Tag Archives: National Museum of Natural History

Nature’s Best Photography at the Natural History Museum

You would never guess by the images that appear on this blog that I have a bit of background in photography.  Before leaving the full-time professional world to stay at home with my kids, many years of my work were in the editorial and publishing arenas as a photo editor for a travel website and for the Discovery Channel.

There was a time when I carried an SLR with me everywhere and kept my eye out for the shot.  These days, I snap most of my pics with my iPhone and reserve my focus for children who might wander.

Anyway, during my time at the travel website, one of the projects I worked on was a partnership with Nature’s Best Photography Magazine.  The title couldn’t be more apropos — they publish some of the most stunning  wildlife and nature photography I have ever seen. And it’s all about the photography; the images aren’t used to illustrate articles — there is often just background information about the shot and photographer — but they tell fascinating stories on their own.

Every year the magazine holds a competition to recognize the passion and dedication of nature photographers: The Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards.  The winning photos are always phenomenal, capturing moments in nature that are spellbinding, inspiring, heart warming, insightful, and just beautiful to look at.  Lucky for us, we’ll get to do that — up close.

Starting this Saturday, April 16, the winning photographs from the 2010 competition will be on display at the National Museum of Natural History.  The Nature’s Best Photography Awards 2010 exhibit will run through September 25.  You can get a preview of the images online, but what better place to view them than at the museum, where all things nature are celebrated.  Go on Saturday and make it a day at the museum — check out the photos then stay for the Coral Reef Family Festival.

Admission to the  museum, exhibit, and festival are free.


Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Educational, Free, Museums, Weekend

Review: Born to Be Wild 3D

The magic of IMAX is especially effective in Born to Be Wild 3D, a new film documenting rescues of orphaned baby orangutans and elephants.  Not only do you want to reach out and touch the images that seem to be mere inches away from your face.  You want pull them in and hug them.

It’s not just that the young animals featured in the movie are incredibly adorable. Their stories of loss and subsequent rescue by teams of remarkable people tug at the heart strings with a force that viewers of any age will feel.

The film depicts the parallel worlds of primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas, who runs a sanctuary for orphaned orangutans in Borneo, and Dame Daphne Sheldrick, who rescues and rehabilitates baby elephants in Kenya. Bouncing between the two places, the movie highlights the dedication and compassion of the two extraordinary women and their teams who devote themselves to helping give these animals a second chance at life in the wild.

My five-year-old, Owen, and I watched a screening together, and we both were captivated for the entire 40-minutes.  Some of the scenes elicited giggles — elephants kicking a soccer ball across a field and orangutans going for a wheelbarrow ride are a couple of amusing images.  Others brought tears to my eyes — an elephant caretaker staying up all night with a new, anxious orphan is one of many that stir the emotions.  These are just a sample; some of the best you have to see for yourself.

All of it is stunning on the big screen and, narrated by Morgan Freeman, it’s easy for little ones to follow as well.  The concepts of conservation and compassion will not be lost on young eyes and ears.  As I watched Owen try several times to give those animals hugs, I knew he truly understood  them.

Born to Be Wild 3D is playing at the Samuel C. Johnson IMAX Theater in the National Museum of Natural History at various times daily.  Tickets are $9 and available for purchase online or at the box office.


Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Educational, Movies, Museums

Enter to Win Tickets to a Sneak Preview of Born to Be Wild 3D!

Want a chance to attend a sneak preview of the newest film coming to the Smithsonian’s Johnson IMAX Theater?  I have a bunch of tickets to give away for an advanced screening of Born to Be Wild 3D, an inspiring story of love, dedication, and the remarkable bond between humans and animals.

The film, opening in IMAX theaters on April 8, documents orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them—saving endangered species one life at a time.  Stunningly captured in IMAX 3D, Born to be Wild 3D is a heartwarming adventure transporting moviegoers into the lush rainforests of Borneo with world-renowned primatologist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, and across the rugged Kenyan savannah with celebrated elephant authority Dame Daphne Sheldrick, as they and their teams rescue, rehabilitate and return these incredible animals back to the wild. (For the record, this is Warner Bros. Picture’s description of the movie, as my first viewing will be at the screening.)

The special advanced screening will take place on Monday, April 4 at 6:30pm at the Johnson IMAX Theater at the National Museum of Natural History.  Winners will receive a family four-pack of tickets.

For a chance to win Four Tickets to Born to Be Wild 3D, do one or all of the following. Each will count as a separate entry.  This contest will last through Friday — winners will be announced on Saturday morning.

1 – Leave a comment on this post

2 – Like KidFriendly DC on Facebook and let me know you’ve done so.

3 – Tweet the following message and let me know you’ve done so:

Enter the @KidFriendlyDC giveaway to win tickets to see an advanced screening of Born to Be Wild 3D at the Johnson IMAX Theater! http://wp.me/pPfjF-Kq


Filed under Animals, DC, Giveaway, Monuments & Memorials, Movies, Museums

Weekend Picks

The museums are heavy on special family activities this weekend, but with the glorious weather forecast for the next few days, I’ve got several suggestions to get you outdoors, too.   Happy Weekend!

Family Day: Kites of AsiaGo fly a kite! And make one, too. This free event at the National Air & Space Museum on Saturday welcomes guests to discover the artistry of kites from across Asia. Indoor kite flying, story telling, and hands-on art activities, kite-making included, are on the day’s agenda.  The event runs from 10am – 3pm.

Take a Hike – It’s going to be excellent weather for tramping in the woods, though be choosy about where you go — I heard the line of cars waiting to get into the Maryland side of Great Falls last weekend was all the way out to MacArthur Boulevard.  For more suggestions on where to walk in the woods, including several that don’t attract large crowds, check out this post about good area hikes with kids.

Goya: Awakened in a DreamThe National Gallery of Art’s Film Program for Children and Teens presents a movie about the artist Goya this week. Recommended for ages 7 and up, the screening will take place in the East Building Concourse auditorium at 10:30am on Saturday and 11:30am on Sunday.  The program is free, and seating is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Everyone’s PlaygroundEnjoy the sunshine and 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.  The play possibilities will seem endless to little ones.  The carousel doesn’t open for another couple of weeks, but kids will be so enchanted with other parts of the park, they won’t miss riding the wooden horses.

Mail FemalesDiscover the history of women who have played important roles in the nation’s mail service.  The National Postal Museum is hosting Women’s History Month Family Day from 11am – 3pm on Saturday.  Guests can hear stories about postal women and try their hand at some of the jobs they performed.

DC United Opening DayKick off the start of the soccer season at RFK on Saturday evening.  Tickets are still available for the 7:30pm game, including a couple of packages that come with freebies when you buy at least four tickets.  For more information, see this post from a couple of days ago.

Reptile & Amphibian DayLearn about reptiles and their important role in the ecosystem at this annual event at the National Aquarium. On Sunday from 10am – 4pm, guests can enjoy a variety of activities, including storytime and fun crafts.  Aquarium staff will be on hand to answer questions and give talks throughout the day. Special highlights: The alligator exhibit and a shark feeding at 2pm. The event is free with admission – $9.95/ages 11 and up, 4.95/ages 3-11, children under 3 are free.

Picnic, Play, & PlanesHave you been to Gravelly Point, the small park along the GW Parkway next to Ronald Reagan Airport?  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.

Portrait Story DaysDrop in at the National Portrait Gallery anytime from 1-4pm on Sunday to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. Rachel Carson, founder of the modern environmental movement, will be the subject this weekend.

CHAW Artday Concert – Catch a free Singing Lizard concert on Saturday morning at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. The Singing Lizard’s live shows are fast-paced, fun, and full of exciting songs that both kids and adults enjoy. The concert is from 10-11am in CHAW’s Black Box Theater.

On the Big Screen – Rain or shine, an IMAX film is great entertainment. Both the Johnson IMAX Theater at the Natural History Museum and Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater at the Air & Space Museum have several movies playing all weekend.  For a couple of reviews, see my post about Arabia 3D and another one about Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk 3D.

Live Entertainment – A few new theater and musical shows recently opened on local stages.  This post about spring entertainment from last week has info on what and who’s playing and where.  Also be sure to check this post from a couple of months ago listing winter productions, several of which are still running.

Stories in ArtSculptor David Smith is again the subject for this week’s children’s program at the National Gallery of Art. The workshop will start with a reading of “Half of the Elephant,” about an elephant on a humorous journey to find his missing half.. From there, the group will explore the work of David Smith, then build a sculpture with wood and metal. Hour-long sessions begin at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm on Sunday. Sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am that day and will continue until all spaces are filled.  No admission fee required.

Leave a Comment

Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Free, Live Entertainment, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Play, Weekend

And the Winner is… The Weekend Round-Up

I loved reading the feedback from yesterday’s giveaway and learning which features readers enjoyed most on KFDC.  If it had been, say, an awards ceremony,  the weekend round-up easily would have won the golden trophy.   I hope this one keeps fans happy.

Here are my nominations for fun family activities happening around town over the next couple of days.  Happy Weekend!

Intersections: A New America Arts FestivalCelebrating art as an inspiration for connection and conversation, The Atlas Performing Arts Center kicks off nine days of performances and events today.  Kids will get the most out of it on Family Saturday during the “Capture the Wind” event.  Along with several family-friendly performances, including Adventure Theater’s “Mirandy & Brother Wind,” there will be hands-on arts activities, a cakewalk contest, and more fun for all ages.  Saturday’s festivities run from 1 – 6pm, with a detailed scheduled available here.  For show times throughout the festival and to purchase tickets online,  visit the Intersections website.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!As an early celebration of Dr. Seuss’ Birthday on March 2, Target stores are hosting Read Across America Day.  From 9 – 11am you can enjoy a free Dr. Seuss story time at any Target store in the area, and hear readings of books by the beloved children’s author.

Orchid Exhibit Family DayMuseum goers of all ages are invited to explore the world of orchids at the National Museum of Natural History on Saturday. Enjoy stamp art and calligraphy, take a photo with a human-sized orchid, and learn how to pot an orchid to take home. Orchid experts from the Smithsonian and U.S. Botanic Garden will be available all day to answer questions and to discuss unique plants from their collections that will be on display for one day only.  The free event runs from 11am – 3pm.

The Magic of DisneyMickey and friends will be livening up the Patriot Center stage on Sunday, February 27, with two performances of Disney Live!: Mickey’s Magic Road Show.  Join the gang as they watch world-class magicians perform magic from legendary Disney films.  Tickets are still available for both the 12:30pm and 3:30pm shows and can be purchased through the Disney Live! website.  Prices range from $22 – $50.

Saturday Morning at the National – The National Theater’s weekend series for children is back on this Saturday as adroit ventriloquist, Tom Crowl, shares the stage with his rambunctious pals. “Dangerous” Dudley Duck lives life on the edge, blurting out everything that pops into his head. Clair Voy Ant, the French Psychic Insect, sees all, knows all, and tells all, like it or not! Raoul the Monkey and Percival the Pirate complete the crazy cast.  Showtimes are 9:30am and 11:30am.  Tickets are free, but required, and distributed on a first-come, first-served basis 30 minutes before each show.

Celebrate Black History Month It’s the last weekend to take part in the special events and exhibits around the area that pay tribute to Black History Month.  See this post for details on where and when they are happening.

Tiny TotsTwo puppet shows for the littlest ones will be performed at The Puppet Co. this weekend: Clowning Around on Saturday and Panda-Monium on Sunday.  Both start at 10am.  Tickets are $5 and available online.   Tiny Tots shows are recommended for ages 0-4.

Stories in ArtPop Artist Jim Dine is still the subject for this week’s children’s program at the National Gallery. The workshop will start with a reading of “The Tin Forest,” a story about an old man who followed his dreams, transforming a junkyard into a magical place. From there, the group will examine the unique materials used by Jim Dine then create their own imaginary forests.  Hour-long sessions begin at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm. Sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am that day and will continue until all spaces are filled.  No admission fee required.  For a review of the Stories in Art program, see this post from a few months back.

Theater TimeSeveral live family-friendly productions are in local theaters, and tickets are still available for some of this weekend’s performances.  Check out this post to see what’s playing and how to reserve your seats.

1 Comment

Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Museums, Theatre, Weekend, Winter