Your Kid’s Summer To-Do List (Part 2)

Yep — there’s still plenty more fun to be had in our Nation’s capital. Check out the next 9 Curbside hot picks for what your kid’s want to be doing with the rest of their summer.

8. We all know D.C. is jam packed with museums, but did you know they often have a special summer schedule geared to entertaining (and teaching) your kids? Here are some of our faves, all of which are free!

The U.S. Botanic Garden 100 Maryland Avenue SW (near U.S. Capitol)
Open daily from 10am – 5pm; Junior Botanist Program is for ages 9 – 12

If your kids like to get their hands dirty, take a trip to the U.S. Botanic Garden! Kids can become “junior experts” with the backpack they borrow from the visiting center (I hear there’s even a plant fossil inside!). At the Botanic Garden, your kids will roam the conservatory and get hands-on with the plant world as you complete a 16-page adventure workbook. Your kids will learn about endangered plants, plants used for medicines, and discover how plants survive in environments such as deserts and jungles. The adventure will include a workbook that may require more than one visit or perhaps even work at home. A real botanist will review the workbook before giving a certificate and badge to your child with the title “Junior Botanist.” All Junior Botanists get a behind the scenes look of the conservatory’s plant collection. Only one third of the plants are on public display at one time, just imagine what your kids will be experiencing in those greenhouses!

The National Air and Space Museum Independence Avenue at Sixth Street SW
Family Day Programs are from 10am – 3pm

On July 16th, Amelia Earhart will be making an appearance to share her adventures with your kids, as will NASA astronaut Patrick Forrester as part of the museum’s “Milestones in Aviation and Space” program designed for families. Bring your kids to an opportunity of learning and exploring the ways of how aviation and space have changed the world.

On July 25th, you can celebrate “Discover the Moon Day!” Steer a robotic rover, examine meteorites that were found on the moon, see the capsule that took the Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon and back, and view images of the lunar surface using 3-D glasses.

The National Gallery of Art Constitution Avenue at Sixth Street NW
Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 This program is for ages 8 to 11, with adult participation. Intro videos are for ages 4 and up. Click “National Gallery of Art” link for film details.

For all those with little artists, The National Gallery of Art has an entire summer program, also. The stars for this summer are American artist, Mary Cassatt, and French artist, Edward Degas; close friends after meeting in 1877. The museum is showing both short and full length films about the pair as well as offering a “Degas/Cassatt” exhibit, which will run until October 5.

On the weekends, the museum’s Artful Conversations program lets kids and parents explore a single piece of art for an hour. You may sketch it, write a poem about it or create a soundtrack to bring it to life. Attend three or more programs and you’ll get a prize!

Click HERE For information about Artful Conversations.

The National Portrait Gallery Eighth and F street NW
Open daily from 11:30am – 7pm. Discovery kits are available on some Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and some Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. To check dates, click link above. The kits are for ages 5 to 14, with adult participation.

Finally, the National Portrait Gallery has a museum Portrait Discovery Kit complete with detective guides and seek-and-find cards to help you zero in on the famous people hanging around the gallery. Each kit also comes with a doll in a costume to be compared to what the subject is wearing in the painting, a booklet in the kit helps your kids to determine the differences. Your kids will be asked to write a label for one of the paintings and to sketch their own portrait on the provided self-portrait pad and pencil. 

9. The Baltimore Aquarium 501 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202

The Aquarium has over 17,000 animals and is home to a third of the worlds animal species! They have all kinds of exhibits including the the Atlantic Coral Reef where you can watch hundreds of colorful tropical fish swim and school in a 335,000 gallon, 13 foot deep exhibit. My kid’s found watching the divers feed the reef’s fish (which they do several times a day) fascinating! For all you JAWS lovers, there is a fantastic Shark aquarium that literally circles visitors in a ring-shaped exhibit. The exhibit I found interesting was their “Jellies Invasion.” According to the aquarium, Jellies are changing the balance of the Earth’s aquatic ecosystems with their massive swarms, voracious eating habits and their habitat invasions! They have a stunning exhibit where they feature nine different species of the prehistoric survivors. You see? There is always something to learn at the aquarium.

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10. Enjoy the DC Outdoor Film Festival! With locations in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland, you’re bound to find something perfect for everyone to enjoy at a location not too far away. Every location has something special to offer, whether it be a view or a great ice cream shop down the street for after the film. So decide what type of venue you’d like and take your pick! The summer is almost over, so HERE is the schedule to check out the details NOW. 🙂

11. Take a weekend to enjoy a Farm Stay! 

What is a “Farm Stay,” you ask? Well, there are a variety of ways to answer that! Some farms offer a chance to tend to livestock or harvest vegetables, some offer classes in organic gardening, cheese making or cooking and some are more luxury experiences where food is prepared by a master chef while you relax and enjoy the gorgeous views. What makes your visit a “Farm Stay” is the fact that every experience takes place on a working farm where you can observe or experience the daily rhythm of farm life.

There are a variety of places you can stay around the city, the one my kids and I went to was Brightwood Vineyard and Farm in Brightwood, VA; 2 hours from Washington D.C. and 45 minutes from Shenandoah National Park.  It was a beautiful, quaint guest house that let my kids feed the animals with them in the morning and offered fresh ingredients for you to cook homemade country meals! We loved it and would definitely go again. HERE is a blog I found about the house we stayed at with every detail you could possibly imagine.

Remember there are many more options. Check them all out on the official FARM STAY WEBSITE.

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 12. If you and your family are arts enthusiasts, Glen Echo Park is a must do. Over a century ago, it was a Chautauqua retreat which then morphed into an amusement park. After a few decades of ups and downs it declined and closed in the 70s. Determined activists raised awareness and funds to reinvent and reopen this place so it could be shared today. Now you can enjoy a fully restored historic carousel and an amazing circus band organ. There is a Spanish Ballroom for contra dances, swing dances and private parties. The bumper car pavilion was rescued from the wrecking ball, and today is also used as a venue for live bands and dancing. The other buildings house a music school, art and theater camps for kids and kilns for pottery classes. Pack a picnic and plan a family outing at this park for the arts! It’s located close to the Potomac and also offers bicycle trails and C&O Canal views! Talk about having a full day of things to do…

Glen Echo is located at 7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD 20812

13. Make your way to the Tidal Basin for a whirl on the paddle boats! This is just a great thing to have in your back pocket for days that you’re all free but don’t have any plans. You’ll be in a great area to grab an ice cream for after, or take a long walk through our beautiful capitol to visit some monuments. One activity can very easily turn into a day full of things to do. Check out the link above for prices and reservation information, if necessary.

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You can find the paddle boats for the Tidal Basin at 1501 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

14. Cirque Du Soleil’s Amaluna (<– use this link to watch the preview) is coming to the National Harbour on July 31st!! Yep, you read that right. Grab your tickets HERE.

15. You can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned county fair! Maryland, Virginia and DC all host summer fairs with carnival rides, live animal shows, musical entertainment, arts and craft exhibits and too…much…food. HERE‘s a link to what each fair has to offer and where to find them.

16. And since we’re on the topic of county fairs – have you ever been to the Renaissance Festival in Maryland? Tons of entertainment, crafting and feasting for all. The Maryland Renaissance Festival is a Renaissance fair located in modern day Crownsville, MD but set in a fictional 16th century English village named Revel Grove. The festival is spread over 25 acres and is the second largest renaissance fair in the United States. Guests and village “residents” all dress up and truly embrace the Renaissance spirit, making it a unique county fair (of sorts) to remember. You can check out ticket information and details HERE! The festival opens on August 23rd!

The Festival is located at 1821 Crownsville Rd, Annapolis, MD 21401

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Well — that’s a wrap on Curbside’s fave things to do with the kids this summer. Have a fabulous rest of the summer from all of us at Curbside. xo 


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