Monday – Jump with joy at Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield, VA. This bouncy nirvana hosts Kid Flight sessions, when the whole park is open only to children under the age of 6, from 10am – 2pm Monday through Friday. Special pricing starts at $8/30 minutes ($10/hour), and an accompanying adult jumps free! I recommend buying tickets and submitting waivers online in advance to save time when you get there.
Tuesday – Take your toddlers to story hour at East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. The children’s book readings are perfect for future readers ages 0-4. The session starts at 11am, and admission is free. After, browse the inventory then grab a lunch at one of many nearby eateries.
Wednesday – Join wacky citizen-scientist Professor Wingnut and his friend Seymour Seagull as they explore the amazing science of flight! This show presented by Discovery Theater fittingly takes places at the National Air & Space Museum. Tickets are still available for the 1pm performance (on Thursday, too!) and cost $3-8, depending on age. If they sell out, you can catch a different kind of show at the museum’s Albert Einstein Planetarium or just explore the amazing space 😉 . Museum hours are 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.
Thursday – Enjoy what will hopefully be a warmer, sunnier day at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Go on a nature walk among the ponds filled with giant lily pads and other interesting marsh plants and look for geese, great blue herons, turtles, frogs, and tiny fish on the way. Open 8am – 4pm this time of year, and at 2pm you can join a Garden Walk with a park ranger. Admission is free.
Friday – Explore the local environment from the comfort of the indoors at Buddie Ford Nature Center, which I just posted about last week. The facility in Alexandria boasts fascinating exhibits (including live creatures!), hands-on activities, and a staff of friendly and knowledgeable naturalists that all ages will appreciate. And if weather permits, continue the fun outdoors with a short hike at the adjacent Dora Kelley Nature Park. Buddie Ford hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.
Talk about a crappy photo... a lesson in animal poop at Nat Geo's latest exhibit for kids
Another weekend has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Here’s where kiddos (and parents!) can stay entertained all week long.
Monday – If you still haven’t made it to a fall festival, weekdays are a great time to go, when crowds thin out and admission prices are often lower. Take a hayride, pick out a pumpkin, jump and slide, visit farm animals, and more. This KFDC post has details on where you can find the seasonal fun.
Tuesday – Journey “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with the National Children’s Museum as they host Toddler Tuesday, a free weekly drop-in program for children ages 2-4. Guests can take a make-believe jaunt to the land of Oz and discover real and imaginary parts of The Wizard of Oz through stories, games, art, and movement. Drop in anytime from 10:30am – 2:30pm.
Wednesday – Take the kids to one of DC’s most tried and true for family fun: The National Museum of Natural History (or Dinosaur Museum, as my kids like to call it). Tour roomfuls of skeletons of prehistoric beasts, visit the Hall of Mammals, and head upstairs to the Insect Zoo, where guests often have the opportunity to hold giant caterpillars, cockroaches, beetles, and other creepy crawlies. Later in the day, enjoy Halloween Happy Hour with the Boogie Babes as they host BB2 Boo!, a costume and dance party at the Atlas Performing Arts Center ($10/family).
Thursday – The forecast isn’t looking too hot for this part of the week, so explore nature indoors at a nature center. Most have live animals to visit, interactive exhibits, and hands-on activities for kids. And if weather does permit, there are miles of outdoor areas to roam, too. The Natural Capital blog has a list of area nature centers along with a map depicting their locations.
Friday – Have fun learning about some of the ickiest parts of the animal world at the National Geographic Museum’s latest exhibit for kids, “Animal Grossology.” Through several creative, interactive installments, the exhibit explains all you’ll ever need to now about animal poop and their other, um, natural processes. It’s presented along with “Weird But True,” a collection of odd facts about the wild world. Admission to both exhibits is $8/adults, $6/ages 5-12, free for children 4 and under.
3. Head to the National Building Museum for some play time in the Building Zone or other activities in the Great Hall. (Note: linked post contains info about past events, as well as a description of what’s currently there).
The snowstorm may have been a bust, but the cold and wind over the next couple of days will still have many of us seeking indoor activities for the kids. Here are some ideas for having fun and staying warm.
The Nutcracker on Strings – Tickets are still available for The Puppet Co’s production of the holiday classic. Showtimes are 11:30am and 1pm daily through December 31. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online.
Nature Indoors – Just because it’s too cold to be out in nature doesn’t mean kids can’t still enjoy it. A couple of area parks are offering programs at their nature centers. On Tuesday, December 28, Meadowside Nature Center invites presents Spider Time! from 9:30 – 10:30am. Recommended for ages 3 -7, guests learn about spiders through a story and meet Meadowside’s own Rose Haired tarantula, then create a craft to take home. Cost is $5, and space is limited. On Wednesday from 1:30 – 2:15pm, Brookside Nature Center will hold Under the Ice where kids of all ages can discover what animlas and plants do under the ice all winter. Limited space, cost is $4.
Indoor Play Spaces– If the kids have energy to burn from being cooped up, head to an indoor gym where they can run, tumble, and get their bounce on. See this post for a list of places in the area. For indoor play that’s less physical and more imaginative, both Great Kids Village (locations in Silver Spring and Columbia) and the Playseum in Bethesda welcome drop-ins.
IMAX Movies – Feel like you’re roaming with dinos, soaring through the sky, rafting through the Grand Canyon, hanging with Buzz and Woody, or performing wizardry with Harry. The Smithonian IMAX theatres — at the Natural History and Air & Space Museums – have schedules full of daily entertainment. Make a day of it and explore some exhibits, too – many of the museums have special extended holiday hours this week. See the Smithsonian website for details.
Tudor Place– There is still space in some of the special holiday programs taking place at the historic Georgetown mansion Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, December 28 – 30. For details on Story Time with Ms. Peter and the Gingerbread House Workshop, see this post from last week.
Holiday Exhibits – Christmas may be over, but many of the associated displays around the area are still running. Check out this post to see what going on, and for a few specifics, read about Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden and Christmas on the Potomac at the National Harbor.
So, it’s not yet officially winter (and the photo is actually from last year), but I just couldn’t pass up the alliteration opportunity. Besides, the weather we’ve put up with lately isn’t exactly the picture of autumn. But many of this weekend’s events embrace the winter spirit – holiday exhibits, Christmas performances, and seasonal celebrations. Here’s where you can find them, plus a few more non-winter pursuits. Happy Weekend!
Trains, Planes, & Holiday Cheer – The College Park Aviation Museum’s annual holiday exhibit opens tomorrow, December 18, showcasing mini locomotives, villages, tunnels, and depots that spark the imagination and bring history to life. And the museum’s collection of historic aircraft and other flight-related displays will fascinate even more. Admission is $4/adults, $3/seniors, $2/ages 2-18, free/children under 2. The Aviation Museum is located at 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive in College Park. For other train and light exhibits in the area, check out this post.
National Christmas Tree – Bundle up and head to the Ellipse to see The National Christmas Tree close up and check out other holiday treats. Visit Santa’s Workshop, watch model trains zip around the tree, and see the Nativity scene and Yule Log. Choir performances take place on weekends from 4 – 8:30pm. The Pathway of Peace around the tree is lit daily until 11pm, but Santa’s workshop has limited hours.
Childrens Tea Party & Storytelling– The Textile Museum is hosting its monthly Arts for Families program on Saturday. Guests can enjoy tea and tasty treats as they listen to readings from Tales Told in Tents: Stories from Central Asia by Sally Pomme Clayton. Parents are encouraged to bring a camera to snap photos of their kids trying on Turkmen clothing as they learn about life in the lands of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. The progam is free and recommended for kids ages 4 to 12. There are two seatings, at 2pm and 3pm. The Textile Museum is located at 2320 S Street NW.
Family Christmas Concert – The Kennedy Center isn’t a bad place to spend a Saturday afternoon. The Choral Arts Society of Washington presents a Family Christmas Concert: The Night Before Christmas, a theatrical concert for audiences of all ages. For more information, see this post. (Note: the Goldstar deal has expired, but regular-priced tickets are still available through the Kennedy Center.)
Mount Vernon by Candlelight – Sunday evening is your last chance for an evening Christmas tour at George Washington’s estate (the Saturday evening tour is sold out). Join “Mrs. Washington” for candlelit tours, fireside caroling, and hot cider and ginger cookies. Characters from the 18th-century will lead tours through the old house, and music and holiday shopping will take place in the more modern buildings. Admission is $10/adults, $14/kids 11 and under. Hours are 5pm – 8:30pm.
Elmo’s Healthy Heroes – Tickets are still available for the Sesame Street Live! show at the Patriot Center this weekend. For details on times and tickets, check out this post from a few days ago.
Christmas Stories at the American Art Museum – On Saturday, celebrate “the most wonderful time of year” with dramatic readings from a selection of holiday favorites, including Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicolas, and Francis P. Church’s Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. The free activity is related to the exhibit “Telling Stories: Normal Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg,” so be sure to take a tour of it while you’re there. The free program starts at 2pm. The American Art Museum is located at 8th and F Streets NW.
Winter Solstice Festival – The Winter Solstice is nearly upon us. Celebrate the days getting longer at Cabin John Regional Park on Sunday, December 19, from 2:30 – 4:30. Guests can make their own luminaries, walk celestial spirals, learn to spin fire, and discover ancient customs and superstitions surrounding this magical time of the solar year. Festivities will include hot cider and traditional treats around a blazing bonfire under the Great Sycamore and end with families preparing a sky lantern to bring back the light. All ages are invited, and cost is $5.
Smithsonian Exhibits – Not that you need a reminder about all of the wonderful free museums on the Mall and in few other parts of the city, but if you want a daily schedule to help plan for storytime at Air & Space, tarantula feedings at Natural History, or animal encounters at the Zoo, then check out this calendar listing children’s activities this weekend.