Tag Archives: The tabula rasa
The topic of birthday parties never gets old. I know this to be true not only because it’s something parents seem to discuss often, but also because I can see what searches lead readers to my site. And birthday party venues ranks pretty high on that list. So, I make it a point to post a round-up every year of places to celebrate our kids’ big days.
These posts actually originated from my own need to find party venues outside of the house (which I talk about here, here, and here). And as the kids get older and enjoy more celebrations — both their own and their friends’ — I learn about new places to host birthday bashes all the time. Here’s a selection of some of the best we experienced or heard about this year. Party on, kids!
(2016 Update: This location has closed) After a few years of sharing the birthday spotlight with her big bro, Sasha finally got her own party this time around. Little Loft, a creative space for kids on Capitol Hill, was the perfect place to finally make it all about her. When I started looking into party options and saw they offered one with a butterfly craft theme (y’all surely know by now how much my girl loooves her some butterflies), I knew where we’d be ringing in Sasha’s 4th. The party started off with a short story time session with Lia, one of the owners (of course, the book was about butterflies), and Owen very sweetly surprised us all by reading to Sasha and her guests, too. With inspiration from the stories, they started on two art projects: watercolor butterflies and big, wearable butterfly wings that they decorated with colorful pieces of tissue and foil paper. When they were done with their projects, the kids donned the wings and played at a couple of play dough stations until it was time for cake then some more play time afterward. All in all, it was super fun for the kids, even easier for me to plan, and Sasha’s artwork now decorates her bedroom wall.
ComedySportz 4 Kids
If this sounds familiar, it’s because I mentioned it last year, just not from experience at the time. We’d looked into it as a possible party venue, and found the kids were too young then. However, Owen didn’t forget that he’d be old enough this year – The Comedy Spot at Ballston Mall offers parties for kids in first grade and up. So, we checked out a show over winter break, and my boy couldn’t stop cackling at the off-the-cuff performance. The rest, as they say, is history. Owen had a bunch of friends join him for a birthday improv show about a month later in late January. The kids seemed to love the show, laughing and interacting with the cast, plus they got to go up on stage and be part of it, which was a thrill for them. There was another party going on that day, too, so it was a packed and lively venue. Afterward, we celebrated with snacks and cake in a separate room. The logistics: ComedySports 4 Kids shows take place on Saturdays at 3pm, and parties can be booked on those days from 3-5pm, with the show running 75 minutes and party time another 45. Cost is $10/person, plus $100 to stay after and party. A tip: If you’re interested in booking there, be sure to ask about the party space. The description says you get to party on stage after the performance. When I booked it, I was told there’d be another party, but there was space for both of us. What they didn’t tell me was that we’d be crammed in a small room off stage with not much table space for the food and cake. (That said, Owen and his friends still had a blast, but I recommend confirming exactly what you’re getting.) For more info, visit the website.
Ice Skating al Fresco
I always thought outdoor parties weren’t an option for my January-born babes, but a couple of new outdoor ice rinks have changed my mind. Canal Park, the recently developed recreational space in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, features a fantastic ice rink during late fall and winter along with party packages to celebrate special occasions there. Birthday parties start at $125 and include admission and skate rental for up to 10 guests (beyond that it’s $10/child), a designated area near the rink for the group, coupons for guests’ next visits, and a few more perks. It was a popular party spot this past winter – one of my favorites, in fact (many of us parents hit the ice along with kids). And for skating parties across town in NW, the new ice rink at Washington Harbour also offers birthday parties with many of the same amenities, but starting at a slightly higher cost (it’s Georgetown, after all). So, don’t default to the indoors just because it’s cold. Ice skating parties are a fun, active way to celebrate, enjoy of one of season’s best activities, and take the winter birthday party outside.
Fire Station Birthdays
A couple of months ago, a KFDC reader asked if I had the scoop on birthday parties at fire stations. I didn’t, but I put the word out on Facebook, and learned that plenty of you guys did. There were raves for parties hosted at the Glen Echo, Kensington, and Falls Church Fire Departments and understandably so. For kids with firetruck obsessions, it sounds like a dream come true. Parties include tours of the station, a chance to explore the firetrucks, demonstrations by fire fighters, goodies like plastic fire hats, and party rooms for the celebration. Costs vary by station, but seem to be fairly reasonable. If those locations aren’t convenient for you, and your local fire house doesn’t host parties on premises, you might think about asking to visit the station and taking a tour, then having the celebration in a nearby park.
Labyrinth Games & Puzzles
Kids ages 6 and up can get their game on at their next birthday party! I first posted about Labyrinth right after it opened over two years ago and recommend it with even more fervor now. Not only does the shop have an incredible selection of games and puzzles, they also have a section in the back dedicated to gaming events, including birthday parties for kids. Staff will provide the games and fun and help lead the group in play, while you bring the food and drinks. The rate is $15/guest for the first two hours with a minimum fee of $120. Maximum number of guests is 15, and extras like gift bags and decorations can be included for additional fees. (And PS – I highly recommend Labyrinth for birthday gifts, too; it’s become my go-to place for presents whenever my kids have a party to attend. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable – just let them know the age and interests you need to suit, and they’ll help you find the perfect game to give.)
Pirate Party at National Geographic
The National Geographic Museum’s current “Real Pirates” exhibit offers more than just a showcase about the slave-turned-pirate ship, The Whydah, and a glimpse into the fascinating world of 18th century pirates. Kids ages 5-12 can celebrate their birthday at the museum, in both a special party room and among the displays and installations that make the exhibit so exciting. The two hours of festivities include pirate dress-up, party games, and a Jolly Roger art project. But the big treat is a private tour and treasure hunt in the exhibit led by Nat Geo staff. Goody bags, a group photo, and certificate for the birthday honoree are also part of the package. Cost of the party is $375 for the first 10 guests (plus two chaperone parents), and $20 for each additional child. Extra adult admission tickets are $9. More information about both pirate parties and the exhibit is available on the National Geographic Museum website.
UltraZone Laser Tag
Owen has been to a few birthday parties at UltraZone Laser Tag and raved about them. I, on the otherhand, am admittedly clueless about the whole Laser Tag experience, so this description comes straight from the website: “Step into a high-tech, laser tag adventure where identity is limited only by imagination. Dodge lasers, and strategize with teammates as you compete for high scores and glory in this futuristic version of Capture the Flag.” I can see why my 7-year-old digs them so much, and their party packages sound equally appealing for parents, as they tend to cover just about everything. Along with laser tag play (opt for 1, 2, or 3 games) and a private party room, they include food and drinks, your own party host, place setting and supplies, free parking, and invitations. Rates are $12.99/guest for 1 game, $17.99/guest for 2 games, and $22.99/guest for 3 games. Parties last from 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the number of games. For more information, visit the Ultrazone website.
The Tabula Rasa
(Update: This location has closed.) If you have a great party idea, but lack the room to pull it off, The Tabula Rasa may be the perfect solution. The event space on Barracks Row in southeast DC truly is a blank slate that can be transformed into whatever setting you want for your kid’s b-day bash. It’s 1,000 square feet of white, airy interiors, plus another 500 of pretty courtyard area, have hosted everything from parties for children and adults to pop-up shops to baby showers to meetings and workshops. We’ve attended quite a few of them, including ninja and cowboy themed birthday celebrations, and they’ve all been superbly executed. Amanda Clarke, Tabula Rasa’s lovely owner (as well as one-half of the amazing Boogie Babes team) has a keen eye for detail and is happy to lend her creativity and event planning expertise to help make your party a success. Some of her theme suggestions are Ninja, Princess, Scavenger Hunt, Movie Night, Dance Party, Tea Party, and Spa Treatment Party. And she, of course, welcomes clients to bring in their own ideas. As for logistics, cost is $600 for a four-hour rental, which includes two hours of party time, an hour each of set up and clean up, and house décor. Party packages with extra decorations and goody bags are also available. If the price sounds steep, this is one to consider sharing with a friend, especially since the space accommodates more people than many venues. And sometimes, having everything exactly the way you want it, is worth it. To learn more, contact Amanda at 202.640.2616 or [email protected]
Do you have party venue recommendations? I always love to hear about them, so feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments!
After months of anticipation, the first-ever Great Nurse-In is happening THIS Saturday, August 4, on the West Lawn on the U.S. Capitol Building! With a mission to normalize nursing for today’s society and future generations, the event welcomes everyone — nursing moms, fomerly nursing moms, non-nursing moms, partners, children, friends, community members — who wants to support the cause.
I originally posted about the event several weeks ago, and since then more festivities have been planned, including a Launch Party taking place at The Tabula Rasa on Capitol Hill, tomorrow, August 3. From 9am – 6pm, you can stop by for boobie cupcakes and swag bags for the Saturday celebration, and to mingle with other breastfeeding supporters.
Tomorrow is also the Great Nurse-In’s Action Day, when many GNI attendees will be visiting their Congress members to solicit support for a federal breastfeeding law. Participants can pick up talking points for their scheduled meetings at the Launch Party.
As for Saturday’s big event, there will be guest speakers, a Big Latch-On assembly, children’s performers presented by the Boogie Babes, open mic sessions, and more. The program schedule is available here.
And if you can’t make it to the Great Nurse-In, you can visit the website to find out other ways to show your support.
A quick glance at the forecast shows a very sunshiny weekend, albeit a tad hot. But the blue skies and dry days will make a great backdrop for the many exciting events happening outdoors — a county carnival, bike races, a food truck fest, a neighborhood celebration, and scores of “summer” fun. If you can’t take the heat, there are museum programs, performances for kids, even a pop-up candy store to help you keep your cool. This list has all the special goings-on, and you can find even more ideas for recreation on the new Everyday Play page. Happy Weekend!
Where: Fairfax County Government Center
When: Fri 6pm -12am, Sat 10am – 12am, Sun 11am – 7pm
Admission: $12/adult, $5/youth, free for kids under 2.
Bust a move to Northern Virginia’s largest community festival this weekend. There will be tons for event-goers to enjoy, including live music (Young MC and Pat Benetar among the performers!) carnival rides, children’s activities, art and food vendors, and much more to keep guests entertained throughout the weekend. For more details, along with the full musical line-up, see the Celebrate Fairfax website.
Where: All around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity
Free concerts, outdoor swimming, movies under the stars, sprayground fun. Activities exclusive to this time of year can all be enjoyed all weekend long. This post has the full scoop on summer in the city.
Where: Corner of Half and M Streets SE
When: Friday, 11am – 11pm
The monthly festival held May thru October is hosting its June event today! Showcasing food trucks from the DC area, Truckeroo brings together just about all of the cuisine on wheels that cruise around the city. Take the kids for lunch or grab dinner before the free weekly concert at the Yards Park.
Air Force Cycling Classic
Where: Clarendon & Crystal City
When: Saturday, 11:30am & Sunday, 11:15am
The official race is for adults, but kids ages 9 and under can get in on the cycling, too – there will be special races just for them along with the main event. The Saturday kids races will take place in Clarendon at 11:30am, and Sunday’s will be held in Crystal City at 11:15am. Multiple heats for different age groups will vary in distance; the older the kids, the further they ride. Participants must bring their own helmets and bikes, and trikes are welcome, too. For details and to register online, visit the Air Force Cycling Classic website. You can also print out the form and bring it day of the race.
Where: National Harbor
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Kids can get their bikes and trikes ready for summer and enjoy an afternoon of cycle-related fun with the National Children’s Museum at National Harbor! Activities will include safety-gear sizing and giveaways, bicycle rodeos, maintenance workshops, arts and crafts, raffles, live music and more. CycleFest will be held on the surface lot at Waterfront Street and National Plaza, and additional activities will take place at the NCM Launch Zone.
A Sweet Pop-Up Event
Where: The tabular rasa
When: Saturday 11am – 7pm, Sunday 12-6pm
Sugar & Ice – and everything nice! Join the gourmet candy gift boutique for an irresistibly cool, uniquely sweet rush. They are putting a modern twist on the classic candy shop with a pop-up event this weekend at The Tabula Rasa on Capitol Hill (731 8th Street SE). Browse an amazing array of candy from nostalgic treats to popular favorites and plenty of scrumptious delights in between. Pop in for candy shopping, plus $2 snow cones and free balloons!
World Oceans Day
Where: DC National Aquarium
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: $9.95/adult, $8.95/seniors, $4.95/ages 3-11,ages 2 and under are free
If you can’t actually get to an ocean, then what better place to celebrate World Oceans Day in DC than at the National Aquarium (yes, there is one right here in the city)! Renowned children’s author Debbie Dadey will be onsite to read from her new book series, Mermaid Tales, which focuses on friendship and ocean education — story times and book signings will take place at 12pm, 1pm, and 3pm. Guests can also have their picture taken with a very special mermaid, participate in ocean-related arts and crafts, and learn from Aquarium experts about the ocean’s inhabitants.
Make it Mount Pleasant
Where: Throughout Mount Pleasant
When: Sunday, 12-6pm
Mount Pleasant will come alive this weekend with a Handmade Craft and Vintage Market, sidewalk sales & specials, and local bands and DJs. Organized by the Mount Pleasant Business Association, Make it Mount Pleasant will bring together local restaurants, shops, community groups, artists, artisans, and musicians for a day of special events. The pop-up market will be located in the parking lot of McCormick Paints at Mount Pleasant and Kenyon Streets NW. Live music and spinning DJ’s will be at Lamont Park. And sidewalk sales will take place out front of many local businesses.
Where: Theatres around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance
Goldilocks!, is opening at The Puppet Co. (get half-price tickets through Goldstar here). The Boogie Babes are hosting a Saturday morning show at The Atlas. This week’s Saturday Morning at the National is a Solar System Show from the Pointless Theatre Company. It’s the final weekend to catch Encore Stage & Studio’s production of Charlotte’s Web. And Grandsons, Jr. is performing at Jammin’ Java. Just click through all the links for details and tickets.
Sculptures and Stories
Where: National Building Museum
When: Saturday, 10:30am – 12pm
Admission: $10/members, $15/non-members
Children ages 4-8 and accompanying adults are invited to participate in this family workshop that takes explores some of the art in the area. Guests will see three sculptures in the Museum’s neighborhood, and touch and learn about the materials. Back at the NBM, they’ll listen to a story and then create a sculpture to take home. Admission fees are for children only; adults attend free. Prepaid registration is required.
The Magic of Spying
Where: International Spy Museum
When: Saturday, 10:30-11:30am
Briefing: In the real-life world of espionage, spies often call upon the art of magic and illusion to distract the enemy, make evidence disappear and escape unnoticed. Kids ages 7 and up are invited to join professional magician, Peter Wood, as he demonstrates the art of misdirection and sleight of hand used by skilled spies. Attendees will also receive free general admission into the Spy Museum.
Women’s History in Postage Stamps
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Drop in at this Family Workshop to discover fascinating figures in Women’s History through postage stamps. Design your own stamp honoring an important woman and start your own stamp collection to take home.
Super Science Saturday
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am -3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15
It’s a Super Science Saturday at the Dulles arm of the Air & Space Museum. Through demonstrations and hands-on activities, visitors of all ages will become immersed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics topics related to aviation and space exploration. This month’s program will focus on Energy.
National Get Outdoors Day
Where: Various locations
It’s National Get Outdoors Day on Saturday, and all around the country there will be events celebrating the occasion with a day full of activities that encourage healthy, active outdoor fun. A few area parks in Virginia will be hosting festivities – go here to find out where they are.
Of course, you don’t need an official event to enjoy the outdoors. For more ideas, see this post listing the best places in the DC area to hang outside with the kids. And if you want to take shelter from the sun, check out this post with suggestions for indoor recreation.