When summer hits in D.C., inside just isn’t the place to be. Get the kids out, grab those playgroup buddies and hit the area’s best spots for summer playdates in D.C. From a free day at the zoo to arts and crafts to wet and wild family fun, this city promises no shortage of options perfect for playdates when the city warms up.
3001 Connecticut Ave.
Washington, DC 20008
The National Zoo offers endless fun and learning opportunities for kids and parents alike this summer. Visit the Reptile Discovery Center, Small Mammal House or Amazonia. Don’t miss out on gorillas, cheetahs and elephants exploring their exciting zoo habitats. The National Zoo also features a Prairie Playland, kid’s petting farm, daily interactive programs, and plenty of food and drinks. Feel free to bring your own picnic and enjoy it under the shade of a big tree or in a covered pavilion. Although parking is available on the premises, visitors are highly encouraged to take Metro.
1401 Constitution Ave.
Washington, DC 20230
Price: $9.95 adults/$4.95 kids ages 3 to 11/free kids younger than 3/$8.95 seniors
Take a break from the heat and humidity at the National Aquarium where you and your kids may see more than 1,500 aquatic animals including alligators, sharks, sea turtles, fish and other amphibians. The National Aquarium features daily educational events and activities including piranha, shark and alligator feedings, fun science experiments, arts and crafts, exhibits and conservation events. The National Aquarium even offers an Adopt an Animal program, through which families may make a tax-deductible donation toward the care of their favorite aquatic animal.
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1500 S. Capitol St.
Washington, DC 20003
Click here for ticket info
In case you haven’t heard, the Nats are on a roll this season (first in their division!), so take the kids to Nationals Park where they can catch all the action, dance in between innings, cheer on the presidents during the super popular President’s Race and even get the chance to run the bases themselves. Nationals Park is a family friendly destination that’s perfect for kids of all ages. Enjoy game day specials including T-shirt giveaways, on-field photo days, discounted tickets and family fun packs. With Pups in the Park days, even Fido can get in on the action. Nationals Park also features a wide variety of food and refreshments, kid-friendly games and entertainment, and a Build-a-Bear shop — or, in this case, build-a-Screech.
All Fired Up!
3413 Connecticut Ave.
Washington, DC 20008
Price: Prices range from $6 to $60
Take arts and crafts to a whole different level at All Fired Up. Take the kids out for a few hours painting pottery, building mosaics and fusing glass. The family friendly studio features a wide variety of products to choose from including mugs, figurines, kitchenware, platters and other household items. All materials provided by All Fired Up are lead-free and non-toxic, which makes them safe to play with and eat from when your project is done. The studio also features a Wall of Fame, where All Fired staff highlight the best customer-made creations of the week. If you or your child’s creation is chosen, you will receive a “My piece was on the Wall of Fame” magnet upon pickup. The studio also welcomes food and drinks on its premises.
Splash Down Water Park
7500 Ben Lomond Park Drive
Manassas, VA 20109
Price: $14.95 48 inches and taller/$10.95 shorter than 48 inches/free kids 2 and younger/$9 after 3 p.m. weekdays
Grab the kids and head on out to the biggest water park in Northern Virginia. Perfect for kids of all ages and swimming abilities, Splash Down Water Park features nearly a dozen water slides, a lazy river, fountains, an activity pool for the little ones and other fun water games. Play a game of volleyball at Big Kahuna Beach, try your hand at tennis or swim laps in the 25-meter lap pool. Splash Down Water Park also features a playground, cabana rentals, a birthday party pavilion, grass volleyball, and food and refreshments.
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.