Tag Archives: Family Fun DC

The World & Me Family Program: Amphibian Week Celebration with the USDA Forest Service & Friends!

 

Celebrate Amphibian Week with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s family program, The World & Me! Join the fun this Saturday, May 6, to learn about amphibians with friends and resources from the USDA Forest Service, USGS, Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service!

Families with kids of all ages are invited to explore different stations and learn through play, art, and museum collections.  Learn all about these remarkable vertebrates that spend their lives in both land and water. Discover how a healthy ecosystem supports frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders, and why we need to preserve their habitats.

 

 

The program will take place at the National Museum of Natural History. Meet at the entrance of Q?rius, the Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center, on the Ground Floor of the museum. Q?rius is located next to the Constitution Avenue entrance.

This is a drop-in event — families can join anytime from 10am – 12:30pm and stay for as long as they’d like. No registration is required.

The World and Me Family Program: Amphibian Week Celebration
Where: National Museum of Natural History
Location: Constitution Ave.  & 10th St. NW, DC
When: Saturday, May 6, 10am – 12:30pm
Admission: FREE!

 

This post is sponsored by the National Museum of Natural History however, I only promote programs, events, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2023, DC, Museums, Spring, Weekend

The Best Activities & Events for Families During Cherry Blossom Season

 

We’re about to hit one of the best times of the year in DC: Cherry Blossom Season! Not only is the city at its prettiest when the famous flowers are in bloom, there are also loads of special events and activities to celebrate it. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, running March 18 – April 16 this year, presents all kinds of fun and enriching opportunities over several weeks, plus there are some blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festivities. Here are the best of them for families to help plan for a peak experience. Happy Blossom Season!

Cherry Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Late March
Admission: Free

Viewing the cherry blossoms may just be the top thing to do during the season — and lots of people agree. The scenery really can’t get more iconic DC than the flowering trees around the Tidal Basin at their peak pink and white brilliance with our grand memorials in the background. However, viewing the famous blooms can be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things, so be sure to check out these KFDC tips before you go to see them. And view scenes from blooms past here, here and here.

PIXELBLOOM: Timeless Butterflies
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through June 5
Admission: $20-25/adult, $17/age 4-15, $72/family of 4

The exhibits at ARTECHOUSE often reflect the season in some way, and for the sixth year, they are highlighting spring by celebrating the cherry blossoms with a gorgeous digital exhibit that immerses you in blooms and butterflies. Floor to ceiling projections, plus interactive elements make this one beautiful, engaging, and delightful to experience! Get more of a glimpse of it here.

Help a Wishing Tree Grow
Where: Planet Word | Downtown DC
When: March 20 – April 16
Admission: Free, but passes required

During the cherry blossom season, Planet Word invites guests to help build a Wishing Tree. They can select a poem from a collection of poetry, write it on a slip of paper, and place it inside an origami paper petal ‘pocket’ that is adhered to the branches of the museum’s cherry blossom tree. At the end of the festival, the petals will be passed on to visitors in the museum as a symbol of friendship. Note that (free) passes are required for admission to the museum. Read more about Planet Word in this KFDC post.

Petal Porches
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Through April 16
Admission: Free

This newer tradition invites residents in DC and surrounding communities in MD and VA to decorate their front yards, porches, and windows to show their cherry blossom spirit during the Festival’s run. A digital map with the locations of all registered Petal Porches will be made available, so we can all get in on the fun and do some Petal Porch viewing!

A past petal “porch” on Capitol Hill

Art in Bloom
Where: Around DC
When: Through April 16
Admission: Free

View blossom inspired art all around the city! The Giant Cherry Blossom sculptures scattered in all eight wards last year will be back in permanent locations. Find a map of them here and make it a mission to see all of them during the season!

Cherry Blossom Programming for Children
Where: National Children’s Museum | Downtown DC
When: Select dates in March (see below)
Admission: $15

This spring, curiosity is in full bloom at National Children’s Museum. In celebration of the season and peak bloom, families can join the museum for the some STEAM programs inspired by the natural world. March 23 & 30: Blossom-themed STEAM Story Times. March 24: Baby Jam. March 26: Helicopter seeds launcher design and build challenge using recycled materials to learn about the aerodynamics of seed dispersal under the Museum’s main entrance awnings (free) + Haiku exploration and experimentation pop-up (included in Museum admission). Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: Select dates during peak bloom
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the cherry blossom peak, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area at a new location on West Basin Drive SW (between the Martin Luther King, Jr., and Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorials and near the Japanese Pagoda).  The National Park Service will offer Ranger talks, Bloomin’ Junior Ranger activities, and more.  The daily live performances on the ANA stage presented by All Nippon Airways will take place 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. and showcase a cross-cultural mix of American, Japanese and other performing arts celebrating 110 years since the gift of trees from Tokyo to Washington, DC. A full list of performers and performance schedules can be viewed here. 

Cherry Blossom Family Celebration
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 25, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free
Join SAAM for their annual celebration of spring and the blooming trees of DC. Enjoy taiko drumming and traditional Japanese dance performances, and break out your best Japanese pop dance moves with Les the DJ. Craft your own cherry blossom trees to take home, make a kinobori kite to fly at the kite festival, or try your hand at an origami Sakura. And ascavenger hunt will add some extra fun to explore the galleries with a scavenger hunt and enjoy festive. Register in advance. See more about the museum in this KFDC post. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Wizards Cherry Blossom Night
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 24, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Whoop it up at a special cherry blossom-themed basketball game! See the Wizards take on the Spurs as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Purchase tickets through this link to get a cherry blossom bucket hat.

Go with the Flow
Where: Local waterways
When: Starting mid-March
Admission: Rates vary

Get a new perspective of the blossoms and enjoy some outdoor recreation on a paddling excursion. Several boathouses will open during cherry blossom season, offering canoe, kayak, and other rentals to take you out on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Tidal Basin, where you can see the blooming cherry trees from the water. This KFDC post has more information on where to go with the flow around DC.

Go fly a kite on the National Mall!

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds | National Mall, DC
When: March 26, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

The annual Blossom Kite Festival, a favorite for many during the blossom season, will be back!  And the sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument truly is a sight to behold. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so plan to BYO. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics. Note the date change from March 25 to March 26!

First Saturday
Where: National Gallery of Art | NationalMall, DC
When: April 1
Admission:

The NGA’s monthly series has a cherry blossom theme this time. In this installment, join the museum for kid’s films, create a floral collage, and make a custom-designed cherry blossom screenprint with local printmakers Soul and Ink. Then, enjoy pop-up musical performances and venture over to the Sculpture Garden for a tour of outdoor art installations.

Bloomaroo
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: April 1, 2-9pm
Admission: Free

Join The Wharf for Bloomaroo, a free spring extravaganza featuring a full day of cherry-blossom themed art, music, fireworks, and family-friendly fun along the waterfront! Enjoy beer gardens on District pier, s’mores at the firepit, and live music. It’ll all be capped it all off with a blossom fireworks finale.

Pink in the Pool
Where: Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness | Arlington, VA
When: April 1, 9am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate cherry blossom season at National Landing with morning activities for families.  Starting with Pink in the Pool, jump into a splash of pink at the Long Bridge Park Aquatics and Fitness Center. Families are invited to take a free swim and toss around pink beach balls. After a dip in the pool, continue the fun with kite and origami making, face painting, giveaways, sweet treats from Kona Ice, and tons of pink.  Free pool passes are required — reserve them here.

Into the Woods
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Centreville, VA
When: April 2 | 1pm, 1:30pm, & 2pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with this free event at Frying Pan Farm Park. Trek on their nature trail to experience the changes of spring. Along the way, visit stations that are peppered throughout the trail to build a fairy house, discuss woodland creatures, and search for critters in the soil and water. Plan to enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Frying Pan Meeting House, too! Recommended for ages 5+.

Art Blooms at Mosaic
Where: Mosaic District | McLean, VA
When: April 1-2, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Welcome spring at the Mosaic District with a celebratory weekend featuring fun for all ages. Shop at the market, catch live entertainment and art exhibits, do some kids activities, sip on a cocktail while you stroll, and more!

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: April 1, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

The Library of Congress is hosting a day of fun especially for kids to celebrate cherry blossom season.  All ages can learn about Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals. Books related to Japan and Japanese culture will also be on display.Other activities include Kamishibai (Japanese storytelling), hands-on origami lessonsJapanese calligraphy, decorative Koinobori and Japanese woodblock print coloring, tiara making with cherry blossom princesses, Kimono trial, and more. Register here! And read more about the Library of Congress in his KFDC post.

Sakura Sunday
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Run, MD
When: April 2, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Join National Harbor for their annual Sakura Sunday Festival. The celebration will feature cultural activities, including a Japanese market, art, music and dance performances, culinary delights, and much more! Read more about all there is to do at National Harbor here.

Petalpalooza
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 8, 1-9pm
Admission: Free

Join the Capitol Riverfront community for Petalpalooza! This day-long signature event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival will be a blast, with live music, art installations, a beer garden, and lots of family-friendly activities. Go for awhile or just stop by for a bit. The evening will cap off with a fireworks show over the Anacostia River.

 

Racing Presidents sightings at the Cherry Blossom Parade

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 15, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities just might be the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue to watch the procession of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers roll through the city. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $25-40, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 15-16, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10-15/ages 13+, $50/family package, free/12 & under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest exhibition of Japanese culture. The 61st annual event will feature live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. And once again, it will be held over two days!  PS: Note that the family package for $50 includes 2 one-day entry tickets  (kids 12 & under are free), 2 kids T-shirts , 2 Omen masks for kids, and 2 Japanese Snacks .

 

Which events are you looking forward to this cherry blossom season?

 

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Filed under 2023, DC, Spring

Activities & Events Especially Great for Families this Cherry Blossom Season

 

 

Cherry blossom season is upon us, and it’s time to start getting ready for it! Because not only is the city at its prettiest when the beloved flowers are in bloom, there also are loads of special events and activities to celebrate it all. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, running March 20 – April 17 this year, presents all kinds of fun and enriching activities over a few weeks, plus there are even more blossom-inspired happenings that aren’t part of the official festivities. I’ve picked the best of them for families to help you plan for it all. Happy Blossom Season!

Cherry Blossom Viewing
Where: Around the DC Area
When: Late March
Admission: Free

Viewing the cherry blossoms may just be the top thing to do during the season — and lots of people agree. The scenery really can’t get more iconic DC than the flowering trees around the Tidal Basin at their peak pink and white brilliance with our grand memorials in the background. However, viewing the famous blooms can be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things, so be sure to check out these KFDC tips before you go to see them. And view scenes from blooms past here and here.

PIXELBLOOM
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: March 12 – June 5
Admission: $20-25/adult, $14/age 4-15, free/under 4

The exhibits at ARTECHOUSE often reflect the season in some way, and for the fifth year, they are highlighting spring by celebrating the cherry blossoms with a gorgeous digital exhibit that immerses you in the blooms. Floor to ceiling projections, plus interactive elements make this one beautiful, engaging, and fun to experience! Get more of a glimpse of it here.

Cherry Blossom Family Celebration
Where: American Art Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 19, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Join the Smithsonian American art Museum and the National Cherry Blossom Festival outside on the museum’s F Street plaza for a celebration of Japanese culture. A taiko drumming performance kicks off the day, followed by Les The DJ spinning Japanese pop, funk, and boogie beats and the Koto ensemble performing traditional Japanese dance.  Pick up a step-by-step cherry blossom craft kit to take home, and discover spring-themed artworks in SAAM’s galleries with a self-guided scavenger hunt designed for all ages. Read more about the museum in this KFDC post.

Petals porches from 2021

Petal Porches
Where: Around the DC Area
When: March 19 – April 17
Admission: Free

For the second year, residents in DC and surrounding communities in MD and VA were invited to decorate their front yards, porches, and windows to show their cherry blossom spirit during the Festival’s run. A digital map with the locations of all registered Petal Porches will be made available, so we can all get in on the fun and do some Petal Porch viewing!

Cultural Performances
Where: Tidal Basin Welcome Area
When: Weekends, March 19 – April 17
Admission: Free

Catch live entertainment as you take in views of the blossoms! During the cherry blossom peak, there will be music and dance performances on a special stage set up at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area at a new location on West Basin Drive SW (between the Martin Luther King, Jr., and Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorials and near the Japanese Pagoda).  The National Park Service will offer Ranger talks, Bloomin’ Junior Ranger activities, and more.  The daily live performances on the ANA stage presented by All Nippon Airways will take place 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. and showcase a cross-cultural mix of American, Japanese and other performing arts celebrating 110 years since the gift of trees from Tokyo to Washington, DC. A full list of performers and performance schedules can be viewed here. 

Art in Bloom
Where: Around DC
When: March 20 – April 17
Admission: Free

View blossom inspired art all around the city! The Giant Cherry Blossom sculptures scattered in all eight wards last year will be back in permanent locations. And April 1-17, a series of immersive installations, perfect for photo ops, will be displayed along the Petalpalooza Art Walk in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood.

Book Hill in Bloom
Where: Book Hill Area | Georgetown, DC
When: March 20 – April 17
Admission: Varies by activity

Georgetown is celebrating DC’s cherry blossom season with Book Hill in Bloom. More than 15 small businesses on upper Wisconsin Avenue are participating by decorating their storefronts with pink and cherry blossom-themed decorations, and offering special promotions. More events include an outdoor letterpress demonstration, and nearby the 10-acre Dumbarton Oaks estate offers some of DC’s most picturesque cherry tree-lined gardens and walkways.

Celebrate Spring
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: March 25 – April 3, 12-2pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate spring at the Home of the Cherry Blossoms! Everyday from March 25 through April 3, there will be cherry blossom-themed activations and specials to go with the amazing views of all the cherry blossom trees across the Washington Channel at East Potomac Park and the Tidal Basin.

Go with the Flow
Where: Local waterways
When: Starting mid-March
Admission: Rates vary

Get a new perspective of the blossoms and enjoy some outdoor recreation on a paddling excursion. Several boathouses will open during cherry blossom season, offering canoe, kayak, and other rentals to take you out on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Tidal Basin, where you can see the blooming cherry trees from the water. This KFDC post has more information on where to go with the flow around DC.

Go fly a kite at the Washington Monument!

Blossom Kite Festival
Where: Washington Monument Grounds | National Mall, DC
When: March 26, 10am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

The annual Blossom Kite Festival, a favorite for many during the blossom season, will be back!  And the sight of thousands of kites in all colors, shapes, and sizes soaring around the Washington Monument truly is a sight to behold. The sails you see flying at the Festival each spring range from simple to pretty darn creative. Dragons, sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like big, beautiful origami works way outnumber your basic diamond. And anyone can go fly their kites, so plan to BYO. There’s a competition aspect to the event, too; expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics.

Oxon Run Pinknic & Kite Fly
Where: Oxon Run Park | Anacostia, DC
When: March 27, 12-3pm
Admission: Free

For a smaller kite flying fest than the big one on the National Mall, head to Oxon Run Park in Anacostia, There will be kite programming, entertainment, and more in coordination with the Blossom Kite Festival.

Wizards Cherry Blossom Night
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: March 29, 7pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Whoop it up at a special cherry blossom-themed basketball game! See the Wizards take on the Chicago Bulls as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. A limited number of tickets come with an exclusive co-branded cherry blossom t-shirt, and a portion of the proceeds supports year-round care for the iconic trees through the Trust for the National Mall.

Bloomaroo
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: April 2, 2-9pm
Admission: Free

Join The Wharf for Bloomaroo, their local version of Bonaroo.  They’ll be celebrating the cherry blossoms with a  free spring festival full of art, music, and family-friendly fun along the waterfront!  Enjoy beer gardens on the pier, a pop-up roller rink, photo ops, s’mores at the firepit, and live music on all three of our outdoor stages. A fireworks finale will cap off the day.

Spring Gardening Program
Where: National Children’s Museum | Downtown DC
When: April 2
Admission: $15.95

In celebration of this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival, the museum will make and decorate plant pots using recycled newspaper and folding techniques inspired by the Japanese origami art form. Then, Dreamers will plant a seed in their pot and take it home to continue to care for it. Recommended for ages 3+. Included with admission, so plan to explore the rest of the museum full of STEAM-inspired exhibits and stations that kids will dig — read more about it all.

Into the Woods
Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | Centreville, VA
When: April 2 | 1pm, 1:30pm, & 2pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with this free event at Frying Pan Farm Park. Trek on their nature trail to experience the changes of spring. Along the way, visit stations that are peppered throughout the trail to build a fairy house, discuss woodland creatures, and search for critters in the soil and water. Plan to enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Frying Pan Meeting House, too! Recommended for ages 5+.

Art Blooms at Mosaic
Where: Mosaic District | McLean, VA
When: April 2-3, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Welcome spring at the Mosaic District with a celebratory weekend featuring fun for all ages. Shop at the market, catch live entertainment and art exhibits, do some kids activities, enjoy a pop-up beer garden, and more!

Cherry Blossom Celebration Match
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: April 2, 7:45pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Support local sports and be a part of the Cherry Blossom Festival at once! DC United’s home match against Atlanta United will include cherry blossom-themed activations for fans, including cherry blossom sunglasses for the first 5k fans, along with the action on the pitch. Score tickets here.

Sakura Sunday
Where: National Harbor | Oxon RUn, MD
When: April 3, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Join National Harbor for their annual Sakura Sunday Festival. The celebration will feature cultural activities, including a Japanese market, art, music and dance performancs, culinary delights, and much more! Read more about all there is to do at National Harbor here.

Japanese Culture Day
Where: Library of Congress | Capitol Hill, DC
When: April 9, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

The Library of Congress is hosting a day of fun especially for kids to celebrate cherry blossom season.  All ages are welcome to learn about Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals during the Library’s Japanese Culture day. Books related to Japan and Japanese culture will also be on display. Special highlights include a Japanese drum presentation by Miyako Taiko led by Mark Rooney (outside on the Plaza) and a karate demonstration by Tsuyoshi Takemori from D.C. Yamato-juku Club in the Great Hall.  Register here!

See Racing Presidents rolling down Constitution Ave at the annual parade

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Where: Constitution Avenue, 7th – 17th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 9, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The pinnacle of cherry blossom festivities just might be the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue to watch the procession of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers roll through the city. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $25-40, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a pretty spring day.

Sakura Matsuri
Where: Pennsylvania Ave, 3rd-7th St NW | Downtown DC
When: April 9-10, 10:30am – 6pm
Admission: $10-15/ages 13+, $50/family package, free/12 & under

Following the Cherry Blossom parade, head over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest exhibition of Japanese culture. The 60th annual event will feature live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, Japanese art, and more. Even better, this year it will be held over two days!

Cherry Blossom Jubilee
Where: Torpedo Factory | Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: April 10, 12-3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Cherry Blossoms on the other side of the Potomac, too! Head to the heart of Alexandria for cherry blossom-themed activities and other events at the Torpedo Factory, the wonderful riverfront arts center. The fun kicks off with a live performance by taiko drum group Nen Daiko on the Waterfront side. Afterward, view the Art Center-wide exhibition of cherry blossom-inspired works by resident artists and galleries while enjoying music and live art demonstrations from participating TFAC artists.

Blossoms & Baseball
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 10, 1:35pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Nats will get in on the National Cherry Blossom Festival celebration during their opening series against the Mets. A cherry blossom celebration is scheduled for the Saturday afternoon match-up. Details are still TBA, but check back soon for more info!

Anacostia River Festival
Where: Anacostia Park | Southeast DC
When: April 10, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

The annual Anacostia River Festival is a premier event of the 2022 National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year enjoy a series of musical performances, including the sights and sounds of Go-Go music, local drum lines, and military bands. Along with live music, the Festival will feature pre-registered and socially distant river activities such as canoeing and fishing along the Anacostia River.  Sign up here!

Petalpalooza
Where: The Yards | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: April 16, 5-9pm
Admission: Free

Join the Capitol Riverfront community for Petalpalooza! The final big event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival will be a blast, with live music, art installations, a beer garden, and lots of family-friendly activities. Go for awhile or just stop by for a bit. The evening will cap off with a fireworks show over the Anacostia River.

Art in Bloom on Capitol Hill last spring

 

 

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Filed under 2022, DC, Festival, Maryland, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia

Tips for Families Viewing the Cherry Blossoms (It’s Time!)

[Note: This was originally written in 2011 (hence, the now very outdated Lost reference) and has been updated every year since. But because the tips always apply, I’m re-posting yet again, just with a few minor updates applicable to this year’s bloom.]

 

🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸
 

Taking the family to the National Mall to see some pretty flowers sounds easy enough. If only it actually was. The cherry blossom peak, predicted to occur March 23-25 this year, is one of the best times to visit DC. The city is at its most beautiful, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival provides loads of fun activities to help enjoy it all. But viewing the famous blooms can also be a bit challenging without being aware of a few things. Here are seven recommendations to consider if seeing the cherry blossoms is on your family’s spring agenda. And as trees are in the beginning stages of bloom in some places, it’s a good time to get a head start on your  planning for the peak.  Happy viewing!

 

1. Don’t drive if you value your sanity. Take the Metro, ride the bus, bike, walk, jet pack. Get here however you can, just leave the car at home. Traffic is beyond frustrating during the cherry blossom peak, and your chances of finding decent parking are about as good as hitting the Powerball with Hurley’s numbers (okay, slight exaggeration, but it is hard). The masses descend on Washington, DC, this time of year, and way too many do so in their vehicles. Besides, kids love riding the Metro — it’s like an urban version of Hogwarts Express. The Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange Line is mere minutes from all of the blossom action, but it’s also likely to be crowded. Consider riding to L’Enfant on Yellow/Green, Federal Center on Blue/Orange, or even a stop downtown or in Penn Quarter and taking a nice stroll to the Tidal Basin for the blossom scene. Another good option is the bus — the DC Circulator runs between Eastern Market and L’Enfant Plaza, a convenient route with even more to do on both ends. And the 32, 34, and 36 routes of Metrobus stop at the National Mall close to the Washington Monument.

*If you absolutely must drive and need parking you might find a spot at Hains Point, where there is free and metered parking, then walk to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial at the Tidal Basin. There is also garage parking at L’Enfant Plaza, which is a short stroll to the blossoms as well. Your best bet, though, may be to find a garage in the downtown or Penn Quarter area, then walk or Metro to the National Mall. You can ensure yourself a spot with Spot Hero, an online parking reservation service that lets you search for and reserve garage spaces in advance.

Flying amid the flowers

 

2. Visit on a weekday if you have the flexibility. Crowds are significantly smaller from Monday to Friday, so you can stroll around the Tidal Basin at a nice pace, and public transportation won’t be nearly as packed (though it likely still will be more crowded than usual). But if the kids are in school or daycare during the week, think about going later in the day. The National Mall and monuments look beautiful at sunset, and the blossoms make it even more sublime. In the same vein, if you can go super early, the morning light on the Mall makes for quite a picturesque setting, too.

Peak time around the National Mall

 

3. Consider using a child carrier instead of a stroller for little ones. This is especially applicable if you take Metro, since elevator lines can be very long and slow-going. I learned my lesson back in my kids’ baby days on a weekday and ended up taking my daughter out of the stroller and carrying both on the escalator, which was probably as unsafe as it was difficult. Even if you don’t take Metro, a carrier is still a wise option. Navigating crowded walkways while pushing a pram takes focus, and you could end up spending more time concentrating on not rolling over others’ heels than enjoying the sights you came to see. It’s a bonus for wee ones, too — perched on your back, your babe will get a better view of the blossoms.

Cherry tree cluster all abloom

 

4. Check the National Cherry Blossom Festival schedule, so you can plan your visit accordingly. Some of the city’s most anticipated events are part of the annual celebration that runs March 20 – April 17, and they are all returning after being cancelled for the last two years.  The Blossom Kite Festival, National Cherry Blossom Parade, and Sakura Matsuri are among them, and there are some non-official festival happenings as well. Most events take place nearby the blossoms or an easy Metro ride away. Peak bloom is expected to occur during the beginning of the Festival this year, so you can enjoy some of the blossom-inspired activities and the efflorescent trees at the same time.

Get a view of the blossoms from the water

 

5. Get a new view of the blossoms and enjoy a fun activity. Several companies offer boat rides along the river, many of them specifically for the season when the cherry trees are in bloom.  Boomerang Boat Tours. City Cruises, and DC Water Taxi are some to check out. You can also opt for a paddling excursion and navigate the waters yourself.  Or go on a bike tour to easily cover more ground and experience the blossoms from two wheels.

Playing under blossoms at the Arboretum

 

6. Seek out other spots to see the cherry blossoms if you don’t want to deal with crowds and chaos around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. Several places around the DC-Metro area are well known for their annual cherry blossom displays. When I worked in Bethesda many years ago, it was an annual tradition for my colleagues and me to take a drive through Kenwood, a lovely neighborhood between Little Falls Parkway and River Road with cherry tree-lined streets. The National Arboretum also has a nice collection of the trees and offers a beautiful  environment in which to view them in bloom. Dumbarton Oaks Gardens is one of the prettiest places in DC and its annual cherry blossoms only add to it. Stanton Park on Capitol Hill glows with the pink and white trees this time of years.  Congressional Cemetery has some nice, cherry tree-lined paths (that are already starting to bloom). And Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, has a nice collection of the trees, too.

 

7. Have your camera ready to take advantage of some of the best photo ops DC offers. The peak colors plus the memorials are about as iconic as you can get when photographing Washington.  Get your kids to sit still — or even let them run and play for a fun candid — and you’ve got this year’s holiday card.

Can’t beat the blossom backdrop for photos

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Filed under 2022, All ages, DC, Special Event, Spring

Discover The Wonder, the DC Area’s Newest Play Spaces for Children

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of two young children.]  

 

Two moms on a mission defied a pandemic to open the play spaces of their — and your little ones — dreams. If and when you are ready to venture back out into the great indoors with your toddlers and preschoolers, put The Wonder on your list. You’ll (re)discover good old-fashioned creative play in seasonally-themed, modernized spaces.

My first impression of The Wonder – Chevy Chase: Playroom Goals. It is everything you’ve Pinterest-ed and more. The currently “vintage camp”-themed location is sleek yet cozy, with ways to play at every turn in the small space. The tee-pees, mini camper, and wooden rocking boat are standouts, but the biggest hit may be the bow-and-arrow and axe throwing corner — all kid-safe versions of course.

A wall full of toys eschews electronics and encourages creative and expressive play. I noted some of the updated yet stripped-down items like the dustless chalk and drawing boards, the trucks with interchangeable parts, and the build-your-own road set. The nearby tables and chairs seem set up for grown-ups to work or catch up with a friend while kids work on their independent play skills.

The Wonder – Arlington, located in the Ballston Quarter mall, is much larger and decked out in pool-themed decor for summer. The flamingo floatie and beach ball pit will draw your kids right in, and the mini mopeds will make them not want to leave (get ready for a good lesson in sharing!). The most unique feature is the tunneled climbing structure that will have your child asking, “are you sure I’m supposed to go up this?” and will require some bravery.

The Arlington location has separate rooms that make it well-equipped for birthday parties. And several areas are conducive to group play, like the Snack Shack taco/ice cream stand, the music corner, and dress-up station. Like the Chevy Chase location, it purposefully lacks fancy gadgets, but there is no shortage of things to do, and the two-hour play time passes before you know it.

There is much more to explore at each location, and even a “Superhero HQ” location to visit if you are ever in New York City. Plus, workshops like “Mad Scientist” and “Dream Bakery” are starting September 13! Check out all of the upcoming classes imagined for ages 0-7.

Even more, KidFriendly DC readers get a special discount when booking play time now through August 31, 2021! Enter promo code KidFriendlyDC5 when reserving your Day Pass online to receive $5 off.

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Where:
The Wonder – Chevy Chase is located at 5481B Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, MD 20815
The Wonder – Arlington is located at 4238 Wilson Blvd. #1295, Arlington, VA 22203

Summer Hours:
Tuesday – Friday 9am-1pm; Saturday 9am – 11am

Pricing:
Day Pass – $15, 5-Pack of Passes – $55, 10-Pack of Passes – $110

Reserve your play time in advance here. Please note, proof of vaccination for those eligible is required at all three locations. Read more about The Wonder’s Covid protocols here.

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Filed under Indoor Play, Maryland, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend