Sunday, April 13, 2014

2014 Family Calendar of Events

Kid's activities and events focused on kid's play, learning, socialization and building confidence in the Washington DC and Maryland areas.  Parents have rated these events as very family friendly including travel, parking, amenities and mostly of all enjoyment and learning experiences.. Please feel free to comment on any of these activities you may have participated. We are always open to suggestions for activities we may have missed. Thank you for all your responses.


Calendar Quick Links

Mar 12-14 Discovery Theater's Austin Clark & the Albatross
Mar 13-14 Discovery Theater's Amelia and her Big Red Plane
Mar 15: St Patrick's Day parade Gaithersburg, MD
Mar 15: St Patrick's Day Parade Manassas, VA
Mar 15: National Theatre - Amazing stunts and Magic!
Mar 16: St Patrick's Day Parade Baltimore, MD
Mar 16: St Patrick's Day Parade Washington DC
Mar 20-21 Discovery Theater's Amazing Animals of the Rainforest

Mar 20 - National Cherry Blossom Festival Opens
Mar 22 - National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Days
Mar 22- National Theatre - Bright Star Theater
Mar 27 - Puppet Company's "Hansel & Gretel" Opens
Mar 29 - Cherry Blossom National Kite Festival
Mar 29- National Theatre - Clowning around with Shakespeare
Apr 4 - Adventure Theatre's "Jungle Book"  Opens
Apr 5 - National Cherry/Southwest Airlines Fireworks
Apr 5- National Theatre - Delta Blues by a One Mand Band
Apr 6: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches
Apr 6 - Shakespeare Birthday Celebration
Apr 6 - Imagination Stage's Inside Out Closes
Apr 7 - National Cherry Blossom Stone Lantern Lighting

Apr 9:  Imagination Stage's "Cinderella" (Remix)  Opens
Apr 10-11: Discovery Theater's Tot Rock
Apr 12 - National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Apr 12 - National Cherry Blossom Sakura Japanese Street Festival
Apr 12: American Art Museum Family Art Day
Apr 13: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Duke Ellington
Apr 14: American Portrait Gallery Young Explorers-Isadora Duncan
Apr 14: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Dana Tai Soon Dance Co Open Rehearsal
Apr 15-17: American Portrait Gallery Spring Break Activities

Apr 19 - Shakespeare Library Saturday Shake Up
Apr 21 - Easter Monday at the National Zoo
Apr 22 - Earth Day at the National Zoo
Apr 22-24: Discovery Theater's Garbage to Gardens
Apr 26 - Party for the Planet at the Maryland Zoo
Apr 26- Air/Science Museum & NOVAC Star Party
Apr 24: USA Science & Engineering Festival Extreme Symposium for Students
Apr 25: USA Science & Engineering Festival Sneak Peak Friday
Apr 26-27: USA Science & Engineering Festival Grand Finale Expo
Apr 26-27: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Benny Goodman

May 1:  Puppet Company's "PinocchioOpens
May 1: Discovery Theater's-Shisa Dogs & Taiko Drums
May 3-4: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Isamu Noguchi
May 4: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches
May 10 - Shakespeare Library Saturday Shake Up
May 10 - American Art Museum Mother's Day Family Day
May 11: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Mary Cassatt
May 12: American Portrait Gallery Young Explorers-Julia Child
May 13-16: Discovery Theater's - Tigers, Dragons & Other Tales
May15-17 Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival
May 17: Smithsonian Sleepovers
May 17-18: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Anna May Wong
May 24-25: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Romare Bearden

May 31- Air/Science Museum & NOVAC Star Party
Apr 13: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Gertrude Ederle
June 1: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches
June 5-6: Discovery Theater's Barefoot Puppets
June 14 & 28: Smithsonian Sleepovers
June 20 - Adventure Theatre's "Pinkalicious"
June 21- Air/Science Museum & NOVAC Star Party
June 26-27: Discovery Theater's - Diggity Dudes Hip Music
July 6: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches
July 12: NGA Kid's art programs begin
July 26- Air/Science Museum & NOVAC Star Party

Ongoing & Upcoming

Any time

National Gallery of Art
National Portrait Gallery
National Theater, Washington DC
National Zoo, Washington DC
National Children's Museum
Olde Towne Alexandria, VA
River Bend Park, Great Falls, VA
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Storyville at Woodlawn & Rosedale Libraries, Maryland
The Yards Park, Washington DC
US Botanic Gardens

2014 National Zoological Park


The National Zoological Park is a part of the Smithsonian Institution. The Zoo covers 163-acres in Rock Creek Park in the heart of Washington, D.C, and is home to 2,000 individual animals of nearly 400 different species. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, which launched on January 25, 2010, serves as an umbrella for the Smithsonian’s global effort to conserve species and train future generations of conservationists. The SCBI is headquartered in Front Royal, Virginia, at the facility previously known as the National Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center. Some conservation efforts include National Elephant Herpesvirus Laboratory, Global Tiger Initiative and Conservation Centers for Species Survival. The Zoo is most popular residents are the giant pandas, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang. In addition, children are fascinated with the lions and tigers. Some of the lion cubs are old enough to leave for other zoos . My daughter enjoyed watching them grow, and learning their interesting names when they were born. Shera's cubs are Lelie (lily, choses by students online), Fahari (magnificent), Zuri (beautiful), and John (for John Berry, former Zoo director). Naba's cubs were named Lusaka (Lioness at the zoo that died recently), Aslan (named for Narnia Lion), and Baruti (teacher, submitted by Bright Horizons childcare at a Virginia hospital). You can see their first explorations at this link. It was a treat to see how one of the constantly teased father Luke while out in the exhibit. They have grown so much, and we will miss seeing them. Can't wait for the next little cubs! There are so many different animals to see and the zoo is always updating different exhibits to be more animal friendly.

The Zoo is very large and entails a lot of walking as do most zoos. Strollers are a must for small children. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen and hats. During warm months, there are water misters in the park, and children love to do run bys and get drenched. Some adults prefer the stand and get soaked method. There is a children's play area opposite the Big Cat exhibits and Amazonia. My daughter loves to climb the giant pizza play mat and stack pepperonis and tomatos to leap off. A visit to the small mammal, reptile and Amazonia buildings are a great way to cool off in the summer. The Amazonia building has some interesting teaching exhibits. Summer camp for grades K-7 at the Zoo is very popular, and usually sold out in the first hour of registration. There are year round classes available as well.

Special Events
Easter Monday
April 21, 10 am-4 pm
Family activities including Easter Egg Hunt, Animal Demonstrations
and visits from the Easter Panda!
Earth Day
April 22, 2014
Family activities and Animal Demonstrations

The Smithsonian's National Zoo is free and open every day of the year, except December 25. Some areas are closed temporarily while we build exciting new exhibits, most exhibits are open. The new America Trail exhibit opens Labor Day 2012 and the last phase of Elephant Trails will be completed by spring 2013

The National Zoo's Plan your Visit page is a great tool to help plan your day. Zoo hours and their daily schedule of activities (feedings, enrichment activities, talks) is great for planning ideal times at certain exhibits during the day. A very popular event to see is the Orangutan crossing and usually happens 11:00-11:30 daily. The Orangutans clamber across wires and beams from one side of the park to another. Children squeal and giggle as they watch. In addition to daily activities, a list of Special Events like Brew at the Zoo (July 12) and a zoo map can also be found at this link. We try to plan our visits during Earth Day Celebration (April), ZooFest (October) and Zoolights (December).

Zoo Cams (Click link for full list)
Clouded Leopard Cam
Cheetah Cam
Lion Cubs

6:00-8:00 Summer hours for the Grounds
9:00-5:00 year round - Visitor Center, Shops, and Concessions
10:00-6:00 Exhibits

Children's Activity Sheets for Zoo including Scavenger Hunts

The Zoo is collecting old cell phones and electronics for recycling.

Smithsonian National Zoo
Free Admission
3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

Metro: Red Line to the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan stop or the Cleveland Park stop.

Parking is $16 for the first three hours, and $22 for more than three hours.
Parking is free for FONZ members during regular daytime hours.
The zoo is very, very popular so arrive early for parking. Otherwise, you will have to find parking outside the zoo area.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Star Parties 2014


National Air and Space Museum

Sky Meadows State Park
Evening Telescope Viewing
7:30 - 10:30 pm
Schedule for 2014

April 26 
May 31
June 21
July 26
August 23
September 27
October 18
November 22

Museum astronomer Sean O'Brien and local amateur astronomers from the North Virginia Astronomer's Club (NOVAC) bring out their high-power telescopes for viewing, and they share their knowledge of the night sky from April to November each year. Away from the glare of city lights, visitor may see stars they never knew existed. There is a "Junior Astronomer" program for children ages 5-12, and children can participate in the Astronomy bingo game for prizes. A video presentation is sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Solar System Ambassador, followed by a night sky orientation. Weather permitting, participants can witness the thousands of stars that litter the dark night sky and view close up views with the help of high-powered optics. These astronomers are very generous with their time, knowledge sharing and telescope viewing. Many are especially excited to show children fantastic images they have located in their awesome telescopes. Most of the telescopes are far larger than my 4 year old daughter, and many astronomers have step ladders to assist viewing. Our first night out, we saw Saturn, Mars, the bright star Vega, a double star (gold and blue) and several star clusters. On a subsequent visit, we saw Vega, the Space Station, another double star, a meteor and the Rayne Nebula. My daughter said is looked like a blue cupcake. The star clusters were like marshmallows she said. One boy described it as looking like someone dropped a bottle of glitter in some glue. My daughter gets so excited, and hops up and down waiting for her turn at the telescopes. As soon as she is finished with one discovery, she is eagerly looking for the next telescope to get in line behind.

The park is beautiful and great for family activities. We like to fly our kites, and my daughter loves to chase bubbles in the meadow. She always makes new friends when we go, and the children love to run and roll across the green meadow. Fireflies are abundant at night during the summer, and the children love to catch them. There are plenty of other flying insects as well, so don't forget bug spray or other repellants. Some stargazers like to camp overnight, and these spaces go quickly. Call early in the week for camp site reservations if you would like to stay overnight.. Camping is primitive style. Bring portable chairs, picnic blankets and cool/warm drinks to sit and enjoy the grand spectacle of the universe. It is a very memorable experience, and one we are eager to do again and again.

Notes: Please bring a red filter or brown paper bag to cover your flashlight. Bright white light will interfere with telescope viewing. Dress warmly because the nights are chilly. Hot chocolate and snacks are great for an evening under the stars.

Weather: In case of clouds or rain, the "Junior Astronomer" and multimedia programs will be presented and the gates will close at 9 PM.

Independence Ave. at 6th St., SW
Washington, DC
11012 Edmonds Lane,
Delaplane, VA 20144
Directions- 540-592-3556
$5 parking fee per vehicle


Saturday, April 5, 2014

2014 Turf Valley Preakness Balloon Festival

Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival
at Turf Valley, Maryland
May 15-17, 2014
4:00 pm- 9:00 pm

Balloon glow Thursday & Friday evenings
Walkabout Balloon activity $2
Craft/Food Vendors

Turf Valley Golf Resort in Howard County is hosting the annual Preakness Balloon Festival. The event features more than 20 vibrantly designed hot air balloons right off the greens. There are children's activities including games, face painting and a train ride for a small fee. Most of the children prefer to run about on the greens playing with the free items donated by local businesses including inflatable beach balls, travel frisbies and bubble makers. Visitors can bring blankets and chairs to sit on the greens as they wait for the process of inflating the balloons to begin. We went on a friday to avoid the larger crowds on saturday. My daughter and her girlfriends had their faces painted with butterflies and fairies. They danced on the greens with other children when the music played, and chased each around the balloons. Each of the 20 balloons that day was giving balloon collection cards to the children, and children eagerly ran from balloon to balloon collecting them. The winds were strong during our visit, and the balloons were delayed by more than 3 hours. All 20 balloons did not go up, but spectators were able to see about ten of the ballons light up. As the first balloon began to inflate, the children cautiously moved closer to look inside the balloons as the flames were aimed inside. They played games of cat-and-mouse with the balloons, and would run and scream with giggles as the wind gently blew the inflating balloons near them. Over and over, they would get closer and fall down on the greens laughing. As night fell, the beautiful glow of the balloons was stunning. Children and adults were speechless as they gazed upon the glowing and vibrant colors of these enormous lanterns. Truly an event that has to be experienced.

Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival
Turf Valley Gold Resort
2700 Turf Valley Rd, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042

Schedule of Events-(Winds permitting)
6:30 am Morning Launches
4:00-9:00 pm Food and craft vendor exhibits, balloon rides and walk-thru balloon
6:30 pm Mass Ascension - Balloon Launch

Parking: No parking at Turf Valley and you will be turned away at the gate by County Police. Parking is limited to the Howard County Fair Ground with school bus transportation to Turf Valley. Last shuttle leaves Turf Valley at 10:30 pm. $10 per car.

2014 Maryland Zoo Bunny Bonanzoo


Maryland Zoo's Spring Events

with Mary Sue Candies

Friday, April 18- Sunday, April 20
10 am - 2:00 pm daily

Silly Goose and Val 10:30 am
Magical Illusions by Vick 12:30 pm

Breakfast with Bunny - Sold Out

ZooBloom is a new event and kicks off the beginning of the Maryland Zoo's spring season. Visitors can enjoy free cake samples from Charm City Cakes, face painting, photo ops with Zoo mascots and receive a free tree seedling. Bunny BonanZoo is a yearly event for our family. Festivities begin on Friday and continue to Sunday. Children can participate in ongoing Easter egg hunts, play games, create crafts and jump in balloon trampolines. My daughter's favorite part is the Silly Goose and Val Smalkin's Musical Zoo show. Refreshments are provided by a number of vendors. We generally get to the zoo early to see the Silly Goose show, hunt for eggs and then wander through the zoo to see our favorite animals. My daughter likes to feed the giraffes and once we were able to take a camel ride. She also likes the nature walk starting from the farm animal area and winding around back to the zoo center. Along the way she can pop up in the hill cones, slide down the tree slide, wander through the bat cave and spring across the lily pads in the water pond. We like to take the leisurely walk to the zoo center and ride the free tram back to the front gates. Bunny BonanZoo is included with admission fee to the zoo and season pass holders. We found that obtaining an annual pass works well for our family because we generally come at least three times yearly (BonanZoo, a summer visit and Halloween ZooBoo).

Upcoming Events:
Earth Day Party for the Planet
 April 26, 10 am-4 pm


Maryland Zoo
Druid Hill Park
Mansion House Drive,
Baltimore , MD 21217