We are grateful for Bright Horizons who is sponsoring our February Guide. Learn about what they are up to and how you can join them!
There’s so much happening at Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool centers in the DC Area. Bright Horizons at Ballston is open and enrolling; Bright Horizons at Courthouse Station is celebrating one year in Arlington; and centers throughout the area are planning for summer and fall. Visit www.brighthorizons.com to learn how Bright Horizons’ meets children where they are developmentally and builds confidence and excitement about learning. Then secure your child’s enrollment by finding a center near you.
Thankfully, some of our favorite indoor spaces will host events that will keep families warm, entertained, and enlightened during the cold of February. This month, there are a lot of opportunities to teach kids about history, art, science and engineering, and cultural traditions. Black History Month will be observed and celebrated in numerous ways throughout the month. Also, the Chinese Lunar New Year is upon us (it is the Year of the Rat). President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Mardi Gras round out the month’s big holidays. If you know of any other family-friendly events in our area this month, please share them in the comments section. We hope to see you at our Galentine’s Event on February 13th from 6-8 pm. Get your tickets now!
Now Through February 2
The REACH Winter Lanterns PLUS: Korea
10am – 5:30pm (4:30pm Sunday)
The Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center will celebrate the Lunar New Year and ring in the Year of the Rat with a special display of Winter Lanterns at the REACH. The REACH is aglow with approximately 100 stunning Winter Lanterns crafted by Chinese artisans made up of 10,000 colored LED lights. Along with the beautiful lantern displays, visitors will be able to enjoy short performances and activities by artists from Korea. The Winter Lanterns display and all family-friendly events, activities, demonstrations, and showcases throughout The REACH are FREE – no tickets are required.
Now Through March 1
10am – 6pm (until 10pm for 21+)
ARTECHOUSE D.C. kicks off its 2020 season with a collaboration with one of the most dynamic pioneers in the field of coding and interactive media. Zach Lieberman explores new forms of expression and play, with a simple goal: to surprise and inspire the viewer by breaking down the boundaries between the visible and invisible. Imagine different possible futures, play with light, paint with shadows and sounds, see your face in a wild new way, and create something in response to what you’ll see. Plan on taking 45-60 minutes to immerse yourself in the installation. Take note that installations are highly immersive and some may use strong lighting effects as well as loud surround sound. Check out the website for more information about the exhibit, including prohibited items.
January 31 – February 2
PAW Patrol Live!: Race to the Rescue
It’s the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race between Adventure Bay’s Mayor Goodway and Foggy Bottom’s Mayor Humdinger, but Mayor Goodway is nowhere to be found. PAW Patrol to the rescue! Ryder summons Marshall, Chase, Skye, Rubble, Rocky, Zuma and Everest to rescue Mayor Goodway and to run the race in her place. Using their unique skills and teamwork, the pups show that “no job is too big, no pup is too small,” and share lessons for all ages about citizenship, social skills and problem-solving as they make several heroic rescues on their race to the finish line. Tickets are available online. The show is appropriate for kids aged 1 to 6 but, as a live stage experience, PAW Patrol Live! is shared and enjoyed by the entire family.
Visit the museum every first Saturday of the month for a family-friendly playdate. Guided by a professional art educator, explore one to two galleries through fun, hands-on activities. The Family Playdate is included in the museum admission and is geared for families with children ages 4 to 8. The Creativity Workshop is designed for families with children ages 2 to 8. It includes multiple “Creativity Stations,” each with a different project with art materials, instructions, and artistic inspiration from The Phillips Collection. An art educator is on site to support families who would like guidance. It costs $18 for 1 adult and 1 child to participate in the Creativity Workshop. Reservations are required and advance purchase is recommended. You can participate in the Family Playdate prior to the Creativity Workshop. While visiting the museum, you can also check out the new family gallery where specially-selected artworks are displayed at children’s eye-level and kid-tested conversation prompts are on the walls. Or, Relax in family-friendly furniture and read a book together from the children’s art book nook.
For the Love of Learning: a Readers2Leaders Festival
11am – 3pm
EagleBank Club at Audi FieldA
Celebrate your family’s love of reading at the Junior League of Washington’s FREE Readers2Leaders festival, For the Love of Learning! Join DC families, area nonprofits, authors and illustrators, and experts in celebration of literacy, leadership, and lifelong learning. The family-friendly event features TED talks, exhibitions, activities, giveaways, food and more!
Chinese New Year Family Celebration
11:30am – 3pm
American Art Museum
Celebrate the Lunar New Year with the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Chinese Embassy. Help ring in the Year of the Rat with a variety of performances and activities. Enjoy Chinese ribbon dancing, acrobatic yo-yo performances, and an interactive magic show. Artists from the city of Shenzhen will demonstrate ink finger-printing, wood printing, and how to make hands-on shadow puppets and dough figurines. Check out calligraphy demonstrations, and Chinese paper cuts and good luck envelopes. Go on an art scavenger hunt, create your own New Year craft, and enjoy delicious treats available for purchase at the Courtyard Café. Check out the schedule of events online.
February 1 -2
Sleepover at the National Archives
6:30pm – 9:00am
A night of adventure awaits at the National Archives! Spend the night next to America’s most precious treasures: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Young explorers will learn about the right to vote with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frederick Douglass, dive into our nation’s treasured records (including the Rightfully Hers exhibit celebrating the 19th Amendment), navigate the museum with a scavenger hunt, and wake to a pancake breakfast served by the Archivist of the United States. Register online. This overnight family-friendly event is recommended for children 8-12 years old. Chaperones must be 21 and over. Adults must be accompanied by a child. It costs $125 per attendee.
Rise + Rhyme with Little Treasures
9:30am – 11am
Busboys and Poets – Brookland
Rise + Rhyme is a weekly morning storytelling and performance series for children ages 5 and under with the goals of teaching children to engage with their community, learn to love performing, and become rising artivists. Little Treasures is a highly interactive show, led by singing sensation Tamika Love Jones, with songs that are prompted by toys and props from their treasure bag. Get ready to bounce, swing and play with your little ones as they go from one adventure to the next singing, dancing, learning, and loving the Little Treasures inside of us all. $5 admission per child is requested, and additional donations for the performer are always appreciated. Rise + Rhyme is held every Monday morning at the Hyattsville, Takoma, Brookland, and 14th & V locations. It is held on the 2nd and 4th Monday at Anacostia, and every last Tuesday of the month at 9:30am at the Shirlington location.
5pm – 8pm
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
Get pointers on how to play chess. Experienced chess players will be on hand to assist. Other fun table games will be available to enjoy such as Twister, Game of Thrones Monopoly, Let’s Go Fishin’, Toss Across, Jenga, Second Rule, Candy Land, and more. This program is part of the museum’s new Twilight Tuesdays series of drop-in programs. The museum is open until 8pm every Tuesday. Participation is free. Light refreshments will be provided. Something is always happening on Twilight Tuesdays.
Valentine’s Day Card Workshop
10am – 4pm
National Postal Museum
At the museum’s annual Valentine’s Day Card Workshop, kids are invited to design a one-of-a-kind card using a variety of craft supplies. Once finished, cards can then be placed in envelopes, addressed, and adorned. In keeping with educating children about the postal service and how mail works, kids can pop their own cards in an official USPS mailbox in the museum’s Dorothy Height post office. Make sure you stay and explore all of the other fun exhibits offered at the museum. This family-friendly event is free and no registration is required.
February 8 – February 29
Portrait Story Days
1pm – 4pm
National Portrait Gallery
On Saturdays and Sundays, the National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait Story Days gives participants the opportunity to hear stories about noteworthy figures from American history and to complete a hands-on arts project inspired by their lives. This month, Portrait Story Days will celebrate Black History Month by highlighting Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Barack Obama, and Michelle Obama. See the museum’s website for the schedule for this free family-friendly event.
10th Annual Mid-Winter Play Day
1pm – 4pm
City of Takoma Park Community Center
Takoma Park, MD
The local nonprofit Let’s Play America is bringing its 10th annual Mid-Winter Play Day to Takoma Park. People of all ages and abilities are invited to this free family-friendly event. Families will be able to participate in a variety of activities. Congressman Jamie Raskin will lead Simon Says, First Road North band will play, and Matthew Pauli will perform his pirate-themed comedy magic show, Treasure Quest. There will also be hopscotch, cookie decorating, dancing, giant chess, and more!
February 11 – February 13
Into the Great Unknown: African American Adventurers and Explorers
10:15am and 11:30am
Discovery Theater at the Ripley Center
Leadership, courage, and adventure take center stage in this inspiring Discovery Theater original. From Matthew Henson, co-discoverer of the North Pole, to astronaut Mae Jemison, meet a century’s worth of bold men and women who challenged the Western frontier, the highest of mountains, and the vastness of outer space – and triumphed. In the histories and heroism of these explorers and adventurers, young audiences find models to help them reach their own highest goals. This show is geared for children ages 6 – 12. Purchase tickets online.
February 13 – February 15
Disney on Ice presents “Celebrate Memories”
Capitol One Arena
Your favorite Disney stories come to life at Disney On Ice presents “Celebrate Memories!” Sail along with Moana on her high-seas adventure and dance with Woody, Buzz, and all the Toy Story friends. Feel inspired when love wins in Frozen and dreams come true for the Disney Princesses. Share the excitement and make new memories the whole family will treasure forever. If you want even more Disney magic, you can purchase additional tickets to “Get Ready For The Ball,” a character experience wherein you and your family can meet Cinderella and Mickey. You will receive other perks during this experience. It occurs before and immediately after select shows on the tour. Check the website for more info and availability.
The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats
Glen Echo, MD
This beautiful show follows the character of Peter and his friend Archie around the neighborhood in four of Ezra Jack Keats’ beloved tales, The Snowy Day, Whistle for Willie, Goggles!, and A Letter to Amy. Renowned for his tender personality, the character of Peter faces relatable everyday challenges which children of all ages will find delightfully entertaining.
Presidential Family Fun Day
11:30am – 3pm
National Portrait Gallery
Every year, the Portrait Gallery kicks off Presidents’ Day weekend with a presidential party loaded with crafts, music, dancing, games and special tours of “America’s Presidents.” Celebrate the presidents with the Portrait Gallery, President Lincoln’s Cottage, the DC Public Library, the Washington Nationals’ Racing Presidents, artists, and experts from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This family-friendly event is free and no registration is required.
Semi-Annual Main Reading Room Open House
10am – 3pm
Library of Congress
The general public is only able to venture into the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress twice a year. During the Main Reading Room Open House, staff from the Researcher and Reference Services Division (RRS), as well as other divisions/reading rooms, will be on hand to discuss the Library resources and collections. The Open House will also feature activities hosted in the Young Readers Center. Patrons can participate in “Artmaking for Kids and Families,” an activity for kids ages 7-12. Participants will create collage art based on the work of printmaker Amos Kennedy, and use the words of Rosa Parks or their own words to create a print. At 1pm in LJ-119, cartoonist Keith Knight will be interviewed about his life and career. Knight is known for his comic strips including The Knight Life and The K Chronicles. Woke, a new live-action/animated comedy based on Knight’s life, will premiere on Hulu in June.
George Washington Birthday Parade
1pm – 3pm
The annual George Washington Birthday Parade winds through a one-mile route along the historic streets of Old Town Alexandria. It is the largest parade celebrating the birth of George Washington in the country. Check out the event website for a map of the parade route.
Rock the Rink
1pm – 4pm
It’s ALL CAPS at The Wharf this winter. Make Caps s’mores at the Capitals Campfire at The Wharf and check out the Washington Capitals décor and ice resurfacer at The Wharf Ice Rink. On Rock The Rink days, join fellow hockey fans at The Wharf to show your Caps pride. Enjoy skating at the Wharf Ice Rink with a DJ, Caps trivia and gear giveaways, a visit from Slapshot, and special Caps-themed drinks from Cantina Bambina. At 6pm, the Capitals’ away game against the Vegas Golden Knights will be broadcast on a jumbotron at the Capitals Campfire. Throughout the day, fans wearing Capitals gear will receive $5 off admission to the Wharf Ice Rink. All ages welcome.
February 17 & 22
George Washington’s Birthday Celebration
9am – 5pm (17th) and 9am – 4pm (22nd)
Mount Vernon, VA
What better place to celebrate the 288th birthday of our nation’s first President than at his Mount Vernon Estate? The celebration will feature a wreath-laying at Washington’s Tomb, an Old Guard gun salute to the first president, a marching drill and military demonstration conducted by Continental soldiers, patriotic music played by the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, and more. During the celebration on the 22nd, you can also celebrate with birthday cake, a Punch and Judy puppet show, and a meet and greet with General Washington. It is FREE to attend the estate during the celebration. Timed tickets for mansion tours will be distributed upon entry.
Engineering STEM Day
11am – 3pm
Smithsonian African American History and Culture Museum
To help celebrate National Engineering Week, NMAAHC will highlight the long lineage of African American engineers. From the earliest people of African descent using their knowledge of rice cultivation to the newest generation of technology prodigies and inventors, the contributions of African Americans to the nation’s prosperity, history, and culture are significant. This program will introduce our visitors to the world of engineering and share how African Americans have shaped and influenced the world. Visitors will enjoy: presentations by NASA engineer and educator Dr. Aprille Ericsson and inventor and engineer Dr. Lonnie Johnson; learning the history of African American engineers; hands-on STEM activities from local and national STEM organizations; and a Book Corner for young learners. It is free to participate in this family-friendly event, but registration is required.
4pm – 7pm
Can’t go to New Orleans? Celebrate Mardi Gras at the Wharf with a community-wide extravaganza featuring a spirited parade down Wharf Street, a dance party with live music on District Pier, and a special finale. Get special treats at your favorite neighborhood restaurants. There will also be activities and crafts for kids. And don’t forget to stop by the Caps Campfire at Camp Wharf for a special s’more.
National Children’s Museum
9:30am – 4:30pm
1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW
The highly anticipated National Children’s Museum is officially open! The museum, located near the White House and the National Mall, aims to spark curiosity and ignite creativity in kids from birth to age 12. Its exhibits support exploration and fun for all ages. See the full list of exhibits here. The museum will be open seven days a week (except on some holidays) from 9:30am – 4:30pm, Purchase tickets online for $10.95 per person (children under 1 are free). Tickets are timed entry, so book yours early to ensure the availability of your preferred date and time. Walk-up tickets are limited and will be available based on capacity. The museum will have a cafe open in the future, but for now, visitors will have to go elsewhere for food. One nearby option is the food court in the nearby Ronald Reagan Building.
February 28 – February 29
Ice & Lights
5pm – 10pm (Fri.) and 11am – 5pm (Sat.)
Cameron Run Park
This is the last weekend to enjoy Ice & Lights at the Winter Village at Cameron Run Park, where the waterpark has been transformed into an ice rink. Free skate aids are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that on peak nights, the ice is resurfaced hourly. Skate time may be limited to one hour on peak nights. Be sure to purchase skating tickets online to secure your spot on the ice.
Intersections Festival 2020
The annual Intersections Festival at the Atlas Theater (which runs from February 19th through March 1st this year) is a performing arts festival that presents work that impacts our society, culture, and world by informing, inspiring, educating, and entertaining. A wide variety of performances are scheduled including some geared specifically for kids. The Family Fun Days Creation Station will be available from 10am to noon on February 29th. People of all ages can stop by to do a kid-friendly craft for the theater’s community art installation. There will also be a free family concert beginning at 10am. Little ones will be inspired and entertained by the Culture Queen and her rich storytelling and self-affirming songs. This weekend, the littlest theatergoer can also enjoy a production called “Mouse on the Move.” In this play, Nellie and Amelia are two adventurous mice ready to explore the world beyond their little mouse-hole. They decide to go to the moon since it is cat-free and made entirely of delicious, mouth-watering cheese (so they have heard). In this interactive play, the audience becomes part of the story through multi-sensory activities. Tickets are $15 and available online. Children under 1 are free.
Strike a Prose: Elementary School Edition
10am – 11:30am
National Portrait Gallery
In this creative writing workshop, we will write stories inspired by the portraits of American icons such as Michelle Obama, LL Cool J, and Toni Morrison, who are featured in the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition “Contemporary Americans.” We will learn how to develop characters, represent conflict and action, and use our imaginations to write exciting stories. This activity is open to elementary school students (grades 4–6). Each participant must be accompanied by an adult. Registration required and tickets are $12 (includes registration for one child and one adult).
10am – 3pm
Arts Harmony Hall Regional Center
Fort Washington, MD
Visit the Center’s annual Black History Month exhibition and engage in a range of activities for all ages. Activities include film screenings, storytelling, art activities, and guided tours of the exhibition.
February 29 – March 1
10am – 4pm
The REACH at the Kennedy Center
The Reach’s Moonshot Studio is billed as an arts educational maker space for families. From dance and beat making to poetry and animation, the Moonshot Studio offers activities for people of all ages to explore their artistry and learn something new. Current projects give visitors the chance to: learn to draw just like Mo Willems by using light tables to practice tracing your favorite characters; transform the words of John F. Kennedy into an original poem, which can then be displayed on a pennant; and create mixes at the Mixmaster station using sounds, rhythms, and beats, and combining genres like trap, reggaeton, and swing. The Moonshot Studio is free to visit and it is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 4pm.