Monday – Go see the dinosaurs at the National Museum of Natural History. If you haven’t been to the recently reopened David H. Koch Hall of Fossils-—Deep Time (or even if you have), it’s a must-do. The exhibition is full of skeletal beasts plus hundreds of smaller prehistoric remnants and cool installations that present 3.7 billion years of life on Earth. Of course, plan for time to explore the rest of the museum, too! I always recommend the Insect Zoo, where kids love opportunities to hold live creatures and the Hall of Human Origins where they can see what they’d look like as a Neanderthal in a special face morphing photo booth. The museum is open 10am – 5:30pm, and admission is free.
If you have time for another museum on the National Mall (or want to enjoy an evening activity), stop by the National Gallery of Art, where The Life of Animals in Japanese Art exhibit is in its final week! It’s on view through August 18 and open until 8pm. Admission is free.
Tuesday – Head north to Charm City for a time trip through Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry. The Inner Harbor attraction highlights the trades and people that helped build the port city. It’s full of fun and interesting exhibits and installations, many with hands-on elements, that appeal to children and adults alike. Hours are 10am – 4pm (Tuesday – Sunday). Admission is $12/adult, $7/ages 7-12, free for 6 and under. Look for a deal here.
Wednesday – Bring little ones to Canal Park for some Midsummer Magic. Shakespeare for the Young brings the entertainment to this week’s installment of the Kids in Canal series. The fun begins at 10:30am and lasts for an hour. After, head over to the dancing water fountains for a refreshing splash. Admission to all of it is free.
If you’re with older kids, enjoy some recreation on local waters. There are a bunch of places around the area to rent kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, and pedal boats. See this KFDC post for details of where you can go with the flow in DC. And check out one of our recent kayaking adventures here.
Thursday – Enjoy the day roaming the enchanting gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown. The grounds don’t open to the public until 2pm, but you can play at nearby Montrose Park or grab a bite to eat on M Street beforehand. I promise, it’s worth waiting for the afternoon visit. Admission is $10/adult, $5/child to the gardens, but there’s never an entry fee at Montrose.
Friday – Hang out in the trees at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring. Kids as young as 5 years old can experience fun and challenges on the ropes courses and ziplines in the park’s aerial adventure forest, the largest in North America. Hours are 9am – dusk, and admission is $12/age 5-6, $47/age 7-11, $56/age 12+. Read more about the Adventure Park here.
And if you’re looking for fun with littler ones (or a cheaper/free option), play the day away at Clemyjontri. The sprawing, vibrantly colored playground in McLean, VA, accommodates kids of all abilities with all kinds of climbing structures, swings, and other apparatuses that encourage activity and imagination. Hours are 7am to dusk, and admission is free.