Exploring the Asian Collections at the National Arboretum
Monday – Savor the nice day at the National Arboretum. Explore the plant collections, go for nature walks through the woods, visit the Washington Youth Garden, and see the old Capitol columns. So many ways to enjoy one of the loveliest places in the city. Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.
Tuesday – Head up to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to tour the historic ships. There are four vessels that welcome visitors to explore — the USS Constellation, USS Torsk, USCGC Taney, and LV116 Chesapeake. Admission to tour one ship is $11/adult, $5/ages 6-14, free for ages 5 and under, and you can add on for just a few dollars more per ship.
Wednesday – Get a glimpse of the past on the Potomac at Fort Washington Park. Kids (and adults!) will like seeing the cannons and other historic sights within the grounds. Hours are 8am – sunset. Admission is $5/vehicle.
In the evening, see a free Step Afrika! show at THEARC. The performance is part of Step Xplosion, a exciting and energetic tour of all 8 Wards in DC. Showtime is 6:30pm. Register for complimentary tickets here.
Thursday – Celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday with a day of recreation at a nearby national park: Great Falls! Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you can’t go wrong. Take in 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. Even better, admission to the park is free August 25-28 for the centennial anniversary. The park is open 7am until dark, the Visitors Centers 10am – 4pm.
Friday – Soak up the last bit of summer break and stay cool at an outdoor pool, waterpark, or sprayground. Kids can jump in and swim, run through fountains, and ride waves and slides at a bunch of places around there area where it’s all about being in the water. Hit a public pool or sprayground, visit a full-fledged waterpark, or head to a fountain that welcomes people to play. The KFDC 2016 Summer Guide has the scoop on where to go to enjoy it all.
Zip through the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring Adventure Park
Monday – Stay cool in the sprays and wading pool at Yards Park. The lovely recreational space in the Navy Yard is a perfect place to spend a summer day. Hang out in the grassy areas, stroll the boardwalk, take in the views, and have a picnic by the water or grab some lunch at one of the many new nearby eateries. Admission to the park is free.
Tuesday – Venture out to Solomons, MD, to the Calvert Marine Museum. Discover how the prehistoric past, natural environment, and maritime heritage come together to tell a unique story of the Chesapeake Bay. Fascinating exhibits, including display cases full of fossils and artifacts, live fish and other creatures, and a real lighthouse to tour are engaging for all ages. There are things to see both indoors and out, including beautiful scenic views. And you can bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy by the water. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is $9/adult, $4/ages 5-12, free for 4 and under.
Wednesday – Get a close look at some fascinating creatures and hear funny animal stories and facts at a Reptiles Alive! show. Friendly and professional wildlife presenters will showcase a colorful variety of exotic species at MLK Library downtown. The show starts at 2pm, and admission is free.
Thursday – Get in on a DC “secret” in Upper Northwest. Amid a small wooded area at Palisades Park is The Glass Forest, a collection of sculptures made from natural and scrap materials that truly is a must-see! Be sure to make time to romp on the park’s playground while you’re there. Admission is free.
Friday – Hang out in the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring. Kids as young as 5-years-old can experience fun and adventure on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial forest, the largest in North America. Children 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 $39/ages 7-9, $48/ages 10-11, $53/ages 12 and older. And if you’re looking for fun with little ones… 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.
Monday – Play paleontologist for a day at Purse State Park, where you can hunt for fossilized shark teeth and other fragments of prehistoric sea creatures. Be sure to check the tide table before you go (select Potomac River and Piney Point), as there’s not much beach at high tide. There are no concessions or facilities there, so plan accordingly. Admission is free.
Tuesday – See a movie for a buck! The Regal Summer Movie Express is still presenting family films for just $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday at participating theaters during the summer. See what’s playing at a theater near you — there are two movie choices every week. All movies start at 10am. In the afternoon, head to MLK Library, where Storyteller Baba C will entertain with his unique blend of interactive storytelling, narrative song, chants, and games celebrating the oral traditions of the African Diaspora. Starts at 4pm, and admission is free.
Wednesday – Explore the grounds and play in the gardens, particularly the Children’s Garden, at River Farm. The American Horticulture Society’s headquarters overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria are as sublime as they are fun. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
Thursday – Spend a hot day inside a cool museum! Head to Chantilly for Air & Space exploration beyond the National Mall — the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center showcases even more fascinating artifacts of flight. 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.
Friday – Explore the high Potomac “seas” on a Boomerang Family Treasure Hunt Cruise. During the pirate adventure, you’ll help recover stolen treasure from scallywags who pilfered the ship’s booty. A couple of times are available several days a week. Cost is $20/passenger, but Goldstar and Certifikid often have ticket deals available.
Tinkering in the Spark!Lab at the American History Museum
Monday – Visit the National Museum of American History to check out the collections and enjoy some interactive fun. Show the kiddos relics from the nation’s past through all kinds of interesting exhibits, including the Innovation Wing where they can get hands-on in the Spark!Lab (ages 6-12) and Wegman’s Wonderplace (ages 0-6). Extended summer hours are 10am – 7:30pm. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Stop and smell the stinky plant at the U.S. Botanic Garden. The impressive corpse flower on display in the conservatory is expected to bloom Monday night and will be open for all to…experience. Word is the odor is at its strongest in the first hours after it opens, but the bloom is said to be spectacular. The USBG now has extended hours 10am – 8pm, and will be open until 11pm during peak bloom. Admission is free. And to stay updated on the plant’s status, view the live stream.
Wednesday – Wander, play, and relax at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria. 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. Update: There is also a puppet show taking place at 10:30am — ($4/Fairfax county resident, $6/non-resident). Register for it here.
Thursday – Head on down to the 4-H fair! Running August 4-7, the first couple of days of the 68th 4-H Fairfax Fair & Carnival will feature rides, amusements, farm fun, and treats. Held at Frying Pan Farm Park, hours are 10am – 3pm both days and 5-10pm on Friday as well. (There are even more activities through the weekend!) Carnival ride tickets are $1 or 24 for $20 (most rides take 3-5). Unlimited carnival ride wristbands are $18 if you buy online in advance and $25 day-of.
Friday – Enjoy a day of Pokemon in the Park as Fairfax Supervisors and Fairfax Police host a day of fun activities at Burke Lake Park. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and playground, learn tips to help play the game safely from the FCPD, battle at the “PokéGym,” and take advantage of the “PokéLures” that will be activated continuously throughout the event. Every child also gets a free ice cream as well as a free minitrain or carousel ride. This all runs from 12-5pm. Admission is free.
Gonna eat me a lot of peaches: A PYO adventure from the early KFDC days
Monday – Stay cool and have fun at a pool, waterpark, or sprayground. The Summer 2016 Guide has links to many places around the DC-Metro area where it’s all about being in the water. And you can consider this for any day of what’s going to be a hot week! Hours and admission vary by locale. But if staying cool means avoiding the outdoors altogether, check out The Great Indoors list of more than 80 ideas for adventures inside.
Tuesday – Help kick off the DC leg of Good Humor’s annual Welcome to Joyhood Tour with FREE ice cream handed out by Washington Redskins Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan! This is happening at the Ronald Reagan Building from 12-3pm, and you’ll also have the chance to meet with Ryan, take pictures, win giveaways, and see the Good Humor Truck of the Future, featuring digital screens, music, and more. If you can’t make opening day, the Good Humor Joy Squad will be visiting neighborhoods throughout DC through August 21, surprising and delighting those who live work and play in the city with free frozen treats, giveaways, and more. You can follow Good Humor on Twitter for real-time updates on the Good Humor Truck’s location.
Wednesday – Pick some produce at a local farm! Peaches and blackberries are the main fruits available, but a few other crops are pick-able, too. Just about all the farms listed in this post have something ripe and ready for harvest now. However, it’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat strongly recommended.
Thursday – Catch a performance of Peter and the Wolf at The Puppet Co. Recommended for ages 4 and up, showtimes are 10am and 11:30am. Read a KFDC review of the production from a few years back — it’s a classic at the puppet theatre. After the show, stay to play at the Glen Echo Park playground and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Friday – Zoom over to the National Air & Space Museum for Mars Day! Celebrating the Red Planet with a day full of fun and educational activities and exhibits. Kids can check out a real meteorite, get news about Curiosity from a science team member, see incredible detailed images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and views of the surface of the planet in 3-D, meet planetary professionals, enjoy Mars-related hands-on activities, and much more. The free event takes place from 10am – 3pm.