Waterskiing Santas, tree lightings, and holiday markets, oh my! It's almost Christmas, which means it's almost Christmas break. What are DC area families to do when all the gifts are open and kids are chomping at the bit to get out of the house? From free fun to great winter activities, Mommy Poppins DC has you covered. Read on for our top picks on what to do during this holiday school break.
Check in with our events calendar, too, for more ideas.
1. Ooh and Ah over Christmas lights at the Festival of Lights.
Located in Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, MD, the annual light festival is a drive-through event where families and witness 2.5 million bright lights of Christmas from the comfort of their vehicles. If you go on Christmas Day, admission, which is usually $10/car, is free!
Enjoying the Festival of Lights. Photo courtesy of Prince George's County on Facebook
2. Finish up last minute shopping at the Downtown DC Holiday Market.
Open through December 23, 2018, the Downtown DC Holiday Market has it all - food, fun, entertainment, everything you need for a great family outing.
3. Let the little ones explore at Wegmans Wonderplace.
Located in the National American History Museum, Wegmans Wonderplace is perfect for younger kids, who will love to explore kid-sized real life, like going to the market, tending to the chicken coop, and cooking in a mini Julia Childs's kitchen.
4. Experience wild animals and holiday lights at the National Zoo.
Take the family to see the thousands of animals at the zoo and stay for ZooLights, the annual holiday lights spectacular that runs through January 1, 2019. Activities range from light shows to train rides and special performances.
5. Take advantage of story time at the National Art Gallery.
Except for 12/25 and 12/28, families and their young ones can enjoy a daily story time in an artistic setting. After story time ends, there's room for the kids to play and keep the learning going as well.
6. Burn off some excess energy by ice skating at Washington Harbour Ice Rink.
Bundle up, head outside, and take to the ice at the outdoor ice rink at Washington Harbour.
7. Enjoy the theater as a family with A Christmas Carol.
Playing at Ford's Theatre until December 30, 2018, families can enjoy the quintessential holiday production of A Christmas Carol.
Enjoy A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre with the family. Photo courtesy of Ford's Theatre
8. Celebrate Kwanzaa with history, art, and dance.
Enjoy this family-friendly event at Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum on December 28, 2018 with music, dance, arts and crafts.
9. Meet the wild critters at Rock Creek Park.
Join in the interactive creature show each Friday at Rock Creek Park. While you're there, catch a show at the on-site planetarium, the only planetarium within the National Park Service.
10. Witness the iconic Harlem Globetrotters dribble, pass, and dunk.
A mix of comedy, theater, basketball and acrobatics, the Harlem Globetrotters really put on a show, and on December 26th, the team will perform at Capitol One Area in Washington, DC.
11. Roast marshmallows and ring in New Year's Eve Eve.
Children aged 3 to 9 are invited to count down to "midnight" (noon) at Locust Grove Nature Center on December 30th in Bethesda, MD with a campfire and s'mores.
12. Enjoy First Night Alexandria in Old Town Alexandria.
Perfect for kids and families, First Night Alexandria will ring in the New Year with over 100 performances, activities for kids, and more on December 31.
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