Are you ready for a nice, relaxing three-day weekend? Or are you bracing yourself for the stressful task of entertaining visitors or kids for 72 long hours? Here are some options for filling your time, especially the ever-problematic New Year’s Day, from family-friendly theater to an exhibit of animal trivia and a spectacle of lights to a stunning array of ice sculptures.
While many locales close up shop for New Year’s Day, the Smithsonian museums remain open. And given the number of worthwhile exhibits that are about to close, Jan. 1 is a good time to hit the Mall. Art fans can start at the Hirshhorn, where the 102 bright canvases that populate “Andy Warhol: Shadows”are on view through Jan. 15. (The National Gallery is closed on New Year’s Day, but the companion show, “Warhol: Headlines” is worth a look and finishes its run on Jan. 2.)
The Botanic Garden is also open on the first, giving visitors the opportunity to see the annual “Season’s Greenings” exhibit of trains zipping past meticulously crafted, plant-based replicas of Washington landmarks. The show closes on Jan. 2.
The National Building Museum also remains open on Jan. 1. While the destination is always a great place to bring the kids, adults might enjoy the “Unbuilt Washington” show, which made Philip Kennicott’s best exhibits of 2011 list. The display looks at architectural designs of Washington landmarks — from pyramid-shaped memorials to the National Sofa — that never came to fruition.
Designed more for kids — and those with a scatalogical sense of humor — “Animal Grossology” is on view at the National Geographic Museum through Jan. 2, and the museum is open on New Year’s Day. The interactive displays offer insights into some of the animal kingdom’s ickier trivia, from the color of a ladybug’s blood to a look at how cows digest food.
The annual ZooLights display of LED-based animal sculptures and late-night access to the animal houses is open Dec. 30 and Jan. 1 . Meanwhile, the frosty sculptures that make up “ICE!” at the National Harbor remain on view through Jan. 8, including on New Year’s Day.
The kid-friendly “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical” takes the stage at the Kennedy Center Family Theater for multiple shows on both Dec. 31 and Jan. 2, and on New Year’s Day, visitors can see “Billy Elliot,” and “Ann,” which both run through Jan. 15.