Tag Archives: Flower Mart

Spring Flowers & Year-Round Attractions at the National Cathedral

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There are certain weekends throughout the year that you can count on being packed with awesome annual events. On one hand, that’s a great thing — who doesn’t love having their pick of terrific things to do? On the other hand, it’s frustrating, because you have to pick, and opting for one means you’re missing out on the others.

The first weekend of May presented just that scenario. There was the Around the World Embassy Tour, Flower Mart, Glen Echo Family Day, Cheverly Truck Touch, and Space Day among many other fun happenings. And for us, between the kids’ sports and a baby shower taking up most of Saturday, it was practically impossible to make it to any of them.

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Except for one. Flower Mart, the National Cathedral’s annual spring family festival, also takes place on Friday. And as luck would have it, the kids were off from school that day, so we made a plan to spend it at one of Washington’s premiere seasonal events.

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Both the National Cathedral and the public benefit from Flower Mart. Funds raised help maintain WNC’s beautiful grounds and gardens, and those who attend the event get to enjoy tons of great festivities and exhibitions. Spread out around the grounds are plant and flower sales, plus a variety of other vendors offering everything from art and housewares to accessories and handmade children’s clothes to tasty treats and gourmet foods. You can browse a used book sale, take the kids on a carousel, and see a puppet show. Food trucks and stands make lunch and snacks easy. And inside the Cathedral, there are gorgeous flower displays contributed by the embassies.

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There’s a whole Children’s Area with carnival rides and games, with something for all ages — moon bounce, inflatable slide, whirly rides, bungee jumps, a climbing wall, and more. Tickets are cheap, though some of the lines can be slow-going, but the kids generally had a blast there.

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On top of all this, there are the National Cathedral’s permanent attractions that visitors are welcome to explore. You can view the magnificent interiors — both guided and self-guided tours are available. Stained glass windows and gargoyles are especially interesting for kids. The observation gallery on the seventh floor also showcases interesting architectural designs and stunning birds-eye views of DC. On that same level, “Though the Earth Be Moved” exhibit reveals the impact of the 2011 earthquake on the Cathedral, displaying large chunks that broke off from the tower and illustrations detailing how it happened.

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Outside, the grounds also make for a nice stroll. The Bishop’s Garden is lovely and includes plants found in medieval gardens, that are native to the area, and some referenced by the Bible. And nearby is a statue of George Washington and Olmsted Woods & Pilgrim Way.

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And while you’re there, take the kids to the Beauvoir School playground. A short walk behind the Cathedral along 34th Street, it’s open to the public when school is not in session. With several great wooden climbing and sliding structures, swings, a kid-size basketball court, a small soccer pitch, and…drumroll…a ZIPLINE, it’s a nice addition to a National Cathedral visit, but can easily make for its own fantastic outing.

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There’s even more at the National Cathedral especially for children, including a scavenger hunt and a scaled down chapel, that you can read more about on the website. And there are many programs and special events open to the public throughout the year — see the calendar for details.

The Washington National Cathedral is located at 3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW. It’s accessible by car and public transportation (Metro & bus). Hours are 10am – 5:30pm Monday – Friday, 10am – 4:30pm Saturday, and services are 8am – 5pm Sunday. Admission is $12/adult, $8/ages 5-17, free for 4 and under. Tour times vary, so be sure to check schedules if you plan to take one.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Outdoor, Play, Seasonal, Spring, Weekdays, Weekend

Trains, Flora, and Mom Rule this Weekend

My two favorite gifts

If you’re still making plans for this weekend’s honoree and looking for fun activities for the kids, this round-up has you covered. There are several events happening over the next few days that will have the whole family feeling like it’s their special day. But the best gift we moms can ask for are happy kids (and spa packages are always awesome, too). Happy Weekend!  And a very Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!

All Aboard for National Train DayIf you’ve got a young train enthusiast in your midst, then head to Union Station on Saturday for the 4th Annual National Train Day. From 11am – 4pm, guests of all ages can enjoy and experience a variety of train-related fun, including live entertainment, interactive and educational exhibits, kids’ activities, model train displays and tours of Amtrak equipment, freight and commuter trains, and notable private railroad cars.  Read more about it in this post from earlier this week.

Go Postal for TrainsFor some extra locomotive fun, chug on over to the National Postal Museum, where even more National Train Day activities will take place, also from 11am – 4pm. Relating to its “Moving the Mail” exhibit, the celebration will include hands-on fun for the whole family. Guests can speed-sort mail, watch model trains, toot a train whistle, make a stamp collection, and more. The National Postal Museum is located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue NW, and the event will take place in the Museum Atrium.

Cheverly Truck TouchOver 20 vehicles will be on display this Saturday from 10am – 2pm for young motorists-in-the-making to explore. Children can sit in the driver’s seat of a cement truck, honk the horn of a dump truck, run around inside the trailer of an 18-wheeler, check out a race car, stand on the back of a garbage truck, blare a police car siren the siren, “drive” a fire truck, and much more. And the fun doesn’t end with the wheels—there will also be a small ride-on train, games geared just for little ones, face painting, concessions, balloons, and T-shirts for sale. Admission is just $5 for ages 1-12 (under 1 and over 12 are free!) and includes 4 game. The event will be held in the Cheverly United Methodist Church parking lot. Read this post for more information.

FlowermartThe annual spring festival at the National Cathedral will take place on Friday 10am – 6pm and 10am – 5pm. While plant sales, floral and horticultural displays, and boutique booths will be of more interest to grown-ups, there will also be tasty foods, music and entertainment, rides on the antique carousel, and other fun activities to delight kids as well. Admission is free.  Proceeds from other sales benefit the Cathedral’s gardens, grounds and woodlands.

Garden Fest – The Kaupt Garden at the Smithsonian Castle will be buzzing on Friday from 11am – 1pm and Saturday from 11am – 3pm  as Garden Fest connects people and plants through educational demonstrations and engaging hands-on fun. Kids will dig plant-inspired art activities, a stilt walker, tattoo station, and live music by Cuttin’ Grass. Adults can enjoy the same, plus floricultural demos, gardening book sales and signings, orchid displays, and many other plant and gardening exhibits. The event is from 10am – 4pm. Admission is free.

Shortcut to Europe Avoid the steep airfare and jet lag, and explore The Continent from this side of the pond.  Passport DC invites you to join European Union embassies and the EU Delegation for a day of international food, dancing, kids entertainment, exhibitions, vacation planning, and more. Get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the embassies, some of which are among Washington’s historic and architectural treasures. This all takes place this Saturday from 10am – 4pm. Free shuttle bus service will be available throughout the day, and many embassies are convenient to Metro for walking. Admission is free, but bring identification, as some embassies will conduct security checks.

Mother’s Day at Mount VernonJoin the “Mother of Our Country,” Martha Washington, and her granddaughter “Nelly” as they celebrate this special weekend with visitors. On Saturday and Sunday from 8am – 5pm, enjoy “Lady Washington’s” reminiscences of motherhood and her sage advice to her youngest granddaughter. The event is included with admission—$15/adults, $14/seniors, $7/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under.

Potomac Bonsai Festival  – Celebrate the tiny trees at one of the prettiest places in the city Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9am – 5pm.  There will be bonsai activities to entertain everyone, from the interested observer to the accomplished artist. Each day features demonstrations, exhibits, children’s activities, Asian food vendors, and the renowned collections of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum.

Ride & Putt at WatkinsThe antique carousel, train, and mini golf course at Watkins Regional Park open for the season starting Saturday.  Hours through Memorial Day will be 10am-3pm Thursday and Fridays, and 12-5pm on weekends.  After that, it will be open every day but Monday (with the exception of Memorial Day) with longer hours.  For more about Watkins, read this post from last year, which ironically is about the closing of the park’s rides for the season.

Space Day – Have some out-of-this-world fun at the Air & Space Museum on the Mall on Saturday.  Guests will have the chance to meet astronauts and space experts, communicate with the International Space Station, learn how to build a flyable model rocket, build a mock space station out of recycled materials, create an astronaut paper doll, design a mission patch, and enjoy more cool astro-related activities. The free event runs from 10am – 3pm.

Joanie Leeds on the Millennium StageJoin the artist of the 2010 Parents’ Choice® Gold Award-winning album, I’m a Rock Star, as she celebrate the releae of her new album, What a Zoo!, with a performance on the Kennedy Center’s Milliennum Stageon Saturday at 6pm. Joanie Leeds and her band, The Nightlights, will make their Washington, DC, debut with a FREE rocking family show. If you haven’t heard Joanie’s music, go take a listen on her website—it’s easy to see why her poppy sound and fun lyrics strike a chord with kids. The concert is part of The Kennedy Center’s daily Free Performance series.

Let Them Entertain You – A variety of performances will be on local stages this weekend, from puppet shows at Glen Echo to plays at Ford’s and Adventure Theatres to concerts at Jammin’ Java and the Kennedy Center. For details on what and who is playing where, see this post from a couple months ago and this one from a few days ago.

Savor the SunshineIt looks like we’re in for some perfect spring weather for at least part of the weekend. Go indulge in it with the help of this list of the best places in the DC area to enjoy a beautiful day outdoors with the kids.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Trains, Union Station, Weekend

This Weekend, Mom Has Dibs

On this very special of weekends, there are several kid ventures that moms will enjoy just as much as their babes. (For the stuff that’s geared toward little ones, let dad take the helm, while you go get a mani-pedi.) Here’s a quick run-down of this weekend’s family fun. And to all the moms: Happy Mother’s Day!

National Train Day
Get on board for the 3rd Annual National Train Day. Saturday, May 8, Amtrak is celebrating with a day full of events for train enthusiasts of all ages. From 11am – 4pm, there will be exhibits, activities, and live entertainment throughout Union Station.

Flower Mart
Do some pre-Mother’s Day celebrating with the kids at Flower Mart, an annual spring festival to benefit the gardens and grounds of Washington National Cathedral. There will be plenty for both children and grown-ups to enjoy: an antique carousel, live music, puppet shows, plant & book sales, rides & games, delicious food, and more. This free event is happening Friday, May 7, 10am – 6pm and Saturday, May 8, 10am – 5pm.

EU Embassies Open House
Channel your inner Clark Griswold with this European tour! On Saturday, May 8, Cultural Tourism DC presents “Shortcut to Europe” as part of Passport DC, a month-long celebration of international culture and heritage. Join the Embassies of the European Union for a day of music & dance, art exhibits, childrens activities, food & drink tastings, and more. (Come on, you know you want to don some lederhosen and dance with the best of ’em!) Free shuttle buses with two routes will drop visitors off at various embassies. Visit the website for a full schedule of events.

Garden Fest
The Smithsonian Castle will be buzzing this Saturday, May 8, as Garden Fest brings people and plants together for an annual celebration. Kids will dig the insect release, plant-inspired art activities, stilt walker, tattoo station, and live music by the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra. Adults can enjoy the same, plus floricultural demos, gardening book sales and signings, orchid displays, and many other plant and gardening exhibits. The event is from 10am – 4pm. Admission is free.

Space Day
If the National Air & Space Museum ranks high on your kid’s list of favorite places, then take note: Saturday, May 8, is Space Day at the museum. Guests will have the chance to meet astronauts and space experts, communicate with the International Space Station, learn how to build a flyable model rocket, create Lego s…pacecraft, design a satellite, and enjoy more cool astro-related activities. The free event runs from 10am – 3pm.

Truck Touch Silver Spring
If you couldn’t make it to Truck Touch in Cheverly last weekend, you can get in on it this Saturday, May 8, at Silver Spring Nursery School. Construction vehicles, a fire engine, motorcycle, recycling truck, the Book Mobile and more cool vehicles will be open for exploration from 10am – 1pm. Food, live entertainment, facepainting, crafts, and a book fair will also be part of the fun. Admission is $3, kids under 2 are free.

Babies, the Movie
Babies, the documentary that follows the first year of four infants from different parts of the globe, opens this weekend, just in time for Mother’s Day. The E Street Cinema is having a Special Rattle and Reel Screening (babies welcome!) on Saturday, May 8, at 10:30am.

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