Image Credit - Victor Wolansky
First Night Alexandria is one of the best New Year's Eve Party in the Washington, DC region for families with kid under 12! Tickets are only $20 per person (13 years and older), and kids under 12 get in FREE! First Night is a celebration of the New Year through the performing arts. Coffee shops, retail stores, office lobbies, museums and public buildings are turned into performance venues to showcase incredible local and regional talent. Plus don’t miss the big finale just before midnight when the mayor and friends count down to a fabulous fireworks display on the Potomac River!
Here is the line up of great family friendly events on December 31, 2014:
2 p.m. – Start the day at the Torpedo Factory Art Center and pick up a First Night Alexandria Fun Hunt clue sheet before setting off on a scavenger hunt adventure around Old Town. Not into scavenger hunts? Partake in interactive art activities in the Torpedo Factory’s great hall and The Art League Gallery or explore Alexandria’s past in the Alexandria Archeology Museum. If your pet has a talent you'll want to check out the main hall's north end where the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria will be conducting a pet competition!
6 p.m. – Beside the Durant Arts Center is the Jefferson Houston School, where families are invited to delight in festivities like model sailboat making, carnival games, ThinkFun games, a moon bounce and other kiddie carnival games from 2-10 p.m.
7 p.m. – Return to the Durant Arts Center for a free shuttle to the George Washington Masonic Memorial, where you’ll find activities like face painting, nail art, balloon sculptures by friendly clowns, music and dancing
Midnight – Head outside along the memorial steps and view the fireworks bursting over the Potomac River!
Take photos along the way and enter to win cash prizes in the Extraordinary Exposures new competition!
To View The Event Schedule For All Kid Focused Events, Visit This LINK
Information Courtesy Of First Night Alexandria
By Amy Suski
Growing up and through my twenties I loved to ski. But the thought of lugging ski gear for a family of five was enough to deter me from skiing with my own kids until we hit a family milestone: the point at which all three kids could be counted on to carry their own stuff. I realize there are plenty of families that manage preschoolers on skis, but I'm just well, LAZY. And parental laziness does have its benefits: by the time we got our school-aged kids skis they were so ready for it that they didn't even need our help. No leashes, harnesses, or other parental assistance was required...they were up and away within on their first run. The rest of my admittedly slacker-like tips for skiing with kids follow:
If you have family in town and are looking for a fun excursion, Baltimore is a wonderful destination. The city's waterfront neighborhoods come alive during the winter holidays with visits from Santa, ice-skating, festive window displays, children's activities, winter break festivities, New Years Eve events, fireworks and more!
Polar Express 4-D Experience
Now - January 4, 2015
The Polar Express 4D Experience is based on the inspiring and beloved Caldecott Medal children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. Featured in digital 3D and brought to life with 4D multi-sensory effects, this is an immersive experience for the whole family to enjoy. To ensure seating and avoid long ticket lines, it is recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance here.
Waterfront Partnership Ice Rink
McKeldin Plaza the Inner Harbor
Now - January 19, 2015
Daily outdoor ice-skating is offered at the Waterfront Partnership Ice Rink. Admission is $9 for adults and $7 for seniors (55 and older), children (under 10), and members of the military. Skate rental is $3 – or bring your own skates.
Santa Photo's & Santa's Place Light Shows
Harbor Place Amphitheater
Now - December 24
Visit www.harborplace.com for Santa's hours and break times
Visit with Santa from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Santa breaks 12:00-12:45 pm and 3:45-4:30 pm) and on Christmas Eve: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (break 3:00-4:00 p.m.)
West Shore Park
Now - December 24
West Shore Park will be transformed into a traditional German Christmas Market, complete with more than 40 vendors selling traditional European crafts, arts, jewelry, holiday gifts, food, sweets & drinks. Special performances are planned this weekend (Dec. 20/21) to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Charity. Weekend admission: $5 adults, $3 for children, ages 3 and under free. Visit the website for a $2 off admission coupon.
Free weekday admission.
The Holly Jolly Trolley
Pier 5 Hotel, 711 Eastern Avenue
Now - December 21
Friday, Saturday & Sunday – departing at 6:30 p.m.
Friday & Saturday – departing at 8:30 p.m.
Step aboard the holiday trolley and enjoy the splendor of Baltimore’s holiday lights beginning in the Inner Harbor. Tickets must be purchased in advance at http://bit.ly/BMoreTrolley
Baltimore Visitor Center
Now - December 21
The city's best chefs share holiday cooking secrets and tastings at the Baltimore Visitor Center, 12:00 pm - 12:30 p.m.
12 Days of Holiday-Themed Science
Maryland Science Center
December 20 - 31
Journey to the Arctic and build a winter wonderland with 12 days of holiday-themed science activities at the Maryland Science Center.
Winter Break Festivities
Port Discovery Children's Museum
December 26 - 30
Throughout winter break the Port Discovery Children's Museum is offering fun winter-themed events for little ones including story times, musical performances, and hands-on activities.
Arts and Crafts with J
Baltimore Visitor Center
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Join the staff at the Baltimore Visitor Center to learn fun things about Baltimore, Maryland, special moments in history and national holidays. All activities are free and open to the public.
Noontime New Year: Holiday Hoedown!
Port Discovery Children's Museum
Dress up in your favorite costume to count down to the New Year at 12 noon with Eric Energy and Curious George! Toast the New Year with milk and cookies and enjoy family-friendly performances and activities throughout the day.
Maryland Science Center
Families can ring in the New Year at the Maryland Science Center's 7th Annual New Year’s Eve celebration, Midnight Noon, where children can enjoy the ball drop before bedtime (10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.)
New Year's Eve Spectacular
Baltimore Inner Harbor
Be part of a giant holiday celebration 9:00 p.m. to12:30 a.m. with a night of music, the official countdown to 2015 and an amazing, colorful midnight fireworks display!
For more information visit www.baltimore.org and www.itsawaterfrontlife.org. Tip: avoid the hassle of parking in downtown Baltimore by booking ahead with Parking Panda. First time customers will receive a 15% discount when they use the promo code IHIR15.
Photo courtesy of Waterfront Partnership Ice Rink at Baltimore's Inner Harbor
We are finally at that magical moment when kids are almost done with school, holiday shopping is wrapping up and we are ready to enjoy some time off from our everyday chaos. Hopefully all of us will get to savor some quality time with our little ones and extended family. If you are looking for a fun and holiday rich activity, I would highly recommend Bull Run Festival Of Lights.
For more than 17 years the Bull Run Festival of Lights at Bull Run Regional Park has drawn thousands of visitors from hundreds of miles away to Centreville, Virginia. The Bull Run Festival of Lights is more than just a light show! After enjoying two and a half miles of light displays, don’t forget to stop at the Holiday Village. Complete with bonfires, s’mores, holiday merchandise, and free children’s activities, the Holiday Village is fun for the whole family. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are the busiest nights. Try to take advantage of the Monday through Thursday discounted price and avoid a long wait. Admission fees vary by day. Check the website for fees and discount options.
by Micaela Williamson
Don't shy away from going out in the cold. Bundle up and take the whole family on a winter hike in Northern Virginia. During the dreary winter months, it's good for the body and soul! See our list of Top Picks of Favorite Winter Hikes for Families in Northern Virginia below:
Plus, on January 1st, New Year's Day, annual First Day Hike and special events are offered at all 36 Virginia State Parks. Click here for a detailed list by park.
Do you have any other favorite winter hikes in the area? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below.
Celebrate the Festival of Lights with your family at these upcoming community events with candle lightings, music, storytelling, crafts, donuts, latkes and more!
Hands on Hanukkah at Barnes & Noble, Tysons Corner (VA) - December 14
Washington DC JCC Chanukah Celebration (DC) - December 14
Greater Gainesville Jewish Community Menorah Lighting (VA) - December 16
National Chanukah Menorah Lighting Ceremony at The Ellipse (DC) - December 16
Lake Anne Chanukah Outdoor Festival in the Square (VA) - December 16
Fifth Night Hanukkah Party & Toy Drive (DC) - December 17
Happy Hanukkah to the Animals at Locust Grove Nature Center (MD) - December 17
Washington DC JCC Chanukah Candle Lighting at the J-GLOE Night (DC) - December 17
Clarendon Menorah Lighting (VA) - December 17
Chanukah On Ice! at Pentagon Row (VA) - December 18
Light Up The Night: Community Menorah Lighting at Mosaic (VA) - December 21
Alexandria-Arlington Chanukah Festival (VA) - December 21
Herndon Chanukah on the Green (VA) - December 21
JCC of Greater Washington Chanukah Celebration (MD) - December 21
Bethesda Row Chanukah Family Spectacular - (MD) - December 21
Village at Leesburg Hanukkah Celebration (VA) - December 28
Share your family's favorite ways to celebrate Chanukah in the comments section below!
by Micaela Williamson
A birthday party at My Gym Burke is hassle-free for parents and extra special for kids. The birthday boy or girl is truly the "star of the show," and the staff entertains and engages party guests for an unforgettable birthday experience. The only thing families need to bring is the birthday cake or cupcakes. (Yes...you heard that right!)
Plus, compared to other kids' party places, My Gym offers affordable, all inclusive options and allows for a larger number of party guests. This is key for kids who want to invite their whole class without breaking the bank.
A Deluxe My Gym Burke birthday party includes:
A Premier Celebration includes:
When people think of My Gym, they think of the awesome toddler and preschool classes. but with custom themes, the birthday parties are also fun for young elementary students. My Gym Burke works with the parents and child and can plan party games around great themes for "bigger" kids such as Star Wars, Avengers, Hello Kitty, Frozen and more! Have another idea? The warm and helpful staff will work with you to gear the party towards your child's interests and passions.
The programs at My Gym Burke promote good health, teamwork and self-esteem, and the birthday parties are no different. Parties are a mixture of action packed, age-appropriate games and activities, plus they allow time for free play and exploration of the facility. Children love all the fun structures at My Gym Burke; including the trampoline, ball pit, rock wall, bars, climbing structures and mats and of course, everyone can get a turn on the famous zip line.
Take the stress out of planning your child's next birthday party and consider contacting My Gym Burke or another My Gym Northern Virginia location for a outstanding and memorable experience.
Disclosure: We received a birthday party discount at My Gym Burke for sharing this information. All opinions are our own.
With the holiday season upon us, I am reminded of just how much most of us have in our every day lives. Frankly I thought it was a little sad that my daughter is running out of things to ask Santa for this Christmas. So this year I thought it would be nice for my older daughter to pick out a few toys for those in need. The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program immediately came to mind.
The DC Metro area Marine Toys For Tots Foundation has made it so simple. The Toys For Tots website has a great navigation system that can point you to local drop off sites or you can even make a donation online. They also have a list of national drop off sites like Toys R Us. Take a minute to look at the site and maybe even take to social media to inspire your friends to do the same. This could also be a wonderful opportunity to show children what the holiday season is all about.
To learn out more about this wonderful organization or to find a drop location for a new and unwrapped toy for those in need, please read below.
How Toys For Tots Works
The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.
The principal Toys for Tots activities which take place each year are the collection and distribution of toys in the communities in which a Marine Corps Reserve Unit is located and in communities without a Reserve Unit that has a Marine Corps League Detachment or group of men and women, generally veteran Marines, authorized by Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to conduct a local Toys for Tots campaign. Local Toys for Tots Campaign Coordinators conduct an array of activities throughout the year, which include golf tournaments, foot races, bicycle races and other purely voluntary events designed to increase interest in Toys for Tots, and concurrently generate toy and monetary donations.
Find a donation location near you or donate online.
Many Drop Locations Have A Deadline Of December 21, 2014 Or Sooner
by Claudine Kurp
HARD ROCK CAFE WASHINGTON, DC TO HOST BREAKFAST WITH SANTA
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13
Santa Claus is making his way to Hard Rock Cafe! On Saturday, December 13, Hard Rock Cafe Washington, DC will welcome the jolly old fellow to the District for Breakfast with Santa. The event will include a delicious breakfast buffet, face painting and a photo opp with Santa. Breakfast buffet menu items include scrambled eggs, seasoned bacon, French toast sticks, assorted pastries and fresh seasonal fruit.
What: Breakfast with Santa
Where: Hard Rock Cafe Washington, DC
999 E St. NW
Washington, DC 20008
When: Saturday, December 13
9 a.m. – Event begins
Admission: The breakfast buffet costs: $14.95 for adults; $10.95 for kids ages 12 and under; FREE for kids under the age of two. Those interested in attending must RSVP to Katie Wright by December 10 at Katie_Wright@hardrock.com or by calling 202-737-7625.
For more information, please visit http://www.hardrock.com/cafes/washington-dc/.
Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe Washington DC provided me with complimentary tickets to this event.
We always disclose whenever a product or service is offered for compensation and all opinions are our own.
by Micaela Williamson
Visiting Mount Vernon during the holidays is truly the quintessential Washington DC experience. The event features tours of the Mansion, including the rarely open third floor, beautiful decor, historical chocolate making demonstrations, and lively characters in historical costume.
We attended the event last year, and it is definitely family friendly. In fact, our tour guide told our kids, much to their dismay, that in the 18th Century, children would have not been a part of the holiday festivities, and the adults would often party for days at a time. Plus, the grounds of Mount Vernon and the Mansion look so magical in the candlelight. The whole atmosphere lends itself to quality family time and lots of great memories!
“Christmas at Mount Vernon is a special time of year at Mount Vernon. This event offers our guests the unique opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and step back in time. From meeting Aladdin the camel to sampling chocolate – this event is a great way for family to take a break from the 21st century and enjoy the moment," says Melissa Wood, Director of Media Relations at Mount Vernon.
More information about Christmas at Mount Vernon: http://www.mountvernon.org/plan-your-visit/calendar/events/christmas-at-mount-vernon/
We received complimentary press tickets to the event. No other compensation was received. All opinions are our own.
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