Serving up big sandwiches at Tiny’s Diner in Port Discovery
Monday – See the city from a new vantage point at the Old Post Office Clock Tower. It’s free to visit and go up to the observation deck of the third tallest building in DC. Open daily from 9am – 8pm on Monday – Saturday this time of year (12-6pm on Sunday). Just head to the Old Post Office Pavilion at 12th and Pennsylvania NW and follow the signs once inside.
Tuesday – Venture up to Baltimore for a day full of play at Port Discovery. Along with many levels full of awesome hands-on exhibits, there are a couple of special programs to take advantage of: Tremendous Tots Tuesday presents Drum Jam, a play session with instruments, from 1-3pm and Circle Time, an interactive storytime, at 11:30am. It’s also Thrifty Tuesday when admission is just $8 from 1-4:30pm ($13.95 all other times). Hours at the children’s museum are 10am – 5pm this time of year.
Wednesday – Hike among the woods and wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria. Turtles, frogs, and birds are among the wildlife you could see. Stop by the nature center for even more exhibits and animal encounters. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. You can read more about it among the big list of outdoor recommendations.
Thursday – See a performance of Magpie’s Living Planet at the Publick Playhouse in Cheverly, Md. Little ones can sing and dance along with Magpie, learn some sign language, and discover differences in animals around the world. Showtimes are 9:30am and 11:30am, and tickets are $3/children, $4/adults. For reservations and information, call 301-277-1710.
Friday – Go strawberry picking! The fruits are still ripe and ready for gathering at many area farms — this post has a list of them. And I always recommend calling ahead to confirm the patches are open for pick-your-own that day.
The 2012 strawberry picking season has officially begun! As of this week, just about all area farms offering pick-your-own opportunities will be open to visitors. And I keep hearing how the unusually warm winter and early spring made for an extra bountiful crop this year. Our experience at Schlagel Farms today definitely supported that theory — the berries were just as abundant as they were gorgeous. If you’re planning to hit the fields for some picking of your own, here’s the scoop on the berry season at several local farms (most of it duplicated from last year, but with updated info). And if you have a favorite farm that isn’t on this list, feel free to mention it in the comments. Happy Picking!
Less than 20 miles from DC in Waldorf, Md, Schlagel Farms is one of the more popular pick-your-own berry places in the area with their season often beginning before other area farms. Their fields have been open to the public for a couple of weeks, and as of today the pickings are excellent! (We’ve got several large bowlfuls to prove it.)While there, you can also purchase bedded plants grown in their greenhouse. And you no longer have to worry about hitting the ATM before going—they started accepting credit cards (everything but AmEx) last year. Schlagel’s is open for picking from 8am – 7pm seven days a week.
Strawberry season begins here on May 14 with what they call “seek and find” picking, but they expect a rapid increase in ripeness. Along with berry picking, there are animals to visit — goats, pigs, and chickens are some of the farm’s bestial residents. And Homestead scores high on aesthetics — the lovely pastoral setting in Montgomery County makes you feel like you’re way more than 20 miles from the city. The farm is open seven days a week from 9:30am – 6pm, though pick-your-own ends at 5:30.
Great Country Farms
At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Great Country offers more than just pick-your-own opportunities. The farm is well known for its big seasonal festivals and fun farm-themed attractions. A hayride takes you out to the picking fields, and kids might spy an emu or goat on the way. Visitors also have access to the barnyard, mazes, a cow train, and jumping pillow. The weekend of May 19-20 is the annual Strawberry Jubilee with live music, pie eating contests, tart tosses, tasty food, and more. Babies four to nine months can compete in the diaper derby, a crawl to the finish line, to compete for great prizes. Admission is $8/child $10/adult on weekdays, and $10/child $12/adult on festival weekends. Open daily 9am- 6pm.
Mackintosh Fruit Farm
The family-owned farm in the Shenandoah Valley opened their strawberry fields to the public this past weekend, and they claim the early and warm spring brought their best crop in years. Plan on lunch while you’re there—along with fruits and veggies, the farm also offers a variety of menu items prepared fresh every day from their own produce. Walk it all off afterward along a new trail that winds through the fields and woods of the farm. Open daily from 8am – 6pm.
Westmoreland Berry Farm
Their strawberries have been ripe for the picking since this past weekend, and they expect them to be available for another few of weeks. Right now, you can pick your own on Saturdays and Sundays, but check back soon to see if weekdays open, too. On weekends a hay wagon transports visitors to the picking fields. A goat walk is a also fun sight for kids. The farm is open 9am – 5pm Monday – Saturday, and 10am – 5pm Sunday.
About an hour’s drive from DC in Howard County, Larriland Farms has gotten really good reviews on Yelp for both it’s produce and beauty. The pick-your-own season begins with strawberries, and it expected to start around May 17-20 — as it gets closer, call or check online to confirm the opening date. Larriland employs Integrated Pest Management, meaning pesticides are a last resort, to keep pests below an acceptable level with minimum harmful impact on the environment. Hours are Tuesdays 9am – 8pm, Wednesday to Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am – 5pm, closed Mondays (but open Memorial day 9am – 1pm).
If you want to celebrate strawberry season, head to Huber’s Farm May 19-20 for an Old Fashioned Strawberry Festival. The farm is kicking off the start of the season with a weekend of fun—the Strawberry Express Hayride, a moon bounce, face painting, strawberry shortcake, and more. The festival will run from 12-5pm both days. The berries will be ready for picking in a couple of weeks along with many other spring veggies. Hours will be from 9am – 6pm seven days a week.
The farm might be best known for it’s Halloween and Easter extravaganzas, but they have a bounty of great crops, too. Their strawberry season officially starts May 14, and the fields will be open to visitors everyday. During strawberry season their hours are 8am – 6pm during the week, and 8am – 5pm on weekends.
Across the river in Fauquier County, VA, Hollin Farms kicked off strawberry picking this past weekend and expect it to last through mid June. Hours are 9am – 5pm, and they recommend calling ahead to confirm that picking fields are open. And a special P.S. to meat lovers: they pride themselves on their grass-fed beef.
Playing in the fountains at the U.S. Botanic Garden
As this post goes live, the forecast is calling for both sun and showers this weekend. Luckily, there are options for family fun to suit all weather possibilities — museum family days, the Washington Folk Festival, a community children’s fair, theatre performances, strawberry picking, and much more summer recreation. Here’s where it’s all happening. Happy Weekend!
Celebration of Textiles – This free, annual two-day festival at the Textile Museum offers something for everyone. Venture outside to the spectacular garden to participate in hands-on textile activities, watch live sheep being shorn (weather permitting), and learn from embroidery, weaving, and lace-making guilds of the region as they demonstrate their skills. Explore the exhibitions Green: the Color and the Cause and Second Lives: The Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles. Also on view will be DC Public School student’s textile art projects inspired by this year’s theme of recycling and created in part of the 2011 Museum-School Partnership. The celebration will take place on Saturday from 10am – 4pm and Sunday from 1-5pm. All ages are welcome.
Washington Folk Festival – Get folksy at Glen Echo Park this weekend. In its 31st year, the Washington Folk Festival will showcase the diversity of traditional music in Washington. All of the artists hail from the DC area, but cultures from around the nation, as well as the world, will be represented through music, dance, crafts, and stories. The public is invited to enjoy the festival that is renown in the folk community Saturday and Sunday from 12-7pm both days. Admission is free.
Imagination Bethesda – On Saturday from 11am – 4pm, join the Bethesda Urban Partnership to celebrate children, art, and all things fun at the 17th annual Imagination Bethesda. Where Woodmont Avenue meets Elm Street, activity tents will line the streets, face painters will bring butterflies and pirates to life, and a stage of live entertainment will have the whole street dancing. Activity details and the entertainment line-up are available on the Imagination Bethesda website.
Summer in the City – Outdoor concerts, a children’s garden and more ongoing seasonal fun has begun in DC. From Jazz in the Garden on Friday evenings to open swim at local pools to play time at the Botanic Garden, this post has the scoop on where and when you can experience the joys of summer.
Bear Awareness Days – The National Zoo is hosting two days of fun, family programming all about bears. Enjoy special keeper talks and animal demos, learn about the bears of the world, and find out how to stay safe around local bears. Kids of all ages can help bear-proof a campsite, share what they love about bears, sneak a peek at our bamboo shed, and even bring their own teddy bear for a check-up. This free program will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 2pm. View a schedule of activities on the National Zoo website.
The Time is Still Ripe – Strawberry fields may not be forever on DC area farms, but they’re still yielding fruit for now. This may be the last weekend to harvest your own — if you plan to go, this list includes farms offering pick-your-own opportunities.
Family Night Out at the Theatre – 1st Stage Theatre at Tysons Corner presents a special family performance of “Jack and the Bean-Stalk” on Saturday at 6pm. The brand new adaptation of the classic fairytale just opened last weekend and will run through June 19. Tickets are $15 and available for purchase online.
National Trails Day – The first Saturday of every June is National Trails Day. Celebrate it this weekend by taking a family hike. For some ideas on where to go, see this post about good walks in the woods with the kids.
Click, Clack, Moo – On Sunday at 3pm, the Alden Theatre in McLean presents a new musical based on the Caldecott Award-winning book by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. All day long Farmer Brown hears “click clack moo, clickety clackety moo…” The cows are typing and protesting their working conditions! When his granddaughter Jenny comes to visit, Farmer Brown declares the farm a “tech-free zone.” The hilarious musical is all about negotiation and compromise. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Tickets are $12, $8/McLean residents.
Best in Shows – Along with the above-mentioned plays, there are several more performances to see around the area, including A Year with Frog and Toad, which is in its final weekend at Adventure Theatre. Find out what else is on stages this weekend — see this post for live entertainment options for the family.
Sunny Days – The weather forecast is looking good for at least part of the weekend. Bask in the sunshine and have a good time with help of this list of great places to enjoy a beautiful day outdoors with the kids.
Rainy Days – Let’s hope you won’t have to use this, but if the skies should open up this weekend, these ideas for rainy day recreation will come in handy.