Correction to This Article
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the "Lego Architecture: Towering Ambition" exhibit was free, with a suggested $5 donation. The $5 entrance fee is mandatory.

Camp's out: Kid-friendly activities and happy hours in the Washington area

By Justin Rude and Jessica McFadden
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer. Just the mention of it elicits fond memories of long days spent with friends dashing through sprinklers and catching fireflies. But let's face it: Among parents, summer -- particularly those last weeks after camp is over and school hasn't begun -- also means a hazy, crazy dash between play dates and babysitters. Here we offer a week's worth of do-it-yourself day-camp ideas, topped off by special family-friendly happy hours (brought to us by Post staff writer Justin Rude and his rambunctious 18-month-old son, James) that just might remind you that you, too, can enjoy a little taste of summer.


Library of Congress Young Readers Center and Summer Story Times

Bring your little bookworms to the new Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress. With two free story times every Monday through Friday until Sept. 10, the center is the go-to destination for families looking for a little imagination encouragement between dips in the neighborhood pool. Here, librarians read a picture book every morning to children age 5 and older, and each afternoon, they explore passages from novels, nonfiction tomes and poetry to promote noses-in-books among older children, too.

If a nap prevents a family from making one of the story times, the center is an anytime destination. "The three rooms in the center include 1,100 titles, ranging from 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' to 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' in Arabic, Hebrew and Braille. The books are all available for family browsing during their visit -- it's not a lending library, it's not a museum -- it's a place especially for children to explore," says Jane Gilchrist, director of the center.

Where: Library of Congress, ground floor, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE

When: Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Cost: Free


Newseum Family Fun Deal

If you haven't experienced the Newseum with your children, do it now: The Newseum Family Fun Deal means that through Labor Day, the admission price for kids up to age 18 is waived for as many as 10 kids with each paying adult. (That's a $12.95 savings per big kid; age 6 and younger are always free).

Like all Newseum tickets, Family Fun Deal passes are good for two consecutive days, so if your family laments that they missed the Elvis exhibit, a showing in the 4-D theater or hosting their own mock White House news conference, head back the next day.

Where: 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

When: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

CONTINUED     1                 >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company