Tag Archives: Washington DC Kids Activties

It’s All Good at Georgetown Waterfront Park

Cooling off at the Georgetown Waterfront


The Georgetown Waterfront Park is like a Joni Mitchell song in reverse: They unpaved a parking lot and put up paradise. A 10-acre sliver of local paradise, anyway.

Where there once was a big fenced-in blacktop area where you could overpay to leave your car for a few hours, is now a wonderful stretch of recreational space right along the Potomac River. And with elements that make it great for play and relaxation, plus a location that’s both scenic and convenient, it has become one of our family’s go-to spots to hang out this summer.

Hurray for the sprays!

Hurray for the sprays!

First, there is the fountain, which is no doubt the main draw for many people with kids, especially on a hot day. The line of sprays that arc over about a 50-foot area are as appealing to look at as they are refreshing to run through.  For the most part, kids (and accompanying grown-ups) play in them most, but the occasional park sun bather or passing jogger will detour to cool off under the sprinklers, too. It’s a great way to enjoy water play with little ones — they get to splash around in a relatively safe environment, and there’s not as much commitment as there is a with a pool (i.e., I don’t necessarily have to don a swimsuit to dash through the sprays).  There are also several benches facing the fountain, so it’s easy to see the kids if you want to sit while they play. You can also spread out a blanket in the grass nearby and watch from there.

A mellow moment by the river

A mellow moment by the river

The park’s offerings go well beyond the fountain. Nearby the sprays is a tiered cement seating right along the river banks where you can see and feed ducks and watch kayakers and boaters go by.  And all around, from the Washington Harbour to the start of the towpath, is a long expanse of grass dotted by trees and other recently planted shrubs and flowers.  There is seating throughout, both on benches and open areas on the lawn.

Images of Georgetown's past etched into granite

Images of Georgetown’s past etched into granite

A stone path runs along the edge of the park closest to the river, and narrow paved paths traverse within. Along the former, large granite blocks with etchings of historic images are pretty fascinating to see — pictures of crew teams, the Key Bridge, and other iconic scenes are accompanied by facts about the area. And for some added amusement, there is a large flat cement labyrinth within the grass that you can walk on and navigate to the middle.

An a-mazeing time at the park

An a-mazeing time at the park

If I have one complaint about Georgetown Waterfront Park, it’s the lack of shade. There are no umbrellas or canopies of any kind, and because the park is so new, most trees were just planted and aren’t yet big and leafy. But it’s easy enough to take a break from the sun on Water Street where it’s sheltered, or you can make that your opportunity to grab lunch at one of the many nearby eateries in Georgetown. Hey, you can even see a movie or do some shopping while you’re in the neighborhood, too.

Georgetown Waterfront Park is located between Water Street and the Potomac River in Georgetown.  You can usually find parking along Water Street, often closer to the towpath. Otherwise, park in closer to M Street and walk down.  It’s also easy to get to by bike and the DC Circulator Bus. It’s open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.



Filed under All ages, DC, Free, Outdoor, Park, Weekdays, Weekend

The Weekend Round-Up: March 16-18

A view of the Capitol through a shroud of magnolia flowers


It may not be March 20, but for all intents and purposes, spring has sprung! So, I’ll just cut to the chase and urge you to get outside at some point; if the forecast holds out, we’re in for one gorgeous weekend. The first recommendation in this round-up links to a huge list of outdoor adventures. Balance it out with some indoor time — you’ve got your pick of fun and interesting pursuits, from museum exhibits to an environmental family film fest to theatre shows and more. Happy Weekend!

The Great Outdoors
Where: All around the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by pursuit

Get out and enjoy the superb “spring” days this weekend. At the rate the temps are rising, it’s going to be 106 degrees by May. If you need ideas for pursuits al fresco, see this big list of the best places in the DC area to spend a beautiful day outdoors with the kids.

Supra Cool Art
Where: Hirshhorn Museum
When: Ongoing
Admission: Free
Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color and Space, a relatively new exhibit at the Hirshhorn, may not have been created with kids in mind, but many of the installations can be appreciated on several levels, including from a child’s perspective. All of the displays are interactive in some way, and a few are exceptionally fascinating — and quite fun. Read more about it in this post from yesterday.

Go Ape!
Where: National Zoo
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Admission: Free
It’s a Featured Creature day at the Zoo, and the apes are the stars of this one. Head to the Great Ape house for feedings, keeper chats, and demonstrations. See the schedule for specific times. Support Friends of the National Zoo and gorilla conservation by bringing an old cell phone to recycle and receive a Green for Gorillas sticker!

Culturally Different Adventures
Where: National Chidren’s Museum Launch Zone
When: Saturday, 11am – 3:30pm
Admission: Free
Drop in at the NCM’s Launch Zone and learn about classic folk tales told from the perspective of other cultures with Story Tapestries. This will be a fun and adventurous program that explores the characteristics of a traditional hero in a non-traditional style. Discover how, even though you might be little, you are very, very smart. Leave the program singing like a bird, dancing like a monkey, slithering like a snake and roaring like a tiger!

Hang with Globetrotter Lang
Where: National Chidren’s Museum Launch Zone
When: Sunday, 12pm & 1pm
Admission: Free
The NCM proudly welcomes Flight Time Lang, the Harlem Globetrotters’ 6’3 guard, best known for his dunks and dribbling skills. Head to the Launch Zone for a show featuring Flight Time’s unique ball handling techniques and tricks. Stick around after to meet and take photos with Flight Time Lang. NCM will also be raffling off a set of four tickets to the Globetrotters game on either March 24 or March 25. Due to the size of the Launch Zone, they will be welcoming kids and families on a first come, first served basis to best accommodate as many people as possible. And as a special thank you their fans, the Globetrotters’ have created a $5 off discount code good for each ticket purchased for one of their upcoming games. To take advantage, go to: www.ticketmaster.com/promo/8v2pmu and use the code NCM.

Environmental Film Festival: An Animated Perspective
Where: National Geographic
When: Saturday, 1pm
Admission: $12
Enjoy some of the most popular animated films screened during our 20 years of participating in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. Bring the whole family for a stunning retrospective of the favorites from years past—Turtle World, Old Man and the Sea, For the Birds, and The Man Who Planted Trees—selected and introduced by festival founder Flo Stone.

Gaithersburg St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Washingtonian Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free
The city’s 12th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will include both traditional Irish performances and classic parade pageantry. Celtic dancers, bagpipes bands, marching bands, clowns, firetrucks, and more will make their way through town. Afterward, stay for live music in the Lakefront Plaza until 1pm.

St. Paddy Party Family Special
Where: Discovery Theater
When: Saturday, 2pm
Admission: $3-12
A rollicking traditional Irish band, lively dancers, and some wearing o’ the green make everybody Irish at this special show! Learn how to count sheep in Gaelic, learn a bit of Ceili dancing. Join Pete Moss and members of the Bog Band, with champion dancer Shannon Dunne, and start the spring off right! After the show, families can learn about color filters, make an acid and base rainbow, plant a sprouting “grasshead” leprechaun to take home, and more. Explore some St. Paddy’s Day ‘green’ science with Curiosity Zone.

That’s Entertainment
Where: Various local theatres
When: Througoutthe weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
Basil Twists’ Petrushka opens at the Lansburgh Theatre tonight. The Puppet Co’s version of Rapunzel opened yesterday. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is still on stage at Adventure Theatre. The Alden Theatre in McLean presents The Revenge of the Space Pandas. Out of the Box is at Landmark Mall. And Encore Stage and Studio’s toupe of young actors is performing The Magic Lamp of Alladin for its final weekend. Get details on all of these productions in this post about spring entertainment or this one listing winter shows.

Spring Clean & Book Launch
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm
When: Saturday, all day & 1pm
Admission: Volunteer & Free
The farm doesn’t officially open until April 1, but there are a couple of other happenings there this weekend in the meantime. The Spring Clean-Up is an opportunity to help the living history museum prepare for the 2012 season and spend a nice day outdoors. Families with children are welcome; there are jobs for every age — raking leaves, clearing and mulching paths, hauling brush and firewood, moving rail fences, waterproofing outbuildings, whitewashing the Farmhouse, splitting firewood, filling garden pots, and more. A complimentary picnic hot dog lunch and passes to the upcoming Market Fair provided in thanks. There will also be a reading of the children’s book The Penguin Lady in the museum shop at 1pm. Author Carol A. Cole will be signing copies of her book, and kids can take home coloring and word search activities.

Pong, Anyone?
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum
When: Opens March 16
Admission: Free
We parents might appreciate this more than our kids: The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium. With a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies, the exhibit showcases the interplay of graphics, technology and storytelling through some of the best games for 20 gaming systems ranging from the Atari VCS to the PlayStation 3. Eighty games, selected with the help of the public, demonstrate the evolution of the medium. The games are presented through still images and video footage. In addition, the galleries will include video interviews with twenty developers and artists, large prints of in-game screen shots, and historic game consoles.

Truth & Fiction
Where: 826DC
When: Saturday, 12-2pm
Admission: Free

826DC, an organization dedicated to supporting students with their creative and expository writing skills, is hosting a writing workshop on Saturday for kids ages 11-14. Taught by author and Georgetown professor Fanny Howe, “Truth and Fiction” will explore the differences between writing real and fictional stories. Go here to register. Space is limited to 15, so sign up soon!

Port Discovery for $2
Where: Port Discovery
When: Friday, 4-7pm
Admission: $2
How about some cheap fun in Charm City? Tonight (Friday) is a Target Family Fun Night at Port Discovery. From 4 – 7pm, admission to the popular kids museum in Baltimore is just a couple of bucks a person (children under two are free).

Stories in Art
Where: National Gallery of Art
When: Sunday, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm
Admission: Free
It’s the very last day for Stories in Art this season. Kids ages 4-7 can drop in at the National Gallery to learn how Helen Frankenthaler’s abstract paintings were inspired by landscapes, hear a related reading of A Day Without Crayons, then make a painting without using brushes. Sessions are at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm. Sign-in takes place in the East Building Atrium, beginning at 11am, and continues until all spaces are filled.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Babies, DC, Educational, Free, Gradeschoolers, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Outdoor, Parade, Preschoolers, Preteens, Seasonal, Spring, Theatre, Toddlers, Virginia, Weekend

Welcome to Kidville: A Review and Giveaway

Sasha enjoys the puppet portion of Kidville's Little Maestros class


As a blogger about activities for kids in the DC-metro, I make it my job to stay on top of the area’s best offerings for families to impart to readers. But every now and then something really awesome slips under my radar. (Busy mom of two under six — need I say more?) This was the case with Kidville, the child learning/development/entertainment center in Bethesda.  It wasn’t that I hadn’t heard of Kidville before, I just wasn’t aware of what it was all about — nor how awesome it was — until I had an opportunity to check it out for myself.

I was invited to try out one of their classes with Sasha and take a tour of the facilities to learn more about the Kidville concept and their programs in Bethesda.  And while the location isn’t exactly down the road from me, once there it’s quite convenient. It’s located on Bethesda Row, right across the street from Georgetown Cupcake (told you it was convenient), and there’s a garage on the same side of the block where you can easily park in metered spots.  About 30 feet from there is where Kidville  inhabits the lower level of the building, with access to it via both stairs and an elevator.

The Kidville Boutique

A delightful scene greeted us as we descended the stairs.  It was then that I learned Kidville isn’t just about classes; it’s also a boutique and a salon.  Clothes, toys, and other children’s items are organized neatly on racks and shelves along the walls.  And in a corner of the lobby space are two cute airplane chairs, where children can get haircuts. And it’s all in a bright, cheerful, clean environment.

I took it in as we waited a minute to check in.  The staff behind the counter were very pleasant as they greeted guests and helped get us started, explaining where to go for our class.  We had opted for Little Maestros, a music session that received kudos from Nickelodeon’s Parents’ Pick and the New York Post at its NYC location. And, hey, if it’s tops in a city that is known for its gazillions of options for children’s classes, then it had to be something special.

From the moment we walk in, the class lived up to the hype. The theater room where the class is held isn’t huge, but it’s large enough for a small stage (which holds a band that provides the class music!), tables at the back for parents’ belongings  and one on the side for class props.  The class leaders welcomed us enthusiastically, noting Sasha’s name and inviting us to take a seat around the alphabet rug in the middle of the room. As soon as everyone was checked in, the class got started.

Bubble music

So, this wasn’t just a class.  It was a concert, story time,  puppet show, dance session, bubble fun, and even a rap show. All of these activities were incorporated into the session with lessons about shapes, colors, and letters, and bits that prompted movement and  curiosity. It all progressed at a nice pace for the little participants. Each segment lasted a good few minutes, which gave the children time to get into it without losing their attention. And one of my favorite elements of the class was the leaders’ interaction with the kids — they knelt down to their level, looked them in the eye, sang to everyone individually (or held the puppets that did), and addressed them all by their names. I think this helped every child feel part of the group and encouraged them to participate. Sasha, along with most of the kids, had an absolute blast. And as far as I could tell, so did all the grown-ups. (I seriously had to hold back from getting up and doing a solo dance to their very impressive cover of Rapper’s Delight.)

When the 45-minute class was over, Kidville owner Anjali Varma gave us a tour of the rest of the space and a rundown of their programs. There’s the Big Muscle Gym with soft equipment, trampolines, balance beam, and more. There are also dance and art studios.  And classes for ages up to age 6 are held in all of them.

Rappin' to the beat...

Classes run in seasonal sessions, which last about eight weeks. And you have to be signed up for a class to go; they don’t offer a drop-in option, aside from a first-time trial class.  Class registration gets you the basic Silver membership to Kidville, which includes benefits like guest passes and discounts on birthday parties, boutique merchandise, and haircuts.  You can also opt for other memberships with more benefits at higher rates. And they currently have a special offer for a lifetime of classes.

In case it’s not evident already, I’m a fan. But here’s the whole scoop: Kidville classes cost more than many others in the area.  However, the facilities may just be the cutest and cleanest I’ve seen yet, plus you get some perks along with the classes. And after class, you can grab lunch at one of many eateries right on the block (Sweetgreen, Nando’s, Bethesda Bagels, and more) and stop by the cute toy store next door.  And, of course, head across the street for a cupcake.

Want a chance to experience Kidville gratis?  One lucky KFDC reader can win a three-class sampler!  All you have to do is like Kidville on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter, then come back and leave a comment here to let me know did.  The winner will be drawn at random and announced by the end of the week.  Good luck!



Filed under Babies, Class, Educational, Giveaway, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Play, Preschoolers, Toddlers

Let the Merriment Begin!

Owen does an armor inspection on a good-humored knight at last year's Ren Fest

There are some family events that I look forward to simply because I know my kids will really enjoy them. Then there are those I anticipate with the fervor of a tweener getting ready for a Justin Beiber concert, because I’m so excited to experience them myself.

Ren Fest is one of those events.  It didn’t take knight and pirate obsessed kids to first get me there, either.  Levi and I partook in the merriment even before Owen and Sasha came into our lives.  Besides the amazing variety of entertainment — jousting matches, cheeky comedy shows, fire eaters and sword swallowers, juggling acts, Celtic music, and much more — walking among knights, maidens, pirates, and villagers in puffy shirts in a 16th-century village as you chomp on turkey legs and down cups of mead is an interesting little jaunt back in time that any age can enjoy (well, maybe not the mead).

So, as we count down the days until the start of the 2011 Maryland Renaissance Festival begins, I’m getting rather psyched — for both my kids and myself.  Beginning this Saturday, August 27, and running weekends through October 23, the quaint hamlet in the woods of Crownsville, MD, will be buzzing with Elizabethan-era amusement as Ren Fest returns. I love the faire so much I wrote a pretty thorough post about it last year, so you can read more about what to expect there.

One-day tickets are $19/adults, $16/seniors, $9/kids ages 7-15, free for children 6 and under. You can also purchase a two-day pass for $28 that does not have to be used on consecutive days. If you plan to go by September 11, be sure to print out this coupon to bring with you for a discount on tickets. And note that admission for all kids is free the first weekend.

If you want to plan your visit around special activities or guests performers, be sure to check out the entertainment schedule.  But no matter when you go, a fun, festive time is practically guaranteed.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Fall, Festival, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Weekend