Monday – Discover a DC “secret” in Upper Northwest. Amid a small wooded area at Palisades Park is The Glass Forest, a stunning collection of sculptures made from natural and scrap materials — it’s truly a must-see! Be sure to make time to romp on the park’s playground while you’re there. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Reach new heights of fun at ClimbZone in Laurel, Md. Kids and adults will have a blast scaling the many colorful, whimsically-themed walls at the new indoor climbing center. Hours are 10am – 9pm (10am – 8pm other weekdays). Admission is $25/ages 6 and up, $12/5 and under for a three-hour session.
Wednesday – Roam the exquisite gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm (closing at 6pm), but you can play at nearby Montrose Park, grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand, or have some spray fun at Georgetown Waterfront Park. It’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit. Admission to Dumbarton is $8/adults, $5/children, and there’s never an entry fee at Montrose or the Waterfront Park.
Thursday – Explore the high Potomac “seas” on a Boomerang Family Treasure Hunt Cruise. During the pirate adventure, you’ll help recover stolen treasure from scallywags who pilfered the ship’s booty. A couple of times are available several days a week. Cost is $20/passenger, but Goldstar and Certifikid often have ticket deals available.
Friday – Take a hike at Great Falls. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you can’t go wrong. Enjoy spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center (there’s one on each side) to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. The park is open 7am – dark, the Visitors Centers 10am – 4pm. Admission is $5/car.
Monday – Spend what’s expected to be a scorcher of a day in a super cool place: The U.S. Navy Museum. Located on the Navy base in southeast DC, it’s a trove of fascinating exhibits. See an amazing collection of model ships, peer into a real periscope, sit in the gun seats of old fighter planes, view naval artifacts hundreds of years old, and much more. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free. Be sure to note requirements for access to the base and museum.
Wednesday – Wander, play, and relax at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria. Be sure to stop in the Horticultural Center and pick up instructions for a kids’ scavenger hunt to add some extra fun to the outing. Hours are 9am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.
Thursday – Take a little time trip through Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. The Inner Harbor attraction highlights the trades and people that helped build the port city through exhibits that showcase relics from the past and recreate various industry environments. Hours are 10am – 4pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Admission is $12/adult, $7/ages 7-12, free for 6 and under.
Friday – Go see goats grazing in the graveyard. That’s right, a herd of 30 goats will be hanging out at Congressional Cemetery August 6-20 to help with grounds maintenance by eating vines, poison ivy, ground cover, and even fallen debris, while also “depositing” fertilizer. But the goats aren’t the only reason to go; Congressional Cemetery is a beautiful and historic spot in the District, the final resting place of many famous folks, including J. Edgar Hoover, John Philip Sousa, and Choctaw Chief Push-ma-ta-ha. The cemetery is open dawn to dusk. Admission is free.
Monday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden — one of our very favorite places in the city — where there’s plenty to enjoy both outdoors and in. Little ones kids can flex their green thumbs in the newly renovated outdoor Children’s Garden. Get to the root of things in the Exposed exhibit. Tour the plant collections, and be sure to stop in the “Plants in Culture” exhibit where you can sniff the aromas of various plants and learn about their everyday uses. Outside in the National Garden, stroll among the roses and other plants, run through the grass, sit in the small amphitheater, and relax by the fountain. Pack lunch to eat at one of several tables there. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here.
Tuesday – Glimpse the past on the Potomac at Fort Washington Park. Kids will love seeing the cannons and other historic sights there. Grounds are open are 8am – sunset, buildings 9am – 4pm. Admission is $5/vehicle.
Wednesday – Beat the heat in the cool comfort of a movie, a heavily discounted one! The Regal Summer Movie Express presents family films for just $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday at participating theaters during the summer. See what’s playing at a theater near you — there are two movie choices every week.
Thursday – Devise a plan to visit the International Spy Museum, where you and the kids can go undercover to explore the intriguing world of espionage. Hours are 9am – 7pm. Regular admission is $21.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-11, free for 6 and under, but you can find a discount on adult tickets here.
Friday – Head on down to the 4-H fair! Running July 30 – August 2, the first couple of days of the 67th 4-H Fairfax Fair & Carnival will feature rides, amusements, farm fun, and treats. Held at Frying Pan Farm Park, hours are 10am – 3pm both days and 5-10pm on Friday as well. (There are even more activities through the weekend!) Carnival ride tickets are $1 or 24 for $20 (most ride take 3-5). Unlimited carnival ride tickets are $18 if you buy online by July 28, and $25 day-of, and you can get a $5 off unlimited rides coupon here.
Monday – Take advantage of Tots Playtime at Pinstripes in Georgetown. From 10am – 12pm most weekdays, ALL kids can bowl for just $5, and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult)! Stay after for lunch — they have a kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too.
Tuesday – Head to the National Mall for a close-up look of Out of Many One, a grand landscape portrait by Cuban American urban artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada. Located between the World War II and Lincoln Memorials, you can walk through for an interactive experience or get a bird’s eye view from the Washington Monument.
Wednesday – Say “oui!” to a free French storytime with Bonjour Mama! Monthly sessions take place 10-10:30am in the Kensington Row Bookshop (3786 Howard Ave. in Kensington, Md).
Thursday – Jump the morning away at Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield, Va. This bouncy nirvana hosts Kid Flight sessions for children 46″ tall & under from 10am – 12pm Monday through Friday. Admission is $10/hour.
Friday – Enjoy the start of autumn hues on the trail at Riverbend Park. Make that your starting point on a 2-mile hike to Great Falls, where you can take in magnificent vistas, visit the nature center, and have a picnic. Or just wander around Riverbend and enjoy the Visitor Center and views there. Park hours are 7am to dusk, Visitor Center 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.
Monday – Attend the very first storytime at the National Postal Museum! The brand new program will be held the first Monday of every month from 10:30-11am and will include an activity, book, song, and gallery self-guide as well as free time afterwards in the museum’s education space. While it’s recommended for children 2-3 years old, older children will still enjoy the exhibits, many interactive, that are great for all ages. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Visit ponies, cows, peacocks, chickens, bunnies, and llamas at Old Maryland Farm in Watkins Regional Park. When you’re done, or if weather isn’t conducive to outdoor fun, head over to the Watkins Nature Center. Admission is free to both. The farm is open 9am – 4pm Tuesday – Friday (9am – 4:30pm on Saturdays, 11:30am – 4:30pm on Sundays and holidays) and the Nature Center is open 8:30am – 5pm Monday – Saturday (11am – 4pm on Sunday.) Admission to both is free.
Wednesday – Take the kids to play amid the lovely wooded setting of Cabin John Regional Park. They can climb, swing, jump, slide, and run on the sprawling Adventure Playland. Unfortunately, the Miniature Train is closed (though opening on October 11 as the “Eye Spy” Halloween Train on weekends only), but the playground alone has plenty to keep children happy. Bring along food for a picnic — there are several tables to eat on, or you can spread out a blanket in a nearby grassy area. Admission is free.
Thursday – Explore the grounds and play in the gardens, particularly the Children’s Garden, at River Farm. The American Horticulture Society’s headquarters overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria are as lovely as they are fun. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
Friday – Catch a performance of Stuart Little , Adventure Theatre’s latest production for all ages. Showtime is 10:30am. Tickets are $19.