Tag Archives: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Where to Play on the Weekdays: December 26-30

Hands-on fun at the National Build Museum's Lego exhibit


Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!  Seeing as Monday is already well underway (better late than never, right?), these recs for weekday fun conveniently start with an evening activity.  Beyond that, find ideas to keep the kids entertained during the rest of days of this Winter Break week.

Monday: See a holiday light show in the evening.  You have your pick of drive-thru displays or walkable routes at various locations in the area.  For details on all of them, see this post on DC holiday events.

Tuesday: Keep the Christmas cheer going at Glen Echo Park where you can still catch two holidays shows. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is at Adventure Theatre until January 2 (read the KFDC review).  And The Nutcracker is being performed at The Puppet Co. through December 31.

Wednesday: Catch one of several kids flicks in theaters now: The Muppets, Adventures of Tin Tin, Arthur Christmas, Hugo, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked are among the family-friendly big screen selections.

Thursday: Glide the day away at an ice skating rink.  See this post with details of both indoor and outdoor venues.  Or check out the brand new ice rink at the Rockville Town Square.

Friday: Head to the National Building Museum for some architecture-inspired fun.  Toddlers can play in the Building Zone ($3 admission, including accompanying adults). All ages can check out the Towering Ambition LEGO exhibit ($5 admission) and create their own structures of plastic pieces at tables set up for just that purpose. And the Great Hall is a great place to romp and have an indoor picnic (BYO lunch or pick up from Firehook Cafe on premises).  In the evening, wind down the week at Lil Omm in Tenley Town, where all ages can join in for Family Fun Fridays yoga session from 5-6pm.

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Filed under All ages, Christmas, DC, Educational, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Seasonal, Theatre, Weekdays, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: December 16-18

Wandering through ICE!


Holiday events are still running strong, and there are special museum programs and children’s shows to round out this weekend’s options for family fun.  And, of course, DC’s tried and true activities are always a good bet — scroll right down the page for a slew of recommendations.  Happy Weekend!

Celebrate the SeasonIf you’re looking for ways to embrace the holiday spirit, you have your pick: visit Santa in his workshop, drive or stroll through holiday lights, view nature and DC-inspired seasonal exhibits, see intricately constructed model train displays, experience the holidays on ICE!  This guide to DC’s best holiday events has details on all of them.

Holidays on StageAll of the classics are at our local theatres. This post has a review of The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre, and you can read my write-up of Adventure Theatre’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. For even more holiday shows, see this post for a listing of the season’s favorites.

Rockin’ Hanukkah ConcertYosi and the Superdads play an interactive and humorous family concert filled with klezmer, rock, ska and rockin’ Hanukkah tunes at the McClean Community Center on Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $10/McLeanresidents, $15/non-residents. The show is recommended for ages 3 and up.

Elmo Makes Music In Sesame Street Live’s latest production, everyone’s favorite red monster and his friends make their own music with instruments that they never knew existed.  Join them as they share their love of music on the Patriot Center Stage now through Sunday.  Tickets range from $15-50 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Up, Up & Away – The Corcoran is hosting a Family Workshop for children ages 8-12 on Saturday from 10:30am – 12pm.  Guests will discover what the average person would need on a journey to Mars in the NOW exhibition Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro: Are We There Yet? After that create a personalized jet pack using recycled materials for your own adventure into outer space.

Holidays Around the World: ChristmasDrop in at the National Children’s Museum Launch Zone on Saturday from 11am – 4pm to learn how people all over the world observe Christmas. Through a variety of activities, guests can journey to Colombia, the Philippines, and Croatia for a multi-cultural Christmas celebration.  Admission is free.

Family PortraitsLearn about people who have influenced American history and culture through a variety of ongoing programs and activities offered by the National Portrait Gallery. This weekend’s subject will be Pablo Picasso in two different workshops. On Saturday from 2-4pm, kids ages 5 and up can join Facing History: Be the Artist Youth and Family Program to view portraits, hear stories, and create art. Admission if free, but registration is required.  On Sunday from 2-5pm, guests of all ages can drop in for Portrait Story Days to hear a tale about Picasso and do an art project. For a fun DIY adventure at the Gallery, Portrait Discovery Kits are available on Sunday from 2-5pm. They include “Seek and Find” cards, “Portrait Detective” and “Historian Guides,” and a “Compare and Contrast” activity using a doll. Visitors can check out kits at the education center, room E151, on the first floor. Kits need to be returned prior to 4 p.m. on Saturdays or 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

American Indian Art – Sculpture artist and painter Gregg Analla will be at the National Museum of the American Indian on Saturday from 10:30am – 12:30pm to lead a workshop on Pueblo pottery and symbolism.  Recommended for kids ages 5-12, the sessions will last about an hour and welcome guests on a first-come, first-served basis.  They will take place in the imagiNATIONs Activity Center, which is also a fantastic place to explore American Indian culture through a variety of interactive exhibits. Admission to both the workshop and museum is free.

And for tried and true DC pursuits, check out these links:

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, Art, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Educational, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Review: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas at Adventure Theatre

Adventure ensues in Santa's Workshop


Our family experienced a milestone when we went to see Twas the Night Before Christmas, the holiday production currently running at Glen Echo Park’s Adventure Theatre:  It was the first time ever that not-quite-three-year-old Sasha watched a play in its entirety without getting antsy and asking to leave. Instead, she sat through the hour-long performance utterly captivated by it all — the adventurous tale, the enchanting set, the playful musical numbers.  All of it spliced together perfectly to produce a show that’s wonderfully entertaining for all ages.

The play is based very loosely on the famous Clement Clarke Moore poem, so loosely that other than its recitation in the opening scene and a stirring mouse (who is literally stirring cookie batter when he’s introduced), the title is as far as the association goes. But the story does, indeed, take place the night before Christmas, which sets the scene for one wild and whimsical holiday adventure.

It begins as we meet Uncle Brierly in the cozy living room, complete with twinkling Christmas tree and festively decorated bookcase-lined walls, as he gets ready to read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” He barely gets through the first verse when Amos the stirring mouse, then his best friend Emily, burst in to reveal their own version of Christmas events the previous year when Santa skipped their house.

A wild airplane ride to the Norh Pole

When Uncle Brierly shuns their story and exits the room, Calliope, the Jewish elf from the North Pole, arrives to confirm that the two are telling the truth — Santa did skip their house last year — and seeks their help to prevent it from happening to even more houses this year, an entreaty relayed through a fun, chuckle-inducing “Santa Ain’t Coming to Town” rap.

And this is when the adventure begins, transporting the characters and the audience from Uncle Brierly’s living room to Santa’s charming little workshop. Shelves stocked with a colorful array of beautiful toys and presents line the whitewashed walls (you could practically see sparks being emitted from the audience as kids’ eyes lit up at the sight of it).

Calliope, Emily, & Santa plot to save Christmas

But the trio are here on a mission to save Christmas from Sir Guy, the rogue elf who stole and sold Santa’s sleigh to Wal-Mart and just pilfered the Naughty & Nice list with intentions to hawk it to Bloomies.

The chase scene and sword fight that follow an exciting hoot. We’re treated to some Three’s Company-esque dramatic irony as Amos’ twin brother shows up and unknowingly helps the operation. And when the heist is thwarted and Christmas is saved, there’s more rapping, and this time a jubilant Santa joins the crew.

All in all, it’s an immensely enjoyable show, from the imaginative story and endearing characters to the inspired costumes and brilliant set. That’s not only substantiated by the raves I just bestowed, but also by my daughter’s watershed theatre moment.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is playing at Adventure Theatre through January 2. Tickets are $18 and available for purchase online and at the Box Office. (Note: tickets sell out quickly and may not be available at the theatre day-of).

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to the show from Adventure Theatre, but all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.


Filed under Christmas, Gradeschoolers, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Play, Preschoolers, Preteens, Seasonal, Theatre, Toddlers, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: November 25-27

A recent frolic at the National Arboretum, one of our very faves


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and has emerged from the food comas unscathed, because this is a weekend to relish.  Not only is it an extra long one, but we get to it enjoy it amid blue skies, sunshine, and unseasonably comfortable temps.  This will bode will for the many events and activities happening at outdoor locales, several holiday-themed ones among them.  And if you’d rather shed the jackets at an indoor venue or you’re not quite in holiday mode, these recommended pursuits cover those preferences, too (just scroll to the end after the first rec).  Here’s where you can find it all over the next three days.  Happy Weekend!

Nights at the MuseumIf you’re making the rounds at the museums on the National Mall, save Natural History and American History for last. The two Smithsonian favorites will have extended hours through the weekend, open until 7:30pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Hit the Rink – It’s going to be perfect weather for outdoor ice skating these next couple of says, so lace up the skates and get gliding. Enjoy art as you skate at the Sculpture Garden or shop then skate at Pentagon Row, Veteran’s Plaza, or Reston Town Center.  This post has details on both alfresco and indoor ice skating options in the area.

Harbor Lights FestivalThe kick-off of the National Harbor’s annual Tree Lighting and Holiday Light Show begins this evening at 5pm. Watch as the tree is illuminated in a spectacular display of colorful twinklers, listen to live music in National Harbor Plaza, and enjoy festivities throughout the evening. If you can’t make it tonight, you can catch the gleaming extravaganza every half hour until 10pm nightly through the season .

Alexandria Tree LightingCelebrate the city’s official start to the holiday season in Old Town’s Market Square this evening from 7-9pm. Along with the tree lighting, entertainment will include a visit from Santa, a performance of Santa’s Frosty Follies by the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center, plus caroling and a community sing-a-long.

Holly Trolley FestThe National Capitol Trolley Museum in Silver Spring is hosting its first weekend of special holiday exhibits on Saturday and Sunday from 12-5pm.  Along with the regular museum experience, guests can ride the streetcars with Santa and see the trains display in the Christmas Garden. Admission is $7/adults, $5/ages 2-17 and includes unlimited rides.  Admission without rides is $4.

ZooLightsSee the National Zoo in a whole new light, literally, as thousands of environmentally friendly lights and animal exhibits transform the park into a holiday wonderland. Along with the lights, there will an “iceless” skating rink, train rides for kids, train displays, and more.  Admission is free, but activities cost extra — $5/skate, $2/skate rentals, $3/train rides. Open Friday through Sunday from 5-9pm (and more dates later this season).

Holidays, Oh HolidaysThere’s way more DC holiday fun to be had — Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden, Christmas on the Potomac, Christmas at Mount Vernon, wonderful train and light displays – and much of it begins this weekend.  For the complete rundown on all of them, see this post about the best holiday events of the season.

‘Twas the Night Before ChristmasAdventure Theatre’s latest production following the wild adventures of a mouse, and elf, and a spunky little girl is a perfect holiday show for the whole family. We caught it last weekend (review on the way), and found it a delight from beginning to end.  Tickets are $18 and still available for shows on Saturday and Sunday.

If you’re night quite ready to usher in the holiday hoopla, check out these posts for tried and true recreation:

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

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun)

Groupon: Get the Best Deal in Your City Today!

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Filed under Annual, Christmas, DC, Educational, Festival, Free, Gradeschoolers, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Park, Play, Preschoolers, Preteens, Seasonal, Sports, Theatre, Toddlers, Virginia, Weekend