Spring break activities for families in the Washington, DC area are plentiful, but often hard to track down.
Rather than send you hunting through Google (who has the time?) I have compiled some solid options for you in one easy place.
Here are my top recommended weekday activities for you and your children to enjoy, whether your Spring Break is this week April 2 – 6, or next week April 9 – 13. I have broken the suggestions into four categories: free activities, practically free events (admission price less than $10), performances and special staycation treat events.
And you will be rewarded for leaving a comment with YOUR best recommendation for spring break fun with kids: All comments are entered into a drawing for TWO free tickets to see the Washington Ballet’s Alice in Wonderland at the Kennedy Center on opening night, April 11! Read on for details.
National Portrait Gallery Spring Break Special Programs
Monday April 2 – Friday April 6, 1 – 4 p.m.
Experience the National Portrait Gallery’s Portrait Story program, in which young visitors, accompanied by adults, drop in to listen to a story about or written by a famous person from history. Afterward, they create a special piece of art. Children can also check out a Portrait Discovery Kit and learn about famous Americans by doing some or all of the activities included in the kit.
Free Performances on the Outdoor Stage by the Washington Monument
Daily beginning at noon through April 15.
12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Washington Monument grounds – Independence Avenue & Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW (map)
Spring break may have missed peak cherry blossom time, but it coincides with the ongoing National Cherry Blossom Festival. Check out the daily line-up of musical and dance performances at the Canon Performance Stage at Sylvan Theater. (And for goodness sakes, take the Metro!)
Meadowside Nature Center 40th Anniversary Celebration
Friday April 6 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore the world of owls, hawks and eagles through raptor-themed activities, science activities (owl pellet dissection), games (kids will “migrate?!”), crafts and refreshments (owl cupcake decorating – wash your hands after the owl pellet dissection!). Visit the living resident birds of prey and meat the mascot Otus the Owl. There is a huge listing of free activities for all ages, it’s an event not to be missed!
Easter Monday at the National Zoo: Celebrating African American Families
Monday April 9, All Day
A Washington-area multicultural tradition, this event features special family activities, live entertainment, talks with Smithsonian scientists, and more. Free and open to the public.
PRACTICALLY FREE EVENTS
Cabin John and Wheaton Regional Trains, Carousel at Wheaton Open for Spring Break!
Saturday, March 31 through Sunday, April 8, from 10am to 6pm each day
Tickets: $1.75 per person, and a book of 10 tickets is $15.75 (buy 9, get the 10th ticket free!). Children age 2 and younger ride free with a paying adult.
The minature train at both Cabin John and Wheaton Regional Park and the Ovid Hazen Wells Carousel at Wheaton, too will be up and running during Montgomery County Public Schools’ Spring Break. They cannot run the trains when the tracks are wet, so please check their Facebook page for scheduling updates.
Washington Nationals First Home Game! Exhibition Game vs. Red Sox
Tuesday April 3, 3:05 p.m. Nationals Park
Tickets: $10 and up online, $5 day-of at the Nationals Park box office
Your opening-day gift is the 2012 Season magnet!
Clark’s Elioak Farm and the Enchanted Forest are Now Open!
Open Sunday April 1 through Monday April 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday April 10 -Sunday April 15 from 10 a.m to 4 p.m.
Tickets: $5.00 per person, no charge for Infants under 12 months. Show your AAA Card and pay $4.50 for all visitors entering the farm with you. Hayrides, pony rides and the cow train are each $2 extra per person.
My family and I love this place. Read my full review.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm is Now Open!
Wednesdays – Sundays, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (April 2 – December 9)
Admission: Children under 3 are free, Adults $3, Children & Seniors $2.
Children of all ages enjoy learning at the Farm. Older children imagine themselves back in time, while helping with farm chores such as carding wool, mixing Johnnycake batter, weeding in the garden, or hoeing in the fields. Toddlers take in the sights and sounds and love to splash their hands in the wash tub, watch the chickens, or gaze into the hearth fire. Children of all ages look forward to seeing the farm animals. Remember not to pet or feed the livestock!
Preschool Songs and Stories at the Arts Barn Theatre in Gaithersburg
Thursday April 5 11-11:45 a.m. (as well as EVERY first and third Thursday of the month through June 2012).
Preschool Songs and Stories gives three to five year olds and their parents or guardians the opportunity to explore the arts through singing, dancing and active listening to story books. Admission is just $3 per child per session, no fee for adults. Payment may be made at the door. The Arts Barn is located at 311 Kent Square Road, Gaithersburg. For more information call 301-258-6394 or visit online at www.gaithersburgmd.gov/artsbarn.
Paper Airplane Day at the College Park Aviation Museum
Friday, April 6, 12 noon-4 pm
Build your own paper airplane and compete in our annual Paper Airplane Derby at 3 pm. Prizes will be awarded! FREE with museum admission: $2/ages 18 & under; $4/adult; $3/seniors ages 60 & up.College Park Aviation Museum, 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive, College Park 20740, 301-864-6029.
Apr 11, 2012 – Apr 15, 2012 at the Kennedy CenterApril 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15: 7:30 PM – 9:30 PMApril 14: 2:30 PM – 4:30 PMApril 15: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PMTickets: $20 – $155 per person
The world premiere of Septime Webre’s ALICE (in Wonderland). Never before has The Washington Ballet combined such forces to create a new full-length ballet. From Mr. Webre’s revolutionary vision, designer Liz Vandal (Cirque du Soleil’s OVO) and composer Matthew Pierce, comes a spectacularly re-imagined take on Lewis Carroll’s classic. Enter the magical world of Alice’s misadventures, splendidly costumed and gloriously danced…an unforgettable journey down the rabbit hole and the season’s grandest production!
Leave a comment on this post with YOUR best recommendation to other parents for spring break fun and you will be entered to win TWO tickets to the April 11 opening night performance of Alice.
The winner will be randomly drawn from all entries on Thursday April 5.
Rapunzel at Imagination Stage
Wednesday April 4 – Sunday May 20; various times (daily showtimes)
Rapunzel is a typical 16-year-old girl, with a couple small exceptions: she was stolen from her real parents by a wicked witch who pretends to be her mother, and her home is a high-security tower in the middle of nowhere. Recommended for Ages 4+
Rapunzel and Tiny Tots at The Puppet Co.
Tiny Tots: Bunny Business Wednesday April 4 and Saturday April 7 at 10 a.m.
Rapunzel: Thursday April 5 & Friday April 6, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m, Saturday April 7, 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
A “bewitching” telling of the Grimm’s fairytale Rapunzel. The Puppet Co. uses “coloring-book” charm and the simplicity of hand puppets for this production to delight its younger audiences, aimed at PreK-Grade 4. Bunny Business features Bob Brown’s sweet, accessible puppets for ages baby – preschool.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day at Adventure Theatre at Glen Echo
Tueday April 3 – Saturday April 7 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday April 9 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (closed Sunday April 8).
Tickets: $18 per person.
See it before it closes on Monday April 9! If you miss it, you’ll feel worse than waking up with gum in your hair or having to watch kissing on TV. You might just have to move to Australia.
Kids Shows at Jammin’ Java at 10:30 a.m. (only $5 per person)
Mondays: The Great Zucchini, Tuesdays: Ryan Buckle and Friends, Wednesdays: Rocknoceros, Thursdays: Oh Susannah!, Fridays: Banjo Man and Friends.
Also, during spring break there are two additional performances: A Rocknoceros Family Happy Hour at 7 p.m. on Friday April 6 and Saturday April 7 at 10:30 a.m. with Banjo Man and Friends (tickets are $10 for those two special events).
SPECIAL STAYCATION TREAT EVENTS
Spring Break Fun at Port Discovery
April 2 – 9 with Spring Break Extended Hours! Monday – Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Monday 4/9: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission: $13.95 per person, children under 2 are free.
Join Port Discovery this spring break for a week- long, jam packed adventure through the world of STEM! (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) featuring hands-on experiments activities and performances.
Teddy Bear Tea at Strathmore
Tuesday, April 3 and Wednesday April 4, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. at the Strathmore Mansion
Tickets: $28 per person (Stars Price $25.20). Reservations are currently OPEN. Call (301) 581-5108.
Scheduled during spring break, the Teddy Bear Tea is perfect for you, a special child in your life and his or her favorite bear. Enjoy a kid-friendly menu, story time and children’s music. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Note: vegetarian meals are not available
Spring Tea and Chocolate Workshop at Tudor Place, Especially for Children Age 5 + and Families
Tuesday, April 3 and Thursday April 5, 2 – 3:30 p.m
Member Child: $20; Non-Member Child: $25; Accompanying Adult: $10. To register, contact Alexis Miller: email@example.com; (202) 964-0400 ext. 108.
Enjoy a festive spring tea, complete with tempting treats, and an intriguing lesson to go with it on the history of pouring tea in America. Learn first-hand how Federalists preferred their sugar, why the mistress locked the tea chest, and what not-so-nice surprises an alert servant might find among the tea leaves. Following the tea service, children will learn the basics of chocolate – where it comes from, how it’s made, and how it was appreciated – while creating their own three-dimensional chocolate eggs to take home.
Tidal Basin Paddle Boat Rentals
Daily until April 27, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (on the hour) with advance registration, until 6 p.m. (last boat rental at 5 p.m.) for walk-up business.
Admission: $12/hour for a 2 passenger boat, $19/hour for a 4 passenger boat.
Is there a better way to view the cherry blossoms and D.C.’s breathtaking monuments than from an iconic paddle boat? Weather permitting.
Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Bounce at Pump It Up!
Friday April 6. Session 1: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.; Session 2: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m; Session 3: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Tickets: $16.65/child, $5.55/adult (all adults must have a ticket to enter). Advance tickets recommended.
Grab the kiddos and hop on down to Pump It Up for an inflatably great Easter Egg Hunt! Search for Easter Eggs hidden in and around our huge inflatable arenas. Who will find the Golden Prize eggs this year? Maybe you’ll see an Easter bunny too.
Pop In Playtime at Pump It Up Gaithersburg
Monday April 2 – Friday April 6, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Monday April 9 – Friday April 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. (EXCEPT on Tuesday when the second session ends at 1 p.m. in order to prepare for Family Jump Time at 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.)
Admission: $11/child. Bounce house open gym heaven. Note for Pump It Up: At times, parties or special events can be scheduled that overlap with Pop In Playtime hours. Please call ahead at (301) 977-1400 to confirm Pop In Playtime availability. Children under 24 months of age (2 years) are NOT permitted in or on the equipment for any reason (even if accompanied by an adult). Children over 24 months must meet the 34” general height requirement for safety purposes. Socks are required to play on the inflatables.