If you’re bored with the typical Washington, D.C. summer family activities (like monuments and outdoor movies), here are some hidden gems for you to do as a family this summer:
Strawberry season has just started, and it’s bringing back memories of all the times as a child I would go picking with my family. Now that I have kids of my own, I never miss a picking season with them (we even found a socially distanced farm last year to go to). For those on the Virginia side, Great Country Farms is my top pick, because it’s full of great activities for kids, including a playground and a gem mining station. It’s also across the street from Bluemont Vineyard. For those on the Maryland side, Butler’s Orchard is my recommendation. Make sure you make reservations ahead of time if they are needed.
I am so excited about this one! Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is a 20,000 square foot light and sound spectacular featuring two-story projections of work in 360 degrees. It features a one of kind Virtual Reality interactive, which guides you on a ten-minute journey through “A day in the life of the Artist.” Lasting about an hour and fully social distanced, it’s the perfect activity for a family this summer.
Nothing brings my girls more joy than picking their own flowers. Flower farms with pick-your-own fields in the DC area include Fields of Flowers in Purcellville, Virginia, and Burnside Farms in Nokesville, Virginia.
Feed Baby Goats
The Little Goat Farm at the Lake in Nokesville, Virginia is an amazing opportunity for kids to get up close and personal with baby goats. When I took my kids, they were 3 and 4 years old, and they loved feeding the babies with the baby bottles. The goats climb all over you, and it’s such a memorable experience. The farm also sells their own products made from goats milk.
This brand-new museum opened just as COVID began, and even though they’re still closed, I have a feeling they will open this summer as cases keep going down. It’s a unique hybrid institution, combining learning elements found in a science center with children’s museum experiences. I’m excited to take my kids here, hopefully soon.
The Carousel at Glen Echo Park
Glen Echo Park is finally open! Riding their vintage carousel has been a favorite activity of my kids for the past two years. Installed at Glen Echo Park in 1921, the canopy and the carved figures were made by the Dentzel Carousel Company of Germantown, Pennsylvania. It is a classic example of hand woodcarving popular during the early 1900s. From 1983 through 2003, the carousel was fully restored – including each animal. The carousel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is the hundredth anniversary of the carousel.
The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America
The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America has been named one of the Top 5 places most tourists miss when sightseeing in Washington, D.C. Although tours are still suspended, the gardens of the monastery are some of the most beautiful in the DC area. They are open daily, 9am-5pm. If you take younger kids, go on a day when there won’t be many people, because some people use the gardens to meditate. However, I did take my young kids there, and it is possible not to bother people because there are so many places to explore. My kids still talk about it.