The Red Balloon at the Adventure Theatre: I Love Paris in the Springtime

The Red Balloon at the Adventure Theatre at Glen Echo is a feast for the eyes and ears for families, and the perfect way to spend a retro-fabulous Sunday. See the play + ride the carousel + play in the historic park = PERFECT WEEKEND activity with kids.

The whole experience felt like a day on a Parisian movie set – we rode the antique carousel, then headed to this children’s theater production based on the classic film Le Ballon Rouge. Then we ate freshly popped popcorn bought from a little red cart, watched a wedding happening in the outdoor dance pavillion and skipped around the restored streetcar holding hands.

This is my life?  I felt like we jumped into a sidewalk chalk drawing!

But back to the play – it had a little of The Adventure Theatre’s patented slapstick humor for kids, an important anti-bullying message (literature provided at the showing about the importance of eliminating bullying in schools and clubs) and captured the loneliness and happiness of a young boy. I truly wanted to comfort Pascal…and had to remind myself that was actually an actor in his 20s up there.  Yikes. Dirtyoldladycrisisbarelyaverted.

But my two four year old girl companions and I were mainly enraptured by the whole “transported into mid-century Paris” thing.  They kept asking about the costumes, the sets, the smattering of words in French.  They loved it.  They too identified with “little boy” Pascal.  They totally got it that the puppeteer operating the balloon’s movements WAS the balloon, and I was so impressed by their imagination and theater-savviness and sophistication.

The rest of the afternoon they pranced around like Parisian models in their Hello Kitty sunglasses, and once home Eve and I went Franco-phile crazy reading all of our Madeleine books. I even stumbled through Babar in French (scaryscary). We also added Le Ballon Rouge to the family NetFlix queue – I remember watching this in my kindergarten class in ’79 and loving it!

Again, the Adventure Theatre outdid itself in creating beautiful theater that does not pander to kids, but gifts the young attendees with an experience they cannot receive anywhere else: a kid-centric production of beauty, creativity, education and inspiration.  And AGAIN they brought us together in unplugged learning as a family!

The Red Balloon was my daughter’s favorite Adventure Theatre production so far, and she was pretty darn devoted to Go, Dog.  Go! and Goodnight Moon.

But seriously, how can you compete with Paris in Spring?

Upcoming Showtimes

Showing until June 13th – exact times and dates available here

ASL Interpreted and Autism-Friendly Performance – June 12 @ 1:30pm

Weekday Fieldtrips for Schools at 10:30am, schedule here

Tickets available for weekday 10:30am performances depending on school field trip bookings

You can book a birthday party performance viewing (or a LIGHT SABER birthday party, my son covets this big time) too.

Tickets:  Adults $15, Children 12 and under $12, all children must have a seat

All photos and review tickets provided by The Adventure Theatre, thank you!


  1. Sylvia Kim says:

    Loved this film. Am looking forward to the end of preschool so we’ll be free for the Tots puppet shows on Wednesday mornings.

  2. I also have to say Adventure theater has great classes, my son takes a preschool adventures in theater class and he LOVES IT.

  3. Dawn Aumiller says:

    I wish I drove….

  4. Ashanthi Kiridena says:

    The movie red baloon was also great; definitely will see this.

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