August Family-Friendly Activities Guide


This summer has looked different than any other summer in our lives. Health and safety concerns in our communities have caused most typical summer events and family-friendly activities to be cancelled or significantly changed. To give you some ideas on how to spend this last month of summer, we have compiled a list of family-friendly places that have recently reopened in our region. Before venturing out, make sure you review the safety protocols and requirements of each facility. If you want to spend some family time outdoors, please check out our guide to 80+ Places to Explore Nature with Kids Around the DMV. And be sure to look at our community calendar for other events too.

National Air and Space Museum
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
This museum is open! Reserve timed entry passes online prior to your visit. Entry is free, but there is a $10 fee for parking. Before your visit, check out the museum’s website to see what is open. Some parts of the facility will not be available due to COVID-19 restrictions and ongoing construction and repair to parts of the hangar. Also, familiarize yourself with the museum’s safety protocols.

National Gallery of Art
The West Building, Ground Floor galleries are now open. Free, timed passes are required and released each Monday at 10am for the following week. The Gallery Shops and the Espresso & Gelato Bar on the Concourse are open and only accepting credit or debit cards. The Sculpture Garden is also open, but passes are not required for entry. Both facilities are open from 11am – 4pm.

National Museum of Women in the Arts
The museum will reopen on August 1st. In order to ensure that the galleries allow space for ample social distancing, visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase timed tickets in advance. Also, visitors will be asked to follow a number of safety protocols, including wearing a mask. The Mezzanine Cafe will remain closed, but the Museum Shop will be open. Free Community Days will resume on Sunday, August 16th, and will be held on the first and third Sundays of each month from September through November 2020.

National Zoo
One of our area’s favorite family-friendly activities is open again! It will limit the number of visitors allowed in the zoo and visitors must reserve entry passes online. You can choose from a timed entry pass or a paid parking pass. Also, all visitors 6 years and older are required to wear a face mask. Check out the website for more details about the zoo’s COVID-19 protocols as well as information on what buildings remain closed.

International Spy Museum
New safety measures are in place including capacity limitations, social distancing guidelines, mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning protocols. Advance ticket purchase is recommended and there are no extra online fees. The museum’s website has more information about specific ways families can plan for their visit and stay safe including wearing a mask, providing a stylus to each visitor for use on all of the Museum’s touch screens, and more.

The Kennedy Center
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has cancelled most events for the remainder of 2020. However, you can still visit the building. The JFK Memorial can be viewed in the Grand Foyer. Visitors should familiarize themselves with safety protocols prior to their visit. The REACH is the new extension at the Kennedy Center. The art spaces there are currently closed, but a pop-up wine garden and cafe is open. Victura Park at the REACH is a family-friendly outdoor pop-up & wine garden located in the River Pavilion. This winery-inspired landscape is a collaboration between the culinary creative team of The Hilton Brothers & Chef Erik Bruner-Yang. Dotted with picnic and café tables and shade umbrellas, there’s plenty of space to enjoy a snack overlooking the Potomac or spread out a blanket on the grass with a glass of wine.

Mount Vernon
George and Martha Washington’s Estate and Gardens are open. The facility has adopted a number of new safety protocols that you will want to review before your visit. Your family can tour the grounds and the gardens, the first floor of the mansion, and view museum exhibits. Purchase tickets online.

National Arboretum
If you are looking for open park space, look no further. The National Arboretum is now open from 1pm-5pm Monday through Friday and from 8am-5pm on Saturdays on Sundays. Some entrances, areas, and facilities will remain closed. Familiarize yourself with those closures prior to your visit.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
The grounds of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens are now open from 8am-4pm. The park is limiting the number of visitors. Some areas, such as all buildings, restrooms, and the boardwalk, remain closed for public safety (note that there are porta-potties available). Read about these and other visitor expectations on the park’s website.

Brookside Gardens
The Gardens are open for your enjoyment, relaxation, and exercise. However, the visitor center building is closed and there are no restroom facilities. Also, they are limiting the numbers allowed in their parking lot. See their website for a list of prohibited activities, map, and list of areas that are accessible in the gardens.

Park Up DC
This drive-in style experience aims to safely bring the community together for family-friendly and affordably priced movies and other entertainment. This drive-in movie series is produced by the minds behind Broccoli City Festival, and hosted by Events DC at historical RFK Campus Lot 5. Park Up DC features a massive 45ft HD LED digital screen, high quality sound that is tuned directly through your car’s FM stereo, prepaid delivery food from local food trucks, and clean portable restrooms. Current and upcoming films include family favorites Secret Life of Pets 2, Jumanji: The Next Level, Paddington, and Despicable Me 3. Check out the website to purchase tickets and to review its numerous COVID-19 protocols.

National Harbor
Some of restaurants at the National Harbor have reopened with patio seating and/or to go ordering options. The Capital Wheel and Carousel at National Harbor are open. The facilities have taken steps to create social distancing and improve cleaning/sanitizing practices. Take a look at their website to review what COVID-19 measures they have implemented. Also, Monumental Boat Tours has reopened its Craigcat boat tours. See National Harbor’s website for additional family-friendly activities.

Do you know of other events going on around town? Please comment below or add them to our community calendar here!

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Julie is a proud born and bred Texan, but has called DC home since 2001. She studied at the University of Texas and then moved to DC to get her MPA at the George Washington University. Julie worked for ten years for a Member of Congress, where she loved working to impact public policy. In 2013, her world turned inside out when she gave birth to twins and decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Currently Julie lives in the H Street Corridor with her husband, two kids, and their increasingly grouchy senior dog, Presley. Yes, please: movie dates with her husband, trying new restaurants, exploring DC with her kids, last minute road trips, being outdoors, festivals (of any kind), girls’ night out, and a rainy day with “Pride and Prejudice.” No, thank you: hot and humid summers, mistreating animals, Legos (ouch!), public speaking, laundry, raw fish