Monday – Visit the National Arboretum on one of the two weekdays it’s open to the public (it’s closed Tuesday – Thursday). Tour the plant collections, visit the Washington Youth Garden and play in the natural playground, romp at the old Capitol columns, see the details of the bonzais. There are acres upon acres to explore! Hours are 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.
Tuesday – Play in the sprays at Canal Park. The recreational space in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood has both a gentle, shallow fountain that is perfect for really little ones, plus a bigger one for more enthusiastic play where the ice rink is in the winter. Admission is free. Grab a bite to eat at the Park Tavern on premises at another nearby eatery (there are options right across the street and food trucks often in the area), or pack lunch for a picnic.
Wednesday – See a show especially for little ones at The Puppet Co. Mother Goose Caboose is this week’s Tiny Tots, where the lights stay on and doors stay open during performances for the youngest audiences. Showtime is 10am. Tickets are $5 for everyone, including babies. Plan to hang out at Glen Echo Park for some fun on the playground afterwards.
Thursday – Go play at Clemyjontri, the brilliantly colored, sprawling playground in McLean that accommodates kids of all abilities. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.
Friday – Get creative at a National Portrait Gallery Open Studio Friday session. All ages are welcome to explore a different art medium each week with all kinds of fun projects. Drop in anytime from 1-4pm. Admission is free.
Along with these suggestions for weekday activities, keep The Great Indoors list handy in case rainy weather hampers any outdoor plans.
Monday – Hit the playground at Wheaton Regional Park. Two levels of slides, climbing nets, monkey bars, swings, and more fun features will appeal to all ages and abilities. Even more, the miniature train and carousel are open daily for the season (for a small fee). Pack lunch to eat at nearby picnic tables under the lofty trees. It’s open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.
Tuesday – Discover the history of flight at the College Park Aviation Museum. Guests can view early airplanes up close, dress up like aviators, create flight-inspired art, and more. Keep an eye on the runway right outside the floor-to-ceiling windows — you might see planes take off and land at the College Park Airport, the oldest continuously operating airport in the world! Open daily 10am – 5pm. Admission is $4/adults, $2/children, free for ages 2 and under.
Wednesday – Arrrgh! Cruise the high Chesapeake seas with Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake in Annapolis. The company specializes in, well, pirate adventures for children, taking little buccaneers on a search for buried treasure. Several time slots are available throughout the day, and they set sail everyday of the week. Cost is $20/person ($12 for ages 3 and under), and that includes face painting and dress up along with the on board fun.
Thursday – Spend the morning at wacky magic show with The Great Zucchini as he performs at Jammin’ Java. Doors open at 10am and the fun begins at 10:30am. General admission tickets are $5.
Friday – Play in the sprays at Canal Park. The recreational space in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood has both a gentle, shallow fountain that is perfect for really little ones, plus a bigger one for more enthusiastic play where the ice rink is in the winter. Admission is free. Grab a bite to eat at the Tavern Restaurant on premises at another nearby eatery (there are options right across the street and food trucks often in the area), or pack lunch for a picnic.
Flowers as far as the eye can see at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Monday – Visit Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, where the water lilies and lotus flowers are in full bloom. It is absolutely gorgeous and won’t last too much longer. Meander through the park to see ponds full of giant lily pads and dazzling flora, walk out on the boardwalk and peer over to see snapping turtles in the water below, and take in views of the acres of marshland. And did I mention this is all right in NE DC? Hours are 7am – 5pm. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Beat the heat at the cool comfort of a movie, a heavily discounted one! The Regal Summer Movie Express presents family films for just $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday at participating theaters during the summer. Visit the website to find a location near you and to see what’s on the schedule this week.
Wednesday – Check out Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code at the National Museum of Natural History. The new exhibit features cutting-edge interactives, 3-D models, custom animation and engaging videos of real-life stories as it explores how the genomic revolution is influencing people’s lives and the extraordinary impact it is having on science, medicine and nature. Summer hours at the museum are 10am – 7:30pm. Admission is free.
Thursday – Play it cool at a new splashpark! The recently renovated Palisades Playground includes a wet area with a water slide, sprinklers, and more. And the dry area sounds super fun, too. Read a review and see pics on Mommy FTW.
Friday – Make it a beach day at Sandy Point State Park. Located off Route 50 right before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the park is great place to get a beach fix relatively close to the city. Swim in the water, play in the sand, and bring along a picnic lunch. Open 6am – sunset, and lifeguards man a portion of South Beach from 11am – 6pm on weekdays. Admission is $4/Maryland resident, $6/non-residents.
Sasha's first spray park foray in Arlington two years ago.
Monday – Go for a swim under the open sky. As of today, outdoor public pools are open on weekdays for the season (though be sure to check schedules for pools within the DC Department of Parks & Recreation; all are closed one day a week for maintenance). For outdoor pools in Montgomery County, go here. And for pools in Alexandria, go here. *If weather doesn’t permit, head to an indoor public pool instead. Find them here, here, here, and here. (And if you’ve got other public pools to recommend, outdoors and in, feel free to do so in the comments.)
Tuesday – The strawberry season has just about ended, but you can still have a “berry” (aagh… had to!) good time picking your own fruits at local farms. Blueberries, blackberries and more fresh produce are ripe for the picking at many places. This post from last summer lists farms with pick-your-own opportunities. And it never hurts to check websites or call ahead to make sure the pickings are good.
Wednesday – The heat is going to be ON, and I’m not just talking about the NBA finals. Good timing, as the Regal Summer Movie Fest begins this week. Every Tuesday and Wednesday through the summer, participating theaters will show kids’ movies for just a dollar. Go here to see what’s playing at a theater near you.
Friday – Celebrate Choctaw Days at the National Museum of the American Indian, where the festivals are always wonderful, imo. The celebration will actually begin Wednesday and run through Saturday, featuring traditional performances in the Potomac Atrium, storytelling programs, art displays, tribal cooking demos, and more. While you’re at the museum, take the kids to the imagiNATIONS Activity Center for even more hands-on fun.