garden is located at 31st and R Streets NW in Georgetown.  You can usually find two-hour street parking very close to the entrance.  Hours right now are 3-6pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Beginning May 15, it will be open Tuesday – Sunday, 3-6pm.  You must reserve a timed-entry ticket in advance.  Admission is $7.

Get more of a glimpse in these snaps from my recent visit…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, COVID-19, DC, Outdoor, Social Distancing

The KFDC Guide to Reopenings Around DC this May

Lay back, look up, and enjoy Renwick 1.8

 

Spring is always a time of renewal, and May is about to bring even more of it with a bunch of reopenings around DC.  Several Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo, and a few more beloved places will be welcoming visitors again.  All of them will have extra safety measures, including required advance timed-entry tickets.  Here’s a quick guide to where you can look forward to going, with both logistics for visiting and some recommendations for what to see and do while you’re there.  Happy Returns!

 

Get a close look at Discovery (photo credit: KFDC Contributor Emily Moise)

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Air & Space)
Where: 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway | Chantilly, VA
When: Starting May 5, Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free timed-entry passes (parking is $15)
Covid Safety

The Chantilly arm of the National Air & Space Museum showcases two hangars full of fascinating artifacts of flight. You can see all kinds of air and space crafts, including the Space Shuttle Discovery, a Concorde jet, and even a new Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter. For safety reasons, flight simulators, the IMAX theater, and Observation Tower will not be accessible. But as noted in this post about places to play indoors, the museum is a relatively low-risk space in Covid times with its spacious facility and timed-entry passes. Little kids should be well-attended, but have the flexibility to roam and, on a slow day, maybe even run circles around the massive installations.
KFDC Tip:  The museum is a hike from DC, so make the most of your time out that way and plan on a meal, too.  Check out Yelp’s list of nearby restaurants, several of them offering outdoor dining.

 

The box where Lincoln was shot as he watch a performance of ‘My American Cousin’

Ford’s Theatre
Where: 511 10th Street NW | Downtown DC
When: Starting May 12, Wednesday – Sunday
Admission: $3 timed-entry tickets

The historic theatre and its museum are opening again for self-guided visits with a modified schedule. The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination is a fascinating site to explore — both seeing where it took place and learning more about Lincoln’s presidency and events of that time through museum exhibits. Visitors will be able to walk through the theatre’s balcony level and Presidential Box as well as tour the museum. And National Park Service rangers will be on hand to answer questions and explain the events surrounding Lincoln’s assassination. As I noted in this KFDC write-up, kids of all ages can go, but about ages 8 and up would get the most out of it. Tickets will be available each Friday for the following Wednesday – Sunday, and timed entry will be on the hour 10am – 12pm, and from 2-4pm (closed during the 1pm hour for cleaning).
KFDC Tip: The theatre isn’t staging performances again yet, but you can watch/listen to virtual play readings on the website.

A Statue of the famous 1968 Olympics Black Power salute at the NMAAHC

National Museum of African American History & Culture
Where: 1400 Constitution Avenue NW | WDC
When: Starting May 14, Wednesday-Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free with timed-entry passes
Covid Safety

The NMAAHC is easily one of the most remarkable, important, and powerful attractions to open in DC in recent years. The museum is huge and obviously covers some heavy subject matter, so be sure to the read the KFDC Guide to Visiting the National Museum of African American History & Culture with Kids before you go. There are some interactive elements that I assume will not be accessible, but the museum has three levels full of hands-off exhibits, too.  While I think it’s best for kids in about 3rd grade and up, there are a few elements for younger ages, too.
KFDC Tips: The museum has some great online resources for talking about race.  When you visit, plan for some time to explore the National Mall, too — the NMAAHC is located right across the street from the Washington Monument, and the World War II Memorial , Tidal Basin, and Constitution Gardens are also close by.

 

See some old friends at the National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery & American Art Museum
Where: 8th and G Streets, NW | WDC
When: Starting May 14, Wednesday-Sunday, 11:30am – 7pm
Admission: Free with timed-entry passes
Covid Safety
Since the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum are physically connected, a pass for one gets you into both.  All of the sections in both museums are great to explore, but I’ve found kids’ favorites in the Portrait Gallery are America’s Presidents (especially Obama) and the Hall of Champions on the third floor featuring famous athletes. Every Eye Is Upon Me: First Ladies of the United States opened right before the museum shut down in November and is only running through May 23, so get tickets to go soon if you hope to see it.  In the American Art Museum, we often head up to the third floor where there are large contemporary paintings in bold colors and interesting, even quirky sculptures and installations. Read more about the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museums here and here, but note that programming and special events are not happening right now.
KFDC Tips: The Alexander von Humboldt exhibit, on view until July 11, includes a mastodon skeleton, a little something to tide over dino loving kids until they can visit the Natural History Museum again!  And the Kogod Courtyard connecting the museums will also be accessible, and the stunning space is a must-stop on any visit to the museums.

 

Ai No Keshiki – Indigo Views, part of Forces of Nature at the Renwick

Renwick Gallery
Where: 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., NW | WDC
When: Starting May 14, Wednesday-Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free with timed-entry passes
Covid Safety
Part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Renwick showcases contemporary American craft, often through exhibitions featuring awesome large-scale works. Maybe you saw the fantastic Wonder and No Spectators: The Art Burning Man in recent years. We caught the current Forces of Nature right before the gallery closed last fall, and it’s reminiscent of those with art installations that are interesting, beautiful, even a bit whimsical. It’s on view until August 15, and I recommend going to see it.
KFDC Tip: While you’re in the area, visit Black Live Matters Plaza located just across Lafayette Square from the Renwick on 16th Street between I & K Streets.

 

(TikTok) dancing amid the Degas sculptures at the National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art
Where: 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., NW | WDC
When: Starting May 14, Wednesday-Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free with timed-entry passes
Covid Safety 
It’s not a Smithsonian, but the National Gallery of Art is welcoming visitors again along with the rest of the museums on the National Mall. Only the West Building known for housing works by European masters will be open, and most galleries on both floors will be accessible, with limited exceptions for galleries that do not allow for social distancing. We enjoyed the Degas exhibit back in the fall, and while it’s no longer there, the gallery featuring the artist’s sculptures is great to tour. The wonderful gift shop will be open, so plan on some browsing there, too. And PS: The East Building is coming soon!
KFDC Tip: View even more art outdoors at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden (enter on the north side of the National Mall at 7th Street) and grab a snack at the cafe to enjoy a bite al fresco.

 

The Dumbarton Oaks Garden is easily one of the most enchanting places in the city

Dumbarton Oaks Garden
Where: 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., NW | WDC
When: Starting May 15, Tuesday – Sunday, 3-6pm
Admission: $10/adult, $5/child
Tickets: Timed entry passes available soon
Covid Safety
One of the prettiest places in DC (imo…as well as one of my favorite places in general), Dumbarton Oaks is finally reopening its gardens for the first time since its Covid closing last spring. The grounds of the historic estate are so enchanting, with winding brick and stone paths leading to the many areas of the terraced garden, all of them showcasing different, lovely landscapes and hardscapes. Tickets are actually available now for season pass holders (starting at $75 for one person), and timed-entry tickets will be released soon.  Currently, the grounds are only open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday 3-6pm, with a limited number of tickets available every hour.  After May 15, grounds will be open Tuesday – Sunday, 3-6pm.  See more about Dumbarton Oaks  here, here, and here.
KFDC Tip: Before your visit, take kids to play at Montrose Park right next to the gardens, and plan for a snack or meal after.  You have your pick of places to go in Georgetown — we especially like Jaco Juice & Taco Bar on Wisconsin Ave., an easy walk from Dumbarton Oaks.

 

National Archives
Where: 701 Constitution Avenue NW | WDC
When: Starting May 15, SAturday & Sunday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free with timed-entry tickets
Covid Safety

The National Archives Museum will begin to welcome back visitors on weekends. The Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom will be available for public viewing. This includes the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, and Bill of Rights. The Faulker murals are also notable. All other exhibits and research facilities will be closed.
KFDC Tip: The Archives are just across Pennsylvania Ave. from the Penn Quarter neighborhood, where there are a bevy of family-friendly restaurants.
 

Looking for pandas in trees at the Zoo

National Zoo
Where: 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW | WDC
When: Starting May 21, Daily, 8am – 4pm
Admission: Free
Tickets: Timed entry passes available soon
Covid Safety
Because it is outdoors and it houses some of DC’s cutest residents, the Zoo reopening may be the most anticipated one. As in summer and fall of 2020, a limited number of timed entry tickets will be available for each day, and you must reserve them in advance — up to six per person.  If you want to see the new panda cub (which we all do!), free, timed Asia Trail/Panda Passes are required and can be reserved on-site on the day of your visit. Paid parking passes are also available for $30, and must also be purchased in advance. (Note that even FONZ Members still need to reserve timed-entry tickets and purchase parking passes.) You can try looking for metered parking on nearby streets, and the Woodley Park Metro stop on the red line is an easy few blocks walk away. Concessions will be available at some Zoo restaurants and food trucks.
KFDC Tip: The National Zoo is big and requires a lot of walking. If you’re bringing little ones, 1) bring a stroller and 2) check the map ahead of your visit and make a plan of what to see. You may want to save some parts for another outing there.

 

America on the Move is a fun exhibit to view at the American History Museum

National Museum of American History
Where: 1300 Constitution Avenue NW | WDC
When: Starting May 21, Friday-Tuesday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free
Tickets: Timed entry passes available soon
Covid Safety
When I recommended the American History Museum pre-Covid, I often suggested taking children to America on the Move which features all kinds of modes of transport, galleries with toys and games from our childhoods, First Lady dresses, the Star-Spangled Banner, and more relics from the nation’s past. Girlhood (It’s complicated) opened last fall and is fun and interesting to explore. On the lower level, exhibitions like American Democracy that includes a history of voting in the U.S. and Many Voices, One Nation that highlights how our voices shape our country will be interesting for older kids. Spark!Lab and Wegman’s Wonderplace likely won’t be open, but I’ll update if/when it is.
KFDC Tip: The Enid A. Haupt Garden right across the National Mall behind the Smithsonian Castle is a lovely place to enjoy some outdoor time before or after your visit.

 

A peek at the powerful Americans exhibit at the NMAI

National Museum of the American Indian
Where: 4th Street & Independence Avenue SW | WDC
When: Starting May 21, Wed-Sun, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free
Tickets: Timed entry passes available soon
Covid Safety
When the museum reopened in the fall, the imagiNATIONS Activity Center, a fantastic space for hands-on explorations of American Indian culture, was not accessible, and that’s likely to be the case this time, too. (Of course, I will keep you updated.). But there is plenty more to enjoy at the NMAI. The Americans exhibit, in particular, illuminates how American Indians are part of the nation’s identity through powerful imagery and compelling displays that illustrate their history. A few more galleries will also be open for touring.  And the museum’s design and architecture alone are worth a visit to see, both inside and out.
KFDC Tip: Something fun for kids (and you): While you’re in the Potomac Atrium, have them look for rainbows of light cast on the walls and floor as sun shines through deliberately placed prisms.

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Reopened, Social Distancing, Spring