Passionate About the Washington DC area
and the Moms Who Live Here

July 2018 Family-Friendly Events Guide

Well, folks, it is definitely summer.  The kids are out of school and the A/C and fans in our home are getting tired.  Despite the heat, many of this month’s highlighted events celebrate, explore, or take place in the great outdoors.  In addition to July 4th celebrations, there are several county fairs in the area. Baseball-related events are in full swing.  There are also opportunities to get cool while watching theater performances, sampling video games, and learning about STEAM principles.  However you choose to spend your time on these long summer days, we hope that you have tons of fun making sunny memories with your family.


Baseball! Parades! American history! Fireworks! Please see our July 4th Guide for information about Independence Day events around the city.

Fun House
National Building Museum
Washington, DC
Times Vary

This year, the National Building Museum’s annual summer interactive exhibition is called “Fun House.” It is a full-sized home constructed in the museum’s Great Hall, and it will include rooms outfitted with interactive exhibits and front and backyards with outdoor activities. Tickets are required and it is suggested that you reserve them in advance. Tickets are timed and include one hour in “Fun House,” as well as access to all the other exhibitions in the museum. Tickets for July are available now and tickets for August will be released July 13th. Please note, DC residents can receive free admission from 9am-11am on their specific Ward Days.  

JULY 5 (Thursdays in July)
Backyard Theater for Kids
North Bethesda, MD
9:30am & 11:30am

Spend your summer mornings with fun and engaging musical performances at the Strathmore. A variety of performers are scheduled, including jazz, folk, and steel pan. Pack a picnic and make a day of it. Tickets are required, but kids 2 and under are free. 

JULY 6 & JULY 20
Ladybug Release
Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
Washington, DC

Little ones will be able to help the staff of the Smithsonian Gardens release ladybugs into the crops planted around the museum. After the release, there will be a make-and-take activity for children led by staff from the imagiNATIONS Activity Center. It is a free event, but please note that the release lasts only 15 minutes, so make sure you arrive on time. Information regarding this event is found on the museum’s Facebook page, not it’s event calendar.

2018 Anacostia River Discovery Series
Washington, DC
Thursday evenings and the first Saturday of the month
Times Vary

The 2018 Anacostia River Discovery Series is brought to you by the Anacostia River Watershed Society.  It aims to teach area residents about the history of the Anacostia River, as well as the natural environment and wildlife of the river, through recreational activities on and near the water.  The event scheduled for July 7th is a 1-2 hour motorized boat tour.  The series also includes guided canoe tours, wetland walks, and bike tours. All events are free, but registration is required.

Alexandria’s 269th Birthday Celebration
Oronoco Bay Park
Alexandria, VA
6pm – 10pm

If you do not get your fill of fireworks on July 4th, you can get another helping at Alexandria’s 269th Birthday Celebration. Take your lawn chairs and picnic supplies (or you can purchase food from onsite vendors) to enjoy while you listen to live music by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. And no birthday is complete without birthday cake! The fireworks will begin after nightfall.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Synetic Theater
Arlington, VA
Times Vary

For 118 years, L. Frank Baum’s tale of courage and friendship has been beloved by children and adults alike. As part of its New Voice Series, Synetic Theater has now adapted this iconic tale in a way “where verbal and nonverbal communication embrace each other in this innovative and heartfelt story.” You can purchase tickets online.

JULY 11-14
Fauquier County Fair
Fauquier County Fairgrounds
Warranton, VA
2pm – 11pm (7/11-13); 9am – 11pm (7/14)

Summer is not complete without a day at a county fair. The Fauquier County Fair seems to have all the fair food, carnival rides, and fun events one would expect. Its schedule includes a lawn mower race, hypnotist, children’s barnyard obstacle course, tractor pull, bike rodeo, various eating contests, old-fashioned games for the kids, a contest to name the Best Apple Pie in Fauquier County, and much, much more. In addition to this more traditional fair fare, one can also take part in a Bedazzle Your Bra Contest (for breast cancer awareness and fundraising), a Men’s Pretty Legs Contest, goat yoga, and a Longest Beard at the Fair Contest. Tickets can be purchased online. Make sure you check out the $25 entry ticket and ride wristband package that allows you to ride all the rides you can from 6pm-11pm on July 11th.

American Indian Games and Crafts
Riverbend Park
Great Falls, VA
4:30pm – 6pm

Riverbend Park has lots of hiking trails, picnic areas, birdwatching opportunities, and a visitor center with an exhibit about Native American life. Cap off a great day at the park with this late afternoon event. Participants will learn to play traditional Eastern Woodland Indian games, enjoy oral storytelling, and even make their own game to take home. It costs $12 per person and you can register online. Children are allowed, but they must be accompanied by a registered adult. 

JULY 13 – 17
Major League Baseball All-Star Week
Various Locations
Washington, DC

Washington, DC is hosting the 89th MLB All-Star game. There are a ton of fun activities for the whole family spanning five days and several DC venues. “Play Ball Park,” which will be open all five days, is a 56,000 square foot area for interactive family play. The Convention Center will host the “All-Star FanFest” where fans can meet MLB players, receive free autographs, and test their playing skills. Fans can also see their favorite players at the Home Run Derby, the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, and the All-Star Futures Game. The festive week will be capped off by the All-Star Game on July 17th. Check out the MLB to buy tickets, fill out your All-Star ballot, catch up on the latest All-Star news, and buy official merchandise.

STEAM Family Day
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Chantilly, VA
10am – 3pm

Head out to the Udvar-Hazy Center for family fun involving science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM). This free event will teach visitors how aviation and the exploration of space were, and are, only made possible through STEAM principles. Participants will be able to speak with aerospace professionals, learn to program robots that can travel to other planets, look at the sun with a solar telescope, and create works of art. This event is free, although parking at the Center is $15.

The Color Run
The Yards Park
Washington, DC
Start-line window is open from 8am – 8:45am

This 5K is not about how fast you complete the course (it is untimed), it is about having a great time while being active. Participants, who are encouraged to wear white, are doused in colored powder at each kilometer. After completing the run, participants can enjoy music, dancing, and more color throws at the Finish Festival. Kids are welcome to participate. According to the organization’s FAQ’s, “If they can cover (running, jogging, walking, or strolling) the three miles of The Color Run course, they can absolutely participate in The Color Run!” You can pay a reduced registration fee for kids 5 and under, or they can participate for free if you opt that they do not receive a participant kit.

JULY 14 
French Festival
Hillwood Museum & Gardens
Washington, DC
10am – 6pm

Celebrate Bastille Day with 18th Century French activities at the Hillwood Museum & Gardens. This family-friendly event aims to transport you to the French court of the 1700s with baroque music and dance performances, as well as a short play. You and your kids will learn courtly manners, play lawn games, and can make and wear hats such as Napoleon wore. Tickets can be purchased online. The event is free for children under 6 and children of active duty military.

Baseball Family Day
Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Kogod Courtyard
Washington, DC
11:30am – 3pm

The museum wants to celebrate all things baseball with you and your family. After visitors meet some Washington Nationals players, they can make their own baseball card or a pennant for their favorite team. Baseball-themed snacks and popcorn will be sold at the Courtyard Cafe. 

JULY 21 – 22 
Lotus and Water Lily Festival
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Washington, DC
10am – 5pm

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is such a local treasure. Early summer mornings in late June through July offer breathtaking, Seuss-like lotus flowers and water lilies in full bloom. The Lotus and Water Lily Festival celebrates this time of year with international music and dance performances, games, storytelling, gardening workshops, and more. The event and parking are free and a free shuttle is provided from Kenilworth Park (see website for details). The Gardens are also accessible by public transportation and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail (it is a20-minutee bike ride from then Anacostia Skating Pavillion). Food will be on sale, but you are welcome to take a picnic. 

31st Annual Festival Peruano de Virginia
Arlington, VA
11am – 6pm

Billed as the oldest running Peruvian festival in the United States, this festival celebrates the Peruvian Independence Day. Expect lots of music, dancing, Peruvian food, and traditional Peruvian crafts. It is free to attend the festival.

SAAM Arcade
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Washington, DC
11:30am – 7pm

The SAAM Arcade is a free, annual, family-friendly event that highlights independent game developers. The theme for this year’s event is “Game Spaces.” Developers were asked to develop games that make interesting use of space, transform the real-world spaces in which they are played, or inspire, or are inspired by, a strong community or social space. Visitors will have the opportunity to play the games developed for the event, as well as vintage consoles and arcade games.

JULY 23 – 28
Loudoun County Fair
Loudon County Fairground
Leesburg, VA
9am – 10pm(ish)

There is something for everyone at this county fair. From a rodeo to a lawn mower race, and from demolition derbies to a petting zoo, your whole family will be entertained. Entertainers include a stilt walker, magician, dog show, illusionist, the Jody Pyles Band, and the always exciting kids entertainers, the Rocknocerous Band. There is also an extensive arts and crafts exhibit. And of course, there is a carnival and all sorts of fair food, including a nightly dinner (think roast beef, green beans, and mashed potatoes). This county fair opens to the public at 9am and kids under 6 are free. The closing time is unclear, but the last acts begin at 9pm or 9:30pm each night.

Carroll County 4-H and FFA Fair
Carroll County Fairgrounds
Westminster, MD
Times Vary

Head out to support the youth of Carroll County as they exhibit and demonstrate their 4-H and FFA projects to the public. A wide variety of farm animals and ag projects will be showcased. The 121st Annual Carroll County Fair also offers entertainment to please everyone in your family with events such as an archery contest, antique tractor show and pull, robotics contest, pig races, mechanical bull rides, pony rides, demolition derby, and much more. No tickets are available online this year. All tickets must be purchased at the gate.

JULY 28 – 29
28th Annual Montgomery County Farm Tour and Harvest Sale
Montgomery County, MD
Times and Locations Vary

If you want to spend a family day down on the farm, consider wandering around the countryside during Montgomery County’s Farm Tour and Harvest Sale. This event promotes the county’s farms and encourages visitors to “start thinking fresh, local, seasonal” when making food choices. Summer-fresh produce, plants, and more will be available for purchase at participating farms. Some will have activities to entertain visitors such as hayrides, pony rides, and music. Nineteen farms will participate in this year’s event (19 on Saturday and 13 on Sunday). Check out this brochure for a list and map of participating farms.

Night Hike and Campfire
Potomac Overlook Regional Park
Arlington, VA
7:30pm – 9pm

This 67-acre park offers hiking trails, a nature center, an interpretive garden, and access to the Potomac River. During this event, a naturalist will take a group on a nighttime exploration of the park to learn about the stars and nocturnal wildlife. The walk will be capped off by a campfire and s’mores! You can book your spot online. The park recommends that only families with kids 8 years and over participate.