Sunday, June 8, 2014

Summer Family Calendar 2014

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

May 17: Smithsonian Sleepovers
May 17-18: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Anna May Wong
May 17-18: Washington DC Dragon Boat Races  Postponed June 14
May17-18: National Children's Museum Shows including Sid the Science Kid
May 18:  NASA Goddard Sunday Experiment-3rd Sundays
May 24-26 Memorial Day Celebrations
May 24-25: Delaplane Strawberry Festival
May 24-25: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Romare Bearden

May 26: National Children's Museum shows 31- Air/Science Museum & NOVAC Star Party
May 31: National Theatre: Animal Rescue Music Adventure
May 31-June 1: Washington Folk Festival
May 31: American Portrait Gallery Story Days-Gertrude Ederle
June 1: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches
June 2: Last Homeschool Day National Building Museum
June 5-6: Discovery Theater's Barefoot Puppets
June 7: Bethesda Children's Street Festival
June 7: US Botanic Gardens' Lei Making
June 7: National Theatre: Happenstance Theatre
June 7-8: World Oceans Day
June 14: National Theatre: Single Carrot Theatre
June 14 & 28: Smithsonian Sleepovers
June 19: National Children's Museum GEICO night
June 18-21:  Calvert Museum Tall Ship Invasion
June 20: US Botanic Gardens' Pollinator Party!
June 20 - Adventure Theatre's "Pinkalicious" June 21- Air/Science Museum & NOVAC Star Party
June 21: National Theatre: Uncle Devin's Music/Stories
June 21-22: Capital BBQ Battle
June 24: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre Opens-Dan Zanes
June 25-26: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Richmond Ballet
June 25-29: Smithsonian Folklife Festival
June 26-27: Discovery Theater's - Diggity Dudes Hip Music
June 27-28: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -The Pop Ups
June 28: National Theatre: The YoJo Show!
June 28: US Botanic Gardens' Songs/Dance of Hawaii
July 1-2: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre Instant Opera
July 2-6: Smithsonian Folklife Festival continues
July 3: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Taratibu Youth Association
July 4: National Building Museum's "BIG Maze"
July 6: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches
July 8-9: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Bing, Bang, Science Show 10-11: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Lucky Diaz and Family Jam Band
July 12: National Theatre: Arianna Ross Magical Adventures
July 12: NGA Kid's art programs begin
July 12: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -DinoRock
July 15-16: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Catskill Puppet Theater
July 17: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Los Quetzales Mexican Dance Ensemble Association
July 18-19: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Culkin Irish Dance School
July 19: National Theatre:  Mark Lohr's Children's Comedy
July 22: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Natyabhoomi Indian Dance School

July 23: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Hope Harris, Picasso, That's Who!
July 24: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Taikoza Japanese Drums and Dance
July 25-26: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Hudson Vagabond Puppets' "Butterfly"
July 26: National Theatre: Mary Ann Jung PeeWee Pirates
July 26: National Dance Day with SYTYCD show
July 26- Air/Science Museum & NOVAC Star Party
July 29-30: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips
July 31: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Capital Tap 1920s to today 1-2: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Pushcart Players "Little Red Riding Hood"
Aug 2: National Theatre:  Brian Curry's Magic Show
Aug 5: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Improv 4 Kids
Aug 6-7: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Paul Taylor Dance Company
Aug 8-9: Wolf Trap Children's Theatre -Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players
Aug 9: National Theatre: Bright Star Theatre"s "Ugly Duckling"
Aug 16: National Theatre: Christiana Drapkin's Music Show
Aug 23: National Theatre: Synetic Theatre's Magic Balloon

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

Sierra Trading Post

Calvert Marine Museum 2014

The Calvert Marine Museum is a public, non-profit, educational, regionally oriented museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, research, and interpretation of the culture and natural history of Southern Maryland. We are dedicated to the presentation of our three themes: regional paleontology, estuarine life of the tidal Patuxent River and adjacent Chesapeake Bay, and maritime history of these waters. The museum is part of Calvert County Government


Star-Spangled Celebration
Tall Ship Invasion
June 21 from  9 am-11 am 
Free ship tours

Public Sails June 18-21
Ticket prices vary

On June 22 All ships will sail up the Patuxent River to Jefferson Patterson Park
for a re-enactment of the Battle of St. Leonard's Creek at 2 pm.

Schedule and Ticket link

First Free Friday FREE Museum Days
(when no ticketed concerts scheduled)
First Free Friday takes place the first Friday of every month. The museum is open free to the public from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. There are always docents in every gallery, and frequently local performers will entertain. All performances are either free or on a donation basis, and are family friendly. Check the calendar for specific listings.

From June – September the Drum Point Lighthouse is open. Free 30 minute cruises on the Wm. B. Tennison are available May, June and September, sponsored by Dennis and Jan Biennas and M&T Bank.

Chain Dogfish

July TBA
ExhibitsSharkfest 2013 will highlight the ultimate apex predator of the marine world from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sharks are one of the most fascinating creatures. Live sharks and sturgeon will be featured in the Corbin Pavilion. The museum will be full of hands-on opportunities to explore the diversity of sharks and their remarkable history on planet Earth. Learn fascinating sharktoids, check out the evidence of damage done on fossil whale bones by prehistoric sharks, paint a shark mural, make a shark hat, get your face painted ($5 fee), play in the Shark Game Show and win a prize, and take your picture in the jaws of a Megalodon shark. Films about sharks will be shown in the auditorium. GenOn Aquaculture Facility staff will return to Sharkfest with live Chesapeake Bay native Atlantic sturgeon. The award winning Museum Store will be fully stocked with all things shark for the occasion.  Both vilified and ruthlessly hunted, this keystone species is becoming seriously threatened. Evidence of sharks dates back 450 million years, and shark fossils similar to modern species date back over 100 million years. Sharks are highly adaptable and now live in every ocean in the world in warm, temperate, and cold waters. Learn why preserving these ancient animals is critical to the health of our oceans.
Regular admission applies, members are free. Complimentary museum passes will not be honored and strollers are not allowed in the museum. There will be food vendors on site.

Senior Citizens (55 and older)................$7.00
Children ages 5 to 12.....$4.00
Children under 5............FREE
CMMS members...........FREE

14200 Solomons Island Road
Solomons, MD 20688
P: 410-326-2042
F: 410-326-6691

July 4, 2014 Celebrations


July 4th falls on a Friday this year, and many events are planned for Thursday July 3rd.  We love July 4th celebrations whether we are home or away at the beach.  I grew up watching fireworks on the beach, so I do have my preferences.  However, fireworks are spectacular no matter where seen.  I've listed just a few of the great celebrations in the Washington DC-Maryland area that we have observed as a family.  One year we attended three different events because the calendar year made it possible for celebrations to be scheduled over two weekends.  

Washington DC

July 4th parade begins 11:45 am on 7th Street and down Constitution Ave
National Symphony 8-9:30 pm on West Lawn
 Fireworks at dusk
Washington DC hosts the largest and most spectacular of fireworks celebrations in the country.  Children will be delighted by the marching bands, colorful floats and balloons. In addition, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival will be in full swing so visitors will be able to view and participate in a number of cultural activities.  Visitors will be allowed to enter the West Lawn area beginning at 3:00 pm for the concert. I would recommend arriving very early, and getting a convenient parking space close to routes out of the city. The roads around the Mall will be closed off. I prefer to be in a car in heavy traffic, rather than trying to keep my children safe in a mob of people. If you choose to use metro, you must leave the fireworks show early and head straight to a metro stop before the crowd retreats. Study your metro maps carefully and plan your route to any of the nearest metro stops. The Smithsonian metro stop entrance is the most popular. Massive crowds will rush towards metro entrances near the conclusion of the show, and these crowds can be crushing. Not an ideal situation if you have children. We have enjoyed seeing these fireworks shows, but we do not go every year due to the large crowds. 

Bring your blankets, chairs and lots of water and sunscreen.  However, remember you will need to carry these items with you after the show and through a massive mob of people heading towards metro sites. This is the only negative for this event, but a significant one. Most of the day is an enjoyable experience visiting museums, and participating in sponsored activities.  There could be a couple million people for the event so be sure to dress your children in clothes easily identifiable.  Strollers are great in keeping your children safe and near.  Carousel rides are always on our agenda and a trip to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.  Expect massive traffic including pedestrians.  I strongly suggest leaving prior to the fireworks finale because thousands of people will all immediately jump up and make their ways to the metro sites.  Plan ahead of time which metro you will use and make sure you are near by for a hasty retreat which is important if you have small children.  Capitol Police will only allow a specified number down the metro escalators at a time and the crowds will be massive and crushing.  At one point, I even considered taking a cab to a metro site further out of the area.  Expect crushing crowds at the Smithsonian, Federal Triangle and National Archives stops.  Parking will be difficult given the number of closed off streets for safety reasons.  If you plan to drive in, try to arrive by 9:30 since crowds will already be forming for the parade.  It is an event we have tried once with children and it was memorable.  I think the smaller venues are better for small children

Other July 4th Celebrations

Star Spangled SummerAlexandria will celebrate Alexandria's birthday with jazz and symphony concerts and fireworks show on July 12 from 7:30-10:00 pm at Oronoco Bay Park.  The Alexandria symphony will play at 9:00 pm and fireworks are scheduled for 9:30.  There will be children's activities throughout the day and birthday cake cutting at 8 pm.
Oronoco Bay Park
100 Madison St along the Potomac River.  
Alexandria, Virginia



July 4,  6:30-9:30

Annapolis 4th of July Parade
The parade begins at 6:30 pm on Amos Garrett Blvd and will procede down West Street and down to the Market House.  The US Naval Academy band will play from 8:00 pm up until the fireworks show around 9:15 over the harbor.  The event is very popular so arrive early to find parking along some of the streets or parking garage.  There is a shuttle ($2 each way) from the Stadium parking ($5) into the city.  Rain date July 5.   Watermark cruises are great for getting a sea view of the spectacular display of lights in Annapolis or Baltimore.  They sell out quickly so get your tickets early.

July 4, 7-10 pm
Inner Harbor

Baltimore has an awesome fireworks event planned July 4th and visitors will find a variety of amusing shows and sights along the harbor front.   The Visionary Art Museum will host it's annual Patriotic Pet Parade with trophies for best costumes.  Registration for the pet parade begins at 9:30.  Fireworks will also be over the water and visitors can opt to watch from the harbor front or in any of the many water vehicles available including Watermark Cruise ships.  Arrive early and remember to be patient when leaving because there will be massive traffic and crushing crowds.  Families need to be especially careful with young children as these crowds can be scary even for adults.  I suggest leaving before the end of the fireworks to avoid the crushing, pushing and shoving that follows such a spectacular public event.  Unfortunately, my experience is that many exiting adults will not be gracious or understanding despite the young children you may have.
American Visionary Museum
800 Key Highway
Baltimore, Maryland 21230 (
P: 410-244-1900

Port Discovery Children's Museum
35 Market Place • Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone 410.727.8120

Ft. Meade
July 3, 4-9:30pm
Lives bands, Clydesdale horses, Nascar vehicles, a BBQ cook off and more.
Fireworks are scheduled to begin at dusk.  Free Admission.  
Clink link for road closures, schedule of events and rules.
Fort Meade (link)


Herrington Harbour
July 3, Begins 3:00pm, Fireworks at dusk

Herring Harbor is a beautiful and well established marina in Anne Arundel County. They hosts movies on their beaches as well as concerts and other special events throughout the year. They have a fantastic beachy holiday celebration with lots of kids activities and great bands. Bring your beach chairs and blankets. There will be food and beverage vendors on site. My children head straight to the toy/souvenir vendors for the latest flashing red/white/blue gadget. The fireworks at Herrington Harbor are spectacular. The lights are so close that you feel you could catch some in your hand. However, they are loud at this proximity and some children may become upset.

Herrington Harbour
7149 Lake Shore Drive, Friendship, MD 20758

North Beach,
North Beach, Maryland
July 3 with Fireworks at 8:00pm

North Beach is south of Annapolis, has a beachy, family oriented celebration right on the main beach.  Visitors can bring their beach chairs, blankets and picnic baskets for an afternoon of sun, fun, boardwalk activities and fireworks.  We love to walk the boardwalk with ice cream cones in hand and check out the fishermen on the piers.  There are quaint shops to visit while you wait for dusk and fireworks.  The Chesapeake Beach Waterfun Park is nearby for added fun.   There is a very busy farmer's market and spectacular car
show every friday afternoon during the summer.  There is no cost for strolling through the market or admiring the many fancy cars parked along the main beach road.  A children's pirate ship provides slides, swings and hide-and-seek portals.  North Beach hosts many other special events during the summer including campfires, concerts and movies on the beach (no charge).  Check their calendar for more information.  Special events such as July 4th fireworks are very popular so come early to find parking and stake out your area of beach sand.  Traffic can be heavy but generally moves along quickly. 


Friday Night 6:00 Pm Farmer's Market and Classic Car Cruise-In car show.  FREE

North Beach
8916 Chesapeake Avenue,
North Beach, MD 20714
(301) 855-6681

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Celebrations 2014

Washington DC
PBS Memorial Day Concert
West Lawn, Sunday May 25, 8-9:30 pm
Memorial Day Parade
Monday, May 26 at 2:00 pm
Constitution & & 7th St -> Constitution-> 17th St
30+ bands, Taste of Rockville, Kids activities
Parade begins 9 am Monday
May 24-26
Rockville Towne Center, Rockville, Maryland
Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally & Musical Tribute
Candlelight Vigil Vietnam Veterans Memorial May 23, 9 pm
Thunder Alley open all day Saturday-Sunday, May 24-26
Sunday, May 25 from 6:30-9:00 pm
Musical Performances and Fireworks
Arrive early because park will close when capacity reached.
Free event
Monday, May 26 from 1-6:00 pm
Waterfront Park, Alexandria, Virginia
Monday, May 26 at 10:00 am
Annapolis, Maryland
West Street -> Church Circle ->Main Street


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Summer Reading Programs for Children

Fizz, Boom, Read!

Beginning June 2, 2014
It's that time of year again.  Schools out!  Time for reading programs at the Public Libraries. 

While they may not have cafes and dessert cases, local libraries do host some great reading programs for children of all ages.  In addition, summer reading programs can include games with prizes, story times and sing a longs.  It is a wonderful time for children to become involved with their local libraries and take advantage of everything they have to offer.  The Fairfax County Library in Virginia and Montgomery County Library in addition to music and theater events this summer.  Howard County Libraries are even doing summer movies.

Last year Preschoolers can earn a book after completing 5 planned library activities, and Elementary and School-Aged children can earn treasures as well.  Special events include Magician Joe Romano with magic feats involving books about dinosaurs and mummies and caves!  Nicolo the Jester with delight children with storytelling, poetry and music and don't miss the Science Show!   Check out your county library publications and calendars for specific dates for all their events.  The list is incredible this year, and too lengthy to list on this site.    Children can pick up a copy of the summer agenda at the summer reading booth and get more instructions.  Story times are about 30 minutes long and typically include songs, stories read out loud and art activities.  Today we started off with a very physical song to get the children and parents moving followed by "Goodnight Moon."  Children really enjoyed the sing-a-long  "Five Monkeys Jumping in the Bed" and another story.  Check with your county public libraries for information about summer reading programs in your area.


Each summer brings us incredible literary events and shows, new books, art activities and games at the library.  My daughter really enjoys attending the events with all her friends.  Last year, she finished her Summer Reading checklist from the library including the pajama evening event.  The "By the Sea" children's sing a long at 7 pm was a great time for a pajama visit to the library, and she was able to check off the "Sing a Lullaby" and "Bring a Favorite Stuffed Toy or Blanket" items on her checklist.  She earned a 'girly' rubber duck from the library and a library t-shirt from mom.  Don't forget to bring your Summer Program Reading Check Off forms at the end of the program. Cool t-shirts this summer ($7 each).

Check the online calendar or quarterly library magazine. 

Here are just a sampling in Anne Arundel County:

Kickoff Events for Preschoolers
Annapolis June 25 2-4 pm
Crofton branch June 26 @ 10:30 am
Edgewater branch June 26 1-4 pm

Shows and activities:

June 26, 4:30 pm
Slimy Science: Play Polymers
Annapolis branch
 for elementary-middle school age kids

June 27, 10 am
Steel Drums in Summertime
Edgewater branch

August 5, 5 pm
National Night Out block style party

August 13, 10 am
Community Helpers' Day
Annapolis Branch

August 21, 2 pm
Robots Amongst Us!!

Baltimore County Reading Program link
Calvert County Summer Reading Program link
Howard County Summer Reading Programs link
Montgomery County Summer Reading Programs link