Sunday, September 13, 2015

Monarch Butterfly Fiesta Day

Monarch Fiesta Day
September 19, Saturday 10:00 am -3:00 pm

Naturalists will be on hand to talk about the life cycle of the Monarch butterflies. Visitors can tour the butterfly exhibits to learn more about the Monarch's life cycle and migration to Mexico. Children ages 4+ will be able to make caterpillars and do Monarch stamp art. Story time events are recommended for ages 3+ and their families. In addition, staff will help children use their insect nets to catch different insects in the meadow. Visitors can also watch as naturalists identify and tag butterflies to document the migration. Tables with nature items and food items will be available. This is a Free event.

Black Hills Regional Park hosts a number of week day events throughout
the year geared to families and children.
During Storytime on the Lake, children can listen to a story while on a pontoon boat. Staff help the children search for animals and other interesting objects of nature ($5).

Calendar of programs link

Montgomery County Parks
20926 Lake Ridge Dr
Boyds, Maryland
Visitor's Center 301-528-4380
Open: Monday - Sunday 11:00-6:00 pm

Dulles Family Festival and Plane Pull

Dulles Day Plane Pull
September 19
Charity event supporting Special Olympics

The 2013 Dulles Day Family Festival & Plane Pull is a full day of excitement attracting more than 11,000 people! Highlights of this annual Special Olympics Virginia benefit include air plane and auto exhibits, the kid’s zone and bus pull, varied displays and activities, vendors, food and entertainment for all! Join the fun and support Special Olympics at this community event featuring the Plane Pull, a team competition and battle against a 164,000+ pound air bus.

Since the first-ever Plane Pull was held in 1993 at Dulles International Airport, Special Olympics Virginia has raised more than $1,500,000 for athletes with intellectual disabilities throughout the state, and also started a worldwide plane-pulling phenomenon. Today, similar Plane Pulls are held throughout the year in Colorado, Maryland, Hawaii, Tennessee and Texas.

The Dulles Day Festival & Plane Pull® is Special Olympics Virginia’s “heaviest” fundraiser, pitting teams of 25 against one another to see who can pull a 164,000+ pound Airbus 12 feet the fastest. Teams must raise a minimum of $1250 to participate – that’s just $50 per person – and all proceeds help Special Olympics Virginia provide year-round training and athletic competition to more than 11,000 athletes of all ages.

Other Events include:

Harrier Jet Landing and Takeoff
Pizza-Eating Contest
Police K-9 Demonstrations
Fire Safety demonstrations
Kids Zone !

Gates open Saturday at 10:30 am,
with event festivities beginning at 11 am;
gates close at 3:45 pm, with festivities ending at 4 pm.
Please note: no backpacks, coolers or pets will be allowed.
Dulles Airport

Polar Express Train

Tickets selling out quickly for this holiday season!

All Aboard! Start a unique new holiday tradition with a magical train ride. The Polar Express is a children's book written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. In the story, a young boy is awaiting Santa's arrival when he hears the sound of the Polar Express train outside his home. He is invited by the conductor to come aboard the train, which is filled with children and heading to the North Pole to meet Santa and the elves. During the journey the kids are treated to hot chocolate and cookies, which is what has inspired their serving aboard Polar Express tourist trains today. The story concludes with the young boy being picked by Santa to receive the first gift of Christmas and he chooses a simple, silver bell from Santa's sleigh. Interestingly, though, once he returns home and awakes on Christmas morning he notices that the bell is still in his possession.

Get your tickets now before they sell out!

Each year, independent trains across the US and Canada host their own unique versions of the story. Children can board the trains in their pajamas, sip hot chocolate, snack on cookies and meet an assortment of characters including dancing chefs and Santa. Each train company has it's own format and is an independent company. I suggest you check a number of different train schedules and available youtube videos to see which one suit's your family's tastes best. Many have already begun their holiday schedules, and prices vary from train to train.

The Elkin's Polar Express train follows the story wonderfully. The experience begins with the Dancing Chefs dancing and singing while they march down the boarding platform and aboard the train. As train cars tickets are called, children and their families giggle as they board the trains and head to their assigned cars. Each car is decorated in different color themes, and on the table are cookies and cocoa mugs waiting to be filled. As the train pulls out, the Dancing Chefs begin to make their way through the cars singing and filling cocoa mugs (a souvenir to keep). The children are read the story "The Polar Express" as the train makes it's way to the North Pole. The children squeal and giggle as they begin to see the lights of the "North Pole." We went on the 7:15 train, and the darkness made this more believable for the children. Santa came on board and visited each car while one of his elf helpers handed out silver bells to the children (another souvenir to keep). My daughter became very excited when she pulled out a slip of paper from a stocking telling everyone she had been nice and not naughty this year. Chefs are assigned to each car and play games, read stories and tell jokes. The children really enjoyed train surfing (standing in the aisles) trying to keep their balance. They also really enjoyed a little science when they made snow by adding water to some magic pellets. They were each given some snow to throw on each other and their parents.

West Virgnia's train in Elkins sells out quickly, but you can  get on a waiting list.    Elkins is a small community in the West Virginia mountains and about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours from the Washington DC-Maryland area. There is a Hilton Express Inn across from the train station.


Ages 12+ - $55       Children under 12 - $49

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Maryland Renaissance Festival

38th Annual
Maryland Renaissance Festival
Revel Grove in Crownsville, Maryland
August 29 - October 25
Times vary according to dates so check calendar
Calendar link

The Maryland Renaissance Festival has been reported to be the second largest renaissancefestival in the United States. The festival usually runs from the third week of August to the third week of October every year and includes a celebration of the autumn harvest. There are more than 130 craft shops and 42 food outlets including beer stands and taverns. Costume rentals are available, but reserve in advance due to the popularity of dressing up for the event. Audition information can be located on their main webpage. Beautiful flower garlands, face painting and bubble activities are very popular with children. One year we even rode an elephant.

Each year promoters change the story/theme of the three month extravaganza that takes place in a fictional 16th century English village named Revel Grove over 25 acres of meadow and forest. This year King Henry VII will be visiting the Grove with his Queen, Katherine of Aragon. For more story details, visitor can access the story link.

September 2, Labor Day - Senior 62+ year are free
September 7 & 8 - Pirate weekend
October 5 & 6 - Irish Celebration

Tickets Prices go up September 21
Adults at gate (ages 16-61) $17
Senior at gate (62+) $15
Child at gate (7-15) $8
Military discounts are available with photo ID. Multiple day passes are also available.

No pets.
No rainchecks.
No weapons (costume or real).
No non-contracted performances are permitted.
Patrons are welcomed to wear costumes suitable for a family-friendly atmosphere to get into the spirit of the event! All performers are paid by the King's purse and scheduled by the Artistic Director.

Tickets prices/dates (link)

Maryland Renaissance Festival
1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Phone: (800) 296-7304
Local: (410) 266-7304

Big Fish Games

Annemarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center

Annemarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center

September 19-20,
10:00 am-5:00 pm (rain or shine)
No Pets

Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center features a 1/4 mile walking path that meanders through the woods past permanent and loaned sculpture, including over thirty works on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art. The award-winning Arts Building includes rotating exhibition space, a gift shop, and a sunny patio. Annmarie presents a variety of popular annual festivals, rotating exhibitions, family activities, and creative classes.

The ArtFest will host more than 150 artist booths, 25 performers on two stages, lots of art activities for kids, Studio School, and the Zany Zone with beach balls and hula hoops. Visitors can purchase a variety of foods, wine & beer, and lots more! It's a fabulous weekend of great shopping and artful activities at the beautiful Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center in Solomons, Maryland

The gardens are known to become quite crowded during special events. An Artsfest Bus in downtown Solomons (in front of the public restrooms) will be available to take visitors to the festival.

While visiting the gardens, check out their schedule of adult and children's classes and programs.

Tickets: Adults $6, Children under 11 FREE
Hours: Open daily 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Annmarie Members
Child (5 & under)
Youth (6-17)
Adult (18 & up)
Senior (65 & older)
13480 "Dowell Rd
Solomons, MD