See quirky works both indoor and out at the American Visionary Art Museum
Monday – Hike among the woods and wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Turtles, frogs, and birds are among the wildlife you could see. Stop by the nature center for even more exhibits and animal encounters. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. You can read more about it among the big list of outdoor recommendations.
Tuesday – Catch a performance of Lulu and the Brontosaurus at Imagination Stage. Showtime is 11am. Tickets range from $15 to $22. (If you can’t make it Tuesday, there’s a show on Wednesday at 10:30am, too.)
Wednesday – See some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. The colorful, quirky works — some of them interactive — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & children 7 and up, free for ages 6 and under
Thursday – Visit ponies, cows, peacocks, chickens, bunnies, and llamas at Old Maryland Farm in Watkins Regional Park. When you’re done, head over to the nearby playground to let the kids climb and swing. Admission is free to both. The farm is open 9am – 4pm Tuesday – Friday (9am – 4:30pm on Saturdays, 11:30am – 4:30pm on Sundays and holidays).
Friday – Head to an area farm to take advantage of smaller weekday crowds at one of several fall festivals that are already underway. See this guide to find out where you can celebrate the season.
Monday – Go strawberry picking! Schlagel Farms in Waldorf, Md, always begins their pick-your-own season ahead of other area farms, and their berries are ripe and ready now. Fields are open daily 8am – 7pm. If weather doesn’t cooperate, check out the list of indoor possibilities.
Tuesday – Combine story and play time at the National Building Museum’s Building Zone. The Book of the Month program is back with readings of “Riki’s Birdhouse” followed by a related art activity at 10:30am & 11:30am. Admission is $3 (free for members), and entry is timed, with guests admitted every hour. After, visit the PLAY WORK BUILD exhibit for even more fun at the NBM ($5 admission, free for members).
Wednesday – Celebrate the International Year of Quinoa, as the American Indian Museum hosts the Bolivian Festival. The five-day event will feature dance groups, storytelling, folk music, art demos, food, and fun for all ages. It’s running through May 12, and museum hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.
Thursday – See wacky marionettes perform feats of skill, daring, and silliness in Clowning Around, a circus performance by Bob Brown Puppets. Publick Playhouse in Cheverly, Md, presents the one-hour show at 9:30am and 11:30am. Tickets are $3/children $4/ adults and can be purchased by calling 301.277.1710.
Friday – Explore and play at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington. Hike the short trails and let the kids romp on the playground, then visit the nature center where you can see turtles, snakes, and other creatures in terrariums and discover more about the natural world in the Kids Cave. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.
Feeding the peacocks during a birthday party at Old Maryland Farm
Monday – Enjoy a special Earth Day session of Story Time for Families at the National Museum of the American Indian. Join staff at 11:15am in the imagiNATIONS Activity Center on the 3rd floor to hear the story When the Shadbush Blooms, about the Lenni Lenape, a Native community from the Chesapeake region. These interactive Hok-noth-da (“Did you hear?” in the Shawnee language) readings usually take place Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, but they’ve added another one this week. Plan to spend time before or after exploring the many hands-on exhibits in the center geared toward children. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Visit ponies, donkeys, peacocks, chickens, bunnies, and llamas at Old Maryland Farm in Watkins Regional Park. When you’re done, head over to the nearby playground to let the kids climb and swing. Admission is free to both. The farm is open 9am – 4pm Tuesday – Friday (9am – 4:30pm on Saturdays, 11:30am – 4:30pm on Sundays and holidays). And if you live in DC, don’t forget to vote in the special election!
Wednesday – It’s Kids Day at Lebanese Taverna in Arlington. Enjoy free children’s entertainment every Wednesday from 10-11am. And stay after for a tasty bite to eat!
Thursday – See some of the most wonderful, whimsical art around at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. The colorful, quirky works — some of them interactive — can be appreciated by art buffs of all ages. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $15.95/adults, $13.95/seniors, $9.95/students & children 7 and up, free for ages 6 and under
Friday – Get a dose of nature in an unexpected place at Winkler Botanical Preserve. Located just off 395 and Seminary Road in Alexandria, the park is a nice outdoor surprise in an area full of office complexes and strip malls. Hours are 8:30am – 4pm, and admission is free.
Watching the chocolate making process at last year's "Power of Chocolate" festival
This post is going to serve a dual purpose. Along with my regular list of weekend happenings, I want to make some blog roll shout-outs. It’s been too long since I’ve done so, plus I’ve got good reason for making special mentions of other local bloggers: I had the lucky pleasure of meeting some of them last night.
I was invited to join a few ladies who pen some of the blogs I follow for dinner and wine (have to note the wine, as the invitation was very specific about drinking wine, which was a good sign), and talk about kids, life, and whatever else the conversation might evolve into after a couple of glasses. Long story short, it was pretty awesome meeting the people behind the blog posts, and it confirmed that my online reading is coming from good places. So, Darcy from No Monsters in My Bed, Shannon from But I Do Have a Law Degree, Rebecca from Not-So-SAHM, and Cath from Constance Reader, thanks for a fabulous night out!
Aaaand… here’s where fun of the family-friendly variety can be found around town over the next few days. Happy Weekend!
Mmm…Chocolate – Just in time for the holiday that goes hand-in-hand with the gift of chocolate, the National Museum of the American Indian is hosting their annual “Power of Chocolate” festival. We attended last year and found it to be a treat for everyone, and it sounds like many of the festivities will be repeated: Live food demos, hands-on activities, dances performances, and artisans showcasing their work. Especially for kids are opportunities to create paper molas, grind cocoa beans to make their own hot chocolate, and sample the tasty treat (while they last). Some activities require free tickets for timed entry. For specifics, you can download the festival brochure here. This free event is happening on Saturday and Sunday 10am – 4:30pm both days.
Butterfly Birthday Bash – Celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History on Saturday from 1-3pm. There will be special arts and crafts activities for children of all ages, and museum educators will be on hand to talk about about metamorphosis and native butterfly species of our region. This is part of the Second Saturday Arts & Science series, the museum’s monthly program for families. Admission is free.
Super Science Saturday – The second Saturday of each month is also calendar-marker at the Dulles arm of the Air & Space Museum. Guests are immersed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics related to aviation and space exploration. This month’s theme is Scientists & Inventors. Admission is free, but parking at the museum is $15.
African American Pioneers in Aviation – The Air & Space on the National Mall is hosting it’s own program for guests of all ages on Saturday in honor of Black History Month. The museum’s annual African American Pioneers Day focuses on the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen. Visitors can listen to Tuskegee Airmen and their descendents talk about the challenges and triumphs as members of the groundbreaking African American World War II fighter group. In addition, the Black Gents of Hollywood will be presenting excerpts of Layon Gray’s off-Broadway play, Black Angels over Tuskegee. The event also includes hands-on activities, story times, and book signings. The event is from 10am – 3pm, admission is free.
Happy Birthday, Abe! – Ford’s Theatre Society is celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Saturday with a free open house featuring a variety of programming and activities. Visitors can attend author discussions, ranger talks and one-act play performances exploring Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. They can also view the exhibits at the new Center for Education and Leadership, participate in workshops with the Education Department, and enjoy scavenger hunts and prize drawings. The Ford’s Theatre Museum will be open for visits on the hour beginning at 9am. Tickets to the event are free and will be available at the box office beginning at 8:30am that day.
Show Time – The theatre is a good place to spend a cold day, and there are several options for live entertainment this weekend. I highly recommend Peter and the Wolf at The Puppet Co. – read my review of it here. Last I checked there were still tickets available for the 7pm performance of The Snowy Day at Adventure Theatre (though all others are sold out). P. Nokio will be on the Imagination Stage many times throughout the weekend. This week’s Saturday Morning at the National is Theatre IV’s performance of Jack and the Beanstalk. The Wings of Ikarus is still running at The Kennedy Center. And 1st Stage Theatre’s a capella version of Three Bears just opened. You can find more details and ticket info for all of these productions in this post about winter entertainment.
Stories in Art – The National Gallery of Art’s drop-in program for kids is back on Sunday, and this time exploring the work of artist Georgia O’Keefe. Encouraging them to see the natural world as the artist did, guests will hear a reading of the book Through Georgia’s Eyes then create watercolor drawings inspired by plants. Sessions are at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm. Sign-in takes place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am, and continues until all spaces are filled. Admission is free. Read a KFDC review of the Stories in Art program here.
Tommy’s Traveling Book Club – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the children’s book The Snowy Day, DC Councilmember Tommy Wells is leading a special storytime this weekend. Enjoy the free reading of the Ezra Keats classic at Deanwood Libray (1350 49th. Street NE) on Saturday at 10am. All ages are welcome.
Making Dental Health Fun – In celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the National Children’s Museum wants to provide all of the information that children need to keep their teeth healthy and clean! Science experiments will demonstrate how toothpaste works and then attendees can learn how to make their own! Friends from Adventure Dental and Kids Smiles DC will present some fun interactive activities about dental health. And the Tooth Fairy will be making two very special guest appearances at 12:30pm and 2pm for “Tooth Fairy Storytime”! Drop in at the NCM’s Launch Zone for this free event on Saturday 11am – 4pm.
Design a Dragon – This month’s Arts for Families program at the Textile Museum is inspired by their newest exhibition Dragons, Nagas and Creatures of the Deep. Guests are invited to make their own dragon paper mola. Molas are the colorful appliqué panels made by the Kuna people of Panama and Coastal Columbia, two of which are on view in the exhibit. On Saturday from 2-4pm, kids can create a paper mola with scissors, glue, and their wildest imaginations. The free program is recommended for ages 5-12. No reservations required.
And it looks like this post with even more ideas for indoor fun will prove useful this weekend as well:
Enjoying the outdoors from a warm, comfy place at Watkins Nature Center.
Our museums will be full of special events this weekend — good timing, as a blast of chilly weather is on its way (to be followed by a heat wave, I’m sure). For some off the Mall activities, there’s a health & fitness expo, several children’s theatre shows, a building workshop, free fun at CHAW, and plenty of mainstay pursuits all around the DC-metro. Happy Weekend!
Art Class at the National Gallery – One of my favorite museum programs for kids begins this weekend and will offer weekly classes throughout the winter. This Sunday, you can drop in for Stories in Art, a workshop designed for kids ages 4-7, to learn about Henri Matisse through storytelling, discussion, and an art project. The hour-long classes are free, and no registration is required, but there is a limit to the number of children in each class. Sign-in will take place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am on Sundays, and will continue until all spaces are filled in each of the four time slots at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm. There is also a Family Workshop for kids ages 8-11 that is already full (but you can get on the waitlist here.) See this post for more information about both, as well as Artful Conversations, a class for older children that will take place starting next week.
Build & Grow at Lowe’s – Kids can be the kings (& queens) of their castles at the home improvement store this weekend. Lowe’s hosts free bimonthly workshops for kids, and the first of 2012 is this Saturday at 10am. During this session, the store will provide castle building kits and guidance on putting it together, along with other to take home. Go here to find your local Lowe’s and register for the workshop.
In Theatres Near You – Local stages will be full of kids’ entertainment this weekend. Catch Encore Stage & Studio’s Darius the Dragon & Rap-Punzel (read the KFDC review) before curtains close on Sunday. See a performance at Glen Echo — Peter & the Wolf is at The Puppet Co. and The Snowy Day at Adventure Theatre. Enjoy a Teddy Bear Concert at the Kennedy Center. Get more details about these shows and more in this post about winter entertainment.
Native Storytelling Festival – The weekend-long festival at the National Museum of the American Indian sounds like a special treat for Twihards, and a fun, fascinating activity for non-fans, too. Celebrating the exhibit Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves, Chris Morganroth, a Quileute elder, will tell traditional stories geared towards kids and families. He’ll also give an introduction to Quileute culture and discuss how the tribe is presented in the popular Twilight books and movies. Along with storytelling, there will be pow wow dances, drumming, and a totem pole unveiling. While you’re at the museum, be sure to check out imagiNATIONS, the family activity center full of interactive fun for kids.
To the Mountaintops – All weekend long, the National Museum of American History will honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with a stirring and inspirational tribute. Actor Xavier Carnegie presents selections from some of Dr. King’s most powerful and compelling speeches and sermons in a combination of live performance, historic photographs, and audio recordings. Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the multitude of others who struggled and sacrificed so that this nation might become a more perfect union. The free presentation will take place Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 11am, 1pm, 2:30pm, and 4pm in the museum’s Flag Hall, 2nd floor.
NCM Honors MLK– In recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the National Children’s Museum Launch Zone is hosting a program honoring his life and accomplishments. Make your own I Have A Dream…Catcher and participate in their “Valentines for Veterans” service project in recognition of Dr. King’s commitment to service. Drop in from 11am – 4pm for this free event.
Health & Fitness Expo – NBC’s annual exposition will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center. There will be free health screenings, exercise and dance demos, opportunities to test out new sports, meet and greets with a couple of The Biggest Loser winners, giveaways, plus activities especially for kids. Young guests can be a meteorologist, test their skills at a Bike Safety Pavilion, score a goal at a soccer area, reach for the top of a climbing wall, show off some dance moves, learn some yoga, and more. Admission to the expo is free, and it’s open both Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 5pm. The Convention Center is located at 901 Mount Vernon Place, NW, and the expo takes place in halls B & C. Metered street parking and garages are nearby, and you can take the Metro’s yellow line to the Mount Vernon/th St-Convention Center station.
Stories and Art at the Portrait Gallery – On Saturday from 2-4pm, children ages 5 and up, with an accompanying adult, can explore portraiture in depth at the National Portrait Gallery. Participants will take a brief guided tour of the exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories, listen to a children’s story or short gallery talk, then create a piece of art using some of the same materials or concepts. The session is free, but registration is required. On Sunday, drop in for Portrait Story Days from 2-5pm for a story about Gertrude Stein and a related art project (no registration necessary).
CHAW Gratis – The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop is continuing it 40th anniversary celebration with freebies galore. In the family-friendly vein this weekend, there is a mural painting recommended for ages 5-12 from 10am-12pm on Saturday – sign up online. There are also two concerts the whole brood can enjoy, the All Points West Chamber Music Ensemble at 11am and Bokamoso Youth in Performance at 6pm. More details for all three activities are available on the CHAW website.
The Wright Stuff – It’s Super Science Saturday, the monthly program at the Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles. There will be demonstrations and hands-on activities that immerse children in science and technology topics related to aviation and space exploration. January’s theme is From the Wright Brothers to the Right Stuff.
Fee-Free at National Parks – In honor of MLK Day, all National Parks that usually charge entrance fees will waive admission from Saturday through Monday. It might be on the chilly side for a hike, but perhaps perfect for a scenic drive through Shenandoah or the George Washington National Forest.