1. The Nats’ home opener was supposed to be today — the first game at Nationals Park since they became the World Series Champions. 😞 If your kids (and you) are also missing our home team and the start of the season, they can get a Nats fix another way: The Nationals have created content especially for young fans offering free, online educational activities for kids in grades 1-6, including STEM lessons, reading resources, and fun pages. Also, look for instructional baseball videos and cooking demos from Nationals Park Executive Chef Tim Jones soon!
2. Tonight at 7pm, tune in for Goodnight with Dolly as Dolly Parton begins a weekly series of reading bedtime stories for children. And that’s not the only wonderful thing she’s doing right now.
3. This past weekend, our family joined Watson Adventures’ Family Trivia Slam and it was a blast! It was part trivia challenge and part home scavenger hunt, as we competed virtually against other teams. It’s being offered on weekends all through April — Saturdays at 11am and 1pm, and Sundays at 1pm. Cost is $45/team (and you can join with friends in other places), and it’s recommended for ages 8 and up. I so want to reveal more about it, but I don’t want to give too much away. If you’re looking for a fun activity indoors this weekend, I highly recommend! Sign up here.
To infinity and beyond… Yayoi Kusama’s art will return to DC this year
Some people make New Year’s resolutions, I make new… plans. (Well, mental notes for plans, anyway.) I like to take a look ahead at the coming year, see what new and exciting things are on the horizon, and put them on my radar to, hopefully, enjoy at some point — and, of course, share with the KFDC community. Which is just what I’ve done here. With this new year comes many opportunities for awesome experiences. Here are 10 that I think will be especially appealing to DC families. Happy 2020!
1. National Children’s Museum | Late January
The much anticipated reopening of the redesigned and newly-located museum especially for children is slated for the end of January. And if the sneak peek back in the fall is a good indicator of what’s to come, it sounds like the wait will be worth it. There will be STEAM-focused exhibits and creative play spaces, with the Dream Machine, a three-story climber and slide, as the centerpiece. This will all be easily accessible right downtown at Woodrow Wilson Plaza, next to the Ronald Reagan Building. I’ll, of course, keep you posted on opening specifics as more details are released.
2. The Lane | February
How I wish something like this existed when my kids were younger! Opening in February, The Lane Social Club will be a place where families — kids and parents — can hang. And by hang, I mean engage in active play, partake in special programming, throw birthday parties, enjoy good food or a drink, and make new friends. This is all the brainchild of two local moms, Rachel and Molly, who decided to make their yearning for a venue like this a reality. I’ve had a chance to spend some time with them, and can tell you that 1) They have thought of all the details 2) You’ll want to include them among those new friends. The location is in Ivy City near the new Target. Look for more info about the opening soon!
Get ready to welcome back the World Series Champions!
3. Nationals Baseball Season | March – October
Rooting for our home team isn’t a new thing, but cheering them on as the World Series Champions is — and it definitely adds some extra excitement to the anticipation of the Nats baseball season. Sure, the roster has changed a bit (we miss you, Tony!) but most of the squad is returning, and there are a couple of new players to watch out for. Plus, I’ve always recommended a day at the ballpark as a fun way to enjoy family time together. While Opening Day is March 26, the first home game this year isn’t until April 2. You can view the whole schedule here, and as you’re planning for game days, be sure to check out these KFDC tips first.
4. Yayoi Kusama Returns to the Hirshhorn | April 4 – September 20
Three years ago, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibition at the Hirshhorn was the hot ticket to score. The presentation of five infinity rooms — immersive installations that transformed small rooms into boundless wonderlands with brilliant, imaginative sculptures and mirror-lined walls — caused quite a frenzy among art enthusiasts, Instagram fiends, and what seemed like everyone else, for that matter. I, personally, had mixed feelings about it — I loved the art, but wasn’t super keen on the viewing experience. This spring, some of Kusama’s works, including two infinity rooms, are coming back to the museum for an exhibit called One with Eternity. This time, there will be no advance tickets, just same-day passes. Fingers crossed it will be easier to get them!
5. Planet Word Museum | May 31
I am so intrigued by and excited for this opening! With a mission to “inspire a love of words and language,” the museum promises immersive exhibits and magical experiences to demonstrate how words and language help shape our lives. According to the website, there will be all kinds of word play opportunities (that go well beyond your crosswords and Scrabble) — create a marketing campaign, give a famous speech and watch it, hear authors read from their books, join songwriting and storytelling classes, and more. Details for visiting aren’t yet available, but I’ll be sure to share when they are!
6. Hamilton Revisits the Kennedy Center | June 16 – September 20
If you missed seeing the award winning Broadway smash when it was here in 2018 (like I did) and still have yet to see it anywhere else (like me), you have another chance this summer. Hamilton will be back at the Kennedy Center for a three-month run. Tickets will go on sale in the spring, and tip: Kennedy Center members always get first dibs at a selection of tickets (though this didn’t do me much good last time, as there was an online glitch and I got booted out of the system before finishing my purchase… but I’m not throwin’ away my shot to try for them again). It’s recommended for kids ages 10 and up, so be sure to take that into consideration and get some feedback if you’re hoping to bring children younger than that.
7. The Bard at the Building Museum
This year’s Summer Block Party at the National Building Museum is presented as a partnership with the Folger Shakespeare Library. Shakespeare’s Playhouse will feature an Elizabethan-inspired outdoor stage, designed by a team from the University of South Carolina, in the cool comfort of the museum’s Great Hall. Guests will be able to engage in Shakespearean activities, like stage combat, during the day, and in the evenings, there will be performances of the enchanting A Midsummer Night’s Dream. (PS: If you think Shakespeare and kids don’t mix, think again! Read about some of our experiences with it here and here.)
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival brings international art and culture to DC every summer
8. Smithsonian Folklife Festival | June 24-28, July 1-5
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is far from a new event to DC, but I’m including it here because after being shortened to a weekend last year, it will return to its regular, longer 10-day run. I always recommend checking out the festivities on the National Mall during that time, because they’re always a fantastic celebration of living cultural heritage, showcasing different regions around the world through hands-on activities, performances, demonstrations, and exhibits for all ages to enjoy. And the great thing about the return to the long run is more opportunities to go. This summer, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates will be highlighted as well as the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon and Smithsonian Conservation Commons. Admission to all of it is free. Read about and get a glimpse of the 2018 festival here.
9. MLK Jr. Library Reopening | Fall
DC’s flagship public library closed in early 2017 to undergo a major renovation, and it will reopen this fall with loads of modernized features. Newly designed spaces include an transparent entryway, large auditorium and conference center, creative spaces for the arts, a ground level café with a patio, an interactive children’s space, and more. And like all of our public libraries, there will be programming to go along with it, with plenty of it especially for kids. MLK Jr. Library is located in Penn Quarter at 9th and G Streets NW.
10. Presidential Election | November 3
So, this is more an ongoing event for 2020 even though the actual election isn’t until November. It also reaches well beyond DC, but it’s always especially interesting and exciting (and stressful) to be here during the race for the White House. Kids all over the country learn about our government and politics, but here in DC ours practically have front row seats for it. For a related activity, take a tour of the U.S. Capitol. And as we head into the election year, note these important dates: DC primaries are June 2, Maryland primaries are April 28, and Virginia primaries are March 3. Be sure to vote — and bring your kiddos along!
What are you looking forward to most in the coming year? Leave a comment and let us know!
There have been some pretty exciting Nats games lately, and we’ve been lucky to be there for some of them. Like that franchise record-setting 25-run doozy against the Mets last week… wowza! When the the kids and I were on our way to the game, I actually gave them a heads-up that we’d probably be leaving early, since 1) they had camp the next day, 2) it was supposed to rain, and 3) they were playing the Mets (sorry, Mets fans). But when we were up 7-0 after just the first inning, I had a feeling we’d be sticking around longer, and indeed we stayed through the rain and all nine innings for one awesome display of baseball.
Anyway, we have four tickets for the match-up against the Braves this Wednesday evening that we can’t use, and I would love to give them away to some KFDC reading Nats fans. So, I thought a quick giveaway would be fun. And, hopefully, whoever wins gets to enjoy some thrilling baseball action, too!
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Giveaway: For a chance to win four tickets (section 133) to see the Nationals vs. Braves this Wednesday, August 8, 2018, at 7:05pm, simply leave a comment telling me your favorite baseball moment this season. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run until Tuesday, August 7, 2018, at 8pm, then a winner will be picked and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!
Winterfest, the Nationals’ event of the offseason, will again feature two days of baseball and holiday fun at the Washington Convention Center on December 16 and 17! Open to fans of all ages, guests can enjoy holiday and baseball-themed activities and interactive events, meet and greet their favorite Nationals player and coaches, take a photo with Santa and the Racing Presidents, enjoy their favorite ballpark concession, tackle any last-minute holiday shopping, and much more!
Activities for younger fans include:
· Clinics with Nationals players and coaches
· Home Run Derby viewing, featuring the Nationals mascots
· Snow fort building
· The steal home challenge and batting practice
· A winter or baseball-themed story read by a Nationals player
· Kids Press Conferences
· Sign ups for 2018 season Jr. Nats Kids Club memberships
· Rides down The Slider, a giant slide reminiscent of a sledding hill
· The “Video Pitch,” where fans can give virtual batters their best pitch
2016 Nationals Winterfest
Tickets may be purchased in advance ($39/adult, $25/child, free for children 2 and under) with prices increasing at the door. Once inside, all attractions are free of charge (except purchasing items such as merchandise, food, and beverage). Tickets must be purchased separately to each individual day. You can also try to win tickets for the whole family through the giveaway below!
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Giveaway: For a chance to win five tickets (2 adult, 3 children) to Nationals Winterfest for Saturday, December 16, 2017, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite Nats player. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too! This giveaway will run through December, 12, 2017, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!
Surely, you guys know by now that we are fans of the Nats — and Nationals Park. I discussed it in a very early KFDC post, include ballgames in Weekend Round-Ups whenever they play at home, have endorsed the Jr. Nationals Kids Club for years, and know it all well enough to have plenty of tips for spending less on a day at the ballpark.
For us, catching a game at Nationals Park is an excellent way to spend a family day out. Not only is it a blast to watch the action on the field and enjoy fun in the stands, there are all kinds of programs and ballpark amenities that cater to kids. And even though we’re halfway through the season, and I mention these from time to time, here’s a round-up of all the features especially for families to help plan a day at Nats Park.
Kids Run the Bases
All kids ages 4 through 12 have the opportunity to run the bases after Sunday home games – throughout the season. Jr. Nationals MVP members have access to an exclusive line that will go onto the field first (more info below). Weather permitting, subject to change.
Little Owen runs the bases after a Sunday Nats game
Tickets: Harris Teeter Family Fun Pack
Available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season, the pack includes a game ticket, hot dog, chips, Coca-Cola/Dasani beverage, and fans save up to 36% on a meal and game ticket!
Jr. Nats Kids Club
For all kids ages 12 and younger, the Jr. Nationals Kids Club, presented by Harris Teeter, is a great way to enjoy Nationals baseball. The Jr. Nats MVP Membership is just $20 for all fans ages 4-12! Benefits include:
* Membership Card and Lanyard, Coupon Book and Passport, MVP Book Bag, Exclusive Jr. Nats Baseball Cap, MVP Baseball Seam Bracelet
* Three Nationals Team Store Coupons
* One Welcome/Birthday Scoreboard Message
* One Promotional Item
* One FREE Meal at any NatsDog Stand
The Jr. Nats Rookie Membership is FREE for all fans ages 4-12! Benefits include a Membership Card and Lanyard, Special Meet and Greet Opportunities, and Exclusive Email Offers.
Family Fun Area
Children are invited to visit this kids-oriented play area inside Nationals Park, located inside the Right Field Gate, adjacent to the Team Store. Here guests will find a jungle gym and other activities suitable for kids.
Nationals Main Team Store
The Nationals recently modernized the Main Team Store in Center Field Plaza to create a better shopping experience for fans. The Nationals expanded the collection of available merchandise, including the Kids Section, which now includes products from Majestic Kids.
At Rookie’s (Food for the Little Slugger), the younger generation of Nat’s fans can get Jr. Nats Dogs, Uncrustables™, and Kids Meals. Located in Section 142.