City Kids is written by Takoma, DC resident Caroline. Caroline previously wrote about the Arboretum.
City Kids: BloomBars Harambe!
With squishy mat floors and a selection of musical instruments to sample, Harambe is every little kid’s dream!
To answer the first question of those not familiar with BloomBars, no, it’s not a bar. BloomBars describes itself:
BloomBars is not something you can easily describe. Some have called it an artist and non-profit incubator, performance space, art gallery, theater, dance studio, screening room, youth academy, and center for health, wellness, and community engagement-They were all correct.
On Monday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings, BloomBars welcomes little ones from six months to six years to sing, dance, and explore musical instruments. Baba Ras D, a musician, educator, and activist, leads the way. He invites the kids to express themselves however they wish, whether it’s singing into the microphone, dancing on stage, or playing along from the audience or a caregiver’s lap.
We sang some of the ubiquitous favorites, including “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” classics like Bob Marley’s “One Love”, and some fun international call-and-response songs.
Little ones who are timid or sensitive to sensory overload might get maxed out easily. When mine started feeling that way, we were able to retreat to the back of the space and continue to participate and play with a little more elbow room.
Where: BloomBars, 3222 11th Street NW
When: Mondays at 9:30 am, Thursdays at 10:00 am, Saturdays at 9:30 and 10:30 am.
Cost: $7 suggested donation.
Tucked between the Anacostia River and the Maryland border is the U.S. National Arboretum. It has several hundred acres of land that may be well known for the early spring azalea display, but it has a wealth of activities year-round.
For our recent trip, we visited the Washington Youth Garden and the Outdoor Classroom. The garden was just in its earliest stage for the season, but little ones were still interested in the winding pathways.
The Outdoor Classroom had many interesting things to explore. A cluster of wood stumps made up the “classroom”, such as it was, but were also interesting for climbing, standing on, and jumping off. Another area had enclosed garden bed boxes for “messy materials” like sand. Perhaps the highlight was the large wood and metal xylophones. Both kids and adults had fun finding the perfect stick to bang out a few notes.
Beyond these two areas, there are miles of road and trail for hiking, biking, jogging, or walking. There are wide expanses of prairie and meadow, and also manicured bonsai gardens and koi ponds. The picnic groves are big enough that you will never have someone in your way. There are self-guided and pre-recorded docent tours, in addition to a wide array of events and programs.
United States National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE (alternate entrance on R Street NE)
Open 8am-5pm every day except Christmas.
Category: City Kids
A reader sends this one from 22nd Street, NW. Not as cool as the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from Vacation but still some sweet paneling.
City Kids is written by Takoma, DC resident Caroline. Caroline previously wrote about The Building Museum.
Rock Creek Park has endless opportunities for activities for all ages. The Rock Creek Park Nature Center, tucked just south of Military Rd, has a small gift shop, planetarium, and a large exhibit of local plant and animal species. Rangers and volunteers at the nature center conduct a variety of free programs on the ecosystems found in the park and night sky watching.
Every Friday afternoon, visitors of all ages can watch and help rangers feed the captive animals who live at the nature center. Three varieties of turtle and two snakes live in aquariums. A group of about five parents with kids ages 1 to 7 watched a yellow-orange corn snake strike, squeeze, and unhinge its jaw to swallow a mouse. The kids preschool age and up got the most out of the “eeewww” factor, although the little ones also enjoyed the display. Littler ones also enjoyed the large collection of taxidermy animals.
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City Kids is a new series written by Caroline. Caroline lives in Takoma, DC.
The National Building Museum is often overlooked. In a city packed to the gills with free museums, why pay for one? Especially when I’ve wandered through in the past; it’s a pretty building, but doesn’t seem to have a lot going on at first glance.
That first glance is deceiving. Any parent or caregiver who has been cooped up with a little one can tell you the value of having a safe, interesting, and large space to let that little one blow off some steam. The Building Museum is a convenient go-to.
The main atrium of the Building Museum is ornate and cavernous. It’s a warm winter respite with enough space for kids and office lunchers to each do their thing without bothering the other. When we went on a Thursday, there were foam blocks to play with in addition to open running space and a cool fountain.
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