(Note: There was a correction to the Water Skiing Santa info. It will take place on Thursday, December 24, not Friday as originally posted.)
Monday – Skate under the sky before the weather takes a wet turn! Enjoy art as you glide at the Sculpture Garden; circle the rink at Washington Harbour; meander the paths at Canal Park; or do some holiday shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. Several local rinks offer push aides to help newbie skaters. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area, including bonus activities to enjoy while you’re there.
Tuesday – Go bowling! It’s a perfect activity for what’s expected to be a rainy day. Take advantage of Tots Playtime at Pinstripes in Georgetown. From 10am – 12pm on weekdays, ALL kids can bowl for $5 ($5/shoe rental) and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult)! Eat while you bowl or stay after for lunch — they have a good kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too.
Thursday – Bounce on over to Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield for a super fun jump session. On Christmas Eve they are offering buy one get one free admission. Be sure to check the schedule, as times vary by age. And admission varies by time and age, but starts at $11. I recommend buying tickets and filling out waivers in advance to avoid lines when you get there. You can also watch Santa have some fun before his big night out, as he water skis his way up the Potomac along with knee boarding reindeer, flying elves, the jet-skiing Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman in a dinghy! You can view it all for free from the waterfront in Old Town Alexandria starting at 1pm sharp – the best viewing spots will be from King to Prince Streets.
Monday – See an art show full of special works at the Hemp Hill Carroll Square Gallery in Chinatown. Presented by Tracy’s Kids Art Therapy Program, a non-profit that does art therapy with pediatric oncology patients, Who We Are showcases art created by the kids they help. This was recommended to me by a KFDC reader who is an art therapist for the organization, and I think it sounds wonderful. The Gallery is located at 975 F Street NW. Hours are 8am – 6pm. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Hike the woods and wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Look for little creatures along the way and stop to take in some gorgeous vistas. Bring along food for a picnic, or plan to grab a bite before or after — though it doesn’t feel like it while you’re there, the park is located close to a busy area with plenty of dining options. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.
Wednesday – Do some shopping, enjoy a little live entertainment, and treat yourselves to some tasty eats at the Downtown Holiday Market. It’s like a little village in the heart of the city, where you can find all kinds of unique gifts, plus there will be live music from 12-2pm and 5-7pm. Make the most of your outing and pop into the National Portrait Gallery & American Art Museum, which are practically a backdrop for the market.
Friday – Visit Season’s Greenings, the U.S. Botanic Garden’s annual holiday exhibit on a weekday when the crowds thin out. See Pollination Station, the adorably whimsical model train display, easily one of the best around. Stroll the festively adorned conservatory and admire replicas of DC landmarks built entirely from plant materials. Be sure to pick up a plant scavenger hunt at the front desk for some fun as you tour the rest of the gardens. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Experience the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Along with festive model train displays, the event features tons of fun and activities for kids. Admission is $18/adults, $12/ages 2-12. Hours are 10am – 4pm Monday – Saturday (11am -4pm Sunday).
Wednesday – Choose between to cool events happening the same day: The grand opening of Wegmans Wonderplace, the first gallery on the National Mall designed for children 0-6! The 1,700-square-foot center, located in the American History Museum’s Innovation Wing, will provide the youngest historians with age-appropriate activities and experiences over the next 20 years. Opening day festivities from 10am – 3pm will include a meet-n-greet with “Walkaround Elmo” from Sesame Street; music and dancing with Coach, Williebob, and Boogie Bennie of the ever popular band Rocknoceros; cooking demos for kids and adults; face painting; balloon art, and more. There is also Winternational at Ronald Reagan Building. The lively midday celebration of international culture, travel, tourism, and trade takes place from 11am – 2pm. Admission to both events is free.
Thursday – See a holiday stage favorite on strings as The Puppet Co. presents The Nutcracker. Showtime is 10:30am. Tickets are $10. Plan to stay at Glen Echo Park after the show for a picnic and playtime — should be great weather for it!
Friday – Explore the beautiful grounds and cathedral of the Franciscan Monastery in Brookland. A DC “secret” to many, the “Oasis of Peace” welcomes visitors to stroll through the gardens and tour the church. Hours are 10am – 4:45pm. Admission is free.
Monday – Play the rainy day away at The Magic Ground! The new space just opened above the Columbia Heights Target. While we haven’t been yet, a KFDC reader told me that “it’s the exact place to bring your energetic-need-to-get-out-of-the-house-kiddos.” Hours are 8am – 8:30pm Monday – Thursday (9am – 10pm Saturday & 9am – 8pm Sunday), Admission is $10/hour or $15/all day.
Tuesday – Head to DC’s big train station to check out the little trains. Union Station’s annual Holiday Train Show is back in the West Hall, featuring an elaborate Norwegian mountain landscape. After (or before), grab a bite to eat or pop over to the Postal Museum next door for more fun. You can also go in the evening for the annual tree lighting, where Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski wil do the honors, the Norwegian Embassy will provide refreshments, The Carolers of Greater Washington will perform, and Santa will be on hand with presents for kids. Admission is free.
Wednesday – Let little ones bounce, climb, swing, tumble, and slide at the PG Sports & Learning Complex Gymnastics Center. The hour-long open play session begins at 11:30am, and admission is $6/child. (This also takes place on Tuesday at the same time.)
Friday – Take an autumn hike at Great Falls. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you can’t go wrong. Enjoy spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center (there’s one on each side) to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. The park is open 7am – dark, the Visitors Centers 10am – 4pm. Admission is $10/car, $5/person walking in.
Monday – Let little ones burn some energy during an open gym session at Sport Bounce of Loundon, where a massive roomful of giant inflatables is a blast for kids. Open gym time is 10am – 1pm, and admission is $10/ages 2 and up, $6/18-23 months. And while open gym occurs every weekday, the time varies, so be sure to check the schedule if you go a different day.
Tuesday – Discover American Indian culture with all kinds of hands-on pursuits at imagiNATIONS, the family activity center at the National Museum of the American Indian. Weave a big basket, play in a teepee and models of native dwellings, do some arts & crafts, hear bird calls of the wild, read kids books in the library, and much more. Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm. Admission is free.
Wednesday – Go over the rainbow and beyond at Watkins Regional Park. The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will keep kids frolicking for hours. While you’re there, stop by Old Maryland Farm to visit the animals and the Watkins Nature Center to view some cool creatures and birds. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 10am – 5:30pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free.
Thursday – Get out for some pre- or post feast fun — this post has a bunch of ideas for activities on the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!