Tag Archives: Family fun in DC

Regularly Occurring Museum Programs for Kids Around the DC Area

Make your own art at the National Gallery of Art

 

Not only are we so lucky to have a wealth of world class museums right here in DC, many also offer special programs to explore them even more.  Among them are sessions especially for kids that take place on a regular basis — monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, and a couple even more often.  There are story times, art activities, and all kinds of opportunities to discover the museums’ collections and related topics in new, fun ways.  So, if you’re looking for a weekday activity with little ones or something for the whole family on the weekend, there are a bunch of great options.  Even better, just about all of them are free. Here are details… and be sure to bookmark, too!

 

Get inspired at the National Portrait Gallery

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
Where: 8th & F Strets NW | Penn Quarter, DC

Weekend Workshops
When: Most Saturdays & Sundays, 11:30am – 3pm
All ages are welcome to drop in and get creative at these workshops. Learn about artists and change-makers, then create art inspired by their stories.

Storytime in the Explore! Family Space
When: Mondays, 1:30-2pm
Admission: Free

Immerse in tales of artists, presidents, inventors, athletes and more! Plan for a longer visit in the family space before or after story time to play and learn about portraiture. Read more about the Explore! space here.

National Portrait Gallery Kids
When: Select Mondays, 11:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

Children and families are invited to learn, play, and create at the Portrait Gallery!  Join educators to explore topics like colors, emotions, STEM, and history through art viewing, hands-on activities, music, and movement. This program is a fun way to engage with art and each other.

Teen Conversation Circles
When: Every other Saturday, 10-11am
Admission: Free

Teen English language learners ages 13-19 are invited to join NPG educators and friends all over the world in person and via ZOOM. Together, use portraiture to learn about U.S. art, history and culture. Meet new friends and learn about different cultures while practicing English. Note that some sessions are virtual.

 

 

Say hello to fun at the Postal Museum

NATIONAL POSTAL MUSEUM
Where: 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE | National Mall, DC

Hello, Museo
When: Every other Tuesday, 10:30-11:30am
Admission: Free

This bilingual program features music, stories, crafts, and gallery exploration. It’s designed for children ages 1-3 and their caregivers, but all are welcome! Read more about the National Postal Museum in this KFDC post.

 

 

Explore natural history on a Play Date

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Where: 1000 Madison Drive | National Mall, DC

Playdate at NMNH
When: Tuesdays, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Early learners and their caregivers are invited to explore elements of nature with museum educators, usually in the Q?rius activity space or the Explorer Theatre in the Sant Ocean Hall.

 

 

Tinker away in the Spark!Lab

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY
Where: | National Mall, DC

Spark!Lab
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 11am – 4pm

While this isn’t a special program, the activity center is a special space within the museum where kids ages 6-12 are invited to create, collaborate, explore, test, experiment, and invent. STEM activities are integrated with art, museum, and creativity.

Wegmans Wonderplace
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm

Again, this is not a special program, but the space for children ages 0-6 is full of features that cater to curious young visitors, incorporating play and learning in the museum’s American history context. Read more about it in this KFDC post.

 

 

Take kiddos for storytime and more at the Hirshhorn

HIRSHHORN MUSEUM
Where: 7th & Independence SW | National Mall, DC

Storytime
When: Wednesdays, 10-11am
Admission: Free

The Hirshhorn’s one-of-a-kind storytime experience offers a fun and fresh theme for kids (from birth to age 8) and their caregivers. They encourage everyone to get hands-on with their art maker projects inspired by the museum’s collection, plus enjoy read-alouds filled with music, tales, and lots of movement.

 

 

Hear stories about air and space

NATIONAL AIR & SPACE MUSEUM
Where: 6th & Independence SW | National Mall, DC

Story Time 
When: Thursdays, 11am
Admission: Free

Bring little ones to hear a children’s story that’s related to air and space. Some sessions include hands-on activities and play time, too. Note that the same story is repeated throughout the month.

One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure
When: Thursdays & Sundays, 10:30am
Admission: Free

Join Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a Muppet from “Zhima Jie,” the Chinese co-production of Sesame Street. Together they take an imaginary trip from Sesame Street to the moon, where they discover how different it is from Earth. They also journey to Zhima Jie to learn about the similarities in our view of the sky.Note that it’s always the same show, but kids can pop in now and then and maybe discover something they previously missed.

 

 

Udvar-Hazy hosts story time and more

UDVAR-HAZY CENTER
Where: 14390 Air & Space Museum Pkwy | Chantilly, VA
Admission: Free, but note that parking is $15

Story Time
When: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11am & 11:30am
Admission: Free

Bring little ones to hear a children’s story that’s related to air and space. Some sessions include hands-on activities and play time, too. Note that the same story is repeated throughout the month.

Second Saturday Sungazing
When: Second Saturday of the month, 11am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Become an astronomer and observe the sun safely with a filtered telescope. Join museum staff outside at the entrance to view a variety of features on the sun. Knowledgeable staff are there to answer questions and guide observing.

 

 

 

Get crafty at a First Saturday

NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART
Where: East Building, 4th & Constitution NW | National Mall, DC

First Saturday
When: First Saturday of the month, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

The museum’s monthly program is a special day-long affair with multiple free programs for visitors of all ages. There is a morning story time for little ones, hands-on art projects, sometimes films especially for kids, a pop-up library, and activities centered around a new theme or exhibit each month.

 

 

 

Discover the art of Asia through museum kids’ programs

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ASIAN ART
Where: 1050 Independence Ave SW | National Mall, DC

Art & Me Workshops
When: Select Saturdays monthly, 11am – 12:30pm & 1-3:30pm
Admission: Free

This program is back in person, exploring works in the museum then returning to the ImaginAsia studio to learn more through a hands-on activity. There are currently workshops scheduled for January and February, but check back soon for more to be added to the schedule.

Discovery Days
When: Select Wednesdays monthly
Admission: Free

Plan for a day of discovery and experiential learning at the National Museum of Asian Art. Choose your own adventure and explore the galleries at your own pace — there will be activities and interactions with pop-up museum educators along the way. You can also select a time slot for a thirty-minute guided art activity. This would make a great field trip — a room for eating brown-bagged lunches can be arranged upon request as well as free bus transportation for DC public and public charter schools.

 

 

Enjoy STEAM fun in a stunning space

NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM
Where: 401 F Street NW | Judiciary Square, DC

STEAM Saturday
When: Second Saturday of the month
Admission: Free with museum admission ($7/child, $10/adult)

Join the museum for STEAM activities. that challenges kids to think creatively and experimentally using principles of design thinking and engineering. The program is targeted towards 2nd-8th graders and their caregivers.

 

 

Drop in for play at the Zoo — and visit the animals, too!

NATIONAL ZOO
Where: | Woodley Park, DC

Little Critters Nature Play
When: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 9:30am – 1:30pm
Admission: Free

Little zoogoers can drop in to explore animals and nature through creative, free-choice activity stations, water play, and story times. Designed for kids ages 0-8.

 

Art to explore indoors and out at the Kreeger

KREEGER MUSEUM
Where: 2401 Foxhall Road NW | Foxhall, DC

First Studio: Art, Story, and Workshop
When: Select Saturdays monthly, 10-11am
Admission: $10

Young artists ages 3-5 and an adult companion are invited to use their imagination as they explore the paintings, sculpture, and architecture of The Kreeger Museum. Each program focuses on a theme supported by a story, works of art from the collection, and a hands-on art-making experience. Read more about the Kreeger Museum in this KFDC post.

 

A new story and theme every month

CAPITOL JEWISH MUSEUM
Where: 575 3rd Street NW | Judiciary Square area, DC

Story Time at CJM
When: Second Thursday of each month
Admission: Free

Playing is learning! Children and their caregivers are invited to join the museum for stories, songs, and exploratory play as a means of reinforcing early literacy skills. Each month features a different theme and book suited for children of all backgrounds as they learn about themselves and the world around them. Most appreciated by kids aged 5 and under.

 

Explore aviation through special programs

COLLEGE PARK AVIATION MUSEUM
Where: 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive | College Park, MD

Cub Corner
When: Third Saturday of the month, 10:30-11:30am
Admission: $5/adult, $2/child

Enjoy a short story and craft in the museum’s gallery. Designed for younger learners 5 & under.

Afternoon Aviators
When: Last Saturday of the month, 1-2pm
Explore a variety of STEM and aviation-themed sciences with a short lesson and hands-on activity. Ideal for learners ages 8-12.

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Filed under 2024, DC, Maryland, Museums, Virginia

Mind Tricks & More Fun at the Museum of Illusions

 

When the Museum of Illusions opened at CityCenter DC back in December, I thought it was just a quick pop-up, a temporary experience that would only be here through the holiday season, so I didn’t make it a huge priority to go.  I’ve since learned that it’s here indefinitely, so when my friend Jen from Kid Up and Go asked me to join her on a visit recently, I was excited to check it out.

Who’s big, who’s little?

The museum calls itself an “edutainment destination” and fittingly so.  The many installations and exhibits throughout the multi-room space trick and test the mind in ways that are fun and illuminating.  Not only are the illusions cool to see and interact with, they play with perspective, sometimes require problem solving, and spark curiosity about how they work. And you can learn all about them from signs with explanations and staff who are on hand to answer any questions.

Moving pictures?

Everything in the museum is interactive in some way, whether you’re staring at pictures to watch them “move,” standing within an exhibit to feel its effects, solving some kind of puzzle, or placing yourself just so to create an illusional scene.  There are purely visual exhibits, elements that require hands-on activity, whole immersive rooms, and fun optical illusion photo ops.  The images in this post offer a glimpse, but there are so many more!

Just hangin’ in the Metro

It’s completely engaging, and you can explore it all as slowly or quickly as you like, though the museum’s website says visits last about 45-60 minutes.  We spent about an hour in the museum, and that was enough time to check out everything there.

A kaleidoscope of… me 😃

Unlike many DC museums, there is an admission fee for ages 5 and up to visit the Museum of Illusions.  But if you’re looking for something unique and fun to do, this mind-bending experience is a good bet.

Wonder what they’re holding 😉

 

Museum of Illusions
Where: 927 H Street NW | CityCenter DC
When: Sun–Thurs, 10am – 8pm | Fri & Sat, 10am – 9pm
Admission: $23.50/13+, $18.95/age 5-12, free/4 & under

 

Puzzles…to try and to buy

 

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Filed under 2023, DC, Museums

Mission: Explore the New Spy Museum at L’Enfant Plaza

You never know who’s watching at the International Spy Museum

 

The International Spy Museum was pretty stealth about the transition to its new location at L’Enfant Plaza. The former venue in Penn Quarter closed at the start of 2019, then seemingly while we weren’t watching… poof! The beautiful, new building was complete and welcoming visitors in July.

Between summer travels then the start of school and a busy fall schedule, we didn’t make it there to check it out until a recent day off from school. But when we finally did visit, it made for a fun and, of course, intriguing outing for Sasha, her friend, and me for a few hours.

The new Spy Museum is much like the old one in that it showcases the fascinating world of espionage, and visitors discover it all on an “undercover mission.” What’s new and different is the breadth of the exhibits that extend to present times and generally cover much more. Not only is the state-of-the-art space twice as big as the old one, there are many more displays, multimedia installations, and interactives that are engaging for a wide range of ages.

Get a secret agent identity

Learn about spies from past times

Apparently, not all vodkas are what they seem…

Once you get your secret identity and watch a short video about being a secret agent, the museum is open to tour on your own throughout the 4th and 5th floors of the building. It starts on the 5th with “Stealing Secrets,” “Making Sense of Secrets,” and “Covert Operations.” There are large installations featuring several spies during different points in history. Exhibitions focus on tools of the trade and what it takes to be a good spy. Some of the updates include exhibits about the capture of Osama Bin Laden, a comparison of Kennedy and Krushchev, and stories about World War II operations. All of them include interactive elements that enhance the exhibits and let visitors put their spy skills to use.

Create a disguise

Craft secret messages

Be part of Operation Neptune Spear, the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden

On the 4th floor, exhibitions include “Spying that Shaped History” and “Uncertain World.” The former illustrates the impact of intelligence on history through a variety of exhibits including some that recreate spy locales from the past, a theater highlighting films about espionage, and underground operations to escape East Berlin. The latter explores modern responses to threats, from interrogation to surveillance, and how they should be handled. A whole exhibit about cyber security is part of this, including an “infinity room” reminded us all of Artechouse.

Watching vintage hidden camera footage (and videoing it on an iPhone)

Infinite cyber

Some of this might sound sophisticated for young museum-goers, but it’s presented in a way that makes it interesting for them with interactive elements like cracking codes, creating digital disguises, games that test their knowledge, and experiences that put them in spy situations. And, yes, they still can crawl through the air duct!

They air duct never gets old

The museum is recommended for ages 9 and up, but I saw children even younger enjoying the hands-on activities with the help of parents. When you go, be sure to exit via the stairway, not the elevator. With glass walls, the atrium-like space offers fantastic views and makes for nice photo ops.

The International Spy Museum is located at L’Enfant Plaza, just south of the Smithsonian Castle, in Southwest DC. Metro is probably the easiest way to get there — the L’Enfant Plaza stop is on the Blue/Orange and Yellow/Green lines. Hours are 10am – 6pm daily. Admission is $24.95/age 13+, $14.95/7-12, free for ages 6 and under. You can save $2 on adult admission when you purchase online.

 

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Museums, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up:
December 21-23

Stop to see the Capitol Christmas Tree



Happy Weekend!

Holiday Entertainment
Where: Theatres around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

You’ve got your pick of holiday entertainment on local stages. Have some fun at Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at Adventure Theatre or Elf the Musical at Olney Theatre. Several productions of The Nutcracker will enchant audiences of all ages. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy Madeleine’s Christmas with Creative Cauldron. Get details on these shows and others in the 2018 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

There’s all kinds of holiday fun to be had, and at every price point. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Visit Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Enjoy Christmas at Mount Vernon with fireworks and more festivities. Ride the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. Find details on all of these events and many more in the 2018 Holiday Guide.

Juggle Jam
Where: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, 6pm
Admission: $5 suggested donation

Get ready to throw mad tricks and boogie down at Juggle Jam. The workshop begins with a short demo, moves into hands-on instruction, then finishes with a collaborative show that puts students in the center ring! All ages and skill levels are welcome, and equipment is provided. Wear comfortable clothes that allow relaxed movements.

Fun on Ice
Where: Ice rinks around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Celebrate the winter solstice weekend with a quintessential seasonal activity — ice skating! Head outside if weather permits: Glide above the Potomac at The Wharf; enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; skim over the meandering paths at Canal Park; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; or do some shopping along with your skating at Pentagon Row, Tyson’s Corner, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. If it’s raining, take it indoors at Fort Dupont Ice Arena in DC, Cabin John or Herbert Wells Ice Rinks in Maryland, or MedStar Ice Arena in Ballston. This post has details on all these ice skating options in the area.

Family Afternoon: Newspaper Forts
Where: National Building Museum | Judiciary Square, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Families can drop in for an afternoon of building fun. Twist, wrap, and tape to transform newspaper into a strong building material. Then challenge yourselves to use your engineered material to construct a sturdy fort big enough for your entire clan!

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

Drop in at the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about artist Andy Warhol and complete a hands-on activity. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum. For more about the program and the museum, see this post and this one.

Show Time
Where: Venues around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* Enjoy Adventures with Mr. Bear at the Atlas Performing Arts Center
* Be dazzled by Cirque Dreams Holidaze at MGM National Harbor
* My Father’s Dragon is the newest production at Synetic Theatre
* See a fairytale come to life with Cinderella at Imagination Stage
* Enjoy a performance of Billy Elliot: The Musical at Signature Theatre
* It’s the final weekend for Anything Goes at Arena Stage
* Tween ages up can enjoy Miss Saigon at the Kennedy Center
* Be sure to check for ticket discounts to these and more productions!

Maker Morning: Illuminate
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

During the darkest month of the year, brighten up your weekends at the Hirshhorn! Every Saturday in December, makers of all ages are welcome to to explore the exhibition Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse through hands-on activities. Create and take home an illustration of your family’s heartbeat using biometric technology. Play with light and shadows. Make a paper luminary to take home or give as a gift. Explore a library of art-themed books. Read more about the exhibit in this KFDC post.

New Nature
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15/adult, $8/child

The newest exhibit at ARTECHOUSE invites you to experience nature in a whole new way — through a colorful digital menagerie of nature-inspired creatures and plant life. It’s full of stunning imagery and fun interactives that all ages will find delightful. Even if you don’t plan to go this weekend, plan a visit for later, and snag tickets now. And FYI: If you go Sunday through Thursday you can get a family package — 20% off an adult and child ticket.

Christmas Caroling
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 5-7pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy the sounds of the season—featuring the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, and join in singing holiday songs to spread the Christmas spirit all along the waterfront, including performances at Pearl Street Stage and Floating stage. While you’re there, buy s’mores at the fire pit and visit the lighted Christmas Tree. Plus, Santa Claus himself will take time out of his busy schedule to join in the fun. Bring your camera to snap photos with Santa as you count down to Christmas.

Story Time
Where: Kramerbooks | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Sunday, 11am
Admission: $30/child

Take a break from your day and stop by Story Time at Kramers! Staff will feature a children’s book and host various fun activities for your little ones. They’ll watch your kids while you grab a coffee (or, if you have a cranky two-year-old, a mimosa) from the café. All ages welcome! (And FYI, this occurs every Sunday and Wednesday.)

Drop-in Art Making
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: Free

This drop-in workshop is a great way to try your hand at art making in an informal, relaxed environment. Visit the Education Studio located on the museum’s concourse level to experiment with different art materials and techniques. All ages and abilities are welcome!

The Washington Chorus Family Christmas
Where: GMU Center for Performing Arts | Fairfax, VA
When: Sunday, 2pm
Tickets: $66/adult, $20/12 & under

Bring the entire family for a fun, festive afternoon! This 70-minute performance features everyone’s favorite carols, joyful sing-alongs, and a special appearance by Santa Claus. Get 20% off tickets using the code TWC20!

See the Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks (or the National Zoo, Mormon Temple, or Georgetown) in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, expect to be dazzled.

***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* Trying to plan your Winter Break in DC? This just posted KFDC Guide has you covered.
* If you’re looking for last minute holiday gifts, the KFDC Gift Guide has lots of suggestions for experiences around the area that you can buy with just a few clicks as well as some gift ideas that are totally free!
* Honey is great app if you do a lot of online shopping — it automatically finds and applies coupons to your purchases. (Disclosure: That’s my referral link.)
* The movie version of a book that I (and many, many others) adored is coming out soon! (If you haven’t read the book, you can’t get it here.)
* This will make you chuckle, I promise.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Seasonal, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up:
December 14-16

Skating under the stars (and over the Potomac) at The Wharf




Happy Weekend!

Wreaths Across America
Where: Arlington National Cemetery | Arlington, VA
When: Saturday, opens 7am, wreath placing 9:15am
Admission: Free

This is a chance for the whole family to volunteer. Help place Veterans’ Remembrance Wreaths on the graves of American heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There is no sign-up or age requirement — families are encouraged to volunteer together. Be sure to visit the website for details, including schedule and meeting location. Read about more family-friendly volunteer opportunities around the DC area.

15th Anniversary Celebration
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, DC
When: Saturday
Admission: Free (parking is $15)

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center opened to public on December 15, 2003, and since then have welcomed nearly 20 million people through their doors. Join them to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Udvar-Hazy Center with a day packed full of everything you know and love about the museum. From talks with curators about your favorite artifacts to concerts, the event will highlight why the northern Virginia community has embraced the Udvar-Hazy Center as a must-visit destination.

Photos with Santa
Where: The Community Center | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 6-9pm
Admission: Free

Join Waterfront Church DC for their annual Pictures with Santa event. Each child will take home 2 free 5×7 photos of themselves with Santa Chuck. Mrs. Claus will also be present reading Christmas stories.

NMAAHC Family Day
Where: African American Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Join the National Museum of African American History and Culture for this Family Day inspired by James Baldwin’s only children’s book, Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood. Drop-in activities available throughout the afternoon for children ages 0-8 will include collaborative art-making, story times, Little Leaders Library, and hands-on fun. Following the family day activities there will be a panel discussing the book and a book signing.

Season’s Greenings
Where: U.S. Botanic Garden | National Mall area, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

Easily one of DC’s most popular holiday attractions, Season’s Greenings is an annual delight for all ages. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials, including a new botanical inspired National Museum of African American History & Culture. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s All Aboard-themed exhibit features train stations across the US. Get a glimpse of it before you go in this KFDC post!

Ice It
Where: Ice rinks around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Enjoy a quintessential winter activity — ice skating! Head outside if weather permits: Glide above the Potomac at The Wharf; enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; skim over the meandering paths at Canal Park; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; or do some shopping along with your skating at Pentagon Row, Tyson’s Corner, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. If it’s raining, take it indoors at Fort Dupont Ice Arena in DC, Cabin John or Herbert Wells Ice Rinks in Maryland, or MedStar Ice Arena in Ballston. This post has details on all these ice skating options in the area.

Rocknocerous Holiday Singalong
Where: Jammin Java | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $10

Local kids fave Rocknocerous will be playing their annual holiday show on Saturday, and kids (and parents) can jam and sing along with them as they rock the holiday tunes. The early show already sold out, so get your tickets soon! Doors open at 1:30pm, and seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Show Time
Where: Venues around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

* The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me is a family opera at the Kennedy Center this weekend only
* My Father’s Dragon is the newest production at Synetic Theatre
* It’s the final weekend for How to Catch a Star at the Kennedy Center
* Reserve free tickets for Virginia Repertory Theatre’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol this week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance
* See a fairytale come to life with Cinderella at Imagination Stage
* Enjoy a performance of Billy Elliot: The Musical at Signature Theatre
* Anything Goes is on the Arena Stage
* Tween ages up can enjoy Miss Saigon at the Kennedy Center
* Be sure to check for ticket discounts to these and more productions!

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit, it’s starting! Tickets are still available for the Friday performance of Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show. Several productions of The Nutcracker will enchant audiences of all ages this weekend. Have some holiday fun at Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at Adventure Theatre or Elf the Musical at Olney Theatre. Celebrate the season with A Candlelight Christmas at the Kennedy Center. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy Madeleine’s Christmas with Creative Cauldron. Get details on these shows and see what else is coming up soon in the 2018 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Maker Morning: Illuminate
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10am
Admission: Free

During the darkest month of the year, brighten up your weekends at the Hirshhorn! Every Saturday in December, makers of all ages are welcome to to explore the exhibition Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse through hands-on activities. Create and take home an illustration of your family’s heartbeat using biometric technology. Play with light and shadows. Make a paper luminary to take home or give as a gift. Explore a library of art-themed books. Read more about the exhibit in this KFDC post.

Night Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks (or the National Zoo, Mormon Temple, or Georgetown) in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, expect to be dazzled.

Holiday Train Rides
Where: Ballston Quarter
When: Saturday, 12-2pm
Admission:

Take a ride through Ballston Quarter on their holiday trains. Families can also enjoy children’s crafts and activities while riding on the winter train. Plan to grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants, do some holiday shopping, or even go ice skating at MedStar Ice Rink while you’re there!

Holiday Ornament-Making Workshop
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange | Brentwood, MD
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Take advantage of a fun, free opportunity to create paper ornaments for the holiday season at this family-friendly workshop. All materials are provided, but if you have special paper you’d like to use, feel free to bring it the day of the event.

More Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Get into the holiday spirit the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. Enjoy Chiristmas at Mount Vernon with fireworks and more. Ride the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2018 Holiday Guide.

Artful Adventures
Where: The Phillips Collection
When: Saturday, 10:30-11am
Admission: $12/adult, $7/child

Every Saturday, the Phillips hosts this family-friendly Artful Adventure, geared toward those with children ages 4-8. Guided by a professional art educator, explore one to two galleries through fun, hands-on activities. Of course, stay longer to enjoy the rest of the museum! See more about the Phillips Collection here and here.

Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Deal Middle School/Wilson High School | Northwest DC
When: Saturday, 3pm & 7:30pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $23/adult, $14/child

Momentum Dance Theatre, a Capitol-Hill based dance studio is presenting its nineteenth annual holiday show – the Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker.  Momentum’s professional performers are joined by students as young as age 5 for this contemporary interpretation of the classic Nutcracker, set to music from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite, plus hip hop, contemporary and classic pop, funk, and salsa. Not your mother’s nutcracker! (Note: Shows will take place at Deal Middle School on Saturday and Wilson High School on Sunday.)

Story Time with the Authors
Where: Georgetown Neighborhood Library | Georgetown , DC
When: Saturday, 10:30-11:30am
Admission: Free

Hosted by the DC Public Library Georgetown Branch, brothers and author/illustrator team Mark and David Shannon will offer a reading of their book, The Acrobat and the Angel. This beautifully written and illustrated story will delight young audience members, who will also be able to engage with the Shannons and participate in other fun activities after the reading.

Santa Photo Ops
Where: Top Dollar Pawn & Jewelry | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Take the kiddos to get a photo with Santa — and do some shopping or selling. When you go, plan to bring a donation for Toys for Tots, s the location is a drop site for donations to the charity.

All Aboard for Model Trains
Where: Historic Depot of the W&OD Railroad | Vienna, VA
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

What would the holiday season be without trains! Stop by the Historic Vienna Train Station where you can see and hear HO scale model trolleys and trains, including Thomas and some of his friends on display and in operation. It’s great family activity for the young and young at heart.  The Vienna Depot is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, VA.

Open Studio & Ceramics Sale
Where: Hollow Works Studio
When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Shop for one-of-a-kind ceramics in the artist’s studio! Kate Hardy of Hollow Works Ceramics creates and sells beautiful, unique work — bowls, mugs, vases, and more — that would make perfect holiday presents. In addition to showcasing a lot of new work, she’ll be clearing her studio of a year’s worth of seconds. Seconds are pieces with minor flaws, like glaze imperfections or warping. Seconds are also leftovers from commissions or experiments that just don’t fit in with the rest of her work that she sells for heavily discounted prices. There will be some serious deals to be had! The studio is located in the alley right off of 7th and H Streets NE.

Prelude to the Holidays with the DC Youth Orchestra
Where: Theater of the Arts, UDC | Van Ness, DC
When: Saturday, 4-6:30pm
Admission: Free

Kids can see a concert by their musical peers! The Youth Orchestra will perform works such as Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel Overture and Strauss’s Die Fledermaus Overture, as well as other repertoire by Strauss and the holiday medley A Christmas Festival. Before the show, DCYOP faculty will host a musical instrument petting zoo in the lobby. Prospective young musicians ages 4-18 can try out different orchestral instruments with the help of professional musicians. The concert will begin at 5:00pm and last about an hour. 

Art and Me: Preserving Ancient Cultures
Where: Freer|Sackler Gallery | National Mall, DC
When: Sunday, 10-11:30am
Admission: Free

Bring your little ones ages 3-5 to learn about the preservation of ancient artifacts from South Arabia with Freer|Sackler conservator Ellen Chase. Take a guided tour of A Glimpse of Ancient Yemen and experiment with using professional tools to examine objects. Then, return to the studio to build your own archaeological goody bag to take home.

Brunch and Kids Cooking Class with Santa
Where: SER | Arlington, VA
When: Sunday, 11:30am
Admission: $25/child, $50/adult

SER, a neighborhood restaurant in Ballston, is offering a special holiday brunch the next two Sundays! Enjoy delicious fare starting at 11:30am along with a visit from Santa and a cooking class for kids. At 12:30pm. During this brunch they’ll be offering a prix fix menu.

Holiday Shop
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

If you’re still working through your gift list, there are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents by local vendors and then some. Head to Penn Quarter and Baltimore for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about all of them is available in the 2018 Holiday Guide. And if you need some gift ideas, be sure check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide!

Insider Info
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Rain is in the weekend forecast, so you might need extra ideas for indoor outings. Burn some energy at an indoor playground, visit a museum, go bowling, check out a nature center… This post has over 100 suggestions for adventures that take place inside, many of them mainstays around DC, and just about all of them tried and tested by Team KFDC.

***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* Sittercity.com is offering KFDC readers 25% off a one-month subscription. Use promo code KIDFRIENDLYDC to save and find your family’s next favorite sitter!
* The Second City’s She the People at Woolly Mammoth is a fantastic, hilarious show! Catch it on a grown-up night out or even with teen kids.
* Save on admission to New Nature at ARETCHOUSE through Certifikid. You can also score a bunch of other great discounts on activities around the area through the deal site.
* The latest book I’m reading is completely absorbing and timely (and included on some lists of the top non-fiction books of 2018).
* Mark your calendar for 2022 — this sounds amazing!


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Filed under 2018, All ages, Christmas, DC, Holidays, Maryland, Seasonal, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend, Winter