Best Parent Gathering Places In Washington DC

January 17, 2014 8:00 AM

The Sesame Street exhibit headlines the new National Children’s Museum at the National Harbor. (credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

Parenting is a full-time job. Who says you have to go through it alone? Grab the kids and head out to one of these best parent gathering places in the DC area and make a few adult friends while you’re there.

Be With Me Playseum
545 8th St. S.E.
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 999-0510

Grab the kids and head to the Be With Me Playseum where you will find plenty of toys, costumes and interactive play areas. Ignite your child’s imagination as they step into a variety of themed rooms, like a bakery, pizza parlor, grocery store or pirate ship. Part used bookstore, each room also features a variety of books that match well with the theme of each room. Parents can enjoy a quiet moment reading a book to their child or purchasing the book to read at home. The Be With Me Playseum also features story time and hands-on activities such as decorating cupcakes, painting and making lip gloss, soap and homemade pasta.

YMCA Anthony Bowden
1325 W St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 738-5005

At the YMCA, there’s plenty of things to do to meet new people, make new friends and keep you and the kids entertained and in shape. Swim laps around the pool, sign up for a group exercise class or climb up a rock wall. The YMCA Anthony Bowden also offers a variety of kid-friendly classes and activities too including swimming lessons, before- and after-school programs, infant care and holiday camps. The facility also features a Cool Kids Club where children ages four to 12 participate in a variety of hands-on learning activities including science labs, Lego engineering, art activities and physical fitness. Cool Kids Club activities are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Related: Best Mommy & Me Classes in the DC Area

Jonah’s Treehouse
2121 Wisconsin Ave.
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 298-6805

It’s all work, all play at Jonah’s Treehouse where the kids will have a blast mastering the balance beam, swinging from a trapeze or climbing the rope ladder and you will get a breather and enjoy the company of other parents. Each program and class is constructed to help motivate children ages two to five to move around, use their imagination, enhance their creativity and increase their independence. Jonah’s Treehouse also offers music classes, Spanish language and games for fluency as well as programs for older children including gymnastics, arts and science. All classes are 45 minutes. Jonah’s Treehouse also offers open play times throughout the week as well as custom playgroups.

National Children’s Museum
151 St. George Blvd.
National Harbor, MD 20745
(301) 392-2400

Recognized as a cultural and educational institution serving children and families, the National Children’s Museum is a great place to teach your child about the world around them as well as mingle with other parents. The museum focuses on six core content areas including the environment, global citizenship, health and well-being and play. Each display takes you and your child through common destinations, like a fire station and pizza parlor, to not-so-common locations, like a Tanzanian market. There are plenty of hands-on interactive activities including a race car track, chef’s kitchen and a dress-up area. The National Children’s Museum also features a play area for kids three and under.

Related: Tips For Keeping Your Kids Active From A Washington DC Fitness Professional

Dulles Town Center
21100 Dulles Town Circle
Potomac, VA 20166
(703) 404-7120

Sit back, enjoy a few minutes of respite and let the little ones roam free around a plushy play area. Resembling an airport, Kidtopia offers a variety of soft structures, like an airplane, truck and air traffic control tower, for kids to climb on and play. Parents can catch up with friends and keep an eye out on their little one while sitting along the sidelines of the play area. Join the Kidtopia Kids Club and receive an e-newsletter with tips on special family-friendly events throughout the year including arts and craft festivals, summer expos and events featuring special visitors like the Easter Bunny. Kidtopia is also known to host the kid- and adult-friendly group Rocknoceros.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at

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