1. We’re going to be near Harpers Ferry this weekend for soccer, so we’ll likely take advantage and enjoy some fun there, too. Have you been? It’s a fantastic day trip or weekend destination from DC with great outdoor recreation and opportunities for historical explorations. Read more about the West Virginia town in this KFDC post!
2. Boing! Big Bounce America, the world’s largest bounce house, is returning to the DC area May 20 – June 11 at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD. The biggest touring inflatable event includes four massive inflatable attractions: a 16,000-square-foot World’s Largest Bounce House; the newly added Sport Slam featuring a customized sports arena; the 900-foot-long obstacle course named The Giant; and a unique, space-themed wonderland called airSPACE. Three-hour sessions for varying age groups — 3 & under, 7 & under, 15 & under, and 16 & older — are $22 for the youngest group, $38 for older kids, and $41 for 16+. Tickets can be reserved here.
3. And speaking of Fort Washington, it’s been a long time since I’ve highlighted Fort Washington Park, a great place to enjoy a day outdoors and get a glimpse of the past. You can explore the historic remnants of the fortress dating back to 1824 — including bastions and barracks and cannons — within the grounds and enjoy beautiful views along the Potomac River. Hours for the Fort and Visitor Center are 9am – 4:30pm, Thursday – Sunday. Admission is $10/vehicle to the park, free to Fort Washington.
4. A shirt almost exactly like this one (that I’ve had for years) was one of my most worn items in Portugal. Perfect as a “spring shacket” to throw on over tanks and T-shirts or even a dress when it got a little chilly, also cute enough to wear on it’s own with pants. Also love this one that’s more of a jacket, but not a typical denim jacket.
5. A fantastic feature about one of my (and I’m sure many others’) all-time favorite authors. Those books we loved as kids, are often some that stick with us the most! And they are still great kid reads… Sasha loved this one, and Owen actually did a book report about this one back in elementary school. And in case you haven’t heard, this movie comes out on Friday!
1. Not all of the area cherry blossoms are past their peak… the Kwanzan cherry trees at Congressional Cemetery are in glorious full bloom right now! And the locale on Capitol Hill makes for a great visit beyond the flowers with gravesites of notable people, lovely peaceful paths to stroll, and geocaching opportunities. You can also bring your dog to run around off-leash most days. Admission to the cemetery is free, but a doggy day pass is $15. Open dawn to dusk, and be sure to check that it’s not closed for a funeral. Read more about Congressional Cemetery here.
2. The National Cherry Blossom Festival wraps up this weekend and culminating with two of its best events: The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade on Saturday (10am – 12pm) and Sakura Matsuri on Saturday and Sunday (10:30am – 6pm). The parade always draws thousands of people to watch the procession of floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers make their way down Constitution Avenue, so plan to arrive early to stake out a spot on the curb for a good view of it all. Following the parade (or even during to beat the crowds or on Sunday), head over to Pennsylvania Avenue where Sakura Matsuri, the annual Japanese street festival, will feature live music, dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and much more. Admission to the festival starts at $10 for ages 13 and up (free for 12 and under).
1. As the cherry blossoms pass their peak, bluebells are starting to bloom! You can see them in a few places around the area, the most popular being Riverbend Park and Bull Run Regional Park, which has a dedicated Bluebell Trail that we hiked this past weekend. While Bull Run has larger patches of the pretty periwinkle flowers and an easy 1.5-mile trail that’s great for little legs, I personally prefer the longer out and back hike at Riverbend that stretches along the Potomac to Great Falls, where you can take in spectacular views of the Mather Gorge. Admission to Bull Run is $8/car, free at Riverbend. Even more, Riverbend will be celebrating the bloom at its annual Bluebells at the Bend Festival this Saturday, April 8 — tickets are $10/online ($12/day of) and can be reserved here.
2. If it’s tulips you want to see, Burnside Farms’ annual Festival of Spring begins today, and some tickets are still available for this week! (They are sold out for the weekend, though a limited number of day-of tickets will be sold online each day starting at 12am.) More than 150 varieties of tulips and 30 varieties of daffodils dazzle on 15 acres of fields, and you can pick five stems of your own to bring the beauty home. Admission also includes play opportunities — bouncy fun, cornhole games, hop on-hop off wagon rides, antique tractors and a real life size caboose, authentic dutch wooden shoes to “klomp” around in, and more. You can BYO food for lunch or a snack al fresco in the picnic area, too. Burnside Farms is located in Nokesville, VA, about a one-hour drive from DC. Admission is $19-23 for weekdays, $27-31 weekends — purchase in advance.
My honest review: If you have never been, this is a fun, unique outing that all ages can enjoy, and the vast fields of flowers are quite a sight. We enjoyed it few times when the kids were younger. However, it’s become very popular and expensive over the years, and I don’t consider it a must-do every year like, say, Ren Fest. For a spring splurge and with older kids, something like this is my preference. But with little kids, who get free admission under age 6 to Burnside, seeing the tulips is a great option for an outing!
3. If you’re celebrating Passover tomorrow evening and need some help with your Seder, Eater has a round-up of places around DC where you can find Passover meals.
4. Just bought a great dress from this company for our upcoming Spring Break trip — they have so many pretty options! (Btw, that is a referral link that gets you 15% off your first order.)
Spring is always a much anticipated time of year. The emergence from cold, wintry weather, the return of color to the landscape, and the end of hats and gloves and clunky boots and extra layers are some of the reasons why. It’s also when many of DC’s best events and activities occur or restart for the warm months. And this year, spring’s arrival may be even more eagerly awaited, as several beloved big events that were cancelled or held virtually for the last two years will back IRL. From big blooms and their celebrations to new exhibits and reopenings to neighborhood live entertainment to baseball and soccer to warm weather recreation to a first-time-ever opportunity, there are a lot of things to get excited about around DC this spring. Here’s a round-up of them to help you plan for it all. Happy (almost) Spring!
The Blossom Kite Festival will be back this year!
National Cherry Blossom Festival
Where: Around the DC Area
When: March 20 – April 17
Admission: Varies by activity
The National Cherry Blossom Festival, running March 20 – April 12 this year, presents all kinds of fun and enriching activities over a few weeks every spring. (Well, except for the past couple of springs.) After being cancelled in 2020, then limited in 2021, the full Festival will return with all of its signature events — the Blossom Kite Festival, National Cherry Blossom Parade, Sakura Matsuri, and Petalpalooza — plus many more blossom inspired happenings around the area. This post rounds up those particularly great for families.
Last year’s azalea bloom at the National Arboretum
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Varies by locale
Admission: Varies by locale
We all know about the cherry blossoms that brighten up the land and cityscape during the season. But there are even more big blooms to enjoy around the DC area, and they’re literally coming up soon. Magnolias, bluebells, azaleas, tulips, and roses are what you can stop, smell, see, and relish in the loveliness of during spring. This KFDC post has details on where and when to enjoy them at their best.
Cheer on the United at Audi FIeld!
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Started late February
So, the MLS season actually kicked off during winter in February, but spring will be a great time to catch some action on the pitch, as the weather warms up. While there are good concessions at the stadium, you can also make a longer outing of it, and grab a bit to eat before or after games. There are lots good dining options in the Capitol Riverfront area a short walk away.
Immerse in digital spring flowers at PIXELBLOOM
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: March 12 – June 5
Admission: $20-25/adult, $14/age 4-15, free/under 4
The exhibits at ARTECHOUSE often reflect the season in some way, and for the fifth year, they are highlighting spring by celebrating the cherry blossoms with a gorgeous digital exhibit that immerses you in the blooms. Floor to ceiling projections, plus interactive elements make this one beautiful, engaging, and fun to experience! Get more of a glimpse of it here.
NoMa in Bloom
Where: Around the NoMa neighborhood, DC
When: March 20 – April 17
Admission: Free (but plan on some purchases)
The NoMa BID is celebrating the return of spring with all kinds of activities and events over a few weeks — with something for all ages. From the family-friendly first annual NoMa in Bloom Festival on March 26 at Alethia Tanner Park to art and light displays to special cherry-themed food and drink specials at NoMa bars and restaurants, see what’s coming up to enjoy.
Family QT at the lovely Victura Park
Victura Park Reopens
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Starting March 17 | Weds-Fri, 4-8pm & Sat-Sun 12-8pm
The family-friendly outdoor pop-up and wine garden at The REACH at the Kennedy Center is reopening after closing for winter. Food and drinks are available to enjoy in an area set up with picnic tables. And this season, they are adding an indoor dining area for rainy days or if you just want some shade. They’re kicking things off with a weekend of Saint Patrick’s inspired food, drinks, and some surprises, and there will be an Art Market March 26-27. While you’re there, be sure to explore the beautiful grounds, stop in The REACH Buildings (reserve a session in the Moonshot Studio on weekends), stroll the Kennedy Center terrace, and take in sweeping views of the Potomac. Hours will be Wednesday – Friday 4-8pm, and Saturday/Sunday 12-8pm. Getting there by bike is a perfect way to go to avoid parking. But if you drive, you can park in the KC garage (though pricey) or try to find street parking nearby.
Enjoy the season — and a fun challenge! — in the trees
Adventure in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring
When: Starting March 19
Admission: Starts at $45/adult, $16/child
The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring has reopens for the season, offering its thrilling aerial forest experience again. Navigating ropes courses up in the trees is a super fun and challenging way to spend a day. There are 15 trails of varying levels of difficulty, all of them with ziplines, and almost 200 challenge bridges — something for everyone! Extra safety measures are in place for Covid, including required advance reservations, so be sure to book ahead. Read about one of our past experiences at the Adventure Park. (There have been many more since then!)
Yayoi Kusama’s Phalli’s Field infinity room will be back
Yayoi Kusama Returns
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: April 1 – November 27
Back in 2017, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibition at the Hirshhorn was the hot ticket to score. The presentation of five infinity rooms — immersive installations that transformed small rooms into boundless wonderlands with brilliant, imaginative sculptures and mirror-lined walls — caused quite a frenzy among art enthusiasts, Instagram fiends, and what seemed like everyone else, for that matter. Her work was supposed to be back in 2020, but, well, we all know how that went. It’s finally going to happen this spring: Some of Kusama’s works, including two infinity rooms, are coming back to the museum for an exhibit called One with Eternity. Free same-day Timed Passes will be distributed daily at the Museum starting at 9:30am throughout the run of the upcoming exhibition. Fingers crossed it will be easier to get them this time!
There’s no place like a fairy & gnome home
Fairies in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: April 1 – September 5
Admission: $5 suggested donation
The annual magicalicious exhibit of fairy and gnome houses at Annmarie begins in spring. As if the sculpture garden in Calvert County wasn’t already wonderful, this annual display adds extra delight to a visit there with a collection of handmade fairy and gnome homes scattered throughout the grounds. It’s fantastic to see anytime, but the annual festival to celebrate them takes place April 24 this year. This is a place kids of all ages — and even the kid in us adults — will love. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post and this one.
Let’s fill those seats back up at Nats Park this season!
Baseball is Back!
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Starting April 7
Things were a bit shaky there for the MLB for awhile, but the lockout is ending, and Opening Day is now April 7! The Nats will play their home opener against the Mets, and the rest of the season will follow as scheduled. If you’ve been reading KFDC awhile, then you know I highly recommend Nats games as a great way to spend a family day out. I discussed it in a very early KFDC post, include ballgames in Weekend Round-Ups whenever they play at home, have endorsed the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for years, and know it all well enough to have plenty of tips for spending less on a day at the ballpark. This is all to say, check your Natitude (and the just announced promo schedule)– and get it ready for spring ball!
Whirl around at Watkins Regional Park
Go for a Spin
Where: Various locations around the area
When: Varying dates
Admission: Varies by locale
Spring is when many of the carousels and mini trains open for the season, and there are a bunch around the area where you an go for whirl or a ride. Some particularly good places to go: Montgomery Parks’ Cabin John Train and Wheaton Train and Carousel open on April 2. Clemyjontri Park welcomes guests to whirl starting April 3. And Glen Echo Park’s beautiful Dentzel Carousel also spins again on April 30. At Watkins Regional Park, the carousel and mini train (and mini golf) open May 7. Read more about Cabin John Regional Park in Bethesda here, Wheaton Regional Park here, Clemyjontri Park here, and Watkins Regional Park here.
See the inside for the first time (Photo: Wiki Commons)
Where: Washington DC Temple | Kensington, MD
When: Starting April 28
Those who really know this area well may have an idea of that title refers to. For those that don’t, “Surrender, Dorothy” was spray painted on an overpass visible from the Beltway, just before the enormous straight-out-of-Oz looking Washington DC Temple. So many of us have wondered for years what the church, with its grand, imposing exterior, looks like on the inside. Well, now we can find out! The public will be welcome for tours for the first time ever starting late April. All are welcome, just reserve tickets in advance — there are plenty available.
A souvenir from a past French Market
Bon Jour, Georgetown!
Where: Book Hill Neighborhood | Georgetown, DC
When: April 29 – May 1
The Georgetown French Market returns to the Book Hill neighborhood bringing the signature European open air market back for its 19th year. More than 25 Georgetown boutiques, antique shops, restaurants, galleries, and more will be featured. But it’s not all about the shopping! Kids will enjoy the strolling mimes, hands-on activities, live music, and French cuisine from Georgetown cafes and restaurants. Visit the website to see the schedule of events and list of participating shops.
Flowers & fun at the National Cathedral
Where: National Cathedral | Northwest DC
When: May 6-7
This festival ran for 80 years until its two-year hiatus due to Covid. But it’s back — and a super fun, fab way to spend a spring day! Plant sales, floral and horticultural displays, and boutique booths will likely be of more interest to grown-ups. But there is music and entertainment, games and carnival rides, tasty foods, the All Hallows Guild antique carousel, and many more fun activities to delight kids as well. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Beauvoir Playground, too! Read more about Flower Mart and the National Cathedral in this KFDC post.
Enjoy global culture at the Around the World Embassy Tour
Around the World Embassy Tour
Where: Local Embassies | Dupont Circle, DC
When: May 7
Cultural Tourism DC’s awesome Around the World Embassy Tour will be back this spring! This event, one of my favorites of spring, is like a local passport to countries around the world as embassies from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania open their doors to the public. It’s a free showcase of art, music, traditional dress, and culinary delights from nations across the globe. (It’s also your chance to check out the interiors of those mansions along Mass Ave & International Drive that you usually just admire from the street.) Read about one of our past globetrotting-in-DC experiences and get a glimpse of what to expect. And note that there will also be an EU Embassy Tour on May 14!
Strawberries at Schlagel Farm, always the first to open for the picking season
Take Your Pick
Where: Farms around the DC Area
When: Varies by locale
Admission: Varies by locale
The pick-your-own season begins in late April/early May when strawberries are ripe and ready for harvest. Several area farms welcome guests to come pick them, and some offer even more fun. This round-up of PYO places around the area has more details (note that this year’s dates are still TBA). And 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.
A grand new space for KID Museum coming in May
Where: KID Museum | Bethesda Metro Center, MD
When: May 22
KID Museum, which for years provided innovative, hands-on learning experiences for kids at the Davis Library in Bethesda, is opening a new flagship site at Bethesda Metro Center. The 28,000-square-foot facility will offer the same kinds of experiences that encourage invention, creativity, experimentation, and discovery — but on a larger scale in a bigger space. Kids ages 4-14 can explore coding, robotics, engineering design, and hands-on maker learning in the new state-of-the-art makerspace starting late May. The Grand Opening celebration on May 22 will be a fun-filled day of making at the new site — and that will continue beyond the first day. Get more of an idea of what KID Museum is all about in this KFDC post.
Paddling the Potomac from Fletcher’s Cove
Go with the Flow
Where: Waterways around the DC area
When: Varies by place
Admission: Varies by place
With warmer weather comes opportunities to enjoy time on the water, and you can rent kayaks, canoes, and other vessels to paddle at a bunch of places around the area. Boating in DC now runs many of the boathouses in the District and nearby. Some locations begin operating in early April, others open in May, so be sure to check the website for opening dates. A few places within the NoVA Parks system are offering boat rentals now. And if you don’t want to do the work of paddling (though I highly recommend it), enjoy a Water Taxi ride — there are several options for places to catch it! See this post for a round-up of places to go with the flow, and read more about a couple of our paddling adventures around the area here and here.
Family nature/dog walk at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
1. The lotus and water lilies have begun to bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens! This is my very favorite bloom of all the big blooms in the area, the park stunningly gorgeous when it’s bursting with the pink, white, and peach-hued flowers. It hasn’t yet reached the peak, but it’s still so pretty to see, plus now is a good time to get an early look before the crowds descend. And, FYI, the annual festival to celebrate it will be virtual this year. See scenes from a past bloom here and read about a great way to combine a visit with another activity here. (PS: If you go and post photos on Instagram, please tag @kidfriendlydc (and #kidfriendlydc) to let folks know where you heard about it — and so I can see your pics! 🙂).
2. Glenstone, the indoor/outdoor modern art museum sprawling gloriously over 300 acres in Potomac, releases it’s next batch of tickets on July 1 at 10am. These will be for visits in September, and the free tickets go fast, so be ready to get them here. And note that children under 12 are not permitted, but I highly recommend a KidFree visit there if your kids aren’t old enough to go.