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Plus tons of other spring-break planning ideas By Monica Sakala

Spring Break at Port Discovery (Baltimore)
If you haven’t spent a day at Port Discovery in Baltimore, I’d suggest you place this at the top of your to-do list. It’s shameful that despite all the museums we have in DC, we still don’t have an interactive kids museum (yeah, I know they’re building one at National Harbor, but still). Port Discovery is a treat for kids of all ages, and it always surprises me that getting to Baltimore is effortless and quick. From April 18 through 25, Port Discovery is offering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) into Spring, a week of activities appealing to kids of all ages. The museum also has extended hours, open from 9:30 to 5 every day that week. Event participation is first-come, first-serve, so I’d recommend getting there early. Admission is $12.95 for ages two and up, free for those under two Though large themed kids events in our area often quickly turn into my own personal nightmare, Port Discovery events and exhibits are always so well-organized, age-appropriate, creative, and fun that it’s worth battling potential crowds and tantrum-throwing children.

Spring Break Story time at the Diner (Adams Morgan)
Hat’s off to the Diner for offering kid-friendly activities and attracting parents during off-peak times. Every Tuesday at 4, you can head to the Diner for story time. A friend of mine took her three-year-old a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed a casual afternoon of story times (that day featured books by Eric Carle, always a kid-crowd pleaser), and there were food and drink specials for kids and parents. The Diner also offers Pajama Party Cartoon Brunch for kids and families starting at 7 AM Saturdays and Sundays. Plus, parking in Adams Morgan is easy during these off-peak times.

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Posted at 03:39 PM/ET, 03/24/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Fill up your weekend—and win tickets to the circus from Washingtonian.com By Monica Sakala

There’s something for everyone this weekend, including story time for kids, celebrations of Women’s History Month, and planning ahead for the circus.

Storybook Festival

Saturday, March 12, from 11 to 2, the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) is hosting a Storybook Festival for kids ages three to eight. Admission is $5 per person; kids under two are free. The festival includes princess characters, puppet shows, arts and crafts, and the ever-popular face painting. Parking is free.

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Posted at 11:02 AM/ET, 03/10/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
For anyone who wants to escape for warmer weather, a local indoor water park is a perfect solution By Monica Sakala

Neighbors and friends had told us about the Prince George’s County Splash Pool in Chillum several times over the past few winters, but we never had the chance to visit until December. Now we’ll make it a point to hit this water park a few times before summer arrives. I’ve heard it gets very crowded on days that the county schools are closed—and for good reason. With water temperatures at a balmy 80 degrees, this clean and well-run county facility offers water slides and splash pools for kids of all ages. Our five-year-old first visited for a birthday party, and our two-year-old could have stayed for hours. Our neighbors take their 8- and 11-year-old boys regularly to burn off energy.

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Posted at 01:39 PM/ET, 03/02/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Washington’s tourist locations make it easier to keep kids entertained inside By Monica Sakala

The weather is frightful, we’re willing to snuggle up and hibernate, yet children still have energy to burn. Finding indoor activities can be difficult this time of year, and we all easily get stuck in a rut. You can run the kids in the mall or take them to the movies only so many times. Below is a list of some ideas on where else to go with kids of any age.

For the Explorers Among Us
College Park Aviation Museum (1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive, College Park, Md.)
The College Park Aviation Museum is a nice change of pace. The museum itself isn’t very big, but its exhibits are interesting for adults and older kids. To appeal to the younger ones, there’s a section for dressing up for the budding aviators and even an old plane to climb through. My daughter had a great time dressing up like the Red Baron and pretending exploring the unfriendly skies of World War I. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for kids ages 2 to 18, free for those under 2. Parking is free and easy . The museum is open daily from 10 to 5.

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Posted at 02:43 PM/ET, 02/23/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
A weekend of Greek gods and princesses By Monica Sakala

If you’re looking for something to do this long President’s Day weekend (And who are we kidding? Of course you are.), there’s something for adventure-loving older kids, Princes-s and ice-skating-loving kids of all ages, and budding historians.

Hit the Theater:
Bethesda’s Imagination Stage is showing Perseus Bayou now through March 13. Set in the swamps of post-Civil War Louisiana, the show is a musical based on the Greek hero Perseus, the demi-God who destroyed the Medusa and the Kraken. The show includes Cajun-inspired music, sword fights, puppets, gods and goddesses, snakes, gator-men, and monsters. The exciting fight choreography and creepy creatures may especially appeal to boys, but the female characters are strong, powerful, and brave—a special inspiration for girls in the audience.

And the show has local roots: the choreographer is Ingrid Zimmer, a local mother and dancer. Zimmer has been choreographing musicals for kids and adults in Washington for the past 15 years, but this is her first show for Imagination Stage. Many Washington parents might know her from the musicals she choreographed for National Cathedral School and St. Albans. If you’ve been thinking about purchasing tickets to Perseus Bayou, Zimmer recommends taking those age six and older.

Buy tickets ($10 to $22) through Imagination Stage’s Web site.

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Posted at 08:45 AM/ET, 02/17/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()