Top 20 Places to Take Kids in and around the DC Metro Area
2020's Best Places for Kids in the DC metro area!
Here are the Top 20 places to take kids in the D.C. Metro area, based on KidsOutAndAbout's annual reader survey. But there is LOTS more to do locally "out and about"! Get great ideas here at KidsOutAndAbout.com! What is listed below are just the starting point: Browse through our site and calendar to find lots more, sign up for our fabulous weekly e-newsletter, and be sure to click on Everything That's Free!
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute demonstrates leadership in animal care, science, education and sustainability. Always free of charge and open 364 days a year, the Zoo is one of Washington D.C.’s, and the Smithsonian’s, most popular tourist destinations, with more than 2 million visitors from all over the world each year. Founded in 1889, the Zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. Today, the Zoo sits on 163 acres in the heart of Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park and is home to 2,700 animals representing more than 390 species.
Cox Farms - Centreville VA
Your local tradition… for generations. Cox Farms is a family favorite when it comes to celebrating every season. Their Fall Festival is one of the largest and most popular in the country, with a famously quirky hayride and acres of giant slides. Their haunted nighttime Fields of Fear is hugely popular with teens. During the Spring & Summer, Cox Farms offers plants, produce, and treats like kettle corn and donuts at their Corner Market. Smokin’ Saturdays feature barbeque from their smoker, live music, Foamhenge, field games, wooden play structures, and farm animals. During Christmas at the Corner Market, you can find your perfect Christmas tree in their winter wonderland.
My Local Library
Of course, the libraries in the DC Metro area are not really ONE place, but MANY places... but it's important to emphasize how valuable libraries are for family learning and fun. The libraries in our area are wonderful about posting their events to the KidsOutAndAbout calendar so you always can get ideas for free things to do with your kids that celebrate education and imagination. KidsOutAndAbout.com takes this opportunity to salute the wonderful children's librarians who serve our community with such dedication.
National Air and Space Museum
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (Washington, DC) and Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Chantilly, VA) display thousands of aviation and space artifacts, sharing the story of flight from early ballooning to recent advancements in space exploration. Education is a primary focus, with free activities including early childhood story times, family days, hands-on activities, science demonstrations, school group activities, daytime gazing in the Museum’s public observatory, and guided tours. Admission and public programs are free. There is a $15/car parking fee at the Udvar-Hazy Center (free for those arriving after 4:00 pm).
National Museum of Natural History
The Museum is dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world through its unparalleled research, collections, exhibitions, and education outreach programs.
King's Dominion Virginia
Virginia’s premier theme park is built for fun! Come to King’s Dominion for roller coasters, thrill rides, rides built for kids and shows featuring bands, circus acts and the Peanuts gang. Soak City waterpark is the coolest place to slide, splash, chill and dine. From summer thrills to the Halloween Haunt and WinterFest, King’s Dominion has unending, award-winning fun for the whole family.
Clark's Elioak Farm
Clark's Elioak Farm is a petting farm in the heart of Howard County, Maryland. It is also the home of many attractions from The Enchanted Forest, Maryland's Storybook Park. The farm is open to visitors from April 1 through early November and features the chance to visit with farmyard animals, take wagon, pony and train rides and enjoy a day "down on the farm."
Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Take your family to a place where fun comes naturally, Williamsburg, Virginia, home to Busch Gardens® theme park and Water Country USA. Challenge one of Busch Gardens’ seven world-class coasters or discover family fun playing at Sesame Street® Forest of Fun™ and Land of the Dragons®. Water Country USA®, Virginia’s largest water park, is just three miles west of Busch Gardens and features state-of-the-art water rides and resort-style amenities. Guests are in for an epic journey on the park’s wildest family thrill slide, Colossal Curl™.
Encore Stage and Studio
Encore Stage & Studio is the artistic home for young people in the Washington, DC area, and a national leader in children’s theatre.
Billy Beez Manassas Mall, Manassas, VA
Billy Beez is the ultimate indoor play park for kids and kids-at-heart! Our 20,000* sq. ft. play parks offer a variety of features and activities, from slides to sports courts, tunnels to towers, ball blasters to bouncy trampolines, adventure is always right around the corner at Billy Beez. The park is ideal for all ages, including infants, toddlers, adults and every age in between.
Voted best birthday party place, choose from one of our award-winning packages which includes our Private Party Room, with anywhere from 90-120 minutes of catered or non-catered customizable add-on options. Your upcoming celebration will truly WOW all of your party guests.
Billy Beez is the park that they’ll ask for by name.
Leesburg Animal Park
Leesburg Animal Park is a farm with fun experiences for the whole family. The farm features pony rides, wagon rides, barnyard babies, giant tortoises, camels, lemurs and much more on 21 acres of fun. Stop by the pond and feed the fish, or visit our barnyard animals in our new feeding and petting barn. Leesburg Animal Park also welcomes birthday parties and other group celebrations. They also have offsite programs such as Zoo-to-You and Learning Safari.
Maryland Renaissance Festival
The Maryland Renaissance festival starts the last weekend in August and runs 9 weekends. The first weekend kids 15 and younger are admitted FREE with an accompanying adult. The Festival is a 16th-century English village with 10 stages, a 3,000 seat jousting arena, 250 performers, 140 craft shops and 42 food and beverage emporiums.
African American Civil War Memorial Museum
The African American Civil War Museum shares the largely unknown story of those American heroes that fought to end slavery and secure the blessings of liberty for all.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
The Zoo’s mission is to inspire and educate people to join with it in the active support and conservation of wildlife and wild places. The Zoo is committed to serving its communities by engaging people with the wonder of the living world through personal encounters that foster lifelong harmonious relationships with nature.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
The Kennedy Center is America's living memorial to President Kennedy—presenting the greatest performers and performances from across America and around the world, nurturing new works and young artists, and serving as a leader in arts education.
Kids are born to bounce at Jumping Joeys! From start to finish, Jumping Joeys prides itself on taking the hassle out of the party planning process. We offer an array of options to make your child's birthday party the ultimate event for you and your guests. The possibilities are endless, making every Jumping Joeys party customizable and unique. Northern Virginia's go-to gym for children's indoor play and birthday parties.
Hidden Oaks Nature Center
Hidden Oaks Nature Center, minutes inside the Beltway, features a pond and an interactive exhibit ideal for children 2 yrs. and older. Located in the 52-acre Annandale District Park, the center is nestled among woodland trails and creeks with gardens and a nearby playground.
The Bender JCC is an all-inclusive community – from the programs we offer to the people we serve – rooted in Jewish values. The JCC connects people through high-quality programs for all ages, backgrounds and interests. It is a place for growing, learning and friendship. We are the place to raise your children rooted in the values you grew up with. Our wide range of programs grow alongside your children, equipping them for their unique journey, enriching their sense of self and enabling them to cultivate lifelong friendships.
We support and empower families through our diverse and inclusive programming, providing opportunities to connect and build community. Everyone is welcome. Everyone belongs.
President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldier's Home
Kids and adults alike learn about Lincoln and the Civil War through little-known stories of his summers living at the Cottage with his family, including his young son Tad.
Winners in Special CategoriesIn the second part of our survey, we asked readers to select their favorites in six categories. Here were their choices.
Favorite Arts EducationWolf Trap
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is a majestic natural setting for over 100 performances across all genres every summer. Home to the architecturally stunning Filene Center and the charmingly intimate Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, the 117-acre Park offers dining and hospitality amenities throughout the summer season, and year-round recreational opportunities, including hiking trails, picnic areas, and sledding.
Favorite Sports/Physical EducationD.C. United
D.C. United is an American professional soccer club based in Washington, D.C. The club competes as a member of the Eastern Conference in Major League Soccer, the top level of professional American soccer.