Tag Archives: Live Entertainment for Families

Where to Go & What to Do Around DC During Winter Break 2018



If you’re going to be in town over the Winter Break from school, you’ll likely be looking for activities to keep the whole gang happy (and that includes parents)! Hence, I’m bringing back this guide from last year, but with updated info and some new inspiration.

Many of these ideas are already on the blog, but sometimes a little guidance for what’s best at certain times helps. Among the recommendations are holiday activities that keep the spirit going a little longer, exhibits and shows that are hot tickets right now, outings that take advantage of the season, adventures to keep your gang active no matter what the weather, and places and experiences that kids who are in school all day can’t get to easily, and movies (an obvious one, but I’ve included quick links).

Of course, the rest of the blog is packed with suggestions if you want even more options. So, whether you’re enjoying a staycation or visiting from out of town, you should have no problem keeping the kids (and yourself!) entertained during the time off — or on, depending how you look at it. 😉 Happy Winter Break!

Holiday-Inspired Happenings

The Mansion on O gets festive for the holidays

Holiday Hunts
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Through December 31
Admission: $35

Look for special goodies found only at O Museum in The Mansion on a festive holiday treasure hunt. Both the Santa’s Elves and Chai Treasure Hunts run through December. The self-guided tour lets you explore the many fantastic themed rooms and secret doors. Bring your own shopping bags — everything is for sale! See more about this wonderfully unique DC attraction in this KFDC post.

Season’s Greenings
Where: U.S. Botanic Garden | National Mall area, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

If you haven’t yet made it to Season’s Greenings, the annual holiday exhibit at the U.S Botanic Garden, you still have time to go — and it’s one that all ages will love. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials, including a new botanical inspired Union Station. But the highlight is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s All Aboard-themed exhibit features train stations from around the U.S. — all made from plant materials, of course. Be sure to tour the rest of the plant collections while you’re there — not only are they gorgeous to view, there are some pieces from the holiday exhibit sprinkled throughout!

Magical Holiday Express
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: Through December 31
Admission: $18/adult, $17/senior, $12/age 2-12, free/B&O members


At a venue dedicated to locomotives, you know the holiday model train exhibit is going to be special. Trains are magical during the holidays, and the museum invites all aboard the B&O’s Magical Holiday Express, a spectacular celebration in the B&O Roundhouse devoted to trains of all sizes and shapes, holiday festivities, and a winter wonderland of family fun and activities. There is something to see and do every day at this annual holiday event! Be sure to look for special events like North Pole Adventures, Winter Royal Adventures, Frosty Fest, and WinterFest Wonderland on the website.

Christmas at Mount Vernon

Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Through December 31
Admission: Online – $18/adults, $9/ages 6-11, free/ 5 & under

They do it up for the holidays at George Washington’s old digs. During the day, tour the Mansion, watch historic chocolate-making demos, and meet Aladdin the Camel. FYI: Mount Vernon is open every day of the year, including Christmas and New Year’s Day!

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Through January 1
Admission: Free, though some activities cost extra

National Harbor goes all out during the holidays. ICE! might be the big attraction, but there’s also plenty to do there to warrant a visit without the frozen entertainment. Most of it takes place in the Gaylord National Resort, which is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with a spectacular glass Christmas tree, nightly tree lightings, the Potomac Express train offering rides for guests, photo ops with Santa, indoor snowfalls, fountain shows, and more. (Read about a KFDC experience there during a Christmas season past.)


Special Exhibits

Interactive digital art at the ARTECHOUSE New Nature exhibit

Feel the Pulse
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

This exhibit that recently opened at the Hirshhorn will capture your heart, kind of literally. It’s comprised of three large-scale installations that use heart rate sensors to produce audiovisual experiences from visitors’ own biometric data. It’s beautiful, thought provoking, and unlike any exhibit I’ve experienced before. With interactive elements, cool visuals, and an interesting combination of science and art, kids and adults alike will be wowed.

New Nature
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15/adult, $8/child

The newest exhibit at ARTECHOUSE invites you to experience nature in a whole new way — through a colorful digital menagerie of nature-inspired creatures and plant life. It’s full of stunning imagery and fun interactives that all ages will find delightful. Even if you don’t plan to go this weekend, plan a visit for later, and snag tickets now. And FYI: If you go Sunday through Thursday you can get a family package — 20% off an adult and child ticket.

Q?rius
Where: National Museum of Natural History | National Mall, DC
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The interactive and experiential learning space is designed for kids ages 11 and up (though some younger ages could enjoy it, too). During winter break, it opens earlier at 10am (instead of 2pm). Visitors can view up close — and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. For really little ones, there is Q?rius Jr: A Discovery Room for more age-appropriate exploring. And, of course, there’s the whole rest of the museum for everyone. Read the KFDC take on Q?rius.



#OptOutside

This year’s Light Yards installation, here thru January 4, gives new meaning to “tread lightly”

Lights On!
Where: Around the DMV
When: Evenings through
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are are a staple of the season and some continue to shine into January. Visit one of several parks or gardens (or the Zoo!) in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. While some you tour by car, others you can walk through for a truly enchanting experience. See where you can see the lights around the area.

Ready, Set…Hike!
Where: Around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

If you agree with the saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” like I do, there are no excuses for not getting outdoors during winter. And a great, easy way to do so is on a hike. Hit the trail in places with scenic views, tramp and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods and other places with the kids.

Grounds for Play
Where: Playgrounds around the DMV
When: Daily
Admission: Free

Let the kiddos burn some energy and get some fresh air at one of many awesome area playgrounds. Beauvoir, Clemyjontri, Watkins Regional Park, Hains Point,Cabin John Regional Park, Wheaton Regional Park, plus loads of DC Parks and Rec locations, and many more in NoVa and Maryland are great places to swing, climb, run, slide, romp, and even more!

Ice It Up
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

Enjoy a quintessential winter activity: Ice skating under the sky! Take in art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; glide over the Potomac on The Wharf’s cool rink; circle around Washington Harbour as you enjoy river views; meander along the Figure 8 path at Canal Park; or do some shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area.

Show Time

Step Afrika will have everyone stomping with joy!

Elf the Musical
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: Through January 6
Tickets: Start at $59 (look for a discount)

Based on the hit Will Ferrell movie, Elf the Musical has quickly entered the pantheon of holiday classics, and for good reason. This warm-hearted family musical tells the story of Buddy, a human accidentally transported to the North Pole as a baby who grows up believing himself to be an elf, despite his large size and sub-par toy-making. Upon learning the truth from Santa, Buddy journeys to New York to find his father and help the

My Father’s Dragon
Where: Synetic Theatre | Rosslyn, VA
When: December 4 – January 6
Tickets: $20

Dragons are real and imaginations soar in this wordless Family Theater Production directed and choreographed by Company Member Tori Bertocci. Adapted by Company Member Ryan Sellers, “My Father’s Dragon” is based on the book of the same name by Ruth Stiles Gannett. The story follows the adventures of Elmer Elevator as he stows away to Wild Island in an attempt to rescue a captive baby dragon. This production is a part of Synetic’s Family Theater series and is recommended for ages 5+.

Step Afrika’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: Through December 30
Tickets: $25-45

Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show is a KFDC fave! This fun, family-friendly performance will have you stomping your feet and clapping your hands to energetic beats from Step Afrika! and special guest, DJ Frosty the Snowman. The show features friendly, furry characters, plus there is pre-show instrument-making workshops, photo ops, and even a dance party. It is so much fun for both kids and adults and great entertainment even after the holiday has past!

Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Through January 6
Tickets: $25

What could be fancier than Christmas? Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, Christmas cookies with sprinkles-and who could forget the tree? After all, there is no such thing as too much tinsel. Oohlala! This year, Nancy is especially excited. After selling some of her old gowns and accessories, Nancy has enough money to buy a brand-new sparkly tree topper. She can’t wait to decorate the Christmas tree. But when things don’t turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous? Recommended for all ages.

Timbalooloo Live
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: December 26-31
Tickets: $20 (look for a deal)

Instruments speak through music in this interactive, immersive concert for young audiences. Grammy Award®–winning clarinetist and composer Oran Etkin and his band use games, stories, songs, and movement to teach children rich musical and cultural heritage. Examining sounds from Mozart to Willie Nelson to Herbie Hancock, children will explore how music is as unique and magical as their own imagination. Recommended for ages 3+.

Cinderella
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Through January 6
Tickets: $17-35

This wacky retelling of the beloved fairy tale takes Cinderella on a royal adventure complete with a wisecracking rat, evil stepsisters, and a smitten prince. When Cinderella’s stepmother forbids her from attending the ball, her fairy godmother convinces here that if the shoe fits- wear it! True love may await her if only she can put down her sword. Just the right fit for the holiday season! Recommended for ages 4+.

Miss Saigon
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through January 10
Tickets: $49-$175

Experience the acclaimed new production of the legendary musical Miss Saigon, from the creators of Les Misérables. This is the epic story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim. In a bar run by a notorious character called The Engineer, Kim meets an American G.I. in an encounter that will change their lives forever. Featuring stunning spectacle, a sensational cast, and a soaring score including Broadway hits like “Last Night of the World,” “The Movie in My Mind,” and “The Heat Is on in Saigon,” this is a theatrical event you will never forget. Recommended for ages 12+.

Indoor Action

Badlands in Rockville offers mountains of fun

Mountains of Fun
Where: Badlands | Rockville, MD
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $20/child, $12.50/toddler, $5/adult

Enjoy all kinds of indoor adventures at Badlands Play Space. From active fun to creative explorations to learning experiences to relaxation options, the facility has it all. They also have a cafe to get a bite to eat while you’re there and where adults can hang out while they watch their kids play (if kids are old enough to playon their own). Best for children about preschool age to 10.

Reach New Heights
Where: ClimbZone | Laurel, MD
When: Daily, 10am – 8pm
Admission: $25+tax ($12+tax/toddler)

The enormous facility is filled literally floor to ceiling with colorful themed climbing walls and moon bounces. Climbers can ascend Mt. Rushmore, reach the Jolly Roger on a pirate ship, conquer a game of Tetris, shimmy up a giant guitar, scale Jack’s bean stalk, negotiate a rope wall, and experience peak fun on a variety of other climbing areas.

Play in the Zone
Where: ZavaZone | Rockville, MD & Sterling, VA
When: Daily, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Starts at $19.50

Guests have their pick of fun at this indoor adventure park for ages 5-105. There are ninja courses, ropes courses, trampolines, climbing challenges, zip lines, and more under one soaring roof. Usually just open in the afternoons during the week, morning time slots will also be available during Winter Break week.

Spring Time
Where: Flight Trampoline Park | Springfield, VA
When: Daily
Admission: Starts at $11

Kids of all ages can jump, play, even flip for joy at Flight Trampoline Park. The huge space resembles a skate park, with an industrial look of exposed pipes and cinder block walls sprayed with graffiti. But where you’d find ramps, rails, and concrete to facilitate skills and tricks, there are trampolines instead. Be sure to check the schedule for any special jumping times, and buy tickets/sign waivers in advance online to avoid a line there.



See Some Sports

Cheer on our local (or visiting) teams!

Wizards
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: December 22, 28, 29 & January 2
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Wizards have a few home games over the break, so catch some exciting action on the court. They host the Phoenix Suns on December 22, Chicago Bulls on December 28, Charlotte Hornets on December 29, and the Atlanta Hawks on January 2.

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Capital One Arena, DC & Eagle Bank Arena, VA
When: December 26 & 28
Tickets: $25 and up

The Original Harlem Globetrotters are on the road for their action packed tour! A star-studded roster will have fans on the edge of their seats to witness the ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that thrills fans of all ages. Join Globetrotter stars after the game where they will stay for an autograph, photograph and high five session for fans (subject to availability).

All Caps
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: December 27 & 31, January 3
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Hockey fans can see the Caps play a couple games. The Carolina Hurricanes will be here on December 27, and the Nashville Predators on December 31.

Hoops, NCAA-Style
Where: Universities around the DMV
When: Throughout the break
Admission: Ticket prices vary

With so many universities in the area, there’s always some good college hoops action going on. Here’s where you can check out schedules and look for tickets:
University of Maryland (Go, Terps!)
George Washington University
Georgetown University
American University
Howard University
George Mason University

Museums & More DC Sights

The Newseum is full of fascinating exhibits, many of them interactive

Focus on News and Media
Where: Newseum
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $24.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-19, free for 6 and under

The museum dedicated to all things news and journalism is fascinating — and one of my personal favorites in DC. Much of the collection is better appreciated (and understood) by older children, so while they have off from school is a good time to take advantage of an outing there. Read more about the Newseum in this KFDC post. And (look for a deal) on admission!

Mission: Fun
Where: International Spy Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through December 31, 10am – 6pm (Closing after for relocation)
Admission: $21.95/adult, $14.95/age 7-11, free/6 & under

Go undercover to explore the intriguing world of espionage. Discover some the tricks of the trade, view gadgets used to keep secrets and disguises to hide identities, and learn about some of the most famous spies and their missions. Look for a deal on admission before you go!

African American History & Culture
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

This phenomenal museum is a must-see on the National Mall. Advance passes are currently unavailable, but with the kids home and open days ahead of you, it’s a good time to try for day-of admission — up to four(4) same-day timed entry passes are available online everyday starting at 6:30am until they run out. A limited number of walk-up passes are also available beginning at 1pm on weekdays. (Heads-up: The release for April 2019 passes is on Wednesday, January 2 at 9am.)

A Local & National Treasure
Where: Library of Congress
When: Monday – Saturday
Admission: Free

Explore the largest library in the world and one of DC’s most iconic attractions. Not only does the Library of Congress have a whole great space dedicated to kids, it is a trove of knowledge, art, history, and culture — and the public is welcome to enjoy it all, and for free! Open Monday through Saturday, 9am – 4:30pm.

Tour the Capitol
Where: U.S. Capitol Building | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Daily, 8:30m – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Take a tour of the U.S. Capitol! You can usually get on a guided tour day of, but even if you can’t there are still plenty of interesting exhibits and statues to see in the Visitor’s Center. A tour lasts about an hour, and includes a short film, walks through the The Rotunda and National Statuary Hall, and a peek into the Old Congress Chamber. Before you go, be sure to read these guidelines on what you can and can’t bring with you. KFDC Tip: You can walk through an underground tunnel to get to the Library of Congress and make it a bigger outing on the Hill. (Note: Tours will not be available while the government shutdown is in effect.)

Abe’s Last Days
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Daily, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free – $3

Ford’s isn’t just a place to catch live entertainment. The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination highlights its historic significance through exhibits about the president, the circumstances surrounding his assassination, and that fateful night at the theatre. The National Historic Site features a museum, theatre walk-throughs and a presentation, and guests are welcome to explore it all. Best for about ages 8 and up. Reserve tickets online in advance for $3 or get them at the Box Office for free. (Note: Ford’s Theatre tours are operated by the National Park Service, and therefore not available during the government shutdown.)

* Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo, and the National Gallery of Art (which actually is not part of the Smithsonian) will be open during the partial government shutdown through January 1. I’ll keep you updated as more information comes out on their status beyond that.


Day Trips

Go big at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore

Charm City, Hon!
Where: Baltimore, MD
When: Daily
Admission: Varies by locale

Zip up I-95 for some fun in our sister city, where there are lots of great places to spend a day off. Play the day away at Port Discovery. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Tour the historic ships moored at the Inner Harbor. Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry.

Hit the Slopes
Where: Around the region
When: Through winter
Admission: Varies

A fun, active way to take advantage of winter: Skiing! There are a bunch of ski resorts within a few hours’ drive that are great for young, newbie skiers (and veteran swooshers, too). SkiPA is a good resource for finding slopes to suit your crew, and if you have a 4th or 5th grader, be sure to sign up for the SnowPass that offers free skiing opportunities. Some resorts to check out, both with or without the pass: Liberty, Whitetail, Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, Bryce, Snowshoe, and Wisp.

Go Underground
Where: Luray Caverns | Luray, VA
When: Daily, 9am – 7pm
Admission: $27/adults, $23/seniors, $14/ages 6-12, 5 and under free

Behold the spectacular underground world of stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system at Luray. Afterward, make your way through the Garden Maze or check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum. Admission does not include attractions beyond the cavern. KFDC Tip: Be sure to make a pit stop before going into the caverns, because it can be a long walk out to a restroom, and once you’re out, you may not be able to go back in.

Art & Maritime Explorations
Where: Calvert County, MD
When: Daily, except Christmas
Admission: Varies by locale

Make a day of it in Calvert County, where you can visit a couple of places for fun, fascinating, hands-on adventures. Annmarie Sculpture Garden is full of artistic delights. Tour beautiful works, both indoors and out, play in the Fairy Lolly, and create some of your own art with inspiration from all you see there. Hours are 9am – 5pm in the gardens, and admission is $5/adult, $3/ages 6-17, free/5 & under. Also out that way is the Calvert Marine Museum, where you can see interesting exhibits, including display cases full of fossils and artifacts, plus live fish and other creatures. There’s also a play area and a real lighthouse to tour. Hours are 10am – 5pm, and admission is $9/adult, $4/ages 5-12, free/4 & under.

Screen Time

Catch cool, often educational films (and wear some rad glasses) at an IMAX movie

(I)MAX Out
Where: Smithsonian IMAX Venues | National Mall, DC/Chantilly, VA
When: Ongoing
Admission: $9.50/adult

See a movie on the really big screen. You’ve got your choice of IMAX films playing right now. Both the Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater in the Air & Space Museum on the National Mall and the Airbus IMAX Theater at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA, are showing the following films that kids can enjoy: Pandas 3D, Journey to Space 3D, Aircraft Carrier: Guardians of the Sea 3D, D-Day: Normandy 1944 3D, and Aquaman. Tickets are $9.50/adult, $7/child ($15/adult, $13.50/youth for Star Wars). Of course, plan for some time before or after to explore the museums, too. Hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission to both is free.

In Theaters Near You
Where: Cinemas around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by theater

There are a bunch of movies out now (or opening any day) that are good for families with both young children and t(w)eens. Here are quick links for them:
Mary Poppins Returns (PG)
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (PG)
Ralph Breaks the Internet (PG)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (PG)
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (PG)
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (PG-13)
Bohemian Rhapsody (PG-13)
Robin Hood (PG-13)
Welcome to Marwen (PG-13)
Bumblebee (PG-13)
Aquaman (PG-13)

Extra Tips
* If you’re looking specifically for ideas for foul weather days, see The Great Indoors list or the round-up of Indoor Playgrounds
* And for where to hang outside, check out The Best Places to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
* The Smithsonian Event Calendar is always worth checking before you head to the museums or the Zoo
* Look for deals and discounts on CertifiKID and Goldstar.

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Filed under 2018, All ages, DC, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Playground, Seasonal, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Where to Go & What to Do Around DC During Winter Break 2017

Get out and enjoy DC during Winter Break!



Just like in the spring, I’ve been asked a lot about things to do during the Winter Break from school. So, just like I did back then, I’ve put together a guide to help you make the most of the time and keep everyone happy (and that includes us parents!).

Many of these ideas are already on the blog, but sometimes a little guidance for what’s best at certain times helps. Among these recommendations are holiday activities that keep the spirit going a little longer, exhibits and shows that are hot tickets right now, outings that take advantage of the season, adventures to keep your gang active no matter what the weather, and places and experiences that kids who are in school all day can’t get to easily.

And, of course, the rest of the blog is loaded with suggestions if you want even more options. So, whether you’re enjoying a staycation or visiting from out of town, you should have no problem keeping the kids (and yourself!) entertained during this time off — or on, depending how you look at it. 😉 Happy Winter Break!

Holiday-Inspired Happenings

See trains wind through Roadside Attractions at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Season’s Greenings
Where: U.S. Botanic Garden | National Mall area, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

If you haven’t yet made it to Season’s Greenings, the annual holiday exhibit at the U.S Botanic Garden, you still have time to go — and it’s one that all ages will love. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials, including a new botanical inspired National Museum of African American History & Culture. But the highlight is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs. This year’s Roadside Attractions-themed exhibit is as pretty and whimsical as it is impressive. Be sure to tour the rest of the plant collections while you’re there — not only are they gorgeous to view, there are some pieces from the holiday exhibit sprinkled throughout!

Magical Holiday Express
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: Through December 31
Admission: $18/adult, $17/senior, $12/age 2-12, free/B&O members


This is a venue dedicated to locomotives, so you know the holiday model train exhibit is going to be special. Trains are magical during the holidays, and the museum invites all aboard the B&O’s Magical Holiday Express, a spectacular celebration in the B&O Roundhouse devoted to trains of all sizes and shapes, holiday festivities, and a winter wonderland of family fun and activities. There is something to see and do every day at this annual holiday event! Be sure to look for special events like North Pole Adventures, Winter Royal Adventures, Frosty Fest, and WinterFest Wonderland on the website.

Holiday Hunts
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Through December 31
Admission: $35

Look for special goodies found only at O Museum in The Mansion on this festive holiday treasure hunt. This includes a self-guided tour through the many fantastic themed rooms and secret doors. Bring your own shopping bags — everything is for sale! See more about this wonderfully unique DC attraction in this KFDC post.

Christmas on the Potomac
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: Through January 1
Admission: Free, though some activities cost extra

National Harbor goes all out during the holidays. ICE! might be the big attraction, but there’s also plenty to do there to warrant a visit without the frozen entertainment. Most of it takes place in the Gaylord National Resort, which is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with a spectacular glass Christmas tree, nightly tree lightings, the Potomac Express train offering rides for guests, photo ops with Santa, indoor snowfalls, fountain shows, and more. (Read about a KFDC experience there during a Christmas season past.)

Christmas at Mount Vernon

Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Through January 6
Admission: Online – $18/adults, $9/ages 6-11, free/ 5 & under

They do it up for the holidays at George Washington’s old digs. During the day, tour the Mansion, watch historic chocolate-making demos, and meet Aladdin the Camel. FYI: Mount Vernon is open every day of the year, including Christmas and New Year’s Day!


Special Exhibits

One of the whimsical interactive works of The Utopian Projects att he Hirshhorn

Imaginary World of the Nutcracker
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through January 7
Admission: $15/adult, $8/child

Since ARTECHOUSE opened this past June, the gallery has been bringing us art experiences that are beautiful, innovative, and immersive through the fusion of art and technology. The newest exhibition, “Imaginary World of the Nutcracker,” follows suit with an installation that engages and enchants. You can view Nutcracker scenery projected on walls, manipulate light and color with your own movements, and look for magical surprises throughout. Bring the kids during daytime hours 10am – 5pm, but I also recommend this for an adult outing 5:30-10:30pm or 11:30pm when special cocktails (and some extra magic) are served, too!

The Utopian Projects
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Through March 4
Admission: Free

This collection of impressive, whimsical models of sculptural works by Russian artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov is fun and interesting to view — especially when you discover that some of them have been executed in their intended life-size form. With lots of delightful details, plus a few interactives, it’s an exhibit that all ages can appreciate. Take time to browse other exhibits while you’re at the museum. Kids will particularly enjoy Ann Hamilton’s “at hand” installation, a room full of blank white sheets of paper in which guests can immerse, in What Absence is Made Of.

Q?rius
Where: National Museum of Natural History | National Mall, DC
When: Mon-Fri, 10am – 5pm | Sat-Sun 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free

The interactive and experiential learning space is designed for kids ages 11 and up (though some younger ages could enjoy it, too). During winter break, it opens earlier at 10am (instead of 2pm). Visitors can view up close — and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. For really little ones, there is Q?rius Jr: A Discovery Room for more age-appropriate exploring. And, of course, there’s the whole rest of the museum for everyone. Read the KFDC take on Q?rius.

Murder is Her Hobby
Where: Renwick Gallery | Downtown DC
When: Through January 28
Admission: Free

This exhibit featuring dollhouse-sized recreations of real crime scenes is at once fascinating, creepy, and bizarrely delightful (all the tiny things!) as it explores the “surprising intersection between craft and forensic science.” Created by Frances Glessner Lee in the early 20th century, the dioramas are actually still used in forensic training today. You can play detective, too, and try to solve the crimes based on what you see in the miniature scenes. For obvious reasons, I recommend this one for older kids — or make it a KidFree outing.


#OptOutside

Hit the trail for a walk in the woods

Take a Hike
Where: Around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

If you agree with the saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” like I do, there are no excuses for not getting outdoors during winter. And a great, easy way to do so is on a hike. Hit the trail in places with scenic views, tramp and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods and other places with the kids.

Grounds for Play
Where: Playgrounds around the DMV
When: Daily
Admission: Free

Let the kiddos burn some energy and get some fresh air at one of many awesome area playgrounds. Beauvoir, Clemyjontri, Watkins Regional Park, Hains Point,Cabin John Regional Park, Wheaton Regional Park, plus loads of DC Parks and Rec locations, and many more in NoVa and Maryland are great places to swing, climb, run, slide, romp, and even more!

Ice It
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

Enjoy a quintessential winter activity: Ice skating under the sky! Take in art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden; glide above the Anacostia on The Wharf’s new rink; circle around Washington Harbour as you enjoy views of the Potomac; meander along the Figure 8 path at Canal Park; or do some shopping then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, Rockville Town Square, or Reston Town Center. This post has details on alfresco (and indoor) ice skating options in the area.

See the Lights
Where: Around the DMV
When: Evenings through
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are are a staple of the season and some continue to shine into January. Visit one of several parks or gardens (or the Zoo!) in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. While some you tour by car, others you can walk through for a truly enchanting experience. See where you can see the lights around the area.

Show Time

Step Afrika will have everyone stomping with joy!

Step Afrika’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center | H Street NE, DC
When: Through December 30
Tickets: $18-45

Step Afrika!’s Magical Musical Holiday Step Show is a KFDC fave! This fun, family-friendly performance will have you stomping your feet and clapping your hands to energetic beats from Step Afrika! and special guest, DJ Frosty the Snowman. The show features friendly, furry characters, plus there is pre-show instrument-making workshops, photo ops, and even a dance party. It is so much fun for both kids and adults!

Frosty the Snowman
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: November 17- January 7
Tickets: $19.50

Keep the holiday magic going at a seasonal show! Do you want to build a snow man? How about watching him spring to life in front of you for one day of adventures before he melts away? In this merry wintertime romp, chock-full of chuckles and comic antics, Frosty dances into the hearts of kids and adults alike- even the heart of one near-sighted cop through his uproarious antics.

Charlotte’s Web
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: November 18 – January 7
Tickets: $10-32

Take kids to see the beloved classic (now infused with live music!), Fern, a soft-hearted farm girl, forms an unlikely bond with Wilbur, a charismatic pig. At the Zuckerman Farm, Wilbur meets a silly goose, a moody sheep, a selfish rat, and Charlotte, a clever spider. In an effort to save her friend, Charlotte weaves flattering messages about him into her web that cause a sensation in the small town. Recommended for age 5+.

How to Catch a Leprechan
Where: Keegan Theatre | Dupont Circle, DC
When: Through December 31
Tickets: $15

Keegan Theatre’s Play-Rah-Ka program, which offers theatre experiences for families, brings this familiar Irish folktale to the stage through the holiday season. How To Catch a Leprechaun follows the comical adventures of the wistful minstrel Riley O’Really, who really wants to catch a leprechaun. She’s got everything she needs for her trap: a pair of sharp eyes, a good Irish folk song in her heart and, most importantly, an irresistible pitcher of green lemonade. The wee leprechaun who Riley catches seems more than willing to give up his pot of gold – but is his offer a leprechaun trick or a leprechaun treat?

An American in Paris
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through January 7
Tickets: $59-129

For a bigger theatre experience, Kennedy Center presents An American in Paris, a show that has captivated both audiences and critics. Its stunning combination of classic music, timeless story, breathtaking dance, and state-of-the-art design results in a spectacular production the New York Times declares “outshines anything else currently on Broadway.” Recommended for ages 8+.

Indoor Action

Scaling the walls at ClimbZone

Mountains of Fun
Where: Badlands | Rockville, MD
When: Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: $22.50/child and $12.50/toddler

Enjoy all kinds of indoor adventures at Badlands Play Space. From active fun to creative explorations to learning experiences to relaxation options, the facility has it all. They also have a cafe to get a bite to eat while you’re there and where adults can hang out while they watch their kids play (if kids are old enough to playon their own). Best for children about preschool age to 10.

Reach New Heights
Where: ClimbZone | Laurel, MD
When: Daily, 10am – 8pm
Admission: $25+tax ($12+tax/toddler)

The enormous facility is filled literally floor to ceiling with colorful themed climbing walls and moon bounces. Climbers can ascend Mt. Rushmore, reach the Jolly Roger on a pirate ship, conquer a game of Tetris, shimmy up a giant guitar, scale Jack’s bean stalk, negotiate a rope wall, and experience peak fun on a variety of other climbing areas.

Play in the Zone
Where: ZavaZone | Rockville, MD & Sterling, VA
When: Daily, 10am – 6pm
Admission: Starts at $19.50

Guests have their pick of fun at this indoor adventure park for ages 5-105. There are ninja courses, ropes courses, trampolines, climbing challenges, zip lines, and more under one soaring roof. Usually just open in the afternoons during the week, morning time slots will also be available during Winter Break week.

Spring Into Action
Where: Flight Trampoline Park | Springfield, VA
When: Daily
Admission: Starts at $11

Kids of all ages can jump, play, even flip for joy at Flight Trampoline Park. The huge space resembles a skate park, with an industrial look of exposed pipes and cinder block walls sprayed with graffiti. But where you’d find ramps, rails, and concrete to facilitate skills and tricks, there are trampolines instead. Be sure to check the schedule for any special jumping times, and buy tickets/sign waivers in advance online to avoid a line there.



See Some Sports

Cheer on our local teams!

Wizards
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: December 23, 29, 31
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Wizards have a few home games over the break, so catch some exciting action on the court. They host the Orlando Magic on December 23, Houston Rockets on December 29, and you can see them play the Chicago Bulls on the last day of the year.

Caps
Where: Capital One Arena | Penn Quarter, DC
When: December 28 & 30
Admission: Ticket prices vary

Hockey fans can see the Caps play a couple of games. The Boston Bruins will be here on December 28, and the New Jersey Devils on December 30.

Hoops, NCAA-Style
Where: Universities around the DMV
When: Throughout the break
Admission: Ticket prices vary

With so many universities in the area, there’s always some good college hoops action going on. Here’s where you can check out schedules and look for tickets:
University of Maryland (Go, Terps!)
George Washington University
Georgetown University
American University
Howard University
George Mason University


Museums & More DC Sights

The only fake news you’ll hear at the Newseum 😉

Mission: Fun
Where: International Spy Museum | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Daily, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $21.95/adult, $14.95/age 7-11, free/6 & under

Go undercover to explore the intriguing world of espionage. Discover some the tricks of the trade, view gadgets used to keep secrets and disguises to hide identities, and learn about some of the most famous spies and their missions. Look for a deal on admission before you go!

Focus on News and Media
Where: Newseum
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $24.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-19, free for 6 and under

The museum dedicated to all things news and journalism is fascinating — and one of my personal favorites in DC. Much of the collection is better appreciated (and understood) by older children, so while they have off from school is a good time to take advantage of an outing there. Read more about the Newseum in this KFDC post. And (look for a deal) on admission!

African American History & Culture
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

This phenomenal museum is a must-see on the National Mall. Advance passes are currently unavailable, but with the kids home and open days ahead of you, it’s a good time to try for day-of admission — up to four(4) same-day timed entry passes are available online everyday starting at 6:30am until they run out. A limited number of walk-up passes are also available beginning at 1pm on weekdays. (Heads-up: The release for April 2018 passes is on Wednesday, January 3 at 9am.)

Tour the Capitol
Where: U.S. Capitol Building | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Daily, 8:30m – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Take a tour of the U.S. Capitol! You can usually get on a guided tour day of, but even if you can’t there are still plenty of interesting exhibits and statues to see in the Visitor’s Center. A tour lasts about an hour, and includes a short film, walks through the The Rotunda and National Statuary Hall, and a peek into the Old Congress Chamber. Before you go, be sure to read these guidelines on what you can and can’t bring with you. (KFDC Tip: You can walk through an underground tunnel to get to the Library of Congress and make it a bigger outing on the Hill.)

Abe’s Last Days
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Daily, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: Free – $3

Ford’s isn’t just a place to catch live entertainment. The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination highlights its historic significance through exhibits about the president, the circumstances surrounding his assassination, and that fateful night at the theatre. The National Historic Site features a museum, theatre walk-throughs and a presentation, and guests are welcome to explore it all. Best for about ages 8 and up. Reserve tickets online in advance for $3 or get them at the Box Office for free.


Day Trips

Go big at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore

Charm City, Hon!
Where: Baltimore, MD
When: Daily
Admission: Varies by locale

Zip up I-95 for some fun in our sister city, where there are lots of great places to spend a day off. Play the day away at Port Discovery. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Tour the historic ships moored at the Inner Harbor. Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry.

Hit the Slopes
Where: Liberty Mountain | Carroll Valley, PA
When: Through winter
Admission: Varies

Take advantage of winter and enjoy a quintessential seasonal activity — skiing! Liberty Mountain is one of the more convenient places to go with the kids, especially if they are newbies. Just over an hour from DC in PA, it’s easy to get to for a one-day venture on the slopes, the runs aren’t too difficult, and kids can do a couple of hours of ski school (be sure to sign up in advance). Get the scoop on their children’s programs here. (KFDC Tip: If you have a 4th or 5th graders, be sure to check out the SkiPa Snowpass!)

Go Underground
Where: Luray Caverns | Luray, VA
When: Daily, 9am – 7pm
Admission: $24/adults, $21/seniors, $12/ages 6-12, 5 and under free

Behold the spectacular underground world of stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system at Luray. Afterward, make your way through the Garden Maze or check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum. Admission does not include attractions beyond the cavern. KFDC Tip: Be sure to make a pit stop before going into the caverns, because it can be a long walk out to a restroom, and once you’re out, you may not be able to go back in.

Art & Maritime Explorations
Where: Calvert County, MD
When: Daily, except Christmas
Admission: Varies by locale

Make a day of it in Calvert County, where you can visit a couple of places for fun, fascinating, hands-on adventures. Annmarie Sculpture Garden is full of artistic delights. Tour beautiful works, both indoors and out, play in the Fairy Lolly, and create some of your own art with inspiration from all you see there. Hours are 9am – 5pm in the gardens, and admission is $5/adult, $3/ages 6-17, free/5 & under. Also out that way is the Calvert Marine Museum, where you can see interesting exhibits, including display cases full of fossils and artifacts, plus live fish and other creatures. There’s also a play area and a real lighthouse to tour. Hours are 10am – 5pm, and admission is $9/adult, $4/ages 5-12, free/4 & under.

I Scream, You Scream
Where: Turkey Hill Experience | Lancaster, PA
When: Daily, except Christmas
Admission:

Get the scoop on the ice cream-making process through a series of interactive exhibits (note: it’s a museum, not a factory). Create your own virtual ice cream flavor, sit in a vintage milk truck, milk mechanical cows, star in your own Turkey Hill commercial, and enjoy free samples of iced tea and ice cream. Consider making it an overnight and visiting the Lancaster Central Market and other area attractions while you’re there.

Extra Tips
* If you’re looking specifically for ideas for foul weather days, see The Great Indoors list or the round-up of Indoor Playgrounds
* And for where to hang outside, check out The Best Places to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
* The Smithsonian Event Calendar is always worth checking before you head to the museums or the Zoo
* Look for deals and discounts on CertifiKID and Goldstar.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Art, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Playground, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Where to Go & What to Do Around DC During Spring Break 2017

Local explorations and sibling bonding at Great Falls

Local explorations and sibling bonding at Great Falls



Ask and you shall receive! A number of people contacted me recently to ask if I’d be posting a Spring Break guide, as many local kids get time off from school over the next couple of weeks. I’d kind of been considering it anyway, but the interest from you guys solidified my decision to do it.

Many of the ideas here are already on the blog, but sometimes a little guidance for what’s best at certain times helps. (What people more hip than me call *curated* 😉 ) Among these recommendations are activities being hosted especially for Spring Break, exhibits and shows that are hot tickets right now, outings that take advantage of the great spring weather, and places and experiences that kids who are in school all day can’t get to easily.

And, of course, the rest of this blog is full of suggestions if you want even more options. So, whether you’re enjoying a staycation or visiting from out of town, you should have no problem keeping the kids (and yourself!) happy during the week off — or on, depending how you look at it. Happy Spring Break!

Special Activities

Navigate the aerial forest at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring

Navigate the aerial forest at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring

Spring Break in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring
When: April 7-17
Admission: Varies by age

The park that offers a thrilling aerial forest adventure is adding some extra zip to the pursuit with a series of themes and special events. During Spring Break, each day will be themed, and guests who participate will be eligible to play games, win prizes, and receive park discounts.

Artsy Adventures
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: April 13 & 14, 9am – 3:30pm
Admission: $35-40

The wonderful art center and sculpture garden has a couple of special Spring Break Camp days open. On Thursday, join for a fun-filled day of art and nature as they explore with color. On Friday, get creative with lines. Note that these all-day camps are drop-off. You can also go together and enjoy the wonderful Fairies in the Garden exhibit (more on that below)!

Egg-Cellent Outings
Where: Around the area
When: Through April 17
Admission:; Varies by event

Egg hunts, Bunny visits, and more seasonal activities are happening all around the area. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs for your whole gang. NoVa Parks has events going on during the week, and even more places are offering fun on weekends.

Wild Knights
Where: Medieval Times
When: Through the month of April
Admission: $37/adult, $29.95 (use code SB17)

Get discount pricing on Medieval Times spectacle and feast during Spring Break. Even better, before the 5pm shows this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (April 11-13), kids ages 5-12 can participate in FREE Jr. Knights Training (limited space available first come, first serve) and a FREE activity book! Doors open at 3:30pm, and training begins at 4pm. Training is open to both boys and girls. Closed toe shoes are required to participate.



Special Exhibits

Look out for hidden gnomes at Annmarie Sculpture Gardens

Look out for hidden gnomes at Annmarie Sculpture Gardens

Fairies in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $5/adult, $4/senior, $3/child

Annmarie’s magicalicious exhibit of fairy and gnome houses just opened for the season. As if the sculpture garden near Solomons, MD, wasn’t already wonderful, this annual display adds extra delight to a visit there with more than 50 handmade fairy and gnome homes scattered through the grounds. Visit the Arts Building to borrow a costume (or purchase one in the Gift Shop) to get into the fanciful spirit, grab a guide, and start your journey to locate them all. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors
Where: Hirshhorn Museum
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

Surely, you’re aware of the exhibit at the Hirshhorn. It’s been one of the hottest tickets in town and photos of the spectacular Infinity Rooms are flooding social media feeds. While it’s next to impossible to get passes online, you might try for same-day — a limited number of Walk-Up Timed Passes are available daily. I hear there are lines for these, but if you don’t mind waiting, this could be your chance to go. Before you do, check out this KFDC review of the exhibit for an idea of what to expect and tips on going with kids.

Earth Explorers
Where: National Geographic Museum
When: Daily, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, under 5 are free

Witness animal migrations from a hot air balloon, submerse into the deep sea to study marine life, discover new species in the rain forest, gear up for a polar expedition. These are all adventures — simulated ones, anyway — to be experienced at the Nat Geo Museum’s newest exhibition that offers a glimpse into the work and passion of explorers in the field. Full of hands-on displays and interactive installations, it’s informative and inspiring. Best for elementary school ages and up, but younger children can enjoy it, too.

Q?rius
Where: National Museum of Natural History
When: Daily, 2pm
Admission: Free

The interactive and experiential learning space is designed for kids ages 11 and up (though some younger ages could enjoy it, too). Visitors can view up close — and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. For really little ones, there is Q?rius Jr: A Discovery Room for more age-appropriate exploring. And, of course, there’s the whole rest of the museum for everyone. Read more about Q?rius here.

Get Outdoors

Kick off the flip flops and enjoy a day at Flag Ponds

Kick off the flip flops and enjoy a day at Flag Ponds

Beachy Keen: Sand, Surf, & Fossils
Where: Around the area
When: Daily
Admission: Varies by beach

Many of us associate Spring Break with beach trips, so why not hit one with the kids? There are several places within day trip-distance from DC that are nice for sand and surf. Head out to Calvert County for a day at Flag Ponds Nature Park, including some fossil hunting (call ahead to confirm days/hours). Head a little further out to North Beach or Brownies Beach (Bayfront Park). Or go east to Sandy Point State Park. You can also play paleontologist and look for prehistoric fragments along the Potomac at Purse State Park in Charles County, MD (one of our very favorite outings in the area).

Take a Hike
Where: Around the area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

It’s a great time of year to spend some time on the trail as the weather warms up and color returns to the landscape. See flowers in bloom, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids. (Heads up: The bluebells at Riverbend Park should be popping right about now, making the hike from there to Great Falls especially nice!)

Roam a Garden
Where: Around the area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

With flowers blooming and landscapes bursting with color, a visit to a garden is a fantastic outing, especially when there’s often more to do than just look at plants and flowers. Explore and play at the National Arboretum, wander around Green Spring Gardens on a scavenger hunt, enjoy flora and wildlife and the Children’s Garden at Brookside, venture out to the gorgeous Meadowlark Botanical Garden, relish in the peace at the Brookland Monastery, stroll among the many multi-tiered plats at Dumbarton Oaks, romp in the children’s area at River Farm, or stop and smell the roses (and more) at the U.S. Botanic Garden.


Museums & More “DC” Sites

Newsflash:  The Newseum is awesome!

Newsflash: The Newseum is awesome!

Focus on News and Media
Where: Newseum
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $24.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-19, free for 6 and under
(look for a deal)

The museum dedicated to all things news and journalism is fascinating — and one of my personal favorite’s in DC. Much of the collection is better appreciated (and understood) by older children, so while they have off from school is a good time to take advantage of an outing there. Read more about the Newseum in this KFDC post.

African American History & Culture
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
Admission: Free

The relatively new museum is full of powerful exhibits and a must-see on the National Mall. Advanced passes are gone through April, but with the kids home and open days ahead of you, it’s a good time to try for same-day passes — up to four(4) same-day timed entry passes are available online everyday starting at 6:30am until they run out. A limited number of walk-up passes are also available beginning at 1pm on weekdays.

Abe’s Last Days
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: Daily, 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: $3-8

Ford’s isn’t just a place to catch live entertainment. The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination highlights its historic significance through tours and exhibits about the president, the Civil War, and that fateful night at the theatre. This is the busy season, so it’s recommended to reserve tickets in advance.

Show Them the Money
Where: Bureau of Engraving & Printing
When: Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
Admission: Free

This is a great outing with kids on break from school, since tours are only offered on weekdays. Tours run every 15 minutes 9am – 6pm this time of year. Admission is free, but tickets are required, and you can pick them up at the booth on Raoul Wallenburg Place starting at 8am. Your time slot may be for later in the day, so have some plans in mind in case your tour is later in the day.

Day Trips & Overnights

Hike from West Virginia to Maryland at Harpers Ferry

Hike from West Virginia to Maryland at Harpers Ferry

Hiking & History
Where: Harpers Ferry
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free ($10 if you park in lot)

Get some fresh air and exercise as you enjoy spring weather and historic sites. Harpers Ferry is an easy day trip or quick getaway destination from DC, and spring is a great time to go. For more about a visit there, see this KFDC post.

Charm City, Hon!
Where: Baltimore attractions
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Zip up I-95 for some fun in our sister city, where there are lots of great places to spend a day off. Play the day away at Port Discovery. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Tour the historic ships moored at the Inner Harbor. Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry.

Go Underground
Where: Luray Caverns
When: Ongoing, 9am – 7pm
Admission: $24/adults, $21/seniors, $12/ages 6-12, 5 and under free

Behold the spectacular underground world of stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system at Luray. Afterward, make your way through the Garden Maze or check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum. Admission does not include attractions beyond the cavern. KFDC Tip: Be sure to make a pit stop before going into the caverns, because it can be a long walk out to a restroom, and once you’re out, you may not be able to go back in.

Tramp & Camp
Where: Shenandoah National Park
When: Ongoing
Admission: $25/vehicle, campsites are extra & vary

Whether you go for a day or even several, Shenandoah National Park is a boon for outdoor recreation close to DC. If you can only swing a day, find some good trails to hike or even ride along Skyline Drive and take in the beautiful vistas from the car. If you can stay overnight, it’s a great place for a camping experience with kids. Either way, enjoy being immersed in nature and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings!

Explore Another Capital City
Where: Annapolis
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by activity

Maryland’s capital city is as beautiful as it is fun, and you can easily make a day (or few) of it there. Take a Pirate Adventure on the Chesapeake, enjoy some outdoor recreation at Quiet Waters Park, feast on crabs, or stroll around town and the Naval Academy grounds. It’s all an easy drive out Rt. 50 from DC.


Live Entertainment

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp will entertain all ages

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp will entertain all ages

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Through
Admission: $19.50

With performances scheduled almost every day of the week, you can catch an all-ages show at the best children’s theatre around! This is Aladdin as you’ve never seen it before… Aladdin and his love, the princess Adora, must outsmart an evil Magician who wants to use the genie in Aladdin’s lamp for his nefarious schemes! Will he get away with it? Get ready for love, magic, and mystery in this show! And plan to stay after at Glen Echo Park for a picnic lunch (BYO or buy there) and some time on the playground.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Through April 30
Tickets: $12

Take kids preschool-aged to 9 years to see this marionette romp in which three brothers get the goat of a hen-pecked troll, in their attempts to trip-trap-tromp to where the grass is greener. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry. Plan to stay at Glen Echo Park after the show for a picnic lunch (BYO or buy there) and some time on the playground.

A Raisin in the Sun
Where: Arena Stage
When: Through May 7
Tickets: $66-111

This is an outstanding production that kids about middle school ages and up will appreciate. The groundbreaking masterpiece follows an African American family in the 1950’s as they yearn for a better life from their Chicago tenement and have the opportunity to realize it. With stellar performances by the cast, the show is emotional and thought-provoking as it spotlights struggles and issues that our society still grapples with today.


Extra Tips

* If you’re looking specifically for rainy day ideas, see The Great Indoors list or the round-up of Indoor Playgrounds
* And for where to relish the sublime weather, check out The Best Places to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
* National Parks Week is April 15-23. Entrance to all national parks will be free April 15-16 and April 22-23!
* The Smithsonian Event Calendar is always worth checking before you head to the museums or the Zoo
* Look for deals and discounts on CertifiKID and Goldstar.


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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Spring, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Performing and Visual Arts “Just for Families” at Arts on the Green

justforkids

Arts on the Green, Gaithersburg’s premier center for the performing and visual arts, recently launched a new initiative that encourages children and families to explore the world around them through programs in music, theater, movement and the visual arts.

Just for Families provides performing and visual arts programs for families with young kids. From painting workshops to theater productions and concerts, Arts on the Green offers experiences for parents and children to enjoy the arts together at their two facilities, Arts Barn and Kentlands Mansion.

Bop Goes the Weasel performs October 4

Bop Goes the Weasel performs October 4

Next in the line-up is Bop Goes the Weasel this Saturday, October 4, 11am – 12pm. The jazz-for-kids performance is high-energy, interactive, and encourages young listeners to clap, snap, and have fun as Christiana Drapkin and her quartet introduce children to jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Charlie Parker. It’s recommended for children in pre-K to grade 5, and tickets are $12/adult, $8/child. Call 301-258-6394 to reserve yours.

"Not My Monkey" brings family theater October 11-26

“Not My Monkey” brings family theater October 11-26

The family programing also includes ongoing series like Songs & Stories, a preschool program held the first and third Thursday of each month. Workshops, concerts, magic shows, and theater are also featured in the Just for Families series. You can view the complete schedule for dates and details.

Arts on the Green venues, Arts Barn and Kentlands Mansion, are located in the heart of the Kentlands at 311 and 320 Kent Square Road in Gaitherburg, MD. Follow them on Facebook to stay updated on events and programs.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Arts on the Green, however, I only promote events, services, and activities that I truly believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under All ages, Art, Class, Educational, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Sponsored Post, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend