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.











Monday, June 27th    Kids Read to Dogs

5:30pm – 6:30pm @ Central Library, Youth Services “Rabbit Hole” Room, Arlington

Children ages 6-12 are invited to read to therapy dogs. Each “Paws to Read” child is given a 15-minute session where they will be paired with a canine listener. Volunteers (both owners and dogs) are part of PAL (People. Animals. Love.), an animal therapy organization. All participating dogs are trained and certified. Studies have shown that reading to a dog (or other non-judgmental audience) can help improve a child’s reading level and increase their enjoyment of reading. Please register for a slot by calling (703) 228-5946.


Tuesday, June 28th    Summer Movie Express- Astro Boy & Megamind

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 from June 28th – August 24th.  This week’s movies are Astro Boy and Megamind.


Wednesday, June 29th    A Tale of Tails

4pm – 4:45pm @ Westover Library, Arlington

7pm- 7:45pm @ Columbia Pike Library, Arlington

Long Branch once again takes its show on the road for the Arlington County Libraries’ Summer Reading Quest. This year’s theme is “One World, Many Stories”.  They will concentrate on the many tales around the world about animal’s tails.  Hear some of these stories and even get a chance to meet some animals with some interesting tails to be told about.  For families with children ages 4 and up.   This event is free.  Call Westover Library (703-228-5260) or Columbia Pike (703-228-5710) to register.


Thursday, June 30th    Rock at the Row

June 2-August 25. 6-8pm6pm – 8pm @ Pentagon Row, Arlington

Head to Pentagon Row in Arlington for a family friendly Rock at the Row Summer Concert Series.  This Thursday is Dan Haas a Lounge Pop band.  Go to this post for more info.


Friday, July 1st    City Dance and Milkshake

Wolf_Trap_Logo.gif10am @ Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA

Wolf Trap Foundation and the National Park Service are presenting Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods performances from late June through early August.  This week is City Dance and Milkshake!  City Dance is at 10am, and the mystical world of the Amazon will unfold before your eyes through Brazilian music and modern dance as dolphins, monkeys, and jaguars come to life around the Dreaming Tree.  Dance to the music with Milkshake at 11am.  Sing along with Grammy-nominated songs in the style of the White Stripes, the Beatles, and more.  Tickets for both performances are only $8.



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.

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

In Arlington

Bon Air Park Memorial Rose Garden– Arlington

One of Arlington’s best kept secrets, the Bon Air Memorial Rose garden is one of the largest rose gardens on the East Coast. During World War II, the Arlington Rose Foundation wanted to create a living memorial dedicated to those who served their country.  Today the garden occupies about one acre, with several other gardens surrounding the area. Over 135 different rose varieties and 2,500 plants can be found within the boundaries Bon Air Park.  Bon Air Memorial Park also features an azalea garden, a shade garden, a sun garden, and an ornamental garden.  They also have a fun playground, and plenty of room for young legs to run!  The park is located at the corner of North Lexington and Wilson Boulevard, at 850 North Lexington Street in Arlington (between Upton Hill and George Mason).

Fort C.F. Smith Park

This site was was a fort during the civil war, and there are a 1/2 mile of trails on this 19-acre site.  Most of the trails are gravel and run through the woods, while the rest of the trail runs through gardens and by the Hendry House..  You can check out wildlife, and allow your kids to run wild though the open space.  During the spring and summer months, the meadows are filled with wildflowers and butterflies and birds.

Gulf Branch Nature Center– Arlington

The N. Arlington Nature Center 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.  Outside the nature center is 40 acres of nature, with a stream, a pond, wooded trails, and access to the Potomac River.

Long Branch Nature Center– Arlington

This S. Arlington Nature Center has various exhibits with an indoor pond filled with fish and turtles.  There are also aquariums with fish, frogs, and snakes.  Your kids will love the Children’s Discovery Room with books, puppets, and toys.  Outside there are 18 acres with a meadow, two ponds, interpretive gardens, and a forest!.  They also take in and rehabilitate injured reptiles.  The park is located on the Long Branch Stream, which flows into Four Mile Run.

Check out this entry for more info on Gulf Branch and Long Branch. 

Our Kids wrote a fantastic review of both centers.  

Potomac Overlook Nature Center- Arlington

In N. 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 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 on hot days, you will stay cool.  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.

Powhatan Springs Children’s Rain Garden– Arlington

Powhatan Springs Children’s Rain Garden is 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!

Theodore Roosevelt Island- Arlington

Head to Teddy Roosevelt Island for a hike and picnic. On this wooded island sanctuary, 2.5 miles of trails lead to the great statue of Roosevelt, There are trails that are flat and wide, so toddlers can walk or go in strollers, and kids of all ages will enjoy exploring. There are kid sized climbing rocks, as well as a sandy beach with rocks and shells. Kids will be able to see and hear the jets from Reagan overhead, in addition to many plants and animals: frogs, fish, turtles, ducks, geese, and deer. Bring bread to feed the ducks, and then picnic by the monument.  You can get there in a car only from the northbound lane of GW Parkway. Once you are parked, cross a foot bridge to the island.

In Alexandria

Green Spring Gardens– Alexandria

This is a 27-acre public park with over 20 thematic gardens (including a Children’s Garden, a Family Garden, Butterfly Crossing for kids), a greenhouse filled with tropicals, and a horticultural reference library (with a children’s library and children’s corner).  You can also walk through the a wooded stream valley to an area with 2 small ponds   The visitor center has backpacks you can take on your walk that are filled with guide books, magnifying glass, journal and crayons, etc.

Huntley Meadows Park- Alexandria

Huntley Meadows Park is an actual wetland that was carved out by an ancient Potomac stream.  A graveled path from the visitor’s center leads to a series of boardwalks over the wetlands.   You will walk through the forest, into meadows, and through freshwater wetlands.    It is really a beautiful place.  I have heard that going in the morning is the best time, as the animals are much more active.  We went  late morning, as were still able to see tons of turtles, frogs, ducks (with babies), and plenty of birds.  You can also try to spot geese, herons, dragonflies, snakes, butterflies, and beavers from the boardwalk.  The trails are very stroller friendly and wheelchair accessible. The Visitor Center also has great kids events and programs for all ages.  You can bring your own picnic lunch and use the picnic table at the visitor center or the various benches.  There is an entrance to Huntley Meadows off S. Kings Highway, but you can get to the visitors center only from the Lockheed Blvd entrance.  The visitor center is closed Tuesdays.

Check out this great post by Darcy of No Monsters in My Bed.

Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center- Alexandria

They have live animals like turtles, toads, snakes, and salamanders, as well as an aquarium with native fish species.  There is a mounted black bear, red fox, turkey and bobcat for you to check out.

River Farm Garden Park– Alexandria

River Farm belonged to George Washington, and is now the home to the American Horticultural Society.  It is a fantastic place to take kids!  It is one of our favorite places to go to play and enjoy being outside.  As a bonus cooler there because of the breeze off the Potomac.  There are 25 acres of lawns and gardens at River Farm, and it is open to the public from 9am- – 5pm Monday – Friday, and on Saturdays 9am – 1pm from April to September.  The entire grounds are fun to wander around with kids, but they will especially love the 13 small themed children’s gardens: The Fairy Tale Garden, Hummingbird Garden, Rest Stop, Beau Beau’s Garden, Alphabet Garden, Wobby The Worm, Scratch and Sniff Garden, Boat Garden, Hide-n-Seek Garden, Little House on the Prairie, Rock-n-Roll Garden, The Maze Garden, and Bat Cave.

Check out this post for more info.

Winkler Botanical Preserve– Alexandria

The Winkler Botanic Preserve is a private nature sanctuary in Alexandria on 44 acres.  It is a fun place to bring kids and take a short hike. has a great write up about this hidden gem.  The trailhead is at the edge of a meadow, surrounded by woods and a mountain climber’s training tower. The hikes route features include a small lake with several streams, waterfall, covered bridge mountain lodge, and even a Hobbit house.  The trail surface is mostly wood-chip mulch, some gravel, and grass.  It is located at 5400 Roanoke Avenue, Alexandria.  It only has 6 parking spots.  The park is open from 8:30am – 5pm.  Call 703-578-7888 for more information.  It can be difficult to find this preserve.  The sign is behind the branches on the left side of the entrance.  Drive past the entrance and park in the small lot to the left and follow the gravel laden path.

Outlying Virginia Areas

Frying Pan Farm Park– Herndon, VA

This is a fun place to visit to check out a real working farm.  There are cows, goats, chickens, bunnies, sheep, and pigs.  You are not able to feed these animals, but you can pet them through the fences.  Once you have had your fill of animal watching, you can head to the playground to run off some steam.  There is also a country store where you can purchase gifts, ice cream, and drinks.  New this year is an Allan Herschell carousel that was built during the depression era. Tickets are only $0.75.  We visit the farm at least once a year.  If you haven’t been before, definitely plan a trip.  Your kids (and you) will love it.

Hidden Oaks Nature Center- Annandale

The playroom of this 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.

Reston Zoo- Vienna, VA

Reston Zoo is a thirty-acre, family-friendly zoo right in the heart of Vienna.  There are Zoofari wagon rides that take you to see antelope, camels, zebras, antelope, bison, crazy ostriches, watusis, and many more.  There are exhibits of monkeys, kangaroos, alligator, tortoises, servals, a wide variety of birds and many more interesting animals!  There is also a Petting Barn, where you can pet and feed sheep, lambs, goats, llamas, rabbits, and pot-belly pigs.  Animal feed cups and baby bottles are available for purchase in the gift shop.  Don’t miss the Zoofari ride when you go- it is always the highlight of our trip.

Washington DC

Rock Creek Nature Center– Washington, DC

The nature center has stuffed versions of all the birds and animals native to Rock Creek park – a bald eagle, woodpecker, even a coyote.  There are tanks filled with fish and frogs native to the park, and a bee station located on the back wall of the exhibit room.  You can watch the bees at work in the hive, visible through glass panes.  The hive is connected to the outdoors by a plastic tube.  There is a small Discovery play room to draw or do puppet shows, as well as books, puzzles, and dress-up clothes.  Kids will love the ‘Please Touch’ Center with animal furs, bones and antlers to explore.  Kids can also play with stone stamps that make footprints from different animals in the sand.  They host nature walks and ranger programs, too.

There is also a planetarium that seats 75 people.  It holds regular shows on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. for children five and older (5-7 year olds must be accompanied by an adult) and at 4 p.m. for children seven and older.

US Botanic Garden– Washington, DC

Located just across the street from the Museum of the American Indian at the foot of the Capitol, is the three-acre National Garden.  There are so many beautiful gardens (like the Jungle and Garden Court) within the building, but the favorite of most kids is the special hands-on garden just for children.  Kids can dig, water, plant, and touch and smell the plants. There are two wells filled with water, and many watering cans. One of the wells has a fish fountain, and the kids can use the pump to push water to the fish’s mouth. There is a little house to explore, and pathways through a bamboo forest.  There is also a big shady spot for parents where you can watch the kids play. Might want to bring a change of clothes for the kids- K is almost always happily soaked when we go.

US National Arboretum, Washington, DC

This is frequently called on of DC’s best kept secrets.  Start out by feeding the koi (buy food for 25 cents).  There are wide open spaces to run and play, and the bonsai garden is amazing.  Bring a picnic and blanket, and eat on the east terrace at the National Grove of State Trees.  You can also take a tram ride- it is a 35-minute taped tour that highlights the Arboretum.  The grounds are open every day of the year from 8am – 5pm, and admission is free.   I can’t believe that we haven’t been here yet.  I hear such great things about it- it is definitely on my list!  Check out these posts from No Monsters in My Bed. It is one of their favorite places to visit, and Darcy has many tips.
The National Arboretum (Koi Pond, Azalea Gardens, & Bonsai) and 

The National Arboretum’s Fern Valley, Capitol Columns, & Youth Garden (Washington D.C.)

Lots of outdoor activities this weekend- hope that the weather obeys!

Saturday, April 23rd

Mason District Park Easter Egg Hunt

10am – 12pm @ Mason District Park, Annandale

An egg hunt with a moonbounce, popcorn, and even more fun.  There will be hunts based on age group.  The hunts begin at 10:45.  Walk-in registration is available, and cost is $7 pr person.  For information, call 703-941-1730.

Falls Church Easter Egg Hunt

10am @ Cherry Hill Park, Falls Church

In addition to scrambling for eggs, children ages 11 and younger participate in a make-your-own-candy-bag craft project and have a chance to meet and take pictures with the Easter Bunny. This event is free to all participants.  Click here for the PDF.

Tudor Place’s Third Annual Eggstravaganza

10am – 12pm @ Tudor Place Historic House and Garden, Washington, DC 

Children of all ages enjoy the largest Egg Hunt in DC and a thrilling Egg Roll Contest.  After the games, spend the morning decorating eggs and playing games from the past.  The Easter Bunny is available for pictures all morning.  Visitors also enjoy a self-guided tour of Tudor Place’s 5 ½ acres of gardens. The Egg Hunt begins at 10:30 a.m. and the Egg Roll follows at 10:45 a.m. Bring your own basket, spoon, and one hard-boiled egg per child.

Egg-cellent Adventures

10am – 11am @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington

The birds are singing and laying eggs – but they aren’t the only ones! Find out who else lays eggs at this egg-citing program.  There is a $3 fee.  Registration is required.

Ballston Easter Eggstravaganzza

10:30am @ Quincy Park, Arlington

Egg hunt, life sized easter bunny, face painting, moon bounce, bike raffle, and other fun games.  No ticket or registration required.

Easter at Cox Farms

11am @ Cox Farms, Centreville, VA

There will be 2 egg hunts (11am and noon), with very limited space- no pre-registration.  Arrive at least 10 minutes before the egg hunt start time.  There will be a visit from the Easter Bunny, with Bunny Games, egg coloring, and goats, chickens, bunnies…and emus.  Cost is $4 per child for the egg hunt.  All other Easter activities are free and open to everyone!

Family Gaming Day–Shirlington

1pm @ Shirlington Branch Library, Arlington

Have you been honing your Monopoly skills? Or waiting to show off your Wii tennis moves? Just bring your family to Shirlington Branch Library to join in the fun! Board games and Wii games will be provided. Please call 703-228-6545 with any questions.

Capitol Hill Easter Eggstravaganzza

1pm – 3pm @ Lincoln Park, DC

Two egg hunts, life-size Easter Bunny, cotton candy, face painting, games, prizes, and bike raffles.  No ticket or registration required.

Calling All Frogs Campfire

6:30pm – 7:45pm @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington

The whole family is invited to join us at 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 fee per person, and $20 max. per family.

Sunday, April 24th

Westover Baptist Church Easter Party

12:30pm – 1:30pm @ Westover Baptist Church, Arlington

Come to the annual Easter Party on Easter Sunday.  After the service they will have a egg hunt and make an Easter craft while enjoying bunny cake.  All children are invited.

Saturday, April 23rd & Sunday, April 24th

Reston Zoo Easter Egg Hunts

10am, 12pm, 2pm @ Reston Zoo, Vienna

Bring your Easter Baskets for an action packed zoo day! Meet baby bunnies, bottle feed little lambs, and enjoy Easter egg hunts, face painting and special visits from the Easter Bunny. Egg hunts take place on Saturday and Sunday at 10am, 12pm, 2pm. Special egg hunts for children 4 and under take place in our picnic area at 10am and 2pm on Saturday and Sunday. Egg hunts are FREE with admission to the zoo. (1 egg hunt per day per child.)

Egg Hunts abound (for even more check out my post) and lots of outdoor activities are on tap for this weekend.  Hope you have a great one!

Saturday, April 16th

Center for Alexandria’s Children (CAC) Family Fun Day

11am – 3pm @ William Ramsay Recreation Center, Alexandria

The month of April is Child Abuse Prevention month, and the Center for Alexandria’s Children, the City of Alexandria, and Alexandria City Public Schools are partnering with Capital One Bank to host a Family Fun Day.  Admission is free, and there will be a ton of fun things to do for kids.  Kids can visit with the D.C. United Mascot Talon and check out a kid’s Deejay.  There will also be moon bounces, a petting zoo, face painting, arts and crafts, and more. 

Northern Virginia Easter Eggstravaganza

10:30am – 1pm @ Top Golf of Alexandria, Alexandria

Two Egg Hunts, a life sized Easter Bunny, moon bounce, face painting, balloon artistry, magic show, musical performances, prizes, and games.

2011 Georgetown Easter Eggstravaganza

9:30am – 11am @ Lawn at Grace Church, 1041 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC

There will be 2,500 eggs in 2 egg hunts- one for pre-k and under, and one for kindergarten to 6th grade.  There will be prizes, a bike giveaway, cotton candy & popcorn, face painting, games, and a visit from the Easter Bunny!  This is sponsored by National Community Church – Georgetown.

Sunday, April 17th

Save the Kids’ Farm! 

10:30am @ Horace Mann Elementary School, Washington, DC
Have you and your family enjoyed the petting zoo & pizza playground at the zoo?  It might be closing this Summer….The Great Zucchini, John Henry, Marsha Goodman-Wood, and Bingo the Clown are teaming up to help save the petting zoo and pizza playground in Kids’ Farm and they need your help.  Come for an unforgettable show with the Great ZucchiniJohn Henry, the Guitar Playing ManMarsha Goodman-Wood, and Bingo The Magic Clown.  Doors will open at 10am.  Every child who attends will recieve a farm coloring book!  Visit their website to see how you can help  and join them on Facebook.  Tickets are $10.

Dairy Day 

1pm – 4pm @ Claude Moore Farm, McLean

Have you ever wondered what curds and whey look like? Do you know how to wash butter? Join in as the farm wife makes soft cheese and churns butter, and gain a new appreciation for these foods, so precious to the Farm family.

Shakespeare’s Birthday Open House

12pm – 4pm @ Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC

Come celebrate Shakespeare’s 447th birthday!  There will be jugglers and jesters, birthday cake, Renaissance music, song, and dance, free kid’s activities, Elizabethan crafts, and a Scavenger Hunt.  It is a free event!

Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock!

2pm @ Jammin’ Java, Vienna

A very interesting show!  Gustafer is a friendly creature who came to Earth from the sun and has an unusual way of  making friends with some of Earth’s strange creatures.  Tickets are $10 for everyone 1 year and older.

Del Ray’s 3rd Annual Easter Egg Hunt

1pm- 4pm @ Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria

There will be two egg hunts from 1pm – 2pm (based on age), and the Easter Bunny will also pose for pictures.  At 1pm there will be a hunt for kids under 6, and at 1:30 for kids 7- 10.  There will also be a hunt for adults and dogs.  From 1-4 p.m., specific shops along Mt. Vernon Ave. will provide eggs filled with coupons and/or candy for adults and baskets of treats for dogs.

Sunday, April 16th & Sunday, April 17th

Ticonderoga Farms Easter Egg Hunts

11am and 2pm @ Ticonderoga Farm, Chantilly, VA

Egg Hunts feature candy and toy-filled eggs.  Find special golden goose eggs for a prize.  Kids and adults can visit the slides, playground ark, take a hayride, visit our animal center and roast marshmallows.  Snacks and drinks are available for purchase.  Bring your camera for photo ops with the Easter Bunny.

Pump It Up Easter Egg Hunt

9:00am – 10:30am @ Pump It Up, Manassas

Kids can search for eggs and bounce on their giant inflatables.  The Easter Bunny will also be there.  For kids ages 2-11, and cost is $15 per child.  Reservations are required.

15th Annual Bunnyland

9am – 3pm @ Butler’s Orchard, Germantown MD

There are hayrides, rubber ducky derby, kiddie Hayromp and castle, inflatables, giant slides, and bunnies, lambs, and chicks.  Hunt for colorful eggs, and get a Goody Basket to take home.  There are also food vendors, and face painting, kids crafts, and pony rides for purchase. Cost is $8 per child and $6 per adult.

Last Weekend of The Magic Paintbrush

11am @ Synetic Family Theater, Arlington

A new Synetic Family Theater show is opening this weekend at the Shirlington Village theater- The Magic Paintbrush!  They recommend ages 4+ for this performance, but have had some kids as young as 2 come to see their shows and enjoy them.  Check out my post for more info.

Family Fun Packs Weekend and Kids Run the Bases on Sunday

1:05pm on Saturday, and 1:35pm on Sunday @ Nationals Park, Washington, DC

This is a great way to see the Nationals play for a good price.  You can choose from two seating options- $14 – Upper Right Field Terrace and $25 – Outfield Reserved.  You will receive a voucher for a hot dog, a bag of chips, and a beverage.  Also, on Sunday, April 17th, kids ages 4 – 12 can run the bases after this weekends’ National games.  Starting at first base, kids will be directed to run around the bases as the adults continue along the warning track and meet the runners near home plate.  You can become a Jr. Nationals MVP member and have access to an exclusive line that will go onto the field first.

It is warming up, so I have included some fun outdoor activities!  Hope that you have a great week.

Monday, April 11th    Visit Beverley Park (AKA the Pit)

Anytime @ Beverley Park, 620 North Overlook Dr, Alexandria

Monday is going to be beautiful, so head to the park!  A local favorite in Alexandria, “The Pit” is a great place to go with all ages of kids.  There is an updated playground equipment with swings, slides, a big sand pit, a picnic shelter, and leftover playground toys (bikes, scooters, ride-on toys, etc).  There is also a hard court play area, and a wooded nature area.  There is a lot of room to run and play!  It is a huge park.  According to Alexandria’s government site, Beverley Park was once used as a staging area and gravel pit when the homes in the Beverly Hills neighborhood were being built. After the new home construction was completed, the site was cleaned up and a playground was installed.


Monday, April 11th    Little Acorns

11am @ Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale

Come to an interactive class for preschoolers, where kids learn about a weekly topic through finger plays, stories, activities and, weather permitting, and outdoor exploration.

Click here for more info.



Tuesday, April 12th    Spectacular Snakes

10:30am @ Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington

Preschoolers can learn about snakes in a fun interactive program that will include stories, a craft, and a short hike.  For ages 3 – 5 years.  Registration is required.


Wednesday, April 13th    Rocknoceros

10:30am @ Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA

If you haven’t seen Rocknoceros yet, you should definitely get to one of their shows.  Rochnoceros is a three-man children’s show that features original children’s songs as well as other well known songs.  The show caters to children from ages 1 – 9, but will entertain all ages.  The cost is $5 for everyone a year and older.


Thursday, April 14th    Visit Kidwell Farm

9am – 5pm @ Frying Pan Farm Park , Herndon, VA

Come join us as we explore the farm!  There are cows, sheep, goats and pigs as well as a chickens, bunnies, peacocks, horses and many farm buildings to check out.  There is a lot of room for kids to run/walk around and check out the farm, and a fun playground to see as well.  There is also a country store and equestrian facilities.  This is a great time of year to go- there are so many baby animals to see!  Check out this Our Kids review for more info!


Friday, April 15th    See the Animals at Reston Zoo

9am – 5pm @ Reston Zoo, Vienna, VA

Reston Zoo, which has been closed for the winter, is open again!  This is a great hands on zoo for children of all ages.  The zoo is a thirty-acre park right in the middle of Vienna.  There are exhibits of monkeys, kangaroos, alligator, tortoises, servals, a wide variety of birds.  There is a free-Flight Aviary and a Reptile House.  There is also a Petting Barn, where you can pet and feed (baby bottles and food are available for purchase) sheep, lambs, goats, llamas, rabbits, and pot-belly pigs.  In addition to these animals, you can take a Zoofari wagon rides (included in admission fee) to see zebras, antelope, bison, crazy ostrich, and lots more.  Cost is $12 for adults, and $9 for kids ages 2–12.  Kids under 2 are free.

Next Page »