Tag Archives: Washington DC Kids Activities

The 2024 KFDC Guide to Summer Around the DC Area

 

The season may still be a few weeks from official on the calendar, but summer fun has begun around the DC area! Spray parks are open, outdoor movies are being screened, carousels are spinning, local sports are in full swing, exhibits are opening, crab feasts are being served, and more seasonal experiences are underway.  Even better, there’s still much more to come.  This annual guide, that I’ve been putting together in this version for over 10 years, has all the info and inspiration you need to make the most of the season… starting now!

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Play in the Sprays

Outdoor Pool Season

Beaches

Waterparks

Big Screen Under the Stars

Summer Concerts

Festivals & Special Events

Seasonal Exhibits

Special Entertainment & Programs

Mini Trains, Carousels, Mini Golf, & a Ferris Wheel

Summer Sports

Crab Feasts

Seasonal Experiences

Gear Up

 

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PLAY IN THE SPRAYS

Scenic spray fun at Georgetown Waterfront Park

Kids can run through fountains and splash around at many of them around the area. Several are within the DC, MD, & VA Departments of Parks and Recreation, but some of the best are built right into the urban landscape, making the concrete jungle a cool place to hang out during the hottest months. Dates are TBD at some, but look for updates soon!

 

Canal Park in the Navy Yard is great for kids of varying ages with both a gentle, shallow fountain that is ideal for really little ones to enjoy, plus a bigger fountain with lots of sprays for more enthusiastic play where the ice rink is in the winter. Read more about Canal Park in this KFDC post.

 

The Wharf in Southwest DC has a nice in-ground fountain that opens before other nearby fountains and stay open longer.  Kids can run through water shooting up from jets, play in mist spraying up in the center, and ride on waterproof rocking horses within all of it, all with the beautiful waterfront area as a backdrop. Read more about The Wharf in this KFDC post.

 

DC DPR Spray Parks will open will be open for the season daily 10am – 6pm starting Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 25, through Labor Day, September 2. Be sure to view the list, as open days vary by location.  See all of the locations throughout the city on this map on the DPR website.

 

Yards Park in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood is a favorite for water play in the city, with two levels featuring Dancing Fountains up top and the Canal Basin and Waterfall below, plus a great scenic location on the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard.  Grassy areas for hanging out and lots of nearby eateries make it a perfect place to spend a summer day. The water features turn on for the season on May 24! Note that they will be closed up to 48 hours these dates: June 10, June 24, July 8, July 22, August 5, August 19, and September 22. Read more about the water features at The Yards here.

 

Georgetown Waterfront Park, right next to Washington Harbour, has a fountain with arcing sprays that makes for a fun, refreshing way to cool off on a hot, summer day.  The rest of the park’s pretty green space along the Potomac is a nice, relaxing place to hang out, too. Read more about Georgetown Waterfront Park in this KFDC post.

 

Lyon Village Park, Hayes Park, Virginia Highlands Park, Drew Park, and Mosaic Park, some of the area’s most popular spray parks, can be found in Arlington along with Penrose Square, which has an in-ground interactive fountain. Open Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. Hours vary by park, so be sure to view the websites.

 

Our Special Harbor at Lee District Recreation Area in Alexandria gets raves for its Chesapeake-Bay themed sprayground complete with a spraying osprey nest, Chessie the sea serpent, misting sunflowers, and a lighthouse.  Open weekends May 25 – June 14, then daily June 15 – August 18, then only weekends again through September 2.

 

Potomac Yard Park, among the many city of Alexandria parks, has an interactive in-ground fountain that kids can play in — along with a couple of playgrounds and many other recreational features.  Even better, you can plan to do some shopping at the nearby Target and other big stores while you’re out that way. Open daily 10am – 9pm daily from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day, then 10am – 8pm through mid-October.

 

There’s an in-ground fountain on Capitol Hill at the C Street Plaza right across from Eastern Market. On most weekday afternoons during summer, there’s a small crowd of little ones playing in the gentle sprays.

 

OUTDOOR POOL SEASON

Rosedale pool in NE DC opens Memorial Day

Nothing says summer like swimming under the sun.  There are plenty of public pools in the area where you can jump in for free or a small admission fee, plus a few other options for a nice pool day.

 

DC outdoor public pools will open on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 27. They’ll operate on a weekend-only schedule (Saturday & Sunday) through  June 25. Starting Monday, June 26, all outdoor pools will operate on individual summer schedules, six days a week.  Days and hours vary from pool to pool so be sure to check schedules before you go.

 

For outdoor swimming outside of the city, Montgomery County outdoor public pools will open weekends May 25 – June 14, then daily June 15 – August 11, then weekends again August 12 – September 2. See the MoCo Department of Recreation website for locations and hours.

 

In Northern Virginia, there are several waterparks (see below) in Arlington with outdoor pools and much more for guests to enjoy, and the city of Alexandria has three outdoor public pools:  Memorial Pool at Charles Houston Rec Center opens May 25 – August 9, and Old Town Pool and Warwick Pool are open May 25 – September 2.  Hours vary by day, so be sure to view details for all of them.

 

Swimply, a service that started a few years ago, lets you search for private pools to rent. You can find pools at residences all over and pay to use them by the hour.

 

Hotel Pass: Some DC hotels offer days passes for  adults and kids to their outdoor pools. At Hyatt House at The Wharf they start at $50/adult, $30/child.  The Omni Shoreham Hotel in Woodley Park starts at $50/adult, $15/child. Hotel Zena in Downtown DC starts at $50/adult, $25/child.

 

BEACHES

Beach day at Calvert Cliffs State Park

Summer and beach trips go hand-in-hand, so why not hit one with the kids? There are a bunch of places where you can get a good dose of sand and surf that are within day trip distance from DC.

 

Calvert Cliffs State Park in Calvert County is known as a fossil hunting locale — as its cliffs erode, prehistoric remains of marine life are revealed — but it’s even better for beach fun, swimming, and hiking. To access the beach, you have to hike a couple of miles through woods (and there are even more trails if you’re up for it), but the walk is worth it for a dose of quintessential summer fun. Open daily sunrise – sunset, and admission is $5/vehicle in-state residents, $7/vehicle out-of-state. Read more about Calvert Cliffs in this KFDC post.

 

Flag Ponds Nature Park, also in Calvert County, has a large sandy beach for playing and nice mellow waters for swimming.  It’s also a great spot for fossil hunting — look for shark teeth and other prehistoric remnants along the shores while you’re there, too.  Hours are 9am – 6pm on weekdays and 9am – 8pm weekends from Memorial to Labor Day (days/hours are reduced the rest of the year). Admission is $5/vehicle in-county residents, $15/vehicle non residents. Be sure to read more about Flag Ponds for tips and get a glimpse here and here

 

Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis offers striking views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge along with loads of beach fun.  At nearly 800 acres, it’s a big park with lots of recreational opportunities — swimming, picnicking, fishing, crabbing, hiking, and more. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are lifeguards on duty. And snack food and beach and picnic supplies are available. Hours are 7am – sunset. From May 1 through September, admission is $5/person weekends, $4/person weekdays.

 

The Purse Area within the Nanjemoy Wildlife Management Area in Charles County, MD, is best if your main purpose is fossil hunting — it’s a great place to go for it — and you want to get in some “beach” time, too. The beach is narrow, and you’re on a river, but you still get to enjoy sand and water.  Wear swimsuits, bring a picnic, and be sure to check the tide table (read this post for details) so you can make the most of your time there. Open sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.

 

Mayo Beach Park in Anne Arundel County, MD, is open for swimming in summer to enjoy some sand and surf. Passes to access the beach park on weekends must be reserved in advance.  Be aware of other beach rules like no grills or dogs allowed. Open Memorial Day – Labor Day on Friday 4-7pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 7pm.

 

Greenbrier State Park, just over an hour’s drive from DC in Boonsboro, MD, has a beach area on a man-made freshwater lake, where visitors can swim, paddle, boat, and fish. Swimming is only allowed from May through September in designated areas when swim ropes are in place, with lifeguards there Memorial Day to Labor Day, 11am – 6pm. Admission is $3/person weekdays, $5/person weekends.

 

Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania, MD, is popular for weekend-long trips, but also good as a day trip destination, being less than two hours’ drive from DC. It’s especially great with little ones from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day, since it’s very organized with a designated beach/swim area, lifeguards, a bathhouse for changing and restrooms, and a snack bar.

 

Cape Henlopen State Park is a little over two hours from DC in Lewes, DE, but definitely doable as a day trip if you leave early, especially on a weekday when there is less traffic. We’ve done this and have had a fantastic day at the beach — packed up the car with a cooler and beach gear, got on the road early, and we were on the beach by 10:30am. Enjoyed dinner outdoors and ice cream in town before heading back, arrived home at 9:15pm. Totally worth the time in the car. Open daily, 8am – sunset, and admission is $10/vehicle out of state. Get a glimpse here.

 

They may not all be beaches, but this round-up of swim spots has a bunch more recommendations for places to take a dip around DC within day trip distance.

 

 

WATERPARKS

Make splash at Soak City in Kings Dominion

Giant water slides, wave pools, waterfalls, sprays and splash pads…this is the stuff kids’ summer dreams are made of. There are some great water parks around the area offering many of these attractions, just about all of them opening Memorial Day weekend for limited hours, until they open daily a few weeks later. Here’s a quick list — visit the websites for more details.

* Ocean Dunes Waterpark at Upton Hill in Arlington, VA

* Great Waves at Cameron Run in Alexandria, VA

* Six Flags America in Bowie, MD

* The Water Park at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg, MD

* The Water Mine in Reston, VA

* Atlantis Water Park at Bull Run in Centreville, VA

* Pirate’s Cove Waterpark in Lorton, VA

* Volcano Island Waterpark in Sterling, VA

* Splash Down Water Park in Manassas, VA

* Chesapeake Beach Water Park in Chesapeake Beach, MD

* Soak City Water Park at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA

* Water Country USA at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA

 

 

BIG SCREEN UNDER THE STARS

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the drive-in movie

Outdoor movies have become a DC summer tradition over the years with films al fresco in several neighborhoods. Even better, many of them are FREE! (*Before you make plans to enjoy any of the series, be sure to check schedules, as some movies may not be appropriate for children.)

 

Catch a flick on the big screen from the comfort of your car at the Union Market Drive-In Series, occurring monthly on Fridays through October 4, with mostly family-friendly films. Get there as early as 6pm and have a bite to eat in the Market or bring food back to your car. Film start times vary, so be sure to check on that. Admission is $20/car, free for walk-ins. Advance purchase is recommended.

 

National Harbor’s Movies on the Potomac series is back through the September 29. Every Sunday (family night) at 6pm and Thursday (date night) at 7pm, guests can see a free film on the big outdoor Plaza Screen right on the waterfront. .Pack your chairs, grab food to go from one of the many eateries, and meet at the Plaza’s big screen for a FREE evening of fun and entertainment.

 

CiNOMAtic, the NoMa BID’s outdoor movie series at Alethia Tanner Park is screening “Epic Expedition” themed films Wednesdays at sunset through June 5.

 

Adams Morgan Movie Nights  is back with free movies on Tuesday evenings from May 21 – June 25 with all sports-themed films to get hyped for the summer Olympics. The program runs 8-11pm at Marie Reed Recreation Center’s soccer field (18th & California St, NW). Restaurants in the neighborhood will be offering special takeout meals that attendees can bring to the field.

 

New this year are Summer Film Nights at the Zoo, a free outdoor summer event series set to dazzle and entertain.  Movies will be shown on Lion-Tiger Hill, the grassy lawn located near the Harvard Street entrance to the Zoo, on May 16, June 20, July 18.  Reserve passes in advance.

 

Sunset Cinema at The Wharf presents free movies on Transit Pier on Thursday evenings starting at 7pm. There is a mix of action movies, rom-coms, blockbusters, and classics, so be sure to check the shedule to see what’s playing.

 

At the Navy Memorial Plaza (7th & Pennsylvania Ave NW) catch Movies on the Memorial on Thursday evenings.  The series of Navy-themed films pays tribute to our rich maritime heritage.  Look for the line-up soon.

 

Audi Field will once again transform into an outdoor cinema as Movies on the Pitch shows films on the stadium’s jumbotron screen —  May 30, June 6, June 20, June 27, and July 18 — all of them family-friendly.

 

DowntownDC Summer Flicks presents the ultimate outdoor cinematic experience, where beloved films meet live scores by renowned guest DJs, on Thursdays from June 6 – July 18 at Franklin Square.

 

Join the Rosslyn BID this summer for the Rosslyn Cinema Series to enjoy your favorite movies on the lawn in Gateway Park on Fridays in June.

 

Cinematery, themed “Summer of Spirits” this year, will screen four iconic haunted films.  It takes place monthly at Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill, on May 31, July 5, August 2, and September 6.

 

Enjoy Films in the Park in the Mosaic District will show movies in Strawberry Park every Thursday, 7-9pm, from June 20 to August 15.

 

Films at the Stone will host monthly screenings of family-friendly movies on Fridays, June 21, July 19, & August 16 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

 

The Columbia Pike Movie Nights series is returning. Enjoy free movies on Fridays nights at Arlington Mill Community Center and Saturday nights at Penrose Square stating July 5 through August 24.  The selection of 16 family-friendly films include animation, adventure, comedy, musicals, and more.

 

Georgetown Sunset Cinema presets movies on Tuesdays in the lovely Georgetown Waterfront Park, with the panoramic backdrop of the sunset, Potomac River, Kennedy Center, and Key Bridge.  Free and open to all. 2024 dates TBA.

 

SUMMER CONCERTS

Friday night concerts at the Yards are a great start to summer weekends

Free music in the fresh air has become a staple of the season, and there are opportunities to enjoy just about every genre regularly at outdoor venues all around the DC-Metro.

 

The Bethesda Friday Summer Concerts will run Fridays, 6-8pm, from May 17 – September 20. Enjoy music, food, and fun at the corner of Norfolk & St. Elmo Avenues.

 

Jazz in the Garden, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s free concert series, is back. Experience live music amid art at every Friday from 6–8:30pm starting May 31, and there will be weekly shows through August 9. Spread out a blanket, pack a picnic dinner or purchase food and drinks there, and enjoy the sounds of a variety of jazz artists. Note: Adult drinks are available from the pavilion; BYO alcohol is not permitted. Registration is required for all ages 2+.

 

The U.S. Air Force Band’s Summer Concert Series brings outdoor concerts to National Harbor on Saturdays at 7pm and occasionally at other sites around the area starting June 1.

 

Rock the Dock at The Wharf on Transit Pier every Wednesday evening at 7pm from May 29 – August 28. R&B, Americana, Motown, Jazz, Reggae, Go-go, Country, and your favorite pop covers will be among the sounds you can hear, all for free.  There’s much more to enjoy on the Southwest Waterfront — read about it here.

 

Starting June 1 through August 31, enjoy music in Northern Virginia parks! The Fairfax County Park Authority presents their Summer Entertainment Series, a summer-long calendar of family-friendly shows, and concerts in local parks. Bring a picnic dinner, blankets, and lawn chairs to enjoy the best local and regional entertainers. There are many shows throughout the summer, so view the schedule here.

 

The U.S. Navy Band is bringing back Concerts at the Capitol, performances on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, and other iconic spots around DC June 3 – August 26 at 8pm.  All performances are free and open to the public.

 

Glen Echo Park’s 2024 Summer Concerts Series presents free live music in the historic Bumper Car Pavilion on Thursdays at 7:30pm from June 13 through August 29 featuring a variety of local bands and musical genres, from country to reggae, swing to Latin jazz, African to Cajun and blues.

 

Friday Night Concerts at Yards Park will be back  for the 13th season from June 28 – August 23. The series will feature performances by popular local artists with cold beverages and  food available for purchase, lots of grassy space for hanging out, and the water features for kids to play in nearby to make it a bigger family evening out.

 

Rockville Town Square is bringing back its Summer on the Square concert series. Enjoy live music on Fridays 6:30-8pm, from June 7 – September 20.

 

Tysons Corner Center presents a Summer Concert Series as part of their Summer on the Plaza activities. Bring your dancing shoes and enjoy live music from 7-9pm on  May 18, June 5, and July 20.

 

Enjoy music Live from the Lawn at Strathmore on Wednesday evenings from July 10 – August 21.  (They also have Cool Concerts for Kids on select Thursdays!)

 

The Kennedy’s Center’s Millennium Stage  continues to present free live performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 6pm, occasionally outside on The REACH plaza.

 

 

 

FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS

Giant puppets at a past Folklife Festival

Several stand-out events are anticipated around the area this time of year, celebrating everything from music to art & culture to neighborhoods to food.  There are also a few smaller happenings to plan for in advance.

 

From May 25-27,ViVa! Vienna!, a family and community oriented celebration of Memorial Day and the greater Vienna Community spirit,   will have amusement rides, food, crafts, vendors, and live entertainment.

 

The Mac Daddy of Truck Touch events around the area, the DC Department of Public Works’ Annual Truck Touch will take place on June 1, 8am – 1pm at RFK Stadium, Lot 8.  Tickets are free, but reserve a spot!

 

Celebrate Capital Pride during the month of June, especially June 8-9 at the annual parade and festival that culminates a week of gay pride events around the city. The Saturday parade is always a spectacular extravaganza of ornate floats, street performers, music and dancing, glitter and beads, and plenty of reveling. Sunday’s family-friendly festival, on Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd to 7th Streets NW, features several stages of live entertainment, hundreds of exhibitors, and activities for all ages. It’s all a fun and fabulous opportunity to show support for the LGBTAQ community and join the celebration.

 

At The Capital Car Show on June 15, see some of the world’s most exciting rare and classic cars.  This curated exhibition of 25 collector cars will be showcaed in  CityCenterDC.

 

The National Zoo will be hosting Science Solstice Saturday on June 22.  The free, fun-filled immersive scientific experience will offer opportunities to engage with scientists, researchers, and animal experts to learn how science is shaping the future of wildlife conservation.

 

Sound Scene, an interactive sound and multi-sensory arts festival, will be back at the Hirshhorn June 22-23. The free, all-ages celebration of sonic and sensory arts will feature artists from DC and around the world. With a “Solstice” theme, visitors can explore various concepts and issues through interactive art installations, live performances, and small group workshops.

 

Attend one of the biggest summer barbeques around June 22-23 as the National Capital Barbeque Battle returns to pit some of the nation’s best barbequers against each other as they compete for big prizes. The reward for attendees: Samples from all the entrants (plus, more food), live music, cooking demos, kids’ fun, and more.

 

On June 15, get a close look at some of the most exciting aircraft at the Innovations in Flight Outdoor Aviation Day. The event takes place at the Steven C. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Chantilly arm of the National Air & Space Museum. View over 50 unique aircraft that  fly in for the day and be on display outside the museum. You can even go into some of the cockpits and cabins and talk with pilots. Admission is free, but tickets are required.

 

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival will take place this year June 26 – July 1.  Every summer, the National Mall becomes stomping grounds of folks from around the globe to celebrate living cultural heritage and community traditions at the annual event. Celebrating Indigenous Voices of the Americas this year, get ready for all kinds exhibits, demonstrations, live performances, talks, food, markets, and much more!

 

Independence Day in DC is a pretty big deal, the city being the nation’s capital and all, so the annual July 4th celebrations are significant. It starts with the National Independence Day Parade down Constitution Avenue, then the A Capitol Fourth concert at the U.S. Capitol, and fireworks launched from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial.

 

The lotus and water lilies in full bloom at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are such a ravishing sight it calls for a celebration. Along with the spectacular display of flowers, the annual Lotus & Water Lily Festival offers more ways to appreciate the flowers and park. This year the festival will take place over a couple of weekends, from July 19-21. View scenes from a previous bloom here.

 

July 27-28, the Downtown DC BID presents Kids World 2024, a celebration of youth and learning in Franklin Park . Free and open to all, the event will feature a variety of creative pop-ups, hands-on activities, performances by talented local youth,  playful installations, and more to entertain and educate young visitors and their families.

 

County fair season in the region starts in early August and goes through late September.  It starts with the Howard County Fair August 3-10,  then the Montgomery County Fair August 9-17, the Prince William County Fair August 11-19, the Arlington County Fair August 14-18, the Prince George’s County Fair (dates TBA), and the Anne Arundel County Fair (dates TBA).

 

The National Book Festival, one of the most anticipated annual events in DC, takes place on August 24, 9am – 8pm! Book enthusiasts, young and old, come from all over for the day of reading-related activities. Works by more than 70 authors, poets, and illustrators will be showcased, and the creators themselves will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for special appearances. See the website for more details. Admission is free. 

 

It might run into fall, but it starts August 24, so the Maryland Renaissance Festival counts among the summer fun. Plus, if you’ve been reading KFDC while then you know it’s one of my very, very favorite annual events. (More confirmation on  that herehere, herehereherehere, here, here, and here.) I take a lot of pride in the number of people I have turned into Ren Fest believers.  So, go! I promise, it is the absolute best. (PS: I shared these tips a couple of years ago, and they’ll be very helpful again.)

 

SEASONAL EXHIBITS

A fairy house find at Annmarie Sculpture Garden

Extraordinary installations, lovely annual exhibits, and kids’ programs during the school break are some of the special experiences at our museums and galleries to take take advantage of over the summer.

 

The National Children’s Museum will welcome the Mindbender Mansion exhibit to its Visiting Exhibit Hall. It will be an eclectic place full of brainteasers and interactive challenges guaranteed to test the brain power and problem-solving skills of even the most experienced puzzlers. Visit it May 25 – September 2.

 

It’s not actually an exhibit, but the Folger Shakespeare Library will have several fascinating exhibits plus performances at its theatre plus a brand new space when it reopens to the public after a thre- year renovation on June 21! Hours will be 11am – 6pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and 11am – 9pm Thursday – Saturday.  Admission is free (suggested donation of $15).  Get an idea of what’s at the Folger in this KFDC post from pre-renovation.

 

National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party started with indoor mini-golf, after that it was a giant maze, then came the super awesome Beach, followed by Icebergs, then Hive buzzed in, a couple of years ago we played in the Fun House, in 2019 we hung out on the LAWN, in 2022 The Playhouse celebrated Shakespeare, and last year it was LOOK HERE.  This year’s summer exhibition is still TBD, but it is sure to be exciting! It usually begins around July 1 and runs through Labor Day.

 

Annmarie Sculpture Garden is enchanting any time of year, but it’s especially so in the summer when the fairy and gnome houses are on display. The adorable collection of little whimsical abodes for spritely creatures are just fantastic to view and find throughout the grounds. Created by all ages, individuals and groups, each one has a different theme, but together they are a brilliant showcase of imagination and craftiness. Read more about it and view scenes from a past exhibit here and here.

 

ARTECHOUSE, the destination in southwest known for fusing art and technology will have a new exhibit for the summer.  Details will be shared soon! Admission is $20-25/adult, $17/age 4-15, $72/family 4-pack, free/under 4.

 

During the warm months, little ones can flex their green thumbs in the outdoor Children’s Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Renovated a few years ago, the adorable outdoor area features dirt to dig in, plants to tend to, and a cute play structure to romp in. The rest of the USBG is great to explore, too!

 

 

SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT & PROGRAMS

You can’t beat the lovely outdoor setting of Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods

From super cheap movies in local theaters to stay cool on hot days to live theatre at fun places, there are some great ways to keep kiddos entertained all season long.

 

The Regal Summer Movie Express presents flicks for kids on many Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 10am from late May 21 through August 27. Admission is just $2! Be sure to check the website for the film schedule and theater locations, as it doesn’t run at all theaters every week — this year’s program details should be available soon!

 

The National Portrait Gallery is hosting Portrait Gallery Kids  on select Mondays, 11:30am – 12:30pm, from June 3 through August 26.  Children and families are invited to join museum educators to will look at art, do hands-on activities, listen to music, and participate in story time. Each session will explore a new topic and use different materials. Admission is free.

 

National Harbor hosts a free Kids Day on the Plaza every Tuesday at 10:30am at the waterfront plaza stage. The fun Tuesday mornings will run June 4 – August 27. Enjoy summer sunshine and cool river breezes along with a rotation of family-friendly activities.

 

The beloved Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo Park will present the show Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale from June 20 – August 18.

 

And the popular Imagination Stage is performing Miss Nelson is Missing from June 20 – August 10.

 

Millennium Stage Extraordinary Cinema is presenting several family movies — Jurassic Park on May 31, Elemental on June 21, Ratatouille on June 28, and The Lorax on August 2 — all of them are FREE and will be screened around 8:30pm outside on the wall of The REACH.

 

CityCenterDC and The Washington Ballet will present live performances in The Plaza at CityCenter.  See them for free June 8-10, 6:30pm-7:30pm. Seating is first-come, first-served.

 

Throughout summer on select dates from June 10 – August 10, Montgomery Parks is hosting Parks Playhouse Junior, an entrainment series for kids featuring live puppet shows, sing-alongs, and music lessons by performers that will keep kids moving and grooving, engaged, and informed.

 

From June 20 through August 3, Wolf Trap presents the fantastic Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10am 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, though I think kids even younger can enjoy them, too (mine did!). Read a KFDC review of the series from a past summer (it’s an old one, but still relevant!)

 

Starting mid-June, Arts in the Parks, Fairfax County Park Authority will present a free children’s entertainment series on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am.  Locations vary — catch shows at Burke Lake Park, Frying Pan Farm Park, EC Lawrence Amphitheater, Mason District, and Waterfield Park.

 

The Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse is back and offering fun $1 films for kids every Wednesday from June 10 – August 15. Check the schedule to see what’s playing at a theater near you!

 

Experience a real-life night at the museum at a Smithsonian Sleepover at the National Museum of Natural History.  Kids and parents can explore exhibits after dark, participate in games and challenges, and enjoy an overnight in a favorite DC place.  Follow the link for pricing and more details.

 

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, with locations in NoMa, Loudoun, and Woodbridge, welcomes families to Kids Camp, a movie series that is inexpensive ($5) and benefits local charities, to boot.

 

Olney Outdoors is back  with over 25 summer programs to be held on the Root Family Stage at Omi’s Pavilion, this summer from July 5 – August 31.

 

Strathmore is hosting Cool Concerts for Kids on Thursdays July 11, July 18, July 25, and August 1 at 7pm.

 

See a Shakespeare play in the park! The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company presents its annual Shakespeare in the Ruins at the picturesque Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park in Ellicott City, MD. The Merry Wives of Windsor will run June 14 – July 21.  Tickets are $65/adult, $33/age 19-25, and one kid is free with every adult.  Bring along a picnic to enjoy as you watch the play — there are no food vendors, but you can BYO fare, beer, and wine.

 

See what regularly occurring museum programs for kids are happening this summer!

 

 

MINI TRAINS, MINI GOLF, CAROUSELS, & A FERRIS WHEEL!

Ride through the woods on the Watkins miniature train

These extra delights bring even more fun to several parks around the area that are already great outdoor places to hang with the kids.

 

Watkins Regional Park opened its Antique Carousel and Mini Golf (the Miniature Train is not open as it’s undergoing a restoration) 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 12–5 pm, closed Mondays except May 27 (Memorial Day), July 4 (closes at 4pm) & September 2 (Labor Day).  This along with all of the other fun features — Nature Center, Old Maryland Farm, and Wizard of Oz Playground!

 

Cabin John Regional Park opened its Miniature Train on weekends only in early May, and will run on weekends through September 10am – 6pm. Rides are $3.50. Plan to spend time at the wonderful Cabin John playground, too — read more about it here.

 

The Miniature Train and Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel at Wheaton Regional Park started taking guests for spins in early April on weekends and will be open through the summer. After Memorial Day, it’s open Thursday – Sunday, but hours vary, so be sure to check the website..  Rides are $3.50.  Plan to stay and play at the super fun Wheaton playground — read more about it here.

 

At Glen Echo Park, the beautiful historic Dentzel Carousel is celebrating its 103rd season! Plan to go for a spin before or after a show at Adventure Theatre or The Puppet Co. From May through August 31, it’s open Wednesday – Friday 10am – 2pm, and Saturday and Sunday 11am – 5pm. Tickets are $2/ride, $5/all-day pass.

 

Get ready to kick some putt at The Wharf!  Pixar Putt, a mini golf course inspired by the stories, characters, and icons from some of Pixar’s most beloved films, is popping up at the southwest waterfront from March 25 to August 3.  Hours are Monday – Thursday, 12-8pm and Friday-Sunday, 10am – 8pm.  Note that tee times are age 18+ after 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $32/child, $34/adult, $108/family 4-pack.

 

The Clemyjontri carousel in McLean, VA, will be offering rides daily starting May 27 on weekdays 9:30am – 1pm and weekends 9:30am – 6:30pm. (Until then only on weekends) Cost is $4/weekdays, $5/weekends & holidays. Read more about Clemyjontri here.

 

National Harbor offers a couple of ways to go for a spin. Kind of like a London Eye of the U.S., The Capital Wheel is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of DC. The 42-gondola ride (all closed and climate-controlled with room for 8) soars 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront, offering vistas of the White House and Capitol, the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, and more amazing sites. Ticket prices are $17.50/age 13+, $13.50/12 & under. For an on-ground whirl,  The Carousel features a herd of whimsical creatures and the sparkling Potomac as a backdrop. It’s $7/ rider, and they can ride an unlimited number of times. Read about both rides and more National Harbor fun here.

 

Burke Lake Park’s Mini Train, Carousel, and Mini Golf are open daily from Memorial Day – Labor Day.  The train 11am – 5:45pm, the carousel 11am -5:30pm, and mini golf 11am – 8pm (last play 7pm). The park is free to access for Fairfax county residents. For non-county residents, the park is free on weekdays and has a $10 entrance fee on weekends/holidays for a car or large capacity van. Carousel rides are $4-5, train rides are $5-6, mini golf is $7-9. See more about the park here.

 

Play Mini Golf in the District at East Potomac Park.  (Fun fact: It’s on the National Register of Historic Places listed as the oldest continually operating miniature golf course in the country!) Open Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 8pm. Admission is $6/kids and seniors, $7/adults. Read more about hanging out at East Potomac Park’s Hains Point. (FYI: You can also play Foot Golf there!)

 

Tee up at several NoVa Parks that have mini golf courses. Cameron RunUpton HillPohick Bay, and Algonkian Regional Parks all welcome guests to putt around.  Cost is $5/age 12 & under, $7/13+. Check websites for hours at each park.

 

Lee District Family Rec Area in Alexandria offers ides on its Chesapeake Bay-themed carousel.  Open daily June 15 – August 18 (and weekends until June 14) — hours are 11am – 6pm Monday/Tuesday/Thursday, 11am – 5pm Wednesday, and 9am – 6pm Saturday/Sunday.  Cost is $4 per ride on Fridays, $5 per ride weekends & holidays.

 

 

SUMMER SPORTS

Kick it at a DC United match!

Some of the season’s best action takes place in ballparks, stadiums, and arenas thanks to our local sports teams. Here’s where you can join the fan clubs.

 

A day at Nationals Park is all it takes to understand why baseball is America’s favorite pastime. Our family always enjoys catching a Nats game on a nice summer (or spring) day (or evening), anyway. The excitement extends well beyond the diamond with games and activities in the park, a playground for kids, the Racing Presidents, fun in the stands, and more. Before you go, check out these tips on doing a Nats game without breaking the bank. And I highly recommend the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for children 12 and under. Just $20 gets them membership, which includes Nats swag, plus a coupon book with all kinds of offers and discounts.

 

Whether or not you’ve got a little soccer fan in your fam, DC United matches are fun experiences for all ages, and Audi Field is a great venue for watching them. Plus, since games only last 90 minutes, they’re not too long if young spectators get antsy.

 

Women’s pro soccer team, Washington Spirit, are playing their matches at Audi Field this season — and they are always very exciting to watch!

 

Can’t stand the heat? Head to the Entertainment & Sports Arena in southeast DC to see the Washington Mystics (w)hoop it up on the basketball court. Tickets start at $14.

 

Every summer, the Mubala Citi DC Open Tennis Tournament serves up exciting competition along with other fun activities for fans of all ages. See some of the sport’s top players in action and enjoy the thrills on and off the court at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center July 27 – August 4.

 

Swing up to Charm City to see the Baltimore Orioles play. Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark, and you can head to the Inner Harbor before or after to make a day of it up north.

 

If the Nats or O’s aren’t in town, or you want to see baseball on a smaller but still fun scale, you’ve got several great options around the area. Take ’em out to the minors to see the Bowie Baysox, Potomac Nationals, or Aberdeen Ironbirds play. Summer collegiate team Bethesda Big Train is also very popular for non-majors baseball action.

 

The Breeze, DC’s Ultimate Frisbee pro team,  plays at Catholic University’s Carlini Field.  It’s fast-paced, fun to watch, and there’s a welcoming family vibe — plus, kids 8 and under get in free!

 

SEASONAL EXPERIENCES

Blackberry picking at Homestead Farm

Some particularly cool activities and offerings are only possible this time of year. Sure, you can say that’s most of this guide, but these experiences that fall into the “other” category shouldn’t be missed.

 

On Thursday evenings and some Saturdays during late spring and summer, the Anacostia Watershed Society hosts their free Discovery Series, which include boat tours, paddle tours, and wetland walks at a few local parks. Bladensburg Waterfront Park, Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and 11th Street Bridge Park are locations for these jaunts.

 

For other adventures on the water, a bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and stand up paddleboards. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go and has a great riverside area to hang out and picnic when you’re off the water. You can also row from Ballpark Boathouse near Yards Park. Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis has paddling options along with lots of other outdoor recreation. This post has a whole round-up of even more places to go with the flow on local waterways.

 

Pick your own produce at local farms. While it starts in the spring with strawberries, it carries on through summer with even more delicious fruits — blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, plus veggies and more produce you can gather yourself. Find out where you can PYO around the DC area.

 

Summer in the Parks will offer weekly events every Thursday evening 6-8pm at Carter Barron in June and at Fort Slocum in August in partnership with Rock Creek Park/National Park Service. The FREE, family-friendly events will have music from DJ Lance Reynolds and fun-for-all-ages games and activities.

 

Join Anacostia Riverkeeper and Earth Conservation Corps on Friday evenings 5-8pm  from June 21 – September 5 for Friday Night Fishing, their catch and release fishing program at the dock at Diamond Teague Park (located next to Yards Park). Rods, reels, bait, and instruction are free. No sign up is required.

 

Enjoy some fun in the trees navigating the best ropes courses in an aerial forest around! The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring is open in spring and fall, too, but summer is a great time to go when the kids are off school and weekdays are options too.  Read about  some of our experiences there here and here.

 

Aaaaaar, mateys! As the weather warms up and cruising conditions become more comfortable, pirate voyages are offered on local waters. In DC, take a Family Treasure Hunt Cruise on the Boomerang Pirate Ship. Head out to Annapolis for Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake. Or go for a jaunt with Urban Pirates in Baltimore.

 

Some of the most spectacular flower blooms occur during the summer. View a whole park bursting with pink, white, and peach-hued lotus flowers and water lilies. Fields upon fields of sunflowers are sure to brighten any day. Stop and smell the roses at a favorite National Mall spot. Get details on all of them in this post about our bloom town.

 

Get rolling in Southeast! The Anacostia Park Skating Pavilion, the only skating pavilion within a national park, will officially welcome skaters daily from 9am – 5pm starting Memorial Day through Labor Day. Even better, both admission and skate rentals are FREE! (You can still BYO skates and roll around the rest of the year.) And along with skating, Anacostia Park offers all kinds of recreation, including large fields for sports and running around, tennis, fishing, basketball, biking, running, and three playgrounds. Read more about the park in this KFDC post.

 

 

CRAB FEASTS

One of the best treats of the season

Crab feasting is easily one of the best activities during summer in Maryland and neighboring areas (this is where I get non-DC-centric because I have to give credit where it’s due). Here are some suggestions for places to get ’em, though the “best” is always a subject for debate.

* Cantler’s is an Annapolis institution for many.

* Mike’s Crab House in Riva has a great tiki area if there’s a table wait.

* The Point in Arnold, MD, has become one of our favorite crabby spots.

* Enjoy great crabs and an awesome beach area at Kentmorr.

* The Jetty on Kent Narrows has crabs, scenic views, and a fun beachy vibe.

* Skipper’s Pier in Deale is the most recent place we tried — and we all liked it.

* Enjoy a feast in the District at Ivy City Smokehouse.

* Stay close to the city at Quarterdeck in Arlington.

* Eat crabs in the ‘burbs at Bethesda Crab House.

* Make it a day trip to Waterman’s in Rock Hall, MD.

* Pick up your own at The Fish Market at The Wharf. Buy them already steamed or get them while they’re still alive to cook at home.

 


GEAR UP

Lawn games like Kadima elevate summer hangs

There are some items that help enhance your summer experiences, whether you’re going to the pool, headed to the beach, or just enjoying a day outdoors in the sunshine. These KFDC posts have great recommendations for gearing up for summer fun.

* Amazon Picks for Spring & Summer Adventures with Kids

* 10 Outdoor “Lawn” Games for Extra Summer Fun

* Must-Haves for Keeping Kids Cool at the Pool

* Top Picks for the Best Beach Day

* This past post and this one with Prime Day picks also include lots of summer recommendations.

 

 

Have I left out anything really good? If you think so, let me know in the comments below!

 

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Filed under 2024, DC, Maryland, Summer, Virginia

National Children’s Chorus — Apply Now for Fall 2024!

 

Auditions are OPEN NOW for the National Children’s Chorus Fall 2024 Season in Washington, D.C.!

The GRAMMY® Award-winning National Children’s Chorus, with weekly rehearsals in Thomas Circle, provides children ages 5 to 18 the opportunity to learn and grow in an extraordinary musical environment. The country’s leading music educators work with students weekly to develop their vocal and musicianship skills from the most basic concepts through the college level. With a variety of introductory to advanced choir levels, there are opportunities for young singers of all ages and experiences.

In addition to local seasonal performances, students in the Senior Division have the exclusive opportunity to participate in annual international summer tours, summer opera academy, and national concerts at premier venues such as Carnegie HallLincoln Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall. With a spectacular music-reading and theory curriculum to accompany its first-rate vocal training, the National Children’s Chorus is an unparalleled educational resource for children who love to sing. Don’t waste another minute… set up a virtual audition today!

Children ages 5 to 18 are invited to apply. Financial Aid is available for all qualifying families.

Apply now on the NCC website to book an audition and attend the online information presentation on Sunday, May 5th.

Watch the NCC Audition Video!

* * * 

 

This post is sponsored by the National Children’s Chorus, however, I only promote programs, events, and places that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2024, DC, Extracurricular, Fall

Live Entertainment on DC Area Stages this Spring

Lots of great entertainment at the Kennedy Center, including FREE Millennium Stage events

 

Ready for a new season of entertainment?  Here is what’s currently on and coming to local stages this spring, plus links to any discount tickets.  Happy Show-Going!

Inside Out and Backwards
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Through March 31
Tickets: $19.50

It’s bedtime, and two children use their imaginations to turn their room inside out, into a wonderland of mess! While playing dress-up, a glove becomes a dancing fish, a shirt becomes a fantastical creature, and a sock dance rocks the closet! Recommended for ages 1-4.

Junie B. Jones, The Musical
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: Through March 30
Tickets: $25

It is Junie B.’s first day of first grade, and a lot of things have changed for her: Junie’s friend, Lucille, does not want to be her best pal anymore and, on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Also, Junie has trouble reading the blackboard and her teacher, Mr. Scary, thinks she may need glasses. Throw in a friendly cafeteria lady, a kickball tournament and a “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal,” and first grade has never been more exciting. Featuring a tremendously loveable character and fun-filled songs, Junie B. Jones will capture your audience members’ hearts just as the books captivated an entire generation of students.

Cinderella: A Salsa Fairytale
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Through April 5
Tickets: $12+
A bilingual Cinderella with a twist that kids will love! What will happen to Cinderella at the ball … game? That’s the surprising question in this contemporary Latin-American Cinderella musical that weaves subtle lessons on empathy, sportsmanship, and respect into an exciting, high-stakes story. An Imagination Stage original that broke new ground in bilingual children’s theatre. Recommended for ages 5+.

Little Shop of Horrors
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through May 18
Tickets: $41-77 (find discount)
Come down to Skid Row for a non-stop blast, sci-fi horror comedy, love story and rock musical that has become one of the most treasured pieces of American musical theatre. Recommended for ages 13+.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Wednesdays – Sundays, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free performances Wednesday – Sunday at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to film screenings to comedy shows to opera scenes. This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment. Just be sure to reserve tickets in advance!

Unknown Soldier
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: March 29 – May 5
Tickets: $56-95 (look for discount)

Cleaning out her grandmother’s home, Ellen Rabinowitz discovers a mysterious photograph of a soldier, tucked away in a box of keepsakes. And so begins this sweeping, heartfelt musical about one woman’s journey to unearth the secrets buried in her family’s past. Spanning three generations, Unknown Soldier unravels a delicate tangle of family lore, as Ellen chases the extraordinary story that unlocks her history—and charts her future.

Romeo & Juliet (Synetic Teen Production
Where: Synetic Theater | Crystal City, VA
When: April 3-6
Tickets: $30-50

Since its initial production in 2008, Synetic Theater’s wordless retelling of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has entranced audiences throughout the DC Metro region with its sinewy grace and heartbreaking expressiveness. The production has also served as wonderful trading ground for the teen company to learn Synetic’s unique art form through performing one of its seminal pieces. This has the added benefit of lending a true authenticity to the play, as Shakespeare’s original characters are themselves adolescents. So even without words, with Synetic’s Romeo and Juliet, you’re seeing Shakespeare’s play in a way it was truly meant to be seen.

Off the Page
Where: Theater on the Run | Arlington, VA
Where: The Lyceum | Alexandria, VA
When: April 5 – May 11
Tickets: $10

Arts on the Horizon presentsthis show for little theatre goers… The magic of books can transport us to new worlds! When an imaginative young child dives into a book, the stories come to life around them. Through dance, music, puppetry, and vibrant imagery, this world premiere production will use an immersive design to unfold around the audience. Watch a new world come to life right before your eyes! Catch at two theatres, plus other locations as it tours the area.

Star Wars: The Force Awaken in Concert
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: April 5
Tickets: $23-100

Experience the film on the big screen as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs the score live on stage. Thirty years after the defeat of the Empire, Luke Skywalker has vanished and a new threat has risen: The First Order, led by the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke and his dark side enforcer, Kylo Ren. General Leia Organa’s military force, the Resistance—and unlikely heroes brought together by fate—are the galaxy’s only hope at thwarting a new reign of evil. The film features a new score composed by five-time Academy Award-winning composer John Williams.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: String Thing
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 6-7
Tickets: $20

This daring double act of classical fun is BACK. National Symphony Orchestra musicians—bassist Paul DeNola and violinist Heather LeDoux Green—introduce young audiences to some of the greatest music ever written. You’ll never hear a word out of them during the concert, but with instruments in hand and a trunk full of gags, this “silent” comedic tag-team presents a hilarious program of music and mayhem. Recommended for ages 3+.

Mutts Gone Nuts
Where: Hylton Center for Performing Arts | VA
When: April 6 & 7, 11am & 2pm
Tickets: $15

Canines and comedy collide in Mutts Gone Nuts in a show that includes some of the most talented dogs in the world doing barrel tricks, dancing, magic, and jump rope routines! The talented lineup even includes a Guinness World Record holder for the highest jump by a dog, a world champion frisbee dog, comedian Jonathan Burns, and more! Recommended for all ages.

Peter Pan
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: April 9-21
Tickets: $44-139 (look for a deal)
This high-flying musical has been thrilling audiences of all ages for close to 70 years and is now being brought back to life in a new adaptation. The adventure begins when Peter Pan and his mischievous sidekick, Tinker Bell, visit the bedroom of the Darling children late one night. With a sprinkle of fairy dust and a few happy thoughts, the children are taken on a magical journey they will never forget.

Macbeth
Where: Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: April 9 – May 5
Tickets: Mostly sold out, look for resale tix

Shakespeare Theatre Company present this classic starring Ralph Fiennes… Blood will have blood. Unbridled ambition, supernatural forces, and murderous desires reign supreme in Shakespeare’s most poetic examination of evil. When three witches tell Macbeth that he will become King of Scotland, he plots with his wife to attain the title through an assassination; a bloody act that gives him his crown and sends him careening down the path of his own undoing. A thrilling account of how our minds deceive us and how a guilty conscience can undo us all. Recommended for teens and older.

Message In A Bottle
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 9-21
Tickets: $45-105 (look for discount)

Message In A Bottle is a spectacular new dance-theatre show inspired by and set to the iconic hits of Sting.The peaceful village of Bebko is alive with joyous celebrations. Suddenly, under attack, everything changes forever. Three siblings, Leto, Mati, and Tana, must embark on perilous journeys in order to survive. Recommended for ages 12+.

Mother Earth & Me
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: April 9, 11, 12, 25, 26
Tickets: $3-8

The magic of earth science takes center stage in this fun, interactive Discovery Theater original. Explore the origins of our planet, sing about the water cycle, and understand our vital role to protect the ecosystem. Science and folklore about the “big blue marble” we call home kick off Earth Month, and audiences become Earth Superheroes and take home some great ideas to start right away! Recommended for ages 5-10.

Islander: A New Musical
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: April 11-28
Tickets: $55-91

Islander tells a modern myth featuring two actors who use live mixing and looping technology to create a sonic landscape as dramatic as the Scottish coastline. Eilidh is the only child on Kinnan Island, where most of the dwindling population has moved to the “Big Land.” The government has proposed to resettle the rest, and the town must vote soon on whether or not to accept the offer. But the day after a baby whale beaches itself, Eilidh discovers a young girl named Arran along the shore, who seems straight out of Scottish folklore. As the two form a friendship, Islander takes audiences on a magical journey to transcend loss, recover hope, and find community. Rated G for all families.

Chicks in Heaven
Where: Creative Cauldron | Falls Church, VA
When: April 11-28
Tickets: $20-45

When four friends come together in a rural southwest Virginia town for a reunion, it’s a happy gathering filled with remembrance and ritual. But when some religious crusaders stage a book-burning, and a local boy sets fire to one of the friend’s van, their friendship is tested. Can the same magical activism that forged their early feminist bonds bring them together now to fight patriarchy and racism, at a time when the fight is needed most? A “Bold New Voices” premiere that celebrates the resilient power of the feminine spirit. Recommended for teens and older.

Love and Information
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: April 12-14
Tickets: $12

Someone shares a forbidden secret, someone confronts their best friend, someone admires a snail. In this kaleidoscopic play, over fifty unrelated scenes flash by faster than a doomscroll as over a hundred characters strive to connect with each other, learn from one another, and look for love. Love and Information, written to be transformed into it’s own unique vision by every company that performs it, makes this production a once in a lifetime theatrical experience. Recommended for ages 11+.

Alice in Wonderland
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: April 13 – May 12
Tickets: $15

This brand new adaptation based on the beloved children’s novel by Lewis Carroll will take the audience on a delightful journey into wonderland using rod puppets. This one-of-a-kind performance blends music and humor to create a new version of a familiar story. Recommended for ages 4+.

Swing Makes You Sing!
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 13, 11am & 1:30pm
Tickets: $20

On a mission to uplift, connect, and spread the joy of jazz, Swing Makes You Sing! is an award-winning jazz concert for kids ages 2 to 102 by Svetlana & the New York Collective. The critically acclaimed ensemble explores key elements of jazz in an engaging, historically grounded way, featuring virtuoso musical performance, exciting storytelling, and energizing movement. Recommended for ages 7+.

Jacqueline Woodson’s Block Party!
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 13, 1-4pm
Tickets: Free

This Kennedy Center Block Party is hosted by Education Artist-in-Residence and award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson! Free performances, fun-filled games, and various activities will take place on the REACH grounds all afternoon, featuring artists with roots in the DC area.

The Okee Dokee Brothers
Where: GMU Center for the Arts | Fairfax, VA
When: April 21, 10:30am & 1pm
Tickets: $15

The Okee Dokee Brothers infuse bluegrass music and playful lyrics with an interest in the great outdoors, hoping to spark a desire in children to explore their surroundings and imaginations. Recommended for ages 3-8.

Tot Rock: Groovy Nate
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: April 23-25
Tickets: $3-8

Get your young ones ready to dance with Groovy Nate and his interactive mix of comedy, music, and puppets. This performance encourages kids and families to move, sing, and play together creatively with many instruments and musical genres. Recommended for ages 3-6.

The Illusionists
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: April 23-28, 1-4pm
Tickets: $45-149 (look for discount)

The world’s biggest-selling magic show has played hundreds of cities, spawned two TV specials, and shattered box office records across the globe, dazzling audiences of all ages with a powerful mix of the most outrageous and astonishing acts ever seen on stage. This nonstop show is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions featuring the jaw-dropping talents of the most incredible illusionists on earth. Recommended for ages 7+.

Sing Down the Moon: Appalachian Wonder Tales
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: April 26 – May 26
Tickets: $25
Journey into the Appalachian Mountains in this award-winning musical that deftly weaves four traditional tales and original music into a keepsake quilt of mountain lore and wisdom for the whole family. Jack who lands himself a job despite his foolishness. “Catskins” is a spunky Appalachian Cinderella. “The Enchanted Tree” is a beauty-and-the-beast love story between a lost girl and a frightening crow. And in a zany, sung-through “Sow and Her Three Pigs” plucky Nancy the pig outsmarts the hungry fox. This play with music incorporates singing, mountain dances, music, and puppets to create a highly theatrical storytelling style. The score, which interweaves music throughout the tales, is inspired by “Old Time” Appalachian music featuring fiddle and banjo that drives the play’s action and makes music itself a character in the play.

Saturday Morning Live!: Off the Page
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: April 27, 9:30am & 11am
Tickets: FREE!

The National Theatre’s free program presents shows for children on select Saturday mornings, from interactive performances, puppets, dance, and music – all designed to light up imaginations and celebrate a world of wonder. This month celebrates the magic of books… they can transport us to new worlds; illustrations and entire adventures can lift right off the page. When an imaginative young child dives into a book, the stories come to life around them. Through dance, music, puppetry, and vibrant imagery, this world premiere production will literally unfold before your eyes!

Family Funday with The Great ZucchiniWhere: Hook Hall | Petworth, DC
When: April 28, 10:30am
Tickets: $5

Select Sundays at Hook Hall are all about FAMILY FUN! Bring the kiddos for entertainment in late April as The Great Zucchini, the DMV’s funniest and most magical entertainer, performs a magic show where every child is a star! Coffee and hot drinks available for purchase for the parents.

Divinity Roxx
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: May 3-5
Tickets: $20

Celebrate self-love and positivity in Divinity Roxx’s fun and empowering live show. The upbeat and sunny music is filled with powerful messages that encourage young people to become the best versions of themselves. A Grammy®-nominated musician, recording artist, and composer who has toured with Beyoncé, Divinity is praised for her ability to inspire others with her infectious grooves and memorable lyrics. Recommended for ages 5+.

Taiko Drumming
Where: Natural History Museum | National Mall, DC
When: May 9
Tickets: $3-8

BOOM! Taiko drum artist Mark Rooney mixes the traditional power of this huge instrument with a modern vibe. His interactive performance rocks the house with massive sound and energy as participants learn some fascinating musical history and Japanese vocabulary—and have a chance to try their hand at playing these big drums! Recommended for ages 5+.

Jesus Christ Superstar
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: May 17-19
Tickets: $44-139 (find discount)

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, a new mesmerizing production of the iconic musical phenomenon returns to the stage. Jesus Christ Superstar is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. Appealing to both theater audiences and concert music fans, this production pays tribute to the historic 1971 Billboard Album of the Year while creating a modern, theatrical world that is uniquely fresh and inspiring. Recommended for ages 10+.

Cirque du Soleil – Corteo
Where: Eagle Bank Arena | Fairfax, VA
When: May 17-25
Tickets: $49-169 (look for discount)

The clown Mauro envisions that his own burial will take place amid a carnival atmosphere and be attended by tender angels. The show contrasts the grand with the intimate, the silly with the tragic, and the beauty of perfection with the appeal of imperfection. It also emphasizes the strength and vulnerability of the clown as well as his knowledge and generosity to represent the aspect of humanity that exists in each of us. Corteo is guided through a timeless ceremony in which fantasy teases reality with music, which is both poetic and mischievous.

The Matchbox Magic Flute
Where: Klein Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: May 21 – June 16
Tickets: $35-119

A brand new theatrical adaptation of Mozart’s beloved opera. Playful and imaginative, it’s big music in a small space. This “matchbox” presentation of The Matchbox Magic Flute features a cast of 10 and an orchestra of five following the fantastic adventures of Prince Tamino and Princess Pamina. With dragons, a man who is a bird, trials by fire and water, and underground corridors, Day and Night do battle.

Long Way Down
Where: Olney Theatre
When: May 22 – June 23
Tickets: $40-70

Based o the award-winning novel by local author Jason Reynolds… Growing up, Will’s big brother taught him three iron-clad rules of how to behave when gun violence claims someone close: Don’t cry. Don’t snitch. Get revenge. So when his brother is himself gunned down, Will is determined to follow the code and gets in the elevator on the top floor of his apartment building, armed and ready to hit the streets in search of vengeance. What happens on the way down is an emotional hip-hop journey through the cycles of violence that have plagued Will’s family and too many others. Rated PG.

Pinocchio
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: May 25 – June 23
Tickets: $15

Celebrate 50 years of Allan Steven’s Pinocchio! A young puppet goes on a journey to become a real boy. First seen on stage at the Smithsonian Puppet Theater, we are delighted to bring the original rod-puppets back to the stage to tell Carlo Collodi’s tale. Run time approximately 50 minutes. Recommended for ages 4+.

Galapagos George with Barefoot Puppets
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: May 30-31
Tickets: $3-8

The true story of “Lonesome George,” the last tortoise to be found on Pinta Island in the Galapagos archipelago, delightfully unfolds as you watch him grow up among sea turtles, lizards, hungry goats, sea lions, and dancing birds with blue feet. This engaging and uplifting eco-fable shares an important lesson about human impact on the environment. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Rapunzel
Where: TJ Community Center | Arlington, VA
When: May 31 – June 9
Tickets: $15/adult, $12/child (look for discount)

Encore Stage and Studio presents its signature theatre by kids for kids… When Rene Schwartzbuckle spots rapunzel, a turnip-like vegetable, in Witch Izwitch’s garden, she sends her husband Walt out to ‘borrow’ some. Using her diabolical henchmen, the Glumpwarts, Witch Izwitch terrorizes Walt into promising her his first-born child in exchange for his freedom. Jumping ahead to Rapunzel Schwartzbuckle’s 18th birthday, the witch and her henchmen show up and whisk poor innocent Rapunzel away to a tower deep in the forest. Can prince Llwellyn persevere over the power of evil? Join to find out in Encore’s production of Rapunzel!

International School of Music Honors Concert
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: June 14
Tickets: $58

Immerse yourself in an evening of jubilation, embracing the themes of community, unity, and the profound influence of music on their lives, as the International School of Music celebrates two decades of excellence. Experience the brilliance and remarkable talent of ISM’s students as they present an eclectic program, spanning from classical masterpieces to contemporary gems. Through solo and ensemble performances, these musicians will share their passion and skill, creating a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation.

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Filed under 2024, DC, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Theatre, Virginia

Easter Events and Activities Around DC in 2024

Get ready for eggcellent fun around DC!

 

Don’t put your eggs all in one basket when it comes to Easter celebrations around the DC area!  Numerous places host egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, and much more spring fun this time of year. Even if you’re not big on the holiday, there are attractions and activities beyond bunnies and candy-filled eggs that will have the whole family hopping with joy. Here’s where you can find them, listed in order of start date. (And note that some require advance registration, so sign up before they sell out.). Happy Easter!

Easter Egg Hunts
Where: Great Country Farms | Bluemont, VA
When: March 22 – April 1
Admission: $10-14/child, $12-16/adult + $7.99/hunt

After a long cold winter, nothing chases away the chill like a visit to the farm. The Easter Bunny has hidden some eggs  filled with treats to enchant the children, and you can help us find them!  While you’re there, see the  spring chicks and baby animals, take a wagon ride, and enjoy the season. Be sure to get advance tickets  — these Egg Hunts Sell out every year!

Bunnyland
Where: Butler’s Orchard
When: March 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, April 1, 6, 7
Admission: $12-15/online, $15-18/at gate

One of the more popular spring festivals in the area, Butler’s has all the trappings for seasonal fun: bunnies, eggs, and other Easter-related treats to get young guests in the holiday spirit. Attractions include hayrides down the Bunny Trail, egg hunts, the Rubber Ducky Derby, giant slides, a jumping pad, and a small petting zoo. Face painting, pony rides, and mini-digger riding are offered for an extra fee. Concessions are available, and there are also plenty of picnic tables if you prefer to pack a lunch.

Easter Eggstravaganzas
Where: Garfield Elementary | Springfield, VA
Where: Lincoln Park | Capitol Hill, DC
When: March 23, 10am – 12pm (VA) & 12-3pm (DC)
Admission: Free

For more than 20 years, National Community Church has hosted these festivals with no other reason than to be a blessing to families in our neighborhood and to put a smile on the faces of kids. They are held in a couple of neighborhoods around the area offering all kinds of Easter fun – egg hunts, Easter bunny visits, face painting, yummy treats, games, prizes, and more.

Bunny Train Ride
Where: Walkersville Southern Railroad | Walkersville, MD
When: March 23, 24, 30

Admission: Starts at $22/adult, $21/senior, $20/age 1-12
All aboard for a trip back in time with the Easter Bunny! Travel over track that the Pennsylvania Railroad originally built in 1872. See Walkersville Southern’s turn-of-the- century railroad station and tool house, then visit with the Bunny on the train (who will also give each child an Easter gift!). Ride in vintage 1920s passenger cars or on an open flatcar as your rail excursion runs past a 100-year-old lime kiln, and then out into picturesque Maryland farm country. Enjoy juice and Uncle Ralph’s cookies in the museum after your ride. Reservations required!

Bull Run Egg Scavenger Hunt
Where: Bull Run Regional Park | Centreville, VA
When: March 23-31, 8am – 6pm
Admission: $8/child

Spring is just a hop around the corner, and the egg scavenger hunt is returning at Bull Run! This is a self-guided event, so just pick up your egg hunt sheet at the Camp Store, hop around the park to complete the scavenger hunt, and then return to the Camp Store with your completed sheet for a prize!

Spring Egg Hunts
Where: Meadowlark Botanical Gardens | Vienna, VA
When: March 23-31, 10am – 6pm
Admission: $8

Enjoy a delightful egg hunt adventure at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens! Embark on a self-guided hunt through the gardens as you search for treasures — giant eggs! Start your quest at the Visitor Center where you’ll receive your egg scavenger hunt sheet, your key to unlocking the fun. Hop along winding paths through the Spring gardens. When you find a giant egg, draw its design on your egg hunt sheet. Once you have found all of the eggs, show your completed egg hunt sheet to our staff and receive an EGGcellent prize!

Spring Egg Hunt
Where: Potomac Overlook Park | Arlington, VA
When: March 23-24 & 26-31, 11am – 4pm
Admission: $8

Spring is here, and the egg hunt is back at Potomac Overlook! Drop in to take part in this ongoing event… just pick up your egg hunt sheet at the nature center, explore the park on a scavenger hunt, and then return to the nature center with your completed sheet for a prize! Hop on over and experience a new kind of egg hunt for you and your family!

Egg Hunts Galore
Where: Clark’s Elioak Farm | Clarkesburg, MD
When: March 23-31
Admission: $8

Little ones (in groups for ages 1-3 and 4-6) will have a chance to hunt for eggs throughout the day on weekends at this Maryland Farm that looks like something out of a story book! After hunting, they get to turn the eggs in for a goodie bag. The petting farm, rides, and play areas will be open for all to enjoy, too, along with gem mining and geode cracking. Be sure to take a look at the website for a heads-up on how the egg hunts will run, so you can make the most of your day there. Read more about Clarks Elioak in the KFDC post about the best outdoor places in the area.

Easter Bunny Hosts Kids & Family Festivals
Where: Shipgarten | Tysons, VA
When: March 24, 12-6pm
Admission:

Step into a world of family-friendly fun at Shipgarten, Tysons Corner top restaurant for families! Enjoy a day of excitement, including FREE face painting and arts & crafts, egg hunts, live music, great drinks, moonbounces, and a full outdoor playground to ensure everyone has a blast. Dogs are more than welcome at Shipgarten, too, whether on-leash or in our off-leash dog par — treat furry friends to Pup Cups and Kongs filled with peanut butter for a delightful family treat. See the website for the full schedule and to reserve a spot.

Eggstravaganza!
Where: Tudor Place | Georgetown, DC
When: March 29, 10am – 12pm (only date still open)
Admission: $18/child non-member, $13/child member, $8/adult

Join Tudor Place for their annual for Eggstravaganza!, a favorite spring tradition. Children of all ages can take part in a lively Easter egg hunt and egg roll on the South Lawn. Afterwards, make crafts and take a picture with the Easter Bunny. The egg hunt begins at 10:30am and the egg roll begins at 10:45am Each child must bring a basket, hard-boiled egg, and spoon to participate.

Easter Tour & Candy
Where: Mansion on O Street | Dupont Circle, DC
When: March 29 – April 1

Admission: $50
Don your favorite Easter bonnet and celebrate spring with a fun filled treasure hunt! Search for special Easter & spring-themed items found only at The Mansion. Enjoy candy, explore themed rooms, search for secret doors, and try to win a prize for best bonnet. BYO shopping bags, because everything is for sale. Read more about the Mansion on O Street in this KFDC post.

Family Funday: Easter Egg Hunt
Where: metrobar | Shaw, DC
When: March 30, 12-5pm
Admission: $5/family

Enjoy Easter fun for the whole family at metrobar at their annual outdoor table-side Easter Egg Hunt — BYOB (bring your own Easter basket)! All children will receive a candy egg upon arrival. The Easter Egg Hunt begins at 2:30pm and will last for approximately 15 minutes, or until all eggs have been collected. Also, celebrate local Black children’s book authors with story time, raffles, and other activities. Register in advance!

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny
Where: St. James | Springfield, VA
When: March 30, 9am – 1pm
Admission: $25-30

Enjoy a morning of breakfast, crafts, and pictures with the Easter Bunny! Tickets include a photo op with the Easter Bunny (BYO camera), a delicious breakfast buffet, a mimosa for adults, and an Easter candy goody bag. Sign up for a time slot! Guests and children over 4 are required to purchase tickets.

Bunny Hop
Where: Stead Park Field | Northwest DC
When: March 30, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Admission: Free

We will have all the fun you have come to enjoy – games, crafts, snacks, face painting, egg collecting and photos with the Bunny! If you haven’t seen the new recreation center – you are in for a treat! Take a tour while at the Bunny Hop. The event is free, but we ask that you register so we know how many are coming!

Egg Dyeing Egg-stravaganza
Where: Brentwood Arts Exchange | Hyattsville, MD
When: March 30, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Join the annual Egg Dyeing Egg-stravaganza and celebrate the season by creating bright, beautiful, and colorful eggs. Participants will receive two eggs to paint and design at this FREE family-friendly workshop.

Falls Church Annual Easter Egg Hunt
Where: Cherry Hill Park | Falls Church, VA
When: March 30, 9:15-11am
Admission: Free

Join this annual family celebration hosted by the city’s Recreation and Parks Department. Children dressed in their spring finest can hunt for candy and special eggs in Cherry Hill Park and have their photo taken with a special guest, the Easter Bunny! BYO basket — they’ll supply the candy, fun, and happy springtime memories. In addition to scrambling for eggs and photo ops, children ages 11 and younger can participate in a make-your-own-candy-bag craft project.

4th Annual Easter Eggtravaganza
Where: Bladensburg Waterfront Park | Bladensburg, MD
When: March 30, 12-6pm
Admission: $1-10 (depending on age)

Come and enjoy a day of fun activities with The Easter Bunny and Friends. Get ready for an eggstraordinary experience at our upcoming Easter Event! Your admission fee covers a day filled with joy, laughter, and delightful surprises. We are thrilled to share that, as part of your admission, you’ll enjoy an array of fantastic offerings, making this celebration truly unforgettable! Admission varies by age: $1/age 0-3, $2.50/age 3-5, $5/age 6-8, $7.50/age 9-11, and $10/age 12+.

Egg Hunt & Easter Bunny
Where: Astro Beer Hall | Shirlington,VA
When: March 30, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Astor Beer Hall will host an Egg Hunt for families on the Saturday before Easter. Children participating in the egg hunt will be provided a basket to collect eggs filled with Easter candies and goodies. They can win prizes like candy, doughnut keychains, doughnut stickers, space stickers, and coupons for complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and mini doughnuts. There will also be a hidden golden egg with a $100 gift card for the winner. Families can meet the Easter Bunny, who will be on site then, too!

Baskets & Bunnies
Where: Burke Lake Park | Burke, VA
When: March 30, 10:30am
Admission: $5

Children ages 5-7 can hop on down to Burke Lake Park and get egg-cited to participate in a timed egg hunt. Egg Hunt tickets go on sale through two days before the event. Only children participating in the egg hunt need to purchase an egg hunt ticket; one parent is allowed to accompany each child for this egg hunt age range.  [Note: For ages 1-4, sign up here. And for a sensory-friendly hunt, sign up here.]

Easter Monday
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: April 1, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Easter on Monday at the Zoo!  HEad to the Great Meadow area for a special Easter egg scavenger hunt! This kid and family-focused activity takes you through 15 interactive tables that unveil the wonders of the zoo, introduce you to scientists, and shed light on exciting animal career opportunities. Don’t miss the chance to get a special prize at the end of the scavenger hunt!

White House Easter Egg Roll
Where: White House Lawn | Downtown DC
When: April 1
Admission: Free, tickets required

The annual White House Easter Egg Roll requires tickets won through lottery for admission. If you entered, you should have found out by now if you were “successful” in scoring them or not. Unofficial tip: I’ve heard in the past that people have been at the entrance giving away extra tickets they may have. While I can’t confirm that’s always the case, if you’re going to be in that area and really want to go, it wouldn’t hurt to stop by and see if someone might have tickets for you. Note that entries are timed, so while it goes all day, guests only stay for their designated amount of time.

🐰Items and treats to elevate your Easter fun🐰
* Sweet Easter outfits.
* A super cute egg dying kit.
* Adorable personalized baskets.
* An amusing book.
* A fun serving piece for Easter brunch.
* Non-candy basket stuffers like rainbow pencils, cool dino egg toys, a craft kit, and an Easter Lego set.
* Candy!

 

Do you know of other good Easter events happening that you don’t see here?  Let us know in the comments!

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Filed under 2024, DC, Maryland, Spring, Virginia

Live Entertainment Around the DC Area this Winter

Photo: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade (National Theatre)

 

As winter officially begins and cold weather sets in, plan to warm up with some entertainment indoors. There are all kinds of shows and performances to enjoy through the season, and this round-up has details on what you can see on stages and in arenas around the area.  (And keep in mind that tickets to these make for great holiday gifts!) Happy Viewing!

Holiday Entertainment
Where: Around the DC area
When: Through the holiday season
Tickets: Vary by show

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired entertainment to get into the spirit of the season, there’s plenty of it! There are several versions of The Nutcracker, storybook classics like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Adventure Theatre and A Year with Frog and Toad at Imagination Stage. You can also catch An Irish Carol at Keegan Theatre, and enjoy Fiddler on the Roof at Olney Theatre. Get details on these shows and many, many more in the 2023 Guide to the Holiday Season.

Swept Away
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: Through January 14
Tickets:
$79-149 (find discount)
When a violent storm sinks their whaling ship off the coast of New Bedford, Mass., the four survivors face a reckoning: how far will they go to stay alive? And can they live with the consequences? With music and lyrics from The Avett Brothers (“America’s Biggest Roots Band,” Rolling Stone), whose 2004 “Mignonette” was inspired by an 1884 shipwreck and the struggle of four men to survive, Swept Away is an electrifying, soul-stirring new musical exploring how facing tragedy can open the door to forgiveness…if only we’ll let it. Recommended for teens and older.

The Tale of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish
Where: Synetic Theater | Crystal City, VA
When: Through January 7
Tickets: $25-35 (find discount)

When a kind, poor fisherman discovers a wish-granting fish, he selflessly releases the creature back into the ocean. While content with his simple life, his wife’s extravagant desires soon drive him to re-capture the magical fish and make her dreams a reality– but not without cost. Based on Alexander Pushkin’s tale, The Tale of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish weaves together themes of greed, love, and selflessness, told through Synetic’s striking imagery and expressive movement. Recommended for all ages.

Girl From The North Country
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: December 20 – January 21
Tickets: $35-185 (find discount)

Girl From The North Country is the Tony Award®–winning new musical that the Chicago Tribune declares is “a Broadway revelation!” It’s 1934 in Duluth, Minnesota. We meet a group of wayward travelers whose lives intersect in a guesthouse filled with music, life, and hope. Experience this “profoundly beautiful” production (The New York Times) brought to vivid life by an extraordinary company of actors and musicians.

Disney’s Frozen
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: December 20 – January 21
Tickets: $35-185 (find discount)

The Tony Award–nominated Broadway musical is now on tour across North America. Frozen features the songs you know and love from the original film, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters. It’s everything you want in a musical: It’s moving. It’s spectacular. And above all, it’s pure Broadway joy. Recommended for ages 6+.

As You Like It
Where: Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through January 14
Tickets: $35-119 (find discount)

Shakespeare Theatre Company presents this production of the bard’s classic… It’s the 1960s and flower power, peace, and love are in the air. The free-spirited Rosalind is exiled from court and escapes to an alternative community, where everything is possible. Mistaken identities and mixed signals come together, melding the Bard’s verse with the beloved music of The Beatles in what Vancouver Presents calls “one of the clearest renderings of As You Like It that you will ever see.” This tuneful take on Shakespeare’s romantic classic will be “a total blast” (Chicago Tribune) for the holiday season, reminding us that in times of trouble, all you need is love. Recommended for teens and older.

Jungle Discovery
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: December 26 – January 16
Tickets: $19.50

Jungle Discovery is an engaging and immersive interactive experience for children ages 3-6 and their adults. Participants enter a fantastical jungle world where they may dress up as exotic creatures and explore the beautiful flora and fauna. Led by Jungle Guides, participants may choose to play in the jungle leaves, add flowers, play with sound using a rain stick, draw on the Mirror Mural, and make a warm nest to hide in. There will be plenty of fun surprises in this multi-sensory environment. Recommended for ages 1-6.

The Other Side
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: January 13-14
Tickets: $20

Education Artist-in-Residence Jacqueline Woodson’s simple yet powerful book comes to life in an evening-length dance piece from choreographer and Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor for Dance Education Hope Boykin. Don’t miss this special return engagement of the April 2022 Kennedy Center world premiere! Recommended for ages 5+.

Batman Live in Concert
Where: Warner Theatre | Downtown DC
When: January 19
Tickets: $38-115
This is a one-of-a-kind experience that is a mixture of going to the movie theater and a concert.  Watch the film projected onto a larger-than-life screen while an orchestra plays the film score live on stage in front of you.The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being Jack Napier, a criminal who becomes a clownishly homicidal villain known as The Joker.

Mindplay
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: January 19 – March 3
Tickets: $41-95

Drama Desk Award–nominated theatermaker and mentalist Vinny DePonto guides the audience on an entirely new theatrical event in which your thoughts play a leading role. A “warmly inviting, nostalgia-ridden, gem of a performance” (BroadwayWorld), Mindplay masterfully blurs the line between illusion and reality. Escape into the expansive beauty of imagination and bask in the ephemeral and surprising nature of memory. Recommended for tweens and older.

Hansel & Gretel
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: January 20 – February 18
Tickets: $15

Join the Puppet Co. this classic German fairy tale about two kids who get lost in the woods and encounter a witch. Written by Len, Patricia, and Chrisopher Piper, this version of Hansel and Gretel is over 50 years old. Our musical tale, performed using marionettes, is sure to charm you and your little ones. Directed by Danny Pushkin. Recommended for ages 4+. Run time approximately 45 minutes.

Elena Moon Park and Friends
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: January 20, 11am & 1:30pm
Tickets: $20

Take an “unhurried journey” around the globe through song! Elena Moon Park and Friends performs folk and children’s music from East and Southeast Asia, reimagined to celebrate various musical traditions, languages, styles, and stories. Recommended for ages 7+.

Books Alive
Where: Highland Elementary School | Wheaton, MD
When: January 20, 11am & January 21, 2pm
Tickets: Free

Interact Story Theatre’s continues its Family Theatre Series in the new year, kicking it off with a Family Literacy Fiesta. Artistic Director Ali Oliver-Krueger will lead kids and adults in exploring a favorite folk tale together through movement, drama, and song. Everyone’s a part of the story in this Family Arts Workshop! Best for ages 3 and up.

Finding Nemo Jr. The Musical
Where: Thomas Jeffereson Community Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: January 21 – 29
Tickets: $12-15

Encore Stage & Studio presents its signature theatre by kids for kids… This beloved story follows Marlin, an anxious and over-protective clownfish, who lives in the Great Barrier Reef with his child Nemo, who longs to explore the world beyond their anemone home. But when Nemo is captured, Marlin decides to face his fears and sets off on an epic adventure across the ocean. With the help of lovable characters such as the optimistic Dory, laid-back sea turtle Crush, and the Tank Gang, Marlin and Nemo both overcome challenges on their journey to find each other and themselves. Recommended for all ages.

Annie
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: January 23-28
Tickets: $44-139 (find discount)
Holding onto hope when times are tough can take an awful lot of determination, and sometimes, an awful lot of determination comes in a surprisingly small package. Little Orphan Annie has reminded generations of theatergoers that sunshine is always right around the corner, and now the best-loved musical of all time is set to return in a new production – just as you remember it and just when we need it most.

tick, tick…BOOM
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: January 26 – February 4
Tickets: $59-349
Before there was RENT… there was tick, tick… BOOM!, Jonathan Larson’s explosive musical about life, death, and the necessity of art. The semi-autobiographical story follows Jon, a composer struggling to break into New York City’s theater scene. Recommended for teens and older.

Monster Jam
Where: Capitol One Arena | Downtown DC
When: January 27-28
Tickets: $25+
The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC.  Gravedigger, Magolodon, Dragon, EL Toro Loco, Raminator, Rammunition, Over Bored, and Wild Side are among the vehicular beasts that will be tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Lions of Industry, Mothers of Invention
Where: Discovery Theatre | National Mall, DC
When: February 1-2 & 27-29, 10:15am & 11:30am
Tickets: $3-8

Beauty magnate Madame C.J. Walker, agricultural chemist and “peanut man” George Washington Carver, education pioneer Booker T. Washington, and even cranky chef George Crum, who accidentally created the potato chip, all take center stage in this vibrant living-history production. This original, interactive play, written by Jacqueline E. Lawton, honors the creativity and genius of African American entrepreneurs and inventors – and inspires the achiever in all of us. Come and join a science fair of Carver’s inventions using the peanut, hear Washington’s great oratory, and be inspired by the story of the world’s first female, self-made millionaire! Recommended for ages 7-11.

Junie B. Jones, The Musical
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: February 2 – March 30
Tickets: $25

It is Junie B.’s first day of first grade, and a lot of things have changed for her: Junie’s friend, Lucille, does not want to be her best pal anymore and, on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Also, Junie has trouble reading the blackboard and her teacher, Mr. Scary, thinks she may need glasses. Throw in a friendly cafeteria lady, a kickball tournament and a “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal,” and first grade has never been more exciting. Featuring a tremendously loveable character and fun-filled songs, Junie B. Jones will capture your audience members’ hearts just as the books captivated an entire generation of students.

Paw Patrol
Where: EagleBank Arena | Fairfax, VA
When: February 2-4
Tickets: $25-185  (find discount)
X barks the spot in PAW Patrol Live! “The Great Pirate Adventure”! It’s Pirate Day in Adventure Bay, and Mayor Goodway is getting ready for a big celebration! But first, Ryder and his team of pirate pups must rescue Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern. When they do, they also discover a secret pirate treasure map! The PAW Patrol set out over land and sea to find the treasure for Mayor Goodway’s celebration before Mayor Humdinger finds it first! The pups will need all paws on deck for this pirate adventure, including some help from the newest pup … Tracker!

The Girl Who Became Legend
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: February 2-11
Tickets: $20

The town of Dustbin is known for two things: rules and dust. But one day, Raina spies a cloud in the sky—and adventure ensues with Calamity Jane, Johnny Appleseed… and a thunderstorm! Coming to the Center from ZACH Theatre in Austin, TX, this charming new folktale takes the stage, packed with spirited tunes. Recommended for ages &+.

Dancing Our Way Through Books
Where: Highland Elementary School | Wheaton, MD
When: February 10, 11am & February 11, 2pm
Tickets: Free

Join Kelly King, InterAct Story Theatre teaching artist and founder of Contradiction Dance Theatre and The Movement Movement as you explore a kid-friendly folk tale through creative movement and dance. Kids get to practice reading skills while moving, dancing, and sharing stories with families and friends. No prior dance training needed…just bring your body and get ready to move. What a fun way to dance away the winter blues! Best for ages 3 and up.

Laurie Berkner Band
Where: Gordon Center for Performing Arts | Owings Mills, MD
When: February 18, 10am & 3pm
Tickets: $$45-70

Best selling children’s music artist Laurie Berkner is returning to the DC area for two shows. A true pioneer in children’s music, beloved by generations of children and parents for over twenty years, she’ll be playing well-loved hits like “We Are the Dinosaurs” and “Victor Vito,” plus popular newer songs, like “Chipmunk At The Gas Pump” and “Waiting For The Elevator,” and even some brand new singles! Kids should plan to bring their dancing shoes and a stuffed animal (for their heads). FYI: We took a toddler Owen to one of Laurie’s shows years ago, and it was a blast!

Romeo and Juliet
Where: Synetic Theater | Crystal City, VA
When: February 10 – March 4
Tickets: $35-65 (find discount)
Set amidst the whirring gears of a giant clock, Shakespeare’s timeless tale of star-crossed lovers unfolds as a bitter family feud sends the pair on a race against an ill-fated destiny. With masterful physicality and choreography, Synetic Theater’s Romeo and Juliet presents a unique and stunningly visual interpretation of a classic story, capturing emotion with every movement. Recommended for ages 8+.

Cinderella: A Salsa Fairytale
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: February 15 – April 5
Tickets: $12+
A bilingual Cinderella with a twist that kids will love! What will happen to Cinderella at the ball … game? That’s the surprising question in this contemporary Latin-American Cinderella musical that weaves subtle lessons on empathy, sportsmanship, and respect into an exciting, high-stakes story. An Imagination Stage original that broke new ground in bilingual children’s theatre. Recommended for ages 5+.

Kofi’s African Village
Where: Discovery Theatre | National Mall, DC
When: February 21-23, 10:15am & 11:30am
Tickets: $3-8

Drummer Kofi Dennis brings the vibrant life of a West African village to the Discovery Theater stage though music, storytelling, and dance. Playing authentic instruments, the Ghanaian native leads lively call-and-response songs and games to get audiences up on their feet in a vibrant exploration of African cultural traditions. Recommended for ages 3-6.

Omnium Circus Presents I’mPossible
Where: Capitol One Center | Tysons, VA
When: February 24
Tickets: Start at $39

Aerial artists soar over the stage making your heart pound with excitement. Hilarious antics make you laugh till you cry! Featuring a diverse mosaic of brilliant performers including gravity-defying aerial acts, mind blowing contortion, unbelievable acrobatics, hysterical comedy, dazzling dancers and much more. Fun for the entire family!

Magic Mirror
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: March 2-24
Tickets: $15

Magic Mirror is back after its special 40th Anniversary run in 2023! This production was the first show founders Christopher Piper and Allan Stevens worked on as the Puppet Co. Meet Toad, a young person destined for greatness in this mash-up story with lots of familiar fairy tales! Join us on this journey of dragons, monsters, and spirits of the woods. Recommended for ages 5+. Run time approximately 50 minutes.

Through the Sunken Lands
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: March 2-17
Tickets: $20

Tim J. Lord’s radio play transforms into a heartening world premiere musical that amplifies the voice of a commonly overlooked community. Follow Artemis—a young wheelchair user who’s determined to fight to save her dying town with the help of Aunt Maggie… and a talking heron! Recommended for ages 9+.

Inside Out and Backwards
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: March 2-31
Tickets: $19.50

It’s bedtime, and two children use their imaginations to turn their room inside out, into a wonderland of mess! While playing dress-up, a glove becomes a dancing fish, a shirt becomes a fantastical creature, and a sock dance rocks the closet! Recommended for ages 1-4.

The Monster at the End of this Play
Where: Highland Elementary School | Wheaton, MD
When: March 2, 11am & March 3, 2pm
Tickets: Free

A spooky forest. A mysterious letter. The worst villains in all of Fairytale Land. What could possibly go wrong? “The Monster at the End of This Play” is a lighthearted and humorous exploration of how the things we don’t understand are not always as scary as they seem. Best for ages 4 and up.

The Book of Mormon
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: March 5-17
Tickets: $89-219 (find discount)

This outrageous musical comedy follows the adventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. With standing room only productions in London, on Broadway, and across North America, THE BOOK OF MORMON has truly become an international sensation. Contains explicit language. Recommended for teens and older.

An Electromagnetic Adventure
Where: Discovery Theatre | National Mall, DC
When: March 7-8, 10:15am & 11:30am
Tickets: $3-8

The Science Guys of Baltimore explore what brings us together and what keeps us apart—what scientists call the laws of attraction and repulsion—through the force of electromagnetism! Launch rings into the air with an electromagnetic pulse generator, test your strength in an electromagnet tug of war, and watch sparks fly with a Van de Graaff generator! This promises to be a truly shocking science show! Recommended for ages 6-11.

Little Shop of Horrors
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Pen Quarter, DC
When: March 15 – May 18
Tickets: $41-77 (find discount)
Come down to Skid Row for a non-stop blast, sci-fi horror comedy, love story and rock musical that has become one of the most treasured pieces of American musical theatre. Recommended for ages 13+.

NSO Family Concert: Music of Duke Ellington
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: March 17
Tickets: $20
Take the A-Train to a special afternoon of music paying tribute to the beloved jazz composer and bandleader! Conducted by Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, the National Symphony Orchestra performs this swinging session as part of the Kennedy Center’s season-wide Ellington 125 celebration. Recommended for ages 5+.

 

Do you know of any good shows coming to town that you don’t see listed here?  Let us know in the comments!

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