Late October is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s a combo of the crisp, cool weather, brilliant hues of fall foliage, anticipation of Halloween, and myriad events and activities hailing it all. These next few days are no exception — there are plenty of family pursuits happening that fit right into that formula. Happy Weekend!
Halloween Jump Start – Trick or treat at the Zoo, decorate skulls at the National Museum of Health & Medicine, take a train ride through Maryland woods. If your little monsters are ready for a scream, these are just some of the events happening this weekend to get the Halloween party started. This KFDC post has details on all of them.
Jump Off! – Join the National Children’s Museum at Watkins Regional Park on Saturday from 12-4pm for the 4th Annual Jump Off! Designed to inspire children to be physically active while having fun, the event will feature free, outdoor exhibition performances by nationally renowned Double Dutch jump rope teams along with numerous family-friendly activities. Highlights will include performances and workshops by Jump Off! Veterans, special guest appearances by The Washington Mystics representatives, music and live entertainment, giveaways and promos; Frisbee decorating (while supplies last), and parachute play with NCM staff. Admission is free.
Go Euro – Performances representing 27 countries in the European Union are part of the four-week festival presented by the French-American Cultural Foundation. See Cool Frogs at the Kennedy Center, Irish dancing at La Maison Française, Czech films at AFI, a puppet show at CHAW, and more cultural productions throughout the weekend. See the Kids Euro Festival schedule for specifics.
Fall at Mount Vernon – Mount Vernon welcomes the autumn season with Fall Harvest Family Days that include wagon rides, wheat treading in the 16-sided barn, 18th-century dancing demonstrations, a straw bale maze, farrier (blacksmithing) demonstrations, apple-roasting, corn husk dolls demonstrations and early-American games and music. Guests can also get a view of the estate from the water – Potomac River sightseeing cruises are half-price during this weekend event. Fall Harvest Family Days take place Saturday and Sunday from 9am – 5pm and are included in regular estate admission $15/adults, $7/ages 6-11, free for children 5 and under.
ARTdays at CHAW – The series presenting art and cultural adventures for families has several performances on the line-up on Saturday. Catch a Kids Euro Fest performance at 10:30am and 12:30pm, as puppet performer Juha from Finland takes the all-ages audience to Finnish Lapland with his show “Off to Lapland.” Later in the day, from 4-5:30pm, get your percussion on at “Get Down With Your Rhythm Self,” a community drumming circle that welcomes all beats, experience levels, and ages. All ARTdays events are free.
Show Time – There’s even more live entertainment to enjoy on stages all over the area. Dr. Wonderful and her dog are having some amazing adventures at the Kennedy Center, Alladin is still trying his luck at Imagination Stage (and Certifikid has a deal on tickets for Sunday shows), and marionettes are entertaining Tiny Tots at The Puppet Co. Playhouse. Get time and ticket details on these performances and more in this KFDC post.
Woof Walk – Here’s an event for the whole family, including Fido. To promote dog walking as an easy and enjoyable way to get up, get out, and get moving, THE POWER OF PETS™ by Mars Petcare and the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington is hosting a community walking and family fitness event for dogs and their owners on the National Mall (near the Capitol Hill Reflecting Pool) complete with free activities. On Saturday from 10am – 2pm, there will be a 2K community dog walk, a question and answer session with a Banfield Pet Hospital veterinarian, doggie and kiddie obstacle courses, fitness demonstrations, arts & crafts, bounce house and face painting, music and a dance party, and healthy snacks for pets and people. Register online.
Arts for Families: Make an African Mask – The Textile Museum is hosting its monthly program for families on Sunday from 2-4pm. Explore the many cultures of Africa and the rich history of mask-making. Create your own mask using cardboard, paint and raffia, combining elements and features from the human, animal and spirit worlds. Paint clothes are suggested. This free activity is recommended for ages 5–12. No reservations are required.
Friends Community School Fair – On Sunday from 12 – 4pm, join the FCS community for their annual Fall Fair. There will be a haunted house, an obstacle course, a moon bounce, books and toys for sale, and plenty of good food. Friends Community School is a small Kindergarten through 8th grade Quaker school that welcomes students of all beliefs. The fair will take place at the school – 5901 Westchester Park Drive, College Park, Md.
Last Call for Merriment – It’s the final weekend of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, the annual faire that recalls medieval times with a village full of fun and entertainment for the whole family. Partake in it all on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30am – 7pm. One-day tickets are $19/adults, $16/seniors, $9/kids ages 7-15, free for children 6, and are available at the Box Office each day. For more info about Ren Fest, see this KFDC post.
Celebrate the Season – Fall festivals are still going strong at area farms and other venues – a friend just let me know that American Plant in Bethesda has a super cute set-up for little ones, including a straw maze, a small haunted house, plus free popcorn and cider. The Cabin John Shopping Center is also hosting a fall shindig from 1-3pm that will include hay rides, scarecrow making, face painting, balloon art, and more. And for a big list of places where you can embrace the autumn spirit, see this KFDC post.
Walk in the Woods – How about hitting the trail to enjoy the autumnal color spectrum? This KFDC post has a bunch of recommendations for good places to hike with kids.
Out & About – If you want to get outside without committing to a long walk, check out some of The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors With the Kids.