Watching movies on a big screen outdoors is a memorable experience for all ages. Ideal locations for these experiences have beautiful views and delicious, nearby dining establishments.
Movies on the Potomac offers a wide selection of film options. They have showings on Thursdays and Sundays, with Sundays having more kid-friendly movies. With a backdrop that includes a Ferris wheel and the beautiful harbor, many choose to come early to enjoy a meal while watching the sunset before the movie begins.
Georgetown Sunset Cinema also has beautiful views and a great movie lineup. This is an outdoor movie series that centers around a theme for five weeks during the summer. Their theme for 2018 is Movies that Rock, centered around iconic movies with a musical storyline. Many moviegoers also choose to arrive early to this venue to enjoy the views of the Potomac River and Key Bridge. Event organizers suggest that patrons bring food and enjoy a family picnic.
Pottery is a fun, creative outlet for all ages. Not only will you have fond memories of the experience, but also a handmade souvenir to put on display. There are many studios across the DMV that offer pottery painting, but Jimmy Potters is one of the only studios to offer wet clay studio time and classes. They are the only one to offer individual sessions as well as multiple-session courses. For individual sessions, artists have the option of doing a 1-hour step-by-step instructional pottery wheel class or sculpting the clay by hand without a wheel. After two weeks, the artist comes back to paint the pottery they created. Prices for these sessions are $55 for one person and $100 for two, though Jimmy Potters is offering a 20% discount using the promo code LIFEMATTERS or calling in and mentioning Lifematters when scheduling over the phone.
Pirate Ship Cruise
Set sail on the Boomerang Pirate Ship! Sailors can choose from an adult cruise at sunset or a family fun treasure hunt cruise during the day. Families boarding the pirate ship navigate the Potomac River on an adventurous treasure hunt. The experience features water cannons, treasure chests, face painting, pirate games, dancing, and more. Visitors engage in a battle at sea and if the treasure is won during battle, it is shared with the whole crew.
The Enchanted Forest in Ellicott City, Maryland is a whimsical experience filled with unique sights and fun activities (mostly) for children. They have a petting zoo, gem mining, educational tours, hayrides, pony rides, and a cow train ride. There are various play areas for children and beautiful, fairy tale-like attractions.
County fairs offer a fun selection of activities for all ages. Here’s a list of local county fairs happening this summer:
Carroll County Fair (Westminster, Maryland — July 28-August 3) This event promises great fun with animal shows, racing pigs, a wild west night, car demolition derbies, tractor pull, a chain saw carver, and more.
Montgomery County Agricultural Fair (Gaithersburg, Maryland — August 10-18) This is the largest agricultural county fair in Maryland and features farm animals, rides, food and entertainment.
The Great Frederick Fair (Frederick, MD — September 14-22) There will be carnival rides, farm animals, tractor exhibits, arts and crafts vendors, and much more.
Arlington County Fair (Arlington, VA — August 15-19) This fair features a parade, pig races, pony rides, musical acts, and more.
Fairfax County 4-H Fair and Carnival (Herndon, VA — August 2-5) This event will feature carnival games, rides, animal shows, live entertainment, fair food and more. Enjoy a free concert (Thurs 7pm), see the Big Truck show (Fri 6pm), watch the Tractor Pull (Sat 4pm), and stage entertainment (Sat & Sun).
Pick Your Own Fruit and Berries
There is no better way to get kids excited about eating healthy foods than to have them pick their own fruit and berries! Kids love scavenging through fields to find delicious snacks, and they will leave feeling a sense of accomplishment after filling a basket with goodies to take home. There are many pick-your-own farms and fields across the DMV, but here are two of our top picks:
Butler’s Orchard is a great place to take kids to pick berries and other produce. They have play areas for children and a farmers market where they sell jams, jellies, local honey, dressings, sauces, and fresh baked pies! Check out their crop calendar to see what is available for picking year-round.
Wegmeyer Farms has three separate fields to ensure that visitors always have a great and plentiful selection of strawberries to pick. They take great pride in the quality of their berries and offer pumpkin picking in the fall.
PRO TIP: Dress in red or dark colored clothing to avoid the mess of the inevitable juice stains.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Festivals provide a plethora of experiences all in one venue, and they are a memorable way to spend the day with the whole family. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is a great opportunity to introduce children to a wide variety of cultural experiences and experience them for yourself. The festival features participants from all 50 states and more then 100 countries. Visitors are invited to sing and dance along, try craft and game workshops, learn traditional recipes, ask questions, and take part in this unique cultural exchange. The festival provides accessibility services.
Wolf Trap Theatre-in-the-Woods
Wolf Trap’s Theatre-in-the-Woods features live performances and diverse acts including puppetry, storytelling, dance, theater, and music. Shows include performances from Grammy winners, and veterans from Blue Man Group, They Might Be Giants, and more. Children are invited to stay and play after the show, take part in interactive workshops with artists, and earn their Junior Ranger badge with park rangers at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.
The National Garden
The United States Botanic Garden in DC is designed to spark the curiosity of the gardener in us all. The three-acre garden features Mid-Atlantic native plants, a rose garden, a butterfly garden, and an amphitheater which provides spectacular views of the gardens and the U.S. Capitol dome. One of the main attractions at the garden for families is the Children’s Garden. The Children’s Garden gives kids a chance to get hands-on in a garden where they can explore and use gardening tools and watering cans.
Flying Circus Airshows
Every Sunday, May through October, watch daring expert pilots perform stunts in vintage biplanes at The Flying Circus Aerodrome. Enjoy a picnic lunch as a parachute jumper opens the show and a wingwalker hangs upside down from the biplane’s wing. They offer a variety of open cockpit airplane rides before and after the show, though all passengers must be 16 years of age or older. The venue even offers hot air balloon rides August 18-19!
To find more family-friendly events happening in the DMV area, visit our event calendar. We will be adding to the calendar regularly.
Need respite? We understand the challenges family caregivers face taking care of their loved one day-in and day-out. Take time to care for yourself. We have caregivers available to assist a loved one during an outing or to help care for them while you’re out enjoying a summer activity. Contact us any time to learn more.