Monday, March 25, 2013

Children's Spring Theater

Kid activities Washington DC and Maryland
Children's Theater in

Washington DC and Maryland

May-June Performances

(Theater rules include NO FOOD or DRINK in Theater,
Electronic Devices must be turned OFF and
No Photography/Videotaping during performances due to copyright laws)

Imagination Stage

From Here to There
Imagination Stage's Early Childhood Show
March 6-April 14

Imagination Stage presents England's Tell Tale Hearts Company's "From Here to There."  The show is all about bridges and what happens to bridges including building bridges, knocking down bridges, crawling under bridges and climbing bridges.   Children will have 'free play time' after the show to explore materials and build their own bridges.   Most of the time, children are able to talk briefly with the actors and they seem to enjoy the experience.  Tickets $10 each, $5 lap seat tickets for babies.   
Roald Dahl Repertory
James and the Giant Peach
April 3-May 26
 The Magic Finger
April 12-May 24

James and the Giant Peach is a tale about a young orphan boy who is forced to live with his evil aunts after the tragic death of his parents.  James' luck changes when he escapes inside a giant peach.  He has many adventures and makes many new friends while sailing the seas inside his giant peach (ages 4-10).  In "The Magic Finger," Lucy has a 'magic' finger she uses to 'righting wrongs.'  A lot of mischief  is created when she visits her friend William on his family's farm (ages 5-10).
 Upcoming shows!
 Peter Pan and Wendy,
a musical by A. Cardarelli & S. Goers -
June 26-August 11 
Parking garage located next to theater and free on weekends.  Street parking is metered.
Tickets box office or online/phone
Shows sell out quickly so I advise ordering online or by phone
Parking garage next door to theater.
4908 Auburn Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
Info: 301-961-6060
Box Office: 301-280-1660


Adventure Theater

Glen Echo Park, Maryland
May 3- June 2
Based on the comic strip and books by Lincoln Peirce

Lincoln Peirce will attend the May 5 show and sign copies of his book "Big Nate: Genius Mode" available for sale at theater.

     Ages 5 and up

March 15 – April 14, 2013
 Based on the story by Cedella Marley
Music & Lyrics by Bob Marley
Adapted for the stage by Michael J. Bobbitt 
 Look for specials including Pajama party nights with milk and cookies!

Three little birds sing their songs to a shy child named Ziggy.  Overcome with anxiety, Ziggy prefers to see the world from his room and on the television.  His friend Nansi finds ways to get Ziggy outdoors to enjoy all the island of Jamaica has to offer.   "Don't worry, be happy."   Seating is on a first come basis and the theater is a popular destination for school groups.   The carousel is closed until spring.  Arrive early and dress appropriate for the walk over a rock creek bridge and across the park.  ASL performance February 2 and Sensory Friendly performance February 16.

Washington Post Review "A color-filled delight for kids.."

Three Little Birds song by Marley

Upcoming shows
Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat based on story by Dr. Seuss, June 21-September 2

Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Blvd
Glen Echo, MD.
Purchase tickets by phone (301) 634-2270 or online.



The Puppet Company

Glen Echo Park


The Puppet Company has a long history of incredible award-winning shows for all ages including adults.  Shows are created using many different types of puppetry including hand puppets, rod puppets, marionettes, masks, costumes and a little magic. 
Arrive early for bathroom breaks prior to the show. Children usually sit on the floor close to the stage and parents can either sit on the floor or on some seats in the back. These puppets are amazing in detail and the puppeteer is truly talented.  Shows ares about 40 minutes long. PreK - Grade 4 Tickets.  $ 10 and group rates.

Tickets by phone/online/ticket booth. Shows do sell out so purchase early.

2012-2013 Main Stage Puppet Season
Jack and the Beanstalk   March 14-April 21
Cinderella   April 25-June 9
Bathtub Pirates  June 13-30
Dinosaur Babies  July 5-28
Circus!  August 2-September 1


The Puppet Company
Glen Echo Park
7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD 20812


Discovery Theater at the Smithsonian

  Discovery Theater provides live performances for young children with acts coming from all over the world.  Smithsonian hopes to provide culturally accurate programs so children can experience "heritage, science and culture in a memorable way." 

A sampling of programs is provided below.  Check their website for an extensive listing of performances and descriptions of acts.

Professor Wingnut Wants to Fly
March 21 and March 22 at 10:15, 11:15 & 12:15
 Professor Wingnut Wants To Fly

Tot Rock: Lunch Money
Indie-rock sounds sing to kids and their grown-ups, too!
Thursday April 11 and Friday April 12

Lunch Money

Joe Romano's Green Magic
Science, comedy and magic to emphasize being Green!
April 17

Joe Romano's Green Magic

The Princess, the Pig and the Dragon with
puppeteer Hua Hua Zhang
May 7-10

The Princess, the Pig, and the Dragon

Tickets phone/online/ticket booth
Be aware that schools often take classes on field trips to the
theater during the week. Weekend shows are less crowded.
Discovery Theater can be found on the Lower Third floor of the Ripley Center
next door to the Smithsonian Red Castle.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
Discovery Theater, 3rd Sublevel
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
(202) 633-3030
Metro: Smithsonian (Blue/Orange Lines)



Friday, March 8, 2013

Bunny BonanZOO


Maryland Zoo's Spring Events

March 16, 10 am-4:00 pm


with Mary Sue Candies

Friday, March 29 - Sunday, March 31
10 am - 2:00 pm daily

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).

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

National Theater's Children's Shows 2013


The National Theater, the "Theater of Presidents," is just three blocks from The White House.   It is the longest operating touring house in the United States.  The theater was destroyed by fire in 1835 and rebuilt.  It underwent major renovations from 1982 to 1984.  Among the other actors who have appeared here are Helen Hayes, John Barrymore, Joan Rivers, Carol Channing, Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Cab Calloway, Pearl Bailey,
Sarah Bernhardt, Spencer Tracy, and Katharine Hepburn. Playwright John Guare was an assistant manager here. Shirley MacLaine was an usher and her brother, Warren Beatty, was a stage doorman.  The theater has a "Monday Night" special for free shows/films on a first come basis.  These shows are typically more for adults and/or older children.



On Saturdays at 9:30 am and 11:00 am, the National Theater hosts FREE children's shows (ages 4+) which range from children's musicals to puppet shows to sing-a-longs. 

Tickets are first come-first seated and ticket distribution begins 30 minutes prior to show time.  One ticket per person in line.  Theater rules apply including NO FOOD/DRINK in theater and electronic devices must be turned OFF.

September 21-Mark Lohr "Hooked on Books"
September 28-Nritya Classic Dances of India
October 5-Marian Lichya "Magical Journey into Latin America"
October 19-Bright Star Theatre's "Bluegrass and Tall Tales"
October 26-Halloween Improv for Kids
November 2-Activated Story Theatre
November 16-Michael Shwedick's Reptile World
November 23- Mary Ann Jung as Margaret Brent
December 7-Christmas Dreams from the Nutcracker with the VA Ballet Company
December 14-Bright Star Theatre's "Holidays from Around the World"

Children's theater productions with some audience members taking on roles.


Summer Class Movies - Jimmy Stewart
Screenings in the Helen Hayes Gallery beginning at 6:30 pm
FREE tickets distributed first come basis 30 minutes prior to show
Arrive early because some films sell out fast. 1 ticket per person in line.
June 17 - Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window"
June 24 - The Philadelphia Story
July 1 -  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
July 8 - Destry Rides Again
July 15 - Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope"
July 22 - Harvey
July 29 - Anatomy of a Murder
August 5 - The Flight of the Phoenix

There are many upcoming shows (ticket event) touring for the
2013-14 season
If/Then   November 5-December 8, 2013
The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess   December 25-29, 2013
Stomp!   February 4-9, 2014
American Idiot   February 18-23, 2014
Mamma Mia!   March 4-9, 2014
Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight   April 4-5, 2014
Blue Man Group    May 6-11, 2014
West Side Story   June 3-8, 2014

Metro Center and Federal Triangle are the closest Metro stations (Blue, Orange, Red lines)
Metered parking with a 2 hour limit is available on the street
and there are nearby parking garages. 

1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004




Smithsonian Sleepovers 2013

 Kids activities in Washington DC and Maryland

 Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Sleepover dates

May 17, May 31
June 15 (Maybe), June 28 (Maybe)
July 12, July 26,
August 9, August 23

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is one of the most popular museum for small children in Washington DC. Children squeal as they enter the main lobby, and see the large elephant strategically posed to greet all visitors entering from the mall area. My daughter has a different favorite each time we visit including the wild animal display, ocean adventures and rocks and gems.   The Museum of Natural History hosts occasional "Sleep Overs" throughout the year and mostly during the summer.  These are great for special occasions like birthdays and graduations. Tickets are very hot items and usually the events are sold out on the first day.  Sleepovers are for children ages 8 to 12 years old. There must be at least one adult (21 and over) for every three children in any group that registers. No siblings younger than 8 years old, and NO adults without children.

Smithsonian Museum Sleepover Activities Include:

  • An interactive exploration of various parts of the museum, including fun quizzes, puzzles, games, scavenger hunts and challenges.
  • Craft projects inspired by the exhibitions.
  • A private screening of the IMAX film Born to be Wild 3D, a real-life tale of love, dedication, and the remarkable bond between humans and animals. Children (and their adult chaperones, too) will love getting to know these orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them.

Terms and conditions: By registering for this program, you are agreeing to the program rules; to have at least one adult present for every three children; and to submit a signed release form for each person in your group. Please note that only children ages 8 to 12 are allowed to attend.

Space is limited to only 150 people per date.

Call 202.633.3030 -
Monday-Friday 9 AM - 5 PM

Museum Hours:
Open every day except December 25.

Regular hours are 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM.

Note: The Museum will extend its hours until 7:30 PM on certain dates.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Washington Mall, Washington DC

Tickets for Butterfly Exhibit Free on Tuesdays, $6 per ticket other days


Discount School Supply


St. Patrick's Day Parades 2013

St. Patrick's Day Parades
Washington DC
March 17, 12 noon-3:00
Constitution to 7th St to 17th Street
Gaithersburg, MD
March 16, 10 am - noon
Starts Corner Bakery and ends at Kohl's in the Washingtonian Center
Manassas, VA
March 9 beginning at 11 am
Begins Quarry and Prescott Rds South down Center Rd ending at West St

March 2, 12:30-2:30
Starting Alfred Street and King St and runs along King St to Lee St
Car show 10 am on North Pitt St
Dog Show 10:30 am Market Square

Torpedo Factory 2013

Kids activities Washington DC and Maryland

The The Torpedo Factory is ideally located on the waterfront in Alexandria.   The building is a former torpedo factory and houses a world-renowned art center with 82 artist studios, 6 galleries, The Art League School and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum.  Children can explore the three floors of artists and try some activities in the Archaelory section like trying to put together broken plates.   Pieces have been sanded to protect little hands. Children can also scribble chalk drawings on the large community blackboard in the front lobby.  There is NO charge to stroll through the art galleries and artist studios. There are many special events and classes throughout the year which include unique children's art activities.    Staff and artists are always enthusiastic in showing helping children explore different art activities including painting, sculpture and paper mache.   There are paper mache animals from previous art events on display, and a new animal will be created with the help of children at this Art Safari, a Hippo with peace symbols.  The Torpedo Gallery also has a small cafe, Bread and Chocolate, and a gift store.  Bathrooms can be located on each floor.   The rear of the Gallery faces the river which is a great place for sitting on benches and watching seagulls and ducks.  Sometimes we even remember to bring some bread to feed them, and there are usually a number of children squealing at the birds as they dive for morsels in the water and air.  Street performers can be seen on the front and rear sides of the museum, and the trolley stop is conveniently located in front. 

18th Annual Alexandria Arts Safari
 Saturday, October 12 from 12:00 noon-4:00 pm

Free Event


Get creative with a combination of new art activities and old favorites including:
Art Safari Painting, Clay Experience, Giant Paper Mache Animal,
Origami Art and much more!

Also in Alexandria

There are free trolley rides up and down King Street and trolleys arrive every 15 minutes. Children love to ride the trolley and pull the cord when it is time to get off.

There are many good restaurants in Olde Towne Alexandria that are child friendly including La Madelaine and Cosi's. La Madelaine serves country French fare in a rustic atmosphere, and it is child friendly. Food can be ordered off a menu and/or items obtained cafeteria style. Children can choose from pizza to Quiche Florentine. The lemon Madelaines are scrumptious and usually gone.  My daughter and her friends always have a good giggle in the bathrooms because French lessons are played over the speakers. Cosi's has a standard menu and children love the very unique chairs and settees to sit and dine.  The staff are very friendly and helpful.


For a quick drink and scrumptious dessert, try a cupcake or two at Lavender Moon. The decor is absolutely girly and whimsical with pink striped walls and tea parlor chairs and tables. The menu has the most dreamy sounding cupcake choices including Triple Belgian Chocolate (my daughter's favorite), Buttermilk with Mexican Chocolate Pudding, Smores and my favorite, Lemon Raspberry. I am not sure what Angelina' Ballerina's favorite cupcake is, but I am sure it must be a pink one.There are many shops along King Street to explore and a very cute two story toy shop, Why Not, always filled with customers. There are pop up sidewalk shows at the Torpedo Factory including an amazing show featuring a man playing classical melodies with water filled goblets. Early saturday mornings there is a unique farmers market in the government square. Free parking can be found but difficult on weekends. There are several garages with prices ranging from $2 to $10 hour. Water taxis available on the waterfront to National Harbor. A free tourist magazine is available at most businesses and always on the trollies. There are business coupons inside and a very helpful street map pull out in the back of the magazine. We always cut out the coupons for ice cream (buy 1 get one free) at Ben and Jerry's when we go. Check the Alexandria website for more details regarding free parking passes, map and special events.

The Torpedo Factory
105 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA
Building hours weekly 10 am-6 pm,
Thursday until 9 pm
Studio and gallery hours vary
Lavendar Moon Cupcakes
116 South Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314|

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream
103 S Union St, Alexandria, VA 22314

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Southwest Airline's Waterfront Fireworks Festival


Cherry Blossom Festival Concert
April 6, 20132    1:00 to 9:00 pm
Fireworks at 8:30

The Southwest Waterfront community will host eight celebratory hours of free music, water-related activities, cultural experiences, live entertainment and delicious foods as part of the Cherry Blossom Festival.  There were quite a few activities for children including sailing wooden boats across a large wading pool.  Children were absolutely fascinated with the simple wooden sailboats and jumped for joy when their boats were able to sail across the pool.  There were performances for adults and children including an amazing Japanese drum troupe demonstration.  Fireworks came at nightfall and were spectacular.   We took a long walk down the waterfront and were surprised to find a large statue honoring the victims of the Titanic. 

Southwest Waterfront – 600-900 Water Street, SW
Washington DC


Monday, March 4, 2013

Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival 2013

Kid's activities Washington DC Maryland


Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival
at Turf Valley, Maryland
May 16-18, 2013

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.

National Children's Museum 2013


The National Children’s Museum (NCM) is a nationally recognized cultural and educational institution serving children and families.  The museum's goals are to inspire children to care about and improve the world through interactive play and learning.  The museum has areas designated for children under 3 and over 3 in with age appropriate play and art activities.  Children really seem to enjoy the play fire engine with flashing lights and sounds and dress up clothes.  My daughter really enjoyed an area with toy cars to roll down a play mountain with different surface types.  Which is the slowest, fastest and bumpiest?  Another area has a dress up area with outfits from around the world and a very large mirror to strike poses.  There are several rooms which will have ongoing art/craft activities.  Today we visited the Eric Carle room to make butterfly and caterpillar stick puppets.  There are definitely activities to entertain most children.  It reminded me of the Storyville areas at the Woodlawn library in Baltimore County (without any fees or art activities). 

The Museum focuswa on the following areas: 

The arts, Civic engagement

The environment, Global citizenship

Health and well being

and Play

Special Events

September 28, 11-11:30 am
Uncle Devin ft. Jazzy Ash
Musical performance

September 29, Sunday 1-1:30 pm
French Workshop and Story time
Language Planet

October 5, Saturday at 2:00 pm
Princess Mhoon Dance
Enjoy these youth dancers ages 6-17

October 12, Saturday 12-4:00 pm
Jump rope festival

GEICO Family NightOctober 18 from 5-8:00 pm
Free event for entire family
Tickets first come basis

Past Events

Storytime with Washington Redskins's Josh Morgan
Saturday, March 16, 1:30-1:45 p.m. and 1:45-2 p.m.

Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan joins us in the NCM Theatre for a reading of the acclaimed East African folk story, Bringing the Rain to Kapiti PlainSeparate tickets to the readings are not required, but the theatre will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  Grown-up fans must be in the company of their little ones to enjoy the event! Learn more. 


June 22, 12 pm to 4:00 pmActivities outside to encourage families to get on their bikes!  Bring your own bikes /tricycles and ride.
Children can be measured for bike helmets, and receive a new helmet while supplies last.  There are many activities outdoors and indoors for children to enjoy, and several special character guests including Peep and his cool car.  All outdoor activities are FREE!  Free shows indoors with museum admission including dance groups and a short play.  Don't forget to pick up your Ben & Jerry's coupons for a free dessert.


For other upcoming events check the
museum's event calendar (link)

General Admission
Hours:  Open daily 10 am - 5 pm

$10 per child or adult, Infants 1 and under Free
Museum members enjoy free admission year-round.
Group rate $8/child & $10/adult
There are several parking garages around the museum.
Make sure you take your parking ticket with you,
so you can pay at the kiosk before you get to the gate.

151 St. George Boulevard
National Harbor, MD 20745