The second week of summer break was Sasha’s week. Owen had just left for his first sleep away camp adventure (a whole wonderful experience I’ll hopefully touch on more sometime), and I wanted to have a week of quality time with my girl before she started a session of Adventure Theatre’s acting camp (a whole other wonderful experience that I highly recommend).
It was a nice week of both planned and spontaneous activities, as well as some low key hanging out. We caught a performance of Jumanji, got pedicures, went on bike rides, hit the pool, lunched at Shake Shack, visited the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, popped into the Postal Museum… mostly things we’d done and enjoyed before.
But one new adventure we had was a trip to Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. I’d been there for a wedding years ago, but had never visited with the kids. Which is kind of a shame, because it’s a great place to get in touch with nature and do some outdoor exploring close in to the city.
The 40-acre property is home to the Audubon Naturalist Society, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation and education. The grounds are open to the public and free to roam daily.
It’s perfect for hiking excursions with little ones, with easy trails that wind through the woods and through open meadow-y spaces. Wildlife sightings are plentiful — we saw deer, frogs, chip munks, small fish, and, of course, lots of birds. There is a look-out to climb for better viewing and a small pond where you’ll find some creatures, too. A few exhibits like a bird feeding area, bees nests, and a composting station are worth checking out. And when tired little legs need a break, there are plenty of benches and nice, peaceful seating areas around.
Stop in the gift shop to pick up a map before you begin your hike, or just park in the lot and wander — it’s not so big that you won’t find your way. And if you want to get guided tour, you can join a Family Nature Walk with a Master Naturalist the first Saturday of the month from 9-10am.
Woodend Nature Sanctuary is located at 8940 Jones Mill Road in Chevy Chase, MD. The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk, and admission is free.
Owen takes a whirl on the Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park
My invitation must have been lost in the mail. So, I did the next best thing and woke up at a ridiculously early hour to watch Wills and Kate tie the knot this morning. What can I say, I’m a sucker for the fairytale. If you, too, are on this side of the pond and looking for some fun with the kids over the next few days, you have plenty of excellent options. Happy Weekend!
Go Terps! – I’m not giving this event first mention in the weekend round-up just because it’s my alma mater. The top rec is well-deserved, as Maryland Day is a fantastic event for families. On Saturday, the University of Maryland is hosting a huge open house for, well, everybody. “Explore Our World” is the this year’s theme of the annual fair, and guests will be able to do that and then some. There will be loads of activities for kids, including learning games; caricature drawings; arts & crafts; a shark teeth dig; puppet shows; animal, insect, and instrument petting zoos; and much more. Experience it all from 10am – 4pm.
Family Day Festival at Glen Echo Park – Celebrate the seasonal opening of the park’s beautiful Dentzel Carousel on Saturday from 11am – 4pm. Along with rides on the merry-go-round ($1.25/ride), there will be loads of activities for all ages. Magic shows, dance performances, arts & crafts, face painting, photo exhibits, and balloon animals are just some of the festivities guests can enjoy. The full schedule of events is available of the Glen Echo website.
Georgetown French Market – The 8th Annual Georgetown French Market returns on Friday and Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Book Hill’s signature European open air market will feature over 30 Georgetown boutiques, antique shops, restaurants and galleries, art and antique home furnishings. The event also features strolling musicians and mimes, children’s activities, live music and French cuisine from Georgetown cafes and restaurants. Visit the website to download a schedule of events and list of participating shops.
South Mountain Creamery Spring Festival – Take a ride out to the country and experience farm fresh hospitality at South Mountain Creamery’s annual festival. Both kids and adults will enjoy an inside look at where their food originates. There will also be lots of farm fun for all ages — take on a hayride, feed a calf, listen to music, and more. Admission and cool breezes are free. BBQ, ice cream, drinks, etc. are available for purchase. Hours on Saturday are 10am – 5pm, on Sunday 11am – 5pm.
Modern Mobiles Family Workshop – Learn about public art, engineering, and balance while constructing your very own mobile to take home. This program will begin with a special exploration of the Museum’s exhibition Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s. Recommended for ages 6 and up. Admission is $10/members, $15/non-members.
Get Out – This weekend’s forecast is looking perfect for some time outdoors with the kids. Check out this list of places where you can savor the sunshine.
Forest Friends Festival– Head to Cabin John Regional Park on Saturday for a day of nature exploration and enjoyment. Discover some of the critters that live in the park, climb trees (with ropes & tackle), take bucket rides to the tree tops, do some arts & crafts, chck out a plant sale, and more. The event runs from 12 – 4pm, admission is $5.
The Launch Zone Turns 2! – The National Children’s Museum is celebrating the second year of the Launch Zone, and you’re invited to join in the fun. The party will be held at the National Harbor on Saturday from 11am – 4pm. Guests can enjoy a magic show, birthday hat decorating, face painting, rain stick making, party favors, and more. Magic shows will take place at 12pm and 2pm. And several Launch Zone neighbors will be offering free treats and special discount in celebration. See the website for more info.
Family Day at Ford’s Theater – Enjoy the theatre’s latest production, “Liberty Smith” and a special family day on Saturday that ties into the musical’s Revolution Era setting. Read more about the play and the event and find out how to get a discount on tickets in this post from last week.
Show Time – There’s a variety of live entertainment to enjoy this weekend. For details on what’s playing, see this post about what’s on stage this spring.
Learn to Skate! – On Saturday, kids ages 6-10 are invited to attend Let’s Move! Learn to Skate!, where they can enjoy an interactive lesson in healthy habits, watch a figure skating exhibition, and get lesson in ice skating themselves. This is all hosted by local Girl Scout Komi Tinkelman who is working to earn her Gold Award. The event will take place at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel, MD, from 2-5pm.
Healthy Kids Happy Hour – Who’s up for happy hour? The Heights, a neighborhood restaurant in Columbia Heights, is hosting a few hours of fun for kiddos on Sunday, and they’re doing it with an emphasis on healthy eating. Guests can look forward to mocktails and smoothies along with carnival-style fun, including face painting, balloons, game and prizes, and snow cones. Healthy food will be the main fare, but there will be a few treats as well. Enjoy it all for free from 4-7pm.
Audubon Nature Fair – Celebrate spring with the Audubon Society and the Washington Revels on Sunday from 11am – 4pm at the Woodend Nature Sanctuary. Guests can enjoy hands-on nature fun, a rock climbing wall, Woodend Mansion tours, bird walks, and more. There will be entertainment by The Banjo Man, Scales and Tales, and the Wildlife Ambassadors. The event is free for kids 12 and under, $5 for adults.
Nats vs. Giants – The Washington Nationals are hosting the San Francisco Giants this weekend, including two afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are still available for both, and on Sunday kids can run the bases after the game. Purchase tickets through the Nationals website or at the Box Office on game day.
Cinco De Mayo on the Mall – Get festive a few days early with the Maru Montero Dance Company on Sunday from 12 – 6pm. The organization is hosting its annual FREE National Cinco de Mayo Festival to celebrate Latin American dance, music and crafts. Live performances will include salsa, Mexican folk dancing, mariachis, and other dance and music. The children’s pavilion will host arts and crafts activities where young people can make piñatas, braid hair, build dancing puppets, and enjoy a day of fun activities. For more info, see the festival website.