Tag Archives: The Yards Park

Glow Time: Giant Bunnies Will Light up The Yards Park


The Yards Park is becoming known for its eccentric presentations of public art and experiences (think Laser Cat and Tour de Fat), and they’re doing it again over the next couple of weeks, through March 6, with an installation melding light, sculpture, and music.

Light Yards started this past Saturday with an evening event featuring large sculptures constructed of industrial steel with illuminated white cubes and a large-scale projection mapping visual display set to the beat of a live DJ set. It was great timing with the warmer weather, so we checked it out with friends after having dinner nearby.


Two large-scale installations flashed with color and pictures as techno music blared in the background. The kids donned glow necklaces as they danced and played with a giant Lite-Brite, kind of like a low-key, kid-friendly rave.


The Yards Park will be hopping again this weekend as giant luminescent bunnies created by artist Amanda Parer join the art mix on Saturday. And they’re kicking off their US tour with an event especially for families from 3-6pm. Kids and adults can delight in the sight of the enormous glowing bunnies, while enjoying children’s activities, including the giant Lite-Brite, bunny crafts, balloon artists, face painters, glitter tattoos, and a DJ.


That evening from 6-10pm, The Yards will again meld music and art with a performance by electric violinist DJ Manifesto. Food and beverage will be available for purchase at both featured events, plus there are many family-friendly eateries in the area if you want to make an afternoon and evening of it.

The installation will be lit every evening from 7-10pm during its run through March 6. (Update: Due to the potential for winds and for security reasons, the bunnies will be up and lit only on the weekends of February 27-28 and March 4-6.) Both the family-friendly and evening events will take place on Saturday, February 27. Admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Exhibit, Free, Music, Outdoor, Park, Weekend, Winter

All Play this Labor Day Weekend

A summer favorite: Playing in the sprays at The Yards Park

Forget what the calendar says.  If back-to-school didn’t bring about the mental end of the season, this weekend certainly will. But the upside is that we have three glorious days to squeeze the last bit of juice out of summer.  And if you’re spending them in town, you’ve got a variety of ways to get the most out of ’em.  Happy Weekend!

The Big DigGreat Country Farm’s annual Potato Harvest is on Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 5pm. Take the scenic drive out to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains early for all-you-can-eat pancakes topped with homemade fruit syrups, then hop on a hayride that will take you out to u-pick fields where you can dig for gold — yukon gold potatoes, that is. Breakfast is served from 9am – 12pm, and the hayrides run all day, but the fun doesn’t have to stop there. The $10 admission (free for kids under 2) also includes access to the rest of the farm’s attractions, including a cow train, mazes, barnyard petting area, pick your own fields, and more. Visit the website for more information and directions.

The Ol’ Ballgame The Nats are playing at home all weekend, with a few special promos and ticket deals for fans. Saturday is team on field photo day, where fans will have the opportunity to go to the warning track to get pictures of team players from 4:30 – 5:45pm. Sunday is $1 Kids Day – as implied, kids’ tickets are just a buck with the purchase of an adult ticket, and the first 10,000 fans ages 12 and under to arrive will receive a Ryan Zimmerman Fathead Jr. It’s also a Signature Sunday and Kids Run the Bases.  For more details and ticket deals for later games, see this post from a couple of days ago.

Ren FestIf Hurricane Irene thwarted your plans for merriment last weekend, you can try again this Saturday through Monday (and subsequent weekends until October 23) at the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, MD. Besides the amazing variety of entertainment — jousting matches, cheeky comedy shows, fire eaters and sword swallowers, juggling acts, Celtic music, and much more — walking among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in puffy shirts in a 16th-century village as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of mead is an interesting little jaunt back in time that any age can enjoy (well, maybe not the mead). Admission to the faire is $19/adult, $9/kids ages 7-15, free for children 6 and under. A coupon for a discount on tickets is available through September 11  – see this post from last week for details.

Maloof Money Cup Skateboarding EventAny Tony Hawk wannabes out there?  Skaters-in-the-making will be stoked about this event happening on Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 6pm at RFK Stadium, where a new world-class skatepark is currently under construction. See some of the world’s best skateboarders perform ollies, flips, and other cool tricks as they compete for the Maloof Money Cup. Tickets are $15/day or $25 for both days. Oh, and Doug E. Fresh is performing on Sunday at 2:45pm…La Di Da Di, we like to party, we don’t cause trouble, don’t bother nobody (couldn’t help myself).

Adventure Theatre Open House – Head to the children’s theatre at Glen Echo Park for a day full of fun and entertainment for the family. Enjoy a reading of the upcoming shows’ books by local celebrities and national authors, free light sabre class demos, a visit from a pirate, book signings, and more from 10am – 4pm on Saurday. Check out the schedule for specifics. And be sure to stick around Glen Echo after for the annual Labor Day Art Show taking place throughout the park all weekend, including Monday.

Outdoor Concerts – Get the weekend started with free music in the fresh air at an outdoor concert. Jazz violinst Bruno Nasta and the U.S. Naval Academy Band-The Next Wave will entertain at Jazz in the Garden at 5:30pm, and the modern rock band Rise and Fall will play on the boardwalk stage at The Yards Park at 6pm. The al fresco music continues over the weekend at the DC Blues Festival on Saturday and the annual Labor Day Concert at the Capitol on Sunday (see below for details on both).

Peter PanVenture to Never Never Land at Wolf Trap as Tony Award-nominee Cathy Rigby takes flight in an all-new production of Peter Pan.  On stage through Sunday, you can catch an afternoon or evening performance.  Tickets range from $20-80, but Goldstar currently has a deal for 50% off select seats. Find out what else you can see on local stages this weekend, including the final performances of The Wizard off Oz at The Puppet Co., in this post about live entertainment.

RiverFestDiscover 101 ways to protect and enjoy our waterways during RiverFest 2011 at Historic St. Mary’s City on Saturday from 10am – 5pm. Festivities will live entertainment, paddling and sailing jaunts on the river, face painting, balloon art, educational exhibits, and more. Admission is free.  Visit the website for complete info.

Hear the BluesThe 23nd Annual DC Blues Festival is on Saturday at Carter Barron Amphitheater in Rock Creek Park. The free concert runs from 12pm – 7:30pm.  Along with the line-up of performers, there will be musical workshops throughout the day, where both children and adults can learn about Blues music. Kids will especially enjoy the opportunity to try making their own music at an instrument petting zoo.

Labor Day Concert at the CapitolNSO Associate Conductor Emil de Cou leads this annual NSO tradition on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The free concert takes place on Sunday at 8pm, with gates opening to the public at 3:15pm. If not raining, the dress rehearsal is at 3:30pm on Sunday.  In the case of inclement weather, the concert will be moved to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. You can call the NSO Summer Concert Hotline at 202.416.8114 after 2:30pm to find out if the performance has been moved.

These go-to posts have even more ideas:

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

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Farm, Festival, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Weekend

Keep Your Cool this Weekend

Pretend play at it best

Yowza, it’s hot out!  And it’s going to continue into the weekend, with chances of storms to boot. Here’s where you can stay cool and dry, along with a few suggestions for outdoor recreation if you dare brave the heat (sunblock, hats, and shade recommended).  Happy Weekend!

The Inside ScoopIt seems only appropriate that these ideas for indoor fun top this round-up of weekend activities.  Enjoy the AC!

Living Earth FestivalThe National Museum of the American Indian is celebrating indigenous contributions to environmental sustainability, knowledge, and activism.  The three-day event has tons for families. Hands-on activities include pottery and cornhusk dragonfly art projects, Hawaiian games, and hula lessons. Enjoy craft demonstrators, music, dancers, and festival activities throughout the museum. At a Farmer’s Market, children may receive something to plant in their own garden, and you can shop for local produce, meat, and traditional dishes.  There will also be a cook-off featuring Native and local Chefs, and on Saturday guests can hear a free concert at 5pm on the Welcome Plaza.

Mars DayTaking place today, Friday, the National Air and Space Museum celebrates the Red Planet with a variety of educational and fun family activities. Visitors can see a real meteorite that came from Mars, view the surface of Mars in 3-D with red/blue glasses. Learn about the latest missions and discoveries, talk to scientists active in Mars research, and more.  The free event takes place from 10am – 3pm.

Destination Asia  – Explore the heritage of Asia at George Mason University this weekend at the 8th Annual Asian Festival. Enjoy everything from traditional performances and cultural exhibitions to authentic cuisine and over 200 retails shops selling Asian products.  The event runs on Saturday 10am – 10pm and Sunday 11am – 6pm.  Admission is free.

Kids Farm CelebrationIn case you haven’t yet heard, the Kids’ Farm at the National Zoo will remain open thanks to a generous donation by State Farm. The public is invited to celebrate the good news on Sunday from 11am – 2pm.  Guests can enjoy arts & crafts, animal demos, and visits with their furry friends, of course. Just like entrance to the Zoo, this event is free of charge.

Make a Splash – If you’re going to be outside this weekend, access to water will be a good thing, and I don’t just mean the kind you drink.  Get wet and stay cool at a spray park or outdoor pool—find links to public pools and spraygrounds in this post about summer fun. Or, go play in the fountains at The Yards Park.

The Wizard of Oz x 2 – You can catch two different productions of the classic show starting this weekend.  The Puppet Co. presents their version on July 22 – September 4 with several show times this weekend. You can also see the play performed by people, The Act III Theatre Company, at Encore Stage and Studio in Arlington. Tickets are still available for all of the weekend performances.

Theatre in the Woods This week’s performers at Wolf Trap’s summer theatre series are Bob Brown Puppets and the band Recess Monkey.  While outdoors, the venue is shaded by a lovely canopy of trees, and the 10am showtime will get it all started before the day really heats up.  Read of review of our Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods experience.

Family Films –  Catch one of the movie series especially for families that run on the weekends.  The Atlas Performing Arts Center hosts its Family Series on Saturdays at 5pm.  This week’s showing will be “Babe.”  While tickets are free, there is a $2 per ticket booking fee.  For a screening under the stars, head to National Harbor on Sunday for its free Movies on the Potomac series. This week, see “Shrek Forever After,” starting just after sunset.

Stories in ArtOn Sunday, the National Gallery of Art’s summer drop-in program welcomes kids ages 4-7 to explore Dutch art through storytelling, gallery tours, and hands-on projects. Sessions are hourly starting at 11:30am. Sign-up begins at 11am in the West Building Rotunda, and space is limited.  Read a review of our experience at a session last summer.  And for more details on this summer’s program and tips on signing up, see this post.

Portrait Story DaysDrop in at the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday from 1-4pm and Sunday from 2-5pm, to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about Sequoyah, who created the Cherokee writing system.


Filed under All ages, Animals, Art, DC, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Theatre, Weekend

Joys of Summer

Fun in the fountains at The Yards Park

Flip flops, check. Bathing suit, check. White pants…hmm, maybe not the best idea with small children around. But you probably know where I’m going with this: It’s summer!

Okay, so we still have a few weeks until the earth’s north-south axis is tilted to just the right angle to result in the longest day of the year and calendar start of the season (ie, June 21).  Yet for many of us, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial summer kick-off.  This is when when my mental switch automatically flips to casual.  It’s also when some of the area’s quintessential summer activities begin.  From outdoor swimming and fun in fountains to music in the garden and movies under the stars, here are some of the area’s best summer-only family pursuits.

Outdoor Pool Season
Nothing says summer like swimming under the sun. DC outdoor public pools will open on Saturday, May 28, from 12 – 6pmand will be open weekends only until June 21.  After that, they will open daily, though all pools are closed one day a week for maintenance, so be sure to check the schedule before you go.  For swimming outside of the city, Montgomery County outdoor public pools will be open May 28 through Labor Day — the Dept. of Recreation website has locations and hours.  In Northern Virginia, Arlington’s Upton Hill has a whole waterpark for guests to enjoy, and Alexandria has several places where the public is welcome to swim. Be sure to check the website for hours, as they vary from pool to pool.

Play in the Spray
Kids can run through fountains and splash around at many area spraygrounds. Several are within the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, and you can find out where on their website. Starting this Saturday, May 28, DPR Spray Parks will be open Saturdays from 11am – 4pm. Starting June 21, they will open all other days of the week (check their website for hours). For spray fun with a riverfront view, the Yards Park has fountains and a great location on the Anacostia.  And some of the area’s most popular spray parks—Lyon Village Park, Hayes Park, and Drew Park–can be found in Arlington.

Jazz in the Garden
Enjoy music amid art at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s free concert series, Jazz in the Garden, every Friday from 5:30 – 8:30pm. The first performance is this Friday, May 27, rain or shine. Spread out a blanket, pack a picnic dinner, and enjoy the sounds of a variety of jazz artists.

Yards Park Friday Concerts
Wind down your week on the river! Already underway, the Yards Park Friday Concert Series presents a new band each week on the boardwalk stage overlooking the Potomac.  Along with the free music, food and beverages will be available for purchase. Children can enjoy a little extra entertainment in the CSX Kids Zone, where there will be activities especially for them.

U.S. Air Force Band Summer Concert Series
The U.S. Air Force Band 2011 Summer Concert Series kicks off Wednesday, June 1 at 6pm, at the World War II Memorial.  After that, you can catch the free performances all summer on Tuesday evenings on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol, Wednesdays at varying locations around Washington (see the schedule for specifics), and on Friday evenings at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington. Aside from the first concert, most shows begin at 8pm.  Check out the U.S. Air Force Band website for the complete summer schedule.

Glen Echo Summer Concert Series
The park known by most families for its puppet shows, children’s plays, and carousel will present music in the Bumper Car Pavilion on several Thursday evenings throughout the summer.  All performances of the Glen Echo Summer Concert Series are free and will begin at 7:30pm rain or shine. And that carousel will be open for rides from 7 – 9pm.

Mini Train, Carousel, & Mini Golf  at Watkins
These extra delights at Watkins Regional Park opened on a limited schedule in early May, but come Memorial Day weekend, they can be enjoyed for extended hours almost every day of the week. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10am – 7pm; Sundays 12 – 7 pm, closed Mondays except 5/30 (Memorial Day), 7/4 (July Fourth Holiday; closes at 4pm) & 9/5 (Labor Day).

Children’s Garden
The U.S. Botanic Garden is a wonderful place to spend time with the kids, and it’s even better during the warm months when the Children’s Garden is open. Kids can exercise their green thumbs with shovels and watercans and ground space to dig. There is also a working water pump, a couple of fountains, a bamboo “forest,” and a little garden house where kids can play. Like all things Smithsonian, admission is free.

Big Screen Under the Stars
Outdoor movies have become a DC summer tradition in the last few years with films al fresco in several neighborhoods.  The longest running, Screen on the Green, takes place on the National Mall on Mondays in July and August, though exact dates for 2011 have yet to be announced.  The NoMa Summer Screen, probably the most family-friendly of all the outdoor movie series, begins May 25 and will run weekly on Wednesdays until August 3 on L Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue NE. Food and music start at 7pm, and the movie at 9pm.  The Capitol Riverfront will start Front Flicks on May 26 and run every Thursday evening at 8:45pm.  And the National Harbor hosts Movies on the Potomac, with family movies every Sunday night beginning June 10.  Before you make plans to enjoy any of series, be sure to check schedules, as some movies may not be appropriate for children.

Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods
From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents over 70 family-friendly performances at 10am and 11:15am on Tuesdays through Saturdays. Amidst 117 rolling wooded acres and nestled in a shady grove, the stage is set for lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. All of the productions are recommended for children between Kindergarten and 6th grade. The full schedule of shows in available of the Wolf Trap website.

Free Family Entertainment in Rockville
All summer long, families can enjoy a variety of free fun at Rockville Town Square — Kids Night every Tuesday, monthly Mommy & Me and Daddies Too play dates, and concerts for all ages on Thursday evenings. This post has details on each of the series.


Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Music, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Virginia, Weekend