Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington DC. Show all posts

Monster Jam Arena Championship Series coming to Washington DC - January 2022!

Monster Jam - Image from Feld Entertainment

Monster Jam is coming back to Washington DC in January 2022 with all of the fun and excitement families have come to expect.  Celebrating 30 years, Monster Jam will be returning to Captiol One Arena in Washington DC featuring the main event and special Pit Party opportunities on both January 29 and January 30!  

Who can you expect to see at Monster Jam?  Fans can plan to see Grave Digger, Megalodon, Whiplash, Stone Crusher and more.  My oldest went to Monster Jam a few years ago and still talks about the memorable evening and spectacular tricks.  We hope to make a visit down to DC this winter to relive the thrills - and introduce my youngest to the excitement.  

Monster Jam - Image from Feld Entertainment

Tickets are now available for both Monster Jam and the Pit Party at  You can find more details on the Monster Jam event and COVID safety protocols at  

About Monster Jam

Unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable, Monster Jam® features world-class athletes competing for championships on perfectly engineered dirt tracks that push these ever-evolving, state-of-the-art trucks to the limit. Beyond the 350 global live events each year, the Monster Jam brand extends off the track into the home through products, content and merchandise that keeps the fun alive year-round.  For more information, visit


The Ultimate Family Guide to Zoos in the Mid-Atlantic

Over the past several years, I have visited a number of zoos around the Mid-Atlantic region - Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.  There are a lot of great choices, but here are my top choices of where to visit with your family!  Click the subtitle link on each zoo to see my full review and guide to visiting!

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore 

Saying hi to a penguin friend at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore - July 2020

This is our "local" zoo at just about 45 minutes away and an easy drive from our house.  The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is located in Druid Hill Park and is completely picturesque - with winding trails, easy to navigate areas, and a good variety of animals.  One of our favorite exhibits here are the penguins - they are simply too cute to miss!  

Smithsonian's National Zoo

Panda Bear at the Smithsonian Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. - December 2019


Bandstand Ticket Giveaway at the National Theatre

As I've shared before, the National Theatre hosts some amazing shows and I'm excited to once again partner with them and give away two opening night tickets for the next show heading to Washington, D.C. - Bandstand.  I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of big band music and World War II era shows.  With several Tony awards under it's belt, this show promises to be a good time!

About the Show

From three-time Tony® winner and Hamilton choreographer, Andy Blankenbuehler, comes a poignant and inspiring new American musical that explodes with infectious music and high-octane, heart-stopping dancing.


Free in DC - Family Fun That Won't Cost You a Penny

Our family is on year two of what I hope will be a new tradition - the Christmas break staycation.  We are blessed to live in the Mid-Atlantic where there is a large number of destinations for families to enjoy.  So rather than spending a small fortune to fly somewhere and travel during the school break we have in December, our family has opted to keep it local but get away from it all and become tourists in our backyard.  Last year we spent one night in a hotel in Baltimore and took the boys on a tour of WBAL television station and then visited the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center in the Inner Harbor.  This year, we headed to our big city neighbor just to the south - Washington D.C.  It's the first time our boys visited the nation's capital and we spent three nights thanks to the Hilton points we have acquired downtown at the Embassy Suites.

My goal was to put together a three day itinerary of things to do in D.C. that required no admission charge.  That's right. . .zero, zip, zilch! If you have never traveled to D.C. before, you may be surprised to find that there is SOOOOO much to do for free that you can easily fill several days.  We had so much more that we could have done, but here's a quick summary of what we accomplished!  Keep in mind that my boys are 4 and 7 so that played into what we did and how much time we spent in each location.

U.S. Government Buildings

We began our trip with taking a peek into several locations that would show our kids where the work of our national government takes place.  Tours of the U.S. Capitol, White House, Supreme Court, and Library of Congress are all available free of charge.  The White House is the most coveted tour and does require reservations through your Congressman so you will need to plan several weeks ahead and may need some flexibility on your day and time.  You can also reserve a U.S. Capitol tour through your Congressman (which we did), but we learned this wasn't really necessary as they have an amazing number of tours offered each day which you can secure a ticket for simply by walking into the U.S. Capitol Visitor's Center.  The tour does not take you to see the inside of the Senate and the House so if you want to see that you need to request gallery passes from your Congressman in addition to reserving a tour.  As far as the Supreme Court and Library of Congress, there are free self-guided tours throughout the day and also free guided tours at select times.  You are unable to reserve these ahead of time, but might be able to luck into one when you stop by.  We simply walked around the stunning Library of Congress building without a formal tour, but at the Supreme Court we did join a lecture inside the courtroom so we could see where the Court does their work.  Be sure to visit the children's area of the Library of Congress.  There are several activities just for kids as well as some quiet, cozy reading spaces and, of course, lots of books to snuggle up and share with your little ones.

Know Before You Go - Security at the U.S. Capitol is VERY tight.  No food or liquids (even bottles of water).  I always pack snacks and bottled water when going out for the day. . .and then promptly had to throw them away at our first stop.  Hoping to save you from the same mistake!

The National Mall

Lining the National Mall, you will find a host of Smithsonian Museums perfect for family visitors.  Lines can be long to go through security and enter so pack your patience for these free attractions.  One of my favorite museums, and the one we happened to visit on this particular trip, is the Air and Space Museum.  Take an in depth look at NASA, space, flight, and exploration in this hands on museum.  You can see some amazing things here - including having the ability to touch a legitimate moon rock and see the spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong when he walked on the moon.  There is so much for kids to see, do, and touch here including an entire kids play area where they learn the physics of flight and becoming a flight director in Houston during a mission to outer space.  If you're looking to upgrade your experience, there are several add-ons that come with a price tag including IMAX movies and audio tours.  Air and Space is not the only Smithsonian Museum available - there is really something for everyone ranging from art to Native American History to Natural History and everything in between.

As you work your way down the National Mall from the U.S. Capitol and past the Smithsonian Museums, you find the other great free attractions along the National Mall - a series of national monuments.  While there is nothing to really "do" at these, they are truly breathtaking to see in person.  Even my little guys LOVED spending hours walking D.C. and looking around at them.  Three not to miss (actually they're really hard to miss anyway. . .) are the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the World War II Memorial.  The size, scale, and grandeur of these will captivate your children.  While there are many other memorials of great importance along the way, for example the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, it's a bit harder for little kids to understand what they are looking at and the significance of that conflict.

Know Before You Go - D.C. is a very walkable city, but it's much bigger than you may realize if you plan on walking EVERYWHERE with your kids.  We decided to Uber from our hotel to our starting point in the morning, then walked away from museums to memorials throughout the day as we leisurely made our way back to our hotel.

The National Zoo

Another Smithsonian "museum" featured on the outskirts of D.C. is the National Zoo.  If you're staying downtown, you will definitely need to Uber or take the Metro up to the zoo as it's quite a walk from other D.C. area attractions - but well worth it!  Like everything else in the article, this zoo if FREE.  Lions, tigers, and panda bears - oh my!  The zoo is good sized and easily takes 2-3 hours to visit but can take much longer if you have animal lovers or want to extend your stay.  There are many great presentations by animal experts throughout the day that are worthwhile to check out.  Probably one of the highlights of your zoo visit will be seeing the Giant Pandas.  You can also find specific feeding times so you can be sure to see them up close in the Panda House.  My personal favorite though are the gorillas!

Don't forget to check out any special events that you might be able to catch while visiting.  We were there over the holiday break which meant that Zoolights was going on in the evenings.  This is again FREE - where else can you catch a day at the zoo and a holiday light exhibit without paying admission?

Know Before You Go - The zoo is surprisingly hilly!  Be prepared and consider bringing a stroller for older toddlers and preschoolers who may not typically need one anymore.  We were sure glad to have ours!

Has your family visited DC?  What have been the best finds for kids that you've seen along the way?

Jersey Boys at The National Theatre GIVEAWAY

This is not "too good to be true" - it's just a very real and exciting announcement!  Jersey Boys, the hit Broadway show, is heading to The National Theatre in Washington, DC.  While I have yet to see it on stage, this is one of my favorite all time movie musicals - the songs are iconic and the story is captivating.  Having the chance to see it on stage so close to home is a great opportunity you won't want to miss!  And keep reading to find out how you can enter to win tickets to opening night on December 17th!

Unfamiliar with the story of Jersey Boys?  Here's what you need to know:

  They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard… and the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story -- a story that has made them an international sensation all over again.  Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony and Grammy Award®-winning true-life musical phenomenon, JERSEY BOYS. From the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is the musical that’s just too good to be true.

“Sherry” • “Big Girls Don’t Cry” • “Walk Like A Man” • “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” • “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night)”

Ready to see it in person?  You can win a pair of tickets to OPENING NIGHT at The National Theatre in Washington, DC by heading over to my Instagram page.  You'll find a post there about the giveaway.

  • Like the post - one entry
  • Comment - one entry
  • Tag a friend - one entry per tag (separate comments please!)
The giveaway closes Saturday, December 14th at noon and a winner will be announced later that evening on Instagram.  Remember, you must be following my account to win!  

I'm so excited to share this giveaway with you!  Remember, that even if you don't win you can still see this great show in DC from December 17th through January 5th.  For more details, visit Good luck everyone!


Ticket Giveaway - Escape to Margaritaville

I'm back with another fabulous ticket giveaway to an opening night show at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.  This time, I'm offering you a chance to win a pair of opening night tickets to see Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville.  Before I share with you how to win these fantastic tickets, let's learn a little more about the show!

Welcome to Margaritaville, where people come to get away from it all — and stay to find something they never expected. With a book by Emmy Award winner Greg Garcia (“My Name is Earl,” “Raising Hope”) and Emmy Award nominee Mike O’Malley (“Survivors Remorse,” “Shameless”) ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE is the musical comedy featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, including “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and many more. USA Today calls it “A little slice of paradise!” and Entertainment Weekly raves, “It will knock your flip-flops off!” So don’t let the party start without you.  Recommended for ages 13 and up. Run time: Approximately 2 hours, 25 minutes, includes intermission.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put my flip flops on, grab a cheeseburger in paradise, and find my lost shaker of salt to head to the National Theatre and catch this fun show!  To find out more about the show at the National Theatre, click here

So how can you win, it's easy!  Simply head over to my Instagram page (be sure you're following me @dsnyrunrgrl!), like the post with the giveaway, and comment "Take Me to Margaritaville."  You can earn extra entries for tagging friends!  The entry period for this giveaway ends Thursday, 10/3 at noon and a winner will be announced that night!  The winner will receive 2 opening night tickets for the show on Wednesday, October 9th at 7:30.

Good luck!!!  You can also find out more about the show by following @BuffettMusical on social media and @NatTheatreDC on Twitter and Instagram.  

Ticket Giveaway - The New One

I'm excited to share yet another fabulous giveaway, this time for 2 opening night tickets on September 25th at 7:30 to see The New One at the National Theater in Washington, DC!  This show is direct from Broadway and is getting rave reviews as a wonderfully entertaining and comedic night out.  Find out more about the show here:

He’s made you laugh in Sleepwalk With Me (it was a play presented by Nathan Lane, then a movie, THEN a book), My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and “Thank God for Jokes.” (He was also really funny in that one season of “Orange is the New Black.” And in “Billions.” And “Broad City.”) Now he’s direct from Broadway, telling a new story in a new way with the same heart and humor we’ve come to expect. Lin-Manuel Miranda called THE NEW ONE “as perfect a night as you’re gonna get.” Do not miss THE NEW ONE. Some people say it’s his best one. (It was John Mulaney. Also Vogue.) Run time: Approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes, no intermission. Recommended for ages 13 and up. Children under the age of four are not permitted to attend the show.

Sounds fun, right?  So how do you win tickets??  It's simple!  This giveaway is exclusively through my Facebook Page,  You get one entry each for:
  • Liking the post about this giveaway
  • Commenting on the post about this giveaway
  • Each friend you tag in a comment on this Facebook post
  • Sharing this post!
In order to be eligible to win, you must "Like" my Facebook page as well.  The entry period will be open Wednesday, 9/18 until 10PM on Thursday, 9/19.  I'll go LIVE Friday evening on Facebook to draw a winner.  Good luck and I look forward to seeing what lucky follower gets to have an amazing night out! 

Thanks to Allied Global Marketing for the opportunity to host this giveaway!

Finding Neverland - Family Ticket Giveaway!

Faith, trust, and pixie dust! That's all you need to carry you to Neverland - that and these giveaway details.  I'm excited to once again be partnering with National Theatre in Washington, D.C. to give away a family four-pack of tickets to opening night of Finding Neverland on Tuesday, February 26th at 7:30PM. Whether you are 7 or 70, there is so much to enjoy in this story.

Directed by visionary Tony®-winner Diane Paulus and based on the critically-acclaimed Academy Award® winning film, FINDING NEVERLAND tells the incredible story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters: Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. Spellbound by the boys’ enchanting make-believe adventures, he sets out to write a play that will astound London theatergoers. With a little pixie dust and a lot of faith, Barrie takes a monumental leap, leaving his old world behind for Neverland, where nothing is impossible and the wonder of childhood lasts forever. The magic of Barrie’s classic tale springs spectacularly to life in this heartwarming theatrical event.

Run time: Approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes, including one intermission. Recommended for age 7 and up.

So how do you enter to win tickets for your family?  It's easy and you can earn entries in many different ways.  You'll earn one entry for each follow/share/comment that you complete below:
Simply comment "done" on the Facebook post and let me know which steps you completed.  Once verified, I'll give you your entries!  All entries need to be completed by noon on Monday, February 18th.  I'll draw a winner LIVE that night on Facebook!  

I can't wait to find out who wins this amazing giveaway - then it's "second star to the right and straight on till morning!"

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical Ticket Giveaway!!

I have some really exciting news to share with readers today!  Beautiful - The Carole King Musical is coming to The National Theatre in Washington, D.C. from November 27 through December 30 and I have two tickets to give away to a lucky reader for opening night!  That's right, one lucky winner will receive two tickets to the show on Tuesday, November 27 at 7:30 at The National Theatre.

Entering is easy - simply like, share, and comment on this article on Facebook and get one entry for each of those engagements.  The entry period will close on Sunday, November 18th at noon and a winner will be announced live on Facebook Sunday evening!  For all the details on this amazing show, keep reading below!

BEAUTIFUL – The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.

Featuring a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song, BEAUTIFUL has a book by Tony® Award-nominee and Academy® Award-nominated writer Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, choreography by Josh Prince, and took home two 2014 Tony® Awards and a 2015 Grammy® Award.
The cast features Sarah Bockel (Carole King), Dylan S. Wallach (Gerry Goffin), Alison Whitehurst (Cynthia Weil), Jacob Heimer (Barry Mann), James Clow (Don Kirshner) and Suzanne Grodner (Genie Klein).

The ensemble includes McKynleigh Alden AbrahamBen BiggersJohn Michael DiasLeandra Ellis-GastonKaylee HarwoodWillie HillAlia HodgeJames Michael LambertMarla LouissaintDimitri Joseph Mo├»seAashley MorganDeon Releford-LeeNathan Andrew RileyPaul ScanlanDeAnne StewartMichael Stiggers, Jr.Alexis Tidwell, and Elise Vannerson.

Appropriate for the entire family, but very young children won’t be interested in the 1950s-era biography. The show is best for pop music lovers age 10 and up.

The National Theatre


Three Days in Washington DC

I've lived my entire life less than a 2 hour drive from Washington DC and have spent very little time inside of our nation's capital.  My husband and I always look for a getaway to celebrate our anniversary weekend and this year we opted to stay close to home and become tourists in a city that we often drive through, but never take the time to see.  We spent three days in DC and I've included a summary here of some of the things we did while there.

The Capital Hilton - As always, we opted to stay in a Hilton owned property where we could use our points to enjoy a free weekend.  Now I can never argue with a free hotel room, but I will say that this was one of the most underwhelming Hilton experiences I have had.  First off, you'll have to stomach $52 per day to park.  DC parking rates are CRAZY so my husband and I opted to park at the Shady Grove Metro Station and take the subway in.  The trip was $7.20 per person round trip and parking was $5.00 for all three days - much better than the over $150 we would have spent just to park downtown.  Then we get to the room.  When we checked in, we were greeted with a warm smile and a "Wow! It must be your lucky day!  You have one of our best rooms in the hotel."  Now I don't know if she was selling us a line, or if this seriously one of the best rooms, but it was small and had absolutely no view.  It was clean and comfortable, but certainly nothing to write home about.  I was also disappointed that there was no indoor pool to kick back and relax with an evening swim.  With all of that being said, the location downtown is fabulous.  Located near McPherson Square, it is only 2 short blocks to the White House and an easy walk from just about anything you'd want to do downtown.

The Newseum - If you love American history and government, you must check this out.  The website talks about spending 90 minutes to two hours here, but we spent two days!  There is so much to see and do here!  The exhibits on 9/11, the Vietnam War, and the First Amendment were my favorites as well as the documentary on American news coverage of the Holocaust during World War II.  While they have activities for kids and adults of all ages, I think kids 12 and over would be the best age for this museum in order to get the most out of it.  Just as a heads up, tickets are discounted if you purchase online instead of at the door and your ticket gets you free admission back into the museum on the following day - a great bonus!

Ford's Theatre - We purchased tickets online to tour Ford's Theatre.  The tour itself is free, but you can upgrade for $5 per person to receive an audio guide to help you as you navigate through the theatre.  My opinion - save the $5 per person unless you are clueless about the Civil War.  My husband and I both didn't feel like the audio added much to the experience since we had a lot of prior knowledge on the events that occurred before, during, and after the war.  The tour begins beneath Ford's Theatre with a walk through a museum about Lincoln's election, the history of slavery, the war itself, and then the plot to assassinate.  You are allotted roughly 25 minutes to explore this part of the museum and then your group is invited to enter the actual theatre.  Inside the theatre, a park ranger gives a theatrical monologue onstage about the events that took place on the night of the assassination.  It was very informative and well done.  Following the theatre, you cross the street to enter the house where Lincoln was carried after he was fatally shot and where he eventually died.  Here you can see the room where Lincoln died and then tour several exhibits on the aftermath of his assassination and the legacy of his presidency.  All in all, the tour is about 2 hours.  We opted to come back later that evening and pay to do a walking tour of downtown DC led by an investigator in the hours following the assassination.  The tour leads you to several key points as you collect clues on the co-consiprators and visit where attacks on other high ranking government officials occurred or were planned.  This was another almost 2 hour tour and again was very well done!  The tour guide stayed in character the whole time and sometimes you forgot that it was 2016!  I would recommend Ford's Theatre and the walking tour for kids middle school and up so that they can have a better appreciation and understanding of the events that happened that night.

The National Mall - We spent one morning walking the National Mall and visiting the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, and the World War II Memorial.  Each of these were very poignant places for reflection.  If you haven't had the chance to walk and explore each of these, I would recommend it on your next trip.  These are amazing architectural monuments to pivotal points and people in our history.  They are a great place to begin cultivating a love of history in young travelers as you can tell them about each.  Since each monument allows you to be the storyteller with your family, you can really bring kids as young as you'd like to explore.  Just please remember that these are solemn memorials - not wading pools or climbing structures for play

Smithsonian Museum of American History - This was the second time I've visited the American History Museum and I was very underwhelmed.  Maybe it's because roughly half of the museum was under construction at the time, but I felt that the sections that were open were outdated and not very engaging.  They did have on the first floor, several interactive exhibits to engage young children.  In all honesty, I would skip this and spend time trying another Smithsonian.  The museum is free so you have nothing to lose if you decide to stop in.

The National Archives - We had to pop in here for a quick visit to see our founding documents.  The National Archives is famously home to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.  These documents are kept in a heavily secured area of the building and you are not allowed to take photographs.  The rest of the building features other primary sources.  One exhibit currently on display featured amendments to the Constitution that had been proposed and failed - highlighting the fact that only 27 amendments have been made to the Constitution due to the difficult process.  The National Archives is another free public building to explore in DC.

We loved our time in Washington DC and can't wait to go back with the kids to tour even more!