My recommendations for family recreation this weekend hinge on one sort of major detail: the potential government shutdown. There is a good chance many scheduled events will be postponed or even canceled altogether because of federal agency furloughs and museum closures. So, I’m just going to list the events that will definitely be “on” first with the “maybe” picks to follow. No matter the outcome of today’s talks at the Capitol, you’ll find ways to have a good time with the kids. Happy Weekend!
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade – The mac daddy of cherry blossom festivities is happening on Saturday no matter what, according to the Washington Post Breaking News Blog. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel from 7th to 17th Streets. (Note: the route will likely be shortened this year, so I will post an update as soon as I hear more.) The parade begins at 10am and lasts about two hours. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $17, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early to get a good view.
Sakura Matsuri – Immediately following the parade, many folks head right over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. Stretching down six city blocks from 9th to 14th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, there will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, a Children’s Corner with storytelling, origami, Japanese games, calligraphy, and more. Festivities go on until 6pm, and there is a $5 charge for adults (free for children under 12).
See a LEGO Master at Work – On Saturday and Sunday, the master behind the National Building Museum’s “LEGO® Architecture” exhibit will be in the Great Hall constructing a new piece – the White House! — for the collection. And you’re invited to watch it happen. See this post from a couple of weeks ago for details.
Boogie Down at Eastern Market – Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom Festival with the Boogie Babes! The Festival’s Music of Spring program includes a Children’s Stage at the Market’s North Hall where some of Boogie Babes’ regular performers will entertain kids throughout the day. On the schedule: Saturday – 10:30am John Henry, The Guitar Playing Man 1:30pm Crash Chord, 4pm The Singing Lizard. Sunday -10:30am Bridgette with Dawn on Bongos, 1:30pm Bridgette with Dawn on Bongos, 4pm Groovy Nate. Suggested $10/family for the performer.
Picnic, Play, & Planes – Have you been to Gravelly Point, the small park along the GW Parkway next to Ronald Reagan Airport? I just recommended it a few weekends ago, but am bringing it into the mix again because Sunday will be a great day to go. The beautiful spot along the river is nice place to spread out a picnic, people watch, and kick around a soccer ball — if you really like airplanes. I have to warn about this one: it’s hit or miss with kids (and adults, for that matter). The park is located just beyond the airport runway, so planes take off or land (depending on which way they are going that day) literally right overhead. That’s the hit or miss part — it’s loud and potentially scary for those who don’t like the looks of a plane coming right at them, but quite exciting for those that love a thrill.
Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Marshmallow Harvest – Start your Easter celebration a little early at Great Country Farms. The Loudoun County working farm well known for its u-pick produce and seasonal celebrations its holding is annual Egg Hunt and Marshmallow Harvest this weekend. Along with the main festivities, admission ($10/kids, $12/adults) grants access to loads of fun on the farm. For details, see this post from yesterday.
Good News – The Newseum is turning 3 and to celebrate, tickets will be buy one, get one free this weekend. This is a good opportunity to check out the museum dedicated to all things media if you’ve never been, since there’s a good chance most of the city’s other museums will be closed.
Au Pair Cultural Fair – Are you curious about au pairs as a childcare option? On Saturday, Au Pair in America invites families to their Cultural Fair at Glen Echo Park to learn more about their programs. It’s a family affair with an afternoon of fun activities for all ages. For more info, see this post from a few days ago.
See Becks Bend It – Put a little sports action into your weekend at a soccer match on Saturday evening. The DC United is taking on the LA Galaxy – yes, the David Beckham will be in the house! Tickets are still available for the 7:30pm game. Visit the DC United website to purchase online.
Show Time – Several productions will be on stages this weekend, including George and Martha – Tons of Fun opening at Imagination Stage tomorrow and Synetic Theater’s The Magic Paintbrush, which has been so successful, they are doing two weeks of encore performances. For info on tickets and more live entertainment in town, see this post on spring shows in the area.
Everyone’s Playground – Enjoy one of the best playgrounds in the area. If you have young children, and you haven’t been to Clemyjontri Park, I highly recommend taking them there. Since the park is privately funded, it will be open this weekend. The play possibilities there will seem endless to little ones. And the beautiful fairytale-themed carousel is now open for the season. Read more about the Clemyjontri in this post from last summer.
Blossom Kite Festival – Rescheduled for Sunday after being postponed due to inclement weather, this is definitely one of the most anticipated events this weekend. And to think there is a very good chance it will be canceled again! If the Festival does, indeed, happen on Sunday, it’s going to be great – the weather forecast is looking ideal for kite-flying, and there is sure to be a celebratory spirit — along with the kites — in the air.
White House Garden Tours – This weekend is your chance to enjoy spring at the White House — and you don’t need to win a lottery to do it. The annual Spring Garden and Grounds Tours are being held on Saturday and Sunday. And gaining admission to the event is as easy as picking up tickets the day of. For more details and info on how to get tickets, see this post from last week.
Born to Be Wild 3D – This heart-warming film about the bond between humans and animals opens at the Johnson IMAX Theater today. Documenting orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them, this is a movie all ages will adore. My longer review will come soon, but the short of it is that I highly recommended taking your kids to see it. For a longer description of the film, see this post from last week (note: the giveaway has ended). Tickets are $9. You can see the film on Friday, but the Natural History Museum, where the Johnson IMAX is located, might be closed this weekend.
Earth Day Family Celebration – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! On Saturday, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will teach guests how to turn their trash into artwork they’ll treasure. Artist David Edgar will show kids how to make fantastic creatures out of yogurt cartons and musician Billy B. will be on stage to help rock the planet! This free event runs from 11:30am – 3pm.
Super Science Saturday: How Things Fly – Head to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on Saturday for a day of aero fun. Through demonstrations and hands-on activities, visitors of all ages will become immersed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics related to aviation and space exploration. The event runs from 10am – 3pm. Parking is $15, but admission is free.