Tag Archives: Washington DC Outdoors

The Weekend Round-Up: April 28-29

Playing and learning at last year's Maryland Day


A few days ago, when I said there’s a LOT of great stuff going on this weekend, I wasn’t joking.  There are several biggies happening, all are worth checking out.  Geek out in a good way at the Science & Engineering Festival,  experience a campus full of fun at Maryland Day, celebrate the carousel and season at Glen Echo, explore and play at Great Country Farms, say “Qui!” to a Georgetown outing, and much more.  And these are just timely ideas. For more mainstay recreation, see these outdoor suggestions as well as this newly revamped list of ideas for indoor fun.  Happy Weekend!

USA Science & Engineering Festival
Where: Washington Convention Center
When: Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm
Admission: Free

If your child has any inkling of interest in science and engineering, likes to do hands-on experiments, see fascinating live demos, or talk first-hand with the experts, then chances are very good that they will dig this event. (And so will you, parents.) Over 3,000 interactive exhibits and 150 stage shows will highlight all kinds of science-related topics in fun, engaging, exciting ways. Attendees can discover the science of Harry Potter magic, the mathematics of jump roping, the physics of superheroes, the chemistry of Thanksgiving Dinner, the engineering of baseball bats and balls, the science behind special effects in movies, trends in Global Warming, renewable energy sources of the future, and much, much, much more.

Go Terps!
Where: University of Maryland
When: Saturday 10am – 6pm
Admission: Free
This celebration in College Park gets a big thumbs-up from me, and not just because it’s my alma mater. Maryland Day is a fantastic event for families, and I know from experience. The University is hosting a huge open house for, well, everybody. “Explore Our World” is the theme of the annual fair, and guests will be able to do that and then some. There will be loads of activities for kids, including learning games; caricature drawings; arts & crafts; farm animal visits; puppet shows; insect and instrument petting zoos; and much more. It’s spread out all over campus, and it’s a big campus. Be prepared for lots of walking – worth every step – and be sure to bring a stroller for little ones.

Glen Echo Family Day
Where: Glen Echo Park
When: Saturday, 11am – 4pm,
Admission: Free
Celebrate the seasonal opening of the park’s beautiful Dentzel Carousel. Along with rides on the merry-go-round ($1.25/ride), guests of all ages can enjoy all kinds of activities. Magic shows, dance performances, arts & crafts, face painting, photo exhibits, and balloon animals are just some of the festivities. The full schedule of events is available of the Glen Echo website.

Open House on the Farm
Where: Great Country Farms
When: Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $8/child, $10/adult, free for CSA and fan members
Who’s your farmer? You can get to know one at Great Country Farms’ Open House on Saturday! Guests will have the opportunity to talk with Farmer Mark – he’ll be there from 11am – 1pm to discuss his bountiful harvest and passion for growing fruits and vegetables. Viitors can also sample farm products and enjoy the five-acre children’s play area, including giant jumping pillow, slides, rope swings, and more farm fun.

Georgetown French Market
Where: Wisconsin Avenue NW, between P St. & Reservoir Rd.
When: Friday & Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: Free
The Georgetown French Market returns for its 9th year. Book Hill’s signature European open air market will feature nearly 40 Georgetown boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and galleries, art and antique home furnishings. But it’s not all about the shopping; kids will enjoy the strolling mimes, children’s activities, live music, and French cuisine from Georgetown cafes and restaurants. Visit the website to download a schedule of events and list of participating shops.

JAM-min’ Family Day
Where: American Art Museum
When: Saturday, 11:30am – 3pm
Admission: Free
American Art celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM)! Baltimore Jazz Alliance’s Jazz for Kids band presents an introduction to jazz music, with a family-friendly mini-concert that invites audience participation. Children can also visit a “petting zoo” of musical instruments, where they try out some or all the band’s instruments — drums, flute, saxophone, clarinet, recorder, bass, violin, guitar, trumpet, and trombone. There will also be sheet music origami, Jazz Nickname Name Tags, and face painters to jazz up the afternoon.

Letter Writing Social
Where: National Postal Museum
When: Saturday, 12-3pm
Admission: Free
Remember when people wrote each other letters on paper? At this workshop, guests can amaze a friend by sending an artfully handwritten, paper-based message instead of the usual tweet or text. (They might just write back!) One-of-a-kind stationery, unique postcards, pretty paper, ink stamps, retro airmail labels, cancelled stamps, a somewhat functional typewriter, and mailable supplies are provided in this veritable letter-writing lounge. Postage stamps will be available for purchase in the museum’s Stamp Store.

Taste of Vienna
Where: Vienna Volunteer Fire Dept. Grounds
When: Saturday, 11am – 8pm
Admission: Free
The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department (VVFD) is hosting the 1st Annual Taste of Vienna, showcasing the many excellent restaurants that the Vienna area has to offer. The VVFD parking lot will be lined with many local favorites, and the event is expected to draw large crowds of area diners. While admission is free, guests will be able to purchase restaurant food and beverages to sample. The event will go on rain or shine.

South Mountain Creamery Spring Festival
Where: South Mountain Creamery
When: Saturday10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free
Take a ride out to the country and experience farm fresh hospitality at South Mountain Creamery’s annual festival. Both kids and adults will enjoy an inside look at where their food originates. There will also be lots of farm fun for all ages — go on a hayride, feed a calf, make some butter, sample SMC products, listen to Bluegrass, and more. BBQ, ice cream, drinks, and other concessions will be available for purchase.

On Stages
Where: Theaters throughout the area
When: All weekend long
Admission: Varies by venue
Five Little Monkeys opens at Adventure Theatre today. We caught a preview performance last night, and 6-year-old Owen thought it was great. (My review to come soon.) The Puppet Co. presents both Tiny Tots and Pinocchio this weekend. The free Saturday Morning at the National, presented by Bright Star Theatre, focuses on notable women. The Maryland Youth Ballet is dancing a special children’s performance of Caroline Goes to the Seashore. Imagination Stage presents four performances of Rapunzel this weekend. And Barry Louis Polisar, renowned children’s musician, will play at 1st Stage Theater in Tyson’s Corner on Saturday.

Park It
Where: All National Parks
When: Through the weekend
Admission: FREE
It’s National Park Week through this Sunday, and entrance to over 100 parks that usually charge admission is free. If weather permits, take advantage and hit the trails at a local park or even one a bit further away. For suggestions on good hikes with kids, see this post about tramping with little ones.


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The Weekend Round-Up: November 4-6

A fall frolic on the National Mall.


These post-Halloween days are almost as enjoyable as the extravaganza itself. After weeks of costume discussions, trick-or-treat planning, and candy hiding (mostly from myself) so it’s not eaten before the big day, this respite between major holidays is welcome.  It won’t last long, as preparations for winter festivities are about to begin. (And I’ll be posting about them soon, but wanted to give you a chance to untie ghosts from trees and dispose of rotting pumpkins). So, in the meantime, enjoy these next few autumn days. Here are some ideas of where to do it. Happy Weekend!

Think Outside… – These splendid fall days are going to be fewer and farther between soon, so my top recommendation is to get out and enjoy them while you can. Do a quintessential DC outing and tour the memorials on the Mall. Go leaf peeping in the National Arboretum or explore the sprawling grounds of Brookside Gardens.  Hike amid brilliant foliage at Great Falls or Riverbend Park. Play the day away Cabin John Regional Park. The options are abundant, and you can find even more in KFDC’s list of The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids.

Smashing Pumpkins – Now that Halloween is over, you can get rid of those jack-o-lanterns that are starting to cave in on themselves on the front porch. And you can have a good time doing it at Great Country Farms’s Punkin’ Chunkin’.  Do the honors on their Silo Drop or Zip Wire Sploosh, or bring it to their Pumpkin Drop Zone to be added to the “fireworks display” as pumpkins are dropped from a 40-foot lift in the parking lot. And while you’re there, enjoy the rest of the farm’s attractions — cow trains, swings, slides, mazes — before the amusement shuts down for the winter.  Open from 10am – 5pm. Admission is $10/adults, $8/children.

Euro EntertainmentWe’re in the last week of the Kids Euro Festival, the program bringing a month of free continental artistic adventures to venues all over DC. This weekend see “A Cat in Paris” at AFI, “The Seasons of Palina” at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, several performances on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, and much, much more. Check the schedule for times and details.

Rock Out with Recess MonkeySeattle’s celebrated band of teacher-rockers is coming to DC this weekend to perform three shows at two different venues. First, they are playing a free concert on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on Saturday at 6pm.  For shows that might work better with little ones’ schedules, see them on Sunday, November 6, at Jammin’ Java at 11am or 2pm.  Tickets are $10 and available for purchase online.

Happy 90th, Phillips Collection!The museum housing masterpieces from some of the world’s most famous artists probably isn’t exactly a go-to spot for a day out with little ones.  But this Saturday is an exception. It’s the gallery’s 90th birthday/anniversary, and they’re celebrating with an all-day bash that includes free activities, gallery talks, and performances for the whole family. Cupcake favors will be handed out while they last, ballet students will be practicing among Degas paintings, an accordionist and a cappella group will perform for guests, and even more will be happening throughout the day from 10am – 8pm.  See the schedule for times and details.

Celebrate American Indian HeritageAmerican Indian leaders, traditions, and arts are commemorated on U.S. postage stamps, and the National Postal Museum is celebrating them with a day of activities for kids. Learn about American Indians on postage stamps; make a topical stamp collection; and enjoy storytime with a book about Sequoyah, the Cherokee man who gave his people written language. Join in the fun on Saturday from aam – 2pm.

Robin Hood  – Encore Stage’s production of the classic tale opens on Friday at 7:30pm, and there will be several shows to follow this weekend and next. Here’s what’s special about Encore’s performances: They are for children by children. Yes, it’s mostly a youth cast, and if their production of The Wizard of Oz is any indication, these kids will put on quite a show. The play will be performed at Artisphere’s Spectrum Theatre, tickets are $12/adults, $10/children and can be purchased online.

Children’s Flea MarketScore a few bargains and support some entrepreneurial kids at the McLean Community Center on Saturday from 11am – 1pm. Young vendors will have a variety of gently used items for sale.  A donation truck will be on hand after the event to take any unsold items.

NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Tunes ‘n’ (Pig) TalesEnjoy stories and music all about animals in this Teddy Bear Concert featuring The Three Pigs, Teddy Bear Rag, The Swan, and Baby Elephant Walk. Performed with a very unusual combination of instruments, NSO principal musicians Marissa Regni on violin and Dotian Levalier on harp join with Marissa’s father Albert Regni on four different saxophones to give each animal its own unique voice. And as a “little” surprise, along with full-sized instruments, the musicians perform on their miniature counterparts – a toy piano, a sopranino saxophone, and a tiny violin. Recommended for ages 3 to 5.  Tickets are $18.

Theatre on Strings – Take the kids to a puppet show at Glen Echo Park where The Three Billy Goats Gruff is currently being performed on Main Stage. Showtimes are 11:30am and 1pm Saturday and Sunday, recommended for pre-K and up. Tickets are $10 and available for purchase online.

Portrait Story Days – Drop in at the National Portrait Gallery from 1-4pm on Saturday and Sunday to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This weekend, learn about Chief Joseph (1840-1904), chief of the Nez Perce.

America’s Got Talent AuditionsIs your child a star in the making? Well, here’s a chance to show the nation. America’s Got Talent is holding their DC auditions Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Convention Center, and kids (and adults!) of all ages are invited to try out for the show.  Doors open at 8am and close by 7pm.  Pre-registration and more info is available here.


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