Tag Archives: Summer 2017

Ren Fest is the Best — and it Begins this Weekend!

Jousting isn’t just a great Ren Fest activity, it’s also Maryland’s state sport!

Now that the solar eclipse has passed, let’s move on to the next most exciting event of the summer, one that that will even last into fall: Ren Fest! If you’ve been reading KFDC for awhile, then I don’t need to tell you that the Maryland Renaissance Festival is my very, very, very favorite annual event in the area. And if you’re fairly new here, you can read all about why here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. (Oh, yeah, I dig it that much.)

The happening scene at Revel Grove

But to really understand why it’s so fantastic, you really have to go experience it for yourself. Thus, I’ll just get to the details about this year’s faire…

The merriment begins this Saturday, August 26, and runs every weekend through October 22 in the lovely 16th century-style hamlet of Revel Grove in Crownsville, MD. Hours are 10am – 7pm. Admission is $19/adults, $17/seniors, $8/ages 7-15, free for 6 and under through September 10. After that, tickets go up to $25/adults, $21/seniors, $10/ages 7-15, still free for 6 and under. Multi-day passes that offer a discount are also available. Tickets can be reserved in advance online.

Renaissance-style games for all

Some special events to help you plan:
* August 26-27: Children’s Weekend – FREE admission for ages 15 and under with adult
* September 4: Senior’s Day – FREE admission for ages 62+
* September 9: ASL Interpretation Day
* September 16-17: Celtic Celebration
* September 24-25 – Shakespeare Weekend
* September 30 – October 1: Pirate Adventure Weekend
* October 9: ASL Interpretation Day

Unicorn fairies welcome!

More tips to help you plan:
* Bring a stroller or carrier for little ones, as there’s a lot of walking. I recommend a stroller that navigates over dirt paths easily.
* Get a map and schedule on your way in to help you navigate and plan your day
* If there’s show you really want to see, get to the stage a few minutes ahead of time to get good seats so the kids have a good view.
* You might encounter less crowds on Sunday, when many folks are watching football
* Plan to spend on extras like food, games, and fun for kids (all reasonably priced but it can add up)
* Let the kids dress up! Princesses, knights, fairies, pirates will fit right in.

More information is available on the Maryland Renaissance Festival website.


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Art, Eats, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Special Event, Summer, Weekend

Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 21-25

Stop and smell the stinky plants at the U.S. Botanic Garden

Monday – Behold the Great American Solar Eclipse! Events where you can observe and celebrate the phenomenon are happening around the area, and many are providing free glasses (while supplies last), too. This KFDC post has details on where to experience this stellar occasion.

Tuesday – Stop and smell the stinky plants at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Three corpse flowers are on display in the conservatory, and at least one is now blooming (ie, open and letting off its stench), and the other two will follow this week. Word is the odor is at its strongest in the first hours after it opens, but the bloom is said to be spectacular. While you’re there, be sure to tour the rest of the USBG’s lovely collections and make time to play in the newly renovated Children’s Garden. Hours are 10am – 5pm, and there will be extended hours until 10pm during the peak bloom, so be sure to check on that. Admission is free. You can also watch the progress of the plants on the live web cam, but you need to go to get the full sensory experience!

Wednesday – Witness animal migrations from a hot air balloon, submerse into the deep sea to study marine life, discover new species in the rain forest, and gear up for a polar expedition at the National Geographic Museum. The Earth Explorers exhibit, running for just a few more weeks, offers a glimpse into the work and passion of explorers in the field through a variety of hands-on displays and interactive installations. Hours are 10am – 6pm. Admission is $15/adult, $10/ages 5-12, free for children under 5.

Thursday – Get a glimpse of the past on the Potomac at Fort Washington Park. Kids and adults will enjoying seeing the cannons and other historic sights within the grounds along the river. Hours are 8am – sunset. Admission is $5/vehicle.

Friday – Say arrrrh! to a pirate voyage on local waters. You have some options on where to go: In DC, take a Family Treasure Hunt Cruise on the Boomerang Pirate Ship (look for a deal here). Head out to Annapolis for Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake. Go for a jaunt with Urban Pirates in Baltimore or stay closer to home where they’re invading National Harbor. Times and rates vary by tour.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Special Event, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

The Weekend Round-Up: August 18-20

Get your fill of summer this weekend!

Well, that was fast. It seems like yesterday we were trading school uniforms for swimsuits, backpacks for beach bags, and homework assignments for vacation itineraries. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun. But just because summer break is coming to an end for many local kids, including mine, that doesn’t mean the good times that come with the season are over yet. We just have to enjoy them on Saturdays & Sundays (and late afternoons and evenings) now. Happy Weekend!

Juggle Jam
Where: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
When: Friday, 6-7:30pm
Admission: $5 suggested donation

Throw caution to the weekend! Conquer the thrilling challenge of juggling with veteran juggler Christian Kloc. This workshop begins with a short demo, moves into some goofy warm-ups, then puts juggling props in your hands and offers pro tips to jumpstart your newfound circus habit. After practicing controlled chaos, put on a show with your fellow jugglers and get the thundering applause you deserve!

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

Activities exclusive to the season are happening all weekend See a special museum exhibit, like XYZT, HIVE, or Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree. Have some water-inspired fun. Enjoy free music outdoors and movies under the stars. Go with the flow on local waterways. Hit the beach. Feast on seasonal treats. And so much more. Details on all of these joys of summer in DC be found here.

Colonial Tobacco Harvest
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Admission: $5/adult, $3/child, free for 2 & under

Harvest time is here! Tobacco was an important crop in Colonial Virginia, used as currency by the Claude Moore Colonial Farm family to buy supplies and other goods. Help the Farm Family clean the tobacco leaves, gather the cut plants, and hang them on the tobacco sticks inside the tobacco barn to cure. It’s a fun and educational outing for the whole family!

Fair Game
Where: Montgomery, Arlington, Prince William Counties | MD & VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

County fair season continues as Arlington’s annual fest is underway, and Montgomery and Prince William counties host their final days. All are chock full of amusement for everyone, with carnival rides and games, farm animals, live entertainment, pony rides, the junk food gamut, pig races, and so much more. This post has the whole scoop on all of the county fun.

Maketto Kids Day
Where: Maketto | H Street NE, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 1:30pm
Admission: Free

It’s the first ever Kids’ Day at the Erik Bruner-Yang eatery! Bring the fam for an afternoon of treats, games, magic show, balloon making, cookie decorating, a moon bounce, and more in the beautiful courtyard. Register in advance here. (PS: If you haven’t yet eaten there, you must — it’s one of my neighborhood faves!)

Loudoun Rising
Where: Inova Loudoun Hospital, South Hospital Lawn | Loudoun, VA
When: Saturday 6:30pm
Admission: Free

Inova Loudoun Hospital is taking health to new heights with a major expansion, and the community is invited to help celebrate at Movie Night Under the Stars. Before the screening of Up at 8pm, the fun will start with pre-movie activities at 6:30 — glitter tattoo and balloon artists, games and crafts, a photo booth, treasure hunt and giveaways, “sneak peek” of future patient rooms, and tours of the Inova Children’s Hospital ambulance. Children can bring their favorite stuffed toy to the teddy bear clinic in the Mobile Health Services bus. There will also be popcorn and snow cones, plus the new facility dog, Jeremiah.  Arrive early to reserve a great spot on the lawn, enjoy a picnic from home or purchase dinner from one of the food trucks and enjoy. Rain date is August 20.

Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $19.50

You only have two more weekends to catch Adventure Theatre’s summer production! When Junie B. Jones, with her two bestest friends in the world, loses her new furry mittens to some “stealers,” she has to investigate. But Junie B. might have something she forgot to return, too. Recommended for all ages.

Shows on Strings
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Friday & Saturday
Admission: $6-12

Circus! is the Main Stage performance at the puppet theater in Glen Echo Park, recommended for children of all ages. And really little ones will love Imaginary Friends, this weekend’s featured Tiny Tots show, where the lights stay on and doors stay open for an atmosphere suited to small fries.

Magic with The Talented Kevin
Where: River Mill Park | Occoquan, VA
When: Saturday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

Enjoy a free magic show Saturday evening at The Town of Occoquan’s free summer series might be call Music on Mill, but the entertainment includes non-musicians as well. This weekend, see The Amazing Kevin magic show for the young and young at heart! Bring a blanket or lawn chair (no tents or pop ups), pack a snack or picnic, and head down to River Mill Park for live entertainment and stunning views of the Occoquan River.

HBD, Brookland Pint!
Where: Brookland Pint | Brookland, DC
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Help celebrate three years of the family-friendly restaurant with fun for your whole crew!
Activities for kids kicking off at 10am will include a super hero costume party, moon bounce, cotton candy, Sno-cones, and more. A Pig Roast BBQ begins at noon, and adults can enjoy a great selection of grown-up beverages, too.

Beach Drive Block Party
Where: Beach Drive | Rock Creek Park, DC
When: Sunday, 10am – 1pm
Admission: Free

Rock Creek Park and Rock Creek conservancy are hosting a block for residents and neighbors to experience the new section of Beach Drive before anyone else! All ages are welcome walk, run, ride bikes an other non-motorized vehicles on the reconstructed roadway and wider, smoother multi-use trail. Other programs like ranger led hike, bike tours, and kids’ hand-on activities will be happening, too. This will take place at National Zoo entrance on Beach Drive near on Harvard Street NW.

Cirque de Soleil: OVO
Where: Eagle Bank Arena | Fairfax, VA
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
Admission: Tickets start at $49

Cicque de Soleil’s latest show OVO is teeming with life. Insects work, play, fight, and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy in motion. Their home is filled with biodiversity, beauty, action and moments of quiet emotion. The awestruck insects are intensely curious when a mysterious egg appears, representing the enigma and cycles of their lives.

Solar Eclipse Day
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday
Admission: $15.95/ages 2 and up

Prepare for the Solar Eclipse with activities that are out of this world! The children’s museum in Baltimore is hosting a day of sun-themed activities for little ones ahead of the big event. Check the website for the schedule, and plan on enjoying the rest of the attraction filled with all kinds of fun, engaging exhibits for kids.

Sun & Heat
Where: Maryland Science Center | Baltimore, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday

Baltimore’s other wonderful museum for kids is also hosting activities in anticipation of Monday’s event. Make eclipse viewers for the solar eclipse, create art using the power of the sun, bake cookies in a car, and check out thermo slime as things really start to heat up. Read more about the Maryland Science Center in this KFDC post.

RFK Campus Block Party
Where: RFK Skate Park
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

Join Events DC for a day of family-friendly fun with games, food, music, entertainment, and the unveiling of a new mural on the Skate Park at RFK Stadium designed by Naturel. There wil be live music and dance performances, professional and amateur skaters showing off tricks and offering demos, and DC Vault will show off their talent on their new pole vault track located next to the skate park. Plus, there will be a mechanical skateboard, interactive art wall, and much more! RSVP for the free event!

DC, Inside & Out

Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend

Admission: Varies by adventure

Want even more options for fun things to do with the kids around the area? If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

The Great Indoors

* The Great American Solar Eclipse is on Monday! And there are a bunch of ways to observe and celebrate it with kids around DC.
* Ren Fest begins next weekend!
* Enter for a chance to win one of four Family 4-Packs of tickets up for grabs to see InterAct Story Theatre’s The Legend of Pufferfish Pat: A Tall Tale for Mad Times.
* Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Free for All is underway and running through August 27. You could see a performance of Othello without spending a dime.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Summer, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Turn Around Bright Eyes: Solar Eclipse Events Around the DC Area

All set – and psyched! – for the eclipse. Are you?

The 2017 Solar Eclipse that will span across the country is a once-in-a-lifetime event for most. Although DC isn’t in the “path of totality” — the moon will only cover 81% of the sun from our vantage point — it still will be something significant to experience. There are some special ways to do that around the area as various venues are hosting viewing parties and solar eclipse-themed activities to prep for, observe, and celebrate the phenomenon. Here’s a round-up of some that will be especially great with kids, plus some extra tips and resources. (PS: Does Montgomery Parks win for best event name or what? 🙂 )

Night Sky Festival
Where: Shenandoah National Park | Shenandoah, VA
When: August 18-21
Admission: Free

Celebrate the valuable resource of dark skies through guest presentations by astronomy experts, Ranger Programs, and viewing the beautiful night skies that Shenandoah National Park protects. The festival will include constellation tours, solar scope viewing, telescope viewing, Junior Ranger programs, audio-visual presentations, hands-on activities, and will culminate in viewing the 2017 Solar Eclipse! Activities take place in a variety of locations throughout the Park — visit the website to see where and when.

Solar Eclipse Day
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: August 20
Admission: $15.95/ages 2 and up

Prepare for the Solar Eclipse with activities that are out of this world! The children’s museum in Baltimore is hosting a day of sun-themed activities for little ones ahead of the big event. Check the website for the schedule, and plan on enjoying the rest of the attraction filled with all kinds of fun, engaging exhibits for kids.

Let’s Science Summer: Sun & Heat
Where: Maryland Science Center | Baltimore , MD
When: August 19-21
Admission: $24.95/adult, $18.95/child

Baltimore’s other wonderful museum for kids is also hosting activities in anticipation of Monday’s event. Make eclipse viewers for the solar eclipse, create art using the power of the sun, bake cookies in a car, and check out thermo slime as things really start to heat up. This program runs through Friday, August 25. Read more about the Maryland Science Center in this KFDC post.

Observe with Experts (+ Activities!)
Where: National Air & Space Museum | National Mall, DC
When: August 21, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free

Not only can you safely view the eclipse using the museum’s solar telescopes and viewers, you can enjoy a variety of activities in celebration of the event. Make you own pinhole eclipse viewer, create shadow puppets, join story time with NPR’s Wow in the World Mindy Thomas, attend a planetarium presentation, and more.

Observe with Experts
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: August 21, 11am – 4pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

The Air & Space Chantilly extension also welcomes guests to view the eclipse from their safe solar telescopes and enjoy some special activities (though not as much as the museum on the Mall). Free viewing glasses will be available.

Total Eclipse in the Park
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Park | Silver Spring, MD
When: August 21, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

Ready for the solar eclipse? Don’t be left in the dark. Join Montgomery Parks on Monday for Total Eclipse in the Park, their free “watch” party. They’ve got your eyes covered with free solar eclipse sunglasses (while supplies last). Pack a picnic as well as blankets or chairs, and enjoy the afternoon in the park. There will be a dance party, games, giveaways, and FUN!

Accokeek Viewing Party
Where: Piscataway Park | Accokeek, MD
When: August 21, 12:30-4:30pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate this rare occasion with a BYO picnic on the farm. With 82% visibility, the peaceful and tranquil setting of Piscataway Park is a prime location to witness the sun disappearing behind the moon. Star gazers should begin at the Visitor Center to purchase special solar-themed refreshments and view a live stream of the event. The sky will begin to darken at 1:18 pm with the peak at 2:43 pm but visitors are welcome to drop in anytime. Receive a free pair of ISO certified solar eclipse glasses with registration. This event is free and open to all.

Solar Eclipses: Past and Present
Where: National Archives | National Mall, DC
When: August 21, 1-4pm
Admission: Free

View the solar eclipse through the lenses of safe solar telescopes provided by the National Air and Space Museum. In addition, look through the lens of history and see some records from their collections about past solar eclipses.

Observe with Animals
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: August 21
Admission: Free

Stop by the Zoo’s Pachyderm Plaza (just outside the Elephant Community Center) to view the solar eclipse through a safe solar telescope and to pick up free safe eclipse glasses provided by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Solar Eclipse Storytime
Where: Chevy Chase Library | Chevy Chase, MD
When: August 21, 10:30am
Admission: Free

Take little ones to a special storytime with fun songs and tales about space to celebrate the solar eclipse. Learn all about it as kiddos practice early literacy skills like singing, reading, finger plays, and more.

Solar Eclipse Viewing Party
Where: Southeast Library | Capitol Hill, DC
When: August 21, 2:30pm
Admission: Free

Join the libary to view the partial solar eclipse of the sun — though not a total eclipse, this event will be incredibly special! Those who attend the event will receive a free pair of eclipse glasses (supplies limited) to view the eclipse in the garden. This event is for the whole family — all are welcome. After the eclipse there will be treats, a craft for younger participants, and discussion about what you saw.

Eclipse in the Park
Where: Ben Brenman Park | Alexandria, VA
When: August 21, 1:30-3:30pm
Admission: Free

Join Alexandria Library to watch the solar eclipse! They’ll be handing out eclipse viewing glasses on a first come-first served basis, providing snacks, and sharing the science behind the eclipse. Bring your lawn chairs to enjoy this historical event with the Alexandria community!

Zip the Eclipse
Where: Adventure Park at Sandy Spring | Sandy Spring, MD
When: August 21
Admission: $42/ages 7-9, $49/ages 10-11, $55/ages 12+

Watch the eclipse happen from the trees! Join the Adventure Park for some fun on Monday and receive a free pair of eclipse glasses to wear as you climb. They’ll be selling HD glasses for direct solar viewing. Don’t miss out on this historic day! Kids ages 5-6 are free with paid adult.

Free at Annmarie
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden
When: August 21
Admission: Free

In celebration of the solar eclipse, Annmarie is offering free admission on Monday. BYO equipment for viewing the sun-moon show and meet at the Tonger Fountain around 1pm when the eclipse begins. Of course, you can go early and enjoy the Fairies in the Garden exhibit and the rest of Annmarie’s art filled grounds.

**More Tips & Resources**
* If you’re still looking for glasses to view the eclipse, the National Air & Space Museum, both on the National Mall and the Udvar-Hazy Center, are giving them away daily while supplies last each day. Get there on the early side — the museum opens at 10am — as there were already lines when I arrived at the DC location at opening time. A KFDC reader also let me know that Walmart on H Street NW has (had?) them for $1. UPDATE: The National Park Service table at REI apparently has them, too.
* NASA has a very comprehensive guide to everything solar eclipse — scientific information, safety guidelines, events around the country, related activities, and more.
* Capital Weather Gang also has a guide to viewing the solar eclipse in the DC area, including timing and what to expect.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Special Event, Summer, Virginia, Weekdays

Where to Play on the Weekdays: August 14-18

Enjoy a beach day at Flag Ponds Nature Park

Monday – Wander, play, and explore at Green Spring Gardens. Tucked away behind a strip mall in Alexandria, VA, it’s a lovely oasis amid the suburban sprawl. Be sure to stop in the Horticultural Center and pick up instructions for a kids’ scavenger hunt to add some extra fun to the outing. Hours are 9am – 4:30pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – All aboard for Beach Bound Rail Adventures at the B&O Railroad Museum! The program at the Baltimore venue features special hands-on activities for children all week, plus train rides on Thursday and Friday that depart at 11:30am. Hours are 10am – 3pm. Admission is $18/adults, $12/ages 2-12, free for under 2.

For an activity with older kids, go on a cultural adventure at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center. Their new exhibit, From Sinbad to the Shabab Oman: A Seafaring Legacy, showcases Oman’s seafaring history over the last millennia. Learn about some of history’s most famous explorers and navigators as their stories are interwoven with items from Omani ships and shipbuilding, and discover Omani history, Omani mariners, and the Omani vessels they sailed. On view through September 30, hours are 10am – 4pm, Monday – Friday. Admission is free. The Center is located at 1100 16th St NW.

Wednesday – Take the kids out the ballgame! The Nats play the Angels at 1:05pm, and it’s a great chance to catch some mid-week afternoon baseball! Ticket prices start at $12. Before you go, see what’s fun for families at the ballpark. And check out these KFDC tips on doing a Nats game without breaking the bank.

Thursday – Hang out 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 $42/ages 7-9, $49/ages 10-11, $55/ages 12 and older.

And if you’re looking for fun with little ones (or a cheaper option), experience adventure on a smaller scale at the Cabin John Regional Park Playground. Kids can climb, swing, jump, slide, and run amid the lovely wooded setting, and the miniature train that guests can ride ($1.75/passenger) is a fun bonus.

Friday – Wind down summer break (DCPS students, anyway) with a beach day at Flag Ponds Nature Park. Swim in the Chesapeake (or just dip the toes if it’s jellyfishy), build sandcastles on the shore, have a picnic, spot wildlife in the woods, and definitely do some fossil hunting — the park is one of several places in that area where you can search for shark teeth and other prehistoric remnants. Hours are 9am – 6pm, and admission is $8/car. Get more info and logistics in this post.

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Indoor Play, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Trains, Weekdays