Saturday, March 21, 2015

2015 Calendar of Family Events

Kid's activities and events focused on kid's play, learning, socialization and confidence building in the Washington DC and Maryland areas. 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

Jan 10 -Liberty Mountain Winter Trails-Free Snowshoeing
Jan 10: American Art Museum Winter Family Festival
Jan 24 - Maryland Polar Bear Plunge
Feb 1: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches
Feb 7-9  National Portrait Museum-George Washington Carver

Feb 14 - National Portrait Museum Abigail Adams and Make a Valentine
Feb 14: Chinese New Year Art Museum Family Festival
Feb 21 & 28: Space/Science Museum - African American in Aviation Family Day
Feb 21-22: National Portrait Museum Story Days-Tuskegee Airmen
Feb 22: Chinese New Year Parade
Feb 28-29: National Portrait Museum Story Days-Harriet Tubman 

Mar 1: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches
Mar 7:  St Patrick's Day Parade-Alexandria, VA
Mar 14: St Patrick's Day Parade-Gaithersburg, MD & Manassas, VA
Mar 15: St Patrick's Day Parade-Baltimore, MD & Washington DC
March 21: Opening National Cherry Blossom Festival
March 21: Air and Space Museum Family Day-Kites of Asia
Mar 22: Maryland Hall Artfest
March 28: National Cherry Blossom Festival Kite Festival
April 3-5: Maryland Zoo Bunny Bonanzoo

April 4: National Cherry Blossom Festival and SW Airlines Fireworks
April 5: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches
April 6:  Easter Monday at the National Zoo

April 11: National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade & Street Festival
Apr 19 - Shakespeare Birthday Celebration

Apr 22:  Earth Day-National Zoo

Apr 25: Star Party-Kids astronomy
April 26: Rockville Science Day

May 2: Glen Echo Family Day
May 2: Around the World Embassy Tour
May 3: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches
May 9: EU Embassie's Open House

May 14-16: Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival
May 16: National Asian Heritage Fiesta Asia Street Fair
May 23-24: Delaplane Strawberry Festival
May 26: Star Party-Kids astronomy
May 30-31: Washington Folk Festival -Glen Echo
June 7: NASA Goddard Model Rocket Launches


May -August Smithsonian Sleepovers - Sell out FAST!!!

Any time

World Embassy Tour 2015

Around the World Embassy Tour
Saturday, May 2, 10 am - 4:00 pm
Free Event
Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the food, art, dance, fashion, music, innovations, and manufactured goods from more than 50 embassies.  Most embassies are within walking distance of Dupont Circle and Van Ness metro stations.  Please bring you photo ID cards because some Embassies will not let you enter without one.  Arrive early with a list of the Embassies you would most like to visit and expect that you will not see all.  This is a very popular event so expect long lines.  Embassies participating previously include the African Union Mission, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, League of Arab States, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Zambia.

European Union Embassie's Open House
Saturday, May 9, 10 am-4 pm

The European Union Embassies' Open House an opportunity for visitors to tour more than 50 different Embassies in Washington DC. Embassy hospitality typically includes free music, dance, film, food and activities for children. A shuttle bus is scheduled to assist visitors in traveling between embassies. The EU Embassies' Open House Brochure can be downloaded from their website. Please bring Identification Cards since some Embassies will do security checks. No large bags or backpacks will be permitted. Photography may not be permitted in some Embassies. Download the brochure and map for shuttle pick up locations and routes. This is a very popular event, so plan to visit your favorite Embassies early in the day. Lines can be long (45 minutes) at the French, Italian and United Kingdom Embassies by lunch time. Look for the EU tents for shuttle bus stops. The shuttles are air conditioned, and run frequently most of the time. Plan appropriately with children given the popularity of these events and lines.

EU Open House

1250 H Street, NW
Ste 1000
Washington DC 20005

National Zoo


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 6, 10 am-2 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.

Maryland Zoo

Maryland Zoo's Spring Events

with Mary Sue Candies

Friday, April 3- Sunday, April 5
10 am - 2:00 pm daily

Silly Goose and Val 10:30 am
Puppet Theater in the Wild 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 TBA

Weekly art activities
Register early because they sell out quickly

Maryland Zoo
Druid Hill Park
Mansion House Drive,
Baltimore , MD21217

Maryland Hall

Sunday, March 22
1- 4 pmFree Event

Maryland Hall is a multidisciplinary arts center. It is the home of the Annapolis Opera, Annapolis Chorale, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Theatre of Maryland and the Academy Ballet School. Adults and children can take a variety of classes including pottery making, clay modeling, Hawaiian and Middle Eastern dances, Shakespearean theater, ballet and creative movement, piano and Broadway tunes. The center provides a variety of film, live theater, opera and cultural performances throughout the year. Summer camps provide a wide variety of choices for children of all ages. My daughter's favorite is ballet camp because they get to watch ballet videos, make their own costumes and learn basic ballet steps. There is a short presentation at the end of camp. Some classes and camps fill quickly, so register early.


ArtFest is an opportunity for the public to come and explore all the center has to offer. My daughter enjoyed working with clay, painting pictures and watching the potters spin their wheels. Her favorite event was the Hula dancers and short performances by the Maryland Ballet Theater Company. The event allows visitors to learn more about all the classes offered at Maryland Hall for both adults and children.

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts
801 Chase Street, Annapolis, MD 21401

Glen Echo Park, Maryland

In 1891, Glen Echo Park was a part of the National Chautauqua Assembly. Classes were conducted in the arts, sciences, languages, and literature and the park slowly evolved into a premier amusement park for the Washington metro area by the early 1900s. The Federal Government obtained the land in 1971. The park is currently managed by the nonprofit Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc. on behalf of Montgomery County, Maryland. The park is host to many resident arts and cultural organizations, artist studios, social dance programs, adult and children's classes in the performing arts and an antique carousel. We have been to Glen Echo many times and there are always interesting activities to view as well as participate. Today we are attending the first birthday party of a dear little girl, Oceana. The children had a great time playing on the playground, riding the most beautiful antique carousel from 1921 and participating in the Folklife Festival. They even marched in a parade behind a troupe of bagpipers around the park, dances some Irish jigs and blew some silly horns. Inside the ballroom hall, I joined hands with an impressive group of park visitors (more than 60) as we participated in group folklore dance lessons. The children danced to their own tunes within the circle as the adults stepped right, kicked, stepped left, kicked and moved to the center, moved to the outside and again. It great fun and aerobic as well. There is always something to see and do in the park. The Puppet Company and Adventure Theater have ongoing shows so check their calendars. Tickets can sell out fast so make plans and buy online/phone. We will be back for another birthday party to see "If you give a Moose a Muffin," and my daughter is counting down the days. Carousel rides are $1.25 each and everyone must have a ticket. Ticket lines are separate. The lines can be long but so are the rides. Picnic tables are located conveniently in the center of the park with great views of the carousel and easy access to bathrooms. There is a small cafe located in the picnic area.

Family Day

May 2, Saturday, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Open House Demo Classes ,
Arts/Crafts and more for kids and adults,
Magic Shows, Dancing and More!

National Folklore Festival Saturday,
May 30 and Sunday, May 31
Noon to 7 pm
Musicians, storytellers, dancers, crafts people
and more!

Carousel Rides $1.25
Closes at 6 pm


Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Blvd
Glen Echo, MD.
Phone & Recorded Info: 301-634-2222

Smithsonian & N VA Astronomy Club Star Party

National Air and Space Museum

Sky Meadows State Park
Evening Telescope Viewing
7:30 - 10:30 pm
Schedule for 2015

April 25
May 26 - Astonomy Day
June 13
July 18
August 8
September 19
October 10
November 14

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


Friday, March 20, 2015

Turf Valley's Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival

Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival
at Turf Valley, Maryland
May 14-16, 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.