Sometimes a cliché works. Which is why I’m going to use one right now to describe the weather ahead of us: Crisp. If the forecast proves correct, it’s going to be one of those weekends where you almost feel like you can take a bite of the air. (And it would taste really good, kind of like mulled cider in chilled foam form. You know, something one of the wacky, innovative contestants on Top Chef would concoct.)
It’s quintessential fall weather. The kind that, if you dress right, is perfect for a day outdoors. But also cool enough that you don’t feel bad spending time inside. And these recommendations for recreation this weekend are a pretty even mix of both.
Clark’s Elioak Farm
I suggested this farm last weekend, and now I’m recommending it with even more conviction after having visited with friends on a day off from school. From a kid’s eye view, it has to be magical. And from a parent’s perspective, it’s the kind of place that makes me wish I were a kid again. The grounds are straight out of a fairytale, charmingly adorned with recovered installations from an old storybook park. Kids can peek in the windows of the Three Bears’ house, zip down a slide of the Old Woman Who Lived in A Shoe, tumble down a hill with Jack & Jill, climb aboard Cinderella’s pumpkin, sit on Humpty Dumpty’s wall. If that’s not enough, there are also hayrides, cow train rides, pony rides, a playground area (not that the whole thing isn’t a giant playground), and farm animals – goats, ponies, sheep, and chickens — including a petting area that kids can actually enter to feed and pet baby goats. Sunday, November 7, is the last day the farm will be open until late November when they reopen with a Christmas theme. If you go, bring your rotting jack o’ lanterns to partake in Pumpkin Chucking Weeekend. Clark Elioak’s Farm is located in Ellicott City, Maryland, about a 45-minute drive from DC. Admission is $5/person (free for children under 1), $2 each for pony rides, cow train rides, and hayrides. Open 10am – 5:30pm, though last admission is at 4pm.
Star Wars in Your Stocking
The force may be with you at Hooray for Books tomorrow, November 6, from 4 – 6pm. Meet costumed characters from the 501st Legion and enjoy games, trivia, contests, and prizes. Guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite Star Wars characters and, of course, start on their holiday shopping. Hooray for Books is located at 1555 King Street in Old Town Alexandria.
Storytime at Brookside Gardens
Here’s a wonderful way kids can enjoy fall foliage, both figuratively and literally, Saturday morning. Along with readings of the books Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert and Fall Leaves Fall by Zoe Hall, there will be a leaf collage craft project. Storytime is free and starts at 10am. When all of that’s done, be sure to stay awhile and explore the plant collections, which are no doubt lovely during autumn. And don’t miss the children’s garden, complete with gnome hut, tree house, and open spaces free play.
Elvis at 21 Family Day
The National Portrait Gallery is hosting a special family day inspired by the new Elvis at 21 exhibit, a collection of photographs of a young Elvis Presely by Alfred Wertheimer. The event will feature performances of Elvis’s early music by local tribute artist Will Debley and the band Blue Steele, hands-on craft activities, a book talk and signing of Shake, Rattle, and Turn That Noise Down by author Mark Alan Stamaty (1 – 3pm), and curator-led tours of the exhibition (at 1pm & 3pm). The event runs from 11:30m – 3pm throughout the museum. The book signings will take place outside museum stores.
YoJo Pigs Out at the National Theatre
This week’s Saturday Morning at the National performance features YoJo, the biggest, grooviest, fuzziest blue guy you’ll ever meet. Here’s more on the show: “He’s been binging on junk food big-time. Uh-Oh! After some comical fitness challenges he learns that it’s actually fun to be fit. He’ll have the young ones (and even couch potatoes in the audience) up on their feet doing his YoJo-robotics!” Show times are 9:30am and 11am. Tickets are free and distributed a half hour prior to performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Every person must be standing in line to receive a ticket. The National Theatre is located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
The Pirates of Penzance
This is the final weekend to see The Washington Savoyards, deemed the light opera company of DC, perform “The Pirates of Penzance” at the Atlas Theatre on H Street NE. A friend of mine just took her 4-year-old son to see it, and both gave the show rave reviews. Tickets range from $15 – $45 and can be purchased through the website.
Leaf Peeping and Ranger-Led Programs at Rock Creek
Who says you have to head to the country to see good fall foliage? Autumn is just as beautiful and brilliant right here in the city. Rock Creek Park is probably the best bet for urban leaf peeping, and with several easy hikes, plus ranger-led programs, it’s a perfect place to spend a “crisp” November day with the kids.
Wherever your weekend adventures take your family, have a good one! And enjoy that extra hour of sleep.