It's winter break for most kids, and with the weather growing colder, many parents worry about cabin fever setting in. The good news is that there's no shortage of indoor and outdoor winter fun in our region, much of it free or reasonably priced. With a slew of ice rinks, holiday light displays, kid-friendly museums, and theater performances aimed at young audiences, there's plenty to do. We explore the fun to be had for kids of all ages.
Winter Family Fun: Activities In D.C., Maryland And Virginia
What: Roy Lichtenstein exhibit.
More than 100 of the artist's notable paintings from his career, including classic early pop paintings and series like Brushstrokes and Mirrors (parents might choose to skip the one room of Nudes series).
Where: National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
When: October 14, 2012–January 13, 2013
What: Ai Weiwei exhibit. In this inventive exhibit, the Chinese artist's "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" are displayed around the perimeter of the museum's central plaza. Twelve bronze animal heads represent the signs of the Chinese zodiac, each of which stand approximately 10 feet high.
Where: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.
When: April 19, 2012 to February 24, 2013
What: Play Work Build exhibit. Visitors see the connections between play, design, and the work of building professionals like architects and engineers.
Where: National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
When: November 18, 2012 - November 18, 2014
Price: $5 ages 3 to 17; $8 adults; free for age 2 and younger. Fees
include admission to all museum exhibitions.
Where: Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Md.
When: November 14 – January 6, 2013
What: Young Robin Hood
Where: Round House Theater in Bethesda, Md.
When: November 28 – December 30, 2012
Price: Kids tickets for Young Robin Hood are $10 (weekdays) and $15 (weekends)
What: A Little House Christmas. This show is based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The theater also offers a School's Out! Winter Break Workshop; pricing varies.
Where: Adventure Theater MTC in Glen Echo, Md.
When: November 16, 2012 – December 31, 2012
Price: $19 GA ticket
What: Discovery Theater on the Mall. Smithsonian's theater for young audiences. "Seasons of Light," back for its 13th season, celebrates the history and customs of Ramadan, Devali, Sankta Lucia, Chanukah, Los Posadas, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and the First Nations' tradition of the Winter Solstice.
Where: Discovery Theater is located in the S. Dillon Ripley Center on the National Mall, adjacent to the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C.
When: Mon.–Fri., Dec. 3–21
Price: Tickets are $6 per adult, $5 per child and $4 for Smithsonian Resident members.
What: Various versions of the Christmas holiday classic ballet Nutcracker
Washington Ballet by Septime Weber playing at Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. Show runs November 29 - December 23, 2012
Glen Echo features a puppet version of the classic holiday play at Puppet Company Playhouse in Glen Echo Park, Washington, D.C.
Ballet Theatre of Maryland in Annapolis, Md.
Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker 2012 at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, Md.
Ice Skating Rinks
What: Georgetown Waterfront's Washington Harbour Ice Rink. At 11,800 square feet, it's Washington’s largest outdoor ice skating venue and also larger than New York City’s Rockefeller Center rink.
Where: Georgetown waterfront, Washington, D.C.
When: Open annually from November until March for recreational skating every day, including all
Price: Adults: $9.00; Children/Seniors/Military: $7.00; Skate Rental: $5.00
What: Cabin John Regional Park Ice Rink —indoor ice rink in Rockville, MD
Where: Rockville, Md.
When: The indoor facility is open year round.
What: National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
Where: On the National Mall, view magnificent works of sculpture while skating in the open air and enjoying music from the state-of-the-art sound system.
When: Open mid-November through mid-March, weather permitting
Price: (Two-hour sessions, beginning on the hour) $8.00 adults; $7.00 seniors (age 50 and over); $7.00 students (with school ID); $7.00 children (age 12 and under); $195.00 season pass
What: Fort Dupont Ice Arena
Where: The only public indoor ice rink in Washington, D.C.
When: Open year-round
What: Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
Where: Arlington, Va.
When: Open every day including holidays from late October to mid-March
Price: Two hour skate rentals. Adults $8, kids 12 and under $7, skate rentals $3
What: Wheaton Ice Arena –Where: Wheaton, Md.
When: Indoor and outdoor
What: The Gardens Ice House features 3 ice rinks
Where: Laurel, Md.
Nighttime Lights Festivals
What: U.S. Botanic Garden Christmas Display. A perennial favorite, with a fanciful train display and inventive replicas of the city's monuments.
Where: Washington, D.C.
When: November 22, 2012 through January 1, 2013
What: National Christmas Tree and National Menorah on the Mall. Seasonal displays include a Yule log, a large-scale model train and a Christmas manger.
Where: Ellipse in Washington, D.C.
When: Open December 7, 2012 to January 1, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
What: Zoo Lights at the National Zoo. They just opened a carousel.
Where: Smithsonian Zoo in Washington, D.C.
When: November 23-25, 30; December 1-2, 7-9, 14-23, 26-30; January 1 from 5-9 p.m.
Price: Admission is free. Parking is $9 for members; $16 for non-members
What: Washington, D.C. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints, also known as the Mormon Temple, features Christmas lights plus a different local musical group performs a live concert nightly. Temple grounds glow with 600,000 Lights and feature an exhibit of more than 100 Crèches from multiple nations.
Where: Kensington, Md.
When: November 30, 2012 - January 1, 2013. Lights illuminated from dusk to 10 p.m. nightly. Nativity scene is open each evening from 6 to 9 p.m. Live musical performances begin at 7 and 8 p.m.
What: Brookside Gardens has a lights and train display
Where: Wheaton, Md.
When: Friday, November 23, 2012 – Sunday, January 6, 2013. Open every night except closed on December 24 & 25, January 1, 2, 3.
Price: Cars/Vans (Monday - Thursday): $20 (cash only)
Car/Vans (Friday - Sunday): $25 (cash only)
What: B&O Railroad Museum holiday festival of trains and toys
Where: Baltimore, Md.
When: Friday, November 23 - Monday, December 31; Monday - Saturday (10am - 4pm) & Sunday (11:00am - 4pm)
Price: $16 Adults, $14 Seniors (60+), $10 Children (2-12), B&O Members FREE!