winter collage

Hey – before you read any further – all of these events happened in 2012-2013. They are done. Past. History. Don’t try to go to them. But check with the destinations to see if they might happen again.


Here it is: your winter guide to global family fun that will make you forget the weather.

So read it, print it, put a magnet on it, post it in a place of honor on your fridge and go, go, go!

1.       La Chandeleur, February 2, Hillwood Estate, DC

The Alliance Francaise and Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens invite families to celebrate this holiday (also known as ” crêpe day”) in festive French fashion by eating crêpes, enjoying classic tales told in French and English, and experiencing the exciting culture of Brittany, where crêpes originated. Embark on a quest to discover tales of knights and mythical creatures in the art in Hillwood’s mansion, and create your own artwork by making a knight’s shield to take home.

2.       Chinese New Year Parade, February 10, 1-3pm, Chinatown, DC

Come watch the traditional Chinese Dragon Dance, Kung Fu demonstrations and live musical entertainment.

3.       Nordic Cool at the Kennedy Center, February 20-March 17, Kennedy Center, DC

We are SO excited about this one! It’s a month-long international festival of theater, dance, music, visual arts, literature, design, cuisine, and film to highlight the diverse cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden as well as the territories of Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Áland Islands. Not only will they have Lego displays and play spaces, they will also have stations to try cool Nordic video games, three children’s plays from Sweden and Demark, and an Icelandic feature film about the legend of Thor. Also check schedule for free nightly Millenium Stage concerts that are part of Nordic Cool. 

4.       Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution,  thru May 12, National Geographic Museum, DC

Found only in New Guinea and parts of Australia, the birds of paradise are a case study in the evolutionary power of sexual selection. This exhibit is as vibrant as the birds themselves, based on 18 expeditions by Edwin Scholes and Tim Laman, two Cornell scientists who certainly put the sexy in bird watching. Seriously, it blew our minds–tons of hands-on kids’ activities, including Dance Dance Evolution.

5.       Discovery Theater, Smithsonian

KanKouran West African Dance Company, February 1, Baird Auditorium, Natural History Museum

Tosin and the Afrikan Rhapsody Band, March 13, Baird Auditorium, Natural History Museum

Flying Feet and Fiddle Bows: An Irish Celebration, March 15, Ripley Center, Smithsonian

6.       Anime Momotaro, January 30 – March 10, Imagination Stage, Bethesda, MD

Performed in the style of popular anime cartoons with traditional Japanese influences, this action-packed staging of Japan’s most famous folktale teaches powerful lessons about inner strength and how creativity, kindness, and cooperation win out over brute force.

7.      Smithsonian Mardi Gras Family Day, Feb 16, 11am-4pm, Anacostia Museum, DC

The event features entertainment, arts and crafts, face painting, balloon art, dancing, and costume contests.

8.       Discover Engineering Family Day, Feb 16, 10am-4:30pm, National Building Museum

Maybe not technically global but awesome just the same. Take part in slime-making, day-long robot demonstrations and competitions, design bridges and helicopters, and much more. Free. $5 suggested donation. Most appropriate for children ages 5-13.

9.       Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 2, Alexandria, VA

Old Town Alexandria celebrates the Irish holiday with a classic car show, a dog show and a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Elected officials; the Irish Ambassador; military commanders; and other local celebrities participate along with local scouts, marines and high school bands.

10.   Adventures in Travel Expo, March 9-10, Washington Convention Center, DC

Start planning your next active family vacation! Learn about a wide variety of adventure travel packages and tours, attend educational seminars, meet leading travel writers and participate in free hands-on activities.

11.   National Shamrock Festival, March 16, 1-9pm, RFK Stadium, DC

Enjoy a day of family fun at the largest Saint Patrick’s Day party and street festival in the DC area featuring more than 50 live bands.

12.   Las Aventuras de Don Quijote de la Mancha, March 18-30, Gala Hispanic Theater, DC

With his sidekick Sancho Panza, a chilvalrous Spanish gentleman takes up his lance to defend the helpless as he rides in search of glory and grand adventure. A bilingual adaptation for the entire family of the timeless novel by Cervantes.

13.   One Man’s Search for Ancient China: The Paul Singer Collection, Jan 19-July 7, Sackler Gallery

Collector and scholar Paul Singer (1904-1997) once packed 5,000 objects into his small apartment. Singer’s bequest to the Sackler Gallery created one of the largest and most significant Chinese archaeological collections in the US. In this exhibition, landmark archaeological discoveries shed new light on his acquisitions and on life in ancient China. Highlights include an early bronze plaque with exquisite turquoise inlay; jade and stone objects that closely resemble those found in the tomb of the royal consort Fu Hao dating to the 13th century BCE; 2,000-year-old human hair pieces; and rare and amusing figurines and miniature vessels.

14.   ImaginAsia – Family art activities at the Smithsonian Freer Gallery

Beautiful Writing: Arabic Calligraphy, February 2, 2pm

Coiling Dragons: February 10, 2pm

Cuneiform Tweets: Inscribe a short message in cuneiform, March 9th, 2pm

Smithsonian Freer Gallery