Discover Native American culture at the National Museum of the American Indian
Monday – Take advantage of the 70-degree sunny day at River Farm. The American Horticulture Society’s headquarters overlooking the Potomac River in Alexandria are as lovely as they are fun. Little ones will have a blast playing in the delightful Children’s Garden, and you’ll all love exploring the grounds. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. And for more places to opt outside, check out The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids.
Tuesday – Discover Native American culture at the National Museum of the American Indian through a variety of exhibits and hands-on activities. Check out kayaks and canoes and totem poles in the stunning atrium, then head upstairs to the imagiNATIONS space especially for kids. Weave a big basket, play in a teepee, do some arts & crafts, hear bird calls of the wild, read kids books in the library, and much more. Plan on lunch or a snack in the Mitsitam Cafe, where you can enjoy the indigenous cuisines of the Americas. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, imagiNATIONs 10am – 4pm. Admission is free.
Wednesday – Learn about the area’s wildlife, enjoy hands-on activities in the Nature Center, take a hike, and visit horses at Rock Creek Park. The Nature Center is open Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm, and admission is free. There are nearby trails for walks in the woods. You can also visit the equine residents at the nearby Horse Center — guests are welcome to stop by the stables, though pony rides are not offered this time of year. Read more about Rock Creek Park in this KFDC post.
Thursday – Catch a performance of The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats at Adventure Theatre. Showtimes are at 10am and 12pm, and tickets are $20.50. If weather permits, stay at Glen Eco Park to let the kids romp on the playground after the show.
Friday – Roam free at the enchanting gardens of Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown while you still can — the no entry fee period ends after March 14! The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm, but you can play at nearby Montrose Park, where admission is also free, or grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand. I promise, it’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit.
Take advantage of warmer temps on a hike at Huntley Meadows
Monday – Spend the warmer day outdoors at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Look for little creatures — turtles, frogs, fish, and birds are practically guaranteed wildlife sightings — as you hike the woods and wetlands. Be sure to stop in the Visitors Center, where there are several interactive exhibits about the surrounding environment. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Bring little ones for fun early arts enrichment activities with Washington Revels — they can explore some of the parts and pieces that make up Revels traditions in the Revels Play Space. The session runs 10-11am at their studio space located at 531 Dale Drive in Silver Spring. Admission is free, but a Goodwill donation is requested.
Wednesday – Play the nice day away at Clemyjontri. The sprawling, vibrantly colored playground in McLean, VA, accommodates kids of all abilities with all kinds of climbing structures, swings, and other apparatuses that encourage activity and imagination. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.
Thursday – Visit the brand new National Children’s Museum! Located within the Ronald Reagan Building, the venue is full of STEAM-inspired exhibits that are fun, engaging, and educational for kids. It’s geared toward children up to age 12, and there are spaces especially for really little ones. Hours are 9:30am – 4:30pm, and admission is $10.95. Reserve tickets in advance online.
Friday – Take budding scientists to a special story hour with Author Laura Gehl. She’s bringing her latest board books, Baby Paleontologist and Baby Botanist, to Scrawl Books in Reston. The Baby Scientist books introduce scientific concepts to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in an entertaining and accessible way. With props, songs, stories, and games, there will be fun for all future scientists! The session is at 10:30am, and admission is free.
Monday – Enjoy a quintessential winter activity and go ice skating! It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the season, and there are rinks located all around the area. Several offer push aids to help newbie skaters, and most are located in places with even more to do beyond the ice. This post has details for all of them.
Tuesday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden, where it kind of feels like pulling a fast one on the weather gods. Explore the different plant collections as you walk amid tropical rainforest, desert, and woodland flora. Take a stroll through the lovely National Garden outside if it’s not too rainy. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here.
Wednesday – Catch a performance of Mouse on the Move at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE. The interactive show recommended for ages 1-5 is also part of the annual INTERSECTIONS Festival. Showtime is 10am, and tickets are $15. Plan to grab lunch at one of many nearby eateries after.
Thursday – Explore an off-the-beaten path gem: The U.S. Navy Museum. Located on base in the Navy Yard, 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.
Friday – Head out to Calvert County to Annmarie Sculpture Garden for artsy adventures. Tour beautiful works, both indoors and out, play in the Fairy Lolly, and create some of your own art with inspiration from all you see there. The grounds are lovely all year ’round, just bundle up to roam around. Trust me, it’s worth the drive out there. Hours are 9am – 5pm in the gardens, 10am – 5pm at the arts center. Admission is $5/adult, $3/ages 6-17, free for 5 and under.
Tuesday – Explore the intriguing world of espionage at the International Spy Museum! It’s a great place to take kids on February Break from school. The new location at L’Enfant Plaza is fantastic, with exhibits that are engaging for both kids and adults, including state-of-the-art multimedia installations and tons of fun and interesting interactives. Hours are 10am – 6pm. 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.
Wednesday – Get outside and get a glimpse of the past on the Potomac at Fort Washington Park. Kids (and adults) will love seeing the cannons and historic remnants of the old fort within the grounds along the river. Hours are 8am – sunset. Admission is $10/vehicle.
Thursday – Head to a local go-to for fun and educational recreation: The National Air & Space Museum! It’s filled literally floor-to-ceiling with fascinating exhibits and amazing artifacts from of flight and space. For some hands-on explorations, stop in the fantastic “How Things Fly” gallery with loads of cool interactive stations or head to the “Go Fly Zone” and take a “ride” in a flight simulator. And the Flights of Fancy story time for little ones begins at 11am with a flight-themed reading and activity. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free (flight simulators are extra).
Friday – Cap off the week with some active fun at The St. James, massive the sports, wellness, and entertainment facility in Springfield, VA. The Super, Awesome, and Amazing activity center is full of climbing structures, obstacle courses, and bouncy areas for all ages, and the indoor interactive waterpark is a blast for everyone from toddlers to teens to adults, too! Admission to each is $15 before 3pm, $23 after 3pm. Hours are 9am – 10pm Friday & Saturday (9am – 9pm Sunday – Thursday).
* For more ideas for things to do during the DCPS February Break check out the Everyday Play page.