National Arboretum, 3501 New York Ave. NE. 202-245-2726. www.usna.usda.gov.
DCPS Beautification Day, Aug. 25. 202-724-4881. dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/beautification.
Keeping super cool
Who: Justin Rude, father of James, 3, and Arlo, who doesn’t skate — or walk — yet, and a staff writer at The Post.
What he recommends: James and I don’t see eye-to-eye on everything — he prefers monster trucks to dinosaurs, baseball to football and likes to peel the cheese off his pizza (!!!). But this summer, ice skating has emerged as an activity that we not only both enjoy, but also enjoy doing together. Equal parts escape from the heat, exercise and bonding activity, our time on the ice is a rough-and-tumble twice-a-week treat. James started classes at the
Kettler Capitals Iceplex
months ago, and while I love to watch his progress under instruction, it’s our trips onto the ice together during free skates and recesses (kids-and-parents-only ice times) that I cherish.
Three or 4 are great ages to begin skating. Little kids are close enough to the ice that falls are rarely traumatic, and they tend to pick it up much faster — while reveling in the little victories of the learning process — than adult beginners do.
Coming off the ice during a recent skate, James pointed at a television in the lobby that was showing replays of last season’s NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and loudly proclaimed, “Look, look, Papa! I was going fast just like those guys!” That drew a round of chuckles from nearby parents and arena workers. But they weren’t mocking; they were knowing. Once you have your ice legs and can propel yourself around the surface without clutching the boards, it feels like you’re flying — even if you’re 3 years old and spend the majority of your time wiping out and flinging around the rink.
Know before you go:
Kettler Capitals Iceplex, 627 N. Glebe Rd., Suite 800, Arlington. 571-224-0555. www.kettlercapitals.pointstreaksites.com.
Fort Dupont Ice Arena, 3779 Ely Pl. SE. 202-584-5007. www.fdia.org.
Rockville Ice Arena, 50 Southlawn Ct., Rockville. 301-315-5650. www.rockvilleice.pointstreaksites.com.
One last escape
Who: Sandie Angulo Chen, mother to Elias, 10, Delia, 7, and Jonah, 4, and reviewer of books and movies for children and parents.
What she recommends: When the dry stream bed runs with the blood-crimson leaves of the Japanese maples, I have to remind myself that we’re inside the Beltway. When a doe, lulled by life in a wildlife sanctuary, refuses to move from my daughter’s path until she’s two yards from its twitching white tail, I have to remind myself again that we’re inside the Beltway. And when my 10-year-old son tells me that he’s seen a snake rising from the pond to swallow a frog, or when we lift a stump to find a spotted salamander, I can hardly believe that we’re inside the Beltway. But we are. We’re in the
Woodend Nature Sanctuary
, a 40-acre property run by the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase. The grounds include Woodend Mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but we’ve been inside only for summer camp drop-off. We stay on the trails, or in the milkweed field, pulling and blowing handfuls of silken seeds. My family of five comes here when nature seems too far away or the hot city summer feels too close.
No tigers, though. The Audubon has deer, amphibians and birds a-plenty, but nothing (we hope) with eviscerating claws. For that (and to hear our 4-year-old son roar in gleeful anticipation), we need to go downtown to the Smithsonian’s
National Museum of Natural History
. Here, lionesses attack a buffalo, a tiger leaps claws first from a transom niche and a tiny bat cradles an even tinier fish in its feet, seconds away from a dinnertime that will never come. The museum’s Hall of Mammals, now almost a decade old, still seems fresh and alive, quite a feat considering everything in it is dead. The walk-around dioramas, the spacious layout and the incredible range of animals from around the world make nature seem as real as it ever appeared under a rotunda.
Know before you go:
Woodend Nature Sanctuary, 8940 Jones Mill Rd., Chevy Chase. 301-652-9188. www.audubonnaturalist.com.
National History Museum, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-633-1000. www.mnh.si.edu.