My original topic for News Channel 8 was supposed to be weekend fall fun. Then it changed. So, here are my original talking points, because I thought you guys would like them anyway :) Not all PWC, but a lot of fun ideas!!
This last part of summer/early part of fall is perfect for getting outside. It’s not too hot, not too cold, and the bugs are, hopefully, starting to die off. One local park we really love is Potomac Overlook just off of 123. They’ve got a great nature center and some gorgeous hiking.
If you have a little more time and you’ve got a 4th grader, you can get a FREE pass for them, and anyone else in their car, through the White House’s “Every Kid in a Park” campaign. It’s not available until Sept 1, so mark your calendar, but we have so many great national parks to choose from- Shenandoah is one of our favorites- whether you’re cruising up and down Skyline Drive just to take in the scenery or doing a hike, we really like South River Falls and Rose River Halls for hiking- they’re both 2.6 miles, totally do-able with elementary kids, or toddlers in a backpack, even if you need to park it for lunch for a bit!
If you’re looking to take up the better part of a weekend- it’s not too late to go camping, either. Even if you’re not ready to get the long johns out, there are several places that offer cabin camping. My pick, though, is to go ahead and splurge on a $43 treehouse rental in Maryland. (http://thetreehousecamp.com) If your family is a little bigger, for $70 you can rent a tree cottage. This pretty much meets every requirement for my childhood dreams that I actually belonged in Swiss Family Robinson. Lake Anna (http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/lake-anna.shtml#cabins_camping) and Prince William Forest Park also have rental cabins. (http://www.nps.gov/prwi/planyourvisit/individual-cabins.htm)
One more great outdoor option is the Adventure Park at Sandy Springs School in Maryland. This is a ropes course where you clip into a safety line- there’s a double carabeener system for safety, and you navigate through a challenge course and zipline down. My son did this with us when he was in first grade, which was okay, but he’d have way more fun now because on some of the higher courses you need to have some leg reach- and he was a little short for some of the cool things he wanted to do. But, if you’ve got taller kids aged 7 and up- you’re all set! http://sandyspringadventurepark.org
Next up, there are a TON of fall festivals that start happening and these are great for weekend fun! I am a little bit obsessed with Old Town Manassas (http://visitmanassas.org/events/page_offset:1/action:agenda/time_limit:1443267001/) right now, I think it’s adorable and they host tons of fun events. They’ve got Bands, Brews, and Barbeque on September 12th, an Orthodox Festival on September 18th, and a Chili Cook-Off and Kids Fest on September 26th. However, no matter where you are, you can definitely find a great fall festival. A few more options include:
· Stonebridge Fall fest and Chili Cook Off (Woodbridge) http://stonebridgefallfest.com which ends with a family movie on the Jumbotron
· The Maryland Renaissance Festival (http://www.rennfest.com/) runs from August to October, so that’s always an option
· Be on the lookout for farm tours- these are awesome self-guided tours in places like Faquier and Prince William that let you visit a bunch of different farms in one day. My favorite is the alpacas- they meep just like road runner! So cute! (http://www.pwcfarmtour.org)
· Joe Gibbs Country Fair and Auction (http://www.youthfortomorrow.org/country-fair-and-auctions) helps a great cause and it’s really fun!
· Kings Dominon and Busch Gardens both have fall hours on weekends
· Your local fire station is also a great place to check for fun ideas! They often have fall open houses with moonbounces, facepainting, fire safety, and, of course, you get to try on the equipment!
There are also lots of family fun runs, most with a 5k option if you’re running enthusiasts, and those can be really fun for kids to do. A lot of them have some kind of a fun activity at the end- my son and husband did the Freedom Center Turkey Trot for his birthday last year and had a great time.
If you’ve got time this weekend and are willing to take a drive, the Family Drive In Theatre in Stephens City does an amazing Labor Day Movie Marathon- it’s ALL NIGHT MOVIES!! We had so much fun doing this. You can leave anytime or stay all night. We popped open the tailgate and laid out sleeping bags in the back of our van- but the kids made it longer than I did! This year’s movies are Inside Out, Minions, Avengers Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, and South Paw. And, get this- it’s $8 for adults, $4 for kids up to age 11, and you can pay a $5 per car fee and bring your own food in. We actually brought a picnic dinner and then later in the evening got the popcorn. You just can’t resist that smell! If you’ve got older kids/teens, they’ve also got a second screen and will be showing “grown up” movies on that side, and ladies, Magic Mike XXL is on the lineup, if you’re into that. http://www.thefamilydriveintheatre.com
Obviously, we’re also heading into fall and that means you can officially break out the apples and pumpkins. On the Maryland side of things, check out the Darlington Apple Festival the first weekend in October (http://www.darlingtonapplefestival.com) or you can just take the kids out to a pick your own farm. We love to visit Hartland Orchard out 66 in Virginia, in Markham, and the kids love to help me peel apples to make crock pot applesauce when we get home. You can also always pick a few extra to send into school, or make into a pie to send into school, if your child has already gotten on the teacher’s bad side!
For a little weekend fun on the cheap, it’s also never too early to get your kids a little school spirit. Your local high school is a great option for fall football games, you pay so little you can leave when the kids get tired, and be on the lookout for their homecoming designated game, usually near the end of September. I know around us the schools do parades that the kids love to attend, as well as the game being extra exciting with big halftime shows from the marching band.
If you need a few indoor ideas- sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate! There are lots of fun inside places to try new things! With younger kids, indoor thinking playspaces like at Animated Child in Montclair or at Vertical Rock in Manassas are fantastic! (You don’t have to climb, but I like to!) Also, if your child is studying something they are either struggling to appreciate or REALLY like, why not take a field trip to a museum? This seems so obvious, but a lot of families don’t think about all the great FREE museums we have!
Another great thing that our family just loves to do is volunteering together. Places like ACTS in Dumfries, Reston Interfaith, or the DC Food Bank all have different requirements, but can usually take even younger students to help count or package rice. Hypothermia shelters start opening and they don’t always provide dinner, so a supper in a sack project is great, or check out Feed My Starving Children, which we do every year at New Hope Church in Lorton, but they are around all over the place for packing events. Kids as young as 6 can typically participate, and they get a hairnet!
If we ever get to move into our new house in Manassas, which I consider to be less and less likely every day, one of the things I'm most excited about is being closer to the Hylton Performing Arts Center. My kids are big lovers of the arts- my middle son Logan is learning the violin and has become obsessed with classical and orchestra music, and all of them love live performances whenever we can make it to one.
I was so very fortunate to be invited to come out for the unveiling of the 2014-2015 Season, which has some really fun options for the whole family.
First, and most obvious, the center offers a "Hylton Family Series" each year. I consider these to be targeted to a slightly younger crowd, PreK-2nd grade, perhaps? But you're the best judge for your child. You can purchase individual performances for $10/adult or $5/child and you can also purchase a Hylton Family Series Subscription, which essentially gets you 3 performances at regular price and the fourth for $1. This year will feature:
Tony Award nominee John Tartaglia takes young audiences on a magical under-the-sea adventure in this one-of-a-kind live glow-in-the-dark musical! Fishy friends Tank, Bubbles, and Dorsel discover a treasure map, thus beginning their remarkable journey of underwater discovery. Jam-packed with music ranging from swing to R&B to big band, this charming story appeals to audiences of all ages and is a blast from the first big splash to the last wave goodbye! Celebrated puppeteer, actor, and singer John Tartaglia got his start working on Sesame Street as a teenager, and later starred in Broadway’s Avenue Q, Shrek the Musical, and Beauty and the Beast, and created and performed in Disney’s television hit Johnny and the Sprites. “A whimsical trip to the depths of the sea.” (Back Stage)
Folk musician, songwriter, and children’s author Peter Yarrow returns to the Hylton Center for a fun and interactive musical performance that combines beloved folk tunes with inspiring lessons for children of all ages. This American music legend and Grammy Award winner is perhaps best known for his career with the beloved folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary; yet he is also a spirited activist who now uses his music to educate children about the effects of bullying. In this family-oriented concert, Yarrow performs “Don’t Laugh at Me” and other songs that encourage children to treat each other with compassion, kindness, and respect, as well as some of iconic folk songs from throughout his career, including “If I Had a Hammer,” “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
Lewis Carroll’s zany and fantastical tale comes to life when this Emmy-nominated troupe returns to the Hylton Center with Alice in Wonderland. Filled with pure nonsense and madcap characters that everyone knows and loves – from the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts – this intriguing tale about a curious and imaginative young girl has enchanted readers for many generations. Pushcart Players now brings young Alice’s adventure to the stage in this delightful adaptation, complemented by whimsical music, vibrant costumes, and spectacular scenic elements. “A polished and knowing theater company and a felicitous event for children.” (The New York Times)
Come on down to Bear Country for this enchanting adaptation of Stan and Jan Berenstain’s beloved children’s series. Fresh from its sold-out off-Broadway run this heartwarming musical based on three of the Berenstain Bears most popular books. Brother Bear’s grades are slipping, Sister Bear still has a few things to learn about making new friends, and Papa Bear can’t stop eating junk food – but thankfully, they – and we – can always depend on Mama Bear and her loving patience to set things right. Filled with original songs, fun dancing, and important life lessons, this humorous and heartfelt theatrical experience gives parents the opportunity to share these treasured tales they enjoyed as children with their own young cubs! “Like honey for little kids!” (Mommy Poppins)
Also available for families, several performances throughout the year are marked as "Family Friendly", which also comes with a youth discount. Half price tickets are available to these performances for students through grade 12. High Schoolers may attend without an adult chaperone present, but must present their student ID. Children under high school age must have a paying adult with their party. These performances can still be pricey, but some of them look really neat. For 2014/2015 the schedule includes:
If it was up to me, I'd definitely hit the National Acrobats of the People's Republic of China....and Cinderella.
Disclosure: The Hylton Performing Arts Center invited me to come to their 2014/2015 Season unveiling as a media guest. I got a free cake pop from Confections. It was awesome. No other compensation was provided, although I'll take free tickets anytime if someone from the Hylton Center is reading this. Just sayin.
Hearts are aflutter to save the Monarch Butterflies!
“Bring back the Monarch and keep the magic alive”
encourages Nicole Hamilton of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.
It’s the season for the mighty migration of the Monarch Butterflies and Great Country Farms wants to make a difference. Together with local Girl Scouts, they plan to design and build a Monarch butterfly garden & educate others on how they can help. Join us Saturday, July 20th to be a part of it.
The Monarch Butterfly population is waning and they need your HELP! But why are Monarch butterflies important to the environment? Monarch butterflies are pollinators. During the Monarchs huge migration, they pass over areas where pollination is a problem. So Monarchs can help pollinate plant life in suffering areas.
How can you help? GCF will plant milkweed which provides Monarchs with a safe environment to harvest their eggs. “We are investing in Monarch Butterflies. Our vision is to establish an extensive monarch breeding population at GCF with the help of the scouts and others,” says Jaclyn Jenkins GCF’s Director of Operations. Girl Scouts can participate in helping us design Great Country Farms Scout Butterfly Patch and are welcomed back in the fall to release their butterflies.
While at Great Country Farms, join in family friendly fun on the farm! Kids will love the 5 acre playground and visiting with the friendly farm animals. The Roosteraunt is open for lunch the Farm Market features fresh produce and other local products. The Farm’s U-Pick season is in full swing so be sure to visit the website to see what is ripe & ready to take home for a fresh summer time meal.
Saturday, July 20th, 2013
Girl Scouts- $8/scout & chaperones. Leaders FREE! Please make group reservations by calling 540-554-2073.
General Public $8/Child $10/Adult at the gate + 2 FREE Passes to come back in Sept. for those who have butterflies to release!
Children 2 and under and guests with a Military ID are no charge.
Want to go for free? Enter our giveaway for tickets!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: Great Country Farms provided this content and the passes we're giving away. They also provided passes for my family to use. PwcMoms is not responsible for weather, farm conditions, or your mental health if your children sing "Old MacDonald" all the way home from the farm. Winner assumes any liability and risk.
Music at the Marina is back! Once again, this family-fun event is taking place at Leesylvania State Park on June 29th, 2013. Starting at 7pm, this season’s entertainment features the United States Navy Band Country Current, who offer a universally pleasing mix of bluegrass music and country twang. Music at the Marina has something for everyone this summer: live music, food, kid-friendly activities, and fireworks. It’s sure to please the whole family.
This year's entertainment is unlike anything previously seen at Music at the Marina, for the United States Navy premiere bluegrass and country ensemble, Country Current, will be playing one night only, June 29. Founded in 1973 by the well-known Bill Emerson, the band boasts a long line of prestigious musical talent, and has been providing entertainment to various audiences for close to 40 years. Country Currentmakes a point to reach out to communities across the country and Music at the Marina is no exception.
Holding true to tradition, Music at the Marina is taking place at Leesylvania State Park, located right next the Potomac River. Leesylvania State Park is part of the Virginia Association for Parks, a non-profit group that works hard to promote community events within Virginia parks. Located in Prince William County, Leesylvania Park is a great setting to hold this community sponsored event, Music at the Marina.
Music at the Marina is an exciting event for the whole family. With music and activities to occupy all ages, this night of music and community fun is not to be missed. Music at the Marina is free, thanks to Steve’s Auto Repair and Friends of Leesylvania State Park. Both sponsors are providing various prizes to win throughout the night. Located in Woodbridge, Steve’s Auto Repair “is glad to once again be part of this great event and relishes the opportunity to help those within the area enjoy good music and family-centered fun
This weekend, Mount Vernon will have their Sunset Celebration. If you haven't yet been to Mount Vernon, it's a quick drive from the Lake Ridge/Woodbridge side of the county, and worth the drive from the West End. The property is beautiful and historic, and if you have scouts, be sure to look up the badge requirements! Here are the details for a beautiful weekend:
Historic Mount Vernon invites visitors to sip wine while watching the sunset on George Washington’s home! Sunset Celebration at Mount Vernon, an event over Memorial Day weekend (May 25 – 26), offers a rare opportunity to visit Mount Vernon after the daytime crowds have departed. Visitors may take evening tours of the Mansion, relax and enjoy wine and desserts available for purchase on the lawn overlooking the Potomac River. Delight in 18th-century music, dancing, games, and wagon rides. Stroll the lantern-lit grounds from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and immerse yourself in the 18th century as the sun sets on the plantation with costumed residents like the charming Lady Washington. This family-friendly event celebrates the beginning of summer on the plantation.
Tickets are $18, adults; $12, children ages 6-11; and free for five and under. This event requires a separate ticket from daytime admission. Annual passes are not valid for this event. All activities, with the exception of food and wine, are included with admission to this event. Tickets may be purchased online in advance at MountVernon.org or at the Ford Orientation Center ticket window until 8:00 p.m. the evening of the event. Guests must be prepared to show identification to purchase wine.
Tickets can be purchased here: http://bit.ly/126pxez
The Virginia Renaissance Faire is taking place right now in Spotsylvania and I have a fun giveaway for you, so keep reading! Discover the magic in the age of chivalry and romance as the Renaissance comes to life once again in Virginia. The Queen's Progress offers the rare opportunity to escape from your daily routine and step back in time by visiting a charming English country village. Frolic among nobles and fools, merchants and peasants, minstrels and dancers. Join artisans, craftspeople, and food merchants in a day overflowing with fun and history.
Location: Lake Anna Winery, 5621 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania, VA 22553
Directions: here (note, apparently GPS directions are not accurate)
Entertainment Schedule: here
Ticket Prices: $9 per person. Kids 5 and under are free.
May 11-12: Opening Weekend
May 18-19: Shakespeare Weekend
May 25-26: Pirate Invasion! Weekend (In honor of Memorial Day Weekend, we thank our active and reservist military personnel for their service by providing free admission this weekend to active and reserve service members with military-issue ID. Family and friends pay regular admission).
June 1-2: Celtic Weekend
June 8-9: Closing Weekend
May 11-June 9 (every weekend): Merchant Adventurer Quests.
Description: The Merchant Adventurer Quests are based upon ideals associated with the English Renaissance-era Guild of Merchant Adventurers. Children of all ages, as well as adults, can follow the Quests, a series of activities that help you learn new skills and explore Elizabethan knowledge and lifestyles.
PWC Moms is happy to giveaway a family 4-pack of tickets thanks to Washington Family Magazine! The tickets are good any day now through June 9, 2013. Enter the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: PWC Moms did not receive compensation for this post. I love to share local, fun, family-friendly events and giveaways with you!
The Northern Virginia Community College's Woodbridge Campus will be the site for the October 7, 2012 "5K Hustle 2 Health" Run/walk and Wellness Expo. This family-friendly event begins at 8am and runs until noon. For more details, visit http://www.racepacket.com/calendar/frace.php?fid=103 where you can sign up before race day and save $10. Runners are $25 early registration and children under age 11 are $10.
CHICK-FIL-A® RESTAURANT AT BRISTOW TO HOST SPORTS BREAKFAST
featuring three former professional athletes and The Racing Presidents
Chick-fil-A® restaurant at Bristow will be hosting the Chick-fil-A Sports Breakfast on Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 8:30 am to 10:30 which will feature three former professional athletes, mascots, a race car, inflatables, and a cow drop.
The Sports Breakfast is the grand finale to a weeklong friendly, spirited competition between Brentsville District and Patriot High schools. From Saturday, September 22nd to Friday, September 28th the schools will be competing to see who has the most Chick-fil-A spirit. The winning school will receive $1,000 and the second place will receive $500.
Scheduled to appear at the Sports Breakfast and receive the Chick-fil-A at Bristow Inspiration Awards will be Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist in Track & Field, Devon McTavish, Virginia native and former DC United soccer player, and Markita Alridge-Woods, former Washington Mystic player (WNBA).
The Racing Presidents, the bobblehead mascots of the Washington Nationals baseball team will make an appearance along with Screech (Nationals), Talon (DC United), G-Whiz (Wizards), Slapshot (Capitals), Pax the Panda (Mystics), and the Patriot (George Mason University).
Come take a walk through the colorful, captivating world of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax at Potomac Mills, the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in Virginia, from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 28 in
Grand Court in Neighborhood 2.
In celebration of the August 7 Blu-ray™/DVD release of The Lorax movie, Simon Kidgits Club® invites kids from the Washington, DC area to visit Potomac Mills for a celebration of non-stop family-focused festivities. Families are encouraged to get creative and enjoy an imaginative adventure by participating in the following Seussian-inspired activities, all taking place in a familiar Simon mall setting:
· Create and take home intriguing Truffula Trees, just like those featured in the movie, and a Lorax mustache to commemorate the charming creature.
· Visit a viewing area to watch The Lorax movie trailer, learn how to draw the Lorax through a bonus feature on the Blu-ray™/DVD and hear about how the Lorax speaks for the trees.
· Pose for a fascinating photo next to Lorax-themed standees, capturing the fun of the unique event.
Kids will also have the chance to participate in interactive offerings which are focused on preserving the environment and celebrating The Lorax’smeaningful plot. Young attendees can join the Pitch-In Recycle Game to learn about the benefits of recycling and get involved in the Seed of Hope activity to craft a Lorax planter. Before departing the event, all children will pledge to care for the environment and take home a certificate to honor their positive promise.
“Simon Kidgits Club’s The Lorax event aims to get families together to have some fun with Dr. Seuss and think about the movie’s messages about the environment. Simon malls strive to offer parents and kids the opportunity to enjoy unique activities in a place that’s not too far from home,” said Jayne Stilson, assistant vice president of business development for Simon Brand Ventures, the business-to-consumer division of Simon Property Group.
The Simon Kidgits Club is a fun and informative program that focuses on health, wellness, education, safety and entertainment for children ages 3-8. Since 2003, the Simon Kidgits Club has kept children and parents alike amused with various events and activities while providing incentives for club members, such as special offers, rewards and games.
For more information about the Simon Kidgits Club and The Lorax events, visit www.simon.com/kidgits or check us out on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/PotomacMills and Twitter at (www.twitter.com/shoPotomacMills).
The Lorax Synopsis
The imaginative world of Dr. Seuss comes to life like never before in this visually spectacular adventure from the creators of Despicable Me! Twelve-year-old Ted will do anything to find a real live Truffula Tree in order to impress the girl of his dreams. As he embarks on his journey, Ted discovers the incredible story of the Lorax, a grumpy but charming creature who speaks for the trees. Featuring the voice talents of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, and Betty White, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is filled with hilarious fun for everyone!
Visit www.theloraxmovie.com for additional information.
Coming August 4th and 5th to the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia, it's Brick Fair! If you have a Lego Lover of any age, this is definitely one to check out!
The fair recommends you allot at least 90 minutes to see everything, but tickets are valid for all day admission. The Brick Fair is open each day from 11am-4pm. Parking is free. There's plenty to see, play with, and even win! Lego giveaways happen at 1pm and 3pm each day.
From the official website:
LEGO models, displays and winding trains sprawled out over 100,000 square feet.
BrickFair brings together adult fans of LEGO from across the USA (and Canada, and a few other countries) to show off their projects, great and small, and to share their passion for LEGO - the most awesome toy - ever.
LEGO fan festivals like BrickFair are great fun for the whole family!
Join in a game or two - maybe win a LEGO set.
Vendors will be offering all things LEGO, including shirts, hats, minifigures, custom-molded weapons, unique models, keychains and... really... everything you never imagined.
Thanks to the great folks at Washington Family Magazine, PwcMoms is happy to offer a family 4 pack of tickets for either day of Brick Fair 2012!! Since it REALLY bothered some of you that you had to email, you may enter 1 of 3 ways that guarantee I can get in touch with you:
1- Leave a comment on this post WITH your email address. Yes, that means you put your email address out for the world to see
2- Email Me with "Brick Fair 2012" in the subject line
3- Tweet the following message: I want to go to @BrickFair thanks to @FamilyMagDC and @PwcMoms!
Enter however you'd like by midnight on July 27th, 2012. A winner will be selected and notified via email or twitter and Facebook on July 28th, 2012.
Winner will be selected on July 28th. Winners must claim their prize by July 30th or a new winner will be selected. Prize provided by Washington Family Magazine and Brick Fair 2012. Winner assumes all risk and liability. PwcMoms was provided with courtesy tickets in return for this post.
Join participating merchants in Occoquan, Virginia for a great discount sale complete with Lemonade and Lemon Treats to keep your shopping spirit up!! Allegedly it's going to cool down to the high 80s and low 90s this weekend, just in time for the sale, so why not go out and pick up a few cute finds? July 20 and July 21st, 2012- just like an early Christmas in July ;) While you're down there, be sure to visit our friends at Touch of Gold who alerted us to this special event! And don't worry, if you don't like jewelry, you can always send me a thank you Troll Bead for working so hard to keep you informed. I won't mind ;)
POTOMAC MILLS WELCOMES FAMILIES INTO SNOW WHITE’S MAGICAL WORLD WITH MIRROR MIRROR EVENT ON JUNE 23
Step into an enchanted kingdom in celebration of the June 26 Mirror Mirror Blu-ray™, DVD and movie download release
WOODBRIDGE, VA (June 14, 2012) —Kids and adults can get ready to use their imaginations as Simon malls and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment are teaming up to turn Potomac Mills into the ultimate Snow White experience in honor of Relativity Media’s family comedy Mirror Mirror, starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane. Filled with mystic mirrors, an enchanted forest and rebellious dwarfs, the Potomac Mills’ Grand Court will never be the same.
Potomac Mills invites Washington D.C.-area families to attend a fun-filled day at this special Simon Kidgits Club event, taking place from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. In celebration of the June 26 Blu-ray™, DVD and movie download release of Relativity Media’s Mirror Mirror from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, kids can get involved in engaging activities based on this fresh film inspired by the beloved children’s classic.
At the event, children will have a chance to view Mirror Mirror in a special viewing area and relive the fantasy film with countless themed activities, including tiara decorating, majestic mirror-making and a coloring station. Additionally, the Mirror Mirror experience lets kids create their own magical, make-believe potion as well as learn a special dance to the film’s featured song, “I Believe”, thanks to the Blu-ray dance-along feature. Families can also capture their magical event moments with an enchanting photo opportunity and pose next to a special Snow White standee.
“The Simon Kidigts Club is helping families have fun by bringing one their favorite fairytales to life. Our Mirror Mirror inspired event will deliver an entertaining experience to kids and adults by encouraging everyone to use their imagination,” said Jayne Stilson, assistant vice president of business development for Simon Brand Ventures, the business-to-consumer division of Simon Property Group.
The Simon Kidgits Club is a fun and informative program that focuses on health, wellness, education, safety and entertainment for children ages 3-8. Since 2003, the Simon Kidgits Club has kept children and parents alike amused with various events and activities while providing incentives for club members, such as special offers, rewards and games.
For more information about the Simon Kidgits Club and “Mirror Mirror” events, visitwww.simon.com/kidgits or find Potomac Mills on Facebook (www.facebook.com/PotomacMills) and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/shoPotomacMills).
On June 23rd, the National Wildlife Fund will be sponsoring the Great American Backyard Campout. They're inviting everyone in Prince William County (including you, your kids, neighbors, friends and even scout troops) to hoist a tent in the backyard and make some great summer memories!
You can just participate, or, choose to take it one step further and register a team to help raise money to get kids active and outdoors.
From the NWF Website:
Did you know that today, 25% of kids play outside daily—as opposed to 75% a generation ago? Be a part of the Great American Backyard Campout and set an example for children that will get them excited about the great outdoors. Join thousands of campers on June 23 (or you can choose another day that's convenient for you). Embrace an active, healthy outdoor lifestyle—we'll show you how.
Improving your Kids' Health is Rewarding for Them.......and for You!
You have the option to help support NWF's work to connect kids with nature for their overall good health by raising money for our programs. You can set a personal or team fundraising goal, invite your friends and family to support your Campout, and earn the official Campout t-shirt. It’s easy—we’ll give you all the tips and tools you need to be successful plus the added reward of happier, healthier kids.
Register and Win a Trip
You could get the chance to Go Behind the Scenes with NWF celebrity naturalist David Mizejewski. One lucky camper and a guest will win a trip to an upcoming NWF television appearance in New York City or Los Angeles.
When I went to my first show, "Miss Electricity" at the Workhouse Arts Center's Studio 3, I thought they did a good job. The show was cute, my kids had fun, they did a good job.
Then they did "Home". I didn't get to see it, but those of you that went with your preschoolers raved to me about the creative tale of two kids and a box.
When I went to "Rapunzel" on final dress rehearsal two weeks ago, I was floored. What was already good has improved so much. The company is utilizing every inch of space in their intimate performance area, the lights and sounds are spot-on, I am truly impressed by how far they've come from "good" in such a short time! (Especially since they produce these show back to back on a few week flip schedule!)
Here's the deal with Rapunzel. The show is truly about what's right, what's wrong, and what you'd sacrifice to get what you want temporarily. Helicopter moms, it's also talking to you ;)
While all the characters were well-portrayed, I did have a few favorites.
The witch, played by Kindra Cook, was by far my favorite Studio 3 character to date. Obviously skilled with children (her own child was at the dress rehearsal), she is able to take a baby-snatching, spell-slinging witch and make her, perhaps not entirely lovable, but understandable. I could relate to the witch! I don't want my babies out in the world getting hurt or running off with some prince, either! (Okay, fine, and my children would probably tell you that when they cross me bad things happen, too!)
Rapunzel, played by Ashley San, is loveable and does a sweet performance as the bubbly and naive princess, although my daughter, having seen the magical hair in Tangled, was unimpressed with her very curly VERY large wig and kept asking me if she could do Rapunzel's hair! I know this character is probably truer to the original, but I really loved Mandy Moore's self-sufficient cast-iron wielding movie version, which I missed here.
Parents with sensory-sensitive children should note there are a few instances of flashing lights and loud noises, but they are very brief and they are followed quickly with humor. If you're unsure, note that the theater is small enough that making it to the door shouldn't be a problem. There are a few times when characters use the aisle to the right hand side (facing the stage), so if you have to exit, I would go via the door you came in, and pick seats accordingly.
The show is 1 hour with an intermission at the 1/2 hour. Tickets are $12 adults; $8 children under 12 years old. At intermission, cupcakes from Sugar Buzz in Occoquan are available for $2.50 as well as beverages.
Studio 3's Rapunzel
Pros: Very well done show, local, affordable tickets, intermission is well placed and the hour run time keeps a great pace for keeping children entertained
Cons: I did not have any particular issues (besides my daughter's obsession with re-styling Rapunzel's wig), but in reading other reviews from people who went on a show day rather than dress rehearsal, I've heard that the lines at intermission and for meet the cast after the show can run rather long.
Overall- Go see the show! Studio 3 is doing some fantastic work, and I can't wait for their next performance, either (Winnie the Pooh). With the limited running of each show, it's important that you get your tickets early!! Rapunzel is here until June 30th, and we've learned quickly that with Studio 3, the tickets run out long before interest in the show does!
The 18th Annual Manassas Virginia Railway Festival is coming on June 2, 2012!
Held in Historic Manassas, Virginia, the Railway Festival attracts over 30,000 people from the DMV. There are elaborate model train displays, live country and blue grass music, performances from community groups, inflatable bounce houses, vendors, and VRE Excursion Rides.
Virginia Railway Express Excursion Rides will go from Manassas to Clifton (round trip) and will be available at the Train Depot, 9431 West Street Manassas, starting on Monday, April 30th from 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. Trains board 10 minutes prior to train times, everyone on board requires a ticket.
Rides take place at 10am/11am/12pm/1pm and are $5 per ticket. Checks should be made out to Historic Manassas, Inc. and cash and charge are also accepted.
Photos from Historic Manassas, Inc. Website
The Workhouse's Studio 3 has yet ANOTHER new show! (The pace they keep is absolutely dizzying to me!!) This time, it's Lizzie Allen's "Home"
“That idyllic other world of make believe is explored with evident relish in this two hander for children aged 3 to 6. It’s an intimate show, and as resourceful and imaginative as small children themselves can be when they’re off in a world of their own...the three and four year olds sitting around me seemed wholly absorbed by Florrie and Todd’s ideal home.”
Time Out London
"Home" will be showing from April 2nd-May 5th.
From the Workhouse Website:
Studio 3 Theatre for Young Audiences presents Home, an original work by Lizzie Allen, from April 2-May 5.
The story of footloose travelers, Florrie and Todd, searching for a home of their own. They use their imaginations to build a fantasy world of their own design. Along the way, they learn the difference between a "house" and a "home."
Follow this inventive duo through the seasons as, using music, puppetry and the power of imagination, their little house fills with laughter and fun! A wonderful story of friendship and family, especially for children aged 3 to 6. Suitable for ages 3 and up.
Performances: Saturday matinee performances from April 7-May 5 at 10am and 1pm.*
Tickets: $12 adults; $8 children under 12 years old.
Happy Sunday!! Here's your list of kid-friendly Prince William County events for this week! There's lots more on our calendar, too!
One of our favorite library events, Lunch Bunch, happens once a month at the Chinn Park Library at 12pm. Pack a lunch for your munchkins and head over to see Squirt the turtle and listen to stories while you nosh! After, if there aren't preschool classes out, you can play on the playground adjacent to the Chinn Center right next door!
In the evening, Jump N Jimmy's will be holding a fundraiser for the Kolos Family to support a medical crisis in their family. Bounce between 5pm-8pm for $10, and while the kids bounce, you can shop with local HBB's who are donating a percentage of their sales to the Kolos', too.
Tuesday is the first day of spring, and Rita's Italian Ice shops will be offering a free regular ice to each customer in honor of the start of the season!! It appears all stores will be participating.
It's Toddler Tuesday at the Manassas Museum! This program offer toddlers and their caregivers an opportunity to enjoy music, story-telling and crafts, and include a special take-home surprise. Prior registration is encouraged as space is limited, and is $10 per child.
There is a 7pm-8pm HOPE meeting for parents who have lost children this Tuesday, as well.
I'm not going to lie, I feel like Wednesday is library story day and that's about it. The weather is getting nice, though, so why not check out a local park or playground? We've got some great reviews here! Do you know of an event missing from our Wednesday calendar? We'd love to hear about it!!
Be sure to check out our list of Easter events in the county and surrounding areas!! If you live in Triangle or Quantico, today is the day to register for the Stafford Parks and Rec programs! You'll also want to call ahead if you're wanting to attend this weekend's Egg Hunts at Pump it Up Manassas!
Live on the other edge of the county? Princess Genevieve will be at the Warrenton Chick Fil A for Family Night! A little closer in, it's also CFA Famly night at the Signal Hill Location.
From 5pm-9pm, you child gets $1 off each game at Laser Quest Woodbridge with their student ID! This would be a fun one for your older children.
Younger kids (or the non fake shooting inclined) may prefer to head to the Manassas Park Community Center for their Lego Challenge night from 7-8pm.
It's time to shop for spring!! St. Paul UMC and Old Bridge UMC's Preschools will both be hosting consignment sales at their respective locations.
This Saturday there's also a few fun low-cost events (Build and Grow and The Knack) but if you've got some wiggle room in your budget and a girl, call ahead and reserve a space at the Rippon Lodge American Girl Tea! $25 per person, girls must be 5 or older. 703-499-9812.
Central Park Funland in Fredericksburg will host their annual Spring Fling, 4 hour wristbands starting at $20, Face painting, Buzzy from B101.5 on site. It's a drive, but for the price and special activities could be a worthwhile Sunday excursion.
Sometimes for the love of a child you might do something that you would otherwise never do. Pay hundreds of dollars for music lessons when you know they have no rhythm but love it, sing along with a purple dinosaur, fight vehemently that your potty training technique is better than your mother in law's....
Or walk on some freaking tiny wire rope up a bajilionty feet in the air.
Okay, fine, it was 15 feet at the highest I went up. But it FELT like a bajilionty to me. My husband and the 7 year old thought it was great fun and left me in the dust clinging to my harness :) So it goes sometimes!
Adventure Park at Sandy Spring School a perfect match for us! We decided to use our day there as a Parent/Child "date day" which we try to fit in once a month for each child so they get alone time. The drive up wasn't bad at all. We opted to go for an earlier climb so that it wouldn't be too hot (although the trees provide tons of shade and while we were there until 1:30pm and I was sweating bullets- it was from me being a pansy and not uncomfortable heat).
Children ages 7 and up are eligible to climb, but there are age restrictions on different levels of climbs. 7 year olds may climb yellow courses alone or green courses with an adult, 10 year olds may climb blue with an adult, 12 year olds may climb black with an adult, and starting at 14 all climbs through double black diamond may be done solo. I don't know that I'd put a 7 year old on alone on a yellow their first time, our VERY adventerous child paused for quite some time looking down at the first zip line and needed a gentle nudge and some encouragement to get over that hurdle. After that he did fine, but I completely understand because had I not been in front of him and not wanted him to think I was a scaredy cat, I probably would have needed more time to do the first zip line, too. Even with my distaste for heights, I have to admit after doing it the first time and getting over the initial fear, the zip lines were totally fun!!
Backing up a bit, let's outline the experience. BEFORE YOU GO YOU SHOULD FILL OUT YOUR CLIMB CARD AND SAVE TIME! The drive is not bad at all. From Lake Ridge it took us about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the Adventure Park, and it was a pleasant drive zipping up the highway. Parking is free, and "rustic" on a rock/gravel/grass field. When you walk from the parking lot there are signs directing you to a cabin-type building where you sign in and get fitted for equipment. There's staff to help. Much like when you go skiing, you'll get a tag with an "off time" telling you when you need to vacate the courses and get outta dodge. Trust me, your kids will be plenty tired after 4 hours.
There's a practice course where you can work (on the ground) on the tweezle system and the zip procedures. This was pretty tough for our son the first few times because of the gloves, but he got it and was totally self-sufficient 99.9 percent of the course. Granted, we're the "do it yourself or you're not going up" type of parents. We're also the "no, you're not climbing down at the first scary zip line, you do it once and then you decide" type. If you are the "I will do it for you" and "you can quit now" type, which is fine, this would probably not be a good use of your money. It's challenging, but I think that's a big part of what makes it so great!
There's a water tank where you can hydrate, but I'd bring a bottle with me next time.
The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring Friends School
Pros: Challenging, outdoor adventure. Fresh air, uses your brain and your muscles, totally different experience than you'll have almost anywhere else. This is expensive ($38-$48 depending on age), but look for deals on places like Certifikid, and, think of it like an amusement park but more physically demanding and it doesn't seem so bad. Zip-line sliding is way cooler than a roller coaster anyway :)
Cons: I think our son would have benefited greatly from being 2 inches taller :) and younger kids are limited in which courses they can do, but that doesn't prevent them from having PLENTY to do. There is nothing for kids younger than 7.
Caution: Bring your bug spray and be prepared to pep-talk your kid through their first course if they've never done anything like this before. Bring a water bottle, and have a great time!
Recommended: For kids ages 7 and up, especially 7 year olds that tend to be taller than their peers! This is totally worth both the drive and the price and we can't wait to go again next year!!
You all apparently love farmer's markets as much as me! Which is great! They're super fun for kids to enjoy, and they keep money local, which I'm all about.
Here's the skinny:
1) Occoquan Farmers Market (Saturdays 8-12 from April 23-October 29). This is a smaller market that meets under the Occoquan Bridge. Merchants sell pies, empanadas, salad dressing, dog biscuits, baked goods, crabcakes, and then there are 4 listed produce vendors. I don't eat seafood, but Carrie over at Touch of Gold LOVES her some crabcakes when they're there!
2) Dale City Farmers Market (Sundays 8-1 from April 4-November 21st). This is the larger of the two options in Woodbridge. It meets in the commuter lot next to the Center Plaza Giant (intersection of Minnieville and Dale). If they have a website, I surely can't find it, but from years past, there is everything from soup to nuts, so to speak. Kettle Corn, baked goods, jams, jellies, produce, flowers, plants, meat, eggs (very limited supply last year- so get there at 8 if you want them, or pre-buy them the week before), and even sorbet. Fair warning about the sorbet- the guy calls it the Holy GraEL of Sorbet and if you've never read "The DaVinci Code" it's okay, because he's going to talk your ear off about the holy gra-el and why he spells it that way. You've been warned :)
3) Thursday Manassas Farmers Market (Thursdays 7-1 from March 31st-November 3) The Thursday version of the Manassas Farmers Market appears to be 1/2 the size of Saturday, which makes sense. It includes baked goods, flowers, several produce markets, poultry, honey, angus beef, soap, beef, lamb, and eggs. Westmoreland produce comes, and we love to go Berry Picking there :)
4) Saturday Manassas Farmers Market (Saturdays 7:30-2:30 from April 2-October 29) more hours and more vendors than Thursday! BBQ Sauce, baked goods, produce from several vendors, coffee, seafood, salsa, chocolate, poultry, honey, doll clothes, dry mixes, dairy, kettle corn, soap, sauces, beef, lamb, goat cheese, and confections.
5) Nokesville Farmers Market (Saturdays from 8-12 from 3rd Saturday in May through September) This market is cool because it's local-only, which is very neat. It's also completely volunteer run.
6) Gainesville Smart Market (Saturdays from 9:30-1:30, no start/end dates on the website) This one appears to be super heavy on food items from around Virginia. Hummus, turkish delite, pasta, goat cheese, chocolate, milk, hot sauce, cookies, pet treats, wine, bbq, emu, meat and salsa.
If you want your food pre-picked out and delivered, here are some CSA Share options that deliver to our area:
1) Olin Farms CSA (delivers to Moms Apple Pie Bakery in Occoquan) with options ranging from $165 for a winter share to $1,000 for an all-season share
2) Bull Run Mountain Vegetable Farm (FYI- Bull Run Mountain is what gets school cancelled for us 90% of the time when it snows, so a thanks to them ;) for all those snow days!) delivers to the Manassas Train Dept (near the Harris Pavillion) with options ranging from $440-$1175 with add ons for fruit and eggs available.
3) Graceland Farms (delivers to the Dale City Farmers Market) offers shares for $440 for "the season", optional winter-add ons for $100, and another option to add local cheese.
Hope this helps!!
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