Category Archives: Theater

Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook at Adventure Theatre – Review

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Junie B. Jones is Not A Crook is now showing at Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo Park. This is one that you should not miss this summer. It is so entertaining and hilarious! I’ve been taking my daughters to shows at Adventure Theatre for a few years and this is definitely our favorite yet. We are even planning to go see it a second time!

Junie-2The cast of Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook. Photo by Bruce Douglas.

The show is based on the popular book series by Barbara Park and is directed by Rick Hammerly. “When Junie B. Jones, with her two bestest friends in the world, loses her new furry mittens to some “stealers,” she has to investigate. But Junie B. might have something she forgot to return, too.” Is it “Finders Keepers”? The performance takes the audience along as Junie explores this question.

The show is recommended for all ages and runs about 80 minutes with no intermission. From beginning to end, the energy is high and my daughter and I were both laughing throughout. There are a couple of cute musical numbers when you just can’t help but start singing along!

junieb1Megan Gravies as Junie B in Junie B Jones is Not a Crook. Photo by Michael Horan.

We were “wowed” the moment we walked into the theatre and saw the bright and beautifully designed set. A few of the supporting cast members were out welcoming guests while swinging on the swings and hanging from the monkey bars.  There are lots of objects hidden in the rafters of the ceiling, so it was fun to play a game of “eye spy” before the show started. The costumes were equally impressive! And of course the acting was brilliant too!

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Go see this show! (Buy tickets here.) It’s the perfect summer outing with your kids. Make a day of it and ride the Dentzel Carousel while you are at Glen Echo. There is also a little cafe where you can grab lunch or a snack and a playground too.

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The Jungle Book at Encore Stage & Studio

DSC_0242From left to right: Bagheera (Gia Jackson), Baloo (Kyra Radomsky), Mowgli (Ryely Rogers), Kaa (Tara Hall), King Monkey (Declan Roberts).  Photo by Aileen Pangan.

The Jungle Book is a classic that my oldest daughter Clara and I have enjoyed reading and watching on screen together many times. When I saw that the show would be playing at Encore, I knew she would be excited to go see it live at the theater. It’s always inspiring for her to see other children performing on stage. Encore’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book is creative, entertaining and makes for a fun family outing to the theatre.

Mowgli is taught the ways of the jungle by a bear named Baloo and Bagheera, a panther, and Kaa the snake. When father wolf becomes too old to rule his animal kingdom, an angry Tiger named Shere Khan who has been out to get Mowgli since he was a young boy, tries to name himself the new king. Mowgli, with the help of the nearby villagers and a treasure given to him from ancient ruins, must stop the tiger from becoming the new king, and help restore order in the jungle again.

DSC_0035The wolf pack teaches Mowgli the way of the Jungle. From left to right: Wolf 1 (Sam Regardie), Wolf 4 (Riley Dennis), Wolf 2 (Caroline Raymond) and Wolf 3 (Kylen Davis). Photo by Larry McClemons

The set was simple but effective with tall trees, vines, and boulders to create the jungle scene. The costumes were creative and interpretive. We thought the kids all did a great job delivering their lines and providing humor throughout the performance. The show was a bit shorter than Encore’s previous productions (about 1 hour 15 minutes with an intermission). So I would recommend this for ages 4+. Go see it this weekend for a nice air conditioned break from the heat. There are four performances remaining:

Friday, June 9th 7:30pm
Saturday, June 10th 11am and 3pm
Sunday, June 11th 3pm

Tickets may be purchased online or at the door.

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Tips for your visit:
•Ticket prices: $15 adults, $12 children, students, seniors, and military.
•Concessions can be purchased and enjoyed in the lobby before the show and during intermission.
•There is free and ample parking at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre, where all Encore productions are located.
•Encore offers a birthday party package.
•Encore also offers a variety of classes and camps.

Also, Encore Stage & Studio announced their 2017/2018 season last weekend. They have some great shows lined up. I’m especially looking forward to Disney’s The Lion King Jr. and James and the Giant Peach!



Adventures with Mr. Bear – Arts on the Horizon

Arts on the Horizon
The Lab at Convergence
1819 N. Quaker Lane
Alexandria, VA 22302
www.artsonthehorizon.org

My daughters love to go see children’s shows so we’ve made the rounds at many theatre companies in the DC area but Arts on the Horizon in Alexandria, Virginia is one that I recently learned about:

Arts on the Horizon is a professional, non-profit theatre company with a unique and specific focus of providing performances and education programs for young people ages 0 to 6 years old. We were the first theatre company in the country to focus our work solely on this age range.

Arts on the Horizon values intelligent, innovative, and original work for diverse young audiences that is accessible, affordable, inspiring and fun.  We believe that the arts play an important role in the life of a child. Our interactive, nonverbal shows are performed by professional, adult actors.

When I found out that their December production was “Adventures with Mr. Bear” I knew that my littlest would love it and she definitely did!

adventureswithmrbear-logoWhen we first arrived at the theatre we went to the “Adventure Prep” room and did some activities with Mae’s bear friend she brought along. They first tried on their adventure hats, then did some coloring, read a book, and had a tea party.

img_2659It was soon time to go into the theater for the show. The seating is mostly on the floor except for a few chairs along the back. The theatre is very small, so it’s nice cozy environment for the little ones. I thought the set was really well done: simple with bright colors and fun toys.

img_2660As we waited a few minutes for everyone to get seated, we listened to the live music and played a little game of “eye-spy” with things on the set to keep Mae occupied.

img_2661Then it was time for the show to start:

One cozy winter afternoon, a young girl and her favorite stuffed animal, Mr. Bear, play a game of hide and seek which evolves into a series of exciting adventures. Together, they embark on a journey of endless possibilities – all from the comfort of her playroom!

The show was about 30 minutes long and was completely non-verbal, just live music accompanying the talented acting. I thought that was so unique – we’ve never been to show like this one. I was surprised how attentive the children were with no words being spoken.

It is a really cute production and perfect for kids ages 2-5 years old. If you have the chance to go see a show, you should! I promise you won’t be disappointed! Many weekend shows have already sold out but there are still tickets available for several of the weekday performances. You can purchase tickets here.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
Thursday, December 1 at 10:30am  (SOLD OUT)
Friday, December 2 at 10:30am (SOLD OUT)
Saturday, December 3 at 10am (SOLD OUT)
Saturday, December 3 at 11:30am (SOLD OUT)
Tuesday, December 6 at 10:30am**
Wednesday, December 7 at 10:30am*
Thursday, December 8 at 10:30am (SOLD OUT)
Friday, December 9 at 10:30am**
Saturday, December 10 at 10am (SOLD OUT)
Saturday, December 10 at 11:30am (SOLD OUT)
Tuesday, December 13 at 10:30am
Wednesday, December 14 at 10:30am
Thursday, December 15 at 10:30am**
Friday, December 16 at 10:30am (SOLD OUT)
Saturday, December 17 at 10am (SOLD OUT)
Saturday, December 17 at 11:30am

Arts on the Horizon has an exciting 2016-2017 schedule! See the upcoming productions here.

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Annie is Coming to The National Theatre + Giveaway!

Annie

Annie is playing at the National Theatre March 15-20th.

I am thrilled to announce that I am giving away a set of 2 tickets for the opening night show on Tuesday, March 15th at 7:30pm. Leave a comment below to enter. Winner will be chosen by random on 3/1/16. Must be 18 or older to enter.

Official show blurb:

WASHINGTON, DC (January 12, 2016) Leapin’ lizards! With more than 400 performances under her belt, the new U.S. National Tour of Annie will play the National Theatre for one week only, March 15 – 20, 2016. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin for the 19th time, this production of Annie is a brand new physical incarnation of the iconic 1977 Tony Award®-winning original.

Tickets are on sale now and start at $48 plus applicable service charges. Tickets are available at the National Theatre box office, online at TheNationalDC.com, or by calling (800) 514-3849. A day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of best available tickets at $25 each – cash only – will be held at the theater two hours before each performance. Orders for groups of 10 or more may be placed by calling (202) 628-6161 ext. 227. For more information, call (202) 628-6161 or visit TheNationalDC.com.

After touring the production to 41 cities across the nation, Troika Entertainment, LLC is pleased to announce select new lead cast members for the 2016 leg of the tour.

The new production features a 25-member company: newly cast in the title role of Annie is Heidi Gray, an 11-year-old actress from the Augusta, GA area, making her tour debut. Also new to the Orphanage are Sage Bentley as Tessie, Bridget Carly Marsh as July, Annabelle Wachtel as Molly, and Casey Watkins as Duffy. They join Molly Rose Meredith as Pepper, and Emily Moreland as Kate. Chloe Tiso joins the company as Grace Farrell.

Continuing to star in the company are Gilgamesh Taggett as Oliver Warbucks, Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan, Garrett Deagon as Rooster, Lucy Werner as Lily, and Jeffrey B. Duncan as FDR. Sunny and Macy, rescue terrier mixes, star as Sandy.
The featured ensemble includes Chelsey Lynn Alfredo, Jonathan Cobrda, Ruby Day, Todd Fenstermaker, Madisen Johnson, Brianne Kennedy, Tyler Lenhart, Brendan Malafronte, Theresa Rowley, Kelsey Shaw, Connor Simpson, and Daniel Forest Sullivan.

Annie has a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Martin Charnin. All three authors received 1977 Tony Awards® for their work. Choreography is by Liza Gennaro, who incorporates selections from her father Peter Gennaro’s 1977 Tony Award®-winning choreography.

The original production of Annie opened April 21, 1977 at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Cast Show Album, and seven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin). The first national touring company of Annie played National Theatre for 18 weeks in 1978. The show remains one of the biggest Broadway musical hits ever. It ran for 2,377 performances after it first opened, has been performed in 28 languages, and has been running somewhere around the world for 38 years.

The beloved score for Annie includes “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

The celebrated design team includes scenic design by Tony Award® winner Beowulf Boritt (Act One, The Scottsboro Boys, Rock of Ages), costume design by Costume Designer’s Guild Award winner Suzy Benzinger (Blue Jasmine, Movin’ Out, Miss Saigon), lighting design by Tony Award® winner Ken Billington (Chicago, Annie, White Christmas), and sound design by Tony Award® nominee Peter Hylenski (Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway, Motown). The lovable mutt “Sandy” is once again trained by Tony Award® Honoree William Berloni (Annie, A Christmas Story, Legally Blonde). Musical supervision and additional orchestrations are by Keith Levenson (Annie, She Loves Me, Dreamgirls). Casting is by Joy Dewing CSA and Holly Buczek CSA, Joy Dewing Casting (Soul Doctor, Wonderland, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). The tour is produced by TROIKA Entertainment, LLC.

 



January 2016 – Monthly Roundup

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January is usually a pretty boring month and I start to feel the effects of cabin fever. So every year we take a trip down to Florida to visit my parents. It’s a nice break from cold, dreary DC and it feels so great to be able to play outside with my girls. This year we timed it just right and missed the blizzard! My girls were happy that the snow stuck around and they were still able to play in it when we got home.

Since we spent 10 days in Florida, our list of adventures and activities in DC is short this month. But we did make some time for a few fun outings in the area before and after our trip. At the beginning of the month we visited the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum. It is one of the best hidden gems in the DC area for small children. I definitely recommend checking it out if you haven’t been yet. And last week we visited the Wonder exhibit at the Renwick Gallery. I had been wanting to see this exhibit for quite a while and when it was announced that we were having yet another snow day on Friday, I decided it was a great time to take my girls. I was a little unsure if it was appropriate for small children (especially questioning it for my 2-year old). But I ended up being surprised at how kid-friendly it is and how much my girls enjoyed the experience.

Places we visited:

Loudoun Heritage Farm MuseumBlog post here
Lake NeedwoodBlog post on nearby Lake Frank here
MagicGround
Bowlmor Bethesda
Wonder exhibit at the Renwick Gallery
Sky Zone Gaithersburg
Rockin’ Jump Gaithersburg

Events we attended:

Snow White at Encore Stage & StudioBlog post here
A Year with Frog and Toad at Imagination Stage – no longer showing but “Jack and Phil, Slayers of Giants-INC” is playing Feb 3- Mar 13

Classes and camps we attended:

Georgetown Prep Tennis Club
Ballet Petite
My Gym Potomac
Funfit Tots

I hope you found some new and fun ideas for your family in this month’s roundup! I am looking forward to all the hearts this month! Kids make the holidays so much more fun and special. And lets hope the groundhog is right and we really will have an early spring!

Also, I use instagram as my everyday blog and share a lot of photos from our adventures in my gallery. I’d love to have you follow along!

Instagram: capitol.momma

And I share more information and photos from our field trips and outings on facebook.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/capitolmommablog

 



Hansel and Gretel – Encore Stage & Studio

Encore Stage & Studio
125 S Old Glebe Road
Arlington, Virginia 22204
www.encorestageva.org
 

We have attended several shows at Encore Stage & Studio and are always very entertained by their productions. My daughter was so excited she began asking a few days in advance if it was time to go see Hansel and Gretel. One reason she loves Encore’s shows is because the cast is made up of a group of passionate young performers ages 9-18. I read the classic fairy tale story to my daughter before attending the performance so she would understand the storyline:

Deep in a German forest awaits the Gingerbread Witch and her hobgoblin henchmen ready to transform children into tasty treats. Siblings Hansel, Gretel and friends go into the woods and find themselves in the path of the witch. To return home to their parents, this brother and sister duo will have to use their smarts to outwit the evil Witch.

The stage was transformed into a forest with a wonderful gingerbread house and an oven that actually emitted smoke. The costume designer did a great job with creating an ensemble of fairy tale characters that were all easily recognizable.

DSC_0156“Frick (Grace Gent) and the Gingerbread Witch (Jessica Layton) prepare gingerbread cookies. Photo by Larry McClemons”
DSC_0150The Gingerbread Witch (Jessica Layton) welcomes the children to her gingerbread home. Photo by Larry McClemons”
 DSC_0088“Hansel and Gretel meet a family of trolls in the Black Forest.” (From left to right: Miranda Tonsetic, Nick Boone, Kelly McArdle)

After the shows, the cast gathers in the lobby to sign autographs and take pictures. My daughter always looks forward to this part and decides which character she wants to get her picture taken with before we even exit the auditorium! This time it was Hansel and Gretel’s mother played by Izabella Porter, Gretel played by Lynn Loftus, and the Gingerbread Witch played by Jessica Layton.

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Treat your kids to a showing of Hansel and Gretel! You’ll have a great time! There are four performances remaining:

Friday, November 13th 7:30pm
Saturday, November 14, 2015 at 11am and 3pm
Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 3pm

Good to Know:

•Ticket prices: $15 adults, $10 children, students, seniors, and military.
•The shows last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.
•Concessions can be purchased and enjoyed in the lobby before the show and during intermission.
•There is free and ample parking at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre, where all Encore productions are located.
•Encore offers a birthday party package.
•Encore also offers a variety of classes and camps.

 



Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods at Wolf Trap

Wolf Trap
1645 Trap Road
Vienna, Virginia 22182
www.wolftrap.org
 

The Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods program at Wolf Trap is a summer tradition with fun shows for children ages 4 and up. Performances change weekly and range from music and dance to puppetry and storytelling. The shows are interactive, educational, and fun. This week my girls and I saw Alphabet Rockers, an award-winning hip hop children’s music group.

After parking we started down the hill on the path through a large field and a flower garden area.

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The box office is a cute little gazebo at the end of the path where you can buy tickets or pick them up at will call.

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Just beyond the box office is a bridge that crosses over a small creek.

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Then we continued on a dirt path for about 50 yards to reach the amphitheater.

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There is stroller parking just outside the theater, along a fence. It is a bit of a walk from the parking lot, so I recommend bringing a stroller for toddlers.

Seating in the amphitheater is general admission and it’s bench style. There really isn’t a bad view from anywhere in the stands. It’s such a charming and unique theatre nestled in the trees with a canopy overhead. The setting of the theater makes for a fun and relaxed outing.

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The Alphabet Rockers took the stage with so much energy and enthusiasm. It was a sold-out crowd and they had the audience standing up dancing, singing, and beat boxing in no time. There were several times they asked for kids to volunteer to join them on stage. Some of their songs included positive educational messages including self-esteem, friendship, and making healthy food choices.

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When the 45 minute show was over we walked back to the creek and had a picnic at one of the tables. There are also many picnic tables available at the top of the hill. Kids are not allowed to play in the creek but they can run around and play in the large field area. My girls enjoyed looking at the fish in the creek from one of the bridges. It was a nice way to end an outdoor theatre adventure!

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Additional Info:

•Admission $8 per ticket for ages 2 and up. Children under age 2 are free.
•Parking is free.
•No food or drink (besides water) is allowed in the theatre area.
•Designated stroller parking available just outside the theatre.
•Bathrooms located at the top of the hill near the parking area or at the bottom of the hill across the field from the box office. There are no bathrooms right by the amphitheater so plan accordingly with your little ones.

 

 



Alice in Wonderland – Encore Stage & Studio

Encore Stage & Studio
125 S Old Glebe Rd
Arlington, VA 22204
www.encorestageva.org

We attended our third Encore Stage & Studio show on Sunday and like the previous two performances, we were thoroughly entertained. But before the performance of Alice in Wonderland began, we first attended the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. This was a special event held only before the final performance.

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To enter the party, we had to go through the rabbit hole, just like how the story begins. This was such a cute idea and Clara got a kick out of crawling through the tunnel.

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Then we had the chance to meet Alice along with other characters and join them at the table for tea.

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The hat making station was Clara’s favorite part. There were various types of hats to decorate with stickers, feathers, jewels, pom-poms, and ribbon.

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There was a curious version of croquet being played by the children, with flamingo mallets and hedgehogs as the balls. We also enjoyed tea treats and drinks appropriately labeled “Eat Me” and “Drink Me”. The tea party was a really fun event and got us in the spirit of wonder before the show started.

We took our seats in the theater and before the show started I read the storyline to Clara:

When curious Alice falls down, down, down the rabbit hole, she discovers the magical world of Wonderland where cats can talk and cards play croquet. But, Alice is sure to miss her birthday party if she can’t convince the Queen of Hearts to let her go! With the help of the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and a whole cast of wacky companions, Alice must unleash the full power of her imagination to find her way home.

The stage was transformed into a bright and fanciful wonderland with cut-outs of flowers, stuffed toadstools, and a house of cards.

http://www.encorestageva.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/DSC_0092.jpgcourtesy of Encore by Larry McClemons

The cast included over thirty young actors and there was so much talent in this group! You can tell they have a passion for acting. My daughter especially loves watching other children perform. She has really enjoyed the act-it-out classes at her preschool and watching Encore’s performances is inspiring her to want to perform on stage.

AliceinWonderland2(1)courtesy of Encore by Larry McClemons
AliceinWonderland6(1)courtesy of Encore by Larry McClemons

Encore’s performance of Alice in Wonderland has come to an end but I highly recommend attending one of their upcoming shows; you will not be disappointed! Up next is Shrek, showing July 17-26.

Good to Know:

•Ticket prices: $12 adults ($15 for Shrek), $10 children, students, seniors, and military ($12 for Shrek).
•The shows last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.
•Concessions can be purchased and enjoyed in the lobby before the show and during intermission.
•There is free and ample parking at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre, where all Encore productions are located.
•Encore offers a birthday party package.
•Encore also offers a variety of classes and camps.



Summer Bucket List – 2015

We are ready for summer! There are so many fun things to do in the DC area and every summer seems to go by faster and faster. This year I decided to make a list of our top activities that we want to do. This is also Clara’s last summer before starting a full day pre-kindergarten program in the fall. So, we want to make this one count! In between trips to Nebraska and Rehoboth Beach, camps, pool time, bbqs, and tennis and swim lessons, we hope to fit these other fun things into our days. Some of these activities are our tried-and-true favorites and some are new things that we will be doing for the first time. I hope this gives you some good ideas of fun things to do with your family. Hooray for summer, it’s going to be a good one!

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1. Go berry picking – Wegmeyer Farms, Homestead Farms, and Butler’s Orchard are a few of our favorite places to pick strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries

2. Play at splash parks – Chevy Chase Playground, Palisades Recreation Center, South Germantown Splash Park are some of our favorites

3. Go hiking – Croydon Creek Nature Center, Black Hills Regional Park, Lake Frank, Lake Needwood, Sugarloaf Mountain are some on our list

4. Attend the Hometown Holidays street festival at Rockville Town Square

5. Visit the United States National Arboretum (again)

5. Go see Encore Stage & Studio’s production of Alice in Wonderland

6. Attend at least one of the Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods programs at Wolf Trap

7. Visit a new park – Temple Hall Farm Park, Meridian Hill Park, Yards Park, Burke Lake Park, and Fort Washington Park are on our list

8. Check out a few farmer’s markets – Potomac Farm Market, Rockville Farmer’s Market, Potomac Village Farmer’s Market, Garrett Park Farmer’s Market, and Dupont Circle are on our list

9. Attend one of the Backyard Theater for Children shows at Strathmore

10. Play at BusyBees, a new indoor playground opening in Falls Church

11. Go to a Nationals baseball game

12. Ride the Cabin John train

13. Play in the Fountain at Rockville Town Square

14. Attend the Summer Market Fair at Claude Moore Colonial Farm

15. Take a Boomerang Pirate Ship Cruise on the Potomac

16. Tour the National Cathedral and Bishop’s Garden and play at nearby Beauvoir Playground

17. Explore a new farm during the Montgomery County Farm Tour

18. Visit South Mountain Creamery

19. Ride the carousel at Glen Echo Park

20. Go on rides and visit the animals at the Montgomery County Fair



April – Monthly Roundup

Welcome to the first post of my new Monthly Roundup series. I will be recapping the things we did and places we went at the end of each month. I hope this will help you to discover something new you want to do with your children!

April was a really fun month full of gorgeous color from all the spring blossoms. My girls were eager to spend time outdoors as the weather got nicer.

IMG_0151Places we visited:

Burnside Farms –  blog post here
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens – blog post here
Brookside Gardens
Lake Frank – blog post here
Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Events we attended:

Meadowside Nature Center‘s Annual Easter Egg Hunt
• Blue at Imagination Stage – no longer showing but I recommend any of the shows in the “My First Imagination Stage” series for ages 1-5. We’ve seen all of them and they are all great! The next show is Aquarium, June 27-July 26.

Classes/Camps we attended:

Ballet Petite
Kids First Swim School – blog post here
Funfit Tots
FS Soccer
My Gym

Parks we played at:

Hadley’s Playground – Potomac, MD - #41 in a list of the top 50 playgrounds in the US
North Farm Park – Rockville, MD
Cabin John Park – Bethesda, MD
Gravelly Point Park – Arlington, VA
Montrose Park – Washington, DC
Avenel Park – Potomac, MD

I hope this roundup has given you some ideas and inspired you to explore something new with your kids!

I use instagram as my everyday blog and share a lot of photos from our adventures on my feed.

Instagram: capitol.momma

I also share more information and photos from our field trips and outings on facebook.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/capitolmommablog