Tag Archives: DC Family Activities

Scenes from the Azalea Bloom at the National Arboretum (2021)

 

 

Even though I recently posted a “Scenes from the National Arboretum” just a few weeks ago at the start of spring, and even though I did one of the azalea bloom a few years ago, here I am with this new set of pics — of azaleas, at the Arboretum.

Because this year’s azalea bloom is just so beautiful.  I mean, it is always gorgeous, but during this time of limited explorations of the world, we (me, anyway) are much more appreciative of close-to-home happenings, making things like annual flower blooms seem more vibrant than ever and feel extra special.

I visited the Arboretum a couple of days before we went out of town for Spring Break, and the bloom was just beginning.  Back yesterday only a week and a half later, and Mount Hamilton where the azalea garden is located was bursting with color.  It’s a dazzling walk through it all on paths traversing the area, azaleas of all colors lining them.  Some areas feel wild, with flowers seeming to grow indiscriminately, while other sections like the walled Morrison Garden are more manicured.

This bloom always attracts a lot of visitors, but the azalea garden, or any part of the Arboretum, didn’t feel crowded at all.  It’s so vast and lovely, there’s plenty of space to relax and enjoy it safely.  And if you were to encounter crowds anywhere, it’s easy to head to another section — there is something amazing about every part of the Arb.  My many recommendations and posts about it are a testament to that — read/see more hereherehere, and here.  A quick recap of spots little ones will love:  The Washington Youth Garden and natural playground, the Asian Collection with its “secret” path leading down to the Anacostia River, the stream in Fern Valley where it’s fun to look for frogs, the gazebo in the Conifer collection, and the fountain full of koi fish by the Visitors Center.

Right now, the R Street entrance off of Bladensburg Road is closed to motorized traffic, so you need to go the to New York Avenue entrance (3501 New York Avenue NE).  [Update:  The Arb is limiting visitors — this bloom is a popular on! — so be aware there may be a wait to get in.] There are signs posted indicating it is okay to park on the side of the road, so I pulled over a short ways in on Valley Road, and walked to the azalea garden from there. The larger parking lots near the R Street Entrance and Grove of State Trees are closest to the azalea garden, but might be full.

The U.S. National Arboretum is located in Northeast DC, off of Bladensburg Road and New York Avenue.  Enter at 3501 New York Avenue NE. Hours are 8am – 5pm. Admission is free.

And because I can’t help getting snap-happy with my camera, here are more photos of the splendor (and our sweet Teddy)…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend

Quick Links for this Week

     Spring Break 2021

 

It’s Spring Break for most DC students, including ours, so a couple of things:  1) You may be looking for extra things to do around the DC area during the time off from school  and  2) We’re taking advantage with a beach trip, so I won’t be posting much, but I’m also not leaving you hanging — here are quick KFDC links that will come in handy.  Have a great week!

 

Where to Go & What to Do During Spring Break 2021

Spring Things to Get Excited About Around the DC Area

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Inside Info: Indoor Places Open During COVID

Local Hikes with Kids

Bike Routes for Everyone Around the DC Area

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Maryland, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Go & What to Do During Spring Break 2021

Paddle season has begun — just in time for Spring Break!

 

Spring Break begins soon for many local students, so you may be in need of some extra reminders of all the great activities there are to do around the area to keep your kids engaged and entertained over the next couple of weeks, depending on when they’re off from school. And if some of this sounds familiar, that’s because a version has been posted in previous years, but it’s been updated to reflect what’s going on right now.

Many of the ideas here are already on the blog, but sometimes a little guidance for what’s best at certain times helps. Among these recommendations are special and seasonal activities, museums and exhibits that are open now, and outings that take advantage of the great spring weather.

And, of course, the rest of the blog is full of suggestions if you want even more options. So, whether you’re enjoying a staycation or visiting from out of town, you should have no problem keeping the kids (and yourself!) happy during the week off — or on, depending how you look at it. Happy Spring Break!

Special & Seasonal Activities

A Rapunzel fairy house at a past Fairies in the Garden

Fairies in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $5 suggested donation

Guaranteed to delight, the annual exhibit of fairy and gnome houses at Annmarie Sculpture Garden just began.  This year more than 100 homes for spritely creatures will be scattered throughout the grounds. Viewing them (and more art) as you walk along a trail through the woods is a fantastic adventure for all ages. Plan for play time in the adorable Fairy Lolly, and stop in the Arts Center for more creative works. Get a glimpse of it all here and here.   PS: The Fairy & Gnome Home Festival is this coming Sunday, April 18, in case you want to save a visit for then.

Go with the Flow
Where: Waterways around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies

Row, row, row your boat or kayak or canoe! Paddle season has started as several places have started offering boat rentals. Boating in DC has several locations in the District and a few NoVa Parks offer it, too. This post about places to go with the flow has more details.

Bloom Town
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Varies by locale
Admission: Varies by locale

The cherry blossom peak may have passed, but there are more big blooms to enjoy around the DC area, a couple of them literally coming now. Bluebells are blanketing the the grounds around the area, and azaleas are just beginning to bloom, too.  And the best places to see them are fab for more than just the flowers. This post has details on where to go for those and other big blooms coming up. [Update: Burnside Farms just announced their annual Festival of Spring featuring a brilliant variety of tulips opens Wednesday, April 13!]

It’s Glow Time
Where: Around Georgetown, DC
When: Through June 27
Admission: Free

Georgetown Glow, the annual exhibition that usually takes place during the holiday season, was rescheduled for spring. You can see the neighborhood sparkle with modern light art installations throughout the bustling community.  Artworks will be viewable by day, but obviously much brighter at night! Take the fam to lunch or dinner, then go for a stroll to check them all out. Get a glimpse of a past light show here.

An O-So-Cool Adventure
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle
When: Daily, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Starts at $25

Locate secret doors, see outrageously fabulous themed rooms, and browse a trove of secondhand treasures on a tour of one of the coolest spots in DC: The Mansion on O Street. The Dupont Circle landmark is a mansion, museum, secondhand store, and hotel all in one — and visitors are welcome to explore it all. (And through April 5, they are hosting special Easter Treasure Hunts – $40.) Admission can add up, so Spring Break is a great time to go if you’re looking for something special to do. Plus, it’s a unique adventure in a truly stunning space.

Natitude
Where: Nationals Park & Around the DC Area
When: Starting April 1
Admission: Varies

Baseball season is back, and while it still won’t be quite the same as it was pre-Covid, there are some fun ways to root for our home team. Maybe you’re lucky enough to be among the 5,000 fans who get to watch the game in person in the stadium. If not, you might head to a local spot where you can watch while social distancing and enjoying a bite with your crew — this WaPo article has some suggestions for that. (FYI, The Brig is our fave and very family friendly.)  Update!  The Nats are now offering single game tickets to the general public, including for the weekend’s for every game throughout the upcoming homestand April 15-18 vs Arizona and April 19-21 vs. St. Louis. Tickets start at just $14 and will be sold in socially distanced pods of 1 to 6 tickets.

 

Museums & Galleries

Interact with language at Planet Word

Word Up
Where: Planet Word | Downtown DC
When: Starting April 1
Admission: Free

The museum dedicated to language opened briefly last fall before closing due to rising Covid rates. It will finally welcome visitors again starting April 1, and I highly recommend going! Three levels full of interactive and immersive exhibits engage, educate, entertain, and delight. Older kids, tweens and up (and that includes the kid in us adults), will get the most out of it, but elementary ages definitely could enjoy it, too. Read a full write-up about it here. Free, timed-entry passes will be available on March 29 — reserve them through the website.

Mission: Fun
Where: International Spy Museum | L’Enfant Plaza, DC
When: Wed – Fri, 9am – 6pm & Sat – Tues 8:30am – 8pm
Admission: $24.95/age 13+, $14.95/7-12, free/6 & under

The Spy Museum has reopened its doors, so you can explore the intriguing world of espionage.  Exhibits are engaging for both kids and adults, with state-of-the-art multimedia installations and loads of cool interactives — used with stylus pens + extra safety measures in place for Covid.  Discover tricks of the trade, view gadgets used to keep secrets and disguises to hide identities, learn about some of the most famous spies and their missions, and much more.  It’s a fun day out for all!

Celebrate Women in Art
Where: National Museum of Women in the Arts | Downtown DC
When: Mon – Sat, 10am – 5pm | Sun 12-5pm
Admission: $10/adult, free for kids

The museum dedicated to women’s art makes for a great outing with kids, especially tweens and teens, but younger children could enjoy it, too. Works span the centuries, from the 16th to the present in a variety of mediums, highlighting women artists all over the world. The current exhibition Sonya Clark: Tatter, Bristle, and Mend is so interesting and creative, using human hair, pocket combs, other materials as it explores Black history and culture in America.

Renewal 2121
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through September 6
Admission: $24/adult, $17/age 4-15, free/under 4

The latest exhibit at ARTECHOUSE is inspired by the cherry blossoms and spring. Here’s the description of Renewal 2121: “Transporting us 100 years into the future, it immerses us in an industrial city where nature fights to survive amid an overdeveloped metropolis. This is a future that will arrive if humanity continues unchecked at its current pace. However, there is a hopeful message to be discovered as blossoms are seen peeking through the plastic, concrete and neon lights, ready to renew the season with the help of those willing to take action.”

Maritime Explorations
Where: Calvert Marine Museum | Calvert County, MD
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $9/adult, $4/ages 5-12, free/4 & under

Head out to Calvert County to explore the heritage and history of the Chesapeake Bay.  The array of interesting exhibits includes display cases full of fossils and artifacts, plus live fish and other creatures. For extra safety, they are limiting capacity and using a timed entry system — reserve a 2-hour time slot here.  (Note that the play area and real lighthouse are closed to visitors right now.)

 

#OptOutside

Hit the beach for fossil hunting

Beachy Keen: Sand, Surf, & Fossils
Where: Around the area
When: Daily
Admission: Varies by beach

Many of us associate Spring Break with beach trips, so why not hit the shore with the kids? There are several places within day trip-distance from DC that are nice for sand and surf. Even if the weather is cool, you can still picnic, play, maybe fossil hunt, and enjoy beachy vibes.  Head out to Calvert Cliffs State Park or Flag Ponds Nature Park (note limited days at FPNP). Or go east to Sandy Point State Park. You can also play paleontologist and look for prehistoric fragments along the Potomac at the Purse Area in Charles County, MD (one of our very favorite outings in the area).

Art al Fresco
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies

Enjoy the outdoors and get an art fix at the same time. Both the Hirshhorn (10am – 4:30pm) and National Gallery of Art Sculpture Gardens (11am – 4pm) have reopened again. Tour the lovely Annmarie Sculpture Garden in Calvert County and enjoy more art experiences there.  You can also see works all over the city on a DC Murals Tour.

Take a Hike
Where: Around the area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

It’s a great time of year to spend some time on the trail as the weather warms up and color returns to the landscape. See flowers in bloom, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids.  KFDC Tip: It’s a good time to take advantage of lesser crowds on weekdays at places that usually draw them, like Great Falls, Scott’s Run, Roosevelt Island, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Patapsco.

Ride Bikes
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free

The weather during spring is perfect for biking, and with kids off from school, you can all get in some good cycling time together. Explore memorials and Smithsonian gardens as you ride on the National Mall. Bike along the Anacostia and make some fun stops on the way. Two-wheel it on fun trails in Virginia and Maryland. There are a bunch of great routes to ride around the area, and this post will help you find one perfect for your crew to pedal.

Roam a Garden
Where: Around the area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

With flowers blooming and landscapes bursting with color, a visit to a garden is a fantastic outing, especially when there’s often more to do than just look at plants and flowers. Explore and play at the National Arboretum, wander around Green Spring Gardens on a scavenger hunt, enjoy the array of flora at Brookside, venture out to the gorgeous Meadowlark Botanical Garden, or relish in the peace at the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. Plus, the Enid A. Haupt Garden, Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, Pollinator Garden, and more small Smithsonian gardens are all open to visitors and fun to explore on the National Mall.

 

Day Trips & Overnights

Annapolis, capital city on the Chesapeake

Explore Another Capital City
Where: Annapolis, MD
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by activity

Maryland’s capital city is as beautiful as it is fun, and you can easily make a day (or few) of it there. Stroll around town and take in views the Chesapeake, enjoy some outdoor recreation at Quiet Waters Park, and of course, plan to feast on crabs. It’s all an easy drive out Rt. 50 from DC.

Baltimore, Hon!
Where: Inner Harbor Area | Baltimore, MD
When: Varies by place
Admission: Varies by locale

Zip up I-95 for some fun in our sister city, where there are lots of great places to spend a day off. 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. Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry.  And the historic ships should be opening for tours again!  All of these places require advance reservations, and be sure to check days/hours as not all of them are open everyday.

Hiking & History
Where: Harpers Ferry
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free ($10 if you park in lot)

Get some fresh air and exercise as you enjoy spring weather and historic sites. Harpers Ferry is an easy day trip or quick getaway destination from DC, and spring is a great time to go. For more about a visit there, see this KFDC post.

Go Underground
Where: Luray Caverns
When: Ongoing, 9am – 7pm
Admission: $30/adults, $15/ages 6-12, 5 and under free

Behold the spectacular underground world of stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system at Luray. Afterward, make your way through the Garden Maze or check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum. Admission does not include attractions beyond the cavern. KFDC Tip: Be sure to make a pit stop before going into the caverns, because it can be a long walk out to a restroom, and once you’re out, you may not be able to go back in.

Tramp & Camp
Where: Shenandoah National Park
When: Ongoing
Admission: $35/vehicle, campsites are extra & vary

Whether you go for a day or even several, Shenandoah National Park is a boon for outdoor recreation close to DC. If you can only swing a day, find some good trails to hike or even ride along Skyline Drive and take in the beautiful vistas from the car. If you can stay overnight, it’s a great place for a camping experience with kids. Either way, enjoy being immersed in nature and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings!

 

Last minute getaway? Colonial Williamsburg is fantastic!

Extra Tips
* For more suggestions to relish the sublime spring weather, check out The Best Places in the DC Area to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids.
* If you’re looking specifically for rainy day ideas and are comfortable with being inside, see this list of indoor places that are open now.
* If you’re considering a last minute Spring Break getaway, here are some ideas for easy trips from DC.
* Check for deals and discounts on CertifiKID.

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Maryland, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Egg Hunts & More Easter-Inspired Fun Around DC & Online

 

Don’t put your eggs all in one basket when it comes to spring celebrations around the DC area!  Even though this round-up is smaller than it’s been in previous years, there still are plenty of options for Easter-themed fun around the area.  Here’s where you can find them, listed in order of start date.

Easter Treasure Hunt
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Now through April 5
Admission: $40

Don your favorite Easter bonnet and celebrate spring with a fun filled treasure hunt! Search for special Easter & spring-themed items found only at The Mansion. Explore the outrathemed rooms and search for secret doors, too. Hurry – this hunt hops away after Easter Sunday! PS:  BYO shopping bags, because everything is for sale. Read more about the Mansion on O Street, one of DC’s coolest places, in this KFDC post.

Egg Hunt & Marshmallow Picking
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: March 26 – April 3
Admission: $10/child, $12/adult, $5/egg hunt

After a long cold winter, nothing chases away the chill like a visit to the farm. Your family won’t want to miss the first “crop” of the spring– Marshmallow Picking! Do marshmallow peeps really grow on trees? Your children will be amazed to harvest a few marshmallows to roast on the bonfire. The Easter Bunny also hid some eggs  filled with treats to enchant the children, and we need you to help us find them! There will be multiple egg hunts with timed ticket entrance ($5 extra).  Plan to see our spring chicks and baby animals, take a wagon ride, and enjoy the sprawling play area, too!

Easter Inspired Activities
Where: Parks in Fairfax County, VA
When: Various dates
Admission: Varies by activity

Fairfax Parks Authority is hosting all kins of Easter inspired fun at some of the parks within its system. From sessions about Egg-Cellent Farm Birds and Eggster Bunnies to a Dinosaur Egg Hunt to Rabbit Hole-in-Ones, there are several ways little ones can celebrate the holiday and enjoy nature all at once. See the schedule on the website.

Bunnyland
Where: Butler’s Orchard
When: March 27-31 & April 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 11
Admission: $10

One of the more popular spring festivals in the area, Butler’s has all the trappings for seasonal fun: bunnies, eggs, and other Easter-related treats for young guests. Attractions include hayrides down the Bunny Trail, egg hunts, the Rubber Ducky Derby, giant slides, jumping pads, and a small petting zoo.  Concessions are available, and there are also plenty of picnic tables if you prefer to pack a lunch.  See the website for safety measures in place for Covid.

Pictures with the Easter Bunny
Where: Dulles Town Center | Dulles, VA
When: Now through April 3
Admission:

Kids and their families will be able to enjoy a more normal Easter activity this year by taking in-person professional photos with the Easter Bunny from March 19th through April 3rd. Of course, COVID safety precautions will be observed, and for those who prefer a virtual experience, Dulles Town Center has several of those lined up too.

Great Eggspectations: The Online Easter Egg Hunt Game
Where: Watson Adventures | Online
When: March 27 & April 3-4
Admission: $19

Of course Watson Adventures has come up with a cool and unique hunt for the season! This online Easter egg hunt game takes you into some of the world’s greatest museums. There are eggs hidden everywhere, and your team’s task will be to follow a trail of clues to find those eggs and answer tricky questions about them. Hop to it — read more about it here and sign up soon! It’s available to the general public on Easter weekend, and groups can book a private game anytime.

Bunny Train Ride
Where: Walkersville Southern Railroad | Walkersville, MD
When: March 27-28 7 April 3-11
Admission: $18/adult, $17/senior, $14/age 1-12

All aboard for a trip back in time with the Easter Bunny! Travel over track that the Pennsylvania Railroad originally built in 1872. See Walkersville Southern’s turn-of-the- century railroad station and tool house, then visit with the Bunny on the train (who will also give each child an Easter gift!). Ride in vintage 1920s passenger cars or on an open flatcar as your rail excursion runs past a 100-year-old lime kiln, and then out into picturesque Maryland farm country. Enjoy juice and Uncle Ralph’s cookies in the museum after your ride. Reservations required!

Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Potomac Overlook Regional Park | Arlington, VA
When: March 27 – April 4
Admission: $8/child

Spring is here, and the Easter Bunny has been hard at work making a new egg hunt for 2021!  Join Potomac Overlook Regional Park any day from March 27 to April 4, and anytime 11am – 4pm to take part in this ongoing event. Pick up your egg hunt sheet at the nature center, explore the park for 8 different “wooden eggs,” then return to the nature center with your completed sheet for a prize!  No reservations required — just hop on over and experience a brand new kind of egg hunt for you and your family! Read more about the park in this KFDC post.

Spring Fling Easter Eggstravaganza
Where: Roer’s Zoofari | Vienna, VA
When: March 27-28 & April 3-4
Admission: $25/adult, $20/child

Celebrate the arrival of spring at an Easter event that promises to be entertaining for all ages! Safari tours, face painting, a bounce house, environmentally friendly crafts, and hourly Easter egg hunts will be part of the fun. New this year is an Easter Parade withZookeepers walking through the Zoo with some of the animals once a day.

Hoppy Easter at The Station
Where: The Station at Riverdale Park, MD
When: Through April 3
Admission: Free
Hop over to The Station at Riverdale Park to send a postcard to the Easter Bunny! Guests can pre-register online to download and decorate their very own seasonal postcard at home for the Easter Bunny himself. The first 50 registered guests will receive a special gift bag from the Easter Bunny (full of springtime crafts & treats!) when they drop off their postcard at The Station between 10am-12pm on Saturday, April 3. Gift bags are best for ages 3-10.

Egg Hunt Weekend
Where: Clark’s Elioak Farm | Clarksburg, MD
When: April 2-11
Admission: $7

Little ones (ages 1 to 3 and 4 to 6) will have a chance to hunt for eggs throughout the day at this Maryland Farm that looks like something out of a story book! After hunting, they get to turn the eggs in for a goodie bag. The petting farm, rides, and play areas will be open for all to enjoy, too, along with gem mining and geode cracking. Be sure to take a look at the website for a heads-up on how the egg hunts will run, so you can make the most of your day there. Read more about Clarks Elioak in the KFDC post about the best outdoor places in the area.

Cosmic Egg Portrait & Art Kit
Where: American Visionary Art Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: April 3
Admission: Free photo, $18/frame kit

Register for an egg-citing, free spring photo with our Cosmic Galaxy Egg sculpture. They’ll take a socially-distanced INSTANT photo of you that you can take home right away. Optional: Add a limited edition Cosmic Egg picture frame kit! And while you’re there, plan to explore the museum with some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around — read about it here. Museum admission is $15,95/adult, $9.95/child, free for ages 6 and under. Can’t attend, but want a frame shipped to you? Visit avam.org/shop.

Easter Egg Hunts & Animals
Where: Leesburg Animal Park | Leesburg, VA
When: April 3-4
Admission: $15.95/adult, $18.95/child

Along with seeing animals that reside at the park, kids can take part in egg hunts to celebrate the season. Be sure to read details on the website about timing for age groups. Due to Covid restrictions, admission is broken up into AM and PM sessions.

Easter Eggstravaganza Drive-Thrus
Where: Capitol Hill, DC & Alexandria, VA
When: April 3
Admission: Free

The Eggstravaganzas are not happening this year because of Covid, but the National Community Church still wants to help parents make Easter weekend special. Drive through one of their two locations (DC & NoVa) on Saturday, April 3rd, for a curbside pickup of a FREE Easter egg hunt kit. As you arrive, be on the lookout for the Easter bunny from your car and wave to volunteers as they give you everything you need for your egg hunt!  Register here.

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Annual, DC, Farm, Holidays, Maryland, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Special Event, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend