One of the DC area’s best summer traditions for families begins this week! Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, Wolf Trap’s outdoor theatre series for young audiences, features a fun, engaging lineup of diverse acts. And, true to its name, this all transpires under the leafy canopy of the Wolf Trap National Park woods, tall trees encompassing the amphitheater adding some extra magic to the shows.
Performances span the entertainment spectrum, from puppetry to storytelling to music to dance to theatre. Sing along with Lisa Loeb, laugh and groove with the Story Pirates, be awed by the street dance crew Fly Dance Company, rock out with The Not-Its!, get excited about science with wacky Mr. Molecule, and much more!
You can catch performances Tuesday through Saturday mornings at 10:30 am from June 21 through August 6. Tickets are $8-12, and children under two enter free of charge. All ages are welcome, though most performances are geared toward children 3-6 years old. Purchase tickets online, by calling 877.WOLFTRAP, or at the Box Office.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.
With all of the hoopla over the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic a few weeks ago, Owen became one of the obsessed. The intrigue began when he saw promos for some of the Titanic shows airing on Nat Geo Wild (his favorite channel these days), so we recorded Rebuilding Titanic and have watched it at least 10 times since.
Needless to say, it’s been on my to-do list for awhile to take Owen to the Titanic: 100 Year Obsession exhibit at the National Geographic Museum. So, when he had a day off from school earlier this week, we headed over to feed his fascination (mine, too, actually… and not just because of my unremitting Leo crush).
It was apparent as we walked in that it was going to be one dynamic exhibit. Covering the ship’s complete history, from construction to completion, its demise to the search for remains, its discovery to continued exploration, Titanic is presented in a variety of interesting displays. Some are as simple as tacked up documents — a letter confirming a voyage on the fated ship or a first-class dinner menu — while others use modern technology to tell her story, making for an engaging and interactive experience.
Past meets present as iPads display old photo images
What’s especially interesting is how it’s all integrated throughout the exhibit.You can view old video footage of the ship and photos on an iPad with a timeline of Titanic’s history. Old photographs of the ship’s interiors and a wall adorned to emulate the first-class decor are displayed in the same area as a video of Titanic director James Cameron discussing the ship.
Details of the Titanic model
A model of the bow as it looks now
Larger displays include an 18-foot model of Titanic, complete with tiny lounge chairs on deck; replicas of a lifeboat and life jackets that were used in the movie; a reconstructed Marconi Room, where the ship’s communications took place; and a model of the bow discovered on the ocean floor. All were designed with remarkable detail.
Owen particularly enjoyed the interactive displays. A Morse Code station, back-to-back desks set up with systems to transmit signals included a list of codes that we could actually send for the other person to decipher. We also spent a good amount of time at a digital interactive table searching for the ships ruins, then walking along an image of the ship’s bow projected onto the floor, each step highlighting 3-D images of an area.
Searching for artifacts
There are some eerie parts to the exhibit, too (not that a whole exposition dedicated to 100 years of obsession over a sunken ship and thousands of lost lives isn’t kind of eerie in itself). To learn about how the communications officer ignored messages about icebergs from other ships because he was sending telegrams for first-class passengers was disturbing, as was the timeline of distress calls after disaster struck.
A short video featuring Bob Ballard, an oceanographer who was part of the team that found the ship’s remains, chronicles the search and discovery of the sunken vessel. And later, James Cameron, who has continued to conduct his own explorations, walks viewers through a digital depiction of the ship’s final moments in another video at the end of the exhibit.
A video about the ship’s final moments
On the way out, a wall is lined with movie posters of all the films about the Titanic. And the “parting shot” is a ship’s bow, where guest could climb aboard for their own “King of the World” moment. Owen and I decided to skip it; somehow, it seemed more apropos for Leo and Kate.
Titanic: 100 Year Obsession is on exhibit at the National Geographic Museum through September 9. The exhibition is included in museum admission: $8/adults, $6/members & military, $4/ages 5-12, free for children under 5. The museum is open 10am – 6pm daily.
Monday – Drop in for story time at your local library, or just go to check out books. See this old post from awhile back for a little background and quick links to libraries around the area.
Tuesday – As this post goes live, the forecast says there’s a good chance of rain just about every day this week, so explore nature indoors at a nature center. Most have live animals to visit, interactive exhibits, and hands-on activities for kids. And if weather does permit, there are miles of outdoor areas to roam, too. The Natural Capital blog has a great list of area nature centers along with a map depicting their locations.
Wednesday – See a show especially for little ones as The Puppet Co. Playhouse presents Old MacDonald’s Farm as this week’s Tiny Tots production. The lights stay on and doors stay open during these performances for the youngest audiences. Showtime is 10am. Tickets are $5 for everyone, including babies.
Thursday – Rock out at Discovery Theater as they present Shine and the Moonbeams as part of their “Tot Rock: Jammin’ at the Smithsonian” series. Showtimes are 10:15am and 11:30am. Tickets are $3-6.
Friday – Visit the U.S. Botanic Garden, where there’s plenty to enjoy both indoors and out. Tour the plant collections, and be sure to stop in the “Plants in Culture” exhibit where little ones will have fun sniffing the aromas of various plants and learning about their everyday uses. And if it’s a nice day, kids can flex their green thumbs in the outdoor Children’s Garden, where they can play in a miniature house, plant flowers (when available), and pump water. Also outdoors is the National Garden, where you can stroll among the roses and other plants, run through a grassy area, sit in the small amphitheater, and relax by the lovely fountain. Pack lunch to eat at one of several tables there or head over to the Mitsitam Cafe at the American Indian Museum across the street.
Monday – Get a dose of nature and history in one fell swoop at Roosevelt Island. Hike the easy trails, look out for wildlife, and explore the Memorial Plaza to learn about the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt. The entrance to the park is located right off the GW Parkway, just past the Rooselvelt Bridge. It’s accessible only from the northbound lanes. If weather doesn’t permit, find an alternative activity here.
Tuesday – Attend Mommy & Me (& Daddy Too!), the Rockville Town Square’s free monthly program for kids. Storytime, interactive movement, arts & crafts, and merchant sponsored activities are part of the active learning and creative play. The free program runs from 10am – 12pm on the third Tuesday of every month. UPDATE: This event as been rescehuled to May 22 due to the weather forecast. Again, go here for a huge list of ideas for indoor fun.
Wednesday – Little ones can be a “scientist for a day” at the new, free Science + You exhibit housed in the Foundry Lofts right across from the Yards Park. Find out what to expect there in this post from last week.
Thursday – Take your pick of the many farms now open for the season to gather your own strawberries. Just about all of the places offering pick-your-own opportunities are now welcoming visitors to their fields. See this post for a list of them.
Friday – Join the dance party at the Atlas on H Street as the Boogie Babes present Bridgette and Dawn. Showtime is 10:30am. Admission is $5/child, free for siblings 6 months and under.
Checking out an exhibit at the Potomac Overlook Park Nature Center
Monday – Go strawberry picking! Schlagel Farms in Waldorf, Md, always begins their pick-your-own season ahead of other area farms, and their berries are ripe and ready now. Fields are open daily 8am – 7pm.
Tuesday – Combine story and play time at the National Building Museum’s Building Zone. The Book of the Month program is back with readings of A House for Hermit Crab followed by an art activity at 10:30am & 11:30am. Admission is $3, and entry is timed, with guests admitted every hour.
Wednesday – Experience the Suprasensorial exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum before it closes in a couple of weeks.
Thursday – Explore and play at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington. We went for the first time recently and had a blast on the playground, in the nature center, and visiting rescued birds. Not-So-SAHM, who we ran into there, also has a nice review of the park.
Friday – See Adventure Theatre’s newest production Five Little Monkeys, recommended for children of all ages. As this post goes live, seats are still available for the 10:30am show. Tickets are $18.