* Along with these recommendations, be sure to check out the Spring Break guide with more ideas for things to do with kids off from school this week!
Monday – Catch a performance of Winnie the Pooh at Adventure Theatre. Showtime for the all-ages production is 11am, and tickets are $20. Plan for a picnic (BYO food or buy from the Praline Café there) and some fun on the Glen Echo Park playground after the show.
For an activity with older kids, visit the Newseum, which is chock full of interesting and interactive exhibits in the context of journalism and media, from installations about some of the world’s biggest news stories to the opportunity to “Be a TV Reporter” to an arresting display of Pulitzer Prize winning photos — and so much more. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Tickets are $24.95/adult, $14.95/age 6-18, free/5 & under, but be sure to look for a discount before you go.
Tuesday – Spend the day in the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring. Kids as young as 5 years old can experience fun and challenges on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial adventure forest, the largest in North America. Ages 5-6 are free with a paid accompanying adult and have access to two of the easier courses. Older kids can do even more. Hours are 9am – dusk, and admission is $12/age 5-6, $47/age 7-11, $56/age 12+. Read more about the Adventure Park here.
For little ones who aren’t quite ready for a treetop adventure, visit the enchanting Clark’s Elioak Farm! Complete with hayrides, cow train rides, pony rides, farm animals to pet, a playground, and recovered installations from an old storybook park, it’s sure to delight kiddos. Open 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Friday (10am – 5:30pm Saturday – Sunday). Admission is $7, some rides might be extra.
Wednesday – Go over the rainbow and beyond at Watkins Regional Park. The adorable Wizard of Oz themed playground will have kiddos frolicking for hours. Be sure to stop by Old Maryland Farm to visit the animals and spend time at Watkins Nature Center to view even more cool creatures and birds, then hike the nearby trails. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 10am – 5:30pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free.
Thursday – Experience a bit of Holland in Northern Virginia at Burnside Farms’ annual Festival of Spring! Blooming tulips stretching along acres of fields in an array of colors and varieties is absolutely stunning. Even better, you can pick your own to bring the beauty home ($1 per stem). Admission also includes bouncy fun, a playhouse area, cornhole games, and authentic dutch wooden shoes to “klomp” around in. A cow train and wagon rides are an extra $2. Hours are 10am – 6pm daily (and weather permitting, so be sure to call ahead if it looks iffy out). Advance admission is $8 for weekdays ($10 weekends) + $2 extra if you purchase there.
Friday – Hang out at The Wharf. Let the kids run through the in-ground fountain sprays, play large-scale Jenga and board games, grab lunch at one of the many eateries, cruise the Potomac on a free Jitney ride, and enjoy the waterfront scenery. Just about all of it is accessible all day and evening, and it’s all free (though plan to pay for your meals, of course.)
Hit the trail, enjoy scenic views, explore the waters, and more this Spring Break!
Spring Break is beginning for many local kids, so you may be in need of some extra reminders of all the great activities there are to do around the area to keep them engaged and entertained over the next week. And if some it sounds familiar, that’s because this has been posted before, but it’s been updated to reflect what’s going on now.
Some of the ideas here are already on the blog, but sometimes a little guidance for what’s best at certain times helps. Among these recommendations are activities being hosted especially for Spring Break, exhibits and shows that are hot tickets right now, outings that take advantage of the great spring weather, and places and experiences that kids who are in school all day can’t get to easily.
And, of course, the rest of this blog is full of suggestions if you want even more options. So, whether you’re enjoying a staycation or visiting from out of town, you should have no problem keeping the kids (and yourself!) happy during the week off — or on, depending how you look at it. Happy Spring Break!
Take the kids out to a weekday afternoon ballgame!
Where: Around the area
When: Through April 20
Admission:; Varies by event
Egg hunts, Bunny visits, and more seasonal activities are happening all around the area. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs for your whole gang. NoVa Parks has events going on during the week, and even more places are offering fun on weekends.
Where: Nationals Park
When: April 18, 1:05pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary
Take the kids out to a weekday afternoon ballgame! How often do they have a chance to catch a Nats game in the middle of the day on a Thursday? Root for the home team as they host the Giants this coming week (Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, too). And before you go, check out these KFDC tips on how to do a Nats game without breaking the bank.
Spring Break in the Trees
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring
When: April 15-22
Admission: Varies by age
The park that offers a thrilling aerial forest adventure is adding some extra zip to the pursuit with a series of themes and special events. During Spring Break, each day will be themed, and guests who participate will be eligible to play games, win prizes, and receive park discounts.
Learn to Fly
Where: Trapeze School New York DC | Capitol Riverfront, DC
If you want to do something unique and special (and super fun!) for your kids during the break, enroll them in a flying trapeze class. In just one session, participants learn how to swing upside down and maybe even catch with an instructor. They also have classes in static trapeze, balancing and acrobatics, trampoline, and more. Be sure to register in advance!
Where: Medieval Times
When: Through the month of April
Admission: $39.95/adult, $31.95 (use code SB19)
Get discount pricing on Medieval Times’ spectacle and feast during Spring Break. Enjoy watching a two-hour tournament, while you dine on a four course feast. See magnificent pure Spanish horses, and authentic sword fights and jousting.
Experience a different kind of peak bloom at ARTECHOUSE
In Peak Bloom
Where: ARTECHOUSE | Southwest DC
When: Through May 27
Admission: $16-20/adult, $8-10/child
ARTECHOUSE is celebrating the season with its latest exhibit. In Peak Bloom features interactive and immersive digital art installations inspired by the fragile beauty and ephemeral nature of the cherry blossom. The works are stunning and delightful, unique and profound. They’ll have kids and adults alike smiling and appreciating the gifts of art and nature.
Fairies in the Garden
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $5/adult, $4/senior, $3/child
Annmarie’s magicalicious exhibit of fairy and gnome houses just opened for the season. As if the sculpture garden near Solomons, MD, wasn’t already wonderful, this annual display adds extra delight to a visit there with more than 75 handmade fairy and gnome homes scattered through the grounds. Visit the Arts Building to borrow a costume (or purchase one in the Gift Shop) to get into the fanciful spirit, grab a guide, and start your journey to locate them all. Read more about Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post and this one.
Feel the Pulse
Where: Hirshhorn Museum | National Mall, DC
When: Throughout the weekend
This exhibit at the Hirshhorn will capture your heart, kind of literally. It’s comprised of three large-scale installations that use heart rate sensors to produce audiovisual experiences from visitors’ own biometric data. It’s beautiful, thought provoking, and unlike any exhibit I’ve experienced before. With interactive elements, cool visuals, and an interesting combination of science and art, kids and adults alike will be wowed.
Queens of Egypt
Where: National Geographic Museum | Downtown DC
When: Through September 2
Admission: $15/adult, $10/child
The current exhibit at Nat Geo is a time trip back to ancient Egypt — one of the world’s greatest civilizations — that highlights its mighty queens. Learn about the hidden role of women in all aspects of Egyptian society and “meet” seven Egyptian queens whose impact helped shape both the ancient and modern worlds.
Where: National Museum of Natural History
When: Daily, 2-5pm
The interactive and experiential learning space is designed for kids ages 11 and up (though some younger ages could enjoy it, too). Visitors can view up close — and in many cases handle — real artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collections. For really little ones, there is Q?rius Jr: A Discovery Room for more age-appropriate exploring. And, of course, there’s the whole rest of the museum for everyone. Read more about Q?rius here.
Where: Brookside Gardens
When: Through September 22, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/ages 13 and up, $5/3-12, free ages 0-2
Brookside Garden’s wonderful, annual exhibition opens this week! Wings of Fancy showcases live butterflies and caterpillars from all over the world is sure to delight all ages! Plan to tour the rest of Brookside’s lovely grounds while you’re there, including gorgeous plant collections, a Children’s Garden, turtle pond, and more. View scenes and read more about a couple of our experiences at the exhibit and rest of Brookside.
Sun, surf, and shark tooth hunting at Flag Ponds Nature Park
Beachy Keen: Sand, Surf, & Fossils
Where: Around the area
Admission: Varies by beach
Many of us associate Spring Break with beach trips, so why not hit one with the kids? There are several places within day trip-distance from DC that are nice for sand and surf. Head out to Calvert County for a day at Flag Ponds Nature Park, including some fossil hunting (open Fri & Mon 9am – 4pm,
Sat – Sun 9am – 5pm ). Head a little further out to North Beach or Brownies Beach (Bayfront Park). Or go east to Sandy Point State Park. You can also play paleontologist and look for prehistoric fragments along the Potomac at Purse State Park in Charles County, MD (one of our very favorite outings in the area).
Take a Hike
Where: Around the area
Admission: Varies by locale
It’s a great time of year to spend some time on the trail as the weather warms up and color returns to the landscape. See flowers in bloom, tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for good walks in the woods with the kids. (Heads up: The bluebells at Riverbend Park should be popping right about now, making the hike from there to Great Falls especially nice!)
Roam a Garden
Where: Around the area
Admission: Varies by locale
With flowers blooming and landscapes bursting with color, a visit to a garden is a fantastic outing, especially when there’s often more to do than just look at plants and flowers. Explore and play at the National Arboretum, wander around Green Spring Gardens on a scavenger hunt, enjoy flora and wildlife and the Children’s Garden at Brookside, venture out to the gorgeous Meadowlark Botanical Garden, relish in the peace at the Brookland Monastery, stroll among the many multi-tiered plats at Dumbarton Oaks, romp in the children’s area at River Farm, or stop and smell the roses (and more) at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Update: Burnside Garden announced its annual Festival of Spring has begun — enjoy acres of blooming tulips in a gorgeous array of colors, plus more fun for kids!
Go with the Flow
Where: Waterways around the DMV
Admission: Varies by locale
Enjoy some recreation on the water, where you can paddle and explore. A bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and stand up paddleboards. It’s a fun, active way to spend time together and get some new views of the city. This post has a round-up of places to help you navigate the local waterways.
Museums & More “DC” Sites
Newsflash: The Newseum is awesome!
Focus on News and Media
When: Daily, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $24.95/adult, $14.95/ages 7-19, free for 6 and under
(look for a deal)
The museum dedicated to all things news and journalism is fascinating — and one of my personal favorite’s in DC. Much of the collection is better appreciated (and understood) by older children, so while they have off from school is a good time to take advantage of an outing there. Plus, the current location is closing later this year, so now is a good time to get there! Read more about the Newseum in this KFDC post.
African American History & Culture
Where: National Museum of African American History & Culture
When: Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
The NMAAC is full of powerful exhibits and a must-see on the National Mall. It’s another one that is great for older children, so the break from school is a great time to take them there. Now that it’s been around for a couple of years and crowds are dying down, tickets are not required in the afternoon. Starting at 1pm, just walk up, head in, and enjoy a visit.
Abe’s Last Days
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: Daily, 9am – 4:30pm
Ford’s isn’t just a place to catch live entertainment. The site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination highlights its historic significance through tours and exhibits about the president, the Civil War, and that fateful night at the theatre. This is the busy season, so it’s recommended to reserve tickets in advance.
Take in the View
Where: Observation Deck at CEB Tower | Rosslyn, VA
When: Mon – Fri, 10am – 8pm & Sat – Sun, 9am – 8pm
Admission: $21/adult, $11/age 5-13, $16/seniors
Gaze out of floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a new perspective of DC. The 30+ story high space in Rosslyn offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramic vistas plus neat interactive and immerse experiences to enjoy them.
Show Them the Money
Where: Bureau of Engraving & Printing
When: Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm
This is a great outing with kids on break from school, since tours are only offered on weekdays. Tours run every 15 minutes 9am – 6pm this time of year. Admission is free, but tickets are required, and you can pick them up at the booth on Raoul Wallenburg Place starting at 8am. Your time slot may be for later in the day, so have some plans in mind just in case.
Day Trips & Overnights
Hike from West Virginia to Maryland at Harpers Ferry
Hiking & History
Where: Harpers Ferry
Admission: Free ($10 if you park in lot)
Get some fresh air and exercise as you enjoy spring weather and historic sites. Harpers Ferry is an easy day trip or quick getaway destination from DC, and spring is a great time to go. For more about a visit there, see this KFDC post.
Charm City, Hon!
Where: Baltimore attractions
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale
Zip up I-95 for some fun in our sister city, where there are lots of great places to spend a day off. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Tour the historic ships moored at the Inner Harbor. Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry.
Where: Luray Caverns
When: Ongoing, 9am – 7pm
Admission: $28/adults, $15/ages 6-12, 5 and under free
Behold the spectacular underground world of stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system at Luray. Afterward, make your way through the Garden Maze or check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum. Admission does not include attractions beyond the cavern. KFDC Tip: Be sure to make a pit stop before going into the caverns, because it can be a long walk out to a restroom, and once you’re out, you may not be able to go back in.
Tramp & Camp
Where: Shenandoah National Park
Admission: $25/vehicle, campsites are extra & vary
Whether you go for a day or even several, Shenandoah National Park is a boon for outdoor recreation close to DC. If you can only swing a day, find some good trails to hike or even ride along Skyline Drive and take in the beautiful vistas from the car. If you can stay overnight, it’s a great place for a camping experience with kids. Either way, enjoy being immersed in nature and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings!
Explore Another Capital City
Admission: Varies by activity
Maryland’s capital city is as beautiful as it is fun, and you can easily make a day (or few) of it there. Go on a Pirate Adventure on the Chesapeake, enjoy some outdoor recreation at Quiet Waters Park, feast on crabs, or stroll around town and the Naval Academy grounds. It’s all an easy drive out Rt. 50 from DC.
Go Into the Woods at Ford’s Theatre
Winnie the Pooh
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Through May 26
With performances scheduled almost every day of the week, you can catch an all-ages show at one of the best children’s theatre around! Winnie the Pooh would spend every day of life humming tunes and stopping frequently to eat “a little something.” But today, Pooh and Piglet have to find the Heffalump, watch Rabbit scheme to rid the forest of Kanga’s dreaded bathtub, and help Eeyore search for his tail. Pooh’s intentions are always the best, but his passion for honey and condensed milk keeps getting him into trouble.
Jack and the Beanstalk
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Through May 5
A timely version of the classic children’s tale about the young lad that doesn’t know beans about trading, but still manages to climb his way to the top. Jack finds that happiness lies in helping others rather than mere personal gain. Told with rod puppets and some surprising twists, Jack has long been a favorite of our audience. Recommended for ages 5-9.
Into the Woods
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Downtown DC
When: Through May 22
In Stephen Sondheim’s imaginative, darkly comical remix of beloved fairy tales, a baker and his wife set out to reverse a witch’s curse in hopes of having a child of their own. The couple’s quest takes them into the woods, where they encounter Little Red Ridinghood, Jack and his beanstalk, a cautious Cinderella, a sequestered Rapunzel and a couple of lovelorn princes. Sondheim’s lush Tony-winning score and James Lapine’s Tony-winning book conjure a world where “giants can be good and witches can be right.” Recommended for ages 12+.