Thanks to our friends at KidFriendly DC for the update on the holiday hours at Santa’s workshop on the White House Ellipse. It seems the workshop has not been open consistently due to it being staffed by volunteers this year. Read the KidFriendly DC article for more information: What’s Going on at Santa’s Workshop?
Posted in: Current Events, Holidays, Winter Activities | No Comments
It’s that time of year again…the time of year when the kids are out of school and you are looking for things to entertain them, not to mention the family that you have coming to visit as well. Here are my Top 5 activities for kids over the holidays in DC.
I have mentioned this event before, but it is still one of my favorites. Trains take over the Botanic Garden during the holidays and turn it into a magical place. Click here for more information. The Botanic Garden is one of the few places open on Christmas Day so after the presents are unwrapped and you are looking for an activity, head down to the national mall. You’ll have the whole place to yourself, which is fabulous!
Got a hockey fan? The Washington Capitals hockey team practices every morning at Kettler Ice Rink. The start times vary between 10:00 am and 11:00 am based on the Caps evening game schedule so be sure to visit the website before heading out. Also keep in mind that there is often a public skate time at the rink directly after the Caps practice so your kids can try out the new moves they have learned. Click here for more information on the Caps practice schedule and click here for the Caps game schedule. And for more general information on the public skate times at Kettler click here.
Each year National Harbor is transformed into a dazzling Christmas extravaganza. Be sure to get tickets for ICE, a winter wonderland made of 2 million pounds of hand carved ice sculptures, including two slides. While you are there take a spin on the recently installed ferris wheel, which is especially pretty at night. Pack your patience, as it is a popular destination, even with a timed entry ticket lines can be long. Click here for more information on all of the seasonal activities and a list of the shops and restaurants at National Harbor.
In the shadow of the White House and the National Christmas tree is Santa’s workshop – a well kept secret in town. Through December 21st, on Friday – Sunday Santa’s workshop is open from 12:30 pm – 9:30 pm. While you visit Santa you can also see model trains and the 50 Christmas trees representing each of the 50 states and decorated with ornaments made in that state. Click here for more information.
Want to sneak in a bit of learning over the holiday break? How about a trip to President George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon. During the holidays you can tour the home during the day and visit the rarely opened third floor of the mansion or you can take a candlelight tour during the evening where you will be welcomed by Mrs. Washington herself. You may even see a camel, as rumor has it Mr. Washington once brought a camel to the house over the holidays to entertain his guests. Click here for more information.
In addition to these fun activities, there is ice skating, the Nutcracker, an indoor trampoline park and our wonderful Smithsonian museums. Two other great websites with weekly postings on current events are Red Tricycle and Kid Friendly DC.
Have fun and Happy Holidays!
Posted in: Off the beaten path, Restaurants, Travel Tips, Uncategorized | No Comments
If you are planning to stay in the DC area for the long Labor Day weekend I encourage you to drive over to National Harbor and try the ferris wheel. It is simple fun, but still a thrill for the kids.
The Capital Wheel at National Harbor is 180 feet tall, has enclosed gondola type seats that are both heated and air conditioned and each compartment holds up to eight people. On a clear day you can see Old Town, National Airport, the Capitol and the Washington Monument. If you look down you’ll catch a glimpse of paddle boarders and boaters out on the Potomac River and the adorable swan and rubber duck paddle boats that you can also rent at National Harbor.
We rode the ferris wheel during the day, but I can imagine it is lots of fun at night as the whole wheel lights up. Check the National Harbor calendar to plan your visit. There are free outdoor concerts on Friday nights and family friendly movies shown on Sunday nights through the end of September. At different times during the month there are also free family nights offered at the National Children’s Museum, just a two block walk from the ferris wheel.
National Harbor is located in Maryland across the Potomac River from DC and is a quick 20 minute drive. In addition to the ferris wheel there are lots of restaurants and shops and a carousel. You will also find an outlet mall just up the road and Cirque De Soleil has a permanent home there.
As you can see, you can easily make a day of the trip.
- Hours: The ferris wheel is open from 10:00 am – 11:00 pm through the end of August. Beginning in September the ferris wheel will open an hour later at 11:00 am.
- Tickets: Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at National Harbor. The ticket booth is located on the board walk as you approach the ferris wheel. Adults are $15.00 and children 11 and under are $11.25.
- Strollers are not permitted on the ferris wheel.
Getting around in DC can often be a challenge, especially when you aren’t used to the amount of traffic we have here in the city. I always advise leaving your car at home or at the hotel and taking advantage of the other transportation options offered in the city. No car means less stress for parents and more fun for everyone.
There are lots of different transportation options available in the city from tour buses, to bikes, taxi cabs and the very convenient metro. You can find more detailed information about all of these travel options by visiting our Getting Around page.
As a family, you now have one more option – Uber Family. Not familiar with Uber? Uber is a car service which is popping up in more and more cities. You simply download the Uber app on your phone and a map will show you how many cars are available in your area and in mites how far away the car is. The cars are clean, the drivers are friendly and the best part is because you enter all of your credit card information into the app you can pay automatically – no cash needed and no tips accepted. Brilliant!
Uber has now added a family option to their car service which means cars equipped with carseats can be requested for a $10 surcharge. Traveling with kids just got even easier. Thank you Uber!
For more information on Uber and Uber family in DC click here.
Posted in: Current Events, Top Attractions, Travel Tips, Uncategorized | No Comments
The Washington Monument reopened this week and is ready for the summer tourist season! The monument was closed in 2011 after it was damaged in a rare earthquake. For the last three years the monument has undergone an extensive restoration as some of the mortar and marble was shaken loose during the earthquake.
The Washington Monument is a 555 foot tower on the National Mall and it offers some of the best views of Washington, DC. There is an elevator to reach the top which makes it a family friendly activity. Click here for more information on securing tickets and summer hours for the monument.
To celebrate the reopening of the Washington Monument The Trust for the National Mall and Destination DC have partnered to launch a contest called A Monumental First. Go to www.Monumental4th.org for a chance to win a three-day trip to Washington, D.C. for the Fourth of July!