In case you weren’t aware (which must mean you’re new to KFDC), the Maryland Renaissance Festival is my very (very, very) favorite annual event in the area. I’ve rambled on about why so many times over the years, I’ll just direct you here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for the gist on why I love it so much.
In this post, you’ll find all the new info you need for this year’s event, plus some pics from last year to give you a glimpse of what to expect get you even more excited to go. Huzzah!
The merriment begins this Saturday, August 25, and runs every weekend, rain or shine, through October 21 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 9. After that, tickets go up to $26/adults, $22/seniors, $11/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.
Special Days: * August 25-26: Children’s Weekend – FREE admission for ages 15 and under with adult * September 3: Senior’s Day – FREE admission for ages 62+ * September 8 & October 7: ASL Interpretation Days * September 9: Renewal of Vows Ceremony — couples are invited to renew their commitment * September 15-16: Celtic Celebration * September 22-23: Special Guests – The Mediaeval Baebes * September 29-30: Pirate Weekend — dress in your pirate best, aaargh! * October 6-7: Shakespeare Weekend
* 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.
Monday – 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, visit the Newseum, where admission is free for ages 18 and under through Labor Day. The Summer Fun Deal waives the entrance fee with a paid adult admission. Hours are 9am – 5pm. Adult tickets are $24.95, but look for a discount before you go.
Tuesday – Catch a flick at the Regal Summer Movie Express! The summer series that presents family films for just $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday at participating theaters is running through August 29. See what’s playing near you — there are two movie choices every week. Tickets are available for purchase at the box office, and all movies in most locations start at 10am.
Wednesday – 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 $12/age 5-6, $47/age 7-11, $56/age 12+. Read more about the Adventure Park here.
And if you’re looking for fun with littler 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.
Thursday – 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. Go for a spin on the carousel, take a ride on the miniature train that winds through woods, and play mini golf. Park hours are dawn to dusk, 9am – 4pm at the Farm, and 10am – 5:30pm at the Nature Center. Admission is free, but rides and mini golf are a small fee.
Friday – Take a hike at Riverbend Park. The Great Falls locale may not be as popular as its national park neighbor, but it’s just as fantastic a place to enjoy some time in nature — especially with kids. Trails are mellow for little trampers, the views are gorgeous, there are plenty of nice picnic spots, and admission is free. Plus, if you want to see the magnificent falls up river, they’re an easy two-mile walk in the woods away. Riverbend Park hours are 7am to dusk.
And if the weather isn’t conducive to a nice walk in the woods, take a tour of the U.S. Capitol! You can usually get on a guided tour day of, but even if you can’t there are still plenty of interesting exhibits and statues to see in the Visitor’s Center, which is open 8:30am – 4:30pm daily. Both admission to the Center and tours are free. Before you go, be sure to read these guidelines on what you can and can’t bring with you.
Bonus: On Friday afternoon, join a Summer Swap Shop from 2-6pm at Wunder Garten (1101 First St NE) — a great opportunity to shed your children’s outgrown clothing! The event will bring together people from the DC community to trade clothing, shoes, and accessories. Bring items in any condition — ‘unswappables’ will go to a textile recycling table hosted by DC Sustainable Fashion Collective. There will also be a clothing and accessory repair table in partnership with Stitched with Style — sign-ups are on the event page. Entry is free and the venue is dog, kid, and bike-friendly. Enjoy swapping, live music, and great food and drinks!
There have been some pretty exciting Nats games lately, and we’ve been lucky to be there for some of them. Like that franchise record-setting 25-run doozy against the Mets last week… wowza! When the the kids and I were on our way to the game, I actually gave them a heads-up that we’d probably be leaving early, since 1) they had camp the next day, 2) it was supposed to rain, and 3) they were playing the Mets (sorry, Mets fans). But when we were up 7-0 after just the first inning, I had a feeling we’d be sticking around longer, and indeed we stayed through the rain and all nine innings for one awesome display of baseball.
Anyway, we have four tickets for the match-up against the Braves this Wednesday evening that we can’t use, and I would love to give them away to some KFDC reading Nats fans. So, I thought a quick giveaway would be fun. And, hopefully, whoever wins gets to enjoy some thrilling baseball action, too!
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Giveaway: For a chance to win four tickets (section 133) to see the Nationals vs. Braves this Wednesday, August 8, 2018, at 7:05pm, simply leave a comment telling me your favorite baseball moment this season. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run until Tuesday, August 7, 2018, at 8pm, then a winner will be picked and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!
Monday – Stay cool on the hot day at a sprayground! There are a bunch of places in the DMV where kids can enjoy interactive fountains and splash pads. Find a round-up of them in the Guide to Summer in DC.
Tuesday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden, where there is so much for all ages to dig (literally, in one area) indoors and out. Let little ones flex their green thumbs in the Children’s Garden — they can water and plant, and play with lots of neat features. Explore the different plant collections, too — walk amid tropical rainforest, desert, and woodland flora. Then take a stroll through the lovely National Garden outside. Hours are 10am – 5pm. Admission is free. Read more about the USBG here and here.
Later on, join DCPS Interim Chancellor Amanda Alexander and author Jason Reynolds as he discuss his books “Ghost” and “ish” for the DCPSReads Summer Book Club Series. The session will take place at Benning Library at 4pm. Admission is free.
Wednesday – Stretch out at a morning of outdoor yoga hosted by Bright Horizons at Democracy Center. Learn from an instructor from Thrive Yoga and meet the Center Director Natalie Newell. The session runs 10:30-11:30am. Admission is free, and all ages are welcome.
You can also attend the grand opening of The Alcove, an experiential pop-up experience in the heart of Rosslyn. Beginning at 11:30am will be live music, a kombucha bar from MTO Kombucha, and DIY workshops from the Lemon Collective and Arlington Public Library’s Makers Program —all open to the public. Festivities will end at 2:00 p.m, but the space will remain open until 8:00 p.m. Admission is free.
Thursday – Enjoy “Anime for All” the Library of Congress. The celebration of east-Asian culture, mythology, pop culture, and inspiration will showcase Japanese storytelling traditions that have been transformed into modern day forms of art. The exhibition is running Wednesday through Friday with special activities each day, so be sure to check the schedule. Admission is free. Read more about the Library of Congress in this KFDC post.
Friday – Explore the woods and wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Look for little creatures as you hike — turtles, frogs, fish, and birds are practically guaranteed wildlife sightings — and take in sweeping vistas of the marshland. 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.
Where do you get carnival rides and games, farm animals, the junk food gamut, live entertainment, pony rides, piglet races, and wares for sale all in once place? Down at the County Fair. The season for them is about to begin, and you can get the lowdown on this year’s events around the area below. Happy Fairin’!
Fairfax County 4-H Fair and Carnival What: Four days of festivities include livestock and dog demos, 4-H exhibits, fair food, carnival rides, games, vendors, live entertainment, and more. When: August 2-5, see website for daily hours. Where: Frying Pan Farm Park | 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon, VA Cost: Tickets are $1 each or 24 for $20 (most ride are 3-5 tickets). Unlimited Ride Wristbands for Thursday or Friday are available for $18 — purchase by August 1.
Howard County Fair What: The 73rd annual fair begins this coming weekend, and you have through next Saturday to enjoy rides, magic shows, musical entertainment in the evenings, pig races and pony rides, the Kids & Critters barn, Demolition Derby, a pro rodeo, and more. Most of the rides cost extra, and packages are available, so be sure to check out the website to see what’s available if you plan to go. When: August 4-11, 8am – 11pm daily, though activity times vary, so be sure to check schedules. Where: 2210 Fairground Road | West Friendship, MD Cost: Admission is $5/age 10+, $2/seniors, free/under 10. Rides and games are extra.
Montgomery County Fair What: This fair is a family fave. (You can get a glimpse of one of our experiences there and read a review from a few years ago), so trust me when I say that there is so much to do, you have to see the schedule on the website for yourself to get the full scope. Highlights include lots of 4-H exhibits and demos, including opportunities to visit with some of the animals; animal races, pony rides, a KidZone with interactive games and activities, tons of carnival and kiddie rides, arts & crafts, monster trucks and a demolition derby, and much more. When: August 10-18, times vary by day so check the schedule for specifics. Where: Montgomery County Fairgrounds | 501 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, MD. Cost: Admission is $10/advance $12/at gate for age 12+, free/11 & under. Tickets for rides cost extra. A one-day all-u-can-ride carnival wristband is available for $25. And note that parking is $10 at the fairgrounds, but FREE parking and shuttle bus service are available from Lakeforest Mall, located at Lost Knife Rd. and Odenhal Ave.
Prince William County Fair What: Virginia’s largest annual county fair includes 4-H exhibits, rides, contests (think pie eating and water balloon tossing), animal shows, craft demos, the Children’s Barn, Kid’s Zone, live performances, and more. Note that August 10 is Kid’s Friday when all admissions are $6. And there are other special days with all kinds of promos, so be sure to check the schedule for details. When: August 10-18, Hours vary by day, so check the daily schedules. Where: Prince William County Fairgrounds | 10624 Dumfries, Manassas, VA. Cost: Admission is $10/age 14-59, $5/seniors and age 5-13, free/4 & under. Be sure to look for daily specials, too!
Arlington County Fair What: We’ve been and have had a great time. It’s big enough for a fun-filled day, but not so huge that it’s overwhelming, and you feel rushed to get to everything. There are carnival rides for everyone from toddlers to adults, and the kids especially loved the pony rides and piglet races. You can also check out competitive exhibits, enjoy live entertainment, cheer on a variety of racing animals, view outdoor movies, and take little ones to the Kids’ Court for moon bouncing, face painting, and more. When: August 16-20, hours vary by day, so check the schedule for specifics. Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Center | 3501 Second St., Arlington, VA. Get parking/shuttle information here. Cost: Admission is free. Buy tickets to use for rides and other activities: $1/ticket, $20/24 tickets, $40/48 tickets.
Prince George’s County Fair What: A variety of entertainment and attractions for all ages — 4-H exhibits magic and dance shows, pig and duck races, a horse pull competition, a chain saw artist, a K-9 show, and much more. When: September 7-10, hours vary by day. Where: Showplace Arena | Upper Marlboro, MD. Cost: Admission is $6/age 12+, $5/age 6-11, free/5 & under. Rides and games are extra.
Anne Arundel County Fair What: Carnival rides and games, animal exhibits, monster trucks, pony rides, garden tractor pulls, pig races, pie eating contests, a talent show, live music and much more When: September 13-17, check the website for hours. Where: Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds | 1450 General’s Highway, Crownsville, MD Cost: Admission is $6/age 16+, $4/age 8–15, free/7 & under. Rides and games cost extra.