Tag Archives: Kid-Friendly Things to Do in DC

Check It Out: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library


We had a lot going on this summer, so I wasn’t quick to post about the some of the share-worthy things we did.  And by that I mean I’m a good couple of months behind on a few of them.  But as summer break has come to an end for us — yup, the kids are already back in school — I’m ready to write about those places and pursuits that are way overdue for a feature.

In the spirit of the school year beginning, I’m starting with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Penn Quarter — because school and libraries are a natural connection and because it’s an A+ of a place for all ages — kids and adults — to enjoy. (Spoiler alert: It has an awesome slide!)

Walking up the beautiful sculptural staircase

The building underwent a major, three-year renovation that was completed in 2020, and the result is an inviting, innovative, architecturally interesting, even playful space.   (And while it reopened in September 2020, its offerings were very limited and mostly virtual for the following year.  So, it’s really only been welcoming visitors to fully enjoy it for about a year now.)

Watching a video in the exhibit area

Sasha was actually the first to tell me how awesome the MLK Library is since its renovation.  She and her friends would often go there after school last year to study and hang out.  Yes, hang out at the library.  (And let me digress a bit here… Something pretty great about my kids getting older in regards to KFDC is that now, they sometimes let me know about new, cool things to do around town.  As they’ve become more independent and explore DC with their friends and sans me, they occasionally discover places or new ways of experiencing familiar ones.)

So, it was actually Sasha who took me on my first tour of the newly renovated space earlier this summer when we popped in after running some errands nearby. I was so impressed by both the library itself and how well she knew her way around it all!

The Alma Thomas Teen Space

The vibrant, spacious Children’s Library

MLK Library is so much more than your typical library.  Not only is it much larger and more modern than other DC public libraries, there are features and amenities you won’t find at them either.  Along with books to browse and check out for all ages and from all genres, there is a cafe, an entire exhibit space, study and meeting rooms, a large auditorium, a recording studio, a gorgeous rooftop terrace, and what little ones will love most: a SLIDE in the Children’s section to zip down.

A must-do (for all ages!)

The gorgeous rooftop

Viewing all of it, I completely understood why Sasha and her friends spent so much time there.  They took advantage of the study rooms to prepare for upcoming tests or do homework together, but would also just go to grab a snack at the cafe or sit on the rooftop to hang and enjoy a nice afternoon and great city views.  I was also happy to see she was familiar with the multimedia exhibit area, with videos and displays about DC history and culture, the Civil Rights movement, the mission for statehood, and more.

An exhibit on Statehood

And then there’s the space itself, which is open and airy with interesting architectural elements and clever design touches, like the beautiful winding staircase, unique light fixtures, and great art, like the MLK mural spanning the wall space behind the Information Desk that you see when you enter the building into the Great Hall.  Just going to take a tour of it all would be an activity in itself (essentially, it was for us when we visited).

The public is welcome to drop in anytime during open hours, and I also recommend checking the schedule to see when special programs are running.  There are story times for little ones, board games for youth, art projects for teens, talks and movies series for adults, and much more.

A bird’s eye view of Penn Quarter

Ready to go check it out? A few KFDC Tips first:
* Take public transportation if possible, as parking can be difficult. Gallery Place (Red/Yellow/Green) is the closest stop. Metrobus runs nearby, too.
* The American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery are right across 9th Street, and the National Building Museum is a short stroll away, so you can make a longer day of it in the Penn Quarter neighborhood.
* The Library is surrounded by restaurants, if you want to include a meal with your outing.
* If you don’t have a library card, you can apply for one here (and you don’t have to live in DC to get one.. residents if nearby MD and VA counties can apply, too).

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library
Where: Penn Quarter, DC
When: Mon – Fri, 10am – 8pm | Fri-Sat, 10am – 6pm | Sun, 1-5pm
Admission: Free


A view of the American Art Museum


Snag a seat in the fresh air


Perfect for homework and test prep


Marianne’s Cafe


Seating and reading in the Great Hall

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Filed under DC, Weekdays, Weekend

Review: Dino Safari at National Harbor

[Note:  This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom to two young children.]

Looking for a getaway without actually getting away? Consider an excursion over to DC’s National Harbor for a dinosaur safari overlooking the scenic marina. For us, it was just the escape we needed from the daily playground scene.

Dino Safari, running now through April 11, brings prehistoric times to pandemic times, offering a drive-thru, no-contact yet immersive experience for you and your little ones. You may be familiar with these Jurassic Park-inspired attractions, which feature life-size animatronic dinosaurs. Dino Safari is unique in its “Passport to Pangea” theme, transporting you through all seven continents — which were formerly one supercontinent, Pangea, in dinosaur times.

Upon arrival, you’ll be handed your passport, instructed to enable your in-car audio, and given an “egg” to keep warm for T. Rex. Then off you go on your self-guided journey, soon learning everything you never knew you didn’t know about dinosaurs. Each continent brings its own story and featured dinosaur types — from the Spinosaurus in Africa, to the Hadrosaur in Antarctica. The history lesson is detailed enough to impress a dinosaur buff, and the roars and tail whips are captivating enough for a two-year-old.

My preschool aged kids are not as into dinosaurs like some of their peers, but even they were engaged the entire time, heads out the windows and sun roof. They love recounting the outcome of their egg assignment, and my daughter is very proud of her new paleontologist knowledge.

Afterwards, they were roaring with excitement to head down to the waterfront where they spied The Capital Wheel and DCA airplanes flying from afar.

Dino Safari at National Harbor
Where: 29B Waterfront Street | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Now through April 11
Hours: Mon – Thurs, 12pm-8pm; Fri – Sun, 9am-9pm
Admission: $49.95/vehicle (up to 7 occupants); $59.95/large vehicle (8+ occupants)
Purchase Tickets Here  


KFDC Tips:
* We arrived at 12:30pm on a weekday and with no wait, it took us about 30-45 minutes to complete the safari. However, the set-up may be more exciting to view at night.
* Dino Safari is recommended for all ages, and there is certainly much for all ages to learn, but it will have more appeal for elementary school age kids and younger.
* To add to the educational experience, watch this introductory video.
* Make the Harbor part of your visit, either before or after the safari. There are dozens of restaurants and shops, a waterfront full of seagulls and geese, and The Carousel is expected to open again this weekend, March 27. Read more about all of it here.



Filed under 2021, All ages, DC, Social Distancing, Special Event, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Giveaway: Go on a Dino Safari at National Harbor this Spring!


Grab a prehistoric passport this spring break and join over 40 giant moving dinosaurs on a globetrotting expedition at Dino Safari, a completely drive-thru dino adventure for the whole family! Get up-close-and-personal with the most fascinating prehistoric creatures from the mighty T. rex of North America to the giant amphibious Spinosaurus from Africa while you learn how dinosaurs evolved over time, where on earth they lived, and the discoveries paleontologists have made about how they ate, moved and behaved.

Beware: Along the journey, earthquakes might erupt, dinosaurs could battle, and your family might just have to help save a baby dinosaur’s life! So buckle up for the spring break of a lifetime in this completely COVID-safe experience!

Dino Safari is coming to National Harbor March 18 through April 11.  Tickets are $49.95/vehicle (up to 7 occupants), $59.95/larger vehicle. Use the discount code KIDDC5 to receive $5 off your ticket!

For more information and tickets, visit DinoSafari.com!


* * * * *

[This giveaway has ended!]

Giveaway:  Five KFDC readers can win tickets to Dino Safari!  For a chance to win, simply leave a comment below telling me what activity you’re most looking forward to this spring.  Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too! This giveaway will run through Tuesday, March 16, 2021, then winners will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


This post is sponsored by Dino Safari, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.




Filed under DC