Tag Archives: DC Area Parks

Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 21-25

Stop and smell the stinky plants at the U.S. Botanic Garden



Monday – Behold the Great American Solar Eclipse! Events where you can observe and celebrate the phenomenon are happening around the area, and many are providing free glasses (while supplies last), too. This KFDC post has details on where to experience this stellar occasion.

Tuesday – Stop and smell the stinky plants at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Three corpse flowers are on display in the conservatory, and at least one is now blooming (ie, open and letting off its stench), and the other two will follow this week. Word is the odor is at its strongest in the first hours after it opens, but the bloom is said to be spectacular. While you’re there, be sure to tour the rest of the USBG’s lovely collections and make time to play in the newly renovated Children’s Garden. Hours are 10am – 5pm, and there will be extended hours until 10pm during the peak bloom, so be sure to check on that. Admission is free. You can also watch the progress of the plants on the live web cam, but you need to go to get the full sensory experience!

Wednesday – Witness animal migrations from a hot air balloon, submerse into the deep sea to study marine life, discover new species in the rain forest, and gear up for a polar expedition at the National Geographic Museum. The Earth Explorers exhibit, running for just a few more weeks, offers a glimpse into the work and passion of explorers in the field through a variety of hands-on displays and interactive installations. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, free for children under 5.

Thursday – Get a glimpse of the past on the Potomac at Fort Washington Park. Kids and adults will enjoying seeing the cannons and other historic sights within the grounds along the river. Hours are 8am – sunset. Admission is $5/vehicle.

Friday – Say arrrrh! to a pirate voyage on local waters. You have some options on where to go: In DC, take a Family Treasure Hunt Cruise on the Boomerang Pirate Ship (look for a deal here). Head out to Annapolis for Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake. Go for a jaunt with Urban Pirates in Baltimore or stay closer to home where they’re invading National Harbor. Times and rates vary by tour.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 14-18

Enjoy a beach day at Flag Ponds Nature Park



Monday – Wander, play, and explore at Green Spring Gardens. Tucked away behind a strip mall in Alexandria, VA, it’s a lovely oasis amid the suburban sprawl. Be sure to stop in the Horticultural Center and pick up instructions for a kids’ scavenger hunt to add some extra fun to the outing. Hours are 9am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – All aboard for Beach Bound Rail Adventures at the B&O Railroad Museum! The program at the Baltimore venue features special hands-on activities for children all week, plus train rides on Thursday and Friday that depart at 11:30am. Hours are 10am – 3pm. Admission is $18/adults, $12/ages 2-12, free for under 2.

For an activity with older kids, go on a cultural adventure at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center. Their new exhibit, From Sinbad to the Shabab Oman: A Seafaring Legacy, showcases Oman’s seafaring history over the last millennia. Learn about some of history’s most famous explorers and navigators as their stories are interwoven with items from Omani ships and shipbuilding, and discover Omani history, Omani mariners, and the Omani vessels they sailed. On view through September 30, hours are 10am – 4pm, Monday – Friday. Admission is free. The Center is located at 1100 16th St NW.

Wednesday – Take the kids out the ballgame! The Nats play the Angels at 1:05pm, and it’s a great chance to catch some mid-week afternoon baseball! Ticket prices start at $12. Before you go, see what’s fun for families at the ballpark. And check out these KFDC tips on doing a Nats game without breaking the bank.

Thursday – Hang out in the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring. Kids as young as 5 years old can experience fun and challenges on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial adventure forest, the largest in North America. Ages 5-6 are free with a paid accompanying adult and have access to two of the easier courses. Older kids can do even more. Hours are 9am – dusk, and admission is $42/ages 7-9, $49/ages 10-11, $55/ages 12 and older.

And if you’re looking for fun with little ones (or a cheaper option), experience adventure on a smaller scale at the Cabin John Regional Park Playground. Kids can climb, swing, jump, slide, and run amid the lovely wooded setting, and the miniature train that guests can ride ($1.75/passenger) is a fun bonus.

Friday – Wind down summer break (DCPS students, anyway) with a beach day at Flag Ponds Nature Park. Swim in the Chesapeake (or just dip the toes if it’s jellyfishy), build sandcastles on the shore, have a picnic, spot wildlife in the woods, and definitely do some fossil hunting — the park is one of several places in that area where you can search for shark teeth and other prehistoric remnants. Hours are 9am – 6pm, and admission is $8/car. Get more info and logistics in this post.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Trains, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 7-11

The lovely Fairy Lolly at Annmarie Sculpture Garden



Monday – Experiment with hands-on fun at the Children’s Science Center Lab at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, VA. 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 $12 (under 2 are free).

Tuesday – Take a day trip out to Solomons, MD, to Annmarie Sculpture Garden for an enchanting array of artistic delights. View eye-popping works, both indoors and out, hunt for fairy houses, play in the delightful Fairy Lolly, and create some of your own art with inspiration from all you see there. Trust me, it’s worth the hour-plus drive. Hours are 9am – 5pm in the gardens, 10am – 5pm at the arts center. Admission is $5/adult, $3/ages 6-17, free for 5 and under.

Wednesday – Get on board the Regal Summer Movie Express while you can! There are only three weeks left of the summer series that presents family films for just $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday at participating theaters. This week’s flicks are The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and The Adventures of Tintin.

Thursday – Hang out at Georgetown Waterfront Park. Let the kids run through the sprays of the interactive fountain, play on the grassy areas, follow the paths of the in-ground labyrinth, and watch the boats and ducks go by on the river. After (or before, depending on when you go), have a bite to eat or do some shopping in the neighborhood full of restaurants and retail.

Friday – Enjoy some recreation on local waters. There are a bunch of places around the area to rent kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, rowboats, and pedal boats. Check out this KFDC post for details of where you can go with the flow in DC.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Free, Ongoing, Outdoor, Summer, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 31 – August 4

Dancing in the fountains at Yards Park



Monday – Head up to Baltimore for Family Play Day at Port Discovery. Every Monday through the end of August is set aside just for families and caregivers. (Camp groups are welcomed to the Museum on other days of the week, but on Mondays they take the day off, so families can enjoy a day of play in a less crowded atmosphere.) Programming includes story times, music sessions, and art activities, plus several levels full of fun hands-on exhibits. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $15.95 for ages 2 and up (free for under 2).

Tuesday – Go hang out at Yards Park. The recreational space in the Capitol Riverfront area is a perfect place to sped a nice summer day. Play in the sprays and wading pool, hang out in the grassy areas, stroll the boardwalk, take in the views, and have a picnic by the water or go for lunch at one of the many nearby eateries.

You might even plan to go on the later side to join a Pirate Treasure Hunt! All ages are invited to explore the neighborhood on the sea to find prizes and treasure from the shops and restaurants at The Yards. Pirate-themed giveaways — and pirates! — will both be on hand. Adult and children’s maps will be available. The adventure goes from 5:30-8:30pm, and admission is free.

Wednesday – Enjoy a hike and a dose of history all at once at Roosevelt Island. The trails are easy for little legs to tramp, and you can explore the Memorial Plaza to learn about the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt. The entrance to the park is located right off the GW Parkway, just past the Roosevelt Bridge, and accessible only from the northbound lanes. Hours are 6am – 10pm, and admission is free. Get a little more of the KFDC take on it in this post about local walks in the woods with kids.

Thursday – If you haven’t yet been to XYZT: Abstract Landscapes at ARTECHOUSE, make a plan to go! It’s the must-experience exhibit of the summer, letting guests play with light and technology through 10 digital installations that are meant to be manipulated (and awed!) by all ages. Hours are 10am – 4pm, and timed tickets are required. Admission is $15/adult, $10/child. Be sure to book in advance, as it tends to sell out.

Friday – Explore Air & Space beyond the National Mall (and escape the crowds) at the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center, the Chantilly arm of the museum. Showcasing even more fascinating artifacts of flight, you can see all kinds of air and space crafts, pretend to pilot in a flight simulator, get hands-on in a discovery station, and much more. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free, but parking is $15.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: July 24-28

Plenty of blackberries for the picking at Homestead Farms




Monday – Stay cool and have fun at a pool, sprayground, or water park. The Summer in DC guide has links to the many places around the DC-Metro area where it’s all about getting wet — and you can consider this for any day of the week! But if staying cool means avoiding the outdoors altogether, check out The Great Indoors list of more than 90 ideas for adventures inside. Hours and admission varies by locale.

Tuesday – Go over the rainbow and beyond at Watkins Regional Park. The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will have little ones frolicking for hours. Be sure to stop by Old Maryland Farm to visit the animals and spend time at Watkins Nature Center to view even more cool creatures and birds, then hike the nearby trails. Go for a spin on the carousel, take a ride on the miniature train that winds through woods, and play mini golf. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 10am – 5:30pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free, but rides and mini golf are a small fee.

Wednesday – See the sea of sunflowers at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, MD. The sight of thirty acres of bright yellow blooms stretching gloriously through the fields will make your day! Plus, admission is free. Plan to pair the outing with some blackberry picking at Homestead Farms, located just a few minutes away. Bring along some lunch to eat in the covered pavilion, and make time to visit the farm animals there, too. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission to the PYO fields is $3/person, but it’s deducted from the cost of the berries you pick to bring home.

Thursday – Go bowling! Take advantage of Kids Club Bowling at Pinstripes in Georgetown. From 10am – 12pm Monday – Thursday, kids can bowl for $3/hour ($3/shoe rental) and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult). Eat while you bowl or stay after for lunch — they have a good kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too. Afterwards, head down Wisconsin Avenue to Georgetown Waterfront Park to play in the spray fountain and enjoy some outdoor time along the Potomac.

Friday –Make it a mission to visit the International Spy Museum, where you and the kids can go undercover to explore the intriguing world of espionage. Hours are 9am – 7pm. Regular admission is $21.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-11, free for 6 and under, but you can find a discount on adult tickets here.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays