Feeding the peacocks during a birthday party at Old Maryland Farm
Monday – Enjoy a special Earth Day session of Story Time for Families at the National Museum of the American Indian. Join staff at 11:15am in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center on the 3rd floor to hear the story When the Shadbush Blooms, about the Lenni Lenape, a Native community from the Chesapeake region. These interactive Hok-noth-da (“Did you hear?” in the Shawnee language) readings usually take place Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, but they’ve added another one this week. Plan to spend time before or after exploring the many hands-on exhibits in the center geared toward children. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Visit ponies, donkeys, peacocks, chickens, bunnies, and llamas at Old Maryland Farm in Watkins Regional Park. When you’re done, head over to the nearby playground to let the kids climb and swing. 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 if you live in DC, don’t forget to vote in the special election!
Wednesday – It’s Kids Day at Lebanese Taverna in Arlington. Enjoy free children’s entertainment every Wednesday from 10-11am. And stay after for a tasty bite to eat!
Thursday – See some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. The colorful, quirky works — some of them interactive — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & children 7 and up, free for ages 6 and under
Friday – Get a dose of nature in an unexpected place at Winkler Botanical Preserve. Located just off 395 and Seminary Road in Alexandria, the park is a nice outdoor surprise in an area full of office complexes and strip malls. Hours are 8:30am – 4pm, and admission is free.
Enjoying the outdoors from a warm, comfy place at Watkins Nature Center.
Our museums will be full of special events this weekend — good timing, as a blast of chilly weather is on its way (to be followed by a heat wave, I’m sure). For some off the Mall activities, there’s a health & fitness expo, several children’s theatre shows, a building workshop, free fun at CHAW, and plenty of mainstay pursuits all around the DC-metro. Happy Weekend!
Art Class at the National Gallery – One of my favorite museum programs for kids begins this weekend and will offer weekly classes throughout the winter. This Sunday, you can drop in for Stories in Art, a workshop designed for kids ages 4-7, to learn about Henri Matisse through storytelling, discussion, and an art project. The hour-long classes are free, and no registration is required, but there is a limit to the number of children in each class. Sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am on Sundays, and will continue until all spaces are filled in each of the four time slots at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm. There is also a Family Workshop for kids ages 8-11 that is already full (but you can get on the waitlist here.) See this post for more information about both, as well as Artful Conversations, a class for older children that will take place starting next week.
Build & Grow at Lowe’s – Kids can be the kings (& queens) of their castles at the home improvement store this weekend. Lowe’s hosts free bimonthly workshops for kids, and the first of 2012 is this Saturday at 10am. During this session, the store will provide castle building kits and guidance on putting it together, along with other to take home. Go here to find your local Lowe’s and register for the workshop.
In Theatres Near You – Local stages will be full of kids’ entertainment this weekend. Catch Encore Stage & Studio’s Darius the Dragon & Rap-Punzel (read the KFDC review) before curtains close on Sunday. See a performance at Glen Echo — Peter & the Wolf is at The Puppet Co. and The Snowy Day at Adventure Theatre. Enjoy a Teddy Bear Concert at the Kennedy Center. Get more details about these shows and more in this post about winter entertainment.
Native Storytelling Festival – The weekend-long festival at the National Museum of the American Indian sounds like a special treat for Twihards, and a fun, fascinating activity for non-fans, too. Celebrating the exhibit Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves, Chris Morganroth, a Quileute elder, will tell traditional stories geared towards kids and families. He’ll also give an introduction to Quileute culture and discuss how the tribe is presented in the popular Twilight books and movies. Along with storytelling, there will be pow wow dances, drumming, and a totem pole unveiling. While you’re at the museum, be sure to check out imagiNATIONS, the family activity center full of interactive fun for kids.
To the Mountaintops – All weekend long, the National Museum of American History will honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with a stirring and inspirational tribute. Actor Xavier Carnegie presents selections from some of Dr. King’s most powerful and compelling speeches and sermons in a combination of live performance, historic photographs, and audio recordings. Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the multitude of others who struggled and sacrificed so that this nation might become a more perfect union. The free presentation will take place Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 11am, 1pm, 2:30pm, and 4pm in the museum’s Flag Hall, 2nd floor.
NCM Honors MLK– In recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the National Children’s Museum Launch Zone is hosting a program honoring his life and accomplishments. Make your own I Have A Dream…Catcher and participate in their “Valentines for Veterans” service project in recognition of Dr. King’s commitment to service. Drop in from 11am – 4pm for this free event.
Health & Fitness Expo – NBC’s annual exposition will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center. There will be free health screenings, exercise and dance demos, opportunities to test out new sports, meet and greets with a couple of The Biggest Loser winners, giveaways, plus activities especially for kids. Young guests can be a meteorologist, test their skills at a Bike Safety Pavilion, score a goal at a soccer area, reach for the top of a climbing wall, show off some dance moves, learn some yoga, and more. Admission to the expo is free, and it’s open both Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 5pm. The Convention Center is located at 901 Mount Vernon Place, NW, and the expo takes place in halls B & C. Metered street parking and garages are nearby, and you can take the Metro’s yellow line to the Mount Vernon/th St-Convention Center station.
Stories and Art at the Portrait Gallery – On Saturday from 2-4pm, children ages 5 and up, with an accompanying adult, can explore portraiture in depth at the National Portrait Gallery. Participants will take a brief guided tour of the exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories, listen to a children’s story or short gallery talk, then create a piece of art using some of the same materials or concepts. The session is free, but registration is required. On Sunday, drop in for Portrait Story Days from 2-5pm for a story about Gertrude Stein and a related art project (no registration necessary).
CHAW Gratis – The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is continuing it 40th anniversary celebration with freebies galore. In the family-friendly vein this weekend, there is a mural painting recommended for ages 5-12 from 10am-12pm on Saturday – sign up online. There are also two concerts the whole brood can enjoy, the All Points West Chamber Music Ensemble at 11am and Bokamoso Youth in Performance at 6pm. More details for all three activities are available on the CHAW website.
The Wright Stuff – It’s Super Science Saturday, the monthly program at the Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles. There will be demonstrations and hands-on activities that immerse children in science and technology topics related to aviation and space exploration. January’s theme is From the Wright Brothers to the Right Stuff.
Fee-Free at National Parks – In honor of MLK Day, all National Parks that usually charge entrance fees will waive admission from Saturday through Monday. It might be on the chilly side for a hike, but perhaps perfect for a scenic drive through Shenandoah or the George Washington National Forest.
Monday – Start the week with some magic and laughs as The Great Zucchini performs his weekly show at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Va. The fun begins at 10:30am, and tickets can be purchased at the door ($5/person). Read more about his popular act and see the line-up of weekday children’s entertainment at the venue here.
Tuesday – Bounce on over to the Prince George’s Sport and Learning Complex in Landover, Md., for open play in the Gymnastics Center. Kids can spring on trampolines, climb rope ladders, walk balance beams, roll around on soft mats, and jump, swing, and slide into a big foam pit. The hour-long session begins at 11:30am. Admission is $6/child.
Wednesday – Visit the furry and feathery residents of Watkins Regional Park at Old Maryland Farm in Upper Marlboro, Md. Horses, llamas, rabbits, geese, peacocks, and cows are some of the animals you can see. In the case of foul weather, head to the Watkins Nature Center instead to see a variety of creatures and critters. Admission to both is free.
Thursday – Discover American Indian culture through a variety of hands-on pursuits at imagiNATIONS, the family activity center at the National Museum of the American Indian located on the National Mall just across the street from the Air & Space Museum. Weave a big basket, build an igloo, play in a teepee and models of native dwellings, and much more. See this post for more details about the space.
Friday – It’s opening day for Peter & the Wolf at The Puppet Co. in Glen Echo Park. Be among the first audiences to see the classic tale on stage; shows will take place at 10am and 11:30am. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online or at the Box Office.
Holiday events are still running strong, and there are special museum programs and children’s shows to round out this weekend’s options for family fun. And, of course, DC’s tried and true activities are always a good bet — scroll right down the page for a slew of recommendations. Happy Weekend!
Celebrate the Season – If you’re looking for ways to embrace the holiday spirit, you have your pick: visit Santa in his workshop, drive or stroll through holiday lights, view nature and DC-inspired seasonal exhibits, see intricately constructed model train displays, experience the holidays on ICE! This guide to DC’s best holiday events has details on all of them.
Holidays on Stage – All of the classics are at our local theatres. This post has a review of The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre, and you can read my write-up of Adventure Theatre’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. For even more holiday shows, see this post for a listing of the season’s favorites.
Rockin’ Hanukkah Concert – Yosi and the Superdads play an interactive and humorous family concert filled with klezmer, rock, ska and rockin’ Hanukkah tunes at the McClean Community Center on Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $10/McLeanresidents, $15/non-residents. The show is recommended for ages 3 and up.
Elmo Makes Music – In Sesame Street Live’s latest production, everyone’s favorite red monster and his friends make their own music with instruments that they never knew existed. Join them as they share their love of music on the Patriot Center Stage now through Sunday. Tickets range from $15-50 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
Up, Up & Away – The Corcoran is hosting a Family Workshop for children ages 8-12 on Saturday from 10:30am – 12pm. Guests will discover what the average person would need on a journey to Mars in the NOW exhibition Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro: Are We There Yet? After that create a personalized jet pack using recycled materials for your own adventure into outer space.
Holidays Around the World: Christmas – Drop in at the National Children’s Museum Launch Zone on Saturday from 11am – 4pm to learn how people all over the world observe Christmas. Through a variety of activities, guests can journey to Colombia, the Philippines, and Croatia for a multi-cultural Christmas celebration. Admission is free.
Family Portraits – Learn about people who have influenced American history and culture through a variety of ongoing programs and activities offered by the National Portrait Gallery. This weekend’s subject will be Pablo Picasso in two different workshops. On Saturday from 2-4pm, kids ages 5 and up can join Facing History: Be the Artist Youth and Family Program to view portraits, hear stories, and create art. Admission if free, but registration is required. On Sunday from 2-5pm, guests of all ages can drop in for Portrait Story Days to hear a tale about Picasso and do an art project. For a fun DIY adventure at the Gallery, Portrait Discovery Kits are available on Sunday from 2-5pm. They include “Seek and Find” cards, “Portrait Detective” and “Historian Guides,” and a “Compare and Contrast” activity using a doll. Visitors can check out kits at the education center, room E151, on the first floor. Kits need to be returned prior to 4 p.m. on Saturdays or 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.
American Indian Art – Sculpture artist and painter Gregg Analla will be at the National Museum of the American Indian on Saturday from 10:30am – 12:30pm to lead a workshop on Pueblo pottery and symbolism. Recommended for kids ages 5-12, the sessions will last about an hour and welcome guests on a first-come, first-served basis. They will take place in the imagiNATIONs Activity Center, which is also a fantastic place to explore American Indian culture through a variety of interactive exhibits. Admission to both the workshop and museum is free.
And for tried and true DC pursuits, check out these links:
Several people have asked me for ideas of things to do with the kids this Friday when they’re off from school for Veterans Day. Surely, those several aren’t the only ones in need of activities to keep their broods entertained. And while the latest Where to Play on the Weekdays post recommends the Boogie Babes show at the Atlas, that’s really more for the sippy cup set than the grade school and older crew. With that in mind, I’ve a compiled some suggestions to help you make the most of the day, including pursuits that acknowledge its significance.
Arlington National Cemetery – The National Veterans Day Ceremony begins at 11am with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries.
Mount Vernon Salutes Veterans – Special activities at George Washington’s former estate include a wreath laying ceremony and patriotic community concerts along with the regular tours and programs. All active duty, former, and retired military personnel will be admitted free-of-charge. Otherwise, admission is $15/adults, $7/ages 6-11, free for children 5 and under.
imagiNATIONS – Explore the new activity center at the National Museum of the American Indian. Kids of all ages can enjoy activities that include igloo building, basket weaving, Wii skateboarding, and interactive games. Read more about it in this KFDC post.
International Spy Museum – Kids about ages 8 and up will likely enjoy exploring the intriguing world of espionage. Many interactive exhibits that require a good amount of reading might be too much for younger children. Admission is $18/adults, $15/ages 5-11, but Goldstar is currently offering tickets for just $9.
Family Jump Time – Get your bounce on at Pump it Up in Lanham, where they are hosting two hours of open play on their giant, soft, interactive inflatables from 12-2pm. The $10.95/child includes admission, two slices of pizza, and a drink. Parents play for free.
Take it Outside – You might have to bundle up a bit, but you should be able to enjoy some fun under the sun on Friday. Take a water taxi ride from National Harbor to Old Town (or vice versa), roam the ground at Brookside Gardens, look for turtles and frogs at Huntley Meadows, or enjoy free admission to a National Park during the last fee-free weekend 2011. Read about all of these outdoor pursuits and many more here.