Monthly Archives: November 2014

Santa Events & Photo Opportunities: Holiday Season 2014


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Here is a list of places (other than shopping malls) where you can take your little ones to visit Santa in Maryland, Virginia, and DC.

Brunch with Santa at Strathmore Mansion
Bethesda, MD
December 21, 10am or 12pm

Cookies with Santa at Thomas Farm Community Center
Rockville, MD
December 20, 2-4pm

Holly Trolleyfest
Colesville, MD
December 6 – 28, Saturdays and Sundays, 12-5pm

Breakfast with Santa at the Kentlands Mansion
Gaithersburg, MD
December 6, 9-11am

Rockville Town Square Holiday Open House
Rockville, MD
December 4, 6:30-9pm

College Park Aviation Museum Santa Fly-In
College Park, MD
December 6, 12-4pm

Congressional Plaza Holiday Open House
Rockville, MD
December 6, 12-4pm and December 7, 1-5pm

Ticonderoga Farms Winter Christmas Festival
Chantilly, VA
December 6, 7, 13 and 14, 10:30am

Virginia Railway Express Santa Train
Northern Virginia
December 13
(all tickets for this year are sold out)

Breakfast with Santa at the Purcellville Volunteer Rescue Squad
Purcellville, VA
December 6, 8-11am

Mount Vernon Triangle Santa Celebration
Washington, DC
December 11, 4:30-8pm

Roof Terrace Restaurant at the Kennedy Center
Washington, DC
December 13, 14, 20, and 21, 10am

Santa-Day at Stead Park
Washington, DC
December 6, 11-1pm

Santa’s Workshop at the National Christmas Tree
Washington, DC
December 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 12:30-9:30pm

Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum

Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum
21668 Heritage Farm Lane
Sterling, Virginia 20164

I came across this museum when searching online for a kid-friendly place to meet a friend in the area. I had never heard about it before but after reading some information it sounded like our little tots would enjoy it so we decided to check it out. I am so glad we did as we were pleasantly surprised. This museum is truly a hidden gem!

It is located on the grounds of the Claude Moore Park in Sterling. The museum is a non-profit organization which works to promote and preserve Loudoun County’s agricultural heritage through exhibits and activities.


When we first arrived, my girls were excited to see the big tractors out front.


Inside the museum are several great interactive learning exhibits for small children, probably best enjoyed by those under age 7. My girls were first drawn to the red barn in the Claude Moore Children’s Farm exhibit. In this area children can help perform chores on the farm such as milking a life-like cow, collecting eggs from the play chickens, carrying supplies in the wheelbarrows, and riding Equi-ponies and pedal tractors. There are even dress up clothes including coveralls and straw hats.




In this area, kids can also use their imaginations to perform puppet shows.


In the Waxpool General Store, children can play shopkeeper, shopper, or postmaster. There are shelves and baskets full of play food and an charming old cash register. This definitely beats the typical pretend grocery store found in children’s museums.


HFpostoffice      HFbread HFfruits                         HFstore

In the back of the museum is the Grandma’s Kitchen exhibit, a replica of a century-old farm kitchen. My daughter loved using the old fashioned kitchen tools and wood burning stove to pretend to prepare and serve us meals.


Outside the museum there are some trails to walk that will take you by the Workhorse Museum and an old cabin. There is also a small pond with a few docks where you can feed ducks and geese.

HFcabin         HFworkhorsemuseum

I am so glad we found this museum. My girls were entertained for a couple of hours but could have played longer. It was not busy when we were there on a weekday afternoon but I imagine the weekends are a bit more crowded. If your child likes to role-play they will definitely enjoy the museum. We had such a great time that we will definitely be visiting again soon. It is also a nice option for an indoor activity on a rainy day or during the winter months. The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum is one you don’t want to miss while your children are young.

Good to Know:

•Admission is $5/adults, $4/seniors and military, $3/children 2-12.
•Hours Tuesday-Sunday 9:30-4:30, Sunday 11:30-4:30, Monday by appointment only.
•Ample parking available in front of the museum.
•The museum gift shop sells snacks, locally made Virginia products, and a variety of toys including Lucy’s Closet dolls, educational toys from Melissa and Doug, and stuffed animals from Douglass.
•The museum also offers a variety of children’s programs including Kids’ Holiday at the Museum, Kids’ Night at the Museum, and Tractorpalooza to name a few. They also offer kids birthday parities.

Fancy Nancy the Musical – BlackRock Center for the Arts

BlackRock Center for the Arts
12901 Town Commons Drive
Germantown, MD 20874

My 3 year old daughter Clara is a huge fan of the Fancy Nancy book series so when I saw this performance advertised, I immediately bought tickets. I knew it was a show that she would adore (that’s fancy for like very much;). I was also interested in checking out the BlackRock Center since I had never been there before.

Prior to the show, the BlackRock center offered a tea party, so I bought tickets to that as well ($10/person). The invitation said to come in your best ruffles, bows, and flair so Clara and I put together a posh outfit for the occasion. Ooo-la-la!


As we walked into the tea party room, Clara was thrilled to be handed a pink feather boa. The tables were perfectly decorated, complete with pink table cloths, balloons, and doilies.



On the tables were various masks and crowns for the children to decorate with stickers and markers. The tea party fare included mini cupcakes, brownies, cookies, fruit, and drinks. We of course ate with our pinkies up and called each other “darling”.


Fancy Nancy and Bree even made an appearance at the tea party!


It was then time to see the show! We made our way into the intimate, 209-seat theater with proscenium style stage. We sat in the front row and were only about 4 feet from the stage. There really isn’t a bad seat in the theater. It’s such a nice size for little theater-goers.


The plot comes straight out the the book Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet. The set and costumes were true to the book; fancy, frilly, & exquisite. The songs were all wonderfully entertaining. Our favorite was the hip-hop number delivered by Lionel as a rapping shark. He even jumped off the stage and came over to Clara’s seat to rap a couple lines!

After the 50 minute show, the cast members came out to the lobby to give autographs and pose for pictures with the kids. I highly recommend catching this performance the next time it is showing (hopefully again next year)! We were so impressed with this show and venue that we will definitely be going to the next children’s performance in March: The Very Hungry Caterpillar (March 28-30).

Good to Know:

•Tickets $15/person for the musical and $10/person for the tea party.
•Best for ages 3-10 and adults too!
•A gift stand had Fancy Nancy wands, t-shirts, feather boas, and books available to purchase.
•Ample parking available behind the building.
•Bathrooms located just outside the theater.

Washington Monument Tour with Little Kids

Washington Monument
2 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20007

It took me about 11 years of living in the DC area before I finally made it to the top of the Washington Monument. I think we tend to forget about doing some of the touristy things in our own city. My husband was born and raised in DC and he hadn’t been to the Washington Monument since he was a kid. I decided it would be a fun family outing for a Sunday afternoon in the fall (on a day when the Redskins weren’t playing of course!).


I booked tickets online several weeks before. I highly recommend doing this to save you time and hassle, especially if you are taking children. They give out a limited number of free same-day tickets on a first-come first-served basis at the Washington Monument Lodge. It opens at 8:30am but people will start forming a line long before that and they do sell out quickly, especially during the peak season. It’s only $1.50 per ticket to book online and the tickets are delivered to your door via mail in about a week.

The tickets are for a specific time slot and it is recommended you arrive about 30 minutes before. We arrived early so we had some time to snap a few photos while waiting. There is an amazing view all the way down to the Lincoln memorial.


The girls had fun walking across the large benches. Next to them is a sign indicating the waiting area for the tours, which is on the east side of the monument. A park ranger directed us to the ground floor lobby once it was time for our tour to start.


When we entered the building, we first went through security and then waited at the elevator.


In 70 seconds, it took us up 500 feet where we had the most amazing bird’s eye views of the city and its well-known sites.

WMwhitehouse WMview1

There are four sets of windows in each direction with pictures that point out all the sites in view.


The bad thing about the windows is that they are pretty small and children under the age of around 5 are not able to see out of them without an adult lifting them up. Under each window there is a step to stand on but it still isn’t enough of a boost for the littlest sightseers.

Visitors are allowed to take as much time as they want to look around at the top of the monument. We looked around for about 15 minutes, then proceeded down the stairs to the 490′ museum. This level has exhibits and is where visitors enter the queue to reboard the elevator for the descent.

WMmuseum1     WMmuseum

During the 2 minute descent, a park ranger gives a bit of a history lesson and points out certain parts of the monuments interior. The elevator slows down a couple times to give visitors a chance to view some of the commemorative stones donated by states to help build the structure.


We all really enjoyed the tour! It lasted about 30 minutes, so it was an appropriate amount of time for the short attention span of toddlers. Afterwards, we walked over to the WWII monument, got some ice cream and fed the ducks in the reflecting pool. We started to walk down towards the Lincoln memorial but our little tourists were getting tired so we turned around. On our walk back to the parking garage, we stopped by the White House.

WMWWIIWMwhitehouse1                             WMreflectingpond

We had a great time being tourists for the day! We are so lucky to live in this area where we have all of these historical sites and monuments to visit.

Good to Know:

•Tickets are required for all visitors ages 2 and up. I recommend ordering tickets in advance online here. A maximum number of 6 tickets per individual can be ordered online.
•Weather permitting, the monument is open to the public every day, except for Christmas and July 4.
•We parked in the garage located under the Ronald Reagan Building on Pennsylvania Ave. It was quick to get in and out of and just a short walk to the monument.
•Nearest metro stop is Smithsonian on the Orange and Blue lines.
•The stroller parking area at the monument is just behind the outdoor waiting area. It’s not roped off or supervised so don’t leave any belongings in your stroller.
•Food and drink are prohibited inside the monument except for baby bottles and bottled water. (However, I had packed a few snacks for the girls in my diaper bag and went through security with no problem.)
•There are no bathrooms inside the monument. The closest bathrooms are located in the Washington Monument Lodge, on 15th street, which is just a short walk from the monument. This bathroom does have a changing table.