Category Archives: Spring

Scenes from a Visit to the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring

 

If you’ve been reading KFDC awhile, then you probably already know that we love the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring.  The aerial forest experience that has adventure-goers navigating ropes courses and ziplines in the trees is such a fun and thrilling challenge — and easily one of our favorite adventures in the DC area.

The Adventure Park opened in 2011 and has since become the largest manmade outdoor climbing park in the worldWe first experienced it not long after its launch, when Owen was just six years old, and we’ve visited at least once a year since then with the exception of the last Covid year, often as a special end of summer break outing, and with both kids since Sasha has been old enough to join.  A visit there is a bit of a splurge, so it’s not something we do frequently.

That first visit, Owen could only go on a couple of easier courses for 5-6 year olds, and he had to be accompanied by an adult (me).  As he got older he could tackle more — and on his own.  On a recent visit, he and his friends were making their way from tree to tree high, high up in the air, maneuvering across wooden planks, grabbing for dangling ropes, and whizzing down zip lines.

Sasha and I stayed on the intermediate trails, which are very fun and challenging, just not quite as intense or as high as the advanced black and double black routes.  It’s pretty awesome to see both of my kids conquer the courses and to think about how much they’ve grown — physically, mentally, and emotionally — since their first experiences on the beginner purples.  It’s like our visits to the Adventure Park are kind of a benchmark for their development.

So, as mentioned, it’s usually a tradition for us to go at the end of summer, but after this weird bummer of a Covid school year, I decided an early summer trip there was well deserved.  (And still planning to bring them before they head back to the classroom in August, too. )

In case it isn’t evident, I highly recommend experiencing the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring, especially for active kids who love the outdoors and a good challenge!  Kids as young as 5 can go, but ages 5-6 can only do the easiest purple courses and must always be with an adult.  Ages 7-11 can climb all of the intermediate courses with an adult,  ages 12-13 can do the advanced black courses with an adult, and ages 14 and up can do everything solo.

Current pricing for a three-hour climb (prices are Mon-Thurs | Fri-Sun):
Adult (age 12+): $60 | 64
Junior (age 7-11): $50 | 54
Child (age 5-6): $16 | 20

Other special climbs:
Last Call that begins later in the day: $45/adult, $16/child
Glow in the Park evening climbs on certain dates: $56
Keep it Lit adults only on certain date: $49

Good things to know if you plan to go:
* You must reserve in advance. Admission is timed-entry and spots can fill up, especially on weekends.
* Wear comfortable clothes that you can move around in easily. I like to wear something with a pocket that zips or stays closed to hold my keys and phone.
* The park no longer provides gloves, but you can BYO or buy them there for $3, which I recommend.
* Closed-toed shoes are required.
* There is a short orientation on climbing (pay attention!) and a chance to practice using the gear before you get on the courses.
* Plan to leave belongings in your car or store in a small locker for $3. (I bring my phone and keys, but keep them in a secure pocket.)
* Concessions are available from the Munch Mobile food truck (and the fare is good) or you can BYO. There are picnic tables on the grounds outside of the climbing area for eating.
* Portable restrooms are outside the climbing area, and I recommend stopping at them before starting your climb — no one wants to be stuck in the trees with an urgent need to go.
* If you’re feeling really ambitious and want to do a double outing, the park is located right by the Underground Railroad Experience Trail

The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is located at 16701 Norwood Road in Sandy Spring, MD. It’s open every day through summer with varying hours, and mostly weekends in the fall and spring.

And since I brought my phone on my climb to snap pics, here are more scenes from our recent visit…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2021, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Spring, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

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

Scenes from Forces of Nature at the Renwick Gallery

 

After being closed for over five months, the Renwick Gallery is one of the Smithsonian museums that will reopen its doors again starting this Friday, May 14.  And before you think I was able to get in early to capture these scenes, let me clarify that they are from a visit there last fall.

The totality of time lusters the dusk by Lauren Fensterstock looks like floating storm

Sasha and I went to experience the Forces of Nature exhibition last November right before the Renwick shut down due to rising Covid rates.  Given the closing, it seemed moot to post about it back then, but as the reopening nears and the exhibit is still on display, I thought I’d share some pics — and the recommendation to go see it.

Mother-Load by Timothy Horn

Part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Renwick showcases contemporary American craft, often through exhibitions that feature stunning, large-scale installations that are always very popular.  Just about everyone in DC (and visiting DC) saw the fantastic Wonder, and No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man was a glorious mix of beautiful and kooky.

Arboria by Deborah Moore features gorgeous glass flowers

Forces of Nature is reminiscent of both, with striking and intricate works that take up entire galleries and make you want to examine them from all angles.  Even little ones will dig seeing the big pieces that sparkle, look like giant flowers, resemble a rain storm, and sometimes make you feel like you’re within the art.

Ai no Keshiki – Indigo Views by Rowland Ricketts

Timed-entry passes will be required to visit the Renwick, and they are available now.  However, they are already reserved through May and many dates in June — plus, Forces of Nature is only there through August 15 — so I suggest snagging them now to plan for a summer visit!

Renwick Gallery
Where: 1661 Pennsylvania Ave., NW | WDC
When: Starting May 14, Wednesday-Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free with timed-entry passes
Covid policies

The ethereal Renwick 1.8, originally part of Wonder, is on view, too

 

 

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Filed under 2020, 2021, All ages, DC, Museums, Spring, Summer, Weekdays, 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