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The 2014 KFDC Guide to Summer in DC

Summer in the city: Water play at Canal Park

Summer in the city: Water play at Canal Park

If you follow KidFriendly DC on Facebook, you may have seen this gem that I posted recently. To say I can relate is an understatement. Couple that with the fact that Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and you can probably guess where my mind is these days: Summer.

The season may not officially begin for a few more weeks, but now is when I start embracing the best of it. Luckily, there are loads of quintessential summer activities around DC that follow the same early timeline as me. Music and movies in the open air, special fests and feasts, water-inspired recreation, and bonus attractions at everyday places are just some of the ways we can enjoy summer in the area. This guide has details on all of them, most of it just updated from last year, plus a few choice additions. So, unpack the swimsuits and flip flops, start marking the stretch through Labor Day on the calendar, and get ready to have some FUN!

Outdoor Pool Season
Nothing says summer like swimming under the sun, and there are plenty of public pools in the area where you can jump in for free or a small admission fee.

  • DC outdoor public pools will open on Saturday, May 24, from 12 – 6pm and will be open weekends only until June 22 (though they will be open Memorial Day, Monday, May 26). After that, they will open daily, though all pools are closed one day a week for maintenance, so be sure to check the schedule before you go.
  • For outdoor swimming outside of the city, Montgomery County outdoor public pools will be open on weekends May 24 – June 13, then weekdays, too, through Labor Day — the Department of Recreation website has locations and hours.
  • In Northern Virginia, Arlington’s Upton Hill has a whole water park for guests to enjoy, and Alexandria has several places where the public is welcome to swim. Be sure to check the website for hours, as they vary from pool to pool.

Play in the Spray
Kids can run through fountains and splash around at many area spraygrounds. Several are within the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, and there are a few in other areas, too.

  • Georgetown Waterfront Park, right next to the Washington Harbour, has a fountain with arcing sprays that makes for a fun, refreshing way to cool off on a hot, summer day. The rest of its pretty green space along the Potomac is a great place to hang out, too.
  • The Yards Park is a favorite for many in the city with both super fun sprays and a wading pool, plus a great scenic location on the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard
  • A relative newcomer to DC’s recreational scene, Canal Park in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood has both a gentle, shallow fountain that is perfect for really little ones to enjoy, plus a bigger fountain with lots of sprays for more enthusiastic play where the ice rink is in the winter.
  • Starting May 24, DPR Spray Parks will be open for the season, but hours vary by location, so be sure to check their website for hours).
  • Some of the area’s most popular spray parks — Lyon Village Park, Hayes Park, and Drew Park — can be found in Arlington.
  • The interactive fountain in Downtown Silver Spring plaza is open daily from 10am – 9pm. While my kids have never played there, I recall seeing very happy youngsters playing in the sprays on the colorful mosaic design during my lunch breaks when I worked at Discovery. It always looked like a blast.
  • The fountain in the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza located at 14th and Park Road, NW is a great place to cool down on a hot day, with many sprays that surge up from a pretty, circular tiled surface. Do a little shopping while you’re there — Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and many other big retail stores are right there — and plan to grab a bite at one of many kid-friendly eateries around. And don’t miss a chance to stop in the Museum of Unnatural History at 826DC.

Water Parks
Giant water slides, wave pools, waterfalls, sprays and splash pads…this is the stuff kids’ summer dreams are made of. There are actually several water parks around the area offering many of these attractions, just about all of them opening Memorial Day weekend for limited hours, until they open daily in a few weeks. Here’s a quick list — visit the websites for more details.

Summer Concert Series
Free music in the fresh air has become a staple of the season, and there are opportunities to enjoy just about every genre regularly at outdoor venues all around the DC-Metro.

  • Already underway, the Yards Park Friday Concert Series presents a new band each week on the boardwalk stage overlooking the Anacostia River. Along with the free music, food and beverages are available for purchase (or you can BYO – adult beverages okay, too). I recommend getting there a little early, so the kids can play in the fountains before the concert starts. And on a hot summer day, it’s nice to continue the water fun even while the tunes are playing — you can still hear them from across the park!
  • Experience live music amid art at Jazz in the Garden, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s free concert series, every Friday from 5:30–8:30pm. The first performance of the season is this Friday, May 23, rain or shine. Spread out a blanket, pack a picnic dinner or purchase food and drink there, and enjoy the sounds of a variety of jazz artists. Note: Adult drinks are available from the pavilion; BYO alcohol is not permitted.
  • The U.S. Air Force Band 2014 Summer Concert Series kicks off Tuesday, June 3 at 8pm, on the U.S. Capitol West Steps. After that, you can catch free performances all summer long at locales around the DC-Metro area, including other iconic spots along with the Capitol steps, like the Air Force Memorial and the Air & Space Museum. Show times vary so be sure to check the U.S. Air Force Band website for the complete summer schedule.
  • All summer long, families can enjoy a variety of free fun at Rockville Town Square. Kids Night is every Tuesday from June 11 – August 20 with live entertainment for the younger set at 6:30pm and 7:30pm. And concerts for all ages on Friday evenings began May 2 and will run through September 26 — enjoy live music, good food, and beverages from 6:30-9:30pm.
  • Starting July 17, you can Rock the Row at Pentagon Row’s summer concert series every Thursday evening from 7-9pm through August 21. Join the fun behind Champps in the closed-off access street running between Pentagon Row and Pentagon City Mall.
  • Carter Barron Amphitheater’s annual concert series takes place amid the woods of Rock Creek Park. While most shows are free, a few require admission. The 2014 lineup has not yet been announced, but check the website for an update soon!

Several stand-out events are anticipated around the area this time of year, celebrating everything from music to art & culture to neighborhoods to food.

  • Get folksy at Glen Echo Park May 31 – June 1, when the annual Washington Folk Festival showcases the diversity of traditional music in Washington. All of the artists hail from the DC area, but cultures from around the nation, as well as the world, will be represented through music, dance, crafts, and stories. The public is invited to enjoy the festival that is renown in the folk community.
  • It sounds like a grown-ups-only event, but the Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival offers plenty of family fun, too. Taking place May 31 – June 1 at Bull Run Park, festivities include wine tasting (of course), chef demos, food truck fare, live music, and a whole Family Tent with activities especially for kids.
  • Imagination Bethesda, an annual festival occurring in the heart of its namesake city, is all about children. On June 7 from 10am – 3pm, Auburn & Norfolk Avenues downtown will be lined with activity tents offering tons of fun for kids — arts & crafts, face painting, games, etc. There will also be live entertainment, food from local restaurants, and more. Admission is free.
  • Attend one of the biggest summer barbeques around on June 21-22 as the National Capital Barbeque Battle returns to pit some of the nation’s best barbequers against each other as they compete for big prizes. The reward for attendees: Samples from all the entrants (plus, more food), live music, cooking demos, kids’ fun, and more.
  • The DC Jazz Festival presents a variety of performers at venues all around the city from June 24-29. Keep up to date on details by visiting the website.
  • Every summer, the National Mall becomes stomping grounds of folks from around the globe to celebrate living cultural heritage and community traditions at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year’s event will run from June 25–29 and July 2–6 celebrating Chinese creativity and heritage and the cultural and national heritage of Kenya.
  • The annual Del Ray Music Festival, always a popular event, is on June 28. Celebrating the community in Alexandria with a day of music and fun, the festival features food, games, and lots of kids’ activities along with a varied line-up of live entertainment.
  • It might run into fall, but it starts in August, so I’m counting the Maryland Renaissance Festival among the summer fun. Plus, it’s one of my very, very favorite annual events (more confirmation on that here). The merriment begins August 23 and will continue every weekend through October 19. Go. Just go.

Big Screen Under the Stars
Outdoor movies have become a DC summer tradition in the last few years with films al fresco in several neighborhoods. Even better, all of them are FREE! (*Before you make plans to enjoy any of the series, be sure to check schedules, as some movies may not be appropriate for children.)

  • The NoMa Summer Screen, which includes a few family-friendly movies, begins May 28 and will run weekly on Wednesdays until August 20 on L Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue NE. Food and music start at 7pm, and the movie at dark. This year they are also hosting special Family Film Nights, which features flicks for all ages on four Tuesdays during the summer — see the list of them on the website.
  • The Capitol Riverfront will start presenting Canal Park Thursday Movies: It’s a Whole New Ballgame on June 5 and the series will run every Thursday evening at sundown through September 11. With a sports theme theme, the lineup includes plenty of movies that kids (probably elementary age) will enjoy
  • The National Harbor hosts Movies on the Potomac, with family films every Sunday night beginning May 25. Movies begin at sunset, usually around 8:30pm.
  • Movies on the Square will take place at Rockville Town Square Thursdays at 8:30pm June 12 – August 21, and several kids flicks are included among them.
  • The longest running, Screen on the Green, takes place on the National Mall on Mondays in July and August. See the lineup of films here.

Movies at Theaters Near You
Special summer movie series for families at local theaters are a great way to keep kids entertained and stay cool when the weather heats up. Even better, these programs invite guests to view films on the cheap.

  • The Regal Summer Movie Express presents flicks for kids on many Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am starting June 10. Admission is just $1. Be sure to check the website for the film schedule and theater locations, as it doesn’t run at all theaters every week.
  • Starting July 8, THEARC Theater will present Showtime Movie Tuesdays, free children’s movies every Tuesday from 10am – 12pm through August 13. Doors open at 9:30am, and the program includes a fun pre-show activity, snack, and movie screening — all on them.
  • Catch a movie at the museum at the National Gallery of Art’s Summer Famly Films series. There will be screenings of three films highlighting different artists this summer.
  • The Atlas Performing Arts Center presents a Summer Film Series every year, including A Family Series that takes place on Fridays at 5pm. The schedule has yet to be released, so stay tuned for an update

Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel!
These extra delights bring even more fun to several parks around the area that are already great outdoor places to hang with the kids.

  • Watkins Regional Park opened its attractions on a limited schedule in early May, but come Memorial Day weekend, they can be enjoyed for extended hours almost every day of the week. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am – 7pm; Sundays 12–7 pm, closed Mondays except May 26 (Memorial Day), July 4 (July Fourth Holiday; closes at 4pm) & September 1 (Labor Day).
  • Cabin John Regional Park opened its Miniature Train on weekends only back in April, but as of Memorial Day it’ll be operating daily 10am – 7pm through August. After that, hours will be limited, so check the schedule.
  • The Miniature Train and Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel at Wheaton Regional Park started taking guests for spins in early May and will continue daily through August 24 (limited times after that). Hours are 10am – 6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am – 7pm Saturday & Sunday.
  • The Clemyjontri carousel has been running on weekends since April, but will be offering rides daily starting May 26 on weekdays 9:30am – 1:00pm and weekends 9:30am – 6:30pm.
  • The Carousel at RIO Washingtonian in Gaithersburg will celebrate its Grand Opening on May 31 at 11am. Be among the first to take a spin or catch a ride another time. The Americana-themed classic carousel will feature 30 Allan Herschell-style dancing horses, whimsical creatures, and two chariots, allowing for up to 38 adult and 30 children passengers, with wheelchair access and chariot wheelchair positions. Rides are $3.
  • Kind of like a London Eye of the U.S., The Capital Wheel at National Harbor is set to open on Friday, May 23. The 42-gondola (all closed and climate-controlled with room for 8) will soar 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront, offering vistas of the White House and Capitol, the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, and more amazing sites. Ticket prices start at $11.25.

Special Children’s Theatre Series
All the world’s an outdoor stage at these venues that present entertainment especially for children throughout the summer.

  • From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10am Tuesdays through Saturdays. Amidst 117 rolling wooded acres and nestled in a shady grove, the stage is set for lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. All of the productions are recommended for children between Kindergarten and 6th grade, though I think kids even younger can enjoy them, too (mine have). Read a KFDC review of the series from a couple of summers ago. And tickets are on sale now, so go ahead and reserve yours!
  • Backyard Theater for Children, Strathmore’s summer theater series brings music and mystery of exotic locales from around the world to kids – all outdoors under a big tent. Weekly performances take place every Thursday at 9:30am and 11:30 from June 26 – July 31. Admission is $8, free for ages 2 and under. Check the calendar for the line-up of performances.

Summer Sports
Some of the season’s best action takes place in ballparks, stadiums, and arenas thanks to our local sports teams. Here’s where you can join the fan clubs.

  • A day at Nationals Park is all it takes to understand why baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Catching a Washington Nationals game is one of our family’s preferred ways to enjoy a nice summer (or spring) day (or evening), anyway. The excitement extends well beyond the diamond with games and activities in the park, a playground for kids, the Racing Presidents, fun in the stands, and more. And I highly recommend the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for children 12 and under. Just $20 gets them membership, which includes Nats swag, plus a coupon book with offers for free meals, BOGO tickets, a ballpark tour, and all kinds of discounts. Even a few months into the season, it’s still worth it!
  • Tennis, anyone? The Washington Kastles, the DC franchise of World TeamTennis, will bring some on-court thrills to The Wharf on the Southwest Waterfront, where Kastles Stadium is located, July 7-23. For some background, see this post and this one from a few years back.
  • Whether you’ve got a little soccer fan in your fam or not, DC United matches are fun experiences for all ages. And since games only last 90 minutes, it’s not too long for antsy young spectators. Be sure to check for any pre- or post-game activities for kids.
  • Can’t stand the heat? Head to the Verizon Center to see the Washington Mystics (w)hoop it up on the basketball court. Tickets start at $19.
  • Swing up to Charm City to see the Baltimore Orioles play. Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark, and you can head to the Inner Harbor before or after to make a day of it up north.
  • If the Nats or O’s aren’t in town, or you want to see baseball on a smaller scale, you’ve got several great options around the area. Take ’em out to the minors at a Bowie Baysox, Potomac Nationals, or Aberdeen Ironbirds game. Summer collegiate team Bethesda Big Train is also very popular for non-majors baseball action.

Crab Feasts
Easily one of the best activities during summer in Maryland and neighboring areas (this is where I get non-DC-centric because I have to give credit where it’s due). Here are some suggestions for places to get ’em, though the “best” is always a subject for debate.

Museum Programs

  • The Corcoran Gallery of Art presents Free Summer Saturdays May 24 – August 31. Tours, workshops, demonstrations, and performances are all usually part of the museum’s programming, though this year’s schedule is not yet available. Be sure to check the website for an update on details soon.
  • The National Gallery of Art’s Summer Drop-In Series starts begins July 12 with art sessions for kids that are both educational and fun. Stories in Art, geared toward ages 4-7, is a fantastic program that introduces kids to art and encourages them to use their imaginations as they discover different works, this season they’ll be exploring Italy as they “meet” Italian artists and investigate their paintings and sculptures. Read a KFDC review of the program. Artful Conversations, designed for ages 8-11, uses observation and discussion to explore works of art in the museum’s collection.
  • Every year, the Newseum offers the Summer Fun Deal. From July 1 – September 1, there will be no admission fee for kids ages 18 and under. The promotion waives the $12.95 regular entrance charge for youth with one paid adult admission, senior admission, or Newseum membership (a benefit to ages 7 and up, as kids 6 and under are always free). Up to six kids can enter free with the offer. Read a KFDC take on the Newseum.
  • Find your way to — and through — the National Building Museum! For the first time ever this summer, the Museum, in partnership with BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, is creating a never-before-seen large-scale maze in its historic home. Soaring 18 feet high and measuring 61 feet by 61 feet, the birch plywood structure will boast a series of twists and turns for visitors to weave through and explore. The “BIG Maze” will be open July 4 to September 1.

Pick-Your-Own Berries
While the picking season starts in the spring with strawberries, it carries on through summer with even more delicious fruits — blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, plus more produce you can gather yourself. The strawberry season usually lasts until about mid-June, and this post has a list of farms with pick-your-own patches and details. For other berry picking opportunities later on, this post from previous years will tell you where to go.

Have I left out anything really good? If you think so, feel free to let me know in the comments.


Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Class, DC, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: July 26-28

Kick up the sports action at a DC United match on Saturday evening

Kick up the sports action at a DC United match on Saturday evening

I’m letting optimism rule and counting on this spell of sublime weather to last, thus highlighting the list of outdoor ideas along with these special events. Happy Weekend!

National Dance Day
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Saturday, 1-11pm
Admission: Free

This celebration of the art of dance began a few years ago (read more background along with my ode to one of my favorite associated shows) and has become an annual happening. The free, all day event features outdoor dance performances, interactive dance routines and lessons, live music, and “Dancing Under the Stars,” with performances by Dizzy Feet Foundation, Hip-Hop troupe Culture Shock professional and youth companies, celebrated dance/tap duo the Manzari Brothers, Grammy®-winning Arturo O’Farrill with his big band the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra joined by special guest timbalero Tito Rodriguez, Jr., and many more. The celebration takes place on the Kennedy Center’s South Plaza, and includes a 6pm performance on the Millennium Stage.

DC United vs. New England Revolution
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Saturday, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Put a kick into your weekend at a soccer match. The DC United is taking on the New England Revolution on Saturday evening. Tickets are still available, and there’s a special promo going on right now: 2 ticket + 2 beers for $49. You can also purchase seats through Ticketmaster. And be sure to stop in the VW Garage before the match through half-time for tons of fun activities for all ages!

Citi Open Tennis Tournament
Where: William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center
When: Saturday & Sunday, gates open at 9am
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Enjoy the on-court excitement along with some special events as the Citi Open Tennis Tournament swings into action this weekend. Saturday is the first day of qualifying rounds as well as National Parks Community Day featuring activities and entertainment for families, including tennis clinics, games, face painters, inflatables, story time with the DC Public Library, meet and greets with the tournament mascots, and more.

Shark Weekend
Where: DC National Aquarium
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $9.95/adult, $4.95/ages 3-11, $8.95/seniors

Shark Weekend returns for its 14th year at National Aquarium in Washington, DC. Celebrate by getting up close and personal with several shark species and learning from leading experts on the history, lives, and habits of one of the world’s most fascinating ocean dwellers. Participate in a scavenger hunt, have your face painted like your favorite shark, touch an actual shark tooth, and more! The Aquarium is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW in the lower level of the Dept. of Commerce building.

Montgomery County Farm Tour
Where: Montgomery County farms
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Head to Montgomery County to celebrate its agricultural heritage, promote local farms, and indulge in seasonally fresh food during the 24th Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale. Activities will vary from farm to farm, but several will have hayrides, pony rides, music, animals to visit, and other activities planned (find a list of descriptions here). All farms will be open Saturday, and some will reopen on Sunday, so be sure to check the website for the schedule before you go.

Farm Tour
Where: Red Wiggler Farm
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

This unique farm hires adults with developmental disabilities to grow USDA certified organic produce. The produce is distributed and sold through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, including distributions to Group Homes for adults with disabilities AND to the local food bank. They also bring on over 1,000 students and youth with and without disabilities to learn about farming and the environment, and to work side by side with people who may be different then them to grow food for the community. They will be participating in the Montgomery County Farm Tour with activities for all ages, and market stands featuring Banner Bees and the Red Wiggler Farm Stand. They recommend bringing a blanket and picnic basket and finding a spot to enjoy lunch at the farm.

Summer Fun
Where: Throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

Free concerts, outdoor swimming, movies under the stars, sprayground fun. Activities exclusive to the season can all be enjoyed this weekend. The Summer 2013 guide has the whole scoop on all of them.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Encore Stage & Studio’s production of Legally Blonde the Musical is in its second and final weekend. See Peter Pan and Wendy or Mouse on the Move at Imagination Stage. Catch a performance of Dr. Seuss’s A Cat in the Hat at Adventure Theatre. Dinosaur Babies are entertaining young audiences at The Puppet Co. for the final weekend. You can also head to the venue early on Saturday & Sunday for Tiny Tots, puppet show performances especially for little ones.Pushkov Players will be at Wolf Trap’s Children’s-Theatre-in-the-Woods on Saturday at 10:30am. Dave Brewer and the Pre-K Kings are playing the 11am show at Jammin’ Java on Sunday. Molly Moore’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance. And the Capital Fringe Festival is on for one last weekend with a few shows that kids can enjoy, too.

Family Game Day
Where: Labyrinth Games & Puzzles
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

One of best game shops (if not the best) in the city is hosting a Family Game Day with NorthStar Games on Saturday. Recommended for ages 6 and up (but everyone is welcome), guests can play games like Wits & Wagers Family, Say Anything Family, Crappy Birthday, and NorthStar’s new card game Clubs. Labyrinth is located at 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, just steps from the Eastern Market Metro.

Melon Out!
Where: Ticonderoga Farms
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $8.95, free for under 2

It’s a weekend devoted to watermelons at Ticonderoga Farms. On Saturday, show off your watermelon eating skills in a contest to beat the clock! Both days, grab a slice at the concessions to go along with a picnic lunch. And, of course, don’t miss the rest of the farm attractions – hayrides, a cow pull, the fantastic jumping pillow, Virginia’s longest swinging bridge, tons of slides, and much, much more! For a glimpse of all there is to do there, see this post about one of our previous visits there.

Drop-In Art Workshops
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Free

The National Gallery of Art presents its Summer Drop-In Series again this weekend with art sessions for kids that are both educational and fun. Stories in Art, geared toward ages 4-7,will explore the work of Edward Hicks with a book reading, examination of his art, and a related project. Artful Conversations, designed for ages 8-11, uses observation and discussion to explore the theme See-Wonder Sound. Several time slots are available each day, and sign-in will take place in the West Building Rotunda, beginning at 10am on Fridays and Saturdays and at 11am on Sundays, and will continue until all spaces are filled.

Nats vs. Mets
Where: Nationals Park
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Nats are hosting the Mets with a double header on Friday (1:35pm & 7:05pm) and afternoon games on Saturday (3:05pm) and Sunday (1:35pm). Stay after on Sunday for Kids Run the Bases when children ages 4-12 can loop the infield after the final out. And before you go, read about the Jr. Nationals Kids Club, which for just $15 offers tons of cool benefits for kids 12 and under. And I hope all of the games are as exciting as the one I caught on Thursday afternoon — a nailbiter, indeed, but a fantastic win!

Stamp Collecting Saturday
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday,
Admission: Free

Guests can start their own stamp collections focusing on favorite topics such as art, animals, or transportation at the Activity Cart! No reservation is required for joining the activity. Just drop by and make a memorable souvenir to take home.

Grrr…It’s Global Tiger Day
Where: National Zoo
When: Sunday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Show your stripes and celebrate Asia’s top predator at the National Zoo on Sunday with great cat keepers, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute researchers, tiger conservation specialists, and the Zoo’s Sumatran tigers. See the tigers get treat throughout the day, meet a tiger keeper and other experts in the field, and enjoy a performance by a children’s dance group representing the Embassy of Russia.

Portrait Story Days
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 1-4pm & Sunday, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Drop in to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about baseball legend Jackie Robinson. And read a little more about what to expect in this post about our experience at the program.

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Farm, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Sports, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

Kick it Family-Style with the D.C. United

DC United Family Pack Tickets

The D.C. United is taking on the Philadelphia Union at home on April 21, and you can make it a family affair with a special ticket package that caters to parents and kids. Take the whole crew out to see the game, plus get hotdogs and drinks, all for one set price.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because I posted about the Family Pack just a few weeks ago. The special promo includes four tickets, four hotdogs, and four drinks, all for just $108. That’s just $27 per person, which isn’t bad at all for an exciting sporting event and dinner.

And as previously mentioned, there’s more than just the game to enjoy at a D.C. United match. The RFK Stadium VW Garage offers fun for fans of all ages. They can “Meet the Fleet” and see all of the latest VW’s as well as product specialists to talk about them. The Zig Zag Challenge, a rotating soccer-skills obstacle course, will test your soccer skills. The Trivia Booth challenges guests to test their D.C. United and Volkswagen knowledge. And little ones will love showing their team spirit by getting their faces painted with D.C. United colors and decals. These all begin when the gates open and lasts through halftime. Just enter through section 222 to participate. In addition, the tailgate area has lawn games and food trucks.

While there are plenty of D.C. United home games left this season, the Family Pack will only be available for a few of them, so get in on it while you can! Along with the April 21 game, it will be offered for the July 27 match against New England and October 27 versus Houston. You can purchase it online through the D.C. United website.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by D.C. United, however, I only promote events and activities that I sincerely enjoy and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Live Entertainment, Outdoor, Sports, Spring, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: March 23-24

Cherry blossom silhouettes

Cherry blossom silhouettes

The weather may not signal spring’s arrival, but many events around DC indicate the new season is here. Cherry Blossom festivities, Easter celebrations, annual museum programs, and other activities that occur this time of year are reminders that we’ve moved beyond winter, despite the cold. And luckily, many of them are happening indoors, so you can stay warm and cozy while enjoying your days out. Read about them below and get even more ideas in this post about inside fun around the DC-Metro. Happy Weekend!


Kites of Asia Family Day
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: Saturday, 10am -3pm
Admission: Free

The first aviation-related objects collected by the Smithsonian were a group of Chinese kites, donated in 1876. Celebrate this unique start to the National Air and Space Museum’s collection by visiting on the Kites of Asia family day. Experience the artistry and beauty of Asian kites, see indoor kite flying, and make your own kite!

National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Days
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm & Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the start of cherry blossom season at the National Building Museum’s 8th annual family festival for kids of all ages. The weekend will feature hands-on activities, interactive art demonstrations, and performances that celebrate spring and explore Japanese arts and design. View the website for specifics. And to see what other festivities are on the Cherry Blossom Festival calendar, see this post from a couple of days ago.

Eggcellent Celebrations
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Many places around the area are hosting egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and more spring fun to celebrate Easter and the season. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs that will have the whole family hopping with joy. See this post for a list of them.

DC United vs. Columbus Crew
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Saturday, 3pm
Admission: Tickets prices vary

The DC United takes on the Columbus Crew at home this weekend, and you can catch the match along with loads of other family fun. Games are always a blast, and the VW Garage offers activities for all ages — face painting, a Zig Zag challenge, trivia, and more. Even better, you can score a Family Pack — 4 tickets, 4 hotdogs, and 4 drinks – for just $108! Get more info on the match and deal here.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Here’s the live entertainment on local stages this weekend:
– The Washington Ballet presents Cinderella at the Kennedy Center
– Catch Jack & the Beanstalk at The Puppet Co. or see a Tiny Tots show there.
– Enjoy theatre and reggae sounds at Adventure Theatre’s Three Little Birds
– See The Big Meow at Wooly Mammoth Theatre.
From Here to There is Imagination Stage’s newest Early Childhood program
– Mother Goose: Jazz’n Blues! is this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance.
– The Creative Cauldron in Falls Church presents Peter Pan and Wendy
Jason Invisible opens at the Kennedy Center this weekend.
Hello Dolly! is the latest Ford’s Theatre production.
Marsha Goodman-Wood is playing the Saturday 10:30am show and The Banjo Man will provide the family entertainment on Sunday at Jammin’ Java.
– The NSO Family Concert: Tchaikovsky Discovers America will be perfomred at the Kennedy Center on Sunday.
Get details on all of these production in this post about entertainment this season.

Environmental Film Fest
Where: Various locations
When: Through March 24
Admission: Varies by film

Nearly 200 diverse and arresting films from 50 countries will be screened at 75 venues around the DC-Metro area during the 21st annual Environmental Film Festival. And there are several family-oriented flicks among them. Young film viewers can watch An Original Duckmentary, follow the journey of a sea turtle, enjoy the remarkable true story of an orphaned baby otter, learn about hummingbirds and hippos, and see many more engaging and inspiring films that salute the environment. View the website for showtimes and details on films.

Mary Poppins on Ice
Where: Gardens Ice House Patrick Arena
When: Saturday & Sunday, 1pm & 3:30pm
Admission: $10

See a children’s classic come to life on ice as the Gardens Figure Skating Club presents its ninth annual spring show Mary Poppins on Ice. The figure skating performance portrays a magical nanny who skates with her umbrella into an English household to care for rambunctious children and to teach the entire family that they love and need each other. Featuring over 60 skaters performing to music from the 1964 Disney musical and the ongoing theater adaptation based on the children’s book series by P.L. Travers, the cast includes local skaters from age 4 to adult, integrating skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced, creating a visually exciting theatrical experience. (Note: The giveaway has ended.)

Lowe’s Build and Grow
Where: Local Lowe’s Stores
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

Head to Lowe’s on Saturday, where kids can make a free wooden project with parent help. This session’s creation will be a Piranhakeet Chomper inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s THE CROODS! Each participant also receives a free apron, goggles, a project themed patch, and a certification of merit upon completion of their project. Go here to register.

Women in Aviation and Space
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Bring the whole family the Dulles arm of Air & Space to learn about the incredible contributions of women in aviation, science, and aerospace. Enjoy hands-on activities, guest speakers, a theatrical presentation, book signings, and Flights of Fancy Story Time for young visitors.

Wahzhazhe, An Osage Ballet
Where: National Museum of the American Indian
When: Friday & Saturday, 3pm
Admission: Free

This contemporary ballet brings together unique and diverse qualities of Oklahoma history and culture: a reverence for classical ballet that was the legacy of two famous Osage ballerinas, Maria and Marjorie Tallchief, and the richness of Osage traditional music, dance, and textile arts. Catch a free performance in the American Indian Museum’s Rasmusen Theatre. And a word of advice: Get there on time! (We were a few minutes late on Wednesday and were not allowed to enter). Afterwards, head to the imagiNATIONS Activity Center on the third floor for play time, arts & crafts, and more.

Read! Build! Play!
Where: Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Library
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Join neighbors and friends at your local library for creative building sessions filled with guided activities, inspirational songs and time for free build especially for little ones. The LEGO DUPLO Read! Build! Play! experience demonstrates how reading coupled with construction play can engage, excite and encourage early literacy development, and spark exploration. Families are introduced to new ideas to encourage play and learning at home. The Watha T. Daniel-Shaw Library is located at 1630 7th Street NW. (Note: These will be happening throughout the week at other venues, so if you can’t make it Saturday, there will be more opportunities… I’ll keep you posted.)

Stories in Art
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Kids ages 4-7 can explore the work of artist René Magritte, as they hear a reading of the book Magritte’s Marvelous Hat by D. B. Johnson and step inside René Magritte’s imaginative world and explore the art of creating illusion. Then, they will do an art project inspired by her work. Sessions are at 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, and 1:30pm on Saturday, and 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30 on Sunday. Sign-in takes place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 10am on Saturday (11am on Sunday) and continues until all spaces are filled. Admission is free. Read a KFDC review of the Stories in Art program here.

Clean Up at the Colonial Farm
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Help the local living history museum and working farm prepare for the 2013 season! Volunteers can rake leaves, clear and mulch paths, haul brush and firewood, move rail fences, waterproof outbuildings, whitewash the colonial farmhouse, split firewood, fill garden pots and more. There are jobs for every age and skill level – families are welcome. A picnic hot dog lunch and complimentary pass to one of the Farm’s 2013 Market Fairs will be given out to all volunteers. Bring work gloves and dress for weather. RSVP to volunteers@1771.org.

March Madness, Beyblade Style
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $5 entry fee

If your kid is a Beyblade enthusiast, consider checking out this tournament taking place in Silver Spring this weekend. Word has it these events are super fun, inclusive, and a great bargain. Registration begins at 11am, and the tourney time is around 12:30pm. The day should end around 3pm for most, 4pm for finalists.

Open House
Where: Theatre Lab
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Learn about Theatre Lab’s programs and offerings at their free Open House. There will be information their about camps and classes, plus the whole crew can enjoy some activities while you’re at it: Mini-classes for kids and adults as well as arts and crafts will be available to all guests.

Portrait Story Days
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday 1-4pm, Sunday 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Drop in to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about early environmentalist Rachel Carson.

Explore Japanese Culture
Where: Library of Congress
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Inspired by Japan’s connection to the Cherry Blossom Festival, this event welcomes children and adults to explore Japanese culture through a variety of activities. Try your hand at origami, enjoy theater presentations, see a kimono demonstration, and more. This all takes place in the Young Readers Center located on the Ground Floor of the LOC’s Thomas Jefferson Building.

Culture Shock Dance
Where: Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall & Arts Center
When: Saturday, 6pm
Admission: $30/ages 6 and up, $20/5 and under

Culture Shock DC presents its 4th Annual Youth Showcase—”One Nation Under A Groove,” featuring the freshest and most talented young Hip Hop/Urban dance teams from ages 4 to 18 in the DMV and internationally. The schedule of events includes performances, workshops, dance battles, and more! Purchase tickets online here.

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The Weekend Round-Up: March 16-17

This weekend is your last chance to visit Nordic Cool 2013 at the Kennedy Center

This weekend is your last chance to visit Nordic Cool 2013 at the Kennedy Center

Go green, get fit, stay entertained, be creative, and, most of all, have fun! Not a problem with the bevy of events and activities happening over the next few days. Happy Weekend!

St. Patrick’s Parade of Washington, DC
Where: Constitution Ave. from 7th to 17th Streets NW
When: Sunday, 12pm
Admission: Free

Find a spot on the curb along Constitution Ave. between 7th to 17th Streets NW to watch the 42nd annual parade roll through the city. Floats, marching bands, Irish dancers, bag pipers, and members of the police and fire departments will be part of the celebratory spectacle.

Environmental Film Fest
Where: Various locations
When: Through March 24
Admission: Varies by film

Nearly 200 diverse and arresting films from 50 countries will be screened at 75 venues around the DC-Metro area during the 21st annual Environmental Film Festival. And there are several family-oriented flicks among them. Young film viewers can follow a meerkat family, learn about Jane Goodall, journey with a chimp as it returns to the wild, discover titans of the Ice Age, and see many more engaging and inspiring films that salute the environment.

Gems & Minerals & Fossils…Oh, My!
Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6/adult, free for 11 and under

Pure eye candy for kids! This showcase of all kinds of gems, minerals, and fossils will have budding archaeologists and excavators going gaga. There will be treasures from around the world featured by more than 20 dealers and in 40 exhibits, live demos and workshops, free specimens for kids, a Mini Mine, raffles, and much more! Look for a coupon for $1 off here.

Free Family Night at NCM
Where: National Children’s Museum
When: Friday, 5pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy free admission to the museum for your whole family, as well as hands-on activities and interactive play in the NCM theatre and exhibit areas. This month’s Free Family Night will celebrate Read Across America. Note that tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the NCM box office beginning at 5 p.m. on the day of the event. The museum will close for half an hour at 4:30 p.m. to give staff time to prepare for the event.  

Stories in Art
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Kids ages 4-7 can explore the work of artist René Magritte, as they hear a reading of the book Magritte’s Marvelous Hat by D. B. Johnson and step inside René Magritte’s imaginative world and explore the art of creating illusion. Then, they will do an art project inspired by her work. Sessions are at 10:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm on Saturday, and 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30 on Sunday. Sign-in takes place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 10am on Saturday (11am on Sunday) and continues until all spaces are filled. Admission is free. Read a KFDC review of the Stories in Art program here.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Here’s the live entertainment on local stages this weekend:
– Catch Jack & the Beanstalk during it’s opening weekend at The Puppet Co. or see a Tiny Tots show there.
Clifford the Big Red Dog Live is at the Warner Theatre.
– The Adventures of Polly Pedestrian is this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance.
– The Creative Cauldron in Falls Church presents Peter Pan and Wendy
Hello Dolly! opes at Ford’s Theatre tonight.
Dave Brewer and the Pre-K Kings are playing the 10:30am show at Jammin’ Java on Saturday.
Get details on all of these production in this post about entertainment this season.

Nordic Cool 2013
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free exhibits, tickets vary by performance

If you haven’t been to the festival at the Kennedy Center yet, this weekend is your last chance to check it out. Celebrating the cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, and nearby islands, Nordic Cool 2013 has been presenting over 750 performances, exhibits, food demos, talks, workshops and more through its run. Drop in anytime for LEGO and game play, art, and to explore Nordic countries and culture or see a theatre, dance, or music performance — see what’s on the schedule this weekend.

Backstage Tour
Where: Wolf Trap
When: Saturday, 11am
Admission: Free

Stand on a world-class stage, learn how a theater runs, and get a sneak peek at where the stars get ready on one of Wolf Trap’s Backstage Tours. All tours are free and open to the public. Visit the website to RSVP or request additional information for their guided tours.

NBC4 Health & Fitness Expo
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: Free

NBC’s annual exposition celebrates healthy living this weekend at the Washington Convention Center. There will be free health screenings, exercise and dance demos, opportunities to test out new sports, giveaways, plus activities especially for kids. Young guests can challenge themselves in the Let’s Move! Fun Zone, play Dance Dance Revolution, score a goal at a soccer area, reach for the top of a climbing wall, show off some dance moves, learn some yoga, and more. The Convention Center is located at 901 Mount Vernon Place, NW. Metered street parking and garages are nearby, and you can take the Metro’s yellow line to the Mount Vernon stop.


Storytime with Redskins player Josh Morgan
Where: National Children’s Museum
When: Saturday, 1:30pm
Admission: $10

Washington Redskins’ Walter Payton Man of the Year, wide receiver Josh Morgan will visit the NCM for a special reading of Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain. Written by Verna Aardema, these story features an exciting, rhythmic narrative and brilliant illustrations. This event is part of a month-long Read Across America celebration and included with admission to the Museum. Purchase tickets in advance here.

Make Room for Matzah
Where: DCJCC
When: Sunday, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: $18/family

Get ready for Passover and join the DCJCC for crafts and a hands-on workshop with Dr. Marion Usher on how to liven up your seder, add a homemade art piece to your table, and make it age-appropriate and meaningful for everyone at the table. For ages 2 and up. The DCJCC is located at 1529 16th Street NW.

Cinderella Moon
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Saturday 10:30am, Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: Free

Recommended for kids ages 10 and up, Cinderella Moon is a Chinese fable version of the classic tale. Filmed in Yunnan province, China, it features stunning cinematography and costumes. This is part of the museum’s monthly film program for children and teens. Screenings take place in the East Building Auditorium. No registration is required, but seating is offered on a first-come, first-seated basis.

St. Patrick’s Day Art Drop-In
Where: Little Loft
When: Sunday, 10-11:30am
Admission: $15

Do something a little different than the usual green on St. Patty’s. Find a pot of gold (paint) under the rainbow at Little Loft’s St. Patrick’s Day drop-in and create some art inspired by the holiday. No registration is required, and all ages are welcome.

Irish Dancing
Where: Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
When: Sunday, 6pm
Admission: Free

It’s a St. Patrick’s Day celebration on the Millennium Stage as students from the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance showcase the unique tradition of Irish music and dance. Get there early to ensure a good seat.

Gaithersburg St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Washingtonian Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The city’s 13th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will include both traditional Irish performances and classic parade pageantry. Celtic dancers, bagpipes bands, marching bands, clowns, firetrucks, and more will make their way through town. Afterward, stay for live music in the Lakefront Plaza until 1pm.

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