Roam around the Franciscan Monastery grounds in Brookland
Monday – Spend the beautiful day outdoors at Burke Lake Park. Hike the trails, go for a spin on the carousel ($2), take a ride on the miniature steam engine ($3), romp on one of the playgrounds, and enjoy more fun in the fresh air. Open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free on weekdays.
Tuesday – Explore the lovely grounds and cathedral of the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. A DC “secret” to many, the “Oasis of Peace” welcomes visitors to stroll through the gardens and tour the church. Hours are 10am – 4:45pm. Admission is free.
Wednesday – Go to Kids Corner on The Plaza at CityCenter, where they are welcoming little ones for outdoor story time, singing, and fun with DC Public Library. The weekly series runs through September 28. Starts at 10:30am, and admission is free.
Thursday – Venture up to Baltimore to see some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. The colorful, quirky works — some of them interactive — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & ages 7 and up, free for 6 and under.
Friday – Rock out with local kids’ fave Rocknocerous at Jammin’ Java. Plan to eat while you’re there — the full lunch menu will be available. Showtime is 10:30am, doors open at 10am. Tickets are $5.
Water inspired activities are a staple of summer, so it was fitting that we kicked off the season at Soak City, the 20-acre water park within Kings Dominion. When we were offered the opportunity to check out the attractions and rides over Memorial Day weekend, I immediately accepted. The kids had actually been begging to visit the amusement park near Richmond for awhile, plus I dig water slides and splashy rides myself. We were all pretty excited for our day there.
And Soak City did not disappoint. Several water slide complexes, a wave pool, a “river” raft ride, and play areas for little ones offer something for everyone — all ages and all levels of thrill seekers. Guests do need to be at least 48″ tall to ride most of the slides, and 42″ for the wave pool, but children who don’t hit that height can enjoy smaller kid-sized slides in the splash areas.
Upon our arrival, we decided to get a cabana, so we’d have a dedicated place to keep our belongings and also chill out when we weren’t going on rides. They also offer lockers for guests to store valuables, and there are plenty of chairs and tables throughout the park, they just aren’t guaranteed.
Since Tidal Wave Bay was right next to our cabana, that was our first stop and a fun way to ease into our water park adventure. We were able to get wet, swim around a bit, and ride the waves. From there, we hit the nearby Hurricane Heights, a colorful tangle of several different slides winding all around and offering a variety of thrills. We rode inner tubes down and through Aqua Blast, which is mostly enclosed until it shoots you out for a steep plunge into the water.
My favorite, though, was the Paradise Plunge, a body slide that starts in an enclosed chamber where you wait for the floor to drop from under your feet, sending you straight down a chute for a fast and twisty thrill ride to the bottom.
After a ’bout of wild sliding, we opted for a more chill ride on the Lazy River, a pool that meanders in a 1/4 mile loop in the middle of the park. A few spins around in the comfort of an inner tube was quite relaxing and a nice way to wind down before lunch, which we ordered at our cabana.
So, while Soak City did not disappoint, the weather, unfortunately, did. A huge storm rolled in while we were eating, and the hourly forecast showed no indication of it letting up, so we had to cut our visit short. But what we did get to do was super fun, and now we have good reason to go again. Not to mention it’s a fantastic way to stay cool on a hot summer day. And when you’re done (or before) playing in the water park, you can enjoy the rest of Kings Dominion, since admission gets you into both!
Soak City is open on weekends May 28 – June 10, then daily June 10 – September 5. Admission to Kings Dominion, which as mentioned also gets you into Soak City, is $45 if you buy tickets online, $66 at the gate. There are also season passes available. Kings Dominion is located just north of Richmond, about 75 miles from Washington, DC.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I only promote places and programs that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.
A view of the Kennedy Center, where skateboarding is currently in focus, and a lone paddle boarder enjoying time on the Potomac
Labor Day weekend may be the unofficial end of summer, but it’s also a time of some fantastic special events. Enjoy loads of reading-related activities at the National Book Festival, hear the blues in Rock Creek Park, check out a rad new exhibition at the Kennedy Center, experience the merriment of Ren Fest, attend the annual concert at the Capitol, and so much more. These recs have all you need to make the most the next few days in DC. Happy Weekend!
National Book Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 10pm
Bookworms, take note! One of DC’s biggest annual events is on Saturday. The Library of Congress National Book Festival will feature more than 170 authors, poets, and illustrators from every literary genre. Even better, they will all be there presenting; there will be book readings, talks, Q&A’s, book signings, and more. These will take place along with lots of other reading-related activities for all ages. For an idea of what to expect, see this post about one of our experiences there.
Where: Various locales
When: Through Monday
Admission: Varies by activity
This weekend is the last for many pursuits that we’ve been enjoying all summer long, outdoor swimming, concerts and movies under the stars, special museum programs among them. If you’re hoping to get in one final jazz show in the Sculpture Garden, a swim at The BEACH in the Building Museum, a free visit to the Newseum for the kids, or a day at an outdoor public pool, then check out the Summer in DC guide, which has details on all of those diversions and many more.
Skateboarding, Music, & Media
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Get out your skateboards and head on over to the… Kennedy Center! That’s right, the performing arts center best known for it’s theatrical productions and showcases on stage is hosting an exhibition featuring skateboards and music September 4-13. Check out Art on Deck, a display of custom, hand-painted, and graphically designed skate decks, in the Hall of Nations. But the action will be in the Kennedy Center Plaza outside, where open skate sessions will be held in temporary skate park. Time to brush up on those ollies and flips!
Root for the Home Team
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: Ticket prices vary
The Nats are hosting the Braves this weekend, then Mets starting on Monday. Tickets are still available for all of them. Before you buy, check out this post about how to do a Nats game without breaking the bank.
Where: Revel Grove, Crownsville, Md.
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
Admission: $17/adults, $10/ages 7-18
The merriment continues at Revel Grove in Crownesville, MD. On weekends through October 25, you can time trip at the charming medieval village that hosts the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival. For more details on what you will find there, check out this post about the event.
Hear the Blues
Where: Carter Barron Amphitheater
When: Saturday, 12-7:30pm
Admission: $10/member, $15/non-members
Head to the outdoor stage in Rock Creek Park for the 27th Annual DC Blues Festival. Along with the line-up of performers, there will be musical workshops throughout the day, where both children and adults can learn about Blues music. Kids will especially enjoy instrument and vocal workshops, including an instrument petting zoo.
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
More than 40 theater companies will present readings and rehearsals of plays and musicals during the Kennedy Center’s 14th annual Page-to-Stage Festival — all free and open to the public! Performances will take place at several venues around DC, and there are a few that are family-friendly, including Adventure Theatre’s Lemony Snicket’s The Lump of Coal, Guillotine Theatre’s Hootenanny, Actors Repertpry Theatre’s The Story Thief and the Prince of Dreams, and Alliance for New Music- Thetare’s R.U.R.: A Retro-Futuristic Musical. See the schedule for details and the full list of shows. And note that while tickets are not required, seating is limited.
Virginia Scottish Games
Where: The Plains, Virginia
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 9pm
Admission: $20adults, $5/ages 5-12, free for under 5
Celebrate Scottish heritage at this annual fair featuring everything from music and dance to sports and games to food and cars, even Scottish dogs. Much of it will be showcased through competition, but there is plenty that all visitors can partake in, too. Two-day adult passes are available for $30. Festival gates will close at 6pm both days, but Saturday’s concert will continue until 9pm. And children under 12 are free on Sunday!
Arts for Families
Where: Textile Museum
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free ($8 suggested donation for non-members)
The theme of this Saturday’s weekly drop-in program, “Compass Rose: Find Your Way,” provides inspiration for the session’s project. Guests can create their own compass rose like those featured on the historic maps of Washington, DC, currently on view at the museum.
Labor Day Concert at the Capitol
Where: West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building
When: Sunday, 8pm
The National Symphony Orchestra continues its annual Labor Day Weekend tradition with a free concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Led by Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke, this year’s program featues vocalist Kate Davis and the Soldiers’ Chorus of The United States Army Field Band. Gates open to the public at 3pm, and if the 8pm show is too late, you can catch the open dress rehearsal at 3:30pm. In the case of inclement weather, the concert will be moved to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. You can call the NSO Summer Concert Hotline at 202.416.8114 after 2:30pm for updates.
Labor Day with The Great Zucchini
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Monday, 10:30am
Catch a colorful show as The Great Zucchini brings his unique fusion of comedy and magic to the Vienna venue on Labor Day. Doors open at 10am, and the show begins soon after. Bring the whole fam to this all ages event!
Row Your Boat
Where: Potomac & Anacostia Rivers
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by boathouse
Take to the water this holiday weekend, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, rowboats, and pontoons. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go, or you can explore the Anacostia from Ballpark Boathouse in the Navy Yard. Bladensburg Waterfront Park also has vessels for rent along with free pontoon boat tours on weekends from 5-5:45.
An Apple a Day…
Where: Area farms
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
The apple picking season has begun! Several farms in the area open their orchards for guests to PYO. This list of area farms and orchards offering pick-your-own opportunities has details. And I always recommend calling ahead to be sure the pickings are good the day you plan to go.