Stroller Happy HourTwisted Vines, Arlington

Do you miss the old days of spending a nice relaxing happy hour with friends, chatting and catching up?  Well, who says that those days are over now that you have young kids?  Check out Stroller Happy Hour at Twisted Vines on Columbia Pike in S. Arlington!  OK, so it may not be as relaxing as it used to be, but you can still enjoy a glass of wine and hang with other parents while your kids enjoy toys, juice boxes, and kid friendly snacks.  The next one is Wednesday, January 19th from 3 – 5pm.  Don’t let the name fool you, you don’t need a stroller or babies to attend this happy hour.

Kids Happy Hour & Dance PartyThe Reef, Washington, DC

Held on Fridays, from 5 – 8pm, this is a happy hour for the whole family.  There is a huge dance floor, so children can dance away to fun kid friendly songs.  There is also yummy kid-friendly food, like mac-n-cheese and pigs in a blanket.  $1 off beer, wine, and liquor.

Stroller Happy Hour@ Blue Ridge Restaurant, Washington, DC

While closed for renovations now, they are planning to schedule more weekly Stroller Happy Hours when they reopen.  There are wine, beer, and cocktails specials, as well as special pricing on happy hour food.   There is also a fun kids menu.  Before closing for renovations, it was held every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Cupcake Happy Hour @ Sticky Fingers Bakery, Washington, DC

Do you have a sweet tooth?  Head to Sticky Fingers Bakery on the first Wednesday of the month from 5 – 8pm, and get cupcakes for only $2.

Do you know of another kid friendly happy hour?  Leave me a comment, and let us all know!


The weather this weekend is going to be mixed- sun and mid-50s on Saturday, and rainy and mid-60s on Sunday.  We all know about the big events- Cherry Blossom Family Day/Opening Ceremony (see my post, Cherry Blossom Tips & Activities for more info), and the Smithsonian Kite Festival.  Not up for those events?  There is still a TON to do this weekend.  Here are my picks:

  1. Go on an Egg Hunt– there are many options this weekend, like the Reston Community Center Eggnormous Egg Hunt or Kingstowne Easter Eggstravaganzza.  Check out my post for even more options!
  2. Bloomin’ Junior Ranger Activities – March 27, 10am-5pm  @ Tidal Basin Welcome Area, Maine Avenue, SW DC—- National Park Service rangers welcome kids age 6-12 to join them for free Cherry Blossom games and activities.  Th activities will include Japanese Origami and puzzles.   Visit the NPS site for additional info.
  3. Butterfly Pavilion–  National Museum of Natural History, DC—-  Walk in the butterfly pavilion and view live butterflies as they flutter around you. Adults are $6, $5 for children 2-12, and it is free for age 2 and younger (the rest of the museum is free).
  4. Visit the Alexandria Soft Playroom- Chinquapin Rec Center, Alexandria- The playroom is designed for children five and younger, with playzones filled with soft toys and activities.  Hours are 9am-5pm on weekends. Cost is $4 per child, per half hour.

We visited  the 14 acre Lacey Woods Park this past weekend, and have added it to our list of favorites! It is a great place for both older children and toddlers, with two distinct areas of playground equipment for each group.

Older Kid Area- There is a large twisty slide from the second level, two bridges, and numerous ladders and ways to climb.  There was also a zip line, which looked really fun.  However, there were not swings for this aged child.

Older Kid Equipment

Bridge to the Upper Level

Toddler Area- This area contains two small slides, a tunnel, and both narrow and wide stairs.  K loved the multi-colored lily pad stools leading up to one of the platforms.  K, of course, gravitated towards the older child area (that kid loves a challenge), but she also loved being able to be independent in the younger area.

Toddler Play Area

K Loves a Slide!

The Tunnel

There is also a large sandbox, a play house, and two baby swings.  The flooring for most of the playground was mulch, with some shingle-like tiling under the slides.

One of the Two Baby Swings

In addition to the playground area there is a basketball court, picnic shelters with charcoal grills, large grassy open space, a wooded area, as well as bathrooms in the warmer months with water fountains.  The trees will provide a lot of shade in the summer.

Parking: Street parking only

Fence: Fenced on the George Mason only, not on N. Frederick St.

We will definitely be visiting this park again!

View Larger Map of Lacy Woods location.

Lots going on this week…kinds of an up and down week in terms of weather- 70s one day, then 50s the next.  Here’s some options to fit the weather.

Monday, March 22

Babies and Backpacks, 10:30-11:30am

Long Branch Nature Center, Arlington, VA-   A short hike with your tot!  There are no strollers allowed but slings, frame carriers, etc are welcome.  Join a park naturalist and her child for a moderate hike around Long Branch Nature Center.  After the hike there will be time to hang out with some down time in the woods.  For more info on Long Branch, check out this post.

Tuesday, March 23

Barcroft Drop-off Program, 10am-12pm

Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center, Arlington, VA-   This is a great place to blow off some steam when the weather outside is not the best.  It is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-12pm. Cost is $3 per adult (free for members).  Check out my post on Arlington County drop-in programs for more info.

Wednesday, 3/24

Rocknoceros concert @ 10:30am

Jammin’ Java, McLean, VA-  Rocknoceros plays well-known kids songs and some original songs.  Cost is $5.  See the Jammin’ Java site for more info.

Thursday, 3/25

Baby Pictures, @ 9am

Fairfax Corner 14: Cinema De Lux, Fairfax, VA-   Movies for you and babies/ toddlers (under age two).  There are refreshments available in the lobby, diaper changing stations in the front of the theater, dimmed lights, and lowered volume.  It starts off with a complimentary play session, courtesy of Gymboree, with parachute play and singing.  These movies take place every other Thursday- Gymboree play starts at 9am, and the movie starts at 10am.  The cost is $6.25.  More info about Baby Pictures.

Friday, March 26

One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure, @ 10:30

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC- A 20-minute planetarium show that follows Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Elmo as they explore the night sky with Hu Hu Zhu, a Muppet from the Chinese co-production of Sesame Street.  Tickets available for FREE at the Albert Einstein Planetarium box office, and the show starts at 10:30.  National Air and Space Museum Site

The Alexandria St. Patty’s Day parade kicked off the St Patrick’s season last weekend, but there are still many more family friendly events leading up to the 17th.

Manassas St Patrick’s Day parade-Saturday, March 13 @ 11:00am

Old Town, Manassas, VA

The Manassas St. Patrick’s Day parade is in its 11th year.  The parade route will begin at Quarry Road and Prescott Avenue and continues south down Center Street through Old Town Manassas, ending at Center and West streets.

St. Patrick’s Day 8K Race, Sunday, March 14, 2010, @ 9:00am

Washington, DC

There will also be a 1K noncompetitive fun run called the Leprechauns Leap for kids. The fun run will start at the 8K start/finish line immediately after the 8K start. No registration is necessary, and there will be medals for all finishers.

Washington DC St Parade- March 14, @ 12:00pm

Washington, DC
The parade is known as the Nation’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and lasts 2 1/2 hours. There will be floats, marching bands, pipe bands, military, police, and fire departments. The parade will will proceed down Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17thStreets, N.W., in DC.

Clarendon/ Courthouse St. Patrick’s Day Parade– Tuesday, March 16, @ 8:00pm

Clarendon/Courthouse, Arlington
Because snow canceled the scheduled Mardi Gras parade, Clarendon moved the parade to a St. Patrick’s Day parade.  The parade route will begin at Wilson Blvd and Barton St and will make its way down Wilson, ending at the Clarendon Metro.  Many of the same floats planned for the Mardi Gras parade will be at this parade- there will be beads, costumes, and marching bands.

Everyone knows about the famous Smithsonian DC museums, but there are some lesser known gems in the DC metro area.  I am by NO means an expert, and have not yet had the chance to visit them all, although we are certainly trying!  Any additional kid-friendly museums that I missed?  I’m saving the Smithsonians for another post.

National Building Museum-

One of our favorite museums in DC!  The building itself is fantastic.  There is a wide open Great Hall, where kids can run free.  Kids can attempt to build a 7-foot tall arch using numbered foam blocks (MUCH harder than it looks).  A favorite of the toddler crowd is the Building Zone, designed for children aged 2 to 6.  There are many types of building materials, such as giant legos, magnetic tinker toys, and cardboard blocks.  There are also dress-up costumes, a large scale play house, building focused books, and much more.  There can be a line to get into the Building Zone, as there is a capacity of 40 children.  There are also “Family Tool Kits”  that help to bring the building to life for school-aged kids.

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

Family Programs- Swordsmen’s Rendezvous, Tea with Martha Washington, Easter Tea, Tavern Toddlers

Toddler Taverns-:  A special program for toddlers (walkers through 36 months) and their caregivers! Tavern Toddlers features a weekly open playtime in Gadsby’s historic ballroom Mondays, excluding Federal holidays, any time between 10:30 a.m. and noon. Themes change monthly. $7 for a group of three, which must include one adult, or purchase a 5 week pass for $30. Mondays, 10:30am, 12:00pm, Ages:   1 to 3  Cost:  $7/group of three

National Children’s Museum- Launch Zone at National Harbor

While the National Children’s Museum is being built (to open in 2013), the NCM opened the Launch Zone at National Harbor on Waterfront Street.   Open seven days a week, the Launch Zone is a place where children can participate in fun and educational programs related to the Museum’s core content areas.

Through the use of images, table-top interactive exhibits, and computer kiosks, NCM introduces select areas of the Museum, while soliciting feedback and input from constituents.  They also have a class focused on children ages 2-3- Wee Wonders’ Out of This World on March 9, 16, 23, at 10:00am- 11:15am.  According to the website, children will blast off into outer space in a rocket ship to explore the solar system like astronauts. Activities typically include stories, games, art, music, experiments, drama, and movement.  Fee: $10 per child. Pre-registration and advance payment (by check or credit card only) is required by the Friday prior to the event. Please call 202-675-4120 or email to register.

Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon has many fun things families and kids love to do.  There are baby animals in spring and summer, a 4-D theater with falling snow and rumble seats, and a hands-on history area where kids can play dress-up in 18th-century clothing, read books, and explore activity boxes and games. Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year and offers daily programs and special events throughout the year.

National Gallery of Art

Although the National Gallery of Art is not going to be very appealing to young children, kids will also enjoy the lighted underground concourse between the West Building and the East Building (with a huge suspended Calder).  Along the concourse, is a great cafe, a museum store with children’s’ section.  There is a waterfall sculpture against the glass wall.  There is also a class for children ages 4-7- Stories in Art.  This series of programs uses storytelling to introduce children to works of art. Led by museum educators, each program includes reading a children’s book, looking at one work of art in the galleries, and completing a simple hands-on activity.  This class is a free drop-in program is designed for individual families, first-come, first-served basis. For information, call (202) 789-3030.

International Spy Museum

The Spy Museum has many programs, workshops, demonstrations, and action-packed missions for mini-spies.  There are workshops on disguise, gadgetry, spy science, codes and ciphers; Spy Magic performances; Spies on Screen; Operation Secret Slumber overnights; and Spy camps are offered on a monthly basis.

Arlington library storytimes are a great way to beat the cold weather blues.  There are several to choose from based on age and language preference.

Tales or Tots
Tales for Tots is a drop-in program for kids two and under.  A librarian reads age appropriate books, sings nursery rhymes and songs, and illustrates books with a flannel board.  K and I have been to several Tales for Tots storytimes, and have had a great time.  A bit of a warning, some of the librarians are rather adamant that the children remain seated throughout the storytime.  For children under two, this can be REALLY hard.  While I understand the reasoning behind this desire (wandering children make other children want to wander), it is difficult if not impossible for a child of this age to sit still for the entire storytime.  When K gets restless, we just move to the back of the room.

Page Turners for Preschoolers

This storytime is the next level up-  ages two to five and accompanying adults.  According to the website, read-aloud techniques, songs, fingerplays, puppets, and flannel board tales will introduce children to listening skills, picture books, the library, and the joy of reading.  While we haven’t been to this specific storytime, I imagine that it is similar to Tales for Tots, just geared to an older audience.  Lots of singing and movement, as well as big picture books and flannel boards.

Stop in for Stories

This storytime program for children of all ages.  We really enjoy this storytime as well.  K loved watching the older kids, and it was a good experience for her to see their behavior, i.e. sitting still and active involvement.  The storytime is pretty similar to the Tales for Tots, with a mixture of older aged picture books.

Cuentos para niños / Stories for Children

A Spanish/English bilingual storytime for all ages, which uses a mixture of stories, songs, and crafts.

Check out the Arlington Public Library Preschool Storytime Site, as well as the Complete Schedule Jan-May 2010 for additional info.

What has been your experience with storytime in Arlington?

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