Winter Break Washington DC Kids Outing Ideas


Merry Christmas, happy holidays and loads of love from the A Parent in Silver Spring family! We hope you have a wonderful winter break, and that these suggestions keep the fun coming!

Christmas Eve Only: Water-Skiing Santa at 1 p.m. FREE. This crazy fun event has a water-skiing Santa, flying elves, the Jet-skiing Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman performing on the Potomac River.  Best view of Santa and crew is from National Harbor. No matter the weather, this event is on!

Catch Aquarium at Imagination Stage, a production for little patrons. The show runs through January 26, 2014 and is part of its My First Imagination Stage season. With gentle music, beautiful puppets, and props, friends Jack and Calypso lead children to a magical, interactive world. Show happen at 10:30 and 11:45 a.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, and 10 and 11:15 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.  Each performance runs approximately 45 minutes. Appropriate for ages 1-5, tickets are $10-$12, with a $5 lap seat for children under 12 months. Tickets may be purchased online at, at the Imagination Stage box office, or via phone at 301-280-1660.

Get out of the house and play at the Playseum in Bethesda and DC with kids baby-elementary, the Playseum UPSTAIRS for tweens age 8-14. Click those links for holiday break hours and special family New Year’s Eve party info! We had my son’s birthday party at the Playseum UPSTAIRS (post coming – it was awesome!) and my kids love the crafts, games, and older kid fun offered. Toddlers, preschoolers and young elementary kids of course will go ga-ga for the fun in the original Playseums.

Enroll in the December 30 Pony Pal Holiday Camp at Wheaton Stables! Spaces still available for this Monday 12-2pm riding session for children age 3-7. Activities include a Pony Pal riding lesson, barn tour, hands-on horse grooming and art projects. Cost is $40. Space is limited. Dress warmly and bring a snack. To register, contact Located at the Wheaton Park Stables.

Go to a holiday show at Jammin Java. New children’s artist Uncle Devin is a singer and drummer and his percussion-driven songs are high energy and super fun for young children. This special holiday themed show is Saturday December 28, 2013 10:30AM. You can also celebrate New Years Eve with Rocknoceros! Rocknoceros is the most popular kids act in the region and these New Years Eve Family shows are a great opportunity to bring the whole family to a Rockno show. There will even be a full-fledged countdown to the new year and an apple juice toast for all. Choose either the Tuesday December 31, 2013 11:00AM or 2pm showtimes

Go bowling with these special AMF Jingle Bowl coupons. These deals will give you discounts on kids meals, pizza, nachos and more. AMF locations near us include AMF Waldorf, AMF Centreville, AMF College Park, AMF Capital Plaza, AMF Dale City, AMF Alexandria, AMF Marlow Heights and AMF Laurel. Or go duckpin bowling at the White Oak Lanes in Silver Spring on New Years Eve — stay up ’til midnight with glow in the dark bowling fun!

Enjoy discounted triple play at Shadowland Laser Tag locations. Sign up for the VIP Coupon Club and receive a coupon for three plays plus a bag of popcorn for just $19 a person. Valid through January 2. My kids adore both the Columbia and Gaithersburg locations.

Hit the road for a Lancaster County Pennsylvania holiday getaway.  The Strasburg Railroad, Dutch Wonderland and more make for a lovely, and reasonable!, way to mini-break with the family.

Mount Vernon is open all winter break – including Christmas Day with lots of holiday-themed fun and Christmas Candlelight Tours. 

Seasons Greenings at the United States Botanic Garden. See the outdoor train garden, enter the Conservatory and enjoy a colorful display of poinsettias and other winter-blooming tropical plants, and the National Mall in miniature, a replica created with natural plant materials, as well as icons from Worlds Fairs past. 100 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC at the foot of the U.S. Capitol. Regular hours 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Open until 8 p.m. with live music on Tuesday Christmas Eve and Thursday December 26.

In the mood for a good ol’ fashioned ice skating party? You can be a Washington cliche and go ice skating in the National Gallery Sculpture Garden ice rink on the Mall (be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time or you’ll spend your “skating evening” like we did one year drinking Guinness at the Dubliner with our skates unused under the table). Or you can head to Silver Spring Veterans PlazaRockville Town Square, the Montgomery County rinks at Cabin John or Wheaton, or other more suburban rinks.

Want to wow your out of town guests with something they won’t see many other places? Move it, move it to National Harbor to view Ice! ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and check out all of the other Christmas on the Potomac holiday revelry at the Gaylord.

Feeling a yen for a holiday lights stroll? Bundle up and head to Zoolights at the National Zoo (free admission!) or Brookside Gardens Garden of LightsBoth displays begin on Friday after Thanksgiving.

Ready to experience holiday lights…but want to stay within the warmth of your cozy car? Drive through Howard County’s Symphony of Lights, Gaithersburg Winter Lights Festival or Prince Georges County’s Watkins Regional Park Festival of Lights displays.

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