It’s going to be a great week, weather-wise, so be sure to spend some time outside!  Check out The Meanest Momma’s reviews of local parks.  She reviews based on shade, equipment, bathrooms, etc- all things that parents want to know!

Tuesday, November 8th    Family Storytime

6:30pm @ Central Library Youth Services “Rabbit Hole” Room, Arlington

No registration required. First come, first served until capacity is reached. Call 703-228-5946 for more information.  All ages welcome.

Wednesday, November 9th    Fairies, Fables and Funny Folktales

4pm @ Columbia Pike Branch Library, Arlington

Storytime includes multicultural folktales, puppetry, readers’ theater and crafts. A drop-in program for grades K-5. No registration required. For more information, call 703-228-7761.

Wednesday, November 9th    Stroller Happy Hour

3pm – 5pm@ Twisted Vines Bistro, Arlington

Bring the little ones to a kid-friendly meet & greet with other Arlington parents. Snacks will be provided for the kids… great happy hour specials for the kids at heart.

Wednesday, November 9th    Wild Ones: Candle Making
3:30pm – 5pm @ Long Branch Nature Center, Arlington
 You’ll light up with this craft, by making your own candles. We’ll try our hands at some new and old ways to make these luminaries. For more information call 703-228-6535. Ages 6 – 10.    $5 fee due upon registration.  Program # 612921-C

Friday, November 11th    Tiny Tot

10am @ Gulf Branch Nature Center

Tiny Tot programs  are 45 minutes long and provide an opportunity to interact one-on-one with your child while discovering the wonders of nature. Each fun and educational program will engage your child with hands-on learning, and may include a variety of activities like songs, crafts, finger plays and mini-hikes.  Each program has a theme, but themes are not published ahead of time so that we flexibility in exploring and incorporating all of the amazing and changeable aspects of the park and its wildlife into our programs.  Adults must remain during the entire program. $5 per child due at registration.   Ages: 18 – 35 months with adult.

Thursday, November 10th    Who Stole my Acorns?

10:30am & 3:30pm @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington

How can there be new Oak trees with Squirrel and Chipmunk and Blue Jay around?  You’ll discover how the animals and plants work together to make the beautiful Gulf Branch forest. This highly interactive program may include stories, songs, crafts and mini-hikes. Ages: 3 – 5 years.  Parents are invited to stay and observe, or those with younger siblings may visit the rest of the building during the program. Parents must remain on-site. $5 per child due at registration.

Thursday, November 10th    Operation Christmas Child Packing Party

6:30 – 8:30pm @ Fellowship Hall at Mt. Olivet Church, Arlington

Join Chick-fil-A for a community Shoe Box Packing Party for Operation Christmas Child. Bring your empty box and the items that you would like to pack it with and be part of the packing fun!  There will be music, refreshments and a special appearance by the ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ Santa Cow.  Everyone donating a packed box that evening will receive a special offer from Chick-fil-A at Ballston Common that evening. You can visit the Operation Christmas Child website to learn how to pack a box and what types of items to include.

Friday, November 11th     529.Kids.Consign at Telegraph Station

10am – 1pm @ Telegraph Station, Alexandria

Shop from designer brands: Baby Gap, Catimini, Gymboree, Hannah Andersson, Hartstrings, Janie and Jack, Mini Boden, and maternity fall pieces from A Pea in the Pod, Isabella Oliver, Lucky Brand, Michael Stars, Olian and more. Telegraph Station is kid friendly with toys, so kids are encouraged to come.



Winter weather this weekend!


Saturday, October 29th




Healthy Kids Fun Run


8am – 3pm @ Pentagon North Parking lot, Arlington


The annual Marine Corps Marathon Healthy Kids Fun Run will be held in the Pentagon North Parking Lot. Children ages 5-12 will participate in the one-mile just-for-fun event.  All participants receive a t-shirt, medal and snacks at the finish line.






AUMC Kid’s Stuff Consignment Sale


9am – 1pm @ Annadale United Methodist Church, Annadale


Great way to save money and buy second hand clothing, furniture, gear, books,


games and toys.






10am – 2pm @ Market Common Clarendon


Bring the whole family out for a day of fall fun at Market Common Clarendon! Enjoy a petting zoo, free face painting, DJ music, sidewalk chalking, fun photo ops (1 free photo per family), a variety of live entertainment, plus trick-or-treating at participating retailers. People and pets in costume are invited to join in the FALLoween Parade at 11:30am, led by The Jokesters. Each attendee can also take a complimentary mini-pumpkin home! No registration necessary. FALLoween is on rain or shine, and all the activities are free.






DCJCC Literary Festival   


10am @ Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center’s Morris Cafritz Center for the Arts, Washington, DC


The program is part of the Sugarman Family Children’s Book Award and includes a morning of crafts, folktales and fun with author Vicki Weber. Her book, It’s Too Crowded in Here! is a collection of Jewish folktales and midrashic stories, enlivened by colorful illustrations. Great to read aloud or act out, the stories also provide a rich yet light-hearted resource for exploring key values such as self-respect, compassion, appreciation, tolerance and thankfulness. Tickets are $10 per family, and include a copy of the book.




Haunted Halloween Pop Ups


10am – 12pm @ National Building Museum, Washington, DC


Celebrate the spirit of Halloween as you design your very own pop-up haunted house. Learn the pop-up architecture technique from guest artist Carol Barton. Decorate a spooky haunted house scene to take place on your window sill. Fun for the whole family, the festivities include crafts, treats, and ghosts stories (more silly than spooky!) about the Museum.  Prepaid registration required. Ages six and up. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Adult tickets are FREE.




Halloween Trick-or-Treat
11am – 5pm @ Pentagon Row, Arlington
Center-wide Halloween trick-or-treating for all of the local little ghouls and goblins. Participating merchants will have a sign on their door designating them as a trick-or-treat location. Rain or shine.




Trick or Treat with the Boo-tiques


11am – 6pm @ Old Town Alexandria Boutique, Alexandria


Bring your ghosts and goblins for a day of trick or treat in the Old Town Boutique District.  All of the participating OTBD stores will offer treats. Some may also offer family friendly tricks. Halloween costumes are encouraged. Tricks and treats will be available during store hours.






Halloween Costume Parade and Craft Activities


12pm – 2pm @ Marine Corps Museum, Alexandria


Try out your child’s Halloween costume early at our Halloween event featuring fun activities including a costume parade for ages 1-10.   There is an owl demonstration, puppet show, arts and crafts, and more family fun!




Change My World Now Bus Tour


1pm & 3pm @ Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Arlington


Cassandra’s Angel Bus Tour Is Coming to DC.  Meet and greet award-winning author and globally acclaimed children’s advocate, Gina Otto. Gina Otto’s children’s book “Cassandra’s Angel” is launching with a national bus tour designed to reach and inspire children in local communities and across the country. “Cassandra’s Angel” was written with the intention of igniting and empowering today’s youth. Via this bus tour and musical performances, the story comes vivdily to life for audiences to experience firsthand tale’s underlying message and engage a national dialogue about tolerance, compassion and respect.

15th Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade   


2pm @ Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria


The parade begins at 2 p.m. at Mt. Vernon Avenue, south of E. Bellefonte and continues down to the Mount Vernon Recreational Center play fields at Mt. Vernon and Commonwealth Avenues. Children, pets, and strollers in costumes are invited to march and show off their finest and scariest Halloween garb. To register your stroller or pet, just look for the signs and registration desks on Mt. Vernon at E. Bellefonte beginning at 1:30 p.m.  There is no registration required for children and families that march in the parade.




Air & Scare
2pm – 8pm @ Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly


Discover the spooky side of air and space at the Udvar-Hazy Center’s seventh annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Bring the tiniest visitors by the Tot Zone to play dress-up and hear a story. Don’t forget to stop by the face painting station or pose for a photo with your favorite Star Wars character! FREE admission; parking $15 until 7pm.




Marvelous Mice Campfires


6pm – 7:15pm @ 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. $5 fee per person and $20 max per family due at registration.  Program # 612851-G




Halloween Skate Party!
6:30pm – 8:30pm @ Thomas Jefferson Community Center, Arlington


Join ghosts, goblins, Lady Gaga and others at TJ’s Halloween Skate Party.  Come in your favorite costume or have one of their face painters help you. Enjoy skating, carnival games, music, prizes, arts, crafts…we even have a pre-school play area.






Sunday, October 30th






10am – 4pm @ Reston Zoo, Vienna


Designed for a younger audience, ZooBoo offers a day of scare-free fun!
Join the safe zoo neighborhood of Halloween entertainment, with kid-friendly fun around every corner.  There is a Trick or Treat Trail, with treats, toys and treasures for children of all ages.  There is also a Halloween hay maze, a creepy crawly critter touch station with giant bugs, slugs, and tarantulas to gentle turtles and toads, festive faces face painting, and pumpkin pickup tractor rides.  Due to inclement weather, ZooBoo will be closed on Saturday, October 29th.




Family Fun Sunday: Halloween Fun 


1pm – 5pm @ Hillwood Estates, Washington, DC


Come in costume and join the Halloween celebration! In Mrs. Post’s time, the estate was decked out for Halloween with whimsically adorned pumpkins. Join them in their unique tradition of decorating miniature pumpkins with hats, wigs and other creative trimmings. At 2 and 3:30 pm listen to Spooky Tales from the Pet Cemetery told by storyteller Marianne Meyers.









Children’s art classes are coming soon to Alexandria’s Telegraph Station!   Each class will begin with songs and stories.  Children will then work with art materials that provide opportunities for growth and discovery.  The classes will promote positive social skills, develop critical thinking skills, and inspire kids to grow creatively.  The instructor is Nicole Holohan, an experienced art therapist, artist, and mother of 2 young children.

The theme for October’s class is “My Little Monster.” Children will explore the “not-so-scary” kind of monsters and then create a mask with paint and collage materials.

Classes will be held on Saturday October 8th at 3:30 pm and Wednesday October 19th at 10:30 am.

Classes are designed for children ages 2-5, but can still be suitable for kids up to age 7.  Classes are $15 per child.  You can purchase yummy smoothies, coffee/teas, sandwiches, pizza, and backed goods from Telegraph Station before during or after class.

Visit for more information. Classes fill up fast so email Nicole at to reserve your spot.

Saturday, July 30th

The Three Little Pigs 

11am @ Barnes and Noble Clarendon Market Commons, Arlington

Come hear the story about an old sow who sent her three little pigs out into the world to seek their fortune.

A Chelonian Celebration    

11am – 2pm @ Reptile Discovery Center, National Zoo, Washington, DC

What’s a chelonian? Come find out at Reptile Discovery Day! Meet the Zoo’s turtles, tortoises, and other fascinating reptiles. Strike up a conversation with scientists who are working to save reptiles and amphibians in the wild. This family-friendly event offers educational and fun activities for children, keeper talks and animal demonstrations.  Visit the Reptile Discovery Center for meet-a-chelonian keeper talks every half hour, an exploration table packed with chelonian objects to touch and explore, and a Turtle Toss game.  Free and open to the public.

Meet-a-Chelonian Schedule

11am Radiated and spider tortoises

11:30am Snake-neck turtle

12pm Aldabra tortoise

12:30pm Alligator snapping turtle

1pm Fly river turtle

1:30pm Impressed tortoise

2nd Annual Youth Arts Festival 

12pm @ Jefferson Houston Elementary School, Alexandria

This fun filled, cultural enriching, and completely engaging festival features live performances, puppet theatre, fine art displays, interactive workshops, poetry readings and opportunities for youth to sell their art. Food and beverage sales will be available, and the festival will be held rain or shine.

Reptiles of Arlington 

2pm – 3:30pm @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington
Meet ten of the most common reptiles in Arlington. We’ll learn to identify them, and about their habits and habitats as well. Participants will receive a copy of ‘A Guide to the Snakes of Virginia’.  Ages 14 and up.  $8 fee per person.

Naturally Great Art 
2pm – 4pm @ Long Branch Nature Center, Arlington
Join an Arlington Regional Master Naturalist and let your creative juices flow as we use objects found in nature to make prints and rubbings on paper. Let nature guide your creative instincts in making one of a kind works of art. For children ages 8 and up.  Free event, but must register.

Dinofest in Nature Playce 

3pm @ Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale

Explore dinoland and unearth a real fossil to keep, compare your height and length to that of dinosaurs. Search for hidden dinosaurs and tracks. Make a fossil impression to take home.


4 – 5:30pm @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington
Stop by, rent a bow for 30 minutes, and enjoy some archery practice in the shady woods! Nature center staff will supervise for safety, and provide a little guidance if needed.  Children ages 6 and up; under 10 must be accompanied by an adult.
$5 fee per 30 min bow rental.

Snakes in Summer 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.$5 fee per person due at registration- $20 max per family.  All ages.

Campfire Fun: How and Why Summer Stories

7:45pm @ Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale

Hear old-fashioned tall tales around a campfire. Toast marshmallows over the embers. Canceled in case of inclement weather. Children must be accompanied by a registered, paying adult.

Sunday, July 31st

Annual Chirilagua Festival

12pm – 7pm @ Four Mile Run Park, Alexandria

The festival features live entertainment, children’s activities, and traditional arts and crafts from South America, Bolivia, Peru, and Central America, and food and beverage sales. Sponsored by Tenants and Workers United.

Movies On The Potomac  

8:20pm @ National Harbor, MD

Every Sunday until September 4th there will be free movies every Sunday just after sunset at National Harbor.  Bring a lawn chair, and leave your coolers and food/beverages at home.  There will also be kids activities before the movie!  This week’s movie is How to Train Your Dragon.  For more info click here.

Beginning July 5th, Arlington County libraries will expand their branch library hours!

  • Wednesday Mornings: Columbia Pike, Shirlington, and Westover will open at 10am (currently 1pm) and stay open until 9pm
  • Thursday Evenings: Aurora Hills, Cherrydale, and Glencarlyn will stay open until 9pm (currently 6pm).
  • Sunday Evenings: Columbia Pike and Shirlington will be open until 9pm (currently 5pm).
Central Library and the Plaza Branch Library will maintain their current hours of operation.

When I told people we were moving to the DC area in 2009, many people said that the summers were rough- hot and humid.  I could not imagine that it was any hotter than North Carolina where we were living.  Fast forward 2 years, and I am a believer.  Whoa, it is humid around here, and we aren’t even in the thick of it yet.

Here are some ways that you and your families can stay cool as the temperatures climb…

Water, Water, Everywhere!

Area Water Parks

Atlantis Waterpark, Centreville, VA
Atlantis includes a 1,000 gallon dumping bucket, water slides, waterfalls, and squirters.  Spacious wading pool for children 6 and under with fun, octopus slide.  There is also a large main pool, cafeteria-style snack bar, and large shade umbrellas

Pirate’s Cove Waterpark, Lorton, Virginia

Themed family water park loaded with fun features for your campers and kids. The features include a 24-foot high play structure with a 300-gallon dumping bucket, water slides, and waterfalls.

SplashDown Water Park, Manassas, VA

Over 11 acres, there is a 770 foot lazy river and interactive children’s area
with 4 slides, bubblers and fountains.  There are two fast Cannon Ball Slides, two 4-Story water slides, a tropical twister water slides, and a Big Kahuna Beach with 250 tons of sand.

Upton Hill Water Park, 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

Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole, Reston, VA
The Water Mine is a great place to keep cool during the heat of the summer. There are more than an acre of slides, flumes, sprays, showers, floatables and interactive play features.  It is all circled by Rattlesnake River with a 2.5 mile per hour current that gently pushes tubes along.  The centerpiece of the park is Pete’s Peak, with twin gang slides – Big Pete and Little Pete.

There is also Tenderfoot Pond, with toddler sized slides and gentle bubblers and a zero depth pool.  . You are allowed to bring snacks and food in to the park.

Water Park at Bohrer Park, Gaithersburg, MD

The main pool features several activity areas, shallow water play spaces, a “raindrop” water umbrella for children to enjoy, and a zero-depth entry.  A major attraction at park is the double water slide that is 250 feet long and twists and turns into the splash pool.  The children’s splash pool, designed for those five years and younger, features a frog slide, crab spray, and zero-depth entry. There are play pieces outside the pool, plenty of shade for little ones, and a special eating area for families.;84;5;

Pools and Spraygrounds

There are many pool and sprayground options in the area!   Check out my post for more info…

Water Features

Powhatan Springs Children’s Rain Garden is a unique play area that encourages kids to get wet!  It is a man-made wetland area that is designed to collect and cleanse rainwater, and it creates many hands-on activities for kids.  Kids can entertain themselves by making water flow from a bright red pump, splashing in the droplets that collect on concrete basins, and hopping from rock to rock. They can also create boats or other structures to send floating down the flume, and can build castles in the sand. In addition to the rain garden there is also a wooded play area.  Bring water, sand toys, or balls- and a picnic!,

Bluemont Junction Park has a small water feature beside the sand area in the playground.  There is a water pump, and there are always tons of kids playing around (and in) it!

Arlington Parks with streams

Alcova Heights Park, Allie S. Freed Park, Barcroft Park, Benjamin Banneker Park, Bon Air Park, Donaldson Run Park, East Falls Church Park, Fort Bennett Park and Palisades Trail, Fraser Park, Glencarlyn Park, Gulf Branch Nature Center & Park, Holmberg Park, Jennie Dean Park, Long Branch Nature Center & Park, Lubber Run Park, Madison Manor Park, Powhatan Springs Park, Rock Spring Park, Shirlington Park, Troy Park, Upper Pimmit Run Park, Windy Run Park, Woodlawn Park, Zachary Taylor Park

Made in the Shade

Arlington Shaded Parks

Check out The Meanest Momma for great reviews of Arlington parks!  She lists them by feature (Shady, Fenced, Swings, Slides, etc), so it make is easy to find what you need!  Alcova Heights Park, Bluemont Junction Park, Clarenford Station Park, Lacey Woods Park, Oak Grove Park, Slater Park, Woodlawn Park

Get in Touch with Nature

Nature Centers, nature trails, and gardens are a fantastic way to beat the heat of the summer.  Check out this post for some local options….

Stay Inside

Indoor Play Areas

Some of my favorites are JWT Playzone, Hidden Oaks Nature Center, and National Building Museum Building Zone….check out this post for lots more.


Great preschool storytimes at Arlington County libraries as well as the Get Caught Reading program.  Check out this post for more info.

Do you have any favorites that I have forgotten?  Leave a comment and let me know!

The weather is forecasting to be nice this weekend- high 80’s and mostly sunny!  It is a great time to take advantage of the fun activities going on.

Saturday, June 25th

Fifth Annual Del Ray Music Festival

10am – 10pm @ Mount Vernon Recreation Center, Alexandria

The Del Ray Music Festival includes music, food, games, and a chance to ring in the summer with your friends and neighbors.  The festival features a variety of music which have included reggae, jazz, blues, swing, folk, country, Celtic, and rock. The majority of the musicians who take the stage are residents of the neighborhood.  In addition to the music, the day features games for the kids and adults and food from neighborhood favorites.  This event is free!

DC Caribbean Carnival

11am – 5pm @ the Georgia Avenue corridor, Washington, DC

The 19th Annual DC Caribbean Carnival is this Saturday!  First up is the Caribbean Style Mardi Gras Parade with costumed masqueraders representing the Caribbean, Latin America and the Diaspora.  This year’s parade begins at 11am on Kansas at Georgia Avenue, NW and ends at Barry Place, NW across from the Howard University Campus leading to the Festival.  The Carnival Festival is from 12pm – 8pm at the Howard Center Parking facility on Georgia Avenue at Bryant Street, NW.  The venue will be transformed into a “Tropical Arena” with international foods, crafts and live performances from local and international artists.  Festival admission is $10, and seniors and children under 12 years are free.

Swing into Summer Family Day

11:30am – 3pm @ National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

Start your summer by joining the museum for a fun-filled day of hands-on art activities, special performances, and tours of the related exhibitions.

Click here for more info

Johnny Appleseed & Ratatouille

12pm @ National Archives, Washington, DC

The National Archives is celebrating a new What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? exhibition that opened June 10. See a short Disney film about Johnny Appleseed, and the Oscar-winning film about a rat named Remy who wants to be a Parisian chef.

Children’s Book Reading

2pm – 4:3-pm @ Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center at President Lincoln’s Cottage, Washington, DC

Author and presidential historian, Jane Hampton Cook, will be at the to sign copies of her new book, “What Does the President Look Like?” from 2pm to 4:30pm and will do a reading of the book at 3:30pm.

This inaugural book reading will be fun for the whole family as kids will explore Presidential history in a new and interesting way.

A special raffle will take place after the reading and all participates will receive 10% off their museum store purchases on the day of the event. For more information, please contact the museum store at 202-829-0436 Ext. 31231.

Teen Flash Mob

3pm @ Central Library, Arlington

Celebrate the end of school and kick-off the Teen Summer Reading Program! Bowen McCauley dancers will teach teens the dance at 3pm.  The dance will be set to ABBA’s “Mamma Mia”, and will occur at 4pm.  Wolftrap Foundation for the Performing Arts will be there having dance contests and giving away some tickets to their production of Mamma Mia! For rising 6th-12th graders.

Native American Indian Campfire
6:30pm – 7:45pm @ Long Branch Nature Center, Arlington

The whole family is invited to the fire ring for lots of old-fashioned fun. This engaging program will be filled with entertaining activities, to include stories, special animal guests, games, songs and of course, treats like s’mores. There is a $5 fee per person due at registration; $20 max per family.  Register at  Program #: 642951-I

Sounds of the Night Campfire

8pm @ Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale, VA

Learn to identify nocturnal animal calls and enjoy stories of local denizens of the night around a campfire.  You will also be able to make s’mores.  It iwll be canceled if it rains.  For more information call the park at 703-941-1065.

Great American Backyard Campout
Camp out in your backyard, parks, campgrounds or even your balcony! No site is too big or too small to spend a night sleeping under the stars.  Check out this post by Natural Capital for details abut where to camp locally!

Sunday, June 26th

National Harbor Family Movie Sundays
8:37pm @ National Harbor, MD

Every Sunday from June 26th – September 4th there will be free movies every Sunday just after sunset at National Harbor.  This week’s movie is Grown Ups.  Bring a lawn chair, and leave your coolers and food/beverages at home.  There will also be kids activities before the movies!

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