SEPTEMBER

  • The National Book Festival is an annual Saturday event held each September on the National Mall in D.C. (between 7th & 14th Streets NW) from 10am-5:30 pm.  This celebration of the joy of books and reading is sponsored by the Library of Congress.  Attendees can visit with more than 70 award-winning authors, illustrators and poets who will talk about and sign their books.  Pavilions are set up for Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Children & Teens, Poetry, and Home & Family.  Featured are a variety of interactive family-centered activities about the importance of lifelong literacy, cultural preservation, and preserving digital culture and visitors can get free posters, books, bags, and other educational materials.  The closest Metro stations are Archives/Navy Memorial, Smithsonian, and L’Enfant Plaza. Click here to find current event details  
  • Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with an annual fiesta at the National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave. NW) from 11am-5pm.  With animal demonstrations, Hispanic and Latino music, costumed dancers, traditional crafts, and Latin American foods, the event offers something for everyone.  Crafts available for sale will include handmade jewelry, sweaters, clay sculptures, bags, finger puppets, and drums.  Click here to find current event details 
  • The Black Family Reunion Celebration is a 3-day festival held each September on the National Mall in DC that celebrates the strength and values of African American families. The festival includes free concerts, arts and crafts, an international marketplace, health screenings (free blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose screenings), food and activities for kids (storytelling and animation instruction). Themed Pavilions include a Women’s Health & Day Spa (beauty makeover presentations), Sports & Fitness (information about fun activities), and Fathers, Sons & Brothers (reaffirms family values). Click here to find current event details

OCTOBER��  

  • The Festival of the Building Arts is an annual Saturday event held each October at the National Building Museum (401 F St. NW) from 10am-4:30 pm.  There are FREE fun activities for the kids like dry wall finishing, bricklaying, roof thatching, woodworking, surveying, nail driving, and shaving cream art!! Budding Builders will listen to The 3 Little Pigs, explore the different building materials from the story, and design a “3 Little Pigs” house of their own from recycled craft materials.  Click here to find current event details 
  • The Turkish Festival, sponsored by the American-Turkish Association of Washington DC, is a family-friendly festival celebrating authentic Turkish art and culture with a rich variety of live musical and folk dance performances underscoring Turkey’s unique ties with the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucuses and Central Asia.  It features hands-on activities for kids, art demonstrations, guest speakers, arts and crafts vendors and Turkish cuisine.  The annual Saturday festival is located at Freedom Plaza (Pennsylvania Ave., NW between 13th & 14th Streets).  The closest Metro station is Federal Triangle. Click here to find current event details
  • The annual Marine Corps Marathon Healthy Kids Fun Run at the Pentagon North Parking Lot in Arlington, VA is a great opportunity for your kids to exercise and have a good time. Children ages 6-13 are invited to participate in the one-mile just-for-fun event.  Registration is just $5.  All participants receive a t-shirt, medal and snacks at the finish line.  Families��can also visit Camp Miles, a free all-day activity area featuring interactive challenges and games focusing on health and fitness hosted by the National Children’s Museum.  2009’s activities include: science activity games: Ring Toss, Fitness Dice, Hoop Jumpers and more, a bookmark coloring activity,  free samples of healthy italian ice, a football toss, the National Children’s Museum Healthy Food On My Mind, UV bead bracelets and active and happy hearts activities.   Click here to register for the current year  
  • Boo at the Zoo is the wildest trick-or-treat in town! Princesses, superheroes, kid-wizards, and other costumed guests are invited to attend. (3001 Connecticut Ave. NW).  There���s no safer or more exciting way for families with children ages two to 12 to enjoy Halloween.  So get ready for tasty candy, delicious snack foods, and other special treats from more than 40 treat stations. Plus, animal encounters, keeper talks, and festive decorations are yours to enjoy.  All adults and children ages 2+ require tickets.  Kids under 2 are free. Click here to find current event details and purchase tickets

NOVEMBER

  • Veteran’s Day celebrates and honors America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. It is observed annually on November 11th, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls.

*The National Veteran’s Day Ceremony is held each year at the Arlington National Cemetary where a color guard, made up of members from each of the military services, renders honors to America’s war dead during a tradition-rich wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and an observance ceremony inside  the Memorial Amphitheater . Click here to find current event details

  • Did you know…more than 2 million pounds of ICE is coming to the National Harbor??!! Get ready for Gaylord National’s ICE!™ –a signature holiday attraction where you can enter a fantastic winter wonderland made entirely of ice – TWO MILLION POUNDS to be exact – hand-sculpted by forty international artisans and kept at a chilling nine degrees.  The 15,000-square-foot attraction will feature 10 different holiday scenes, including thrilling, two-story-tall ice slides.  ICE! is a ticketed attraction: Adult tickets start at $19.99; Kids tickets are $13. Open daily Nov. 19 to J an. 10, the kickoff celebration begins at 7pm on Nov. 19. Click here to purchase discounted tickets in advance

DECEMBER

  • The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is a time-honored holiday tradition which includes the illumination of the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse just south of the White House.  Nationally known entertainers and the United States Marine Corps Band add to the celebratory evening in which the President is invited to bring a message of peace to the nation and the world.  With the White House as the back drop, in what becomes the “Christmas Pathway of Peace”, the National Christmas Tree and 56 smaller trees – 1 for each state, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia – serve as the event focal point.  It will be held Thurs, Dec. 3, 2009, at 5:00 pm.  This year, the event will introduce a new lottery system for the general public, providing a chance to obtain free tickets to the ceremony.  The online lottery will be available beginning at 12:01 a.m. EST Wed, Nov. 4th-11:59 p.m. EST on Fri, Nov. 6th.  (ticket seekers without computer access may call 877.444.6777 or for TDD 877.833.6777) to place their name in the lottery).  The lottery includes 2,800 ticketed seats and 7,000 standing room tickets.  Ticket seekers who submitted their request via computer will be notified via email and successful ticket seekers who applied by phone will receive a notice sent via U.S. Mail.  All ticket seekers may check the status of their request online or through the call center beginning Nov. 9, 2009.  Click here to submit an application to attend the current year’s event.
  • Check out The WATER-SKIING SANTA and his KNEEBOARDING REINDEER also featuring the FLYING ELVES, the JET-SKIING GRINCH, FROSTY the SNOWMAN in a dinghy, and join the sing-along with the CAROLING CANDY CANE KIDS.  Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch, and all of Santa’s Special Helpers will be available after the show for meeting, greeting, and photos.  The best viewing is from National Harbor next to the Wilson Bridge in Maryland.  Click here to find current event details

JANUARY

  • The Washington Auto Show is a huge annual event displaying more than 700 new makes & models of cars, trucks, mini-vans and sport utility vehicles from over 42 domestic and import automakers. The latest innovations in alternative fuels will take center stage at the 2010 Washington Auto Show. This is a great way to learn about more energy-efficient vehicles. Visitors will also find free car giveaways, special guests, promotional contests, childrens activities and live entertainment.  The show is held at The Washington Convention Center (801 Mount Vernon Place, NW) and is easily accessible by metro (Mt. Vernon Place/Convention Center).  Tickets are $10 for ages 13 & over ($12 Weekend), children (6-12) $5, and children under 6 are free.  E-tickets are available for $10 online.  Click here to find current event details

FEBRUARY

  • Discover Engineering Family Day is a free, hands-on and fun-filled festival is held one Saturday from 10am-4:30pm each February at The National Building Museum (401 F St. NW).  Become a creative inventor, engineer, and mathematician for a day.  Registration is not required. $5 donation suggested.  Activities are most appropriate for children ages 5-13 with adult supervision.  In past years, visitors have explored the inner-workings of a real race car, played a carbon footprint game and learned about the carbon cycle, watched competition robots race, made slime, took Polaroid pictures with Digit from the PBS series Cyberchase, made their own parachutes and watched them hover, and much more.  Girl & Boy Scout groups should check in at the Scout Information Table located near the center fountain to receive a complete list of all activities at the festival that will assist them in fulfilling requirements for various badges.  Pre-registration is not required for scout groups. Click here to find current event details  

MARCH

  • Join the National Building Museum & the National Cherry Blossom Festival in celebrating the annual opening of Washington, D.C.’s cherry blossom season (401 F St. NW).  This annual National Cherry Blossom Family Dayinvites visitors of all ages to enjoy hands-on activities, captivating martial arts demonstrations, and exciting indoor and outdoor performances that explore Japanese arts and design.  2009’s festival included opportunities to WATCH a springtime inspired ballet performed by the Washington Ballet Youth Troupe, LISTEN to the Suzuki Strings performed by youth from the Levine School of Music, EXPLORE an original floating tea-house and make your own mini-tea house to take home, PLANT a seedling and decorate a biodegradable cow pot to celebrate a “green” spring, LEARN the Japanese art of furoshiki-folding with cloth, VIEW cherry blossom-themed artwork by D.C. public & charter school students, and more.  The Family Day runs from 10am-3:30pm and the Opening Ceremony is typically from 4-5:30pm.  Click here to find current event details

APRIL

  • The White House Easter Egg Roll.  The White House will open the South Lawn to children ages ten and under, along with their families, to enjoy sports, cooking classes, live musical performances, storytelling and the traditional Easter egg roll.  All guests will enter the event from the Ellipse and will go through a security screening process.  For the most up-to-date information, call the Visitors Office 24-hour info line at 202.456.7041.  2009’s online ticketing and the information regarding the ticketing process was available at www.whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll as of March 26th.  Click here to find current event details
  • Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) with The National Museum of American History.  Each April, JAM shines the spotlight on the extraordinary history of jazz and its importance in American culture. Through concerts, lectures, films, and other programs, JAM encourages people of all ages to attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, study the music, and support institutional jazz programs. The Smithsonian operates the world’s most comprehensive set of jazz programs—including exhibitions, publications and recordings, concerts, workshops, master classes, lectures, symposia, and fellowships for research in jazz. The Museum collects jazz artifacts, documents, recordings, and oral histories, and sponsors the Institution’s own big band, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.  Click here to find current event details

JUNE

  • Splish, splash, they’re having a bash! Dive into an ocean of fun at Guppy Gala.  Bring the whole gang for a night of tasty treats, silly songs, and fun at the Smithsonian National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave. NW).  This annual family-friendly event offers guests exciting animal encounters, yummy food, and a variety of spectacular activities such as a mock construction site, rock-climbing walls, obstacle courses, mazes, costumed characters, jugglers, gymnasts, and musicians – all included with the cost of your ticket. Click here to find current event details