#HappyWeekend! We've rounded up loads of fun things to do if you and the kids will be spending it in Washington, D.C. But now that shops are starting to decorate their holiday windows, a simple stroll around time makes for active family fun. So break out those UNICEF Kid Power Bands and head on out to any or all of these fun and cultural family attractions happening in our nation's Capitol this weekend!
4th Annual CityCenterDC Holiday Tree Lighting: Kick off the holiday season this Saturday at 6 PM with holiday music and the lighting of the Capitol’s holiday tree. Look for fun kid activities happening at the base of the 75-foot holiday tree, including balloon artists and face painters.
Season’s Greenings at the United States Botanic Garden: Debuting on Thursday, Season’s Greenings: Roadside Attractions at the United States Botanic Garden offers a plant-based recreations of American roadside attractions as seen through the windows by railway travelers of yore. This holiday model train show with a twist features topiary versions of such iconic sights as Texas' Cadillac Ranch, Colorado's hot-dog-shaped Coney Island Hot Dog Stand, South Dakota's Corn Palace, New Jersey's Lucy the Elephant, and many more to delight the whole family.
ZooLights at the National Zoo: Be there Friday as more than half a million environmentally friendly LED lights turn the zoo into a winter wonderland! There are loads of things to see, including artist Maggie Gourlay’s immersive art experience, Adaptation/Migration in the Anthropocene, located across from the Zoo’s Cheetah Conservation Station on Olmsted Walk — and a free, glow-in-the-dark playground, called the Glow Zone, featuring light-up LED games and activities located in the Zoo's Great Meadow. Check back later in the month for the European-style GRUMP Holiday Market, Dec. 15 to 17, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Holiday in the Park at Six Flags America: The holiday season is upon us, and Six Flags America’s Holiday in the Park is all over it with such attractions as Reindeer’s Flight roller coaster and a chance to rock out with Mrs. Claus. Other active ways your family can start celebrating will roll out this month — look for a Kid Holiday Dance Party — so keep checking the calendar of holiday events.
ICE!: Retro holiday favorite Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer comes to life as a walk-through winter wonderland carved from more than two million pounds of ice. Located in National Harbor, MD, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, this interactive Rudolph on ice was hand-carved by 35 artisans from China. Make sure to dress in warm clothes, as the attraction is kept at a chilly 9 degrees F. Brrrr!
Meadowlark's Winter Walk of Lights: Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights is back beginning Friday at Meadowlark’s Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA! This yearly tradition transforms the garden into an illuminated wonderland, that last year drew more than 75,000 visitors! Get your tickets online through the link above to ensure your spot for this weekend’s opening. You won’t want to miss the beautiful festive display!
National Air and Space Museum: A family trip to Washington, D.C., isn’t complete without a visit to the National Air and Space Museum. Kids and parents will marvel at thousands of aviation and space artifacts, including the airplane the Wright brothers flew during the world’s first successful powered flight and the Apollo 11 Command
East Potomac Golf Course: Far from your average golf course, East Potomac Golf Course has fun for all ages, thanks to the “Family Course.” The 9-hole beginner course has holes ranging from 100-200 yards, with a great view of the Washington Monument plus a driving range, practice holes, and a putting green for all golfer levels to enjoy! East Potomac also offers FootGolf, a cross between golf and soccer, for ages 10 and up. Players try to kick their soccer ball into the hole in as few shots possible. Visit one of the 5 official FootGolf courses in DC, along with many more offerings here!
College Park Aviation Museum: Rather than stand in line at the Air and Space Museum — which is an awesome museum — try the alternative. College Park Aviation, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, is not only state-of-the-art but it’s located in the grounds of the world’s oldest continuously operating airport. The aviation museum houses an incredible array of aircraft and tons of hands-on activities and interactive areas to explore, including a flight simulator!
Dumbarton Oaks Museum and Gardens: Boasting 10 acres of gardens - both formal and informal - in the heart of Georgetown, this place isn’t a museum. It’s an oasis! There aren’t many capital cities in the world offering such a beautiful, centrally located place where kids can run around on land that also houses a museum with inspiring works of art.
The Yards Park: Located just south of Capitol Hill, the Yards Place is designed as a series of outdoor “rooms,” where, once the warmer months kick in, kids can cool off at an 11-foot deep man-made canal created just for them. Scattered around are chaise lounges for anybody that needs to catch their breath, or some rays and if you keep your ears pricked, you can hear the sound of a baseball game in full swing at nearby National Park!
The Potomac: This treasure of a river runs right through this historic city! Upriver from the National Mall is the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on Theodore Roosevelt Island. There’s loads of space to run around, explore, have picnics and watch the passing kayaks and boats. Head south, and you’ll discover the Potomac National Harbor with three great sites to explore with the kids: the beautiful nature walk, the “The Awakening” ( a huge sculpture of a giant attempting to emerge from the earth) and, of course, the paddle boats!
Photo by Elvert Barnes, from Flickr