Tag Archives: Spring 2019

The Weekend Round-Up: June 14-16

Fun at The Wharf where DC JazzFest will present free entertainment this weekend

Happy Weekend! And a very Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

Seasonal Treats
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

It still may not be official on the calendar, but when it comes to local recreation, summer has arrived. Free concerts in the open air, outdoor swimming, movies under the stars, sprayground fun, and SO much more! Activities exclusive to the season can be enjoyed all around the area this weekend. Some are listed in this round-up, and the 2019 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer in DC has the scoop on the rest.

Father’s Day Weekend Fun
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

It’s a special day for the dads this weekend, and there are a bunch of great ways for the whole fam to celebrate if you’re still looking for ideas, from made-for-the-day events to DIY pursuits. See a whole round-up of them in this post, some of which are included below.

Infinite Space
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $16/adult, $8/age 2+

The newest exhibition at ARTECHOUSE, Infinite Space explores the concept of infinity and “invites visitors to open their senses to the endless transformation and infinite possibilities at the intersection of man and machine.” Six immersive installations will delight and amaze and some will make you feel like you’re floating in, well, Infinite Space. Family-friendly hours are 10am -5pm, and evening hours 5:30-11:30pm for ages 21+ when exhibit-themed cocktails are served make for a fun date night.

Rockin’ on the Riverfront
Where: Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 6:30-8:30pm
Admission: Free

Kick off the weekend with some live music in the fresh air. The Friday Night Concert series at Yards Park is underway, and the Shane Gamble Band playing this installment of the summer staple. Enjoy the music along with food and drinks for purchase (or BYO picnic), let the kids play in the fountains and grassy spaces, and take in the scenic river views.

Chinatown Community Festival
Where: Chinatown, DC
When: Saturday, 11am -2pm
Admission: Free

Experience the tastes, sights, and sounds of Asian & Pacific Islander cultures! Free food samples, lively cultural performances, fitness demonstrations, face painting, henna design, K Make-up, Asian arts & crafts, free bike repair and much more. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required.

Keep on Truckin’
Where: RFK Stadium, Lot 8 | Kingman Park, DC
When: Saturday, 8am – 1pm
Admission: Free

The Truck Touch event that easily takes the title as Mac Daddy of them all. This is the 12th year that the DC Department of Public Works welcomes guests to climb aboard, honk the horn, work the gears, and explore all kinds of neat vehicles that serve our city. There also are usually opportunities to test ride Segways, spec out a helicopter, and sit atop police horses. Read more about it and see images from a past Truck Touch here (and be sure to note that it was posted a few years ago, so the dates don’t confuse you).

Grand Re-Opening Weekend
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: $17.95

After many months of renovations, Port Discovery and its BIG new exhibits will be fully open for play, learning, and family adventures. Celebrate and soar to new heights on a four-story SkyClimber. Set sail and explore the seas on a life-sized (and giant!) cargo ship. Enjoy new family seating, updated restrooms, and more! See the website for the schedule of activities each day. (KFDC Tip: Port Discovery is a good museum to consider for membership; just a couple of visits for a family of four makes it worth it!)

May the Force Be with the Nats
Where: Nationals Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The Nats are hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks all weekend. Saturday is Star Wars Day at Nationals Park, when the stadium transforms into a galaxy far, far away. Characters from Star Wars will pose for photos with fans, stage live combats, and participate in the Presidents Race. Plus, there will be an Obi “Sean” Kenobi bobblehead for the first 10,000 fans. There will be post-game fireworks on Friday night. You can also plan to spend actual Father’s Day, Sunday, at the ball park as the Nats play the Arizona Diamondbacks. There won’t be any galactic extras, but straight-up baseball is always a good time.

Jazz it Up
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 2-10pm
Admission: Free

DC JazzFest lands at The Wharf on Father’s Day Weekend for two days of world class jazz, music education, beer and wine gardens, and a diverse marketplace experience. Enjoy free concerts on District and Transit Piers starting at 2pm or make a weekend of it with VIP festival passes. On Friday and Saturday, the festival also includes ticketed shows at the Anthem — catch Snarky Puppy and Jose James on Friday or Jon Batiste & Stay Human on Saturday. Even more jazz performances will be presented at other venues around DC, see the schedule on the DC JazzFest website. And for more about The Wharf, see this KFDC post.

Juneteenth Celebration
Where: Watkins Regional Park | Upper MArlboro, MD
When: Saturday, 12-5pm
Admission: Free

Bring the whole family to celebrate this historic date and enjoy free concerts, exhibits, and activities honoring African American culture. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, marking the date that the last enslaved people learned of their freedom — the month of June and the nineteenth day were combined to form the name. Be sure to enjoy all of the wonderful offerings at Watkins while you’re there.

Pop-Up Father’s Day Card Workshop
Where: National Postal Museum | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Saturday,
Admission: Free

Make a card for your father figure with the museum’s fun craft supplies! They’ll provide a bountiful spread of patterned papers and rubber stamps, 3-D embellishments, special cut-out scissors, washi tape, stickers and markers of every color. You just bring you own creative instincts to design a one-of-a-kind card. And I can tell you from lots of experience over the years that the card-making workshops at the NPM are always fun for all ages!

Movie at the Museum: Ponyo
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Saturday, 10:15am & Sunday, 11:15am
Admission: Free

Families are invited to enjoy a film that will appeal to both young and adult audiences. Ponyo centers on the friendship between five-year-old Sosuke and a magical goldfish named Ponyo, the young daughter of a sorcerer father and a sea-goddess mother. After a chance encounter, Ponyo yearns to become a human so she can be with Sosuke. As to be expected with Miyazaki, the film is awash in pure unbridled imagination and visual wonder — but it is the tender love, humor, and devotion exhibited by Ponyo and Sosuke that form the emotional heart of the film. Recommended for ages 4+.

Shows on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Tickets: $12

See a puppet version of the fairytale classic, Cinderella, set in the elegance of 17th-century France that combines elaborate costumes of the Comédie-Française and Offenbach’s “Gaiety Parisian” to adorn the tale of the cinder girl who captures the heart of the handsome prince. Recommended for ages 5+. Really little ones will enjoy Panda-Monium, this week’s Tiny Tots show that keeps the lights on and doors open and makes it a gentle experience for the youngest theatre-goers.

By the People Festival
Where: Various locations around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

This festival that launched last year brings visual art, performing art, and dialogue to all around DC. Completely free and open to the public, works interpret the festival’s founding themes of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Expect everything from large-scale installations to performances to speakers to augmented reality. By The People will always push the envelope, “creating new and thrilling ways for anyone to fan their creative spark by experiencing world-class art.” See the website for the schedule and locations.

Smokin’ Saturday
Where: Cox Farms | Chantilly, VA
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Head to the farm for their weekly gathering of food and fun! Visit friendly critters, play on the wooden climbing structures, enjoy pulled pork from the smoker and other tasty eats, listen to live music, take a ride to Foamhenge, and frolic around the grounds. Visit the website for timing and more details.

Shaw Open House
Where: Throughout the Shaw neighborhood, DC
When: Saturday,1-5pm
Admission: Free

Dozens of businesses in the Shaw neighborhood are opening their doors for free samples, discounts, and entertainment on Saturday, — and the first 100 people to sign in receive $25 in “Shawbucks” to spend at the participating businesses! Check in at Grand Cata to receive an Open House “Passport,” then embark on an afternoon of discounts, free treats like samples of Capital Burger’s Boozy Milkshakes, quiche and a sip from Convivial, coffee from Le Columbe, and much more in addition to a photo booth and other fun activities throughout the neighborhood.  All passport holders will be entered into a drawing for gift cards and experiences from participating businesses, including an overnight stay at Marriott, gift cards for dining and shopping, gift baskets, artwork, and more. 

Lily Ponds Live
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 3-5pm
Admission: Free

Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is hosting the first installment of the Lily Ponds Live! concert series at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. This free concert will feature live jazz from the Kenny Rittenhouse Quartet, food trucks will be available. and there will be family activity stations sponsored by other local non-profits.

Pizza + Picasso Art Night
Where: Makeshift | H Street NE, DC
When: Saturday, 5-7pm
Admission: $24.50 (+ $45 with add-on)

Join Makeshift for Pizza + Picasso Art Night — all ages welcome. They’ll provide the dinner and art + craft supplies, you just bring the kids! There are two options for this event: 1) Stop by with your kid(s)! Each child ages 1+ requires a ticket. Adults join and eat free. 2) Turn art night into a date night! Makeshift has partnered with District Sitter to offer babysitting services throughout the event. The cost is $45 for 2 hours of dedicated babysitting services for up to 2 kids AT MAKESHIFT. Your children will be assigned a sitter who will help them participate in the pizza + art activities and watch them throughout the event, while you head out for a couple of hours! Be sure to select this optional Add-On at checkout. Minimum age for babysitting services is 6 months.

Father’s Day Fish-a-Rama
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: Sunday
Admission: $8/child, $10/adult

Treat Dad to a fun-filled weekend with BBQ and catch-and-release fishing. Guests can compete in the Fish-a-Rama contest, fishing for catfish, bass, and blue gill in the stocked ponds, and prizes are on the line for the largest fish hooked and the most fish caught during the power hour. Bring your own pole and gear to fish (no drag hooks). GCF has worms for purchase in the country store. The amusement continues on the five-acre farm-style playground featuring the Giant Jumping Pillow, Triple Threat slide, corn bin, animal barnyard and loads more fun for all.

LGBTQ+ Pride Flag Postcard Workshop
Where: National Postal Museum | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 11am – 1pm
Admission: Free

It’s another opportunity to get creative at the Postal museum, this time to make rainbow pride flag postcards out of canceled stamps and participate in a scavenger hunt featuring famous LBGTQ+ figures on stamps. All ages are welcome to join this activity that takes place every Sunday in June. Plan to explore the rest of the museum while you’re there — read more about it in this KFDC post.

Women’s World Cup Watch
Where: Wheaton Sports Pavilion | Wheaton, MD
When: Sunday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Varies

Join Montgomery Parks’ for free a watch party and open house during the FIFA Women’s World Cup match between USA and Chile. Doors open at 11:30am with kick-off slated for 12pm. The powerhouse matchup will be shown on a blow-up big-screen in a family-friendly atmosphere. Food trucks will be on-site offering refreshments for purchase. This WaPo article has suggestions for even more places to watch the big fútbol tourney, some of them family-friendly.

Family Scavenger Hunt Adventure
Where: National Gallery of Art | National Mall, DC
When: Sunday, 2pm
Admission: $19.50/adult, $17.50/child

The fun, unique activity for families has you on a mission competing against other teams to find art that echoes characters, places, and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies, with the help of clever Harry Potter-themed clues. And while the website says it’s for ages 10 and up, kids younger than that definitely can partake, too! This KFDC post has more about this awesome adventure.

Soccer Festival
Where: Tyler Elementary School | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 3-5pm
Admission: Free

Kick it with DC Way on Father’s Day — the goal of this festival is to gather parents and children to play soccer, socialize, and have fun! Festival programs will include multiple games and activities, kids vs. parents games, and obstacle courses. Plus, participants will also get a special gift.

* The Best Places in the Dc Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids is probably my favorite KFDC post and always a good one to keep handy.
* Currently at the National Archives, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote highlights the relentless struggle of diverse activists throughout U.S. history to secure voting rights for all American women.
* See what’s coming to Arena Stage for 2019/20, it’s 70th anniversary season.
* Homewood Suites in the Navy Yard hosts a rooftop happy hour before Nats games and offers some great special Nationals packages for guests.
* I’ve been hearing good things about this book and just put it on my summer reading list.
* 13 Goals.

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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: June 10-14

Taking in the views from the Maryland side at Great Falls

Monday – Take little ones to Nook, a play and learning space for young, modern families, that offers art, building, climbing, imaginary, and sensory play for children 0-5 years old. Reserve two hours of Open Play time at either the Ballston or Mosaic location. Admission is $20.

Tuesday – Enjoy some of the area’s best nature at Great Falls Park. Whether you opt for the Maryland or Virginia side, you really can’t go wrong. Take in spectacular views of the falls and rapids from several overlooks, hike easy trails along the river or through the woods, and stop in the Visitor Center — there’s one on each side — to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife. Open 7am to 30 minutes after sunset. Admission is $10/vehicle.

Wednesday – Laugh it up with The Great Zucchini at Kids in Canal. The weekly series at Canal Park is kicking off another fun summer with the children’s comedic magician. Every Wednesday from 10:30-11:30am, enjoy a live show for littles — kids music, science demos, magic shows, and a raptor show are all part of the summer lineup. Of course, top it all off with water play in the fountains and sprays. Admission is free, and the program takes place in the middle block of the park. For more about Canal Park, see this KFDC post.

Thursday – Go see the dinosaurs at the National Museum of Natural History. The new David H. Koch Hall of Fossils-—Deep Time just opened this past weekend, and it’s full of skeletal beasts plus hundreds of smaller prehistoric remnants and cool installations that present 3.7 billion years of life on Earth. Weekdays are a good time to go when crowds aren’t as big as the weekends. Of course, plan for time to explore the rest of the museum, too! I always recommend the Insect Zoo, where kids love opportunities to hold live creatures and theHall of Human Origins where they can see what they’d look like as a Neanderthal in a special face morphing photo booth. The museum is open 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.

Friday – Head up to Baltimore for the Grand Opening of the newly renovated Port Discovery. The children’s museum and its BIG new exhibits will be fully open for play, learning, and family adventures. Celebrate and soar to new heights on a four-story SkyClimber. Set sail and explore the seas on a life-sized (and giant!) cargo ship. Enjoy new family seating, updated restrooms, and more! The day’s special activities run from 12-5pm. The new admission fee is $17.95/age 2+. (KFDC Tip: Port Discovery is a good one to consider for membership; just a couple of visits for a family of four makes it worth it!)

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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Maryland, Spring, Summer, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: June 7-9

Rediscover and celebrate a Eastern Market this weekend!

Happy Weekend!

Joys of Summer
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by activity

Free concerts in the open air, outdoor swimming, movies under the stars, sprayground fun, and SO much more! Activities exclusive to the season can be enjoyed this weekend, and the 2019 KFDC Guide to the Best of Summer in DC has the whole scoop on all of them.

Dinosaurs are Back in DC
Where: National Museum of National History | National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

After a five-year hiatus during renovations, the dinosaurs have returned to Natural History Museum. The new David H. Koch Hall of Fossils–Deep Time opens to the public on Saturday, and there will be a special ceremony and activities to celebrate. The first 300 visitors will be able to attend the 10:15am opening ceremony, and all are welcome to check out the exhibition after, though be prepared for long lines. Of course, the rest of the museum is wonderful to explore, too. Oh, and guests are encouraged to come in costume!

Celebrate Capital Pride
Where: Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, & Downtown DC
When: Saturday, 4:30-7:30pm & Sunday, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Capital Pride at the annual parade that’s expected to draw tens of thousands of spectators! The procession steps off at 4:30pm at 22nd & P Streets NW and will wind its way through Dupont, Logan, and other areas of NW. It’s sure to be a spectacular extravaganza of ornate floats, street performers, music and dancing, glitter and beads, and plenty of reveling. Sunday’s family-friendly festival, on Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd to 7th Streets NW, will feature three stages of live entertainment and host loads of exhibitors, including local and community groups, national sponsors, local businesses, food vendors, restaurants, and businesses looking to promote their services. It’s all a fun and fabulous opportunity to show support for the LGBTA community and join the celebration!

Celebrate Fairfax
Where: Fairfax County Government Center | Fairfax, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Admission: $10-20/adult, $4-5/youth, free/2 & under

The annual Celebrate Fairfax! festival brings a whole weekend of fun June 7-9 with something for everyone — live music, carnival rides, children’s activities, art, food vendors, and much more to keep guests entertained throughout the weekend. And with Better Than Ezra and Smash Mouth headlining, you get a little time trip back to the 90’s, too!

Women’s World Cup Watch
Where: Around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

If you want to watch the Women’s World Cup with other fútbol fanatics, a bunch of places around the area will be featuring the matches. Check out this Washington Post article for places to watch the tournament, including some family-friendly spots and viewing parties.

Community Celebration
Where: The Fields at RFK | Hill East, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

All are invited to join Events DC and Mayor Bowser as they host a ribbon cutting ceremony and community celebration to unveil the three new recreational playing fields at RFK. Festivities will include two youth clinics provided by D.C. United’s Training Academy and the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, complimentary food trucks, a steel drum band, activations hosted by DC Fray, and more! Kids can sign up for the clinics onsite. There will also be a special appearance by D.C. United’s Wayne Rooney 🙌 .

Rediscover Eastern Market
Where: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Free

Eastern Market is DC’s oldest, continually operating, public fresh food market. Located in the heart of historic Capitol Hill, it’s a destination for fresh food, hand-made arts & crafts, and events, and has served as a community hub for 146 years. In 2007, Eastern Market suffered a devastating fire, but was restored and reopened to great fanfare in June 2009. A decade later, all are welcome to come celebrate the 10-year milestone. There will be live performances by Kidsinger Jim and the Eastern Senior High School Marching Band, free workout sessions, and, of course, the whole wonderful market to stroll, shop, and enjoy, both indoors and out!

SoundHealth: Second Saturday
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday, 9:30am & 11:30am
Admission: Free

ReVision Dance Company’s Family Friendly Creative Movement class focuses on developmentally appropriate movement, music, and dance activities. Adults and children have fun moving together in activities that encourage self-expression and socialization while supporting emotional and cognitive development. Most enjoyed by ages 0–3.

DC Jazz Fest
Where: Venues around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by show

The first weekend of the annual DC Jazz Festival presents a selection of the jazz genre’s most acclaimed artists as well as emerging artists at venues all around the city. Bring the kids for some afternoon jazz or make it a date night at a show in the evening. See the full schedule of concerts on the website to help you plan.

Pride on the Pier
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 2pm – 9pm
Admission: Free

Pride on the Pier extends the city’s annual celebration of LGBTQ visibility to the Wharf with an exciting array of free activities and entertainment. District Pier will offer DJs, dancing, and other entertainment, including a family-friendly kid’s zone. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase for those 21 and older. And don’t miss D.C.’s first Pride fireworks display presented by Compass. While you’re there, take advantage of even more that The Wharf has to offer — read more about it in this KFDC post.

Tinner Hill Blues Festival
Where: Various locales | Falls Church, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Starts at $30/adult, $5/age 7-16, free/6 & under

From blues in restaurants to Cherry Hill Park, and gospel on Tinner Hill, it’s three days of music and blues-related events for all ages all over the City of Falls Church. The 26th Annual Tinner Hill Blues Festival will bring loads of activities along with the live music, including fun for young festival-goers. Kids can enjoy a blues reading, films, and an instrument petting zoo. See the website for details on all of it.

As the Wheel Turns
Where: Peirce Mill | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10a – 4pm
Admission: Free

Learn about the power of water and its connection to food on a mill tour with Friends of Peirce Mill or a National Park Service Ranger at this historic site in Rock Creek Park. Ages are welcome to drop in. Read more about Peirce Mill in this KFDC post.

Cinderella on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Tickets: $12

This version of the fairytale classic is set in the elegance of 17th-century France, combining elaborate costumes of the Comédie-Française and Offenbach’s “Gaiety Parisian” to adorn the tale of the cinder girl who captures the heart of the handsome prince. The production was acclaimed at the 1997 National Puppet Festival, and performed by invitation at the Center for Puppetry Arts, in Atlanta. Recommended for ages 5+.

Step Afrika 25th Anniversary Celebration
Where: Hartke Theatre | Catholic University, DC
When: Saturday, 2pm/8pm & Sunday, 4pm
Admission: $45-60

Step Afrika! celebrates its 25th Anniversary Season several performances featuring the company’s most celebrated choreography and the world premiere of a contemporary stepping piece, “Thula.”   Each performance celebrates 25 years of stepping while paying homage to the company’s deep connections to South African dance, music, and culture.

Rumpus Room
Where: Black Cat | 14th Street NW, DC
When: Sunday,
Admission: $12-15

It’s the School’s (almost) out for Summer edition of the Rumpus Room! The family-friendly daytime dance party transforms the club environment (think disco balls, lights, and, of course, music) into safe family-friendly fun. Prepare for a dance floor filled with little ones, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers. The soundtrack for Rumpus Room is always a PG mix of popular dance hits, classics, children’s songs and more, all at a kid-friendly volume. Rumpus Room is designed for kids 8 and under, but older siblings are welcome! No adults admitted without a child. Maximum 3 children per adult. Infants and crawling children enter free. Purchase tickets online here.

Shavuot Ice Cream Social
Where: Hill Center | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Sunday, 3-4pm
Admission: Free

Join Chabad at the Hill Center for a Shavuot Ice Cream Social! Meet other kids, hear the 10 Commandments, enjoy Shavuot games and prizes, and have lots of Jewish holiday fun. The whole family welcome!RSVP appreciated.

Take Your Pick
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Strawberries, cherries, even spinach are ripe and ready for harvest, and many area farms welcome guests to come PYO. It’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.

Out in DC
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Capital Pride isn’t the only thing bringing peops out this weekend. The area is full of great places to enjoy being outside. You can read about them in The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids. (But if weather has you seeking shelter, check out The Great Indoors post instead.)

* Smorgasburg is coming to the Navy Yard.
* Christina Applegate’s foundation, Right Action for Women, provides advanced screening assistance to women with an increased risk of breast cancer (something I just learned about from her recent interview on Fresh Air).
* This experience coming to DC in the fall looks really cool.
* There’s a new Destinations from DC page with links to write-ups about some of the places we’ve visited over the years that make for fun, easy getaways.
* The Durells in Corfu is one of the most delightful series I have watched…ever.

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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

The Dinosaurs Have Returned to DC

A diplodocus is one of the many dinos featured in the Hall of Fossils


Back in 2014, when it was announced that the Hall of Fossils at the National Museum of Natural History would be closing for five years to undergo a major renovation, one of my first thoughts was of Owen. He was eight years old then, in second grade, and still digging dinosaurs. At that time, he wanted to be paleontologist when he grew up (with a side gig as a hip hop dancer, of course) and loved visits to the “Dino Museum.” I remember thinking that when it finally opened again, he would be 13 years old, in seventh grade, and probably not so into the prehistoric beasts anymore. But it seemed like such a long time away that I couldn’t really even fathom what he would be like at that age — my little boy, a teenager!?

Checking out the old Hall of Fossils when they were little people


Well, that time has come. The new David H. Koch Hall of Fossils-—Deep Time is complete, which means the dinosaurs are back — along with a whole new presentation of 3.7 billion years of life on Earth and how the past informs the present and shapes the future.

A first look at the space

The Nation’s T.rex (the real deal!) devouring a triceratops

Stop and see the Centrosaurus

The 31,0000-square-foot exhibition is nothing short of impressive. Featuring everything from an authentic Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton (read the story of its discovery) to replicas of other large prehistoric species to displays of smaller fossils to all kinds of installations and displays about the history of our planet and the climatic, geological, and human impact on it. Carts with related hands-on activities for all ages are also set up throughout the exhibit. You can experience it all as a journey through time, starting billions of years back and following it into the future.

Smaller fossils on display are just as interesting as the giants

A mechanical pterodactyl

An activity cart about dino tracks

The exhibition was produced with some messages in mind: That all life — past, present, and future is connected and is continually changing over time. Geological processes and global cycles cause ecosystem and evolutionary changes, and mass extinctions have at times devastated life on Earth. There is also a call to us humans to recognize the impact we have and consider our role in shaping the future and the fate of life on Earth.

This all opens to the public on Saturday, June 8, with an Opening Ceremony at 10:15am — the first 300 visitors to the National Mall-side entrance can participate in it. After that, all are welcome to explore, though crowds are expected, and there will be lines. But the museum will be open late, until 7:30pm, both Saturday and Sunday. Costumes are encouraged, so come as your favorite dino or as a paleontologist (but be sure to note safety instructions on this page)! There will be even more events to celebrate the opening of Deep Time on several other weekends. Admission to most of them is free.

As for Owen… my teen is now a rising eighth grader. And while he no longer seeks out books about dinosaurs or requests Dinosaur Planet on Discovery Channel, he is still into science (and basketball and soccer and history and indie rock music, and if you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he’ll wisely answer something along the lines of, “How can I know now? There are so many possibilities.”).

When I told him about the new Hall of Fossils after attending a preview, I remarked that it was kind of bummer it had closed when he was at peak dino.

His response, “Yeah, but the new one sounds really cool…when can we go?”


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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Museums, Special Event, Weekdays, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays:
June 3-7

See DC from a new perspective

Monday – Enjoy the day at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. As you hike the woods and wetlands, look for little creatures — turtles, frogs, fish, and birds are practically guaranteed wildlife sightings and take in sweeping vistas of the marshland. And be sure to stop in the Visitors Center, where there are several interactive exhibits about the surrounding environment. Open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Take the littlest ones to Cultural Cuddles at the National Museum of African American History & Culture. The brand new program invites parents and caregivers to bring babies ages 0 to 12 months to discover a rainbow of color through a close-looking activity led by a museum educator in the Visual Art gallery, then engage in sensory activities for further color exploration. It begins at 10:30am, and admission is free, but you must register in advance. If you’re with older children, explore the NMAAHC on your own — you can walk in without passes after 1pm — and be sure to check out the KFDC guide to visiting the museum with kids before you go.

Wednesday – Get a bird’s eye view of the DC area from the Observation Deck at CEB Towers. The 30+ story high space in Rosslyn offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramic vistas plus neat interactive and immerse experiences to enjoy them even more. Hours are 10am – 8pm, and admission is $21/adult, $11/age 5-13, $16/seniors & military, free for children under 5 (they are $1 more at the box office). But if you’re an Arlington resident, admission is FREE!

Thursday – Head to The Plaza at CityCenter, where the Kids Corner series is returning for the summer. Enjoy outdoor story time, singing, and fun with DC Public Library every Thursday starting this week through September 26. The fun begins at 10:30am, and admission is free.

Friday – Go bowling! Take advantage of Kids Bowling at Pinstripes in Georgetown. From 11am – 1pm Monday – Thursday, kids can bowl for $6/hour and parents are free (limit 4 kids per adult). Eat while you bowl or stay after for lunch — they have a good kids menu and a pretty extensive main menu, too.

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Filed under 2019, All ages, DC, Spring, Virginia, Weekdays