Tag Archives: DC Holidays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: November 30 – December 4


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Monday – Play the rainy day away at The Magic Ground! The new space just opened above the Columbia Heights Target. While we haven’t been yet, a KFDC reader told me that “it’s the exact place to bring your energetic-need-to-get-out-of-the-house-kiddos.” Hours are 8am – 8:30pm Monday – Thursday (9am – 10pm Saturday & 9am – 8pm Sunday), Admission is $10/hour or $15/all day.

Tuesday – Head to DC’s big train station to check out the little trains. Union Station’s annual Holiday Train Show is back in the West Hall, featuring an elaborate Norwegian mountain landscape. After (or before), grab a bite to eat or pop over to the Postal Museum next door for more fun. You can also go in the evening for the annual tree lighting, where Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski wil do the honors, the Norwegian Embassy will provide refreshments, The Carolers of Greater Washington will perform, and Santa will be on hand with presents for kids. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Let little ones bounce, climb, swing, tumble, and slide at the PG Sports & Learning Complex Gymnastics Center. The hour-long open play session begins at 11:30am, and admission is $6/child. (This also takes place on Tuesday at the same time.)

Thursday – Enjoy a musical morning with the Boogie Babes as they bring kiddie entertainment to Eastern Market at 10:30am. Admission is $5/child, and siblings 6 months and under are free. (FYI: You can also catch a Boogie Babes show at The Angelika Pop-Up on Wednesdays and The Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays.)

Friday – Take an autumn hike at Great Falls. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you can’t go wrong. Enjoy spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center (there’s one on each side) to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. The park is open 7am – dark, the Visitors Centers 10am – 4pm. Admission is $10/car, $5/person walking in.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 31 – January 4

Studying an interesting work at the American Art Museum

Studying an interesting work at the American Art Museum

Monday – Celebrate New Year’s Eve at one of several events around town that not only welcome kids, but in most cases, center around them. See this post for a list of family-friendly options to ring in 2013.

Tuesday – Enjoy a New Year’s Day brunch (or lunch) with the kids. A recent thread on the KFDC Facebook page generated a lot of recommendations for good places for a family feast. Plus, a few more: Ted’s Bulletin, Carmine’s, Cactus Cantina, and Zengo. And it’s probably a good idea to make a reservation or call ahead.

Wednesday – As the temps dip, stay warm and entertained at an IMAX movie. You’ve got your choice of several playing right now: Dinosaurs 3D, Flight of the Butterflies 3D, Coral Reef Adventure, Flying Monsters 3D, and To the Artic 3D are all playing at Natural History Museum’s Johnson IMAX Theatre (we’ve seen the last three and enjoyed them all!). And the Air & Space Museum’s Lockheed Martin IMAX Theatre presents Air Racer 3D, Hubble 3D, Space Junk 3D, and To Fly! Both are also showing The Hobbit. Be sure to check schedules for showtimes.

Thursday – Take the kids to shop at the market, bake in the kitchen, visit the pet store, and do some art projects — all possibilities in the Playseum’s various themed rooms and crafts areas. Locations are in Bethesda and Capitol Hill. Admission is $6/person (siblings under 10 months are free) and is good for the whole day. And lest you think it’s too young for older kids home on winter break, the Bethesda location has opened the Playseum Upstairs, which caters to tweens and teens, and also has special activities for 8-12 year-olds during the holiday season. Admission is $10/person or bring a friend for $7 each.

Friday – Explore a Smithsonian Museum off the National Mall. The American Art Museum, located in Penn Quarter, showcases works that all ages can appreciate. The contemporary collection on the third floor includes many unique pieces that will intrigue even the youngest art buffs. Hours are 11:30am – 7pm. Admission is free.


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Filed under All ages, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Gradeschoolers, Holidays, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Play, Preschoolers, Seasonal, Teens, Toddlers, Tweens, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 24-28

Merry Christmas to all...


Monday –  Watch Santa have some fun on the water before his big night out. For the 27th year, Santa will water ski his way up the Potomac along with knee boarding reindeer, flying elves, the jet-skiing Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman in a dinghy! You can view it all from National Harbor at 1pm sharp. While you’re there, stop by the Gaylord National Resort for the Christmas on the Potomac holiday extravaganza (there is plenty to enjoy sans ICE, too).

Tuesday – Have yourself a merry little Christmas… and enjoy some activities out of the house, too.  The Botanic Garden and Mount Vernon are open.  You can bundle up and get out for a hike. Or spend the day as I did growing up, with Chinese food and a movie.

Wednesday – Looks like there may be rain, so enjoy the outdoors inside at a nature center. Rock Creek Nature Center, Watkins Nature Center, and Potomac Overlook Nature Center are a few faves. Or find one near you with the help of The Natural Capital blog.  Have some evening fun as you go see a holiday light display. Most are running into January — you can find a list of them here.

Thursday – Make your way up to Baltimore to visit the Maryland Science Center, where your crew can explore a variety of exhibits, play in the Kids Room, see an IMAX movie, and more.  Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $16.95/adults, $13.95/ages 3+, free for 2 and under.

Friday –  Go bowling! Lucky Strike downtown sets up ramps and bumpers for little bowlers, as does Bowl America, which has several locations in Virginia. Or try duck pin bowling at White Oaks Lane in Silver Spring.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 17-21

Underwater views at DC's National Aquarium


A big thank you to all who nominated KidFriendly DC for local favorite blog in the Washington Post’s DC Tweeps contest… you helped make me a finalist! Now the voting begins. If you’re so inclined, you can go here to cast yours. Thanks, and have a great week!

Monday – Explore the world, from the home to across the globe, at the brand new National Children’s Museum. Interactive exhibits and hands-on activities encourage play and learning.  Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $10.

Tuesday – Glimpse the underwater world at DC’s National Aquarium. Located in the lower level of the Dept. of Commerce building, it’s a perfect place for little ones to see colorful fish, sharks, turtles, and more. Admission is $9.95/ages 11 and up, $4.95/ages 3-11, free for 2 and under.  Open 9am – 5pm.

Wednesday – Stroll the beautiful grounds, view wildlife in the ponds, and visit the new Korean Bell Garden at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna. Admission is $5/adults, $2.50/ages 7-17 and seniors, free for ages 6 and under.  Hours are 10am – 5pm.

Thursday – Discover a DC hidden gem, the U.S. Navy Museum.  Located on the Navy base in southeast DC, it’s a treasure trove of artifacts and fascinating exhibits, many of which include interactive elements, that illustrate the history of the Navy. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Friday – Head to the big train station to check out the little trains. Union Station’s holiday model train display is back in the main hall, though smaller than it’s been in previous years. After (or before), grab a bite to eat or pop over to the Postal Museum next door.

Little Passports


Filed under All ages, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

Brookside’s Garden of Lights

Garden of Lights, indeed. A fantastically dazzling one.


I have to thank my friend, Torey, for a pretty great day yesterday.  Not only did she give me the heads-up on the gingerbread house activity at Union Market, she also planned an evening outing to see the Garden of Lights holiday display at Brookside Gardens for a bunch of friends. Two really fun experiences, but the latter also gets kudos for being absolutely spectacular.

While we’ve been to Brookside plenty of times, this was our family’s first time touring the lights.  And what a fantastic time to go! The woods, terraces, and pathways dazzle with twinkling scenes, both whimsical and beautiful. A  big model train display in the conservatory is quite a delight too. Strolling among it all on a misty late fall Sunday evening was a perfect way to wind down the weekend.  Of course, I recommend going on any night. Here’s a glimpse of what’s there.

Sasha's favorite, of course

Rainbow, complete with rain cloud and flashes of lightening

Illuminated trees in a wooded area

Pathways lit in festive colors

A giraffe is one of many sparkling animals

A brilliant garden scene

Loch Ness in lights where there's usually a fountain

The adorable model train display in the conservatory

The Children's Garden house may be even more fun shrouded in lights


The Garden of Lights will be on display through January 6. It’s open every evening with the exceptions of December 24-25 and January 1.  Hours are Sunday – Thursday 5:30-9:30pm, and Friday – Saturday 5:30-10pm.  Admission is $20/car Monday – Thursday and $25/car Friday – Sunday – CASH ONLY.

One note of warning:  Even with all of the lights, it’s dark in some areas and can be difficult to see far in the distance, so keep a close eye on the kids. And some of the hedges are taller than their heads and there are turns and paths in very direction, so even if they are close by, it’s easy to lose sight of them. (Yes, I know this from experience).


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend