Top Five Outdoor Adventures in Washington, DC

Leticia Barr - Washington Dc
June 9, 2011

When the weather is nice, it's hard not to be outside. Take advantage of the warmer temperatures throughout the summer by adding a little adventure to your day because before you know it, there will be a chill in the air announcing the arrival of fall.

Pick berries at Butler's Orchard

If you have berry eaters in your house, Butler's is the place to get your hands on strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries that burst with flavor in your mouth as you pick your own. Picking season kicks off in early June with strawberries, and blueberries becoming available later in the month. Blackberry season is from mid-July through August, and the lack of thorns on Butler's blackberry bushes makes for easy and painless picking amid the tall bushes that provide relief on the hottest summer days. Red raspberries are a treat as summer turns into fall, since picking season lasts until September. Check the Butler's Orchard website for current picking information and directions. Upon arrival, follow the signs to the correct field before you gather your harvest and head to the farm market for checkout.

Picnic and hike in Cabin John Regional Park

Conveniently located close to 270, 495, and Westfield Montgomery, Cabin John is a place where a family can easily spend an entire day. Pick up some lunch from nearby eateries like Baja Fresh, Corner Bakery, Five Guys, or Ledo's and plan to spend the rest of the afternoon. There are multiple picnic shelters that can be rented out for a birthday party or a barbecue, wonderful play areas to meet the climbing needs of different ages, a glossy red miniature train with budget-friendly tickets priced at $1.75 per person, environmental education programs and nature trails from the Locust Grove Nature Center, and plenty of room for your pooch to run at the fenced-in dog park.

Explore with the animals at the National Zoo

The great thing about the zoo is that it is always different with each visit because of the unpredictability of the animals. If summer seems like a time to avoid the zoo due to throngs of tourists and lackadaisical animals, there are plenty of indoor spaces to visit to beat the heat. Park in one of the lots towards Connecticut Avenue and wander towards the recently completed Elephant Trails adjacent to the Asia Trail. Stop in at the Panda House to see who might be home and then continue across the bridge to the temperate Bird House. Head out and meander under misters situated along Olmstead Walk for cooling relief as you make your way to the air conditioned Think Tank, the orangutans' destination as they swing from the O Line above.

Watch a show in the woods with Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Inject some live performances into your summer with a trip to this National Park for the Performing Arts by purchasing tickets to a Theater in the Woods performance or lawn seats to a show at the Filene Center. The Theater in the Woods provides family programming at a wonderful amphitheater nestled beneath the trees. The wooden stage is home to two performances from late June through early August on Tuesdays through Saturdays at the cost of $8 per person for both performances.  The venue is a little walk from the parking lot that involves walking uphill and then downhill but strollers are welcome for little legs and they can be parked right outside the stage entrance. Bring a picnic lunch to satisfy hungry since there's plenty of room to roam and get the wiggles out following the performances.

Venture back in time at Claude Moore Historical Farm

Step back in time and pretend to be a colonist living on a small farm before the Revolutionary War at Claude Moore Historical Farm. Engage in hands-on activities that are perfect for little hands and journey back to 1771. There you will encounter a farm family as they do their tasks to make a living from their land. Staff and volunteers dressed in period clothing portray the farm family and work the land. Children are welcome to participate in the jobs and ask questions. During three times a year, Claude Moore Historical Farm also holds their Market Fair. On the third weekend of May, July, and October, not only will you get to experience Claude Moore Farm but have an opportunity to purchase delicious food, shop for wares, and participate in entertainment. 

Remember, it helps to plan ahead, so visit your destination's website and call in advance to confirm opening times and schedules -- but once you're  there, it's time to relax, enjoy, and let the spirit of adventure take you and your family wherever you want to go.
 

From the Parents

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