Dumbarton Oaks Gardens is among the many places where admission will be free during Museum Day Live!
One of my favorite things about this city is the free admission to so many amazing collections of art, nature, science, and culture through the Smithsonian Institution. Besides the obvious benefit to the wallet, it’s a wonderful perk for us as parents: We can take our tykes to the museums without feeling like we need to pack it all in on one day’s entrance fee — a nice thing with young museum-goers who may easily get antsy. It also makes repeat visits to the kids’ favorite exhibits easy to accommodate. (Trust me, I know this from LOTS of “Dinosaur Museum” experience.)
However, there’s a small downside: With all this free access, it can be easy to overlook the places that do charge admission, many of which are fantastic. But thanks to Smithsonian Magazine, we’ll have an opportunity to check out some of them the way we’re used to: Free of Charge. This Saturday, September 28, is their annual Museum Day Live!, when many museums that usually charge an entrance fee will waive it for guests. All you have to do is register to get your ticket and you can visit a participating museum of your choice for free. Tickets are good for two people, and you must print it and bring with you to receive gratis admission.
These are some of the participating area museums (that usually require a fee) that families will enjoy:
We Washingtonians are spoiled when it comes to museums. Not only do we have some of the nation’s — no, make that the world’s — most wonderful museums right in our backyards, but many of them are free. It is one of the things I most appreciate about living in Washington, DC, and raising a family here.
However, there’s a tiny downside: With all this free access, it can be easy to overlook the places that do charge admission, many of which are fantastic. But thanks to Smithsonian Magazine, we’ll have an opportunity to check out some of them the way we’re used to: free of charge. This Saturday, September 29, is their annual Museum Day, when many museums that usually charge admission will waive the entrance fee for guests. All you have to do is register to get your Museum Day Ticket and you can visit a participating museum of your choice for free. Tickets are good for two people, and you must print it and bring with you to receive admission.
These are some of the participating area museums (that usually require a fee) that families will enjoy:
Dumbarton House and Gardens
National Museum of Crime & Punishment
The Kreeger Museum
The Phillips Collection
American Visionary Art Museum
Annapolis Maritime Museum
B&O Railroad Museum
Chesapeake Children’s Museum
College Park Aviation Museum
Alexandria Archaeology Museum
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
Festivals dominate this weekend round-up. They celebrate everything from books to play time to autumn to neighborhood communities to medieval times. And to fill the time between all the festival-hopping, there are theatre performances, museum events, even a parade for playgrounds. Of course, all of it is chock full of fun for the whole family. Happy Weekend!
Worldwide Day of Play – It’s playtime, big time, at The Ellipse on Saturday as Nickelodeon celebrates the largest-ever Worldwide Day of Play, its annual event to encourage kids to turn off the TV and get outside. The star-studded event will include appearances by some of the network’s biggest names – Dora the Explorer, Big TIme Rush, the Fresh Beat Band, and SpongeBob SquarePants just to name a few. Plus, more than 50 organizations have partnered with Nickelodeon to set up activities that get kids moving like batting contests and clinics with MLB and Boys & Girls Club of America, soccer drills with MLS, and tennis workshops by USTA. This all takes pace from 10am – 4pm and is free to the public.
National Book Festival – One of the biggest annual events to take place in Washington, DC, is this weekend: The 2011 National Book Festival. Organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Festival regularly attracts over 100,000 visitors to the National Mall for a celebration of books and reading. More than 100 authors, poets, and illustrators from every literary genre will be presenting and doings readings and signings. And for the first time in its 11 years, the Festival will take place over two days, on Saturday from 10am – 5:30pm and Sunday from 1 – 5:30pm. The free event is open to the public. See this post for more details.
Celebrate Fall – Ring in the new season at a festival this weekend. From pumpkin patches and apple picking to corn mazes and hayrides to giant slides and jumping pillows, there are activities galore to help folks embrace the autumn spirit. This post has details on a bunch of fall festivals in the area.
Museums for Free – Yes, there are some area museums that actually do charge admission. But on Saturday, Smithsonian Magazine is hosting it’s annual Museum Day, when those that require us to open our wallets, are free. A few that will be especially appealing to kids: President Lincoln’s Cottage, the B&O Railroad Museum, the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, and the College Park Aviation Museum. For more about the program, including how to get tickets, see this post from a few days ago.
The Play’s the Thing – Two new productions are opening at local theatres this weekend — Lilly’s Plastic Purse debuts at Adventure Theatre and Alladin’s Luck will take the Imagination Stage. Catch Lilly this evening at 7pm, or Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 2pm; tickets are $17. Performances of Alladin are at 10:30am today, 1pm on Saturday, and 1pm & 4pm on Sunday; tickets range from $10-22. And for more live entertainment in the area, check out this post about shows to catch this season.
Funville – Washington Parent Magazine is hosting this parenting fair at White Flint Mall from 10am – 4pm on Saturday. Guests can enjoy live performances, hands-on activities, giveaways, contests, plus demonstrations and interactive stations focusing on education, health, the arts, parties, and more.
Barracks Row Festival – Showcasing the marine barracks and commerce on 8th Street SE in Capitol Hill, this annual festival includes fun for all ages. There will be tours of the historic barracks and Home of Commandments, live entertainment, Trapeze School aerialists on silks posing on “silks” overhead, a petting zoo, food and art vendors, and tons of fun for kids (clowns, magicians, face painting, and more). And chef from all branches of the military will be back again for a cook-off to see who will be the Top Military Chef. The day will end with the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performing their unforgettable rifle and marching routines. This will all take place from 11am – 5pm. No admission fee.
Harvest Happenings – Join the McClean Community Center on Saturday from 11am – 2pm for a fun and exciting day for the whole family. The indoor/outdoor festival will include kids’ activities, live entertainment, fun snacks, games, and more. All activities, geared toward 3-8-year-olds, are included in the $5 entrance fee (free for children 2 and under). Food concessions will also be available.
Parade for Playgrounds – On Saturday join parents, children and community members in a walk down 7th Street NW to the National Mall to advocate for a safe play space in downtown D.C. Organized by Downtown DC Kids, the group meets at 10:30am at Calvary Baptist Church (755 8th Street NW), and the parade begins at 11am, heading over to 7th Street then making its way to the Children’s Pavilion and Storytelling Stage at the National Book Festival on the Mall. They will be giving out T-shirts and asking folks to sign a petition in support of their efforts to bring a playground to downtown. Visit their website for more information about the parade and the cause.
National Geographic Little Explorers – National Geographic and Pottery Barn Kids are joining forces to bring science to little ones through the Little Explorers series. This Saturday at 10am, PB Kids stores across the country invite children ages 3 and up to learn about lions, tigers, and other big cats through hands-on activities, songs, and more. Locally, this will take place at the Tyson’s Corner store, but you can search for others hosting the event on the website. This is a free event.
Chalk4Peace Family Festival – Join the American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and your friends outside on the F Street sidewalk for a day of chalk art and interactive fun. Make your mark and take your picture with a site-specific work in chalk by artist Michael Kirby and his team from Murals of Baltimore. This free event is happening from 11:30am – 3pm on Saturday.
SW ArtsFest – From Friday through Sunday, DC’s smallest quadrant will hold its first annual SW ArtsFest. SW ArtsFest 2011 will bring together ten different organizations to present a cross-section of Southwest’s cultural community through a three-day festival with the theme “Discover Southwest.” The collaboration will include the (e)merge art fair and the Marcātus Creative Art Market, performances and children’s activities at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, the 10th Annual DC Jazz Preservation Festival, the Human Rights Film Festival, an outdoor art studio for children, and much more. Merriment in Maryland – Take a day trip back to medieval times at the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival. The faire runs every weekend through October 24 and offers plenty for everyone in the family to enjoy. Read more about it here.
Awesome Airmail – Airmail is turning 100, and the public is invited to celebrate at the National Postal Museum on Saturday from 11am – 3pm. Join the staff beneath a 1911 plane that carried airmail and discover its fascinating story, and enjoy hands-on activities, tours, and more.
Bramble10 – Brambleton, the planned community in Ashburn, VA, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a weekend of family-friendly events. On Friday evening and all day Saturday, Brambleton Town Center will be the sight of live music, kids’ entertainment, comedy performances, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, food vendors, balloon artists, fireworks and more. Admission is $5/person or $20/family. On Saturday a $10 entry and ride wristband is also available.
This Saturday, September 24, Smithsonian Magazine is hosting it’s annual Museum Day, when admission to participating museums is free of charge.
I know what you’re thinking: Our museums already are free. And that’s true of most of the galleries and institutions that house collections of everything from great works of art to famous aircraft to dinosaur bones to relics of American pop culture.
Thanks to Smithsonian Magazine, all of these museums and scores of others across the country will open their doors for free on Saturday, so if it is, indeed, the entrance fee that has kept you away, now’s your chance to visit. All you need is a ticket, which you can receive by filling out your information here, and it’s good for you and a guest.