Tag Archives: DC Flower Blooms

Spring Things to Get Excited About Around DC

 

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

Bloom Town
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!

Vamos United!
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Started late February
Admission: Varies

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

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
Admission: Free

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!)

 

Entertain the idea of a gift to a stellar show

Show Time
Where: Theatres Around DC
When: Various dates
Admission: Varies by show

The new season brings new live entertainment to local stages, and there are some great shows coming to town. A few to check out (something for every age):
RENT – The 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour at National Theatre
Come From Away at National Theatre
Mean Girls at the Kennedy Center
Poop the Musical at Adventure Theatre

 

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
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Varies

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)

Welcome, Dorothy!
Where: Washington DC Temple | Kensington, MD
When: Starting April 28
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Free

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

Flower Mart
Where: National Cathedral | Northwest DC
When: May 6-7
Admission: Free

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
Admission: Free

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

Grand Opening
Where: KID Museum | Bethesda Metro Center, MD
When: May 22
Admission: TBA

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

Opt Outside
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

This one is very general and also pretty obvious, but take advantage of the outdoors — spring is sublime in DC!  Get back to those places and activities you missed all winter and, of course, discover some new ones. These posts are full of ideas to help with that:
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
Walks in the Woods
Ride On: Bike Routes for Everyone Around DC
Serenity Now: 10 Places to Find Peace and Calm in DC

 

What spring things are you most excited about?

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Filed under 2022, DC, Maryland, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Virginia

Five Things for Today: June 29, 2021

 

 

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.

 

3. How amazing do the cupcakes from this local kid biz look?  (Yes, you can order them!)

 

4. Lots of yummy sounding recipes for July 4th (or anytime, for that matter).

 

5. Hahaha… thank you, Reese.

 

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Filed under 2021, DC, Five Things for Today, Maryland

Bloom Town: Where and When to See the Best Flower Displays Around DC

The spectacular summer bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

 

It seems a lot of people love a good flower bloom, myself included. Lucky for us, there are some spectacular displays of flora around the DC area. They all occur during the warmer months, though their peaks vary. And there are several places that are particularly great to view them, a few even known specifically for the bloom. Here’s where you can stop, smell, see, and just enjoy the beauty of them all. Plan on amazing photo ops, too!

 

It doesn’t get much more iconic DC than this

Cherry Blossoms
Where: Tidal Basin | National Mall Area, DC
When: Late March – Early April
Admission: Free

DC’s most famous bloom, in a way, marks the arrival of spring. It may not always be in sync with the calendar, but when the beloved flowers start to appear around the city, a collective seasonal shift seems to begin. The most iconic place to view the cherry blossoms is at the Tidal Basin, where you can walk the path around the water under a canopy of pink and white flowers. It’s a stunning scene that draws a lot of visitors, so these KFDC tips come in handy when you plan to view them.

 

Pair some magnolia viewing with a museum outing

Magnolias
Where: Enid A. Haupt Garden | National Mall, DC
When: Late March – April
Admission: Free

Magnolias have become more of a celebrated DC bloom in recent years, perhaps as an alternative to the cherry blossoms that always draw large crowds. The specific variety that create spectacular pink and white scenes are saucer magnolias, and they often start blooming before the cherry blossoms in some locales. The Enid A. Haupt Garden is one of the best places to see them, with magnolia trees lining the path surrounding the parterre (the beautiful, meticulously groomed center area of the garden) and growing throughout the grounds. While you’re there, plan on a museum visit, too. The current FUTURES exhibit right next door at the Arts & Industries Building is fantastic, but obviously you have your pick of spots on the National Mall.

 

Add some color to your hike along the Potomac

Bluebells
Where: Riverbend Park | Great Falls, VA
When: Early-Late April
Admission: Free

The hike from Riverbend to Great Falls Park is a local favorite, and it’s especially great in spring when the bluebells bloom, lining the trail along the banks of the Potomac River. The periwinkle, bell-shaped flowers add delightful pops of color to the rest of the still-budding landscape emerging from winter. Every year, Riverbend hosts Bluebells at the Bend, a day of fun festivities, to celebrate the bloom — this year it will take place April 9. You can read more about a great Riverbend hike here.

 

Wisteria dreams at Dumbarton

Wisteria
Where: Dumbarton Oaks Gardens | Georgetown, DC
When: Mid-April – Mid-May
Admission: $7

One of my very favorite spots in DC showcases all kinds of gorgeous flowers, but the wisteria blooms here like no other place in the city (that I can think of, anyway). The purple-petaled flowers drape over walls and trellises in several areas of the grounds, but it’s especially exquisite in the Pebble Garden. Read more about Dumbarton Oaks Gardens through the link above as well as here and here (yes, we go there often!).  Note that days and hours are limited — it’s open Tuesday – Sunday, 3-5pm November – mid-March, and 3-6pm mid-March – through October.   I recommend taking kiddos to play at Montrose Park first and/or grabbing a bite in Georgetown before or after your visit (this post includes some restaurant recs).

 

Azaleas make the already lovely Arb even lovelier

Azaleas
Where: U.S. National Arboretum | Northeast DC
When: Late April – Mid-May
Admission: Free

The National Arboretum is beautiful any time of year, but it’s especially stunning in the spring when the flowers begin to bloom. The azalea collection is particularly fantastic and draws visitors from all over to see the vibrant hues blanketing the hillside where they are located. Red, pink, purple, and white flowers saturate the landscape starting around late April and peak in stages over several weeks. If you go see them, plan to make a day of it at the Arboretum — there is so much to enjoy beyond the blooms, too! Read more about the Arb and the azaleas here and here.

 

🌷Immerse in tulips at Burnside Farms 🌷

Tulips
Where: Burnside Farms | Nokesville, VA
When: Mid-April – Mid-May
Admission: $14-19/weekday, $16-21/weekend

Burnside Farms’ annual Festival of Spring showcasing the season’s flowers has fittingly also been called Holland in Haymarket (where it used to take place). Giant fields contain over 50 different varieties of flowers in a rainbow of colors, and you can pick your own to enjoy at home ($1 per tulip, $1 for 2 daffodils). There are also other fun activities like all kinsd of clogs to try on and picnic and play areas.  It should be noted that the winter can have an affect on the bloom, and the full crop of flowers may not make it (as happened a few years ago). But what is there is always sure to be gorgeous. Have your camera handy for some brilliant photo ops!

 

A sea of lotus flowers

Lotus and Water Lillies
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens | Northeast DC
When: Late June – July
Admission: Free

Of all the big annual blooms that occur in the DC area, the lotus flowers and water lilies at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens may just be my favorite one. Not only is the sight of the bursting pink, white, and peachy hued flora absolutely breathtaking, its secluded location — the park is located in an unexpected part of Northeast DC just blocks from the buzz of 295 — makes it a glorious oasis of beautiful nature in the city. The bloom begins early to mid summer and peaks around the middle of July, and it’s celebrated annually at the Lotus and Water Lily Festival (2022 date TBA), a day full of activities for kids, cultural dance performances, gardening workshops, and park tours. Read about a fun way to get there and another great way to include the destination in a fun day out.

 

Sunflowers taller than my tall kid!

Sunflowers
Where: McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area | Poolesville, MD
When: Mid-Late July
Admission: Free

This bloom is amazing! The 30+ acres of sunflowers at McKee-Beshers is such a happy sight, like a big congregation of smiling emoji sunshine faces. It occurs during what is typically the hottest time of the year in the area, but it’s worth braving the temps and humidity to experience in person. And it’s right down the street from Homestead Farm, so you can pair a visit to see the stalks of yellow joy with a berry picking outing. Hats, close-toed shoes, sunscreen, and a bottle of water are recommended. Follow the link for logistics on getting there.

 

Everything’s coming up roses…

Roses
Where: U.S. Botanic Garden | National Mall, DC
When: Mid-May – August
Admission: Free

The roses in the National Garden, the outdoor part of the U.S. Botanic Garden, are a lovely sight to see — and smell, of course. Showcasing several varieties that thrive in the Mid-Atlantic using organic methods, the area is a floral sensation during late spring through the summer. There are even more flowers across Pennsylvania Avenue at Bartholdi Park (though roses don’t star), and the rest of the USBG is always fantastic to tour. Take little ones to the Children’s Garden, where they can have fun flexing their green thumbs! [Note: Only the outdoor areas of the U.S. Botanic Garden are open right now.]

 

A springtime scene at the National Cathedral Bishop’s Garden

Some other great gardens around the DC area, where you can enjoy flowers, but aren’t necessarily known for any specific bloom…
* Franciscan Monastery in Brookland, DC
* Enid A. Haupt Garden on the National Mall, DC
* Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral, DC
* Tudor Place in Georgetown, DC
* Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD
* River Farm in Alexandria, VA
* Meadowlark Botanical Garden in Vienna, VA
* Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA

 

So many spring flowers at Dumbarton Oaks

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Filed under All ages, DC, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Spring, Summer, Virginia