Falls Church

My daughter is mildly obsessed with Christmas lights, and I must admit that I am an enabler.  I’m a white light and garland kind of girl, but there is something fun about an absolutely tacky house.  It is dark so early these days that we are often in the car after the sun sets, and I’m constantly pointing out houses for her to check out.  I just love the intake of breath at each and every house.

Although she likes any kind of light display, I wanted to really blow her mind.  I asked our MOMS Club chat if they knew of any local displays that went overboard (in a good way).  I had some great responses.  The first that we checked out was 1610 N Abingdon St in Arlington.  It is fantastic!  You have to get out of the car to get the full effect.  There is a train set on the porch, a Santa and reindeer on the roof, and a tree with candy canes for the kids in the yard- plus tons more.  Totally over the top, but tasteful (a difficult combination).

Another mom posted about  Holly’s Tacky Christmas Lights.  Holly Zell, the creator of the site, takes pictures of the tackiest light displays in the area, primarily focusing on Fairfax County.   Check it out to see tons of addresses.

Here are some other “tacky” treats in the area- let me know if you know of any others!


  • 1713 N. Quebec St, Arlington
  • 5604 Hereford Ct, Alexandria
  • 5601 Hereford Ct, Alexandria
  • 8505 N Roosevelt St, Falls Church
  • 510 East Broad St, Falls Church

It’s going to be a hot one this week, so here are plenty of activities to keep you cool inside.  Sorry for the delay in getting this posted- baby #2 is due any day, and I am sloooowing down.  Stay cool!

Tuesday, July 19th    Summer Movie Express- Marmaduke & Yogi Bear

10am @ Kingstowne Stadium 16, Alexandria and Ballston Common Stadium 12, Arlington

Want to see recent kids movies for only a dollar this summer?  Head to Kingstowne Stadium 16 or Ballston Common Stadium 12 for Summer Movie Express 2011.  They will offer two G or PG rated movies for only $1 every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am until August 24th.  This week’s movies are Marmaduke & Yogi Bear.  Click here for more info.


Wednesday, July 20th    Magic Around the Globe

3:30pm @ Duncan Branch Library, Alexandria

The Shazam Magic Company returns with new and amazing magic tricks and other magical wonders with plenty audience participation.


Thursday, July 21st    Didgeridoo Down Under

2pm @ Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church

An Australian themed musical experience, especially fun for school aged kids.  This is a high-energy, Australia-themed show combining music, character building (includes anti-bullying), education, motivation, and entertainment.


Thursday, July 21    Reptiles Alive!

7pm @ Burke Branch, Alexandria

An exciting and educational introduction to all kinds of reptiles from many places. You will meet live animals from Africa, Asia, Australia and North America while you learn snake secrets and laugh at our lizard stories and turtle tales. Featuring a giant python, alligator, tortoise, monitor lizard, and other amazing reptiles.   Recommended ages: 6to 12


Friday, July 22nd    Mars Day
10am – 3pm @ National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC

Kids can explore the Mars using 3D glasses, see a meteorite that came from Mars, and find out what geological features Earth has in common with Mars. Finally, kids can learn about upcoming and future exploration of the red planet.


Although there are no fireworks blasting off from Arlington, there are many great spots where you can view the National Mall fireworks.

Air Force Memorial is located on Columbia Pike by the Navy Annex.  There is a free Air Force Band concert beginning at 8pm.  The closest metro stations are Pentagon and Pentagon City.  It’s not too bad of a walk.  You can also park at Navy Annex parking lots or park at Pentagon Mall and walk over.

Gateway Park is a 3-acre park in Rosslyn just across the Key Bridge from Georgetown.  Bonus of restrooms at the park!

Gravelly Point is a great spot because it is directly across the river from the National Mall show, and reflection of the fireworks in the Potomac is amazing.  It is a fairly spacious grassy area along the Mount Vernon Trail.  No glass bottles or alcohol are allowed anywhere along the Parkway.  If you decide to drive, reaching the parking lot can be difficult. Head south on GW Parkway until you reach Reagan National Airport.  At the airport, circle back to head north onto the Parkway towards the 14th Street Bridge.  About a quarter of mile before the bridge, turn right into the parking area.  Parking in the lot is difficult as there are minimal spots, and bicycling and metro are great alternative options.  Crystal City metro is around a 20 minute walk along the Mt. Vernon Trail.  You can also take the Reagan National airport metro station, but you do have to walk through the airport and parking lots.

The Iwo Jima Memorial is also near the Rosslyn Metro station.  Iwo Jima is only around 5 blocks from the station.  As with all of these spots, you have to get there early to get a good spot!   Some people get there as early as 4pm.  Bring a blanket and picnic to pass the time.

Key BridgeAlthough there is no seating on the bridge, you can stand on the sidewalks.  There are pedestrian walkways on either side of the bridge to watch the show.

Lady Bird Johnson Park is a little tougher to get to than some of the other spots, but it is less crowded and has really great views.   Take the Arlington Cemetery metro station, and walk the bike path down toward the Columbia Island Marina.  Restrooms are open.  If you want to drive, head south on GW Parkway and turn right into Marina after signs for Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove and Columbia Island Marina (before the Humpback Bridge).

Mount Vernon Trail  Yes, Gravely Point is a great spot, but there are many other places along the Mount Vernon Trail to watch the fireworks.  Simply walk along the trail and stake out a spot free of trees.

Another option is the Falls Church fireworks!  The show is at George Mason High School, with live music starting at 7pm, and fireworks will follow at 9:20pm.



Many neighborhoods in Arlington hold community parades on Independence Day.

  • Albemarle Street @ 9am- starts at 32nd and Albemarle Streets.
  • Barcroft Neighborhood @ 10am- starts at the Barcroft Community Center at 8th Street S. and S. Buchanan Street.
  • Bellevue Forest @ 9am- starts at Roberts Lane and Oxford Street.
  • Douglas Park @ 10:30am- starts at S. Monroe Street and 14th Street S.
  • Dover Crystal and Riverwood @ 10am- starts at 25th and Pollard Streets.
  • Fairlington Village @ 10am- S. 31st Street and S. Abingdon Streets.
  • Lyon Village @ 11am- starts at Key Boulevard and Highland Street.

The National Independence Day Parade in DC starts at 11:45 and runs down Constitution Avenue from 7th Street to 17th Street.  The Parade consists of bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrian & drill teams, VIP’s, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants. During the afternoon, live entertainment will be on the Mall, and at the

The Capitol Hill Parade will begin at 8th and I streets S.E.  There will be classic cars, Boy & Girl Scouts, marching bands, the Fairy Princess Patrol, and dancers! Following the parade is a community fair at Eastern Market Metro Plaza with food, entertainment, and kid’s games.  The route: 8th and I SE north to D St SE, left on D, right on 7th St SE, the Metro plaza is on the right.  Parade starts at 10am and lasts for about an hour, ending at the Eastern Market Metro Plaza.

Other 4th of July Activities

National Archives Building annual reading of the Declaration of Independence at 10am.  On the Constitution Avenue steps, between 7th and 9th Streets, veteran news broadcaster John Palmer will be emcee, with a keynote address by the Honorable Royce C. Lamberth, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  The main attraction is the annual dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence.  From 11am – 2pm there will be family activities inside the National Archives Building.  You can also meet historical figures in the rotunda, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abigail Adams, and members of the American Historical Theatre.  You can also sign a full-size facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, and listen to stories of our patriotic past in the Boeing Learning Center at 11:30am, 12:30pm, and 1:30pm.

White House Visitor Center– from 10am to 3pm you will have the chance to be a “Signer of the Declaration of Independence for a Day,” with the help of NPS rangers and volunteers from President’s Park.  The day’s events include games, crafts, and other activities designed for both children and adults.  White House Visitor Center is located on Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets, N.W., on the north side of the Commerce Department Building.

We love to spend time outside, but on rainy or hot sticky days, there are many indoor alternatives.  Here are 37 ideas!!

If after reading this, you are still hungry for more ideas, check out No Monsters in My Bed’s great post for even more ideas to get you out of the summer heat or rain.

Indoor Playgrounds

Knee High Ninja

An indoor playground in Falls Church, located at the Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do.  Walkers” are $8 per child and $7 per additional sibling. “Infants/Crawlers” are $5.  There are lots of brightly colored climbing structures, and plenty of room to run around and play on the mats.  We have visited this playground, and really like it.  Our Kids also has a great review of the play area.


JWT Playzone

The JWT Playzone is located at JW Tumbles in N. Arlington, and is in a separate room from the Tumbles gym.  There are tons of climbing structures with tunnels to climb through and balls to climb over.  There are also slides, ropes and an obstacle type course.  Plenty to keep your kids busy for a few hours.  The website is not very helpful in giving information about the Playzone, or about the times in which it is open.  However, if you get on their mailing list, you will receive daily emails with open gym times.  Members enrolled in a class are $6, members not currently in a class are $8, and non-members are $10.  Siblings are 1/2 off.  Check out what The Meanest Momma had to say about this playground.  She has some great pictures to give you an idea about what to expect!


MoBu Kids Open Play

MoBu Kids is another large playroom in Falls Church (locally owned), with tons of balls, some slides, climbing structures (a banana, turtle, and a worm), a “tree house”, small trampoline, and rooms to run and play.  Again, not a great site for describing what open play entails.  Open gym is available most weekdays, and the cost is $8 for drop in per child for one hour of play.


Chinquapin Alexandria Soft Playroom

The playroom is located in Alexandria, and is designed for children five and younger, with play areas filled with soft toys and climbing structures.  We have been here a few times, and really like it.  I would say that it is better for those 3-4 and under.  It is especially a great place for little ones that aren’t quite steady on their feet- they can climb arounbd without fear of getting hurt.  Hours are 9am-5pm on weekdays. Cost is $4 per child, per half hour.


Mall Play Areas

Tysons Corner National Geographic Kids Play Area

Located in McLean, this play area has a recycling there.  There is plenty to climb on and K really likes to play there.  The main issue with this play area is that it is very popular.  It can get really crowded!  See The Meanest Momma’s review for more info.


The Woodlands at Landmark Mall Play Area

Landmark Mall in Alexandria is usually pretty empty, and although their play area is not enclosed, it is a really fun play area.  There are only a few things to climb, but kids have a great time running around on the super springy floor.


Open Playtimes

Barcroft Sports and Fitness Playgroup

Located in S. Arlington off Four Mile Run Dr, this playgroup is available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-12pm.  The play area is the huge main gym and there are toys, balls, bikes, cars, and walkers available.  Because the area is so big, the older kids can run around and ride bikes, and the littler ones can still play without (too much) fear of  trike hit and run.  It can get hectic with older kids, but other moms and dads have always been pretty hands on when we have been there.  Cost is $3 per adult (free for members).  No registration is required!


Falls Church Community Center

Meanest Momma suggests this Falls Church community center playtime.  It is open 10am – 12pm on Friday mornings.  There is padded equipment, tunnels, and riding equipment to play with.  Call the gym hotline at 703.248.5125 to confirm that tot time is happening before you go.

Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center Mother’s Play Group

This playgroup is in Alexandria, and is for infant – 4 years.  They meet every Wednesday from 10am – 11:30pm.  Parents and children interact with others through play and activities.  It is free to City residents only.


Nature Centers

Nature centers are a fantastic place to visit with kids.  They have great indoor areas to explore and play, and are surrounded by shaded wooded areas to explore even further.  Check out this post for more lot more places to visit nature.

Gulf Branch Nature Center

The Nature Center in N. Arlington is located in an old converted house.  Inside is a bee hive, snakes, turtles, an owl, puzzles and books, animal masks, coloring corners and activity stations, gardens, a viewing pond, a hollowed-out log/canoe, and pods and cones for touching, smelling and exploring.


Long Branch Nature Center

The S. Arlington Nature Center has various exhibits, the Children’s Discovery Room with books, puppets, and toys, live animal displays, interpretive gardens, and a viewing pond.


Potomac Overlook Nature Center

In North Arlington, Potomac Overlook has over 70 acres of woodland, trails, gardens, a small picnic area, and a Nature Center.  The Nature Center features live snakes, turtles and fish.  Next to the Nature Center is an exhibit featuring 4 rehabilitated birds of prey, including 3 owls and a hawk!  In the picnic area next to the nature center is a table for the kids, as well as chairs and picnic tables for adults. There is also a butterfly garden and lots of room to run.  It is all shaded, so even if it is hot, we won’t fry!  There is also a playground right next to the parking lot.  Follow Marcey Rd to the end, and you will see the parking lot.  Follow the paved trail and walk down to nature center. It is very stroller accessible and a bit of a walk for young legs, so a stroller may be a good idea for youngsters.


Hidden Oaks Nature Center

The playroom of this Annandale nature center is quite large and perfect for kids. There are lots of interactive stations for the kids, like drawers in walls, indoor climbing structures,various animal exhibits, tents, and toys.  There is also a tower/play structure for them to climb on, places for dress up, and many books and stuffed animals in the book area.  There is even an indoor turtle pond!  It is a pretty contained area, so it also a great place to meet friends and hang out.  We love this nature center!  It is also home to Nature Playce, an 1/3-acre, free-play outdoor area outdoor play area designed to safely introduce youngsters to the wonders of nature.  In Nature Playce, there is a small pond/mini-waterfall, In addition, there is a wooden sandbox and plastic wading pool with plastic dinosaurs to play.


Places to hear Weekly Kids Music

Dulles Town Center

Kids Club in Dulles is every Thursday at Dulles Town Center, lower level outside of Sears.  At 11am Rocknoceros performs, and it is free!


Jammin’ Java

Located in Vienna, Jammin’ Java is a great venue to hear the up and coming bands, and is a really fun place to hear kid’s music.  Every day of the week at 10:30am is a different show: Mondays are THE GREAT ZUCCHINI, Tuesdays are MR. DON, Wednesdays are ROCKNOCEROS, Thursdays are OH SUSANNAH, and Fridays are BANJO MAN.  They also have great shows on the weekend.


Lebanese Taverna

The N. Arlington location has Kids Day every Wednesday from 10am – 11am.  The Banjo Man plays on the first Wednesday of the month, Groovy on the second and fourth Wednesday, Oh! Susanah! on the thurd Wednesday, and Ukelele Phil on the fifth Wednesday.  After the show, children enjoy complimentary lunch with each adult purchasing a sandwich platter, mezza platter, or entrèe.


St. Elmo’s Coffee Shop

In the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, every Monday at 3:30pm Groovy Nate performs at St. Elmo’s Coffee Shop.


Tyson’s Corner

Kid Krusaders Kids Club Fiesta! is every Wednesday from 11am – 2pm in McLean.  Enjoy caricatures, balloon animals, and face painting in the Food Court on Level 3.  Kids can sing and dance along to Mr. Knick Knack.



Barnes and Noble- Clarendon Market Commons, Arlington

Saturdays and Wednesdays at 10am


Barston’s Child’s Play- Arlington

A storytime for all ages, featuring board books and picture books.  Fridays at 10:30.


Pentagon City Borders- Arlington

Storytime on Tuesdays at Pentagon City Borders is not one to be missed.  Mary has worked there for over four years and hosts a great storytime with songs and stories.  Although their site says that it starts at 10:30, it never gets started until 11.


Kinder Haus Toys- Arlington

Kinder Haus Toys has Storytime every Monday and Friday at 10:30am.


One More Page Books- Arlington

Story Time with Katie- Fridays at 11am for babies and toddler, and Saturdays at 11am for preschoolers and kindergartners


Hooray for Books- Alexandria VA

Fridays and Saturdays @ 10:30am. Wee Ones Storytime for children 2 and under.


Alexandria Public Library Storytimes

Each branch has regular story programs for different age groups. Because of high demand and limited space, a few programs require registration.   Click here for the event calendar.


Mary Riley Styles Public Library- Falls Church

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays @ 10:30 am



International Spy Museum

The Spy Museum in Washington, DC 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.


Library of Congress

Even if your kids are too young to understand where they are, this Washington, DC building is really fun to explore.  The Great Hall is amazing, and the tunnels between the Capitol, Jefferson Building, and Library are a lot of fun to take.  There is also a Young Readers Center that has three rooms and a collection of about 2,000 books.  Kids are invited to come and read the books while they are visiting.  There is also an interesting Discovery Guide that kids can use to explore the Thomas Jefferson Building and its architecture, learn about the Library’s history, and discover interesting exhibits.


National Air & Space Museum

Kids will love the enormous planes and exhibits all while learning about aviation and space flight in this Washington, DC museum.  There are IMAX films and planetarium shows several times a day.  Kids can practice their piloting in flight simulators.  Also, the Albert Einstein Planetarium shows One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure,  a 20-minute planetarium show 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.  This is a great show for toddlers and preschoolers.  Also visit the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the second location, near Dulles International Airport.


National Building Museum

One of our favorite museums in Washington, DC!  The building itself is fantastic.  There is a wide open Great Hall, where kids can run free.  You 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.


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.  They are always trying out new exhibits to see what would be a good fit once the museum opens, and they love to receive feedback about what you liked or did not like.  The exhibits are designed to welcome drop-in, child-led explorations.


National Gallery of Art

Although the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC may not be very appealing to young children, kids will also enjoy the lighted underground concourse between the West Building and the East Building.  Along the concourse is a great cafe and a museum store with a children’s’ section.  There is a beautiful 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.


Natural History Museum

At this favorite Smithsonian museum in Washington, DC you are greeted by 8-ton, 14-foot-tall African elephant in the rotunda as you walk in the front door.  Kids love checking out the Insect Zoo, Dinosaur Hall, and Sea Life Hall (K loves finding Nemo and Dory).  The Butterfly Pavilion is also a lot of fun.  You can view live butterflies as they flutter around you. Tuesdays are free but it is worth visiting anytime.  The discovery room is also very cool, but is only open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from October to May.


National Postal Museum

Surprisingly, this is a great place to visit in Washington, DC with young kids (and old).  There are big trucks like a postal train car, horse drawn carriage, and tractor trailer, all of which can be boarded.  There are many interactive exhibits,and kids can learn the story of Owney the Postal Dog.  Also the tower has an observation deck at 270 feet, and is a great place to to see the city.  While others are waiting in line at the Washington Monument, you can be checking out the city with no line and big windows.


National Museum of American History

Kids will love seeing Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers, Kermit the Frog, and the First Ladies’ inaugural gowns.  There is also a hands-on center called the Spark!Lab, which uses fun activities to help kids learn about the process of invention and history.  Kids can play games, conduct science experiments, explore inventors’ notebooks, and even invent.  Most activities are designed for children ages 6-12, though younger and older visitors are welcome.  There is also a section designed especially for children under the age of 5.  Also check the events calendar before you go to see if there is something of interest happening that day.


Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Come on a tour where you can see how paper money is printed.  Tickets are required and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The ticket booth (located on 15th Street), opens at 8am, and you need to be there very close to 8 in order to get one of the limited number of tickets.  The tour is 45 minutes long, and very informative.  Best for elementary and up.


National Aquarium in Washington DC

OK, so this does not really compare to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, but it is still worth a visit- especially if you have young children.  The tanks are small and easy to view, so it makes it easy with preschool age kids.  Plus, it is usually not crowded!  Every day of the week they have different animal feedings- piranha, shark, or alligator.  It is the nation’s oldest aquarium, tucked away in the basement of the Department of Commerce located just a block away from the Washington Monument.  Check out this review by Moneywise Moms.


For many of you this is a three day weekend, and there is plenty going on to keep you and your family busy.  Hoping for great weather and good times!

Saturday, May 28th

Kids’ Farm Interpreters

10am – 4pm @ Kids Farm- National Zoo, Washington, DC

Learn about farming and how taking care of animals takes time, dedication, and knowledge.


Drumming with Dishes

10am @ Landmark Mall, Alexandria
The show is about an adventurous toddler as she introduces her imaginary friend to a very special kitchen, where instead of food, they cook up beautiful music.  Click here to read more about this great show!


The Lorax Speaks!

10am – 11:30am @ Dora Kelley Nature Park, Alexandria

Trees are a vital part of life on earth. The Lorax Speaks, an animated video, is about a conservation-minded creature who fights to save the forest.  After viewing the video, you will go on a hike through Dora Kelley Nature Park to identify some of the trees in the native woodlands and learn their unique role in nature.  Cost is $3, ages 6-12.


Island Safari

2pm – 3pm @ Theodore Roosevelt Island, Arlington

Explore the natural wonders and hidden history of Theodore Roosevelt Island with a ranger for a free one hour guided walk focused on the island’s wildlife and history. Meet at the footbridge, near the bike racks. Comfortable clothing and closed-toe shoes are recommended.  Call 703-289-2553 for more information. Reservations are not required, but please call ahead if you plan to bring a group of more than ten people.


Skinks and Snakes Campfire

7pm- 8:15pm @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington

The whole family is invited to the Gulf Branch fire ring for lots of old-fashioned fun. This engaging program will be filled with entertaining activities, which may include stories, special animal guests, games, songs and of course, treats like s’mores. Cost is $5 per person and $20 max per family- payable at the program. For more information call 703-228-3403.


Sunday, May 29th

Snake and Turtle Feeding

1:30pm – 2:30pm @ Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale

Enjoy a brief presentation and demonstration by a staff member.  At least one snake, two turtles and a toad will be fed. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. The cost is $5 person. Register online or call 703-222-4664. For information, call 703-941-1065.

Click here for more info.

Monday, May 30th

30th Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival

9am to 5pm @ City Hall, Falls Church

Something for everyone throughout the day including Amusement Rides, Pony Rides, Arts and Crafts Booths, Food Vendors, Civic and Business Booths, and Live Entertainment.

Click here for more info.

Annual Memorial Day Ceremony

11am – 12pm @ Mount Vernon Recreation Center, Alexandria

The Program will include reading the names of the 67 heroes, a Tribute to Capt. Rocky Versace written by his fellow POW, COL James N. “Nick” Rowe (USMA 1960), guest speakers, a wreath laying, playing of “Taps” and the singing of “God Bless America.”


34th Annual Memorial Day Jazz Festival

1pm – 7pm @ Fort Ward Historic Site, Alexandria

American music played by jazz ensembles and orchestras performing in a variety of jazz styles. The park features amphitheater and grass seating. Attendees are welcome to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic baskets. Food will be available for purchase, and grills are available in the park at the picnic sites.  Attendees may bring lawn chairs and blankets for lawn seating.  Food, such as ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, subs, shaved ice, fresh fruit and vegetable juices are available for purchase.

National Memorial Day Parade
2pm @ Along Constitution Ave, Washington, DC
The parade includes nearly 200 elements, including marching bands, active duty and retired military units, youth groups, and parade floats—as well as hundreds of veterans.  It starts at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW and proceeds along Constitution Avenue, past the White House, ending at 17th Street.


Wreath Laying Ceremonies

Check out this site for info about various wreath laying ceremonies in the area.

Saturday, May 28th – Monday, May 30th

Celebration at Mount Vernon

6pm – 9pm @ Mount Vernon Estate, Mount Vernon

Historic Mount Vernon invites visitors to a fun evening experience.  Sunset Celebration at Mount Vernon, is a new event over Memorial Day weekend, and offers a rare opportunity to visit Mount Vernon after the daytime crowds have departed. Visitors may take evening tours of the Mansion, relax and enjoy wine and desserts available for purchase, and enjoy 18th-century music, dancing, games, and wagon rides. Stroll the lantern-lit grounds and immerse yourself in the 18th century as the sun sets on the plantation and costumed residents like the charming Lady Washington and her granddaughter Nelly interact with visitors. This family-friendly event celebrates the beginning of summer on the plantation.  Adults are $18; children 6-11 are $12; and children under 5 are admitted free.


Memorial Day is right around the corner, and with it the outdoor public pools and spraygrounds will be opening in Arlington County and in Alexandria!  Many are free or have low admission costs.  Please leave me a comment if I missed any, or if you have any favorites.  I have also included some local private pool options.  A few still have memberships available, so check them out!  Also, check out KidFriendly DC for info on DC and Montgomery County pools. 

Arlington Spraygrounds

Drew Park Sprayground– 3514 22nd St. S, Arlington, VA

There is an area for ages 2 – 5 and one for ages 5 – 12.  There are slides, ropes, crawling structures, swings, and climbing rocks.  Some of the water sprays up from the floor, a flower and hooped circles spray from above.  This park is not shaded.  


Hayes Park Sprayground– 1516 N. Lincoln St, Arlington, VA

This sprayground is shaded, has a fountain, a sun & the earth that spray, as well as planets to climb on. 


Lyon Village Park Sprayground– 1800 N. Highland St, Arlington, VA

Water shoots from several sprinklers in the ground, water drops from a bucket above, as well as a spraying water wheel. 


UPDATE: The Spraygrounds are open!  Click here for more info on hours. 

Be sure to visit the website after Memorial Day for current hours!  Check out these reviews by Our Kids for more details.  

There will also be a new sprayground opening in Virginia Highlands Park in summer 2012.  Click here for more info. 

Arlington Public Pools

Wakefield Pool- 4901 S. Chesterfield Rd, Arlington

There are six 25-yard lanes, a diving board, and a separate instructional tank.  It has a “beach” (sloping) entrance, which is always a hit with beginning swimmers.  I have heard that it is a little warmer this year than usual. 703-578-3063


Washington-Lee Pool– 1301 N. Stafford Street, Arlington

This is the newest pool- it just opened in 2009.  It has a 25-meter pool with a diving area, and separate instructional pool that serves as a kiddie pool when there are no classes.  They have life jackets and water toys for anyone to use.  There is not a pure beach entrance in the larger lap pool, but it has a ramp and a very wide set of stairs that are on the full side of pool.  This pool also has 4 family changing room and private showers.  They do provide life jackets.


Yorktown Pool– 5201 North 28th Street, Arlington

Six lane 25-yard lap pool, a diving board, along with a small “wading” pool.703-536-9739.


Upton Hill Water Park– 6060 Wilson Boulevard Arlington

There is a lap pool, a large pool for play, a beach entry baby pool with water features, a splash pad with fountains, water cannons and hoses, and a 2-story tower with slides and a huge bucket that fills and splashes everyone in the vicinity.  There are several shady areas, and a concession stand.  Open Memorial to Labor Day.  Under 2 Free, 48″ or More in Height $8.00, Less Than 48″ in Height $6.75


Alexandria Public Pools

The Memorial Pool- Charles Houston Rec Center, 901 Wythe St, Alexandria

Neighborhood Pools are for Alexandria residents 13 and under with parents. Admission is free.  703.838.4259


John Ewald Pool– 4500 Duke St, Alexandria, VA

Neighborhood Pools are for Alexandria residents 13 years and under with parents. Admission is free. 703.838.4677


Old Town Pool- 1609 Cameron St, Alexandria, VA

25-yard pool with a diving well, children’s pool with a depth of 1-3 feet, a parking lot, picnic area and a tot playground adjacent to the pool.

Children 4 and under are free, children 5-7 $1, adults, $1. 703.838.4671


Warwick Pool- 3301 Landover St. Alexandria, VA – 703.519.3410

25-yard pool with diving well, separate wading pool for children, bathhouse, picnic areas, modern playground w/ tot playground.  Children 4 and under are free, children 5-7 $1, adults, $1.


Chinquapin Park Recreation Center- Rixse Pool– 3210 King Street, Alexandria, VA 703-519-2160


George Washington RECenter 8426 Old Mt. Vernon Rd, Alexandria, VA

Heated indoor 25 meter pool with a poolside spa, beach and wading area, saunas, showers and fully equipped locker rooms.  703-780-8894


Great Waves Water Park– 4001 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria

There is a wave pool, three-flume water slide, and a toddler shallow play pool with colorful Funbrellas, eight bubblers, a cascading waterfall, and a new splashpad area with tons of wet and wild interactive features.


Local Private Pools

Arlington Forest Club Pool- 400 N. Harrison St, Arlington

Arlington Forest Club (AFC) is a self-owned swim and tennis club conveniently located off Carlin Springs Road between George Mason Drive and Arlington Boulevard.  At the present time, there are over 400 individuals/families on the waitlist.


Annandale Swim & Tennis Club– 7530 Little River Tpke, Annandale

It is the largest outdoor pool in Annandale area, with a separate area for younger children, a fenced wading pool, adult lap lanes, swimming & diving lessons & teams, a one meter diving board, and a 21 Foot Tube Slide.  Click here for more info on membership.  (703) 354-4272


Dominion Hills Pool- 6000 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington

There is a waiting list for memberships.  For more information please contact the Membership Recorder, Julie Jernigan at: jules@patriot.net


Donaldson Run Pool– 2729 N Marcey Road, Arlington

The main pool is 600,000 square feet in a “L” shape configuration with three diving boards. There is also a wading pool for children 5 and under, a bathhouse and snack bar. Donaldson Run is located in the Donaldson Run watershed adjacent to Marcey Park and Potomac Overlook Regional Park.  You must live within the membership boundary area to apply for membership. 


Dowden Terrace Pool- 6300 Holmes Run Pkwy, Alexandria

DTRA offers a 25-meter pool with diving board and reserved lap lane, wading pool with adjoining mini-playground, adult and kid social events, an NVSL swim team for kids aged 5 – 18, and MUCH more.  Contact Lisa Bickerton at 703-820-5251 for membership information.  There is currently a wait list.


Glen Forest Swim Club and Pool- POB 1311, Falls Church

In addition to a pool that is nine feet at its deepest point, members can utilize the following amenities: toddler pool, changing rooms with showers, aquacize classes, swimming lessons, limited snack and drink bar and a private wooded park with barbecue and picnic tables.  They currently have room for 125 family memberships and presently there is no waiting list.  Memberships range from $200 to $225 for individuals and $325 to $350 for households.


Hayfield Farm Swim Club- 7820 Hayfield Road, Alexandria

Click here for membership info.  


Highlands Swim and Tennis Club– 901 Torregrossa Ct, McLean

There are two 25-meter pools and an infant “starter” pool, as well as two spacious decks and a large upper lawn for parties.  There are also four lighted tennis courts with wind screens, swim and dive teams, plus tennis teams for youngsters, men, and women.  There is currently a waiting list.  (703) 821-9894


Lee-Graham Swimming Pool– 7319 Lee Hwy, Falls Church

The facility has a competition pool with 3 diving boards, trapezoid pool with a slide, baby pool, snack bar, and a half basketball court.  Two tennis courts are located adjacent to the pool area and are available during the year based on the weather.  Click here for info about membership.  (703) 560-1430


Overlee Community Association Pool- 6030 Lee Hwy, Arlington

There are two 25-meter pools, a shallow tank, a baby pool, and a dive well with two 1-meter boards and a water slide. Overlee offers programs in competitive diving and swimming, and often synchronized swimming, in addition to recreational swimming to its 800-family membership.  For more information about joining Overlee, contact Jim Mountain, New Members, at newmembers@overlee.orgThere is currently a waitlist.


Westmont Gardens pool– 3860 Columbia Pike, Arlington

Olympic size swimming pool with wading pool and waterslide.  They accept outside memberships.  It is open 12-6 for children, and at 6 it becomes adults only.  Email wgrentaloffice@verizon.net for more info.

Saturday, April 30th

Mount Vernon Big Flea

8am – 3pm @ Mount Vernon Community Center, Alexandria

Check out this large flea market fundraiser to benefit the Mount Vernon Community School PTA.  There will be furniture, kids gear, electronics, household items, collectibles, jewelry, and more.  The MV Big Flea doors open for early admission at 8am ($10) with general admission (free) starting at 9am. At noon, everything is half off and at 2pm everything left over is free!  They are also raffling off a classic 1986 convertible ($10 per ticket).


Alexandria Earth Day

10am – 2pm @ Ben Brenman Park, Alexandria.  

There will be environmental display, food, jazz music, poetry, free parking, and a tree sale.  There will be 51 exhibitors – every one will have a hands-on children’s activity at their stand.  The main event is a Fashion from Trashion Show in which 200 youngsters from Alexandria will walk the catwalk in their designs made from trash.  Check out my post for more fun things to do to celebrate Earth Day this weekend.


Glen Echo Park Family Day

11am – 4pm @ Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, MD

This event celebrates the opening of the carousel and offers a full day of activities for families.  There will be magic shows with Barry Wood and Alex Wohl, Irish Dance Performances, Ballet Petite and Youth Performing Arts School presents “Cinderella”, Family Dancing, art projects, face painting, hula hoop fun, balloon animals, cake & lemonade, and lots more!  The Carousel operates from  12 – 6 pm, $1.25 per ride.


2nd Birthday of the Launch Zone

11am – 4pm @ NCM Launch Zone, National Harbor, MD

Happy birthday to the National Children’s Museum’ Launch Zone!  On Saturday, they will host a “birthday party”, with birthday hat decorating, a visit from a lovable Peep from the Peeps Store, face painting, rain stick making, party favors, and much more.  In addition, Wayne Alan, a well-known magician will perform two 45 minute shows at 12pm and 2pm.


Move Me!  Arts Experience Festival

2pm – 5pm @ Kenmore Middle School, Arlington

A fun, free, family friendly event (how’s that for alliteration?) that will celebrate local arts.  It is hosted by Bowen McCauley Dance, and brings together local arts organizations like Synetic Theatre and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts for an afternoon of family fun.  The event will feature dance, music, visual art, literary art, and fitness activities.  At 3pm the BMD Professional Company, the Kenmore Junior Company, and Dance for PD (Parkinson Disease) students will take the stage for a one-hour performance to music of Duke Ellington.

Click here for more info.


2:30pm – 3:30pm @ Long Branch Nature Center, Arlington

Learn all about Virginia’s hawks.  Join members of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia as they share their knowledge and let you have a chance to meet some live birds.  This event is free, but donations to the Raptor Conservancy is encouraged.  This is for families with children ages 5 and up.  For more info call 703-228-6535.


Sunday, May 1st

Stories and Music in the Garden!
4 pm- 6pm, @ Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church, Alexandria
There will be performers presenting stories and songs, and there will also be a spring craft for children.  Brats, hot dogs, sweet treats, and more will be available.  Beer and wine will also be sold.  Proceeds support the Fort Hunt Preschool/MVUC natural playground project.


Choralis Cantus Youth Choirs’ May Day Concert

4pm @ Falls Church Presbyterian Church, Falls Church

The Choralis Cantus Youth Choir’s spring concert will feature each of the youth ensembles and the Cantus Primo Select Youth Choir.  It will be fun for the whole family.  A reception will follow the concert in the Fellowship Hall of the church.  Ticket prices for the concert are:  $10 adults, $5 for students 22 and under with ID; and free for ages 12 and under.


May Day Baskets

1:30pm @ Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale

Join the tradition of making a May basket and fill it with flowers to hang on the front door of friends or neighbors as a May Day surprise.  Learn to identify some wildflowers and make art with flowers.

Click here for more info.

Saturday April 30th & May 1st

The Cat Who Went to Heaven

11am, 1:30pm, & 5pm on Saturday and 1:30pm & 4pm on Sunday @ The Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

This is a children’s jazz puppet show, based on the 1931 Newbery Award–winning children’s book by Elizabeth Coatsworth.  This is a great introduction to jazz for children age 5 and up.  Cost is $18 per ticket.


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