Last week I posted the Winter Break Guide, a big mix of ideas for activities and adventures with the kids during the winter break from school, so be sure to check it out! Below is a suggested itinerary that you can easily switch up with the recs from the guide. Have fun & Happy Holidays!
Monday – Have a very merry Christmas… and enjoy some activities out of the house, too! The U.S. Botanic Garden and Mount Vernon are open. You can bundle up and get out for a hike. Or do what’s a tradition for many who don’t celebrate Christmas and go out for Chinese food and a movie.
Tuesday – Bundle up the kids (and yourself) and take advantage of The Beauvoir School’s Winter Break. Their fantastic playground is open to the public when class is not in session. Open all day. Admission is free. (If it’s just way too cold, see the round-up of Indoor Playgrounds, for where to be active inside.)
Wednesday – Get Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History. During winter break, the interactive and experiential learning space opens earlier at 10am (instead of 2pm). Visitors can view up close —
and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. It’s recommended for ages 11 and up, but some younger ages could also enjoy it. For really little ones, there is Q?rius Jr: A Discovery Room for more age-appropriate exploring. And, of course, there’s the whole rest of the museum for everyone. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.
Thursday – Stay warm, cozy, and entertained at a performance of Charlotte’s Web at Imagination Stage. Showtimes are 11am and 1:30pm. Tickets are $17-32.
Friday – Add some color to what’s forecast to be a gray, snowy day at the National Gallery of Art. The East Building is full of contemporary works with bold colors and captivating designs. Be sure to stop in the Alexander Calder room on the 4th floor, where mobiles of all shapes and sizes will dazzle, and head to the roof to at least have a peek at the giant blue rooster and some great city views. The West Building houses more classical pieces, including the current Vermeer exhibit, collections featuring many of the masters, and the only Leonardo da Vinci painting on public view in the U.S. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.
Monday – Go over the rainbow and beyond at Watkins Regional Park. It’s a great place for indoor-outdoor explorations and fun! The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will have little ones frolicking for hours. If you start to feel a chill, spend time inside at Watkins Nature Center to view some cool creatures and birds. Old Maryland Farm is closed Monday, but stop by if you go another day to visit the animals. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 8:30am – 5:30pm at the Nature Center, 9am – 4pm at the Farm. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Take advantage of warmer temps and enjoy some time outdoors at Great Falls. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you can’t go wrong. Take in spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center — there’s one on each side — to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife.
Wednesday – Experiment with hands-on fun at the Children’s Science Center Lab at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. Kids of all ages can explore a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging interactive exhibits and activities. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $13 (under 2 are free).
Thursday – Celebrate the winter solstice at museums on the National Mall. Catch a performance of Seasons of Light, a production about the traditions of winter holidays around the world, at Discovery Theater located in the Ripley Center. Showtimes are 10:15am and 11:05am, and tickets are $3-8. At 12pm, see the Peacock Room at the Freer Sackler Gallery in a whole new light, as the shutters of Whistler’s “harmony in blue and gold” are open, and a flood of natural light turns the exhibit into a glowing jewel of blue, green, and gold tones. From there, head over to the Hirshhorn Museum to explore modern works of art. The exhibit What Absence is Made Of includes of room full of blank white sheets of paper that have floated down from machines near the ceiling — and visitors are welcome to immerse in it.
Friday – Get hyped for the holidays! Pick one of many activities that happen this time of year: Check out a train display, catch a holiday show, ride trolleys, meet Santa, see an evening light display, and enjoy loads of other seasonal delights. The KFDC Guide to the Holiday Season in DC has all the details on where to go and what to do.
Since ARTECHOUSE opened this past June, the gallery has been bringing us art experiences that are stunning, innovative, and immersive through the ingenious fusion of art and technology.
The newest exhibition, Imaginary World of the Nutcracker, follows suit with an installation that engages and enchants as it celebrates the holiday season. You can view Nutcracker scenes and characters projected onto walls, manipulate light and color on surfaces with your own movements, and look for “magical” surprises throughout with the ARTECHOUSE app, which I recommend downloading before you go.
One of the neatest features of the exhibit is the incorporation of augmented reality technology via the app that lets you discover all kinds of cute and clever details, from soldiers marching in the main room to soup filled bowls in the dining room to snowflakes bursting from cocktails (evenings only).
And here is where I recommend this as a KidFree outing during their later hours along with a daytime trip with the kids. Using the apps augmented reality feature on your festive drinks is just about as fun as making a giant mouse shadow dance on the wall. My friend and I spent just as much time watching our bevvies do tricks through our phones as we did playing with the art all around.
Get more of glimpse in the photos below (click to view larger images), but make a plan to go experience it for yourselves. And be sure to reserve tickets soon because their exhibits always sell out!
Details: Imaginary World of the Nutcracker
Where: ARTECHOUSE, 1238 Maryland Avenue SW, WDC
When: December 7, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Hours: All ages 10am – 5pm | 21+ 5:30-10:30pm (11:30pm on weekends)
Tickets: $15/adult, $8/child