Tag Archives: Fun Things to do with Kids in Northern Virginia

Live Entertainment on DC Area Stages this Spring

Lots of great entertainment at the Kennedy Center, including FREE Millennium Stage events


Ready for a new season of entertainment?  Here is what’s currently on and coming to local stages this spring, plus links to any discount tickets.  Happy Show-Going!

Inside Out and Backwards
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Through March 31
Tickets: $19.50

It’s bedtime, and two children use their imaginations to turn their room inside out, into a wonderland of mess! While playing dress-up, a glove becomes a dancing fish, a shirt becomes a fantastical creature, and a sock dance rocks the closet! Recommended for ages 1-4.

Junie B. Jones, The Musical
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Through March 30
Tickets: $25

It is Junie B.’s first day of first grade, and a lot of things have changed for her: Junie’s friend, Lucille, does not want to be her best pal anymore and, on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Also, Junie has trouble reading the blackboard and her teacher, Mr. Scary, thinks she may need glasses. Throw in a friendly cafeteria lady, a kickball tournament and a “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal,” and first grade has never been more exciting. Featuring a tremendously loveable character and fun-filled songs, Junie B. Jones will capture your audience members’ hearts just as the books captivated an entire generation of students.

Cinderella: A Salsa Fairytale
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Through April 5
Tickets: $12+
A bilingual Cinderella with a twist that kids will love! What will happen to Cinderella at the ball … game? That’s the surprising question in this contemporary Latin-American Cinderella musical that weaves subtle lessons on empathy, sportsmanship, and respect into an exciting, high-stakes story. An Imagination Stage original that broke new ground in bilingual children’s theatre. Recommended for ages 5+.

Little Shop of Horrors
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through May 18
Tickets: $41-77 (find discount)
Come down to Skid Row for a non-stop blast, sci-fi horror comedy, love story and rock musical that has become one of the most treasured pieces of American musical theatre. Recommended for ages 13+.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Wednesdays – Sundays, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free performances Wednesday – Sunday at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to film screenings to comedy shows to opera scenes. This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment. Just be sure to reserve tickets in advance!

Unknown Soldier
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: March 29 – May 5
Tickets: $56-95 (look for discount)

Cleaning out her grandmother’s home, Ellen Rabinowitz discovers a mysterious photograph of a soldier, tucked away in a box of keepsakes. And so begins this sweeping, heartfelt musical about one woman’s journey to unearth the secrets buried in her family’s past. Spanning three generations, Unknown Soldier unravels a delicate tangle of family lore, as Ellen chases the extraordinary story that unlocks her history—and charts her future.

Romeo & Juliet (Synetic Teen Production
Where: Synetic Theater | Crystal City, VA
When: April 3-6
Tickets: $30-50

Since its initial production in 2008, Synetic Theater’s wordless retelling of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has entranced audiences throughout the DC Metro region with its sinewy grace and heartbreaking expressiveness. The production has also served as wonderful trading ground for the teen company to learn Synetic’s unique art form through performing one of its seminal pieces. This has the added benefit of lending a true authenticity to the play, as Shakespeare’s original characters are themselves adolescents. So even without words, with Synetic’s Romeo and Juliet, you’re seeing Shakespeare’s play in a way it was truly meant to be seen.

Off the Page
Where: Theater on the Run | Arlington, VA
Where: The Lyceum | Alexandria, VA
When: April 5 – May 11
Tickets: $10

Arts on the Horizon presentsthis show for little theatre goers… The magic of books can transport us to new worlds! When an imaginative young child dives into a book, the stories come to life around them. Through dance, music, puppetry, and vibrant imagery, this world premiere production will use an immersive design to unfold around the audience. Watch a new world come to life right before your eyes! Catch at two theatres, plus other locations as it tours the area.

Star Wars: The Force Awaken in Concert
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: April 5
Tickets: $23-100

Experience the film on the big screen as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs the score live on stage. Thirty years after the defeat of the Empire, Luke Skywalker has vanished and a new threat has risen: The First Order, led by the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke and his dark side enforcer, Kylo Ren. General Leia Organa’s military force, the Resistance—and unlikely heroes brought together by fate—are the galaxy’s only hope at thwarting a new reign of evil. The film features a new score composed by five-time Academy Award-winning composer John Williams.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: String Thing
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 6-7
Tickets: $20

This daring double act of classical fun is BACK. National Symphony Orchestra musicians—bassist Paul DeNola and violinist Heather LeDoux Green—introduce young audiences to some of the greatest music ever written. You’ll never hear a word out of them during the concert, but with instruments in hand and a trunk full of gags, this “silent” comedic tag-team presents a hilarious program of music and mayhem. Recommended for ages 3+.

Mutts Gone Nuts
Where: Hylton Center for Performing Arts | VA
When: April 6 & 7, 11am & 2pm
Tickets: $15

Canines and comedy collide in Mutts Gone Nuts in a show that includes some of the most talented dogs in the world doing barrel tricks, dancing, magic, and jump rope routines! The talented lineup even includes a Guinness World Record holder for the highest jump by a dog, a world champion frisbee dog, comedian Jonathan Burns, and more! Recommended for all ages.

Peter Pan
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: April 9-21
Tickets: $44-139 (look for a deal)
This high-flying musical has been thrilling audiences of all ages for close to 70 years and is now being brought back to life in a new adaptation. The adventure begins when Peter Pan and his mischievous sidekick, Tinker Bell, visit the bedroom of the Darling children late one night. With a sprinkle of fairy dust and a few happy thoughts, the children are taken on a magical journey they will never forget.

Where: Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: April 9 – May 5
Tickets: Mostly sold out, look for resale tix

Shakespeare Theatre Company present this classic starring Ralph Fiennes… Blood will have blood. Unbridled ambition, supernatural forces, and murderous desires reign supreme in Shakespeare’s most poetic examination of evil. When three witches tell Macbeth that he will become King of Scotland, he plots with his wife to attain the title through an assassination; a bloody act that gives him his crown and sends him careening down the path of his own undoing. A thrilling account of how our minds deceive us and how a guilty conscience can undo us all. Recommended for teens and older.

Message In A Bottle
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 9-21
Tickets: $45-105 (look for discount)

Message In A Bottle is a spectacular new dance-theatre show inspired by and set to the iconic hits of Sting.The peaceful village of Bebko is alive with joyous celebrations. Suddenly, under attack, everything changes forever. Three siblings, Leto, Mati, and Tana, must embark on perilous journeys in order to survive. Recommended for ages 12+.

Mother Earth & Me
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: April 9, 11, 12, 25, 26
Tickets: $3-8

The magic of earth science takes center stage in this fun, interactive Discovery Theater original. Explore the origins of our planet, sing about the water cycle, and understand our vital role to protect the ecosystem. Science and folklore about the “big blue marble” we call home kick off Earth Month, and audiences become Earth Superheroes and take home some great ideas to start right away! Recommended for ages 5-10.

Islander: A New Musical
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: April 11-28
Tickets: $55-91

Islander tells a modern myth featuring two actors who use live mixing and looping technology to create a sonic landscape as dramatic as the Scottish coastline. Eilidh is the only child on Kinnan Island, where most of the dwindling population has moved to the “Big Land.” The government has proposed to resettle the rest, and the town must vote soon on whether or not to accept the offer. But the day after a baby whale beaches itself, Eilidh discovers a young girl named Arran along the shore, who seems straight out of Scottish folklore. As the two form a friendship, Islander takes audiences on a magical journey to transcend loss, recover hope, and find community. Rated G for all families.

Chicks in Heaven
Where: Creative Cauldron | Falls Church, VA
When: April 11-28
Tickets: $20-45

When four friends come together in a rural southwest Virginia town for a reunion, it’s a happy gathering filled with remembrance and ritual. But when some religious crusaders stage a book-burning, and a local boy sets fire to one of the friend’s van, their friendship is tested. Can the same magical activism that forged their early feminist bonds bring them together now to fight patriarchy and racism, at a time when the fight is needed most? A “Bold New Voices” premiere that celebrates the resilient power of the feminine spirit. Recommended for teens and older.

Love and Information
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: April 12-14
Tickets: $12

Someone shares a forbidden secret, someone confronts their best friend, someone admires a snail. In this kaleidoscopic play, over fifty unrelated scenes flash by faster than a doomscroll as over a hundred characters strive to connect with each other, learn from one another, and look for love. Love and Information, written to be transformed into it’s own unique vision by every company that performs it, makes this production a once in a lifetime theatrical experience. Recommended for ages 11+.

Alice in Wonderland
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: April 13 – May 12
Tickets: $15

This brand new adaptation based on the beloved children’s novel by Lewis Carroll will take the audience on a delightful journey into wonderland using rod puppets. This one-of-a-kind performance blends music and humor to create a new version of a familiar story. Recommended for ages 4+.

Swing Makes You Sing!
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 13, 11am & 1:30pm
Tickets: $20

On a mission to uplift, connect, and spread the joy of jazz, Swing Makes You Sing! is an award-winning jazz concert for kids ages 2 to 102 by Svetlana & the New York Collective. The critically acclaimed ensemble explores key elements of jazz in an engaging, historically grounded way, featuring virtuoso musical performance, exciting storytelling, and energizing movement. Recommended for ages 7+.

Jacqueline Woodson’s Block Party!
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 13, 1-4pm
Tickets: Free

This Kennedy Center Block Party is hosted by Education Artist-in-Residence and award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson! Free performances, fun-filled games, and various activities will take place on the REACH grounds all afternoon, featuring artists with roots in the DC area.

The Okee Dokee Brothers
Where: GMU Center for the Arts | Fairfax, VA
When: April 21, 10:30am & 1pm
Tickets: $15

The Okee Dokee Brothers infuse bluegrass music and playful lyrics with an interest in the great outdoors, hoping to spark a desire in children to explore their surroundings and imaginations. Recommended for ages 3-8.

Tot Rock: Groovy Nate
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: April 23-25
Tickets: $3-8

Get your young ones ready to dance with Groovy Nate and his interactive mix of comedy, music, and puppets. This performance encourages kids and families to move, sing, and play together creatively with many instruments and musical genres. Recommended for ages 3-6.

The Illusionists
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 23-28, 1-4pm
Tickets: $45-149 (look for discount)

The world’s biggest-selling magic show has played hundreds of cities, spawned two TV specials, and shattered box office records across the globe, dazzling audiences of all ages with a powerful mix of the most outrageous and astonishing acts ever seen on stage. This nonstop show is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions featuring the jaw-dropping talents of the most incredible illusionists on earth. Recommended for ages 7+.

Sing Down the Moon: Appalachian Wonder Tales
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: April 26 – May 26
Tickets: $25
Journey into the Appalachian Mountains in this award-winning musical that deftly weaves four traditional tales and original music into a keepsake quilt of mountain lore and wisdom for the whole family. Jack who lands himself a job despite his foolishness. “Catskins” is a spunky Appalachian Cinderella. “The Enchanted Tree” is a beauty-and-the-beast love story between a lost girl and a frightening crow. And in a zany, sung-through “Sow and Her Three Pigs” plucky Nancy the pig outsmarts the hungry fox. This play with music incorporates singing, mountain dances, music, and puppets to create a highly theatrical storytelling style. The score, which interweaves music throughout the tales, is inspired by “Old Time” Appalachian music featuring fiddle and banjo that drives the play’s action and makes music itself a character in the play.

Saturday Morning Live!: Off the Page
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: April 27, 9:30am & 11am
Tickets: FREE!

The National Theatre’s free program presents shows for children on select Saturday mornings, from interactive performances, puppets, dance, and music – all designed to light up imaginations and celebrate a world of wonder. This month celebrates the magic of books… they can transport us to new worlds; illustrations and entire adventures can lift right off the page. When an imaginative young child dives into a book, the stories come to life around them. Through dance, music, puppetry, and vibrant imagery, this world premiere production will literally unfold before your eyes!

Family Funday with The Great ZucchiniWhere: Hook Hall | Petworth, DC
When: April 28, 10:30am
Tickets: $5

Select Sundays at Hook Hall are all about FAMILY FUN! Bring the kiddos for entertainment in late April as The Great Zucchini, the DMV’s funniest and most magical entertainer, performs a magic show where every child is a star! Coffee and hot drinks available for purchase for the parents.

Divinity Roxx
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: May 3-5
Tickets: $20

Celebrate self-love and positivity in Divinity Roxx’s fun and empowering live show. The upbeat and sunny music is filled with powerful messages that encourage young people to become the best versions of themselves. A Grammy®-nominated musician, recording artist, and composer who has toured with Beyoncé, Divinity is praised for her ability to inspire others with her infectious grooves and memorable lyrics. Recommended for ages 5+.

Taiko Drumming
Where: Natural History Museum | National Mall, DC
When: May 9
Tickets: $3-8

BOOM! Taiko drum artist Mark Rooney mixes the traditional power of this huge instrument with a modern vibe. His interactive performance rocks the house with massive sound and energy as participants learn some fascinating musical history and Japanese vocabulary—and have a chance to try their hand at playing these big drums! Recommended for ages 5+.

Jesus Christ Superstar
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: May 17-19
Tickets: $44-139 (find discount)

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, a new mesmerizing production of the iconic musical phenomenon returns to the stage. Jesus Christ Superstar is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. Appealing to both theater audiences and concert music fans, this production pays tribute to the historic 1971 Billboard Album of the Year while creating a modern, theatrical world that is uniquely fresh and inspiring. Recommended for ages 10+.

Cirque du Soleil – Corteo
Where: Eagle Bank Arena | Fairfax, VA
When: May 17-25
Tickets: $49-169 (look for discount)

The clown Mauro envisions that his own burial will take place amid a carnival atmosphere and be attended by tender angels. The show contrasts the grand with the intimate, the silly with the tragic, and the beauty of perfection with the appeal of imperfection. It also emphasizes the strength and vulnerability of the clown as well as his knowledge and generosity to represent the aspect of humanity that exists in each of us. Corteo is guided through a timeless ceremony in which fantasy teases reality with music, which is both poetic and mischievous.

The Matchbox Magic Flute
Where: Klein THeatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: May 21 – June 16
Tickets: $35-119

A brand new theatrical adaptation of Mozart’s beloved opera. Playful and imaginative, it’s big music in a small space. This “matchbox” presentation of The Matchbox Magic Flute features a cast of 10 and an orchestra of five following the fantastic adventures of Prince Tamino and Princess Pamina. With dragons, a man who is a bird, trials by fire and water, and underground corridors, Day and Night do battle.

Long Way Down
Where: Olney Theatre
When: May 22 – June 23
Tickets: $40-70

Based o the award-winning novel by local author Jason Reynolds… Growing up, Will’s big brother taught him three iron-clad rules of how to behave when gun violence claims someone close: Don’t cry. Don’t snitch. Get revenge. So when his brother is himself gunned down, Will is determined to follow the code and gets in the elevator on the top floor of his apartment building, armed and ready to hit the streets in search of vengeance. What happens on the way down is an emotional hip-hop journey through the cycles of violence that have plagued Will’s family and too many others. Rated PG.

Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: May 25 – June 23
Tickets: $15

Celebrate 50 years of Allan Steven’s Pinocchio! A young puppet goes on a journey to become a real boy. First seen on stage at the Smithsonian Puppet Theater, we are delighted to bring the original rod-puppets back to the stage to tell Carlo Collodi’s tale. Run time approximately 50 minutes. Recommended for ages 4+.

Galapagos George with Barefoot Puppets
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: May 30-31
Tickets: $3-8

The true story of “Lonesome George,” the last tortoise to be found on Pinta Island in the Galapagos archipelago, delightfully unfolds as you watch him grow up among sea turtles, lizards, hungry goats, sea lions, and dancing birds with blue feet. This engaging and uplifting eco-fable shares an important lesson about human impact on the environment. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Where: TJ Community Center | Arlington, VA
When: May 31 – June 9
Tickets: $15/adult, $12/child (look for discount)

Encore Stage and Studio presents its signature theatre by kids for kids… When Rene Schwartzbuckle spots rapunzel, a turnip-like vegetable, in Witch Izwitch’s garden, she sends her husband Walt out to ‘borrow’ some. Using her diabolical henchmen, the Glumpwarts, Witch Izwitch terrorizes Walt into promising her his first-born child in exchange for his freedom. Jumping ahead to Rapunzel Schwartzbuckle’s 18th birthday, the witch and her henchmen show up and whisk poor innocent Rapunzel away to a tower deep in the forest. Can prince Llwellyn persevere over the power of evil? Join to find out in Encore’s production of Rapunzel!

International School of Music Honors Concert
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: June 14
Tickets: $58

Immerse yourself in an evening of jubilation, embracing the themes of community, unity, and the profound influence of music on their lives, as the International School of Music celebrates two decades of excellence. Experience the brilliance and remarkable talent of ISM’s students as they present an eclectic program, spanning from classical masterpieces to contemporary gems. Through solo and ensemble performances, these musicians will share their passion and skill, creating a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation.

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Valentine’s Day Activities & Events (& Dining) Around DC that Kids (& You) Will Love


Do you ❤️ celebrating Valentine’s Day with your little (and big) sweeties? If you’re looking for ways to enjoy the occasion and get ready for it, here are some ideas — with something for everyone to love.  XOXO!

Love from the Library
Where: Select DC Public Libraries
When: Through February 14
Admission: Free

Several DC Public Libraries are giving out take-home Valentine-making kits and activity packets. Stop by Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library (Feb 8 only), Takoma Park Library, or Capitol View Neighborhood Library to pick up a set for your kids.

Valentine Maker’s Market
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Lusby, MD
When: February 10, 9am – 2pm
Admission: Free

Find thoughtful and handmade gifts for all the sweeties in your life at this Valentine Maker’s Market. Shop a variety of options, including small batch chocolates, jewelry, leather goods, pottery, clothing, and much more! You will find vendors offering a wide selection of homemade, handmade, and homegrown products, all made with love. Be sure to tour the grounds, check out the Arts Center inside, and take kids to play in the Fairy Lolly while you’re there — it’s all fantastic. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture garden here and here.

Chocolate & Chicadees
Where: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens | Vienna, VA
When: February 10, 10-11am

Sip on some hot cocoa to stay warm on a winter day on this casual stroll through the garden looking for various winter resident bird species. Learn about the behavior and adaptations of several species of songbirds such as Carolina Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Hot cocoa provided. Recommended for ages 7+

Kids Workshop: Chalkboard Message Center
Where: Lowes locations aroud the area
When: Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Bring your mini-DIYer to this special Valentine’s workshop as they build a chalkboard that doubles as a vase — a gift for them or something to give a special someone. It’s the perfect way to say I Love You all year long.

Valentine’s Day Celebration
Where: Capital Clubhouse | Waldorf, MD
When: February 10, 10am – 3pm
Admission: $15/online, $20/at door

This Valentine’s Day event for families will feature workshops, cookie decorating, painting, perler beads, games, moon bounce, video games, and MORE! It is open to everyone, but families with children ages of 1-13 will enjoy it most. Purchase tickets ahead online to save $5/person!

Kids Club: Butterfly Painted Rocks
Where: Michael’s locations around the DC area
When: February 10, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Drop in a Michael’s location to do some Valentines crafting. Ahead of Valentine’s Day, make love-ly painted rocks that look like butterflies. All ages welcome, no reservations needed.

Won’t You Be My Owlentine?
Where: Potomac Overlook Regional Park | Arlington, VA
When: February 10, 1-2pm
Admission: $7

Love is in the air, and literally, for the beautiful birds of prey! Join Potomac Overlook staff as they discuss the mating habits of owls during their breeding season and get a picture with a live bird of prey! Register in advance, as space is limited. And be sure to explore the rest of the park while you’re there — it’s great for kids of all ages. Read more about Potomac Overlook in this KFDC post.

Naked at the National Gallery Scavenger Hunt (for adults)
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $24

No clothes? No problem! For the subjects of art highlighted in this Watson Adventures scavenger hunt at the National Gallery, that is. Your fully dressed team will follow clues through this esteemed museum and answer tricky, humorous questions about what you find. All of the questions involve nudity, whether you’re looking for naughty nymphs, a surfing sea monster, eye-catching codpieces, bathing beauties, the original Adonis, or shark bait named Watson (no relation, we hope).

Unshrink My Heart – Shrinky Dinks Workshop
Where: Gateway Arts Center | Brentwood, MD
When: February 10, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Make handcrafted Valentine keepsakes for your loved ones! Create original cards, jewelry, key chains, and more using shrinkable sheets of polystyrene. Staff will be on hand to assist at this FREE workshop, and each participant will receive two sheets of blank Shrinky Dinks for crafting and creating. Fun for the whole family!

Nature DIY Valentines
Where: Ellanor C. Lawrence Park | Chantilly, VA
When: February 10, 3-4pm
Admission: $10

Nothing says “I love you” more than a homemade card. Use natural materials to create your own card just in time for the holiday. Materials will be provided for cards that kids can make. Stay for a little while, or the whole time.

Nature Valentines
Where: Maydale Nature Classroom | Colesville, MD
When: February 11, 3-4pm
Admission: $7

Winter is full of celebrations. Join Montgomery County Parks to celebrate Valentine’s Day by making nature valentines. Register for one or all of these family fun activities. Recommended for ages 3-7.

Valentine’s Day Science
Where: Hidden Oaks Nature Center | Annandale, VA
When: February 13, 6-7pm
Admission: $8

Does Valentine’s Day make you think of electricity, chemistry, magnetism, candy? This year share the love with your family while we explore those topics and more with hands-on Valentine’s day science. Recommended for ages 5+.

Valentine’s Cookie Decorating
Where: Burke Lake Park | Burke, VA
When: February 13, 6-7pm
Admission: $7

Pick up an icing bag and join a naturalist in decorating your very own sugar cookies. Give the decorated cookies as gifts to friends and family members along with a personalized note. Recommended for ages 2-12. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Storytime: Color of Love
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: February 14, 10am
Admission: Free

Bring little ones to dive into the world of Simone Leigh’s art. Join the Hirshhorn to explore Overburdened with Significance by Simone Leigh, read The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López, and make your own one-of-a-kind artwork inspired by the things that make you special.

Window Shops
Where: Storefronts around Adams Morgan, DC
When: Through February 14
Admission: Free

Take a walk around Adams Morgan to see all storefront decorated especially for Valentine’s Day! The Adams Morgan Partnership BID is sponsoring a window decorating contest for all businesses facing the street. Enjoy a family outing to the neighborhood to walk around and see them all, then grab at bite at one of the many eateries there. You can also vote on your favorites through an online poll on their website from Friday, February 9, through Tuesday, February 13!

Ice Skate Date
Where: Ice rinks around the DC area
When: Through February 14
Admission: Varies by rink

If you just want to do something fun, active, and sweet with your kids, plan an ice skating date. Go to the Sculpture Garden, then enjoy photo ops by the AMOR sculpture. Glide along the Figure 8 path at Canal Park, then get a bite to eat at one of the many eateries nearby. Skate by the Potomac River at Washington Harbour, or over the Potomac at The Wharf — and both have even more to do beyond skating at their waterfront locations. Get details for all of the DC rinks, plus more in Maryland and Virginia in this post about ice skating around the DC Area.

DIY Valentines
Where: At Home
When: Whenever you have time
Admission: Just the cost of supplies

So, this is just my suggestion. One of my favorite annual programs was always the National Postal Museum’s Valentine’s Day Card Workshop, and we used to go every year. The museum would provide all kinds of supplies — pretty papers, stamps, washi tape, stickers, markers, and more — for guests to create Valentines. Everyone from families with young children to teens hanging out together to groups of adults attend, and there’s always a great sense of community as you share tables with others there to celebrate love. It’s not back again this year, but the make-your-own tradition can still continue. So, grab some artsy supplies and get creative at home — and make your loved ones’ Valentine’s Day with a personalized, creative card! And for more about the wonderful yet often overlooked Postal Museum, see this KFDC post.


Dining & Treats
The restaurant suggestions are mostly for a grown-up evening out, but the treats are for everyone.

The Bazaar
Where: 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW | Downtown DC
When: February 14
Admission: $165/person

Jose Andres’ The Bazaar is offering a Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu, which includes some of their favorite Bazaar bites and seasonal specials. Plus, elevated accents, like caviar, truffles and wagyu steak, perfect for celebrating with your special someone. And located in the beautiful Waldorf Astoria Hotel, it really can’t be beat for a romantic setting.

The Dabney
Where: 122 Blagden Alley NW | Mount Vernon Square Area, DC
When: February 14
Admission: See below
Enjoy a romantic evening of fireside dinner by Chef Jermiah Langhorne at DC’s MICHELIN-starred restaurant, The Dabney. Select from a specialty nine-course ($235/ person) or three course ($105/person) tasting menu featuring seasonal ingredients from local farmers, watermen, and purveyors. Dining Room reservations available here. Bar Area reservations here.

Iron Gate
Where: 1734 N St NW | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Now through February 18
Admission: Cost of your cocktails & meal

Easily one of the most romantic restaurants in DC, Iron Gate has brought back its Tunnel of Love pop-up for Valentine’s Day through the weekend beyond the holiday. There is a special menu with new cocktails and the carriageway bar area is adorned extra special decor. You can also opt for a table on the dining room and enjoy a fouir-course prix fixe on Valentine’s Day ($99 + $70 for wine pairings). Reservations here.

St. Anselm
Where: 1250 5th Street NE | Union Market, DC
When: February 14, 5-10
Admission: Cost of your meal

St. Anselm, which has been names one of the 8 best steakhouses in DC, has a Valentine’s Day Dinner with a few specials for the evening. Een if you don’t go for them, the food and ambience is a great place for a date night or nice family meal out anytime. They’ll deliver a meal, too.

Where: 1120 Maine Avenue | The Wharf, DC
When: February 13-14, 5-9pm
Admission: See menu

Whether celebrating friendship or your loved one, join Oficina for an unforgettable dinner featuring lobster bisque, dry-aged Roseda steak with king oyster mushroom and glazed chocolate mousse dessert. Enjoy the special 3-course dinner with a Lambrusco toast with dessert. The special menu available a la carte on the 13th and 14th.

Clyde’s Restaurant Group Locations
Where: Around DC
When: February 14
Admission: Varies by place
Valentine’s Day events and specials being are being offered by many of the establishments within Clyde’s Restaurant Group. Enjoy a Three-Course Valentine’s Day Menu at 1789. All locations of Clyde’s, Old Ebbit Grill, and The Hamilton will have special menus. The Hamilton Live has two shows celebrating love: Love Songs: TheBeatles on February 10 and Tony Sands as Frank Sinatra on February 14.

Del Mar
Where: 791 Wharf Street SW |The Wharf, DC
When: February 14
Admission: See the menu

Del Mar, Fabio Trabocchi’s celebration of Spanish seafood cuisine, will have a special Valentine’s Day dinner that includes caviar, lobster stew, and paella. The a la carte mennu will also be available.

Fiola Mare
Where: 3100 K Street NW | Georgetown, DC
When: February 14-16
Admission: See the menu

Fabio Trabocchi’s Michelin-starred Georgetown restaurant also has a special menu for the occasion that includes lobster terrine, pasta, and beef cheek.

Where: 974 Palmer Alley NW | CityCenter DC
When: February 14
Admission: $185/person (+$80 win pairings)

Enjoy a special five-course Valentine’es Day tasting menu and option wine pairing by six-time James Beard nominee Chef Amy Brandwein. Menu highlights include Monkfish Flashed In Pink Peppercorn; Tortelloni, Oyster Cream, Crunchy Oyster, Bottarga; Black Cod & Chocolate Mole; Roasted Duck, Root Vegetable Crespelle, Pomegranate, and Raspberry Tiramisu, Mascarpone Cream, Lady Fingers, Fresh Raspberries.

Immigrant Food
Where: 1701 Pennsylvania NW & Planet Word | Downtown DC
When: February 14

Immigrant Food is celebrating Valentine’s Day with some delicious, pre-fixe offerings at both their White House and Planet Word locations! At the Planet Word location, select from a global menu of aphrodisiac bites, wordplay ingredients, and love-colored dishes with their four-course meal + bites. This menu features options like “Sweet Jesus Oysters”, “Chips, Dip & Caviar,” “Tuna Poke” with candied citrus and hearts on fire greens, and a “Death Do Us Part” Tiramisu. At the White House location, opt for a different pre-fixe menu with highlights like “Chips, Dip, & Caviar” and “Tamarind BBQ Ribs.”

Valentine’s Cupcake Boutique
Where: Sprinkles | Georgetown, DC
When: Through February 14
Cost: Depends on your order

Sprinkle love to people you adore with Sprinkles Cupcakes’ special boxes just for Valentine’s Day. Options include Valentine samplers, red velevrt cookies and cupcakes, limited time raspberry chocolate ship cupcakes and cakes, and more sweet yumminess. Pre-order in advance as pick-up and delivery times will fill up fast! See Order.Sprinkles.com or visit locations for further details. Note that you can also have these shipped to faraway Valentines.

XO, Milk Bar
Where: Milk Bar | Logan Circle, DC
When: Through February 14
Cost: Depends on order

Milk Bar, the bakery that makes my favorite Birthday Cake, has special products for the holiday. Mini cakes, pies, sampler boxes, and truffles are perfect desserts for an at-home date night or family celebration. Available for pick-up or delivery.

Make-Your-Own Sweet Treats
Where: Take home from Ice Cream Jubilee | DC & VA
When: Pre-order for pick up or local delivery
Cost: $14

Craft some sweeties with your sweetie! Ice Cream Jubilee is offering a Valentine’s Day Sundae Kit especially for the holiday. It comes with two delectable pints of local ice cream in the flavors of your choosing; two delicious, fudgy brownies; and rich caramel and fudge sauce. Perfect for celebrating with your little loves, your big love, or just enjoying by yourself.


Valentine Gift Ideas
* This T-shirt.
* Kids PJ’s and more cute stuff.
* How sweet is this Valentine S’mores Kit?
* Board books that babes will love.
* An activity book especially for the special day.
* All ages will adore this LEGO set.
* Some super fly classmate Valentines.
* Spread the love with a friendship bracelet making set.
* For teens, these XO earrings or cutout hearts
* You can never go wrong with a Starbucks gift card.
* Something Comfy.
* If the way to their heart is through their stomach


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Filed under 2024, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Winter

Off the Beaten DC Path: Museums in Maryland and Northern Virginia

Checking out a display at the Calvert Marine Museum


Washington, DC, is well known for its legion of museums.  There are all the super popular venues along the National Mall as well as many off-the-beaten-path spots around other parts of the city.  And there are even more beyond the District lines that are great to explore with kids.  Here’s a round-up of museums in Maryland and Northern Virginia to add to your family’s activity mix. Happy Exploring!



Operating a control panel at the College Park Aviation Museum

College Park Aviation Museum
Where: 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive | College Park, MD
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $4/senior, $2/child

Located right next to the College Park Airport, the oldest continuously operating airport in the world, the College Park Aviation Museum, is a great place for young visitors, with eye-popping displays and lots of hands-on fun. Early airplanes are on view along with more objects to get a close-up look and learn about the history of flight. There is also a kids area where they can dress up like aviators, create flight-inspired art, and much more.  PS: Keep an eye on the runway right outside the floor-to-ceiling windows — you might see planes take off and land right there.



Glenstone’s Split Rocker sculpture blooms from May to September

Where:  12100 Glen Road | Potomac, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

This one is for the T(w)een Scene, as Glenstone requires visitors to be at least 12 years old.   The indoor/outdoor modern art museum sprawling gloriously over 300 acres in Potomac showcases modern works inside a gallery and outside around the beautiful grounds. Take advantage of the Guaranteed Entry program, which admits students and one accompanying adult without having to reserve tickets. Be sure to note that they don’t allow children under 12 at all, but it’s a wonderful place to visit with tweens and teens.



An “inside” look at the National Museum of Health and Medicine

National Museum of Health & Medicine
Where: 2500 Linden Lane | Silver Spring, MD
When: Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Originally established as the Army Medical Museum, the National Museum of Health & Medicine houses collections of medical specimens for research in military medicine and surgery. The collections are quite fascinating as they explore human anatomy, the history of medical techniques and tools, and historical exhibits like one about Abraham Lincoln that includes objects associated with his last hours of life, including bone fragments, the bullet that killed him etc. I should warn that it’s probably not best for young children or the faint of heart (read my post about it here), but if you’re into that kind of thing, it’s very compelling.



Building tube trails at he former Kid Museum space

KID Museum
Where: 3 Metro Center | Bethesda, MD
When: Sundays Open Explore, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $15/age 3+

KID Museum is all about learning through doing. Providing fun, innovative educational experiences for young makers, visitors can get hands-on with all kind of activities that encourage invention, creativity, experimentation, and discovery. Previously located on the lower level of Davis Library in North Bethesda, the museum now is in a larger space right in downtown Bethesda. There are various stations with different projects that will keep kids (and adults) engaged for awhile. It’s open to all visitors on Sundays, and workshops for different ages are offered other days of the week. Read more about KID Museum in this KFDC post.



See old street cars — and ride on them, too! (Photo: Wiki Commons)

National Capital Trolley Museum
Where: 1313 Bonifant Road | Colesville, MD
When: Days/hours vary by time of year
Admission: $10/adult, $8/child & seniors

Learn about a major part of the DC area’s history as you check out old street cars and even take a ride on one. This museum  transit systems that built and served communities across DC, Maryland, and Virginia  from 1862-1962. Check out exhibits in the Visitors Center, then climb aboard their collection of historic street cars for a ride down one mile of woodland track in Northwest Branch Park.


Whimsical works in Annmarie’s art center

Annmarie Sculpture Garden
Where: 13470 Dowell Road | Solomons, MD
When: Daily, except Christmas
Admission: $5 suggested donation
Anmmarie is more of an art center than a museum, but there are always fantastic exhibits to tour — and it’s all full of artistic delights. See beautiful works, both indoors and out, in a garden full of sculptures — some big and bold, others small and hidden — and inside the art center, where there is always beautiful and whimsical art on display.  Kiddos will love playing in the Fairy Lolly, the sweet playground outside, and creating their own art in the fantastic artLAB… and so will adults, for that matter.



The Megalodon model is one of many cool highlights at the Calvert Marine Museum

Calvert Marine Museum
Where: 14200 Solomons Island Road | Solomons, MD
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $11/adult, $6/ages 5-12, free/under 5

The Calvert Marine Museum highlights the environment and maritime history of the Chesapeake Bay. Several large scale exhibits, including display cases full of fossils and artifacts, live fish and other creatures, and a real lighthouse to tour are interesting and engaging for all ages. There are things to see both indoors and out, including beautiful scenic views. And you can bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy by the water.



Go big at the Maryland Science Center

Baltimore Museums
Where: All around Baltimore
When: Hours vary by venue
Admission: Varies by venue

Baltimore is home to so many wonderful museums, and it’s an easy 45-minute to get to most of them. Port Discovery, Maryland Science Center, American Visionary Arts Museum, Baltimore Museum of Industry, B&O Railroad Museum, Fort McHenry, National Aquarium, Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Walters Museum, are some of the of the many places that make the drive up very worthwhile.  There is a whole KFDC Guide to Exploring Baltimore with Kids that has details on all of them, plus some extra tips for eating in and exploring Charm City.


* * *



Get a close look at Discovery (photo credit: KFDC Contributor Emily Moise)

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Where: 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway | Chantilly, VA
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Discover Air & Space beyond the National Mall at the Udvar-Hazy Center out near Dulles. Some say the Chantilly arm of the museum is even cooler than its DC counterpart. Showcasing extra fascinating artifacts of flight, you can see all kinds of air and space crafts, pretend to pilot in flight simulators, get hands-on in a discovery station, and so much more.



Learn about the life of George Washington at Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Where: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Daily
Admission: $28/adult, $15/child, free/5 & under

The iconic estate of our nation’s first president covers hundreds of sprawling acres along the banks of the Potomac River. Mount Vernon offers a glimpse into the world of George Washington and life as it was in colonial times. Washington’s Mansion and many of the estate’s original structures still appear just as they did over 200 years ago. A four-acre working farm offers demonstrations of Washington’s farming practices. You can even talk with people who knew George Washington at one of the interpretive character programs. A museum features exhibits filled with hundreds of artifacts detailing the history of Mount Vernon and the legacy of the first POTUS. There are also two high-tech theatres that let you experience history in uniquely interactive ways.




Exhibits that let you get hands-on

Alexandria Archaeology Museum
Where: 105 N. Union Street | Old Town Alexandria, VA
When: Weds-Fri 10am-3pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

This one-room space within the Torpedo Factory is worth a stop if you’re visiting the art center in Old Town. Several exhibits and displays offer insight into Alexandria’s history, several letting you handle bits of artifacts and get a close look. It’s located on the third floor, and visitors are welcome to pop-in.   KFDC Tip: Plan for time to browse the many artist studios at the Torpedo Factory and head outside to the waterfront area, where you can take in the views and see boats, and there are sometimes special art installations and historic ships temporarily moored.



A historic landmark in the heart of Old Town

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
Where: 105-107 South Fairfax Street | Alexandria, VA
When: Weds-Fri, 11am-4pm, Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 1-5pm
Admission: $5/age 13+, $3/age 5-12
, $8/guided tour
The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum boasts a vast collection of herbal botanicals, hand-blown glass, and medical equipment. It also has a spectacular collection of archival materials, including journals, prescription and formula books, ledgers, orders and invoices. The museum is also a National Historic Landmark!



Visit the museum within the US Patent & Trade Office Building

National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum
Where: 600 Dulany Street | Alexandria, VA
When: Mon-Fri, 10am – 4pm | First Sat of the month, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Located in the building that houses the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is a museum all about inventions.  You can experience the past, present and future of American ingenuity as you are introduced to more than 600 world-changing Inductees/inventors and immersed in stories of passion, perseverance, and progress.



A sample of artifacts on display (Photo: Wiki Creative Commons)

National Museum of the Marine Corps
Where: 1775 Semper Fidelis Way | Triangle, VA
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Located next to Marine Corps Base Quantico, the museum is a tribute to the commitment, accomplishments, and sacrifices of U.S. Marines. Exhibits cover all the wars and include innovative technology and unique artifacts that recreate scenes and tell a story of what it’s like to be a marine in action. Tanks, aircraft, and artillery will fascinate museum-goers of all ages.



A peek inside the US Army Museum (Photo: Duane Lempke, Wiki Creative Commons)

National Museum of the U.S. Army
Where: 1775 Liberty Drive Fort | Belvoir, VA
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
Admission: Free with timed-entry tickets

Capturing over 245 years of Army history, the museum “brings to life that history in times of war and peace as told through the eyes of Soldiers. The Museum also offers educational experiences illustrating the Army’s role in building and defending our nation, humanitarian missions and technological and medical breakthroughs built on Army ingenuity.”


Are there any great museums in Maryland and Northern Virginia missing from this round-up?  Let us know in the comments!

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Live Entertainment Around the DC Area this Winter

Photo: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade (National Theatre)


As winter officially begins and cold weather sets in, plan to warm up with some entertainment indoors. There are all kinds of shows and performances to enjoy through the season, and this round-up has details on what you can see on stages and in arenas around the area.  (And keep in mind that tickets to these make for great holiday gifts!) Happy Viewing!

Holiday Entertainment
Where: Around the DC area
When: Through the holiday season
Tickets: Vary by show

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit of the season, there’s plenty of it! There are several versions of The Nutcracker, storybook classics like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Adventure Theatre and A Year with Frog and Toad at Imagination Stage. You can also catch An Irish Carol at Keegan Theatre, and enjoy Fiddler on the Roof at Olney Theatre. Get details on these shows and many, many more in the 2023 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Swept Away
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through January 14
$79-149 (find discount)
When a violent storm sinks their whaling ship off the coast of New Bedford, Mass., the four survivors face a reckoning: how far will they go to stay alive? And can they live with the consequences? With music and lyrics from The Avett Brothers (“America’s Biggest Roots Band,” Rolling Stone), whose 2004 “Mignonette” was inspired by an 1884 shipwreck and the struggle of four men to survive, Swept Away is an electrifying, soul-stirring new musical exploring how facing tragedy can open the door to forgiveness…if only we’ll let it. Recommended for teens and older.

The Tale of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish
Where: Synetic Theater | Crystal City, VA
When: Through January 7
Tickets: $25-35 (find discount)

When a kind, poor fisherman discovers a wish-granting fish, he selflessly releases the creature back into the ocean. While content with his simple life, his wife’s extravagant desires soon drive him to re-capture the magical fish and make her dreams a reality– but not without cost. Based on Alexander Pushkin’s tale, The Tale of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish weaves together themes of greed, love, and selflessness, told through Synetic’s striking imagery and expressive movement. Recommended for all ages.

Girl From The North Country
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: December 20 – January 21
Tickets: $35-185 (find discount)

Girl From The North Country is the Tony Award®–winning new musical that the Chicago Tribune declares is “a Broadway revelation!” It’s 1934 in Duluth, Minnesota. We meet a group of wayward travelers whose lives intersect in a guesthouse filled with music, life, and hope. Experience this “profoundly beautiful” production (The New York Times) brought to vivid life by an extraordinary company of actors and musicians.

Disney’s Frozen
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: December 20 – January 21
Tickets: $35-185 (find discount)

The Tony Award–nominated Broadway musical is now on tour across North America. Frozen features the songs you know and love from the original film, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters. It’s everything you want in a musical: It’s moving. It’s spectacular. And above all, it’s pure Broadway joy. Recommended for ages 6+.

As You Like It
Where: Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through January 14
Tickets: $35-119 (find discount)

Shakespeare Theatre Company presents this production of the bard’s classic… It’s the 1960s and flower power, peace, and love are in the air. The free-spirited Rosalind is exiled from court and escapes to an alternative community, where everything is possible. Mistaken identities and mixed signals come together, melding the Bard’s verse with the beloved music of The Beatles in what Vancouver Presents calls “one of the clearest renderings of As You Like It that you will ever see.” This tuneful take on Shakespeare’s romantic classic will be “a total blast” (Chicago Tribune) for the holiday season, reminding us that in times of trouble, all you need is love. Recommended for teens and older.

Jungle Discovery
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: December 26 – January 16
Tickets: $19.50

Jungle Discovery is an engaging and immersive interactive experience for children ages 3-6 and their adults. Participants enter a fantastical jungle world where they may dress up as exotic creatures and explore the beautiful flora and fauna. Led by Jungle Guides, participants may choose to play in the jungle leaves, add flowers, play with sound using a rain stick, draw on the Mirror Mural, and make a warm nest to hide in. There will be plenty of fun surprises in this multi-sensory environment. Recommended for ages 1-6.

The Other Side
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: January 13-14
Tickets: $20

Education Artist-in-Residence Jacqueline Woodson’s simple yet powerful book comes to life in an evening-length dance piece from choreographer and Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor for Dance Education Hope Boykin. Don’t miss this special return engagement of the April 2022 Kennedy Center world premiere! Recommended for ages 5+.

Batman Live in Concert
Where: Warner Theatre | Downtown DC
When: January 19
Tickets: $38-115
This is a one-of-a-kind experience that is a mixture of going to the movie theater and a concert.  Watch the film projected onto a larger-than-life screen while an orchestra plays the film score live on stage in front of you.The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being Jack Napier, a criminal who becomes a clownishly homicidal villain known as The Joker.

Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: January 19 – March 3
Tickets: $41-95

Drama Desk Award–nominated theatermaker and mentalist Vinny DePonto guides the audience on an entirely new theatrical event in which your thoughts play a leading role. A “warmly inviting, nostalgia-ridden, gem of a performance” (BroadwayWorld), Mindplay masterfully blurs the line between illusion and reality. Escape into the expansive beauty of imagination and bask in the ephemeral and surprising nature of memory. Recommended for tweens and older.

Hansel & Gretel
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: January 20 – February 18
Tickets: $15

Join the Puppet Co. this classic German fairy tale about two kids who get lost in the woods and encounter a witch. Written by Len, Patricia, and Chrisopher Piper, this version of Hansel and Gretel is over 50 years old. Our musical tale, performed using marionettes, is sure to charm you and your little ones. Directed by Danny Pushkin. Recommended for ages 4+. Run time approximately 45 minutes.

Elena Moon Park and Friends
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: January 20, 11am & 1:30pm
Tickets: $20

Take an “unhurried journey” around the globe through song! Elena Moon Park and Friends performs folk and children’s music from East and Southeast Asia, reimagined to celebrate various musical traditions, languages, styles, and stories. Recommended for ages 7+.

Books Alive
Where: Highland Elementary School | Wheaton, MD
When: January 20, 11am & January 21, 2pm
Tickets: Free

Interact Story Theatre’s continues its Family Theatre Series in the new year, kicking it off with a Family Literacy Fiesta. Artistic Director Ali Oliver-Krueger will lead kids and adults in exploring a favorite folk tale together through movement, drama, and song. Everyone’s a part of the story in this Family Arts Workshop! Best for ages 3 and up.

Finding Nemo Jr. The Musical
Where: Thomas Jeffereson Community Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: January 21 – 29
Tickets: $12-15

Encore Stage & Studio presents its signature theatre by kids for kids… This beloved story follows Marlin, an anxious and over-protective clownfish, who lives in the Great Barrier Reef with his child Nemo, who longs to explore the world beyond their anemone home. But when Nemo is captured, Marlin decides to face his fears and sets off on an epic adventure across the ocean. With the help of lovable characters such as the optimistic Dory, laid-back sea turtle Crush, and the Tank Gang, Marlin and Nemo both overcome challenges on their journey to find each other and themselves. Recommended for all ages.

Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: January 23-28
Tickets: $44-139 (find discount)
Holding onto hope when times are tough can take an awful lot of determination, and sometimes, an awful lot of determination comes in a surprisingly small package. Little Orphan Annie has reminded generations of theatergoers that sunshine is always right around the corner, and now the best-loved musical of all time is set to return in a new production – just as you remember it and just when we need it most.

tick, tick…BOOM
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: January 26 – February 4
Tickets: $59-349
Before there was RENT… there was tick, tick… BOOM!, Jonathan Larson’s explosive musical about life, death, and the necessity of art. The semi-autobiographical story follows Jon, a composer struggling to break into New York City’s theater scene. Recommended for teens and older.

Monster Jam
Where: Capitol One Arena | Downtown DC
When: January 27-28
Tickets: $25+
The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC.  Gravedigger, Magolodon, Dragon, EL Toro Loco, Raminator, Rammunition, Over Bored, and Wild Side are among the vehicular beasts that will be tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Lions of Industry, Mothers of Invention
Where: Discovery Theatre | National Mall, DC
When: February 1-2 & 27-29, 10:15am & 11:30am
Tickets: $3-8

Beauty magnate Madame C.J. Walker, agricultural chemist and “peanut man” George Washington Carver, education pioneer Booker T. Washington, and even cranky chef George Crum, who accidentally created the potato chip, all take center stage in this vibrant living-history production. This original, interactive play, written by Jacqueline E. Lawton, honors the creativity and genius of African American entrepreneurs and inventors – and inspires the achiever in all of us. Come and join a science fair of Carver’s inventions using the peanut, hear Washington’s great oratory, and be inspired by the story of the world’s first female, self-made millionaire! Recommended for ages 7-11.

Junie B. Jones, The Musical
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: February 2 – March 30
Tickets: $25

It is Junie B.’s first day of first grade, and a lot of things have changed for her: Junie’s friend, Lucille, does not want to be her best pal anymore and, on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Also, Junie has trouble reading the blackboard and her teacher, Mr. Scary, thinks she may need glasses. Throw in a friendly cafeteria lady, a kickball tournament and a “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal,” and first grade has never been more exciting. Featuring a tremendously loveable character and fun-filled songs, Junie B. Jones will capture your audience members’ hearts just as the books captivated an entire generation of students.

Paw Patrol
Where: EagleBank Arena | Fairfax, VA
When: February 2-4
Tickets: $25-185  (find discount)
X barks the spot in PAW Patrol Live! “The Great Pirate Adventure”! It’s Pirate Day in Adventure Bay, and Mayor Goodway is getting ready for a big celebration! But first, Ryder and his team of pirate pups must rescue Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern. When they do, they also discover a secret pirate treasure map! The PAW Patrol set out over land and sea to find the treasure for Mayor Goodway’s celebration before Mayor Humdinger finds it first! The pups will need all paws on deck for this pirate adventure, including some help from the newest pup … Tracker!

The Girl Who Became Legend
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: February 2-11
Tickets: $20

The town of Dustbin is known for two things: rules and dust. But one day, Raina spies a cloud in the sky—and adventure ensues with Calamity Jane, Johnny Appleseed… and a thunderstorm! Coming to the Center from ZACH Theatre in Austin, TX, this charming new folktale takes the stage, packed with spirited tunes. Recommended for ages &+.

Dancing Our Way Through Books
Where: Highland Elementary School | Wheaton, MD
When: February 10, 11am & February 11, 2pm
Tickets: Free

Join Kelly King, InterAct Story Theatre teaching artist and founder of Contradiction Dance Theatre and The Movement Movement as you explore a kid-friendly folk tale through creative movement and dance. Kids get to practice reading skills while moving, dancing, and sharing stories with families and friends. No prior dance training needed…just bring your body and get ready to move. What a fun way to dance away the winter blues! Best for ages 3 and up.

Laurie Berkner Band
Where: Gordon Center for Performing Arts | Owings Mills, MD
When: February 18, 10am & 3pm
Tickets: $$45-70

Best selling children’s music artist Laurie Berkner is returning to the DC area for two shows. A true pioneer in children’s music, beloved by generations of children and parents for over twenty years, she’ll be playing well-loved hits like “We Are the Dinosaurs” and “Victor Vito,” plus popular newer songs, like “Chipmunk At The Gas Pump” and “Waiting For The Elevator,” and even some brand new singles! Kids should plan to bring their dancing shoes and a stuffed animal (for their heads). FYI: We took a toddler Owen to one of Laurie’s shows years ago, and it was a blast!

Romeo and Juliet
Where: Synetic Theater | Crystal City, VA
When: February 10 – March 4
Tickets: $35-65 (find discount)
Set amidst the whirring gears of a giant clock, Shakespeare’s timeless tale of star-crossed lovers unfolds as a bitter family feud sends the pair on a race against an ill-fated destiny. With masterful physicality and choreography, Synetic Theater’s Romeo and Juliet presents a unique and stunningly visual interpretation of a classic story, capturing emotion with every movement. Recommended for ages 8+.

Cinderella: A Salsa Fairytale
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: February 15 – April 5
Tickets: $12+
A bilingual Cinderella with a twist that kids will love! What will happen to Cinderella at the ball … game? That’s the surprising question in this contemporary Latin-American Cinderella musical that weaves subtle lessons on empathy, sportsmanship, and respect into an exciting, high-stakes story. An Imagination Stage original that broke new ground in bilingual children’s theatre. Recommended for ages 5+.

Kofi’s African Village
Where: Discovery Theatre | National Mall, DC
When: February 21-23, 10:15am & 11:30am
Tickets: $3-8

Drummer Kofi Dennis brings the vibrant life of a West African village to the Discovery Theater stage though music, storytelling, and dance. Playing authentic instruments, the Ghanaian native leads lively call-and-response songs and games to get audiences up on their feet in a vibrant exploration of African cultural traditions. Recommended for ages 3-6.

Omnium Circus Presents I’mPossible
Where: Capitol One Center | Tysons, VA
When: February 24
Tickets: Start at $39

Aerial artists soar over the stage making your heart pound with excitement. Hilarious antics make you laugh till you cry! Featuring a diverse mosaic of brilliant performers including gravity-defying aerial acts, mind blowing contortion, unbelievable acrobatics, hysterical comedy, dazzling dancers and much more. Fun for the entire family!

Magic Mirror
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: March 2-24
Tickets: $15

Magic Mirror is back after its special 40th Anniversary run in 2023! This production was the first show founders Christopher Piper and Allan Stevens worked on as the Puppet Co. Meet Toad, a young person destined for greatness in this mash-up story with lots of familiar fairy tales! Join us on this journey of dragons, monsters, and spirits of the woods. Recommended for ages 5+. Run time approximately 50 minutes.

Through the Sunken Lands
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: March 2-17
Tickets: $20

Tim J. Lord’s radio play transforms into a heartening world premiere musical that amplifies the voice of a commonly overlooked community. Follow Artemis—a young wheelchair user who’s determined to fight to save her dying town with the help of Aunt Maggie… and a talking heron! Recommended for ages 9+.

Inside Out and Backwards
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: March 2-31
Tickets: $19.50

It’s bedtime, and two children use their imaginations to turn their room inside out, into a wonderland of mess! While playing dress-up, a glove becomes a dancing fish, a shirt becomes a fantastical creature, and a sock dance rocks the closet! Recommended for ages 1-4.

The Monster at the End of this Play
Where: Highland Elementary School | Wheaton, MD
When: March 2, 11am & March 3, 2pm
Tickets: Free

A spooky forest. A mysterious letter. The worst villains in all of Fairytale Land. What could possibly go wrong? “The Monster at the End of This Play” is a lighthearted and humorous exploration of how the things we don’t understand are not always as scary as they seem. Best for ages 4 and up.

The Book of Mormon
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: March 5-17
Tickets: $89-219 (find discount)

This outrageous musical comedy follows the adventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. With standing room only productions in London, on Broadway, and across North America, THE BOOK OF MORMON has truly become an international sensation. Contains explicit language. Recommended for teens and older.

An Electromagnetic Adventure
Where: Discovery Theatre | National Mall, DC
When: March 7-8, 10:15am & 11:30am
Tickets: $3-8

The Science Guys of Baltimore explore what brings us together and what keeps us apart—what scientists call the laws of attraction and repulsion—through the force of electromagnetism! Launch rings into the air with an electromagnetic pulse generator, test your strength in an electromagnet tug of war, and watch sparks fly with a Van de Graaff generator! This promises to be a truly shocking science show! Recommended for ages 6-11.

Little Shop of Horrors
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Pen Quarter, DC
When: March 15 – May 18
Tickets: $41-77 (find discount)
Come down to Skid Row for a non-stop blast, sci-fi horror comedy, love story and rock musical that has become one of the most treasured pieces of American musical theatre. Recommended for ages 13+.

NSO Family Concert: Music of Duke Ellington
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: March 17
Tickets: $20
Take the A-Train to a special afternoon of music paying tribute to the beloved jazz composer and bandleader! Conducted by Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, the National Symphony Orchestra performs this swinging session as part of the Kennedy Center’s season-wide Ellington 125 celebration. Recommended for ages 5+.


Do you know of any good shows coming to town that you don’t see listed here?  Let us know in the comments!

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Filed under 2023, 2024, DC, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Virginia, Winter

Make the Most of a Spin Through the New Hot Wheels Champion Experience

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise.  She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ activities around the DC area as well as products for little ones and more — see all of them here.]


The Hot Wheels Champion Experience is now open at Tysons Corner Center, offering 16,000 square feet of interactive gaming “challenges” for all ages. With a Hot Wheels-loving four-year-old, we were more than excited to get a first look at this digital, hands-on experience (emphasis on digital). If you plan to go, think Gen Z Hot Wheels and get ready to game.

Here are some ways you can make the most of your experience…


Go with Hot Wheels-type enthusiasts. My six-year-old daughter zipped through every activity in about 45 minutes and was ready to go. My four-year-old son wanted to circle through his favorite activities again. With like-minded buddies, he could have spent two hours there.


Make sure a few adults in your group are revved up to participate. Register yourself along with your kids at check-in, and jump right in with them—there are lots of spots to fill in the activity spaces. Also, the staff doesn’t provide much guidance—you’re on your own kid!


Geek out at the technology. Kids won’t bat an eye at the level of technology they are using, but the advanced gaming capabilities are what make this experience unique. There are plans to rotate the theme of the space while utilizing the existing technology.


Don’t race through the Hot Wheels Designer activity. Speaking of technology, this was some of the best. Kids can color a vehicle on paper, scan it, and then bring it to life on a touchscreen with the magic of their own finger! My daughter took her time with the details and it paid off.


Complete all 10 activities (“challenges”) and don’t forget to scan in! After completing the experience, you can view your challenge highlights on a center console. These will be emailed to you as well. Make sure kids scan their own wristband before entering every activity.

Read more FAQs here and view more of my experience here.

Hot Wheels Champion Experience
Where: Tysons Corner Center | Tysons, VA
When: Open daily with tickets available through February
Admission: starts at $25/ages 3-12 and $32/ages 13+ | free/2 and under


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Filed under 2023, 2024, Virginia, Winter