While I hate to sum up this weekend’s recommendations for family activities with just three general ideas, county fairs, museum programs, and outdoor fun really are the main special events happening over the next few days. If those sound good to you, read on for specifics on all of them. If not, then scroll down for links to some always-useful ideas. Happy Weekend!
All’s Fair – Carnival rides and games, farm animals, live entertainment, pony rides, the junk food gamut, pig races. Yes, it’s county fair season. Four of them are happening right now; two have already started, two more kick off today. This post from a couple of days ago has the scoop on all of the county fun.
Music Al Fresco – Get the weekend started with free music in the fresh air at one of many outdoor concerts. Jazz vibraphonist Chuck Redd will entertain at Jazz in the Garden at 5:30pm, the soul band Quiet Fire will take the boardwalk stage at The Yards Park at 6pm, and the United States Air Force Band will perform Disney and Pixar favorites at the Air Force Memorial at 8pm. (My personal pick would be for The Yards, where there’s plenty of room to spread out, you can buy or bring food for a picnic dinner, and the kids can enjoy fountain play on a beautiful summer evening.)
Take Me to the River – Celebrate the Shenandoah at Riverfest, a family event designed to connect the community with the river. The festival will feature canoe rides along the South Fork off the Shenandoah River; live bluegrass music; fly fishing demos, environmental displays, and more. A kids’ area will have wild animals displays, gem/arrowheads, and face painting. Admission and activities are free. There will also be a silent auction and food for sale. The event runs from 10am – 3pm on Saturday.
Art-Stronomy Family Day –Reach for the stars at the American Art Musuem! See how American inventiveness, as depicted in The Great American Hall of Wonders exhibition, led to the great leaps of science and technology behind space travel and flight. Guests can try their hand at experiments and art activities, join a scavenger hunt through the galleries, and meet an astronaut from NASA. The free event runs from 11:30am – 3pm.
Bonsai! – It’s been awhile since I’ve suggested a visit to the U.S. National Arboretum (one of my favorite places to hang with the kids), mainly because it’s been so hot. But this weekend is supposed to see a dip in temps, so it should be a nice time to tour the collections, play among the old Capitol columns, and see the “Becoming a Bonsai” exhibit, which is only on display for a couple more weeks.
Oceanic Art – Head to the National Museum of Natural History for its Second Saturday Arts & Sciences program. Ocean animals and their environments will be this months’ theme. Guests can learn about the underwater world, while decorating a reusable cloth lunch bag with stamps and drawings of sea creatures. Just in time for back-to-school. The free event runs from 1-3pm.
Super Science Saturday: Energy – The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Dulles annex of the Air & Space Museum, hosts its own special program on the second Saturday of every month. This weekend it’ll be all about energy. Visitos can enjoy hands-on demos and activities related to the subject. The permanent exhibits – the hangar full of air and space craft – are worth a trip out there themselves. The event runs from 10am – 3pm. Admission is free, but parking is $15.
Ahhh….SHARKS! – Today and tomorrow, the National Children’s Museum is celebrating all things sharks. Head to the Launch Zone at the National Harbor to join in all kinds of fun activities: Hunt for shark teeth at their “beach,” see and touch real shark jaws and other artifacts, and make a shark craft. The free event runs from 11am – 4pm on Friday, and 11am – 6pm on Saturday.
Facing History: Alexander Calder – This regular series at the National Portrait Gallery is designed for children with their families to explore portraiture in depth. Participants take a brief guided tour of the exhibition, this week focusing on Alexander Calder’s wire self-portrait; listen to a children’s story or short gallery talk; and create a piece of art using some of the same materials or concepts. The event is free, but space is limited , so registration is required. The class run from 2-4pm on Saturday.
Portrait Story Days: Wilma Rudolph – Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery on Sunday from 2-5pm to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about American athlete Wilma Rudolph.
For even more ideas for fun with the kids, check out these popular KFDC posts: