Tag Archives: Winter 2015

Fall into Winter with a Cool Line-Up of Live Entertainment

Audiences will be "spellbound" by Akeelah and the Bee at Arena Stage

Audiences will be “spellbound” by Akeelah and the Bee at Arena Stage

The weather might be cooling down, but local venues are heating up with all kinds of productions for young audiences. Dramatic plays, concerts, musicals, superhero stories, monster truck battles, ice skating extravaganzas, puppet shows, dance performances, and basketball magic are among the amazing line-up of entertainment currently on stages or coming soon. (And I’ve included a couple of grown-up recommendations!) Which ones will you be saving seats for?

Where: Arena Stage
When: Through January 3
Tickets: $64 and up (look for discount tickets)

Charles Dickens’ unforgettable characters burst to life in this Tony Award-winning musical. Artistic Director Molly Smith’s new in-the-round staging blends the chaotic worlds of 19th-century Victorian London with 2015 London and infuses a modern edge to the classic story about an innocent orphan thrown into the dark world of double-dealing thieves and conmen. Bursting with jubilant songs, including “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two,” “Consider Yourself,” “Where is Love?” and the scrumptious “Food, Glorious Food,” the show will serve up a musical feast for the eyes and ears that will have every theater-lover calling out for “More!”

Akeelah and the Bee
Where: Arena Stage
When: Through December 27
Tickets: $40 and up (look for discount tickets)

Based on the beloved film, Akeelah and the Bee tells the story of an independent 11-year-old girl whose razor-sharp mind just might take her all the way from the Chicago projects to the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Owen and I saw this show, and we both thought it was fantastic! The performances are so good, you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what happens. School-aged kids and older (including adults) will love it.

A Year with Frog and Toad
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through January 10
Tickets: $15-35

The hit Broadway and Tony Award-nominated musical inspired by the acclaimed children’s books, Frog and Toad, is a holiday classic! Two best friends with completely opposite personalities wake up from hibernation, and enjoy hilarious and heartwarming adventures through the seasons. When Frog learns that Toad doesn’t receive mail, he quickly writes him a letter and asks the Snail to deliver it. Several uproarious Vaudeville vignettes ensue in which the friends go swimming, fly a kite, bake cookies, tell scary stories, and go sledding down a steep hill. Will the Snail successfully complete his journey to deliver the letter and a smile to Toad?

Kiss Me, Kate (grown-up suggestion!)
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Through January 3
Tickets: $20-118 (look for discount tickets)

It’s “another opening of another show” with Kiss Me, Kate, American musical theatre’s greatest tribute to the Bard. As they try to stage a musical version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, sparks fly on and off stage between Fred Graham, the show’s director and star, and Lilli Vanessi, his leading lady—and ex-wife. Add to the mix passionate young lovers, ingénue Lois Lane and her gambler boyfriend Bill, plus a few musically inclined gangsters’ heavies, and the result is a sharp and witty night with some of Cole Porter’s most immortal tunes. (I saw this recently, and thought it was immensely clever and entertaining!)

Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Through January 3
Tickets: $20

This adorable production brings many children’s (and adults’!) favorite books to life on stage! In Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!, a vaudevillian romp of a musical, Elephant Gerald and Piggie sing and dance their way through plenty of pachydermal peril and swiney suspense facing fundamental questions like what do you wear to a fancy pool costume party? Should you share your ice cream? And how can two friends play with one toy? Backed by nutty backup singers, The Squirrelles, our duo even gets the audience involved in the action. So get ready for a musical experience ripped from the pages of your favorite books! Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

Boogie Babes
Where: Angelika Pop-Up, Eastern Market, & The Atlas
When: Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for siblings 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at the Angelika Pop-Up (behind Union Market) on Wednesdays, in Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday, AND at The Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the Markets or hit one of the many eateries on the H Street Corridor.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Most Saturdays & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre
When: Most Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

Performances for Children
Where: Publick Playhouse
When: Ongoing
Tickets: Vary by show

The Playhouse in Riverdale, MD regularly presents plays, concerts, puppet shows, and more live entertainment for young audiences, often on weekday morning and at lunchtime — perfect activity for little ones and caregivers! Visit the website for the full calendar.

Where: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop
When: Through December 29
Tickets: $10-20

This new adaptation for young audiences follows a marionette’s wild adventures in becoming a real boy. Five actors bring Carlo Collodi’s classic tale to life is a flurry of masks, music and merriment! Our hero is always getting himself in and out of scrapes, running into colorful characters, and trying his best even at his worst. Bring the whole family as the Faction of Fools Theatre Company combines bold theatricality with this fantastical story of foxes, fairies, high-strung puppet-masters and underwater beasts.

Bright Star (grown-up suggestion!)
Where: Kennedy Center
When: December 2 – January 10
Tickets: $45-175 (look for discount tickets)

From Grammy and Emmy winner Steve Martin and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Edie Brickell comes a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. (I already have my tickets for this — Steve and Edie’s musical collaborations are so good!)

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer’s 30th Annual Winter Family Concert
Where: Seekers Church, – 276 Carroll St. NW
When: December 5, 11am & 1pm
Tickets: $12/advance, $15/at door

Join GRAMMY award winning duo Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer for their 30th Annual Winter Family Concert. Master Storyteller and Grammy® winning songwriter Bill Harley will share the show with the dynamic duo. Bring the whole family and get ready for silliness and full out musical fun! Cathy & Marcy are also teaming up with Comfort Cases, a local non-profit that helps foster kids in transition. Bring a cool new pair of pajamas for kids 6-10 and receive a refund for 1 ticket per family to the show.

Seussical the Musical
Where: NextStop Theatre
When: December 4-20
Tickets: $25

Bring the whole family along for this musical spectacular featuring all your favorite Dr. Seuss characters! Oh the thinks you will think when you see the Cat in the Hat’s magical tale of Horton the Elephant on his journey to protect the Whos and guard an abandoned egg. Featuring a cast of young actors in 3rd through 11th grades plus artists from NextStop’s professional company, Seussical will entertain adults and kids of all ages.

Marvel Universe Live
Where: Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore
When: December 10-13
Tickets: $10-15

This live Superhero story is framed around the battle over the Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe. The Cosmic Cube has been shattered into pieces by the Mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

How to Catch a Leprechan
Where: The Keegan Theatre
When: December 12-27
Tickets: $15 (look for discount tickets)

Based on the familiar Irish folktale, How To Catch a Leprechaun follows the comical adventures of the wistful minstrel Riley O’Really, who really wants to catch a leprechaun. He’s got everything he needs for his trap: a pair of sharp eyes, a good Irish folk song in his heart and, most importantly, an irresistible pitcher of green lemonade. The wee leprechaun who Riley catches seems more than willing to give up his pot of gold – but is his offer a leprechaun trick or a leprechaun treat? Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Wheaton Family Theatre Series
Where: Wheaton Public Library
When: Select Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

Wheaton-based educational theatre company InterAct Story Theatre is launching the new Wheaton Family Theatre Series this fall! The first season of the series, running from October 2015 through February 2016, features five performances and includes children’s theatre, storytelling, world music, and family literacy programs. Each program is followed by a post-performance arts and literacy workshop for kids and families.

Matilda the Musical
Where: Kennedy Center
When: December 15 – January 10
Tickets: $30-204

Based on the beloved novel by Roald Dahl, Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Wake Up, Brother Bear
Where: Imagination Stage
When: December 19 – January 31
Tickets: $14

This audience-favorite show is back from hibernation! Watch as Brother and Sister Bear experience a full year of glorious seasons. Together we see a waterfall melt, meet a butterfly, chase an elusive fish, and skate on an icy pond. Children are invited to join the action with a small bag of props that help create magical moments. Best for ages 1-5.

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Royal Farm Arena in Baltimore
When: December 26
Tickets: $23 and up

The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the Verizon Center in Washington, DC with their unrivaled family show, featuring some of the greatest athletes on the planet. With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Snow White
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: January 8-17
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

Encore Stage & Studio theatre by kids for kids brings a fairytale classic to the stage. Snow White is a young princess who lives with her jealous evil step mother, the Queen. When the Queen discovers that Snow White is the fairest of them all, the Queen devises a plan to continue her reign permanently. After being banished in the woods, Snow White happens upon seven new friends that give her a place to call home. The Queen disguises herself and brings a poisoned apple to Snow White. Will the Queen stop there? Find out in this musical adaptation of a bedtime classic. Recommended for ages 4 and older.

NSO Kinderclassics: Break it Down
Where: Kennedy Center
When: January 9
Tickets: $20

If you love to tinker, you won’t want to miss this high-energy concert, where they delight in dissecting the pieces and parts of music and instruments! Go early for the Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Starting one hour before each Kinderclassic, this hands-on activity in theHall of States gives children a chance to get up close with the instruments they’ll see played on stage, from violins and trumpets to oboes and flutes.

Planet Hopping
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: January 14-15
Tickets: $3-6

Puppetry duo Belle et Bête and kindie rock powerhouse Lunch Money are your intergalactic guides for a one-of-a-kind adventure in space science. Original music, puppets, and elaborate video projections featuring real NASA footage help tell the tale of a young pilot and her robot sidekick as they travel the solar system. Soar among the stars as you explore the mysteries of the planets and the importance of friendship and family. Recommended for ages 3-7.

A Wrinkle in Time
Where: Alden Theatre
When: January 16
Tickets: $15 ($10 for MCC district residents)

On a dark and stormy night, the eccentric Mrs. Whatsit arrives at the home of Meg Murray, a tomboy who doesn’t fit in at her high school. Meg’s scientist father vanished over two years ago, under mysterious circumstances. Aided by Mrs. Whatsit and her friends, Meg and her gifted brother Charles Wallace are transported through time and space on a mission to rescue their father from the frightening forces that hold him prisoner on another planet. John Glore’s delightful, wildly theatrical adaptation brings this acclaimed story magically to life. Recommended for ages 7 and up.

Step Afrika! Step Xplosion
Where: Strathmore
When: January 17
Tickets: $25-40

Step up and enjoy the rhythm and artistry of Step Afrika! The percussive dance troupe puts on an electrifying show that unites music, dance, and storytelling to put forward an often overlooked aspect of American history.

Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: January 21 – 24
Tickets: $9

What is marmalade? Can it be cherry, figs, mint, upside down, together or inside out? Marmalade is a delicious, sensory performance about meeting, mixing and blending. Mira and Viktor taste and feel in poetic movements and circus actions in an exquisite and visual experience where the audience is invited to join in the experience. Marmalade looks at the world through body, eye, feeling and taste in a room with fluffy skirts, soft circus and Fellini music. Perfect for ages 2-6.

Where: The Puppet Co.
When: January 21 – February 21
Tickets: $10

A life-size marionette version of Carlo Collodi’s classic children’s tale, created in the 1960s by the father of the Puppet Co.’s co-founder, Christopher Piper. This production has been completely refurbished and adapted for the Puppet Co. stage. Performed in Hollywood and Hawaii, critics hailed the production as “A Masterpiece!” and raved, “The underwater ballet alone is worth the price of admission!” Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Succotash Tales
Where: Discovery Theater, Ripley Center
When: January 27-28
Tickets: $3-6

With her captivating voice and dancing hands, master storyteller Diane Macklin draws inspiration from the heritage of West African storytelling. From trickster tales to fables of friendship, her delightful performances celebrate the richness of traditions and folklore. Recommended for ages 5-10.

OLIVÉRio: A Brazilian Twist
Where: Kennedy Center
When: January 30 – February 21
Tickets: $20

A spunky girl on the streets of Rio masquerades as a boy to look for her mother, only to discover a new kind of family, in this world premiere musical inspired by Charles Dickens’s classic novel and featuring original songs and music. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

Jack and Phil, Giant-Slayers, INC.
Where: Imagination Stage
When: February 3 – March 13
Tickets: $12-30

In this contemporary, tongue-in-cheek adaptation of the classic fairy tale, Jack is a sporty, popular kid whose mother is facing foreclosure on their house. Jack enlists Phil, his smart yet nerdy neighbor, to accompany him to a pawnbroker to trade in his Grandfather’s gold watch for quick cash. Instead, the boys are paid in magic beans, and soon enough, a beanstalk grows tall with golden eggs, a harp, and a Giant’s home waiting at the top! After discovering the treasures, Jack becomes an overnight TV sensation, but his failure to acknowledge Phil’s help threatens the boys’ friendship, and very nearly leads to disaster when the Giant decides to come down from the beanstalk. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Disney on Ice: Treasure Trove
Where: Verizon Center
When: February 10-15
Tickets: $15 and up

Get tangled up in Disney’s 50th animated feature with Rapunzel and Flynn and enter the worlds of your favorite Disney princesses; set sail on an adventure beyond Never Land; trek the wilds of Africa with Simba and friends as they discover the true meaning of the ‘Circle of Life.’ And don’t be late to a very important date with Alice & the Mad Hatter. It’s a show full of Disney treasures to remember.

James and the Giant Peach
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: February 12 – April 4
Tickets: $19.50

When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion which results in a tremendous peach – and launches a journey of enormous proportions. Featuring a wickedly tuneful score by the TONY Award-nominated team of Pasek and Paul and a curiously quirky book by Timothy Allen McDonald.

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage
Where: Warner Theatre
When: February 13
Tickets: $42 and up

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage brings 50 years of Star Trek to concert halls for the first time ever. This lavish production includes an impressive live symphony orchestra and international special solo instruments. Experience the franchise’s groundbreaking and wildly popular musical achievements while the most iconic Star Trek film and TV footage is simultaneously beamed in high definition to a 40-foot wide screen.

The Uncle Devin Show
Where: Discovery Theater, Ripley Center
When: February 18-19
Tickets: $3-6

Are you ready to make some noise? Everybody’s favorite musical uncle returns and invites young audiences to hear and play a world of percussion instruments in this show. Through all the bang-up interactive fun, kids also learn why percussion is the easiest, oldest, and most diverse form of musical creativity. Recommended for ages 2-6.

Mary Poppins
Where: CenterStage at the Reston Community Center
When: February 19 – March 12
Tickets: $25/adult, $20/student

Look who’s flying in to the CenterStage! You won’t need a Spoonful of Sugar when Mary Poppins arrives! Lovable chimney-sweep, Bert, introduces us to the troubled Banks family in 1910. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before the Practically-Perfect Mary Poppins teaches the children how to value each other again with a little common sense and their magical adventures! Even grown-ups can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that Anything Can Happen If You Let It. Mary Poppins is an enchanting mixture of irresistible story, unforgettable songs, breathtaking dance numbers, and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious stagecraft!

Beauty and the Beast
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: February 25 – April 10
Tickets: $10

A romantic tale of a handsome prince, and his love, Beauty, set in a great forest in old Russia. There are curses, conflicts, hopes, wishes, dreams, and exciting adventures, all the things that make a happy ending that much sweeter. Imaginative settings and beautiful costumes support this large-scale marionette version of the classic love story. Winner of a Citation of Excellence from the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionette, it has played successfully to children and families nationwide. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: February 26 – March 6
Tickets: Vary by performance

Kicking off the Atlas Performing Arts Center 10th Anniversary, the Atlas Intersections Festival 2016 brings the best of DC arts and artists to the stage and H Street with performances, experiences and happenings in theatre, dance, music, vocal, choral, opera, visual arts, video, film, writing, sculpture, photography, circus, spoken word, public art, community art, and art space activation. And this includes entertainment that all ages will enjoy. See the schedule for details.

Monster Jam
Where: Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore
When: February 26
Tickets: Start at $20/adult, $10/child

The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into Baltimore. Grave Digger, Max-D, Monster Mutt Dalmatian, Scooby-Doo, Zombie, El Toro Loco, NEA, and Monster Mutt Rottweiler are among the vehicular beasts you’ll see tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Treasure Island
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: February 27 – March 6
Tickets: $15/adult, $10/child

What starts as a mystery turns into an adventure in an Encore adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel. Young Jim Hawkins leaves a dull life to search for where “X” marks the spot on a treasure map left behind by an old sea captain. Jim meets a slew of thrill seeking sea farers as he hopes to find the treasure before any pirates do. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

The Laurie Berkner Band
Where: Lincoln Theatre
When: February 28

The Laurie Berkner Band was Owen’s first concert when he was about two years old, and the show was just as fun as her catchy songs. A legend in the kiddie rock world, she’s bringing the good time to the U Street venue, and it’s bound to sell out, so get your tickets soon!

NSO Family Concert: Let’s Remix the Classix!
Where: Kennedy Center
When: February 28
Tickets: $15-18

What would the classics sound like with a hip-hop beat? Join Grammy-nominated beatboxer and multi-instrumentalist Christylez Bacon and electric cellist/composer Wytold for a crash course in the fundamentals of remixing! Go early for a Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo,” when young concertgoers can get up close and hands-on with the instruments they’ll see played on the stage. Stay after for Kids’ Chat to ask question and hear stories from the concert artists.

Space Bop
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: March 5-12
Tickets: $9

Journey to the musical cosmos in Arts on the Horizon’s world-premiere piece for babies and toddlers, Space-Bop! Drawing on a little one’s early love of light and vocal play, Space-Bop takes place under the starry sky and features a GRAMMY®-nominated hip-hop artist and beatboxer, a Chaplinesque hero, and the endearing denizens of outer space, like a pinwheel comet and a glowing star. In Arts on the Horizon’s signature multi-sensory, nonverbal style, Space-Bop invites our youngest audience to look up at the stars, have a giggle, and dream along with the hip-hop beat. Best for ages 0-2 and their families.

Boxes, Boxes, Boxes!
Where: Imagination Stage
When: March 8 – April 10, 2016
Tickets: $14

Originally Written and Directed by Natasha Holmes, Tell Tale Hearts Company, UK
Two friends use their imaginations to build bridges, birds, a train, a plane, and even a castle from cardboard boxes. Jump inside the world of a child’s imagination! Performances are followed by a “free play” session, allowing the audience to build their own creations, using props from the show!

Josh and the Jamtones: Jammin’ at the Smithsonian
Where: Discovery Theater, Ripley Center
When: March 10-11
Tickets: $3-6

This Boston-based trio serves up a full-of-fun show that’s jam-packed with energy. You’re guaranteed to be dancing and singing along as they blend roots/reggae/ska stylings, feel-good pop, folk punk, country ballads, New Orleans-style street music, and family-friendly improv comedy into a sensational ball of kids’-music awesomeness!

NSO Teddy Bear Concert: The String Thing
Where: Kennedy Center
When: March 12-13
Tickets: $15-18

Ladies and gents, tots and teddy bears, step right up to this daring double act of classical fun! Bassist Paul DeNola and violinist Heather LeDoux Green take a break from the NSO to introduce young audiences to some of the greatest music ever written. Go early for “Musical Playtime.” Starting 45 minutes before each Teddy Bear Concert, enjoy music and movement activities especially designed for small children.

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Verizon Center & Eagle Bank Arena
When: March 18-20
Tickets: $23 and up

The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the Verizon Center in Washington, DC with their unrivaled family show, featuring some of the greatest athletes on the planet. With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Where: National Theatre
When: March 15-20
Tickets: $48-93

The world’s best-loved musical returns in time-honored form. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin and choreographed by Liza Gennaro, this production of ANNIE will be a brand new incarnation of the iconic original. Featuring book and score by Tony Award®-winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, ANNIE includes such unforgettable songs as “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” plus the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

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Filed under All ages, Date Night, DC, Discount, Fall, Free, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: March 16-20

Plan on some fun at the Palisades playground

Plan on some fun at the Palisades playground

Monday – Wander around the beautiful grounds, play in the Children’s Garden, and enjoy a mild almost-spring day outdoors at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Md. The park is open sunrise to sunset, the Visitor Center 9am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Tuesday – Discover a DC “secret” in Upper Northwest. Amid a small wooded area at Palisades Park is The Glass Forest, an enchanting collection of sculptures made from natural and scrap materials — it’s truly a must-see! Be sure to make time to romp on the playground while you’re there. Admission is free.

Wednesday – Head to the Kennedy Center to experience Iberian Suite: global arts remix, a festival celebrating the art and culture of the Iberian Peninsula. Art exhibits and installations, crafts and games for children, multi-media presentations, and performances are all among the offerings to enjoy through March 22, many of them for free. Pop-in for the exhibits and kids’ activities, but check the schedule for performance details.

Thursday – Catch a performance of Blossom’s Rainbow at The Athenauem in Alexandria. Arts on the Horizon’s latest production for the kiddie set infuses whimsical dance, vibrant color, and live music as it takes the audience on a journey with a young cherry blossom. Showtime is 10:30am, and tickets are $8.

Friday – Get creative at a National Portrait Gallery Open Studio Friday session. All ages are welcome to explore a different art medium each week with all kinds of fun projects. Drop in anytime from 1-4pm. Admission is free.

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: March 14-15

Get in your last DC skate of the season this weekend

Get in your last DC skate of the season this weekend


There are so many things to love about this time of year: The much anticipated change in weather, the earliest sprouts of spring, a reason to drink green beer (and drink it outdoors), the lead up to March Madness (go, Terps!). Even better, with it all comes a host of events and activities that let us enjoy everything even more. This round-up, packed with local happenings, is proof. Happy Weekend! (PS – Something to keep in mind: The Rock’n’Roll Marathon is Saturday morning, so be sure to check road closures before you attempt to drive or take the bus in DC.)

Later, Skaters
Where: Local Ice Rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

This weekend is your last chance to hit the ice al fresco. Our local outdoor ice skating rinks (that are still open) are closing for the season after this weekend. See this post listing them all for details on where you can glide ‘neathe the sky one last time this winter (and note that Canal Park is already closed).

Shop and Celebrate
Where: 529 Kids Consign at Hollin Hall
When: Friday, 6-8pm
Admission: Free

The high-end consignment shop in Hollin Hall will celebrate their first-year milestone, and the boutique is inviting all to come join the celebration. Stop in for sweet treats, drinks, door prizes from local businesses, and15% off all full-priced items. The party also marks the official launch of the store’s original kids art collection, and artist Cindy Wallace of lovinarte will be in attendance as she introduces her kids line described as colorful, whimsical, and bold.

DC St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Constitution Ave. from 7th to 17th Streets NW
When: Sunday, 12pm
Admission: Free

Find a spot on the curb along Constitution Ave. between 7th to 17th Streets NW to watch the 44th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade roll through the city. Floats, marching bands, Irish dancers, bag pipers, members of the police and fire departments, and other entertainment will be part of the celebratory procession.

Smudge! Comics Arts Expo
Where: Artisphere
When: Saturday, 12-6pm
Admission: Free

It’s a showcase of independent comics that will inspire attendees to become storytellers themselves. The second annual Smudge! Comics Arts Expo will feature tons of fun activities for both children and adults. Browse and buy comics and comics-related art in the Artisphere Ballroom, then step into the Black Box Theater for a variety of presentations. After that, try your hand at making comics during an hour-long workshop or at the MAKE SOMETHING! area, which will feature button-making and comics-drawing all day.

A Wild Birthday Bash
Where: Patuxent Research Refuge
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the birthday of the National Wildlife Refuge System at the Patuxent Research Refuge on Saturday. Activities will include live animal viewing, children’s crafts, hikes, live music, and much more. The Refuge’s National Wildlife Visitor Center is located off of Powder Mill Road, 2 miles east of the Baltimore/Washington Parkway, just south of Laurel, Md.

Women in Aviation and Space
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Bring the whole family to the Chantilly arm of Air & Space to learn about the incredible contributions of women in aviation, science, and aerospace. Enjoy hands-on activities, guest speakers, stories, and more flight-themed fun.

Pi(e) Day
Where: Maryland Science Center
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Admission: $18.95/adult, $15.95/child

The annual celebration of all things circular at the Baltimore children’s museum will feature activities, demonstrations, and experiments — all in honor of the mathematical symbol for the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Visitors can stuff their faces in a pie eating contest (with pies provided by Dangerously Delicious Pies), explore how to draw the perfect circle, and recite as many digits as they can in the pi recitation competition, and more.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Wiley and the Hairy Man is in its final weekend on the Imagination Stage (look for a deal on tickets)
* And Blue just opened at the Besthesda theatre
* Arts on the Horizon presents Blossom’s Rainbow at The Athenaeum on Sunday
* Jon Spellman’s Tall Tales is this week’s free Saturday Morning at the National show
* Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp are entertaining audiences at The Puppet Co. at Glen Echo Park for the final weekend
* And Clowning Around is the featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theatre
* Bari Koral is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java

Iberian Explorations
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Through March 22
Admission: Free

Iberian Suite, the festival celebrating the cultures of Portugal and Spain includes exhibits, performances, food demos, workshops and more through March 22. Drop in anytime to view the art (many works that kids will find cool, too), crafts and games for children, and to explore Iberian culture through theatre, dance, or music performances — several will be taking place over the weekend. See the schedule for details.

Gaithersburg St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Washingtonian Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: Free

The city’s 15th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will include both traditional Irish performances and classic parade pageantry. Celtic dancers, bagpipes, marching bands, clowns, firetrucks, and more will make their way through town.

Go for a Spin at RIO
Where: RIO Washingtonian
When: Sunday, 11am
Admission: $3 per ride

The new carousel at RIO Washingtonian in Gaithersburg opens for the season with a special celebration on Saturday. Along with spins, enjoy live music, face painting, balloon art, samples from RIO restaurants, and specials from merchants. (Note: This was originally scheduled for Saturday, but postposed for a day due to weather.)

All Aboard for a Model Train Open House
Where: Historic Vienna Depot of the W&OD Railroad
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Admission: Free

Chug on down to Vienna to watch model train and trolley activities that realistically depict an actual railroad that existed in North Carolina in the 1950′s, the Western North Carolina (WNC). Every hill, town, building, locomotive, rail car, and industry in this layout is modeled after those places and things as they looked in that era. Well, almost everything. To satisfy popular demand, expect an occasional sighting of Thomas the Tank Engine (and a few of his friends) chugging around among the bigger steam and diesel locomotives. The Vienna Depot is located at 231 Dominion Road NE in Vienna, Virginia just down the street from the red caboose. Check out a virtual tour.

NOVA Mini Maker Faire
Where: South Lakes High and Hughes Middle Schools
When: Sunday, 10am – 5pm
Admission: $15 advance or $20 at door/adults, $5 advance or $8 door/child

This family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness is a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making and share what they are learning. Ranging from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers, Makers are of all ages and backgrounds.

American Girl Fashion Show
Where: Sheraton Pentagon City
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Ticket range is $35-50

The Junior League of Northern Virginia (JLNV) will be hosting its 2nd Annual American Girl Fashion Show®, “Styles of Today and Yesterday,” March 14-15, 2015, at the Sheraton Pentagon City (900 South Orme St., Arlington, VA). This fun-filled event for girls and their families, friends and favorite dolls celebrates the experience of being a girl throughout history through a colorful presentation of historical and contemporary fashions. Attendees at each show will enjoy elegant refreshments, enter to win door prizes and learn how clothing has changed over the years to reflect history, culture and girls’ individual styles.

Great Adventures
Where: Freer | Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Embark on a voyage across China, Japan, India, and the Middle East. This drop-in workshop offers a guided tour and hands-on activities related to The Traveler’s Eye. All ages are welcome, but it’s recommended for ages 8–14 with adult companions.

Music Together
Where: William Penn House
When: Saturday, 9am, 10am, & 11am
Admission: $20/family

Support the scholarship fund of Toddlers on the Hill, a Montessori learning experience on Capitol Hill, by bringing your children to a 45-minute Music Together class with Mr. Steve Leroy and Ms. Libby Quaid. Fun for the whole family, the classes include songs, rhythmic rhymes, movement and instrument play developmentally appropriate for kids ages 0-5. All proceeds going towards the scholarship. Advanced registration encouraged, not required. The William Penn House is located at 515 East Capitol Street SE.

Good Deeds Day
Where: Three locations (see below)
When: Times vary by location
Admission: See the website

Being kind to animals can happen on Good Deeds Day and any day when you join the JCC’s PJ Library to take part in this special project. Make items to donate to animals in local shelters as well as a birdfeeder to take home and feed the birds in your backyard. Please bring old T-shirts to use to make the items for the shelters. This will take place in Fairfax at Gesher Jewish Day School (4800 Mattie Moore Court) 1–1:50pm and 2–2:50; in Rockville at the JCCGW (6125 Montrose Road) 1:30–2:30pm, and in the District at the DCJCC (1529 Sixteenth Street NW), 10-11am

Nowruz Festival
Where: John Carlyle Square Park
When: Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate Persian culture as hundreds of Persian-American artists, musicians, singers, dancers, and traditional players assemble to ring in the Nowruz, the Persian New Year in Alexandria. Along with the live entertainment, more than 75 vendors will be offering traditional foods, jewelry, crafts, books ,and other traditional products – all in a family-friendly environment.

Climb On
Where: ClimbZone
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $25/ages 6 and up, $12/5 and under

The new indoor climbing center in Laurel lives up to the hype! Kids and adults will have a blast scaling the many colorful, whimsically-themed climbing walls. Get the full scoop on what to expect there in this recent post about our experience there.

Think Outside
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

After the dreary winter the mid-Atlantic has endured, we all owe it to our souls to get out and relish in warmer temps and sunshine. The round-up of the Best Places in the DC Area to Spend a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids is full of ideas for al fresco adventures.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: March 9-13

A giant caterpillar encounter in the Insect Zoo at the Natural History Museum

A giant caterpillar encounter in the Insect Zoo at the Natural History Museum

Monday – We’re supposed to get some glorious weather, so get out and do something — anything! — to savor it. Pick from this list of the best places in the DC area to enjoy the day outdoors with the kids. And I recommend waterproof footwear, because even though the air is warm(er) and dry, the ground will still be soggy.

Tuesday – Visit one of DC’s tried and true for kids: The National Museum of Natural History. With exhibits to indulge all kinds of interests, you really can’t go wrong. Gawk at the beasts in the Hall of Mammals, hold live creatures in the Insect Zoo, learn about early humans, watch an IMAX movie, and be sure to take advantage of FREE entry on Tuesdays to the Butterfly Pavilion! (Tip: Get tickets when you arrive, since entry is timed, and yours may not begin right away.) Admission to the museum is free, but films are $9. The museum is open 10am – 5:30pm.

Wednesday – Pick & Paint some pottery at Jimmy Potters Studio and Workshop. Visit the website in advance to book a session at either the Fairfax location (open 11am – 7pm) or Arlington studio (open 3:30-6:30pm). Cost depends on the project.

Thursday – Join a class especially for preschoolers (ages 2-5) at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens. Explore a new mansion room or garden each week through make believe, art projects, and imaginative play. During the three-session Treasure Quest series, children will enter a world of wonder as they hunt for hidden gems, gold, and magnificent treasures that glitter and sparkle. The series is $30 per child with one accompanying adult, or you can pay $12 per class ($10/members). Classes are 10:30-11:15am on March 12, 19, & 26.

Friday – Take your tot to a kiddie pop concert at Discovery Theater’s Jammin’ at the Smithsonian series. Children’s entertainer Bari Koral will perform a creative blend of music and movement that’ll get the audience on their little feet. Showtimes are 10:15am and 11:30am. Tickets are $3-8.

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Filed under All ages, Art, Class, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Nature, Outdoor, Virginia, Weekdays, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: March 7-8


What could have been a dreary snow day stuck inside the house turned out to be one of the most memorable and fun times had this winter. Yes, we joined the much publicized sled-in at the Capitol yesterday. And while we didn’t spearhead the charge (thanks for that, Tim Krepp and Lyndsey Medsker!), it was a thrill to join friends and neighbors for a stand-up-(or would that be slide down?)-for-what-we-believe-in moment, a perfect, lighthearted way to show our kids that, in some instances, it’s okay to question the rules. And as we all share stories, images, and videos of our children from local and national new sources covering the feel-good story of the week, I’m reminded why I love this city so much. (All that said, I still can’t wait for the sun and slightly warmer weather that’s coming along with these recommended activities.) Happy Weekend!

Intersections Festival
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by Performance

It’s the final weekend of the Atlas Performing Arts Center’s 6th annual festival of the arts, and there will be several performances and activities for the entire family to enjoy: Sunny and Licorice from Arts on the Horizon, a free Boogie Babes show, a performance by Pace Setters Dance, a theatre and percussive dance show from The Phenix, free cafe concerts on Saturday, and even more. Visit the Intersections website for show times, descriptions, and ticket info.

When: Sunday, 3pm (reception at 4pm)
Admission: $15

Join The Washinton Ballet for the recently launched series, theNEWmovement: rising stars of The Washington Ballet Studio Company featuring TWB’s Studio Company, an aspirant dancer group poised to become the dance stars of the future. Sunday’s one-hour program of funky, fancy and energetic choreography will feature music by Jay-Z, “musical explorer” Debruit, and scores taken from classics including Peter Pan, The Nutcracker, ALICE (in wonderland), Swan Lake, and Giselle.

An Anniversary for Abe
Where: Lincoln Memorial & Washington Monument Grounds
When: Saturday
Admission: Free

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address with activities that honor the 16th POTUS. See a reenactment of the event at the Lincoln Memorial during a ceremony from 9:30-11:30am. Then enjoy family activities highlighting life in Washington during the Civil War. The Washington Monument grounds will be the scene of four activity stations from 12-5pm that will explore different aspects of life in the capital city during the war.

Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: Old Town Alexandria
When: Saturday, 12pm
Admission: Free

Celebrate the Irish holiday a a bit early in Old Town Alexandria. Pre-parade festivities begin at noon, and the annual procession kicks off at 12:30pm at Alfred and King Streets, then winds through Old Town, showcasing elected officials, Irish Ambassadors, military commanders, scout troops, high school bands, and local celebrities.

Show Time
Where: Local Theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

* Encore Stage & Studio’s production of The Three Musketeers opens this weekend (look for a deal on tickets)
* Wiley and the Hairy Man is on the Imagination Stage (look for a deal on tickets)
* Into the Woods is also at the the Bethesda theatre
* Catch a performance of Petit Rouge, A Cajun Red Riding Hood at Adventure Theatre (look for a deal on tickets)
* Happenstance Theatre’s The Maestro is this week’s Saturday Morning at the National show
* Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp are entertaining audiences at The Puppet Co. at Glen Echo Park
* And Dragon Babies is the featured Tiny Tots show at the puppet theatre
* AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse is playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java

Are You Ready for Some Futbol?
Where: RFK Stadium
When: Saturday, 3pm
Admission: Ticket prices vary

The DC United kicks off the new season at home with a match against the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon. Right now, you can get a Home Opener Bundle, which includes a tickets + an Adidas beanie for $25. And if you need to catch up on the local soccer scoop, check out the DC United website for a refresher.

Journey to Space
Where: National Air & Space Museum
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $9/adult, $7.50/youth

Go on a 3D adventure with NASA at the Air & Space Museum’s newest IMAX movie! Journey to Space 3D lets you travel with the astronauts to explore the outer limits. See how they prep for missions and live and work in space. Learn about the importance of the International Space Station. And discover what NASA and the space community are working toward now.

Recreation on Ice
Where: Local Ice Rinks
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

The weather might not be a good indicator, but the ice skating season is quickly winding down. The next week is your last chance to glide at many local outdoor rinks (a couple have already closed for the season). If you want to get in some double axle practice, work on your speed skills, or just make a few leisurely rounds on the ice, see where you can do so in this post listing local rinks.

Persian New Year Celebration
Where: Freer | Sackler Gallery
When: Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm
Admission: Free

Dance, play, and feast your way into the Persian New Year at the Freer and Sackler Galleries. The museums’ seventh annual Nowruz celebration features free attractions for all ages, including “fire” jumping, storytelling, face painting, calligraphy, crafts, a photo booth, games, and more.

Kids in the Kitchen
Where: YMCA National Capital
When: Saturday, 10am – 2pm
Admission: Free

The Junior League of Washington is hosting their annual spring event that showcases ways kids can eat smart and make healthy lifestyle choices. Enjoy a fun-filled day of games, crafts, hands-on learning, and exciting prizes – all to celebrate and promote nutritional literacy. Local chefs will present healthy cooking demos, fitness experts will lead kids in high-energy exercise sessions, and certified nutritionists will be on hand to answer questions. The Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Mobile Dental Van will also provide free dental screenings for kids up to age 12.

STEM Symposium
Where: The Nysmith School
When: Saturday, 9am – 3pm
Admission: Free, registration requested

This all-day free event will include exciting exhibits, inspiring speakers, and panel experts who will highlight just how vital it is to engage parents, students, teachers, corporate/government execs and non-profit representatives alike in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education and careers. Activities for the day will include hands-on experiments for children, government and industry exhibitors, student science fair projects and panel discussions with STEM stakeholders. Attendees will also be able to find information about government and industry STEM-related high school and college internships. The Nysmith school is located at 13625 EDS Drive in Herndon, Va.

Portrait Story Days & Discoveries
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday, 1-4pm & Sunday, 2-5pm
Admission: Free

Drop in at the Portrait Gallery to listen to a story about Susan B. Anthony and complete a hands-on activity. The story is usually read at 1, 2 and 3pm on Saturday and at 2, 3 and 4pm on Sunday. When you’re done there, pick up a Portrait Discovery Kit to explore the museum. For more about the program, see this post about one of our experiences there.

The Ins & Outs of DC
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

Along with special events suggested above, DC is full of mainstay attractions that are just as exceptional as the one-off happenings. Looking for ways to stay active and entertained, yet still warm? Then The Great Indoors post, a list of over 60 ideas for places to go inside, should have you covered. And if you find exploring in the cool air exhilarating, The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids, has a bunch of recommendations, too.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Seasonal, Sports, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter