Tag Archives: December 2017

Experience the “Imaginary World of the Nutcracker” at ARTECHOUSE

Since ARTECHOUSE opened this past June, the gallery has been bringing us art experiences that are stunning, innovative, and immersive through the ingenious fusion of art and technology.

The newest exhibition, Imaginary World of the Nutcracker, follows suit with an installation that engages and enchants as it celebrates the holiday season. You can view Nutcracker scenes and characters projected onto walls, manipulate light and color on surfaces with your own movements, and look for “magical” surprises throughout with the ARTECHOUSE app, which I recommend downloading before you go.

One of the neatest features of the exhibit is the incorporation of augmented reality technology via the app that lets you discover all kinds of cute and clever details, from soldiers marching in the main room to soup filled bowls in the dining room to snowflakes bursting from cocktails (evenings only).

And here is where I recommend this as a KidFree outing during their later hours along with a daytime trip with the kids. Using the apps augmented reality feature on your festive drinks is just about as fun as making a giant mouse shadow dance on the wall. My friend and I spent just as much time watching our bevvies do tricks through our phones as we did playing with the art all around.

Get more of glimpse in the photos below (click to view larger images), but make a plan to go experience it for yourselves. And be sure to reserve tickets soon because their exhibits always sell out!

Imaginary World of the Nutcracker
Where: ARTECHOUSE, 1238 Maryland Avenue SW, WDC
When: December 7, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Hours: All ages 10am – 5pm | 21+ 5:30-10:30pm (11:30pm on weekends)
Tickets: $15/adult, $8/child

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Art, Date Night, DC, Exhibit, Holidays, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 4-8

Spider monkey right overhead in the Amazonia exhibit at the Zoo

Seedling holiday banners - stocking stuffers

Have a wild time at the National Zoo! Check the Daily Programs schedule before you go to help plan your outing — you can view an elephant training demo, see the residents of the Kids’ Farm, watch feedings, and more — or pick your animal visits as you go. (FYI: We especially dig Amazonia, where birds and monkeys might be hanging out in the open with you!) This time of year, grounds are open 8am – 5pm, exhibit building hours are 9am – 4pm, and the Visitor Center runs 8am – 4pm. Admission is free, though parking in the Zoo lot for non-members is $22 (free for members). You can also try parking on Connecticut Avenue or a side street, or take Metro to Woodley Park or Cleveland Park stations then walk a few blocks.

You could also go in the evening for some holiday fun at the free ZooLights. Or check out another light display around the area. Either way, you’re practically guaranteed to be dazzled.

Head to the National Building Museum for a few kiddie activities. The weekly Story Time with DC Public Library takes place 10:30-11:30am in the Great Hall. Children ages 2-6 can engage in all kinds of interactive play in the Building Zone. And the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit upstairs is always fun for kids, too. Museum hours are 10am – 5pm. Exhibit admission is $10/adult, $7/child, free for members. (KFDC tip: Check out membership options — if you frequent the museum a few times or more per year, it’s so worth it.)

Explore the local environment from the comfort of the indoors at Buddie Ford Nature Center. The facility in Alexandria houses fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. Continue the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm (Wednesday – Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday). Admission is free.

In the evening, join a Holiday Open House hosted by Inova Emergency Room – Ashburn. From 6-8pm, guests can enjoy a loads of FREE activities, including photos with Santa, holiday cookie decorating and hot cocoa, balloon artists, glitter tattoos, live entertainment, a treasure hunt, and giveaways. Children are invited to bring their favorite stuffed toy to the teddy bear clinic in the Inova Loudoun Mobile Health Services bus. And visitors that participate in the treasure hunt can enter a drawing to win a family 4-pack of Washington Redskins tickets.

The Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting also takes place at 5pm.

See a holiday stage favorite on strings as The Nutcracker entertains at The Puppet Co. Showtime is 11am. Tickets are $12. If weather permits, plan to stay at Glen Echo Park after the show for a picnic and playtime, too!

Take little ones to a special holiday story time with Paddington Bear at the Library of Congress! Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, who started her career as a children’s librarian, will read a selection from the beloved Paddington Bear series to children. Even better, Paddington himself will be there to greet kids and take photos with them! The reading will take place 10:30-11:30am in the Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building, and Paddington Bear activity stations will be available in the Young Readers Center from 9am – 4pm. Admission is free. Read more about the Library of Congress in this KFDC post.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Annual, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Story Time, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

Scenes from Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden

The annual Season’s Greenings exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden is easily one of the most popular holiday attractions in DC — and for good reason. The conservatory is transformed into a festive oasis featuring Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials as well as poinsettias and other vibrant flora. A beautiful addition this year is an inspired botanical version of the National Museum of African American History & Culture.

But the highlight, especially for kids (and the kid in all of us adults) is the garden railway, which is always beautiful, whimsical, and uniquely crafted from plant materials like the rest of the holiday installations. This year’s Roadside Attractions theme takes you on a trip across the U.S. as miniature trains chug around mini replicas of iconic wacky sights located throughout the country. See Thomas the Tank Engine and friends circle a giant Mr. Potato Head (repping Rhode Island), zip past a Coffee Pot Water Tower (Nebraska), and roll straight into the mouth of The Blue Whale (Oklahoma). The Jolly Green Giant (Minnesota) is hoisting up some of the tracks, and Mount Rushmore (South Dakota) and Route 66 are backdrops for parts of the journey.

Not only can you see these petite oddities, you can learn more about them, too, as more info is available in the exhibit. Until now I had no idea that the Longenberger Basket company headquarters were designed to look like, you guessed it, a Longenberger basket (Ohio)! Or that the world’s tallest concrete gnome (Iowa) must be identified by the material because Poland has fiberglass gnome that’s a couple of feet taller. These are just a few of many fun tidbits to discover on Roadside Attractions tour.

You can also find a few pieces in other galleries, so plan on walking through the rest of the plant collections. To add some extra fun, kids should pick up an I Spy Plant Hunt card at the entrance. They can search for specific species around the USBG as well as the associated stamp to mark it off on the card.

Catching a concert last year

For more holiday magic at the Botanic Garden, there are concerts Tuesday and Thursday evenings in December, when hours are extended until 8pm. I highly recommend going to one of these, for both the music and to see the exhibit and plant collections illuminated by colorful lights. It’s a wonderful holiday experience!

Season’s Greenings opens on Thanksgiving, November 23, and runs through January 1. Hours are 10am – 5pm daily (and noted 8pm closings on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December). Admission is free. Get more of a glimpse in the photos below, but definitely go see for yourself!

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Art, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Music, Seasonal, Special Event, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter